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MetaFrame 1.8 Service Pack 2 and Feature Release 1: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Part 1

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In early September, Citrix announced the simultaneous release of Service Pack 2 and Feature Release 1 (SP2/FR1) for the MetaFrame 1.8 product running on Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, and Windows 2000 Terminal Services platforms. Since that time, Windows Thin Client expert Todd Mathers has had a nearly endless stream of questions from people regarding these products[md]questions about what features are actually available with each product, how they are configured, and which ones are really necessary for a specific MetaFrame implementation. In the next couple articles, Todd provides answers to some of the most common (and not so common) questions that he has received over the last two months.
In early September, Citrix announced the simultaneous release of Service Pack 2 and Feature Release 1 (SP2/FR1) for the MetaFrame 1.8 product running on Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, and Windows 2000 Terminal Services platforms. Since that time, Windows Thin Client expert Todd Mathers has had a nearly endless stream of questions from people regarding these products—questions about what features are actually available with each product, how they are configured, and which ones are really necessary for a specific MetaFrame implementation. In the next couple articles, Todd provides answers to some of the most common (and not so common) questions that he has received over the last two months.

Todd is the author of Windows NT/2000 Thin Client Solutions: Implementing Terminal Services and Citrix MetaFrame(New Riders, 2000).

What Is a Feature Release?

Traditionally, service packs from Citrix have been vehicles not only for new and previously unreleased hotfixes, but also for new or enhanced system features. With the release of Service Pack 2, Citrix has divided these enhancements into two categories: those that are available as part of the Service Pack, and those that are delivered as part of what is known as a Feature Release. The distinguishing factor is basically that you get the service pack changes for free but have to pay for the features that a Feature Release provides. While all of the functionality of FR1 is contained within SP2, it is not actually accessible until a corresponding Citrix license has been entered in the Citrix Licensing tool, as shown in Figure 1. Just as with other Citrix products, the addition of a valid key will make the product temporarily available for between 15 and 30 days, at which time it will expire unless activated on the Citrix site.

Figure 1

An activated Feature Release 1 license in Citrix Licensing.

Of course, to have a valid license code, you must purchase it as an add-on to Citrix—if you are a Subscription Advantage member, you will receive it for free as part of a three-CD bundle that also contains NFuse 1.5 and the ICA 6.0 clients. You are not required to activate the FR1 license to utilize the fixes included with SP2.

Citrix is marketing the Feature Release as a "customer-focused upgrade and enhancement" that is based directly on input from customers. Two very good examples of this in FR1 are the higher resolution/increased color depth support and the pass-through authentication, both of which have been eagerly anticipated by a couple of my clients. Feature Releases are intended to provide new or enhanced functionality to an existing product version. In conjunction with Feature Releases, Citrix has also announced that it will be releasing what are called Platform Releases. These are considered significant architectural updates to a product and essentially move it into a new product version.

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