Vista, SQL Server 2005, AJAX, and Web 2.0

Ken’s question made me think about Vista’s impact. Virtually all Microsoft’s products depend on the win32 API, so I wonder how much of change can Vista make? In other words, if Vista breaks win32 API calls, the cascading effects it has on other products like SQL Server, Exchange, BizTalk, Office, etc., would be tremendous. It may not come down to rewrite everything, but suffice it to say that the changes and additional development work and QA regression testing effort will be significant. So is it safe to say that Vista would be an evolutionary process of Windows, not a revoluntionary change that some people are led to believe? It will be interesting to see what unfolds, as far as Vista’s impact on server applications is concerned.

To extend the thinking a little further, once the foundation is set, the rest of stuff has to build on top of it and you are limited in ways to innovate and extend your stuff. Minor modification on the framework can be done but it is going to be costly. I guess that kind of explains why AJAX and Web 2.0 is all the rage recently. The idea is that you will do most of stuff through a web interface, no custom installation and setup is needed on your workstation. Google is a pioneer in this arena. The famous AJAX/Web 2.0 products are Gmail, Google Maps. Yahoo is not too far behind. Flickr and Yahoo Mail beta are good examples.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of the recent alliance between Sun and Google. If Google can deliver OpenOffice, a competitor of Microsoft Office Suite, through a web interface, much like how it does with GMail and Google Maps, that will give Microsoft Office Suite a run for its money.

A couple of years ago, Sun’s CEO Scott McNealy mentioned that “Network is the computer”; all we need is a dumb terminal to access it. I don’t necessarily think the terminal will be dumb, because now we do need it for local storage, text editing, some file processing, especially media files like music, image, and video. But hey, I cannot pretict the future. Maybe the dumb terminal 10 years from now is 10 times smarter than the ones we have today.

Mutt questions

Originally posted at SqlServerCentral.com’s blog site:

I am working on my own website, http://www.HaidongJi.com. It is Apache on Linux, ran by a hosting company. I got access to SSH, MySql, and most of Linux utilities. I am planning to use WordPress and host a blog there too. That will be my primary blogging site, including my thoughts on Linux, MySql, personal musings, and whatnot (cannot believe I used the word). It is still a work in progress. Hopefully I can get it up and running within a month.

Anyway, the real reason I post this is to seek advice / pointers on Mutt. I am planning to install Mutt on this Linux machine and use it as my primary email client. I want to use it primarily because it allows me to use my favorite editor, VI / VIM. I also heard from people that it is keyboard driven, which I like too. The fact it is light weight also helps.

Here are my questions:
1. Installation: anything advice, how easy or difficult it is. It looks like that something special needs to be done if you are going to use SSL. Since I don’t have root access to the Linux box, will I encounter problems when install Mutt?
2. Configuration: what do I need to do to configure it so I can have access to multiple POP or IMAP accounts? It looks like I need to play with .muttrc file.

That’s it for now. Email or comment below if you have ideas/suggestions. Thanks a lot.

Silent install / Command line install of SQL Server 2005 Part 2

Today I started my second attempt of silent / command line installation of SQL Server 2005 September CTP.

I guess I should have mentioned in Part 1 that that install was attempted on Win XP Pro, SP1. This time I worked on a clean machine with a fresh Windows 2003 Standard Edition. This machine has 2 Intel Pentium 4 2.59 GHz processors and 1 GB RAM.

So, as in described in Part 1, I went to command line and fired the command.

2 seconds later, I got a message saying that this version of OS or Service Pack is not supported. All right, I pulled out my Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 DVD and installed that. I then started command line install again. So remember, SP 1 is needed on Windows 2003 prior to install.

It appeared to work initially. It looked like that prerequisite components were part of Service Pack 1, because this time it didn’t not ask for it. Therefore no mindless clicking was needed. The CD-Rom was spinning. Visual check of task manager showed there was a setup.exe process going. Would it succeed this time?

Not so fast:(. About 1 or 2 minutes later, CD-Rom stopped spinning and hard drive indicator stopped blinking. Could it finish so fast? I looked at Start->Program Files and nothing was there. I then looked at installation log file located at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Summary.txt. Below is the message I got:

KJLLJFD-3J6YDPO : Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) is either not installed or is disabled. IIS is required by some SQL Server features.  Without IIS, some SQL Server features will not be available for installation. To install all SQL Server features, install IIS from Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel or enable the IIS service through the Control Panel if it is already installed, and then run SQL Server Setup again. For a list of features that depend on IIS, see Features Supported by Editions of SQL Server in Books Online.

This is really annoying. Based on BOL, none of the components I selected in my .ini file requires IIS. Yet silent install stopped because IIS was not there. In GUI install, this is presented as a warning, but you can choose to ignore the warning and click Next and continue installation. In fact, that was what I had to do today to load it on this machine.

Oh well, this is disappointing. I will see how to file this as a bug to Microsoft, if it has not been done already.

 

Pumpkin farm visit

Yesterday we did our now traditional October farm visit. It was a gorgeous day. (Speaking of gorgeous, if you say something is drop-dead gorgeous, it will surely make my six-year old first grade son laugh. For some reason he thinks the phrase drop-dead gorgeous is funny. Mom says that he got that silliness from yours truly:).

Anyway, we had a good time there. There was not a single cloud in the sky. Temperature was comfortable. The leaves are changing colors. We did the corn maze and hay ride, visited a haunted house, played in the playground. I couldn’t help but thinking of how fortunate I am, being with my family and enjoying those things that we can afford.

Here are some pictures, if I can manage to upload them and get the links right.

Update: Not sure how to upload pictures yet. It’s getting late, I will retire in a few minutes. Will look around later to see if it is possible.

Silent install / Command line install of SQL Server 2005 Part 1

If you’ve read my articles, you know that I am a big fan of automation. I got a big kick out of seeing somebody else (in this case, machines) doing the real work;) With that in mind, I set out to automate the installation process of SQL Server 2005 September CTP.

SQL Server 2005 provides silent / command line installation. You have the option of setting all parameters in one command line and run it, or providing all settings in an .ini file. If you take the former approach, you will have a long command line to type and it is not easily reusable. If you take the later approach, you will have a config file to work with. It is reusable and customizable. Not surprisingly, I took the later approach.

So I read BOL for setup, looked through various parameters, and came up with my own .ini file. Here is the content of it:
[Options]
USERNAME=Alex
COMPANYNAME=Alex

[ADDLOCAL]
ADDLOCAL=SQL_Engine,SQL_Data_Files,SQL_DTS,Client_Components,Connectivity,SQL_Tools90,SQL_Profiler90,SQL_WarehouseDevWorkbench,SDK,SQLXML,Tools_Legacy,SQL_Documentation,SQL_BooksOnline,SQL_SQLServerBooksOnline,SQL_Samples,SQL_AdventureWorksSamples,SQL_Samples

[INSTANCENAME]
INSTANCENAME=MSSQLSERVER

[AUTOSTART]
SQLAUTOSTART=1
AGTAUTOSTART=1

[SECURITYMODE]
SECURITYMODE=SQL
SAPWD=MakeItAStrongPassword

Now I am all set to go. I ran this command, hoping I could go take a nap and have a sweet dream and when the dream is over it would be all done:
D:\SQL Server x86\Servers>setup /settings H:\TechnicalStuff\Database\MSSQL\SQL2005\Installation.ini qn

Surprise, about 2 seconds after I pressed the Enter key, up popped a Window asking me to install the prerequisites. I had to endure the pain of mindless clicking after all. Adding injury to insult, this process bombed out at the second step, installing Microsoft SQL Native Client:(

Suggestions to Microsoft: in the RTM CD/DVD, it would be very helpful to customers if you provide a sample setup .ini file for silent installation. But, if Microsoft does not do that, you can use my sample posted above as a start;)

Questions to you and Microsoft: is it possible to include installation of prerequisites components as part of silent install? Email me or add a comment if you know the answer.

Alas, I will try this again on a clean machine when I get a chance.

Stay tuned…