Don’t be a .local yokel

Wikipedia has a nice technical write up that explains why you should never, ever use the .local suffix the way Microsoft has frequently recommended.

But I like this politically incorrect version better:

Microsoft: “Gee, nobody is using the .local piece of the globally shared Internet namespace, so let’s tell all our customers that it’s best practice to use it for our totally super cool version of Kerberized LDAP service called Active Directory!”

Novell: “Oh noes, Microsoft has made an inferior competitor to our flagship technology! It’ll probably destroy our market advantage just like their inferior networking stack did!”

Linux/Unix: “Oh noes, when somebody attaches the new Microsoft technology to an existing mature standards-based network, Kerberos breaks!”

Microsoft: “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA we are totally following the standard, lusers!”

Linux/Unix: “grumble whine we will patch Kerberos even though we don’t agree.”

Microsoft: “whatevs. Did you notice we broke your DNS too? :)”

Apple: “Hey, IETF, we have this cool new zeroconf technology. We want to reserve the .local namespace for it.”

IETF: “OK, sure, you’ve filled out all the forms and attended all the meetings and there’s two independent implementations so you’ve done everything correctly. We have no valid reason to deny this allocation.”

Novell: “Hey, we were using SLP already, what did you just do?”

Apple: “Oh, whoopsie, did we just eat your lunch? HA HA HA HA HA”

Microsoft: “Hey, what just happened?”

Apple: “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA RFC6762, lusers!”

Linux/Unix: “grumble mumble whatevs. We can do mDNS.”

Microsoft customers: “OH NOES WE ARE SCREWZ0RRED”

Microsoft: “Meh, you didn’t really want Apple products on your networks anyway.”

:TEN YEARS LATER:

Microsoft customers: “How much would it cost to fix this network?”

Microsoft: “What, were you talking to us? Everything’s fine here. Windows 10 forever!”

Exchange schema are a tumor inside Active Directory

“Microsoft email software is to the global communications industry and the general public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone.”
— Jack Valenti, MPAA

OK, it’s pretty clear that rooms, in the real world, have locations. Many of them have room numbers, and some of them have phone numbers. And a very very few of them have email addresses.

So naturally, Microsoft’s Active directory treats email attributes as the defining characteristics of a room. After all, anything to do with email invokes the dreaded Exchange Shadow LDAP schema. And while your rooms almost certainly don’t have email addresses, somebody somewhere does!

The “room” objectclass is part of the old COSINE schema, a true international cross-platform multi-vendor Internet standard at least as early as 1991 (currently enshrined in RFC4524). So you’d expect to be able to do a simple LDAP search on (objectClass=room) in any directory in the world… and you can, except in AD.

In Active Directory you search for (msExchResourceMetaData=ResourceType:Room). Yeah, that’s right, you search for metadata piled on an email transfer agent’s objects. For some room that has no email capability whatsoever. My theory is that this is because Microsoft’s email and calendaring strategy was defined by people with the outlook and mental capacities of a selfish, spoiled ten-year-old.

I can have a page named NUL in linux, though.

Excellent article, but he forgot my favorite, CLOCK$. I used to have a web page with a big, shiny red button linked to <A HREF=”c:\clock$\clock$”> and the message “don’t click the button or your computer will be destroyed and all your files deleted”. It didn’t really do that, but it would instantly crash any Microsoft system prior to Win98SE or thereabouts. People did click on it, which still kind of amazes me.

Office not so 365

Microsoft’s Azure Cloud service failed at almost exactly midnight last night, taking down hundreds of websites who may have thought that hardware redundancy could magically protect them from sysadmin oopses, as well as users of Xbox live and Microsoft’s flagship service Office 365.

Viva Zorggroep, a Dutch healthcare organisation with 4,000 employees, said it had also been affected as a consequence of adopting Microsoft’s online apps.

“At this time, our supporting departments such as finance, HR, education, IT et cetera are working with Office 365,” said Dave Thijssen, an IT manager at the company.

“This morning these servers were unresponsive, which means users were not able to log in to Office 365.

“As a result they had no access to email, calendars, or – most importantly – their documents and Office Online applications.

“We also had trouble reporting the outage to our users as most of digital communication – email, Lync, intranet/Sharepoint – was out.

The outage persisted for over five hours for some customers and apparently there are still latency issues at this time. This is of course a violation of the Service Level Agreement… so you can keep a nickel or two of your monthly rent, I bet.