A
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B
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C
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French Version

Interface : Patch attack !

There have always been complaints that users don't take Windows patches seriously. The spread of viruses and the threats of hacking have been a cause for more anxiety and it seems patching is fast-becoming accepted among users across the world as the answer.

Still, up until this month the demand for patches was, to say the least, rather 'patchy'.

Nobody could have expected what was going to happen last week when Microsoft's website was 'downed' due to massive demand.

Apparently, the site was incapable of serving four million users in one hour! In the past, a couple of months before when there was huge demand, the site coped with the download requests of two millions users and hour. Who would have thought the number of downloads would double this time? The weight of download requests reaching 50 Gigabytes a second was just too much.

This was last Monday, and within 24 hours the site was up again with increased download capacity and it started serving over 3 million downloads an hour without trouble. Microsoft says that, should there be a massive 'patch demand attack' again of around 4 million, it will manage that. Basically, what Microsoft did was to double the servers and put in better processors.

Critics of Microsoft have said that the company needs to adopt a more sound strategy of announcing updates on a gradual basis, serving different areas of the world on different days of the month. The fact that over 90 percent of the world's computers run Windows ensures a stampede every time, unless downloads are scheduled to serve different regions of the world. Microsoft's recent announcement of 20 patches in one go only adds to the pressure.

On another note, the fact that the Patches announced were to fix some problems dating as long as 200 days added to the pressure as users have waited a long time for the moment they could patch their systems. In any case, the implications of this incident should not be taken lightly.

For one thing, it seems that users are seriously concerned about security, and it's also obvious that Microsoft needs to do something soon to introduce a 'fully-patched' version of its operating system. At the moment, Microsoft's strategy is to delay its upcoming new operating system, in favor of directing developers to its Windows XP Service Pack 2 security update.

For developers, that works fine, but or normal users there's a need for a new OS. Simply, this patching craze fueled by Microsoft announcements every month can't go on. It's bad for Microsoft, and stressful for users. So, it finally seems that users realize the importance of patches. Microsoft will be pleased that less users will have unpatched operating systems, but they'll have to come up with a full-proof version of Windows soon before the patchers lose their patience.

Amman,04May2004
Zeid Nasser
The Star


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