More W2k8 thoughts on JackRabbit M

So now you know that we are testing a unit with Windows 2008 on JackRabbit. Some of the things which struck me during this load were how initially simple the OS load appeared to be. It basically copied all it needed to the disk, rebooted, and installed. Ok, great. Except for the fact that it didn’t by default, recognize the on-board NICs. This means that we need to either find a second network card, or get the NICs going on the motherboard. Not sure if there are drivers for them, but will look. That it installed a 60 day demo without a key is a great step up for Microsoft. Kudos to them for getting this right. Would be even better if we can install it, and click on “order a key now” on the box. This would be very nice.
Then there was the matter of IE. Yeah, I know, Microsoft is trying very hard to make IE bulletproof. And the many dialogs we saw asking us if we really wanted to download something did convince me that they are indeed serious about preventing bad things from going on … ok … well … it didn’t. That was security theater.

What I mean is that putting up dialog boxes that “stop” bad activity doesn’t stop bad activity. It simply puts dialog boxes in end users face. An annoying, never ending stream of dialog boxes.
I wanted to get tightvnc onto the machine. So I fired up IE and tried to download it.
No go, IE didn’t want to let me download.
Ok. Ask it nicely, add the site to the list.
No go, it could be dangerous to download.
Ok, agree it is “dangerous” to download. Please, pretty please, may I have my download?
No go. It could be dangerous.
5 minutes of this and I lost my patience. I pulled down firefox onto a different machine, browsed over to it, installed it, and switched default browsers. Now I am more secure than with IE, with far less security theater. And downloads work.
My recommendation for anyone installing/using W2k8 is to put a set of useful tools onto a disk somewhere nearby before installation, install the OS, then install the tools. So far I am recommending Firefox, VIM, ActiveState Perl.
I wrote a simple random file content generator in Perl for use with the web server IIS. Customer wants us to test this in 32 bit mode for serving files. I still need to understand how to set up IIS to serve these, and what benchmark tool (if any) would be able to generate load for this system in the manner the customer would like. Looking into it. Clients will be Linux based to keep it simple. At least 4 machines (possibly as high as 8) doing nothing more than pulling 1GB sized files from the web server. This is a media streaming test to a degree, though I would prefer a more realistic test.