SQL Server 2005 SP3

Microsoft quietly released a new service pack for SQL Server 2005 (Development release date November 24, 2008 ) on December 15. You can learn how to find it here or here but that’s not the whole story. Upgrading non-Express editions is relatively straightforward but there is a gotcha for Express. You need to get the full release of SQL Server Express and then run it with a command line parameter. If you really think about this, it’s really weird. Microsoft has been promoting Windows operating systems forever now and it forces you to use a command line parameter for the edition of their database that is supposed to be to their low-end and most user friendly and a separate SP3 executable for their other, more advanced editions. This is just making it difficult to do recommended upgrades.

Get with your own program, Microsoft!

Here’s what you need to do for the upgrade:
Download for the regular (32 or 64 bit) version of SSE here or, if you want it with Advanced Services (which I usually do) then use this link.
Run either film with the paramater (don’t forget to keep the capital letters – bother!) SKUUPGRADE=1. So for normal SSE you’d use:

SQLEXPR.EXE SKUUPGRADE=1

and for SSE with Advanced Services you’d use:

SQLEXPR_ADV.EXE SKUUPGRADE=1

This will change the version from:
9.00.3042 (SP2 – February 9, 2007)
to
9.00.4035

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Is Microsoft Evil?

I don’t think the answer is Yes but let me explain.
It’s in the nature of corporations to begin with new, revolutionary ideas and grow large and complacent. Conservatism and by that I mean resistance to change is a natural reaction for senescent (old, decrepit) organisms dealing with a changing universe.
From the beast’s perspective: past success has taught that choices were made right in the past. But, in fact, those choices were quite different: they involved risk. Taking the Disk Operating System they worked on for IBM’s new PC. They had the vision to see where this might lead whereas the decrepit IBM didn’t. Gates ran with the idea and that took a lot of guts. As did stealing the windowed OS idea from Apple (who stole it from Xerox PARC). It took yet more moxie to come up with their own versions of a word processor and spreadsheet which had many features amazingly similar to the then leaders on the market. Well all’s fair in business and war, right?
So they began with new ideas and these did lead to affordable PC technology for the masses. Some would say Apple had a little more to do with it but that argument is hard to justify when you look at the sheer numbers of Windows users out there.
So, as you can tell, I’m certainly not happy with everything that Microsoft is doing. Why do I say they aren’t evil? Certainly there are many out there who feel betrayed by this Juggernaut.
Well I just think it’s the nature of the beast… other companies or the new Open Source movement will take the place, in our hearts, that Microsoft once had. MS is showing signs of change now but it may be too late. I don’t think it can die any time soon. It’s still too big. I and many, many others work with their software every day. But Vista, like Windows Me before it, is certainly a festering sore which is making many people look for other solutions. Acquiring Yahoo isn’t going to help them if they manage it… it’ll just make them that much bigger and more aloof.

DreamSpark: Free Developer Software from Microsoft for Students

Microsoft surprised me in a good way with their announcement regarding free developer software for students. Wired has a good article that explains it well. The gist is that you can get Visual Studio Pro, Expression Studio (graphic design and Web site and hybrid Web-desktop programming tools), XNA Game Studio 2.0 (game dev software), SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition and Windows Server Standard Edition. This is more than enough to set any budding programmer up! Here’s who can take advantage:

The programs are available now to more than 35 million college students in the U.S., Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.
DreamSpark will open to high school students around the world starting in the fall and to college students in other countries in the next year.
Microsoft said it is working with individual schools, governments and student organizations in each country on systems that confirm students are currently enrolled.
Students can see if they’re eligible to download the software at this link

Bravo Microsoft. And kudos to Bill Gates, too, for indicating these are tools to be added to Open Source tools. I didn’t think Bill would ever say something like that but I was wrong. Nice legacy Bill!