Microsoft Unveils New Tools for Windows Hosting

Microsoft today released new initiatives to help hosting companies save time and money as they deploy new servers and value-added services, including broader support by hosting automation software. The Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting Version 3.0 includes tools to help providers build, provision, patch and monitor web servers and integrate them into existing operations.

Hosting automation provider SWSoft said it will begin supporting Windows servers with its control panel products, which include Plesk, PEM, Virtuozzo and HSPcomplete. SWSoft says its software powers more than 70,000 servers, and is used by many of the largest hosting service providers. Another automation software maker, Ensim, said it supports the new features in its software for Windows Server 2003.

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Solaris Remains Top Choice Among Fortune 100

Yesterday's unveiling of Solaris 10 gained widespread news coverage as Sun Microsystems unveiled a new strategy in which the operating system will be free, while users pay for updates and support through subscription plans. The approach offers choices for companies weighing the relative merits of Solaris and Linux, and is similar to a business model unveiled last year by Red Hat Linux.

While Linux and Windows battle for market share at web hosting companies, Solaris remains the leading operating system among the largest U.S. corporations. Solaris powers the web sites of 43 members of the Fortune 100 in the U.S., compared to 32 companies using Windows and 12 running on Linux. Most of those enterprises continue to run Solaris 8 rather than Solaris 9, including Sun itself (which uses Solaris 8 for its main site but also has company web sites on Solaris 9) . Solaris 8 was launched in early 2000, while Solaris 9 followed in May 2002.

Fortune100 and FTSE 100 by Operating System

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NetSol Locks Domains, But Others Say Concerns Are Overblown

Network Solutions is among a number of domain registrars who have automatically locked down all domain names registered by its customers to prevent errant transfers under new ICANN guidelines on domain transfers, which take effect Friday.

But some domain providers say concerns about fraudulent transfers are overblown, noting that ICANN's guidelines still require registrars requesting a transfer from another provider to seek approvals. If all the new ICANN rules are followed, the domain owner should be required to approve any changes with the new registrar - but not their current registrar.

"Much of the fear regarding this change in policy stems from the assumption that a Gaining Registrar will be violating the policy and submitting requests that have not been properly validated," DynDNS notes in a message to customers. "It is our firm belief that no registrar is going to do that, as it would likely result in the termination of their accreditation by ICANN if performed on any significant scale."

Other registrars appear more concerned, and are advising customers to lock domains ahead of the new ICANN policy, which places stricter guidelines on how "losing" domain registrars handle transfer requests. Domain locking prevents changes in the registrar, contact information and nameservers for a domain, and is offered by most registrars.

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Firefox Launch Slows Mozilla Site

The large volume of users seeking to download version 1.0 of the Firefox web browser has caused intermittent performance problems today for the Mozilla Foundation.

Mozilla.org web site performance The Mozilla.org site has had some availability problems, but by 8 p.m. GMT the site was able to easily serve downloads of the 4.7 megabyte Firefox installation file for broadband users. A dynamically updating chart of the site's performance is available here.

Within hours of the browser's official release, the Mozilla site was slowing and Firefox enthusiasts were making use of the Google cache of download mirror sites. The list was also posted to Slashdot to help ease the traffic burden on the Mozilla.org site, which is hosted by Meer.net Continue reading

Domain Transfers (and Hijackings) to Become Easier

Domain registrars are warning customers that their domain names could become easier to hijack as a change in domain transfer rules takes effect Friday. Under new rules set by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), domain transfer requests will be automatically approved in five days unless they are explicitly denied by the current registrar.

This is a change from current procedure, in which a domain's ownership and nameservers remain unchanged if the current registrar receives no response from a domain owner to a transfer request. Update: Some domain providers say concerns about fraudulent transfers are overblown, noting that ICANN's guidelines still require registrars requesting a transfer from another provider to seek approvals from a domain owner.

The changes could mean trouble for domain owners who don't closely manage their records. Registrars are warning that domains with incorrect e-mail addresses and outdated administrative contact information could be at particular risk, as the domain's WHOIS database information will be used to inform domain owners of transfer requests.

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GeorgeWBush.com Reopens to Rest of World

The GeorgeWBush.com web site is again accessible to web users outside the United States and Canada, with access having been restored on Saturday. The official campaign site for Bush's election campaign began restricting access on Oct. 25, citing unspecified security concerns. Bush defeated John Kerry in the U.S. vote Nov. 2, but the site restrictions continued for another five days beyond the election.

Georgewbush.com web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of site performance for GeorgeWBush.com is available here.

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