[a.c.s] Microsoft Readies Nukes for their Support Newsgroups

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Frank Merlott, May 10, 2010.

  1. First Duke University announces the end of their news server, now
    Microsoft is announcing the end of their support newsgroups. In total,
    Microsoft currently supports over 2,000 public newsgroups, and 2,200
    private newsgroups that contain a variety of discussions on just about
    every Microsoft product available. And apparently this is all coming to an
    end starting in June of 2010.

    In an announcement made by Microsoft, the software giant will be closing
    all of its newsgroups and shifting traffic to its forums. This decision
    was made for several reasons, as Microsoft cites that declining usage, 90
    day retention, and spam are making the environment unsustainable.

    "Beginning in June 2010, Microsoft will begin closing newsgroups and
    migrating users to Microsoft forums that include Microsoft Answers,
    TechNet and MSDN. This move will centralize content, make it easier for
    contributors to retain their influence, reduce redundancies and make
    content easier to find. Overall, forums offer a better spam management
    platform that will improve customer satisfaction by encouraging a healthy
    discussion space."

    Microsoft also feels their customers will be better served by centralizing
    support. Instead of trekking across, well, thousands of newsgroups, the
    answers will be located in Microsoft's forums.

    There might be a bit of confusion going on as to what extent Microsoft's
    newsgroups will be terminated. Microsoft may eliminate their news server,
    but the newsgroups are freely roaming entities that exist on Usenet.
    Perhaps Balmer & company will execute a kill order for their newsgroups,
    but the news release from Microsoft really doesn't answer this pertinent

    Frank Merlott, May 10, 2010
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  2. Frank Merlott

    s|b Guest

    This is to be expected... If M$ only kills their own news server, other
    news servers will still offer microsoft.* newsgroups.
    I've been told that IF they send rmgroup messages, then users will be
    free to re-create the microsoft.* hierarchy.
    s|b, May 10, 2010
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  3. Frank Merlott

    VanguardLH Guest

    Microsoft has been posting in the microsoft.public.* newsgroups about
    their decision. If you want to see Microsoft's propaganda showing their
    excuse for discontinuing NNTP service and their webnews-for-boobs
    interface to Usenet (so they could pretend they had those forums), see:


    Even if non-Microsoft NNTP providers continue carrying the
    microsoft.public.* newsgroups, there will likely be a huge drop off in
    participating by Microsoft's customers. Many used the webnews-for-boobs
    interface that hid Usenet from those customers. However, as with users
    that use kill files or connect to NNTP servers that filter out the
    Google Groupers, losing the initiative-lacking, knee-jerk posting,
    need-their-diapers-changed users might not be a bad thing for Usenet.
    Those newsgroups might revert back to a more professional and more
    expert community of users. You know, what the tech newsgroups used to
    be like before AOL opened the floodgates and leech sites, like Microsoft
    and other, providing webnews interface brought in all those boobs.

    Remember that Microsoft only runs one NNTP server in a huge worldwide
    mesh network of peering NNTP servers. That Microsoft drops their NNTP
    server does not necessarily mean that anyone else will drop the
    microsoft.public.* newsgroups. However, it is has been seen that some
    NNTP providers are using Microsoft's decision as an excuse to lower
    their bandwidth and disk space requirements by also dropping the those
    microsoft.public.* newsgroups.

    Microsoft is offering an NNTP-to-forum proxy that you run locally to let
    your NNTP server connect to *some* of their forums. There aren't as
    many forums as there are microsoft.public.* newsgroups; for example,
    when Microsoft drops the microsoft.public.virtualpc newsgroup (and
    excluding non-Microsoft NNTP servers that may continue to carry that
    newsgroup), there will no longer be a specific discussion group for
    VirtualPC because Microsoft does not have a forum for it. Rather than
    do as other webnews leeching sites do by running an forum-to-NNTP
    peering *server* to make their posts available on Usenet, Microsoft is
    going ass backwards and making their users run a local NNTP-to-forum
    proxy as a *client* to access their forums.

    Their forums are often down so if you use their proxy then expect lots
    of outages with subsequent errors from your newsreader. Also, Microsoft
    never did like Usenet because they had no control over it and still
    doesn't understand even the basics of Usenet posts regarding RFCs
    dictating the standards used for NNTP. For example, Microsoft does NOT
    include the domain portion (rightside-ID) in the Message-ID header that
    they produce for their forum posts gatewayed through their proxy client.
    A MID header should have <[email protected]> but with Microsoft
    the @rightside-ID is missing. This is causing lots of problems with
    many newsreaders that rely on the MID for tracking and sorting. This
    problem of an invalid MID header is over a year old and still has not
    been addressed.

    After installation, Microsoft does not setup or offer a user-configured
    option to load their local NNTP-to-forum proxy automatically when you
    login. Even if you create a shortcut in your Startup group, the proxy
    will not automatically login to their server. You have to open their UI
    and manually initiate the login. There is no means to configure on
    which port their proxy listens for a connection from your newsreader.
    Port 119 is all they support so you'll have to change any other process
    that may already be using that listening port, like if you run Hamster
    or some other proxy used for filtering the NNTP posts. Also, if you
    look at their userID login screen (you must create a Live ID), it says
    it was not developed by Microsoft.

    There are newsgroups for which there are no matching forums. So when
    those newsgroups are killed off (and only if you rely on Microsoft's
    NNTP server and only if other NNTP providers follow suit), there will no
    longer be a discussion group for those topics. There are many
    newsgroups under microsoft.public.* which have no forum counterpart.
    Their web-based forums are slow and often incur an outage (which means
    using their NNTP-to-forum proxy software will be just as flaky but I
    found it faster to access the forums than their own web interface).
    Whether the microsoft.public.* newsgroups disappear really depends on
    the rest of the Usenet mesh network. They might continue carrying those
    newsgroups or they might use it as an excuse to drop them.
    VanguardLH, May 15, 2010
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