Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc reports that Microsoft has released Windows Search 4.0 which replaces Windows Desktop Search in Windows XP and Instant Search in Windows Vista as well as the relevant applications in Windows Server 2003, 2008, and Windows Home Server. Downloads of Windows Search 4.0 are now available and if you can wait a bit, it will show up on Windows Update.
Some notable enhancements in the new version include cross system searches (as long as they all run Windows Search 4.0) and improved Group Policy management for large organizations, but I expect that the greatest initial interest will be in ordinary desktop search. XP’s Windows Desktop Search was a resource hog that produced such mediocre results that disabling it figured prominently on most lists of XP performance improvement tips and had me pining for my old copy of Lotus Magellan. Vista’s Instant Search is certainly improved in both form and function so it will be interesting to kick the tires. Early reviews of Windows Search 4.0 indicate that there are still some rough edges and while it beats Google Desktop search in function, it still lags in speed.
I guess snowballs are now safe in Hell. Yesterday, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems announced that Sun is now a Windows Server OEM for their x64 systems with Windows Server 2003 R2 to be available preinstalled within 90 days. It’s no surprise that Wintel commoditization is hitting the server market and squeezing the proprietary vendors – the real question is why Sun chose this point in time to embrace Wintel. Peter Burrows at Business Week offers some theories, but the only one that strikes a chord with me is that Sun views it as an opportunity to spread their hardware fixed costs over bigger volume with perhaps a bit of comfort for customers that buying from Sun doesn’t lock them into an evolutionary dead end.
Anyhow, according to the PR, it is all an expansion of the Microsoft-Sun settlement/alliance announced in April 2004 and included these other talking points:
Announced back in January, Windows Home Server (the custom version of Windows Server 2003 R2 for home use) has now reached the Release Candidate stage. Microsoft’s Windows Home Server Blog has the news:
Today Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), which as many know by now is a cumulative service pack that provides the latest updates, security and stability enhancements, and newest features for the Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 operating systems.
In particular, it covers Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 in all the various editions for the x86, x64 and IA64 platforms.
Windows Server 2003 SP2 is also the foundation operating system for the upcoming service pack of Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, which will be available for download and CD orders within the next 30 days.
Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 page has links to all the various downloads and tools and the SP2 Technical Overview explains the installation paths for the various versions as well as explaining what’s new and improved besides the roll-up of fixes. Although SP2 was expected in 1Q and there isn’t much of that left, it arrived without warning and that has some system administrators a little grumpy.