You've had your pandemic holiday, now Microsoft really is going to kill off TLS 1.0, 1.1

Plus: Skype plays catch-up, Barracuda goes Azure, and WinUI slings another preview

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In brief Having issued an all-too-brief stay of execution on the decidedly whiffy Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 protocols in Microsoft 365, the Windows giant has announced that deprecation enforcement will kick off again from 15 October.

The protocols were actually deprecated back in 2018 but Microsoft halted enforcement earlier this year, recognising that IT departments had quite a bit of unexpected work on their hands thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, "as supply chains have adjusted and certain countries open back up", a visit from Microsoft's axeman is due.

There has been plenty of notice – Microsoft went public with its plans in December 2017 and killing off TLS 1.0 and 1.1 once and for all is a long-held dream of the industry.

The impact should be minimal on end users. The Office client can use TLS 1.2 if it is configured on the local computer, and most modern operating systems will happily support the later, more secure version. Windows 7, however, requires an update to make things work.

Late to the Zoom party, Skype rolls out backgrounds and adds more squares

Redmond-owned messaging veteran Skype has shuffled into the chat party, proffering gifts that rivals (including Zoom) have enjoyed for quite a while.

Microsoft emitted version 8.62 last week, replete with custom backgrounds and support for more chums in a video call. Exactly how many pals will be tiled is tricky to ascertain. Microsoft's release notes state there may be "up to 10 in the new grid view," while its documentation on the matter reckons the number is nine.

This is quite some way behind rival services. Zoom permits up to 49 participants at a time, should you be fortunate enough to have that many friends.

The updates for Windows, Mac, Linux and Web are rolling out now.

Barracuda comes to Azure

No sooner had the ink dried on HPE's plan to snap up SD-WAN darling Silver Peak, rival Barracuda announced plans to run its service on Microsoft Azure.

Sitting atop the Microsoft Global Network and Azure's Virtual WAN, Barracuda's CloudGen WAN (modestly described by Barracuda as "the first secure global SD-WAN service built natively on Microsoft Azure") is aimed at hooking up locations with minimal fuss and faff.

Rather than having to use relatively costly and inflexible network circuits for the corporate WAN, the team reckoned that running in virtual fashion on Microsoft's backbone will lead to reduced costs and a network that scales to match traffic.

Naturally, there is also the option to be billed hourly through the Azure Marketplace.

WinUI 3 hits Preview 2, adds more detail for this year's goalpost dance

Having pushed out the first preview of its latest attempt to persuade developers that Windows desktop apps are still worth coding, no matter how whiffy the original Universal Windows Platform (UWP) dream may be nowadays, Microsoft has had popped more flesh on the bones.

WinUI is the GUI framework and, recognising that devs cannot live on UWP alone, includes Win32 support.

While Preview 1 brought forth all manner of bells and whistles, Preview 2 is "a quality and stability-driven release" and deals with bugs that couldn't be squashed ahead of the Build 2020 release. It is also compatible with .NET 5 Preview 5 for desktop apps. However, Microsoft is at pains to point out that it is not ready for the production primetime yet.

The release, part of Microsoft's Project Reunion vision, was accompanied by an update on the project, including some key roadmap dates.

The most notable is a Preview 3 in time for the company's September Ignite event and open-sourcing by autumn. November will see a version released that could be used in production apps, although a final release looks to be in the early part of the Spring 2021. ®

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