Users who want to reap the full benefits of Microsoft's Zero Administration Windows will have to upgrade all their applications, admitted company vice president Paul Maritz in an interview with VNU Newswire today. Maritz, who is VP for platforms and applications, said only one major application is truly ready for ZAW. Not surprisingly, that application is Microsoft Office 97.
One of the claimed advantages of ZAW is that it no longer requires applications to be installed locally on every PC. Instead, they will be able to run directly off a file server. However, most modern commercial applications currently require local installation procedures that modify the Windows 95 registry and litter the Windows system directories with files.
"It was a mistake to allow drivers and such to be installed in system directories and we are now correcting that mistake," admitted Maritz. However, this means other applications must be rewritten so they no longer require their own files to be installed in the system directory. Maritz denies any anti-competitive motive, and says Microsoft is attempting to offer some support for existing apps in ZAW.
Zero Administration Windows was announced late last year by Microsoft as an initiative to simplify the management of Windows-based networks. It is generally seen as a response to the network computer model, as promoted by companies like Oracle and Sun, which use simple administration and low cost of ownership as arguments for adopting the NC. Though a Zero Administration Kit is now available from Microsoft, the full ZAW will ship with Memphis and Windows NT 5.0.
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