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Microsoft Forces Shutdown of Autopatcher 290

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hooray-for-lawyers dept.
kaufmanmoore writes "Posts on Neowin and Autopatcher's site announce Microsoft has forced the closure of the Autopatcher download section. Details are scarce as to the exact reason for the take down after over 4 years of availability, but an official from Microsoft legal says that it has nothing to do with Windows Genuine Advantage. Goodbye to another useful tool that helped sysadmins apply Microsoft's numerous patches."
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Microsoft Forces Shutdown of Autopatcher

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  • One down, X to go. (Score:5, Informative)

    by c0l0 (826165) * on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:22PM (#20403687) Homepage
    Whilst skimming over the About-Section of the page, this tool's description reminded me of heise's "offline update" ( http://www.heise-security.co.uk/articles/80682 [heise-security.co.uk] ). It's an alternative tool, allowing the download of selected Microsoft Windows update packs for later, offline (re-)use. Nice to have - if you're still on Windows, that is. Wonder if/when it's gonna be shot down as well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There's better ways to do the job anyways (like slipstreaming updates in the install CD, since autopatcher was mainly used on new installs). Loads of similar tools (like WindizUpdate and many others) and tools like MS' WSUS (free too) to do the job anyways. I won't particularly miss it either, it was quite buggy -- you'd expect it to finish doing its job unattended, but you'd usually come back to yet another error message. Not that it was hard to put all the patches in folder along with a batch file or scri
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lt.Hawkins (17467)
      offline update is terrific; its basically a script that wgets the patches directly from Microsoft, and can work incrementally after each patch tuesday. it'll create an ISO for you, or just have it store the patches in a directory with an auto-installer.

      I even customized it (its source is available) to download an unlisted windows language.
      • by Erris (531066) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:45PM (#20404829) Homepage Journal

        offline update is terrific; its basically a script that wgets the patches directly from Microsoft,

        The geinous of M$ can not be understated. Rather than let people share the burden of distributing their "patches" (efficiently [netcraft.com])they will make everyone go to them. We have just seen how well they do at an easier task [slashdot.org].

        It won't be long before they only allow "authenticated" clients to download.

        The contrast between this and the free software world could not be greater. Every gnu/linux distro has been easy to keep up today for the last ten years and there are verified mirrors everywhere. When you download a package from a mirror, you can md5 sum check it against the original source and most package managers do this automatically. M$ on the other hand, won't even let you distribute what they consider "free". Be wary when someone from M$ advocates BSD, love of your freedom is not the reason for their advice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mrbcs (737902) *
      This works for the last release: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=auto p atcher+mirrors&btnG=Search&meta=/ [google.ca]

      I like this one better though:CT Update http://www.vulnerabilityassessment.co.uk/ctupdate. htm/ [vulnerabil...ment.co.uk]

  • This is sad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:23PM (#20403707) Homepage
    That utility has obtained patches that Windows Update indicated were already installed but wasn't. This utility has saved a lot of headaches. Really sorry to see it go like that.
  • Morons. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adam.dorsey (957024) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:24PM (#20403729)
    Do they even understand the concept of bad publicity any more, or did they just stop caring?

    Fuckers hit close to home, this time; Autopatcher was great for keeping relatives on dialup up-to-date.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      Do they even understand the concept of bad publicity any more, or did they just stop caring?
      Maybe they're following the Hollywood publicist school of publicity: anything that doesn't involve a dead spouse or sex with children is good publicity.
    • Re:Morons. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tftp (111690) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:47PM (#20404053) Homepage
      They just stopped caring. And why not indeed - what is there to be afraid in squashing a little web site? The society is already in deep apathy (if not slumber,) and critical thought is about to send you to jail. Bloggers on /. will rage and fume for a few days, but nobody will notice that anyhow, and all that rage will dissipate in a week, but the good business remains.

      MS is cynical and ruthless because it can and because it is profitable; and so it will stay. If you don't like that don't run Windows, it is that simple. With modern Linux distros it's not such a great loss. And if you don't want to fiddle with X settings, get a mac - Apple will charge you for that, but you get a sane system in return, not a buggy treadmill. [full disclosure: I do not own a modern Mac; all I have is an ancient PowerBook with 8.5.x MacOS, and I rarely even power it on, I keep it as a piece of history.]

      • ... don't run Windows, it is that simple. With modern Linux distros it's not such a great loss.

        It's more like a tremendous savings in time and trouble.

        • by tftp (111690) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:39PM (#20404747) Homepage
          Well, you do lose PC games, since rare a game works under WINE. But I personally fixed this issue by just getting a console, and I am not sorry that I did - the thing just works, and I don't need to throw kilobucks at video cards. And in any case, games are first released for consoles, and only much later - maybe - rereleased for a PC.
    • They must have hired the RIAA's publicist. Not that shutting down an autopatcher is on the same level as suing a dead person, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851)
      I don't think that in this case they are being unreasonable. I do think that it is a bit odd that they waited this long to assert their rights, but they are behaving.

      I don't think that it has been a secret that cracked versions of windows have the potential to contain malware embedded at the deepest levels, to suggest that patches couldn't also be infected is a bit on the dishonest side.

      As to whether this is really why, I have no idea. But I personally wouldn't feel comfortable downloading a copy over the n
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:06PM (#20404327)
      Instead of shutting it down, Microsoft should have bought Autopatcher and funded it.

      This service added a lot of value to MS customers. Tearing it down because they were better than their equivalent is destructive.

      Doing things that make your products harder to use is bad business sense. It really shows how badly out of touch MS is with the industry.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by TechForensics (944258)
        What on Earth could Microsoft be thinking making Windows XP harder to use? Would kind of tend to make Vista look good by comparison..

        Oh wait....

      • by binarybum (468664) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:48PM (#20404855) Homepage
        "Doing things that make your products harder to use is bad business sense. It really shows how badly out of touch MS is with the industry."

        Nah, it shows what a powerful monopoly they have developed. They can make using their products downright miserable (they practically have already) and people will continue to curse that evil ol' bill gates as they IM each-other on MS messenger in MS vista on their laptops with the "built for windows!" sticker still attached. Plenty of other companies would like to implement the kind of security lockdowns MS has, and are capable of doing so. However, market pressures force them to realize that excessive measures create a barrier to use and sway customers towards friendlier products. Microsoft is not out of touch with the industry. Microsoft is the industry.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by canuck57 (662392)

          Nah, it shows what a powerful monopoly they have developed.

          Microsoft aught to remember how fast Netscape, Visicalc, WordPerfect, ccMail, and a long road kill list lost to monopolistic competition. For functional competition, it will be worse once people overcome unfounded fear of change.

          Apple knows this first hand, remember Apple IIe and MS-DOS? I just hope Apple knows revenge is best served cold.

          And more and more are turning Linux, Dell isn't selling them because people are 100% happy with Vista. Th

        • by Technician (215283) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:37AM (#20408229)
          They can make using their products downright miserable

          Tell me about it.

          My wife bought a new Vista laptop for her Masters classes. A simple request was to transfer some files and documents to and from our network SMB fileserver (A stand alone product).

          They changed the default authentication protocol. It can't log in to any server using a password unless you either upgrade the server or downgrade Vists (not recommended by Microsoft) The server is an embedded Linux appliance (SimpleTech SimpleShare NAS).

          The next simple task was to connect to my LAN printers. They hang on the LAN using the well established IPP interface with an address of IPP://192.168.1.101/lp1 and IPP://192.168.1.102/lp1. It took 4 hours and lots of Google searches to find out how to enter a non-IIS printserver address into Vista.

          To make it easy, you leave off the IPP:// and put in the IP address and leave off the /lp1. On another page, you change from raw to LPT and put in the port name of lp1. Simple but not intuitive. To make matters even easier, noplace in Vista does it refer to it as Internet Printing Protocol. They just call it Network Printing. Very intuitive and user friendly.

          Ubunto was much simpler to connect to these Windows printers. (an HP laserjet and HP inkjet) on garden variety stand alone hardware Print servers using IPP. (Hawking Technology Print servers)

          Why would Microsoft make it much harder on Vista Home to connect to a home network and printers? It makes no sense to me.

          It's almost like they designed it to be easier to use Ubuntu at home. It is much easier to use Ubuntu at home than Vista. Vista kept interrupting for a Java Update, Sound system Update, AV update and reregistration, and a few other things got in the way of setting up LAN settings and configuring 2 printers. Ubuntu was much better in that also. A single small notification popped up letting me know there were updates available. The small notification did not cover my applications in Ubuntu or force a reboot to close the notification.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ACDChook (665413)
        Just wait. I can almost guarantee that they've done this now to clear the way for something new of theirs. Something which will allow you to download updates for use and installation on multiple PC's at a later day. Yep, yet another MS 'innovation'.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LurkerXXX (667952)
        Why fund it? They already make and give out WSUS [microsoft.com] for free.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by secolactico (519805)
          Can you stick wsus on a dvd/cd and take it to your relative's XP PC that's still on dialup?

          Microsoft should release roll-up updates every month or every patch day. That way, new install can simply apply the service pack and then apply the roll-up and be up to date.

          While I regret seeing autopatcher go, I understand what I believe are Microsoft's reasons: autopatcher is distributing MS's patches without permission. Besides intellectual properties issues there's the question of integrity. Who vouches for t
    • by slapout (93640)

      "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the OS company."
    • by mac1235 (962716)
      I slept throught the bit where they used to care...
    • Re:Morons. (Score:4, Funny)

      by ConceptJunkie (24823) * on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:41PM (#20405967) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft stopped caring over a decade ago. Do you think they have any interest in what users want or need? It's all about lock-in, baby.

      They don't care what's on your hardware as long as it's theirs. Actually I wish that were true, because XP is pretty decent, but they couldn't leave well enough alone and had to spend 5 years squatting on the toilet to excrete Vista, the first piece of software that doesn't even pretend to offer anything new to the customers, it's only selling points are what's good for Microsoft and their big media buddies. OK, I lied. It does offer a new feature for users: It's shiny.

  • WindizUpdate next? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aggrajag (716041) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:25PM (#20403749)
    So are they going to shut down WindizUpdate next as it is a lot more useful that Windowsupdate has ever been. Then again maybe the patches are downloaded from Microsoft's servers but I'm not sure.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:29PM (#20403817)
    ... this is some sort of DMCA violation? That's bizarre because Microsoft has known about them for some time and according to their site, they didn't care:

    "Q: Is AutoPatcher legal?
    A: Yes, Antonis Kaladis (our project manager) once spoke to a Microsoft employee and apparently they know about us but don't care what we do! The AutoPatcher project has been going strong since 2003 and never had a sniff of trouble from Microsoft."

    From http://www.autopatcher.com/faq/ [autopatcher.com]
    • by tftp (111690)
      Meet the new MS lawyer, not exactly the same as the old MS lawyer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by prshaw (712950)
      How does someone in your company talking to a random Microsoft employee make them legal? How does Microsoft knowing about them make them legal?

      I am not a lawyer, but I think I know when one is needed. And I think if that is their claim on being legal they really need to talk to one.

      I have no idea if they are legal or not. My point is just talking to someone in a company and having them say they know about you doesn't make what you are doing legal.
      • by PPH (736903)
        IANAL, but there is a legal principle called laches [wikipedia.org] which allows you to defend yourself against civil proceedings if the plaintiff has sat on his rights for too long. If it can be shown that this service has existed and Microsoft was aware, they can't stop it anymore.
    • "Q: Is AutoPatcher legal?
      A: Yes, Antonis Kaladis (our project manager) once spoke to a Microsoft employee and apparently they know about us but don't care what we do! The AutoPatcher project has been going strong since 2003 and never had a sniff of trouble from Microsoft."

      How 'bout getting that in writing next time? Welcome to the real world, folks.

      On the other hand, the only thing I can think of that they're doing wrong might be to redistribute Microsoft patches from their own servers or media. (Not fami

      • by quantum bit (225091) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:32PM (#20404677) Journal
        I have noticed at least one hotfix that's not normally publicly available, but was included with autopatcher. You know, the ones where you go to the KB article and it describes the exact symptoms you're seeing, and when you scroll down to download the patch it says something like:

        "We don't think this is a major problem, and people who are having it are obviously too dumb to realize that it's somehow their own fault. Therefore, in order to get this patch, you'll have to call our support line where we will bill you outrageous fees in order to tell you whether you really need the patch or not."
        Fortunately, the one I was looking for just happened to be included with autopatcher somehow, so I extracted the file and sure enough it fixed the problem.
    • by hal2814 (725639) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:01PM (#20404261)
      So Kaladis talked to Microsoft's best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who works somewhere in a Microsoft call center who saw Autopatcher in use at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty ironclad. It's my understanding that they can pursue legal action against Autopatcher at their leisure even if the Microsoft employee in question was accurately reflecting Microsoft-as-a-whole's knowledge of Autopatcher.
    • "Yeah, so I talked to the janitor at MS, and he says he doesnt care... so lets keep AutoPatcher up..."
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Okay, explain to me how you're supposed to get updates, say for a client whose PC is borked or unsafe, if you don't have a functional Windows machine handy, already running a version of Windows approved by M$? (Presently meaning with WGA installed, I gather.)

  • by LordSnooty (853791) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:32PM (#20403845)
    Autopatcher was really just a front end to all the official MS one-off hotfix exes. If those files are still available, why not adapt the frontend to grab those files from MS instead? Hell, the least MS could do is take on the tech and offer it to their customers with a free WGA check thrown in. Because it was so much easier even for home users with say two machines to update at home, plus mum & dad's, and that one they built for their pal.

    Torrents for August release plz?
  • by faloi (738831) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:33PM (#20403859)
    Microsoft announces a new service available for $50 a seat (check with sales rep for volume licensing) that will allow administrators to do what used to be free from some web sites.
  • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:34PM (#20403873) Homepage Journal
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:35PM (#20403885)
    "I asked the representative if Windows Genuine Advantage had anything to do with it and he categorically told me this was not the case, he added that Windows Update for pre-Vista versions of Windows can now be accessed using Firefox and that the concern at Microsoft had more to do with the possible malicious code that could be redistributed with certified Microsoft updates."

    Sure. Whatever. We all know that there's never been a case of malicious code distributed with Autopatcher. So I'm calling it now. Watch M$ come up with their own tool that does the same thing as Autopatcher and watch them find a way to turn it into a revenue stream.
    • by nutrock69 (446385)

      Watch M$ come up with their own tool that does the same thing as Autopatcher and watch them find a way to turn it into a revenue stream.
      They already have that. It's called WGA.

      It auto-patches your system, then claims it isn't genuine and tells you that you need to buy your operating system again. Instant revenue stream.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      No, it's nothing to do with Genuine (dis)Advantage. It's because of... um... security! Yeah, that's it!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      "I asked the representative if Windows Genuine Advantage had anything to do with it and he categorically told me this was not the case..."

      "I am not gay; I never have been gay..."
    • Watch M$ come up with their own tool that does the same thing as Autopatcher and watch them find a way to turn it into a revenue stream.
      They have one, it's called WSUS. It's a "free" download that lets you set up your own mirror for automatic updates. The only problem is that it's so big and bloated (IIS, SQL server, AJAX-ish web page for management) that you pretty much need dedicated hardware (and Windows Server license, ca-ching!) to get any decent performance out of it.
  • It was good, but (Score:5, Informative)

    by Toreo asesino (951231) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:35PM (#20403887) Journal
    Patches can be slipstreamed anyway [winsupersite.com], and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services [microsoft.com].

    That said, the overall rhetoric of this move still isn't nice. AutoPatcher was at the very least, a handy tool for people that didn't know about the above methods, and to leave it 4 years in the game before sending in the lawyers isn't a nice way of treating the user community. A shame if you ask me.
    • Microsoft has a long history of fucking over the community. Just remember this the next time one of the whores from Redmond comes around pretending to be our friend.
      • Hey! I am one of the whores from redmond. And M$ clients pay me well you insensitive CLOD! As for pretending to be your freind, that's what you all pay me to do!
    • There have been a number of patches since SP2 came out, and SP2 is a 1-reboot patch anyway, so why would you bother?
    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:56PM (#20404197) Journal

      Patches can be slipstreamed anyway, and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services.
      Slipstreaming? WSUS? Those are useful in entirely different situations. Autopatcher is for when you are visiting your aunt Tilly and don't want to spend four hours downloading all the latest patches for her over her dialup. Please explain how either of your proposed solutions would be even remotely useful in the very common situation of patching a relative's computer.
      • I do an update via VMware. I wrote a script for apache that displays all hits (through squid) to Windows Update. I then download the files manually. I use the via a perl logon script I have for my Samba domain (which is easily portable to a flash drive) which does silent updates with logging, so if something doesn't take, I can just install manually. With the consideration of autopatcher going down, I may release said scripts so other geeks can still have a useful way to help non-geeks. Did I mention th
    • Re:It was good, but (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:39PM (#20404743) Homepage

      Patches can be slipstreamed anyway [winsupersite.com], and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services [microsoft.com].


      Yeah, except that neither of those things does what autopatcher does. I don't want to have to reinstall the whole OS just to keep patches up to date, and I don't want to have to lay ethernet cable several hundred miles to my relatives' homes in order to patch them quickly from a server I control.
    • by loraksus (171574)
      Next time I go to a small company to do updates, I'll be sure to bring along a windows server to do updates.
  • Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:37PM (#20403927) Journal
    There is no reasonable alternative to the AutoPatcher from Microsoft, and Microsoft is threatened by revelation of hundred patches for a clean/new install of XP (wSP2).

    Apple and Linux, he we come!

  • Windizupdate (Score:4, Informative)

    by witte (681163) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:39PM (#20403949)
    You can find windows updates thru http://windizupdate.62nds.com/ [62nds.com]
    I hardly use IE, and this updates through Firefox.
    Which is of course very neat. *cough*firefox fan*cough*
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      You mean I can download all my OS updates through an unknown, untrusted intermediary with a questionable URL? Sign me up!
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        And that requires javascript to access any content. When I saw that, I turned around and left. NO update is better than an untrustable update.

  • From Neowin (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I had a call from Microsoft Legal this morning and they have told me that we are no longer allowed to endorse AutoPatcher on Neowin.

    Microsoft will only allow updates to be downloaded from its own servers.

    AutoPatcher started in 2003 and has been redistributed in some of the worlds best computer magazine cover CD/DVD's. I have no explanation for why Microsoft allowed it to continue unchecked for 4 years before making this decision.

    I asked the representative if Windows Genuine Advantage had anything to do with

  • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:53PM (#20404143) Homepage Journal
    They could have avoided a lot of trouble, if they had just signed up as a Microsoft Partner. It costs nothing and would have made them "a co-player" rather than a "security risk".

    - Jesper
  • by Sefert (723060) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @03:55PM (#20404165)
    You are all missing the obvious reason for the shutdown. Microsoft has finally fixed all the bugs! Celebrate!
  • We give them the vast majority of our IT budgets, we try to keep believeing in them and still they hate us......
  • Shenanigans (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krgallagher (743575) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:00PM (#20404247) Homepage
    "Microsoft legal says that it has nothing to do with Windows Genuine Advantage. "

    I call Shenanigans!

  • by Noksagt (69097) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:01PM (#20404267) Homepage
    The reason for the ban:

    Microsoft will only allow updates to be downloaded from its own servers.
    That's certainly MS's right. A technical objection is that one could use cryptographic hashes/signing so that the download source wouldn't matter (and wouldn't it be caveat emptor if users didn't go to MS for updates?), but c'est la vie.

    But why can't we make this even vaguely win-win? Provide a utility that will download ALL of these updates (whether the machine thought they were applied or not) directly from MS for use on removable media.

    What alternatives are there for those on dial up (or other cases of no or intermittent network connection)? For those who have had malware make edits to their hosts file and/or browser security settings that make obtaining updates directly from MS on the computer they're updating difficult?
  • by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:10PM (#20404387)
    I have found that a combination of Heise Security's ctupdate [heise-security.co.uk] and nLite [nliteos.com] can be used to create a very nice custom Windows installation CD that not only includes any updates you choose to include, but you can also specify a large number of custom registry settings that will be set when you install.
    Is very nice
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:17PM (#20404473)
    Microsoft is so large and its userbase so enormous that no amount of bad press can affect them. Anything short of eating live babies would not impact them in the slightest.

    Shutting down Autopatcher is nothing to them and will not affect their business in even a negligible fashion.

    I would like to think otherwise but I can't. They are unstoppable.
  • That I did a repair install on and was not able to install windows updates after running auto patcher windows update now works.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:20PM (#20404521) Homepage Journal
    So much for small business and residential users in rural areas [slashdot.org]. You know, this will hurt ONLY paying customers; not the "pirates" downloading slipstreamed ISOs off of IRC and torrent networks (or buying "pirated" CDs in the streets, etc). This also hurts small businesses on cable and DSL connections where there are "unspecified" download caps to their "unlimited" internet services.

      Congratulations, Microsoft. You've shut down yet another tool useful for installing and deploying legitimate Windows, thereby increasing the value of "pirated" Windows offerings AND provided more reasons for users to choose alternatives such as Linux, OS X, and BSD. Good move there.

    Why not actually, oh, I don't know, innovate some new features for Windows rather than harassing small third-party developers who offer FREE utilities to make YOUR piece of crap offering easier to manage? Like, say, I dunno, work on a better filesystem [slashdot.org] or something.
  • They might not listen, or they might -- who knows? <a href="https://support.microsoft.com/common/survey. aspx?scid=sw;en-gb;1348&showpage=1&WS=mscomukform1 ">Let Microsoft know about the mistake they're making by writing to them!</a> (I found the link at the torrent site for AutoPatcher.)
    • by stinerman (812158)
      Part of being a monopoly means not having to give a shit about what your customers think. I don't think they've cared since W2K was released and even with Vista tanking, I don't see this changing anytime soon.
  • by Arctech (538041) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:26PM (#20404583) Journal
    I haven't heard of this before, (just found it, actually), but would this be a reasonable facsimile?
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=913086&SD=tech [microsoft.com]
  • by WarwickRyan (780794) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @04:26PM (#20404585)
    It's about security: if you're not downloading the patches direct from Microsoft, there's more of a chance of them being compromised. Sure, it may not have happened yet but that's not to say it won't happen in the future.

    Now what would be useful, is for Microsoft themselves to make it very easy for you to download and burn an 'windows update' DVD that'll take each version of XP up to date. Downloadable direct from Microsoft.

    Alternatively, they could offer hashes for the downloads on Microsoft's servers, which Autopatcher can be pointed at in order to verify the downloads.

    Had they done that, then they'd avoid all the negative PR!
    • by otomo_1001 (22925)
      A better alternative would be for them to digitally sign their patches. Then it doesn't matter who gives you the file, as long as the decrypted file matches you know you have what you want.

      Isn't this why we have things like ssl certs? Even Solaris does this, although the tool is pretty annoying.
    • It's about security: if you're not downloading the patches direct from Microsoft, there's more of a chance of them being compromised.

      As opposed to not downloading the patches at all because you don't meet WGA requirements?
    • Yes, if it is not directly from MSFT it could be compromised. So dont go about hiring sys admins yourself. Even if they have some paper saying they are MSFT certified. You should only hire Genuine Microsoft Employee to come to your site and do site maintenance. And also you should not plug into any generic Internet. Only Genuine Microsoft Internet is really really secure. And dont even think of using a Non Microsoft Keyboard or mouse or anything. If it is not Microsoft, it is not secure. Keep repeating that
      • That's not really the point - what's happening here is you're downloading patches from someone who's a compete stranger and not associated with Microsoft.

        So yeah, the chances of compromises are much higher than distribution from a fixed point controlled by Microsoft themselves.

        You'd most likely be one of the first to crucify Microsoft if a similar system results in large numbers of PCs being controlled by some Russian ID-theft or botnet criminals..
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @05:13PM (#20405137) Homepage

    Microsoft is within its rights, though obnoxious, with regard to Autopatcher, but since when is it their business what Neowin says about Autopatcher? Where does MS get off telling Neowin to take down their forums? Is MS just being a bully or is there some relationship between MS and Neowin that I don't know about?

  • I mean, neither Microsoft nor any large companies have "unlimited" internet usage. Once you scale your infrastructure up large enough, you have to pay for all of the data transferred in and out. So how much money could this program save not only Microsoft (which has enough money as it is), but all of the companies that used this? Or are there "official" ways of storing updates on your own computers to distribute amongst others on your network?
  • by JediJorgie (700217) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:23PM (#20407141)
    MSDN's Version:
    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-US/library/aa387102. aspx [microsoft.com]

    My modified version that forces cscript.exe and adds an /auto switch:
    http://b0n.us/WUA_SearchDownloadInstall.vbs [b0n.us]

    It usually takes 3 times with reboots in between to get all the patches.

    It will use your WSUS settings and get the patches from a local server if you have one.

    Yes, they are VBS, don't run them without reading them and understanding them!

    jorgie

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