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So what changed between running a laptop at Novell and Microsoft?

Desktop OS

Firstly my Novell laptop was primarily a Vista machine. I’ve been using Vista as my primary desktop since November 2006. It’s helped build a better ZENworks Configuration Management.

Microsoft is obviously standardised on Vista.


Email is the killer. I do miss a lot of the advanced features of GroupWise – particularly the email status tracking. Outlook/Exchange won’t show me the delivery/read/deleted status. GroupWise was a killer in knowing that your ‘red’ emails had been delivered and deleted without being opened.

I don’t miss GWIM at all; I still use Pidgin (formerly GAIM) as my IM client – running plugins to all of the major networks. I do really like the Unified Communications via Office Communicator and Outlook. One thing that Microsoft IT has done well is brought together IM, email, fax, voice and voice messaging into a single place.


Obviously most of the Microsoft internal sites are IE only. (Great UI, great user experience – but lots of ActiveX). I’m also running Firefox 3 Beta 4 – that’s my personal preference.

No OpenOffice – that’s a given; one thing that did surprise me was that everyone is using the newer Office 2007 doc formats; even to outside people.

Network and access

Wow. I was really impressed by the IT organisation. IPv6 on the wire; IPsec everywhere; smartcard and certificate security for wireless and remote access; Network Access Controls running with quarantine.

Certainly it’s given me some new ideas for my home network 🙂