Internet Explorer 6: End of An Era

So, here comes the end of an era …

I was already wondering that how some of the old things we grown up with (even after introduction of many new alternatives) just don’t die. Like Windows XP! do we really had found any real alternative for the same, when the date of support expiration is already near? Now its turn of IE6 to go officially. Thanks for the pics Devilsworkshop

Google just announced that some of features in Google Docs and many other Google Sites and Services wont be available google_dumps_IEover Internet Explorer 6 and it made a big buzz across the blogs that Google made the final push to let this browser die, which still was holding more market share than chrome, IE7 or IE8, around 21% till the last December 2009.

Sure the link goes to the recent hacking incident, which was officially done with exploiting flaws in IE6, for which Microsoft later on released security fixes as well. Still many security experts and companies taken stand against Internet Explorer 6. German Government even issued advice to all of its citizens for not using any version of Internet Explorer including even the recent one Internet Explorer 8.  

Is it really so that only that hacking incident made IE6 pushed away? I don’t think so. Introduction of HTML5 has already pushed IE6 to become obsolete as Internet Explorer till its version 7 didn’t supported HTML5 and like Google sites, many of leading sites have already moved over HTML5 due to availability of wide range of more options. Like Google Gears, many of the services already started mentioning that you can’t use them from IE6. Its just this, Google Docs have became of huge importance in world of cloud computing and by ruling out IE6 shares in it, Google has made it somewhat helpless by now (very few can keep and actively use multiple web browsers).


Internet Explorer 6 was released on August 27, 2001, a few months before Windows XP. This version included DHTML enhancements, content restricted inline frames, and partial support of CSS level 1, DOM level 1 and SMIL 2.0. The MSXML engine was also updated to version 3.0. Other new features included a new version of the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), Media bar, Windows Messenger integration, fault collection, automatic image resizing, P3P, and a new look-and-feel that was in line with the Luna visual style of Windows XP, when used in Windows XP. Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 offered several security enhancements and coincided with XP SP1 patch release. In 2002, the Gopher protocol was disabled and support for it was dropped in Internet Explorer 7. Internet Explorer 6.0 SV1 came out August 6, 2004 for Windows XP SP2 and offered various security enhancements and new color buttons on the user interface. IE6 updated the original ‘blue e’ logo to a lighter blue and more 3D look.


The biggest reason behind the success of Internet Explorer 6, it was shipped with kind of most successful operating system till now, so if the OS was a hit, so was the perfectly working browser Internet Explorer 6. Later as tabbed browsing became more successful and people started shifting to firefox more, Microsoft pushed Internet Explorer 7 with their Windows Vista, but many experienced it slower than even IE6 and was not that well received. Microsoft still hoping the best to get its shares back with a much better Internet Explorer 8.

I expect more services to come forward to drop support with Internet Explorer 6 in next few days as few already done the same from behind silently. As I read in Devilsworkshop.org as well, is Gmail going to drop support for IE6 in next?

 

Zabbix: Really frustrating me now

I wrote about Zabbix Installation for Layman sometimes back and really recommended itzabbix1_thumb_thumb for all system administrators out there, due to its simplicity, flexibility and promising nature about lots of aspects.

But now days, look like myself in deep troubles with the same. I am getting strange kind of problems with well established setups of Zabbix, when no one has altered any kind of configuration that is really very very strange. May be my knowledge about this product is lesser; may be reason is just that I am unable to find any proper book over it; may be the manual itself is one of worse, one could come across. Reason might be any of them or all of them, but its getting really unstable for me. It works perfectly after installation for sometime, but gets unstable soon as data grows. I am just finding one different thing in my environment that our servers run 9 AM-9PM, not 24 hours, but this should be the reason for any standard product. Or it might be something happened behind my back, when I was on leave for 3-4 days. Whatever the reasons might be, I am not able to trace it until now.


Listing here some of the issues I am facing with it, which are yet unexplained/ unresolved:



Problem 1: High Dependency on Local Time :- The first problem, I faced with Zabbix was, its going completely out of tune if somehow local time of the server get altered by any means. I tried even network time, but just of no use. You are left to pray about this only. Its been an issue since long and I have seen warnings about it manuals and books.

I really think that it should have been fixed till now (means some kind of automatic handling or making server time synced with clients etc). If you were offering this solution to corporate as along this ‘bug’ makes it completely unreliable.


Problem 2: Broken graphs later on as Data increases :- I am really not sure about this problem, but its making me low on confidence in front of management about this product. I am getting really many strange scenarios with it. The biggest Zabbix Server of mine was taking care of around 25-30 servers and this was going awry again and again. Like I am getting data in latest data tab correctly, I am getting data in 4 hours and 8 hours graphs correctly, but getting no graphs in 1 hour and 2 hours graphs, while its showing data but no lines on graph.

Searching through forums say that it might due to much data in MySQL tables and MySQL might be needed to be retuned. But I don’t think that such an application would not be able to handle a mere 2 dozen servers for even straight 7 days. No disk space issue (100 GB free), No Memory Issue (1 GB RAM), processor is Core 2 Duo, have enabled house cleanup, have increased the memory limits, but still….


Problem 3: No support as I am unable to find any person, who knows this software a bit more. Look like most of the people using more worse NagiOS only. Professionals require contract for support and forums are not that useful as its not a simple piece of application and problems are of diverse nature… literally too many. Logs are confusing and most of the time not that much info even on setting it on debug mode.



My aim of this post is not to criticize Zabbix itself here, but its support is really poor and many things not that explained in forums and manuals. Much hard to find anyone, who knows it through.

Currently looking for someone, who might be dealing with Zabbix in his environment and could offer help out of the way. I want to invite all who know a thing or two about Zabbix to share the knowledge with me and same will be with myself.

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar

ATS Services Pvt. Ltd.
+91-11-66500050

Windows 2000 and XP SP2 Support ending on July 2010

So finally the bad news is about to arrive.


As per Microsoft Lifecycle of the product, mainstream support for Windows 2000 was already ended on June 30, 2005 and now the extended support is also about to expire on July 13, 2010. The same is for Windows XP SP2 which will end on the same day (although support for Windows XP SP3 will remain continued till April 8, 2014).


 win2000advserv SP2

XP Users could relax for a little longer as XP SP3 support will remain continued till April 8, 2014 and only the support for XP SP2 is ending by July 13, 2010. If any more service comes then it will be continued to 24 months more.

windows-xp-services-pakc-3-logo

Before the headline starts a panic, let us know about how Microsoft Support Life Cycle Policy works and what is going to change with the same date.

Microsoft Support consists of three phases:

  1. Extended Support (5 More Years)

With Microsoft Products, once your Mainstream Support expires, you will not be able for claim for warranty support, design changes or new feature requests. Non security hot fixes support will be available via a separate Extended Hot-fix Support Agreement only. Obviously, no more service pack, neither any new license purchase would be available.


Once, your extended support expires, you will not receive security updates or non security related hot-fixes and although the support knowledge base will remain available on site for self help, but one should not expect the content to be updated any more or MVPs to reply queries related to that product in official forums.


Its time to get into migration work for those IT managers (although I guess there must be only few), who might not yet migrated their Database Server/ File Servers/ Domain Controllers etc from Windows 2000 to Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 as having a server without updates security fixes meant to lots of vulnerabilities and is also against security compliances of audit requirements. Check the link in above text and also the migration checklist for the migration related information.

Moreover, it might be a hard time to spend more for those companies, which are yet relying on their older machines with 256MB RAMs and their IT managers are managing the support by keeping the machines with SP2 only for performance reasons.


Now, about our Windows XP Users, who resisted whole heartedly against Windows Vista and still resistance remained against Windows 7 in some way to keep Windows XP Professional continued, it might be their time to think, as even if away, the time will come when they will be forced to do the switch and sure, there are some good reasons to switch over Windows 7 as well.

Moreover, one must get used to the product before be forced to do so. Technology changes for better and you cant expect a manufacturer getting programmers new generation involved with the technology that passed on.

So, the tagline is “Don’t panic right now, but take a step for next future.”