apt-get on Windows Server Core…sort of

I did my first install of Windows 2008 R2* Server Core for testing purposes. It’s pretty interesting for a Linux guy like me. Without the GUI, it’s a lot lighter weight than regular Windows Server. I found Greg Shields’s Beginners Guide to Server Core in Windows Server 2008 very helpful.

That article covered setting up automatic Windows Updates. However, I don’t like automatic updating on servers. I prefer to the have the servers download the updates so applying them is quick, but I want a person to actually click the button to install them. This way, they can test after the updates and if something does break, we know that someone changed something. There’s not much worse than something breaking out-of-the-blue when it was running fine. Now, problems from Windows Updates are extremely rare, but not impossible.

My web searching yielded several references to the WUA_SearchDownloadInstall.vbs script. I tested it out and initially had some trouble because I forgot to run it under cscript, even though that’s clear from the instructions. So I decided to wrap it with a batch file. Being an Ubuntu guy, I decided to call it apt-get. Then I decided to actually implement the basic apt-get calling convention (apt-get update ; apt-get dist-upgrade) my colleagues and I are used to. (In truth, being Ubuntu users, it’s “sudo apt-get …”.)

So I present to the world my little apt-get.bat script. Drop it (and the aforementioned WUA_SearchDownloadInstall.vbs script) into C:\Windows\System32 and you’re set.

* I really wish Windows Server 2008 R2 was called Windows 2009 Server**. The “R2” naming is really annoying as people tend to treat them like they’re basically the same, which they aren’t.
** That’s not true. I really wish it was called Windows 7 Server.

Update 2010-05-04: I modified the apt-get.bat script to set the Windows Update service to only run on demand and stop it after an upgrade (or dist-upgrade).

Windows Paravirtual (virtio) Drivers

After a whole lot of struggling, I’ve finally figured out the best way to install a Windows virtual machine under KVM, using the paravirtual (virtio) drivers. The basic idea is to use the virtio devices from the initial installation to avoid all the work and hassles involved with changing the drivers later. This avoids mistakes which can lead to an unbootable guest or “Local Area Connection 2” annoyances.

Thanks to Stefan Skotte and Andy for updates to simplify this procedure.

  1. Download the latest virtio drivers (in ISO format).
  2. Create a new virtual machine as you normally would for a Windows guest, stopping just before clicking Finish.
  3. If you have a new enough version of virt-manager, you can check the “Customize configuration before install” checkbox. Otherwise, click Finish, stop the virtual machine, open the details, reconnect the CD (or other installation media) if necessary, and reconfigure the guest to boot off the CD (or other installation media).
  4. Delete the IDE disk device and re-add the storage as a Virtio disk.
  5. Change the NIC’s device model to virtio.
  6. Switch to the console view, run the virtual machine, and start the installation as normal.
  7. When the disk configuration step comes up, no disk will be detected. This is normal.
  8. Click Load driver…
  9. Switch to the details view, disconnect the Windows installation CD, and connect the virtio ISO image.
  10. Switch back to the console view and click Rescan.
  11. Select the virtio block storage and virtio network drivers for the Windows version being installed, using the control key to select multiple items as always.
  12. Click Next.
  13. Switch to the details view, disconnect the drivers CD, and connect the Windows installation CD again.
  14. Proceed with the installation as normal.
  15. Reconfigure the boot options, if necessary, as desired.
  16. Disconnect the CD device, if necessary and desired.

Ubuntu Window Buttons

So Ubuntu Lucid is changing the window title bar button placement. I’m not sure why…other than Mark Shuttleworth seems to love copying Apple. 😉A colleague pointed out Mark Shuttleworth’s Window indicators post as the reason for this change.

However, this change made me realize one thing… I never use the menu from the title bar. I use it on the task bar a lot (for “Close”, “Always On Top”, “Move to Another Workspace”, and “Always on Visible Workspace”, in that order of frequency), but not from the title bar. This is a random observation, nothing more.

Re:Wait hold on mugger…

Mirrored from Slashdot:

I’m about as pro-gun as you can get, but when I hear stories about how Britain is locking up people for defending their families I get very suspicious. Do you have any links to one of these incidents? I imagine there is more to the story than is being told. — edwardsdl

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/beds/bucks/herts/8469850.stm –timothy

From the article you linked to:

Lord Judge said: “This trial had nothing to do with the right of the householder to defend themselves or their families or their homes.

“The burglary was over and the burglars had gone. No one was in any further danger from them.”

This wouldn’t be legal in the U.S. either. –rlaager

Until the next day, say. –timothy

I knew someone would reply with this. Yes, we can all cheer personally that the bad guy is off the street and they’re not going to tie anyone else up. But from a legal point of view, once the immediate threat has ended, you can’t use force in self defense.

My point was that this is not an example of “Britain locking up people for defending their families”, especially with the implied contrast to the United States. Legally, they locked this guy (and his brother) up for chasing, beating, and permanently injuring a guy in the street. Had the same beating happened while they were still in immediate danger, the legal situation would’ve been entirely different. –rlaager

Re:That’s a EULA

Mirrored from Slashdot:

And remember, EULAs are not enforceable. Slashdot screams this EVERY time APPLE or MS has one. It cuts both ways, Slashdot. — Anonymous

The GPL explicitly says you don’t have to agree to it to use the software. It only comes into play when you distribute copies of the software, which is something unambiguously covered by copyright law everywhere. The majority of people here arguing that argue EULAs are invalid are not suggesting that they should be able to *distribute copies* of Mac OS X or Windows.

They’re saying you can’t have a transaction that looks like a sale in every way, but when you open the box, it says you have to agree to another contract (that you can’t negotiate or change) which says that your transaction was not a sale and that you agree to all sorts of draconian conditions. Plus, EULAs often purport to apply in such a way that you have to agree to the agreement before you see it. Imagine you buy a car, but the car’s key is inside a box with tape that says, “If you break this tape, you agree to be bound by the agreement within.” The agreement inside the box says you didn’t actually buy the car, you’re just leasing it and thus you’re not allowed to figure out how the car works, so you must bring it into the dealership for work. This is what (the majority of, as there are always some crazy folks) the “EULAs are not enforceable” comments are about.
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