MSDN, ISOs, and SQL Server Hotfixes
Ok, this may be a bit off-topic, but I'm getting really annoyed that so many products are being offered only as ISO images. Why is it that I can set up a virtual machine or boot camp operating system running Vista without any problems, but in order to install SQL Server Developer Edition (if I don't have the DVD handy, of course, which is often the case when I am on traveling), I need to find some third party ISO utility. I used to be able to use WinImage (free), but for some reason, Microsoft changed the file format so that it can no longer extract anything beyond the root folder. 🙁
Why can't these products be offered as self-extracting ZIPs/EXEs? Yes, I know most people have learned by now to have an ISO utility, but do you really license it on every virtual machine you build, on every piece of hardware you own? Other distributions are handled this way, for example SQL Server Hotfixes. Which is another thing that bit me recently, because the patch I received for cumulative update 4 was password protected with an expiration of 7 days. This means that I can download the EXE as many times as I want, but I can't extract any of the files because my password expired more than 7 days ago. So, I have to wait to apply 3200 to this system until I can get on another machine that already has the patch extracted.
I am liking my MacBook Pro more and more, and liking Windows less and less. I installed Leopard on Friday (a good six hours before anyone could buy it in a store =)) and am amazed at how easy it was. Even building a boot camp partition to install Vista was a five minute process, with no 3rd party software required to install the OS or to allocate any size chunk of the existing partition that I desired. (To keep this kind of on topic, the only reason I need Vista on this laptop is so that I can do some SQL Server work.) No, my troubles only began once I had installed Vista. Of course it couldn't find the wireless adapter and other essential hardware until I had installed the additional drivers supplied by Apple. But then I had this problem with the ISO mentioned above, and also cannot seem to get IE7 to authenticate on my company's outlook web access server, and when I sign in to MSDN I get sent to a completely blank /Error.aspx page. I have to do all of these things using FireFox, which doesn't work quite as well (and which threw me for a curve when I had to install the File Transfer Manager, another thorn in my side). On the other hand, at least FireFox has a good FTP plug-in (FireFTP) which isn't crippled and half-functional like Windows Explorer (which used to work quite well). Next I downloaded a trial of Systems Center Operations Manager 2007, and it let me get WAY too far into the install process before telling me that Vista was not a supported operating system and that Active Directory was required. I'll take the blame on that one for not reading the requirements beforehand, but is there a good reason for these limitations? I need to have a 4-year old server operating system on my laptop or workstation to try this product out? And I need Active Directory even if I do not plan to manage AD with SCOM?
Is Microsoft going out of their way to demonstrate that other companies can consistently produce more usable and user-friendly products than they can? The question is somewhat rhetorical, since they have always been doing that, but it seems the current state of affairs is that they are getting worse, or the others are getting better, or more likely, a combination of the two.
So now I just need to find a capable (preferably not web-based) SQL Server management tool that will run on OS X.5. 🙂