In this week’s newsletter
Has the Year of Linux on the Desktop finally arrived? Managing home directories in Linux. Is Linux secure? KDE vs the world. Understanding Linux permissions. Win32_QuickFixEngineering. Office Deployment Tool. COVID Corner: Will it be like the 80s again? Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!
Enjoy this week’s newsletter and feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered — we love hearing from our readers!
Got questions? Ask our readers!
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This week’s observations and ruminations from Mitch Tulloch our Senior Editor…
Has the Year of Linux on the Desktop finally arrived?
Remember the exciting launch of Windows 95?
Windows has had its ups and downs since then (e.g. Windows Vista followed by Windows 7) but for the last few decades it’s basically ruled the roost as far as corporate desktop computing is concerned. And it’s mostly ruled the home too except for those who could afford a Mac.
Linux however has had endless difficulties in achieving its ambition of replacing Windows as the desktop computing OS of choice both for business and home users. Year after year Linux zealots have proclaimed the imminent arrival of “Linux on the Desktop” only to see their disappointment to continue as most users stayed with Windows or clung to their Macs.
And yet. Here it is 2020 and it looks like Linux is finally going to conquer the desktop PC world — and it’s all because of Microsoft! The newly released May 2020 update for Windows 10 (Windows 10 version 2004) includes an updated version of Windows Subsystem for Linux called WSL 2 that has a custom-built Linux kernel that greatly improves running Linux applications on Windows. And soon you’ll be able to run Linux GUI apps on Windows using GPU acceleration. This will mean that your Windows PC will soon be able to run Linux apps as well as a dedicated Linux machine. The Verge has the details:
Windows 10 May 2020 Update now available with built-in Linux kernel and Cortana updates (The Verge)
And for those of you who want to try it, you can find full instructions on Microsoft’s website for getting the Linux distro of your choice running on Windows 10 v.2004 if you have that version installed on your PC:
Windows Subsystem for Linux Installation Guide for Windows 10 (Microsoft Docs)
More interesting information about what’s new in WSL 2 can be found in these articles:
WSL2 will be generally available in Windows 10, version 2004 (Windows Command Line blog)
Windows 10 is getting Linux files integration in File Explorer (The Verge)
Microsoft launches Windows Terminal 1.0, unveils GPU support and Linux GUI apps in WSL (VentureBeat)
So should Linux affectionados become worried that Microsoft is going to “embrace and extend” Windows in order to take over Linux so they can push it into oblivion? Linux Torvalds doesn’t think so:
Linus Torvalds isn’t worried about Microsoft taking over Linux (ZDNet)
How about you? What are your feelings about Microsoft’s continuing push into the Linux arena? Will you be using WSL 2 to run Linux apps on your Windows machines? Do you see Microsoft’s Linux initiatives benefiting your business in any ways? Email your thoughts to me at [email protected]
And meanwhile, let’s continue focusing on Linux for the rest of this week’s Editor’s Corner…
Managing home directories in Linux
If you use a Linux distro that has system then changes may be coming to how you manage home directories:
Linux home directory management is about to undergo major change (TechRepublic)
Not that home directories in Windows have always been easy to manage…
Is Linux secure?
Also from TechRepublic:
BlackBerry: Chinese cybercriminals target high-value Linux servers with weak defenses (TechRepublic)
But for a slightly different take on this check out the following article on LinuxSecurity:
Decade of the RATs: Is Linux Secure? (LinuxSecurity)
where LinuxSecurity Founder Dave Wreski says, “Although it may be easy to blame the rise in attacks targeting Linux in recent years on security vulnerabilities in the operating system as a whole, this is simply not the truth. The majority of exploits on Linux systems can be attributed to misconfigured servers and poor administration. Proper setup and maintenance along with a layered approach to security is the key to preventing attacks.”
Who is right? And will running Linux apps on Windows 10 be more or less secure than running them on dedicated Linux boxes?
KDE vs the world
Tom’s Hardware asks:
Linux Desktop Environment Face-Off: Which GUI is Best? (Tom’s Hardware)
KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon, Regolith or Awesome — which do you prefer? I’ve only used Gnome myself and mostly in the past, not lately.
Understanding Linux permissions
Linux is so important nowadays for those of us who work in the IT field that even our TechGenix website is getting into the act with useful introductory Linux articles like this recent one:
Linux Permissions: Understanding and Managing the Structure (TechGenix)
Should we publish more articles like this on TechGenix.com? What do you think? Email us at [email protected]
Got more thoughts about anything in this newsletter?
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Ask Our Readers – PowerShell guru needed (one more response)
In the May 18th issue of our newsletter we shared a request from a reader named Trevor about using PowerShell to deploy hotfixes on devices. A reader named Amaziah suggests the following:
For a reader named Trevor, The WMI class for hotfixes is Win32_QuickFixEngineering. The following Powershell command:
Get-CIMInstance Win32_QuickFixEngineering -comp xyzpccomputer
Retrieves hotfixes, Updates and Security Updates, for the client or server computer xyzpccomputer (for 2019 and 2020).
Tip of the Week
>> Got any IT pro tips you’d like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
Where to find the latest version of ODT and more
The Office Deployment Tool (ODT) is a command-line tool that you can use to download and deploy Click-to-Run versions of Office, such as Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, to your client computers. You can use the following link to find the latest version of this tool:
Be sure to update this tool regularly if you administer Microsoft Office at your organization. Also make sure you update your ADMX files for Windows and Office when new versions of these files are released.
Finally, if you’re not aware of it be sure to check out the Office 365 Client Configuration Service as this site helps administrators for enterprise and commercial organizations deploy, manage and secure the latest Office subscription and volume license products:
>> Got any admin tools or software you’d like to recommend to our readers? Email us at [email protected]
Tigertoolbox is the GitHub repository for the SQL Server Tiger Team:
Sysinternals ProcDump now includes the ability to take capture multiple dumps sizes which can be useful when capturing crash dumps of applications susceptible to termination due to unresponsiveness:
ISESteroids is a truly revolutionary new add-on for the Windows PowerShell ISE editor:
In my editorial “Tethered to your IT job” in last week’s newsletter I offered a few predictions on how the work and living situations of tech workers may play out over the few years because of the Coronavirus and how governments around the world have responded to this situation. This generated some thoughtful feedback from several readers. For example, Jeffrey Harris responded at length as follows:
Mitch, concerning your question of why should companies pay high salaries to people who live in low cost areas, the answer is that supply and demand is what drives the market. A person with 15 or 20 years of specialized IT knowledge (on a particular application or architecture of client server systems) will hold out for the salary he is being paid now or more. Companies will pay for expertise, or they will suffer. And if people have to relocate to obtain a particular salary, many of them would move. Imagine how much money Cobol programmers can command today for State Labor Departments collapsing under the huge number of unemployment claims!
I work for a Fortune 50 company. My entire department, even before the Pandemic, was about 50% telecommuters (including myself). My managers hire people based on a salary range for the position, and do not adjust pay based on where a person lives or his local cost of living. We have had good people leave because the company was not paying them enough, and other companies were willing to hire them for significantly more they were making with this employer. As far as I know, my employer is not cutting IT salaries for experienced people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or trying to hire people at lower salaries than before the pandemic, even though we again hiring people into telework positions, and I expect that most of my company’s IT positions will remain telework positions after the pandemic ends and people are allowed to work in offices again.
You also did not address some of the benefits for both employees and employers from teleworking:
- No commutes
- More flexible hours
- Higher employee satisfaction
- Reduced cost to employers in real estate costs, maintaining offices, etc. because employers do not have maintain offices for staff
- More flexibility in hiring staff because people with specialized skills may not be located in areas where
Those are all excellent points about the benefits of teleworking, but things may nevertheless not play out in favor of universal telework for many companies. For example another reader who prefers to remain anonymous shared his recent experience working from home for his company and the picture clearly isn’t all that rosy:
Holy Cow, work is crazier working from home. The company rolled out Microsoft Teams. I installed it on my phone. Then people tried to connect to me via Teams, Text, Phone Calls, and email. Some of our crew work staggered hours. I was getting Teams phone messages at 6 pm. That led me to delete Teams from my phone and only have it on my laptop.
Teams is a primitive app. You cannot delete messages. You cannot sort my newest at top. When I’m typing, a Teams message will popup and take control over my focused app, thus screwing. I fixed that by not doing banners, but that also inhibits sending teams messages to email for later review. I don’t know how people can type long notes in Teams on a phone. That and at some point people need to pick up the phone. Training classes I’ve taken shown that text messages are not a two way conversation.
It is easier to tell who is not functioning, one reason is due to taking care of family at home while working. I’ve also heard people don’t want to start work at normal (office) hours because they would wake their significant other. I pretty much start up my laptop at 7-7:30 and then quit at 3-3:30. I have my lunch hour blocked out, but still have not trained people to not call me at lunch. People do not know how to use outlook calendar to set appointments by checking if attendees are available.
And as far as The Great Tech Worker Migration and an associated possible reduction in salaries for tech workers are concerned, check out this recent new item about Facebook:
Facebook employees may face pay cut if they move to cheaper areas to work from home (MarketWatch)
Capitalism is still capitalism, right? But perhaps it’s not supply and demand that drives the market but rather greed and fear.
I also talked last week about “Touchy-feely IT” (i.e. IT tasks that require hands-on work like replacing hardware) and received this comment in response from Antono in Sydney:
Hi Mitch, I have also found the in-balance of physical work during this current and post COVID world. People simply are not living equal distance away from office, so being the one who live pretty close to the office and the equipment warehouse, I am always asked or expected to attend the office for all stuff that can’t be done remotely. I always get emails asking me to attend different office or branches for maintenance activities or emails redirected to me asking me to arrange a time with the service providers.
Well it’s nice to know that some kinds of IT work will always be necessary.
Anyways, readers who want to discuss these things further can email me at [email protected]
COVID Corner – Will it be like the 80s again?
This week I read a very depressing article on the English language section of the German news site Der Spiegel:
from the article:
“The closest ever seen to the current situation was probably the first oil crisis in the 1970s. In 1976, DER SPIEGEL described people beginning their working lives at the time as “the redundant generation.” Year after year, the baby boomers, a generation that just continued to grow, had to push their way into a desolate labor market. In 1983, youth unemployment in West Germany reached its peak, with 623,000 young people under the age of 25…”
I wonder how younger workers in their 20s and 30s in Europe feel about this? Will the Coronavirus situation generate the same kind of social dissatisfaction that European youth experienced in the 80s because of the economic impact of the 70s oil crisis? Email me your thoughts on this: [email protected]
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NOTE: Because of the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 situation some of these conferences may be moved online or even cancelled. Please check the conference websites for the latest updates.
>> Got an IT conference or event happening that you’d like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
July 20-24, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Cyber Security Summits
For dates and locations see https://cybersummitusa.com/summits/
RSA Conference Asia Pacific & Japan – July 14-16 in Singapore
VMworld – Aug 30 – Sept 3 in San Francisco
Interop – Sept 21-24 in Austin, Texas
European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference (ESPC20) – Nov 9-12, 2020 in Amsterdam
DevOpsCon – Nov 30 – Dec 3 in Munich, Germany
Business Continuity with Sonia Cuff (RunAsRadio)
Let’s Meet Wi-Fi 6E (Heavy Networking)
vSAN File Services (Virtually Speaking)
Releasing the hounds with Bobby Chesney (Risky Business)
Azure Static Web Apps != Azure Static Websites (Microsoft Cloud IT Pro Podcast)
Conference updates & the latest Microsoft cloud news (Microsoft Cloud Show)
New on Techgenix.com
Dell unveils new PCs optimized for remote work
With remote work here to stay, companies are looking to supply employees with devices to work efficiently and securely. These new Dell PCs may fit the bill.
Review: IT ecosystem monitoring solution NetCrunch 10.6
You need to monitor your IT infrastructure to avoid disasters. NetCrunch 10.6 is a monitoring solution for your entire IT ecosystem. Here’s our review.
Office 365 is now Microsoft 365: Everything you need to know
Microsoft has rebranded various products in its Office 365 lineup as Microsoft 365. Here is everything you need to know about the changeover.
Microsoft Build 2020: All major announcements for developers
Microsoft Build 2020 included several announcements aimed at developers and the IT community. Here are a few of the most important.
Microsoft warns of COVID-19-related spear-phishing campaign
COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, and as Microsoft researchers have discovered, neither are dangerous spear-phishing emails related to it.
Fun videos from Flixxy
This Grandfather Conquered The Internet – Dance!
An ordinary grandfather became an Internet star thanks to dancing with his granddaughters.
Elon Musk, Jay Leno And The 2021 Cybertruck
Watch Jay Leno and Elon Musk take the Tesla Cybertruck, a massive truck with sports car performance, for a spin.
The Funny Cigar Burning Story
The funny story of a lawyer who insured cigars from fire.
Just Be Happy And Enjoy Life
Don’t worry about a thing – ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.
More articles of interest
Why automated user provisioning still demands a human touch
IT teams can automate away many — but not all — of the tedious tasks associated with user provisioning. A human operator is still essential to ensure accurate account details.
Q&A: Recounting the rough-and-tumble history of PowerShell
Today, PowerShell is a key tool for many Windows administrators, but its developers had to battle to get it launched. Don Jones talks about PowerShell’s tumultuous start.
5 tips to optimize CAD application performance for VDI
CAD applications that run on VDI require special treatment on the back end by admins, and this video explains how IT can optimize CAD performance for remote and local users.
2nd Watch launches cloud-based disaster recovery service
COVID-19 is accelerating interest in disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), and 2nd Watch says it can facilitate the process and reduce cost using AWS.
Send us your feedback!
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]