Introducing Windows Server 2008 from Mitch Tulloch with the Microsoft Windows Server Team has been available for a couple of days. It doesn't happen often anymore that I read IT content on dead wood, but I will probably read this one to the end.
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I read several of Mitch Tulloch's articles about Windows administration on the Web and I can say that I am one of his fans. He always writes in a very clear and intelligible way and there is no doubt that he is an absolute Windows expert.
It seems he is thinking about starting a new career as a humorist with this book. He dedicated a whole page to explaining why he added occasional jokes in a specialist book. This is one of the reasons:
Software doesn't always do what it's supposed to do, and it's usually best just to laugh about it and find a workaround instead of taking it to out on the vendor.
I really had to laugh after reading this, even though I am not sure if this was intended as a joke. I think such a sentence can only be found in a book from Microsoft Press. So if one of your servers crashes the next time and your boss is on the phone complaining that he can't access his mailbox, you should just laugh about it and tell him that software (from Microsoft) doesn't always do what it's supposed to do.
This also raises the question of whether it makes sense at all to buy a book from Microsoft Press. You won't probably find many warnings about the downsides of Windows Server 2008 in this book. On the other hand, it is quite obvious that authors writing for Microsoft Press have access to inside information. This applies especially to this book. You'll find many contributions from Microsoft experts explaining the new features without much marketing jargon.
The other question is, is it too early to buy a book about a product that most likely will not be available within this year? Windows Server 2008 is still in beta. Hence, some of the descriptions might not be valid anymore when the RTM comes out. However, I doubt that there will be many of these changes. If Microsoft really intends to finish its new server OS within the next six months or so, they won't have much time for fundamental changes, at least if they seriously intend to sell software that is doing what it is supposed to do.
The title of the book is a bit misleading, since it is not for beginners who want to be "introduced" to Windows Server 2008. It certainly addresses Windows Server specialists who want to know about the new features and changes. Please, check out the author's own description of his book at the Canadian IT Pro blog.
You could say it is just a more comprehensive version of a white paper about the Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2003 with SP1 to Windows Server Code Name "Longhorn". This document has about 270 pages, whereas the book consists of 472 pages, including the index. It is certainly much more for fun to read the book. Mitch Tuloch is simply the better writer.
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In order to get a first impression, it might be enough to read the white paper, though. It certainly also depends on your time and, of course, your curiosity. I intend to read the book, and will blog about the interesting things I'll learn from it. This way, you'll get everything in somewhat smaller doses.