A Mac Wish List for the Folks at Microsoft: Page 3

Datamation columnist John Welch has a few things he'd like to ask of the people in Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit.


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Posted February 10, 2006

John Welch

John Welch

(Page 3 of 3)

Look at Kerberos integration for Remote Desktop itself. Once I'm in a session, I have all the kerb tickets I need on the Windows host. But Remote Desktop Itself isn't kerberized, so that's an extra step.

Enabling Remote Desktop to play well in the OS X Single-Sign-on environment would be a real plus for sysadmins. Drag-and-drop support for file transfers. Yes, you can indeed, have your local hard drive mount within the Remote Desktop session, but drilling down to your desktop to get to a file that you're looking at is just annoying. Remote Desktop already has great shared clipboard support, but it really needs the ability to just drag files to and from the Windows host.

Finally, what about direct application launching? Instead of firing up the entire Windows desktop, then launching the application, just launch the application via double-click. (My request for kerberization of Remote Desktop comes in handy here.)

This is a feature of Citrix, and a pretty handy one at that. It makes managing Remote Desktop users easier, and also helps in cases where Virtual PC or a full Windows Remote Desktop session is overkill, such as when you only need access to a single Windows application.

Microsoft Messenger Improvements

I can't recall anyone on the Mac who uses Messenger because it's better. There's no video, no audio, no scripting, and without the Live Communications Server, you're stuck without access to pretty much every Mac user you know.

This is one of those cases where the Mac BU needs to fork a product more. To Mac users, unless you're in an environment with Live Communications Server, Microsoft Messenger is simply of no practical value beyond being able to say you have it. If it's going to do more than just take up space, it has to have quality A/V support, and be able to talk to iChat/Jabber users without needing to pay for Live Communications Server. Otherwise, it'll just sit there or get deleted.

I know the Mac Messenger team puts a lot of work into the product, but every time I think about using it, I can't come up with an real reason to use it.

A full NTFS driver implementation for Mac OS X

Yes, I do know that Mac OS X has basic NTFS support. In fact, it's let me bail a few Windows users out of trouble. Slap the drive in a Firewire or USB case, plug it in, it mounts, and voila, I can pull files off of it. (Okay, yes, I really do enjoy the look on Windows people's faces when I pull off this trick without needing a custom boot CD, or needing to do manual mounts in Terminal. Drive in case, plug case into Mac, BAM! You've got NTFS.)

But it's missing a lot. Write support is very limited, and you can't really use NTFS to its full abilities. That's a shame, as NTFS is really a great file system. Full NTFS support, even if it couldn't be a boot drive, (although that would be so cool), would be of great benefit to people like me. Not just reading, but writing, compressed filesystem access, encrypted fileystem access, full ACL support -- I could make great use of all of that.

It would be very nice, if nothing else, for Virtual PC users to have the ability to have a separate drive or partition formatted as NTFS, instead of the single file we use now, which is such a pain for backups.

Mac MMC snap-ins for Active Directory tools

Managing Macs in an Active Directory environment is quite honestly, impossible without a copy of OS X server around. There's just too much that you have to do, from things like Workgroup Manager and Server Admin. If we had a set of MMC snap-ins to allow us to manage our Macs better from the Active Directory tools, well, I know I'd be happier. And I know I'm not alone.

It would allow Active Directory administrators to manage Macs in a way that they are used to, with the tools they already have. Yes, it's not like Workgroup Manager, and the other Apple tools are hard to use, but they have a heck of a price premium at the moment.

I completely agree that Apple bears primary responsibility here, but I also don't care who makes the tools I need. I just want them done. If Apple won't do it, then Microsoft is a great choice too. I know I've been asking Apple about this for a while, and the response is obvious, since I'm asking Microsoft to do this.

That's the list. It's not too long. I wanted to be realistic in my requests, but still cover the ground that I see needing covering. I don't expect the Mac BU to do everything on this list by themselves either. Partnering and working with other divisions in Microsoft, or third-party ISVs will work, as well. I also don't think anything on here is all that unrealistic, or lacking a business case.

If any of you sees something that you like on this list, or you think of something that should be on the list, contact whomever you work with at Microsoft and ask them about it. The more direct requests that Microsoft gets for things, the better a business case they can make for getting it done. No, that's not a guarantee that it will happen. Some things just would take longer than they're worth, like Access.

But if you never ask, you never have a chance of getting anything.

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