Microsoft Gets Positive Feedback for Vista APIs

Initial feedback for Microsoft’s new Vista software development interfaces appears to be largely positive, which could signal an end to lingering doubts over the company’s willingness to grant sufficient access to the kernel of its latest operating system.

Microsoft shared an initial set of drafts for its new Vista APIs with security software developers Dec. 19, delivering documentation and technical criteria for the additional code that it first promised to hand over to partners in mid-October 2006.

For more on this topic, see Vista: CIOs’ First Impressions

The company was convinced to produce the expanded development tools by security applications makers who complained publicly that PatchGuard, the kernel protection technology included in the 64-bit version of its newly released Vista OS, would not allow some of their products to interact properly with the software.

Among the firms most outspoken about the negative impact of PatchGuard were antivirus market leaders McAfee and Symantec, who claimed that by blocking all ability for applications to access the Vista kernel, the technology threatens the ability of some advanced behavior-based security products to integrate with the new OS. After nearly a month of debate, primarily waged via statements delivered through the media, Microsoft said it would review its existing APIs and come up with new interfaces to foster improved interaction with PatchGuard.

While spokespeople at Symantec would say only that the company has received the APIs and begun working with them, McAfee officials said they were encouraged by what they have seen of the interfaces thus far.

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