Archive for March 2008
Ronan Geraghty wrote a long and informative email to my previous rant (since removed, I wasn’t comfortable with it) about Microsoft. I repost here with his permission.
Developers have consistently written applications which require excessive user rights and Windows privileges meaning that enterprises have had to prioritise ease of deployment over security. As you probably know one of the major goals of Vista was improved security, and one of the design goals of UAC is to prevent installations being run without the user’s knowledge, requiring explicit consent for writing to protected locations. As you know, %ProgramFiles% is a protected location and is a good example (along with say writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software) where applications that do not separate user and admin functionality run into problems.
Bearing all this in mind, the aim of virtualization is to improve compat for _legacy_ apps running as standard user on Vista.
Taking your main point:
â€˜Well not anymore, nope with UAC (User Access Control) turned on, config files written under the C:\Program Files directory get virtualized. i.e. This is not a normal file system any more, its some weird, hacked up, broken, not the file system you were brought up on. So edits with notepad donâ€™t work, file saves donâ€™t work right and uninstalls and upgrades just go straight to hell in a hand basket.â€™
The rule is that if an app hasnâ€™t requested explicit permission to write to a protected location then virtualization kicks in. Below is an example of this on my machine. Note the â€œCompatibility Filesâ€? button on the explorer bar. The reason for this is that when itâ€™s run this particular application attempts to write a log file to %ProgramFiles%. Since thatâ€™s a protected location if the app is run as a standard user the file is virtualized, hence the compatibility files button shows up in explorer. From that point on app reads will be from the virtualized folder, so rather than attempting to edit e.g. the log file or config file directly you should click this button and it will take you to the location where you can use e.g. Notepad to edit your virtualized files. In my case for example editing my virtualized sim.cfg file with Notepad allowed me to hide/show a toolbar in the application.
Bear in mind that Virtualization is for legacy applications : new applications ideally should strive not to use Virtualization i.e. not cause files to be written to the virtualized store. Say you have an app which attempts to save user preferences such as window co-ordinates in your config file to %ProgramFiles%. The first time this is run by a standard user the file will be virtualized for that user. Subsequent updates to the config which are pushed out by e.g. SMS will be picked up by first-time users but not by those users which have already used the app and been virtualized. Also, on uinstall, the virtualized files wonâ€™t be uinstalled.
To reiterate, Virtualization is there to enable legacy apps, however the long term approach should be to fix the app to take UAC/least privilege into account, and actually request permission to write to the protected locations if thatâ€™s required. In fact if user settings are separated out then there may be no need for the app to write to the protected location at all.
A quick solution for your existing app is to right click it and select Run as Administrator. Or alternatively users can apply a compatability fix to indicate that the application requires administrative privileges.
I’m happy for the lads that kicked off Auctomatic and my congratulations go out to them, but this was not an Irish company, this was an Irish idea taken to America for execution. Y-Combinator has a proven model and an excellent collection of catchers mitts for good ideas. We cannot hope to emulate that kind of investment environment in a country of 4m.
Anybody can choose to take their ideas to America and take their shot, I guarantee you any of the Paddys Valley companies would triple their chances of success by moving to San Francisco.
I and (and I suspect the others on Paddy’s Valley) have chosen to be successful here in Ireland and despite the difficulties I predict several of us will succeed.
This may also be unpopular but I think it should be said, the 2-3m USD valuation is hardly what I would call a spectacular world beating exit for a Valley company. It was a successful technology sale rather than the sale of a hugely successful company.
We are looking for a bunch of willing participants in a PutPlace scalability test. You will need to install the PutPlace client and login at the the appropriate timeÂ and upload a biggish chunk of data. The idea is that we slowly build up a posse of users over a day or so and see how our (small) test grid responds. This will indicate the performance limitations on the larger PutPlace grid.
Drop me a comment to this post or email me Joe dot Drumgoole at PutPlace dot com.
We have a real problem celebrating our own success so although I missed this earlier on I wanted to draw attention to Headway Software who won a Jolt Award recently. I had the pleasure of working for a while with headway’s founder Chris Chedgey just after leaving college. He has always had a deep and original vision about how software should be designed and developed and much of that vision has been poured into Structure 101, Headway’s main product.
Structure 101 gives you a global, graphical view of your software allowing you to hold in clear sight both a macro and a micro view of the structure and detail of your (or others) development projects.
Its a great tool and is now available for free on Open Source Projects.
Ace, king, check it out!
Aehso drew my attention to this article in Harpers entitled “The Next Bubble : Priming the markets for tomorrows big crash”.Â Ireland is a FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) economy too.
Couple this with the hilarious and informative tutorial on the subprime crisis on tax123.ie and you are ready for your economics degree.
I was chatting to Eoghan McCabe this morning at Open Coffee Dublin and we sowed the seeds of an idea, a Paddy’s Valley Trip to London primarily to attend a London Open Coffee event but also to meet business partners, VCs etc. the usual suspects in other words.
All are invited. More detailed plans will follow. I already have Anton recruiting in Limerick.
Who knows, we might make a night of it!
Proposed date 24 April 2008.
24-April clashes with Web 2.0 Expo. Im suggesting a new date, 8th May 2008.
PutPlace is looking for a developer to build a Mac version of its existing Windows client software. The ideal candidate will have demonstrable experience of building whole applications on Panther, Tiger and Leopard. Ideally with Objective-C using the Cocoa framework. Knowledge of Python, Django, SQLite and PostGres will get you bonus points.
We are not looking for ten years experience but we are looking for enthusiasm. The candidate must be smart and be able to get things done (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/GuerrillaInterviewing3.html).
PutPlace is based in Dublin, but we realise that the world’s Mac programmers don’t live in Ireland. So while we are happy to pay for you to relocate to Dublin, we are also happy for you to work from your current location. However that location must be within two timezones of Dublin.
Our working model is based on the scrum development model and everything is hosted, so working remotely is not as difficult as it might sound.
We pay market rates and above for the right people. We offer stock options and a health plan. We also give you the ability to build someting from scratch that will make real world users happy.
PutPlace is an online service that helps home users manage long term storage of their digital content. We are all accumulating digital stuff at a tremendous rate. Scientific American reckons we will have over a terabyte of data stored in our homes by 2010. Thatâ€™s ten times what is stored on an average PC today. Whatâ€™s more, we will create over a terabyte of data every year after that.
PutPlace provides you with an online backup service that backups up all your digital content, across all the devices in the home and recognises the fact that these devices are related to each other.
PutPlace then recreates the relationships between the content in your home, the stuff in your backup and anything you have shared or published on the web. If you ever want to find a file again, where it came from and where it went to is as important as whatâ€™s inside it. Every digital copy came from somewhere originally and PutPlace finds that original and links all the copies back to it ,so that you can track every piece of content you own over its complete digital lifetime.
PutPlace is Digital Memory for your Digital Lifetime.
Got this in the mail today from the Digital Media Forum.
The Digital Media Forum has secured funding through InterTradeIreland, the Skillnets initiative and Enterprise Ireland to support companies wishing to attend the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco (22nd â€“ 25th April 2008).
This will be a competitive process and successful companies will receive â‚¬1,500 towards the cost of attending the conference. Only one attendee per company may be supported. For details of the application process, please see the attached PDF.
To register your interest in attending please contact Irene Kavanagh – Â firstname.lastname@example.org – with a brief profile of your company and your reasons for wishing to attend the conference.
If you have any further queries, you can contact us at 01 4893602.
The Digital Media Forum Team
So get your applications into Irene, lickety split.