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Insecure by Default

Guess what, I can walk up to your Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Debian, etc desktop installation and take complete control over it without needing a single password. Thats right, root access simply by sitting down at your computer. Why is it nearly every single distro by default leaves this gaping security hole open?

k3b and permissions

We have k3b installed locally for users to burn CDs/DVDs/etc. This only gets used very infrequently, and it seems that something else has broken every time it does get used. This time it was a “Cannot find writer” error. I checked for the presence of cdrecord and dvd-rw-tools; all fine. Eventually it turned out to be a permissions error - that /dev/cdrom was set to be only user- and group-writable; and the user was not in the relevant group. Added them, log in & out, all well.

Upgrading to openSUSE 10.3

OpenSUSE 10.3 was released last week, and I quickly downloaded the new version to update my two openSUSE boxes. Here's a chronicle of the updates and some problems that surfaced during the process.

Fedora artwork: Developer interview

Over the past few releases, Fedora has gained a reputation amongst the various distributions for having some of the best artwork out there. This time around, responsibility has been handed over entirely to the community Art Team, and they've done themselves proud! Read on to find an interview with Mairin Duffy. Fedora Art team lead and previews of some of the key elements belonging to the infinity theme.

Tutorial: Digital Photo Management In Linux, Part 2

Last week we learned how to sanely organize our vast digital photo archives with Digikam. Today we'll look at Digikam's built-in editing tools. You'll be able to do a surprising amount of your editing work without ever leaving Digikam.

This week at LWN: LCE: Memory part 2: CPU caches

CPUs are today much more sophisticated than they were only 25 years ago. In those days, the frequency of the CPU core was at a level equivalent to that of the memory bus. Memory access was only a bit slower than register access. But this changed dramatically in the early 90s, when CPU designers increased the frequency of the CPU core but the frequency of the memory bus and the performance of RAM chips did not increase proportionally. This is not due to the fact that faster RAM could not be built, as explained in the previous section. It is possible but it is not economical. RAM as fast as current CPU cores is orders of magnitude more expensive than any dynamic RAM.

SCSI Utility sdparam 1.02

Douglas Gilbertannounced the 1.02 release of the sdparam utility. Originally written for Linux, it has also been ported to FreeBSD, Solaris, Tru64 and Windows. Douglas described the program:"sdparm is a command line utility designed to get and set SCSI device parameters (cf hdparm for ATA disks). The parameters are held in mode pages. Apart from SCSI devices (e.g. disks, tapes and enclosures) sdparm can be used on any device that uses a SCSI command set. Almost all CD/DVD drives use the SCSI MMC set irrespective of the transport. sdparm also can decode VPD pages including the device identification page. Commands to start and stop the media; load and unload removable media and some other housekeeping functions are supported.

URGENT! You, your relatives, and friends are in grave danger!

Yes thats right you are in grave danger of having 25% of your wages garnished for life or even a prison sentence. People, churches, and businesses have been getting viruses that turn their computer (without their knowledge) into a file sharing server that shares illegal copies of music, movies, etc to people all over the world. One of these entities who were prosecuted against was a lady for having downloaded 14 songs. She explained she had no idea what was going on but that did not stop the court from deciding to sue her -$25,000.00 for the music and because all piracy cases also charge the guilty party for the prosecuting lawyer fees she also owed -$250,000.00. The court decided they would garnish 25% of her paychecks for life.

Faster Linux PC means Windows seems slower than ever

Now that I'm running a 1.2 GHz Celeron-equipped laptop with way better video support than my 1 GHz converted thin client -- both with 256 MB of RAM -- for my Linux and BSD tests, I'm finding that Windows XP isn't as fast as I once thought it was on my work-provided Dell 3 GHz Pentium 4 with 512 MB of RAM. Yep ... a fast Linux (Debian, Slackware, Puppy) on a slower system easily beats Windows XP on a faster box when it comes to many common tasks, from rebooting to shutdown, loading Firefox and OpenOffice, all the way down to switching between windows and having their graphics fully rendered.

Pentaho Delivers Open Source Metadata and Ad Hoc Reporting in New Pentaho Open BI Suite 1.6

Open Source Leader Provides Self-Service for Business Users

Fortify Identifies Vulnerabilities in Open Source Software

Fortify Software announced that Fortify’s Security Research Group has identified a new class of security vulnerabilities, known as cross–build injection. These vulnerabilities, which Fortify discovered through its work with the Java Open Review (JOR) project, allow a hacker to insert code into the target program while it is being constructed.

The new office suite that runs on Linux, BSD, Windows and OS X

The new KOffice 2.0, sometime in the first half of next year, according to reports, will run on Linux, BSD and -- for the first time -- Windows and Macintosh platforms. For those who don't know, KOffice is the office suite meant to complement the KDE desktop environment used in many Linux and BSD distributions. Well, KOffice isn't new, per se, but it's new to non-Linux/BSD users. While I've had a hell of a time getting the typographical quotes to face in the right direction in KWord, the word-processing component of KOffice, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that, overall, KOffice is a better-written piece of software than the big dog in free office suites, OpenOffice.

Curl mounts Silverlight and AIR challenge

Curl, the rich programming language specialist back from obscurity, is turning to open source to gain a foothold in rich internet applications (RIA).

Screenshots: Dist-upgrade of Ubuntu ppc.

I had the chance to do an upgrade-dist of Ubuntu 6.10 ppc (PowerPC edition) recently when my 3-year-old daughter corrupted her Mac OS X Panther on her PowerPC-based Mac mini. She uses the Mac Mini mainly for Movies playback and learning on how to type. I decided to dual-boot Mac OS X Panther on my daughter's 2-year-old Mac mini a few months ago with Ubuntu 6.10 ppc, because of the fear that she may destroy her Panther and I do not have the time to fix the Panther. I called it the "911 strategy". The reason why I chose Ubuntu 6.10 ppc instead of its counterparts ( Fedora, Yellow Dog or openSUSE) was a very simple one. My daughter could turn off the Ubuntu 6.10 ppc even though it was her first time with Ubuntu 6.10 ppc. Maybe it's something that she has acquired while playing with Mac OS X and Windows XP.

First Look at Linspire 6.0

My first look at the new Linspire 6.0. The company say that Linspire is the world's easiest Linux-based operating system. I thought I would install this OS and see how true this statement is.

How To Effectively Address the Free Software Communities

Here's a great little article on how to work with the Free Software Community: "...With that intent in mind, let’s explore seven principles that will make your life easier when engaging free software types.

How to setup file-sharings/FTP for machines by newbie in 5 minutes

Lacking of good GUI tool, it is often a headache for newbies to setup the FTP service to transfer files among windows/linux/mac machines. Here we introduce a new powerful GUI server/client tool for you to easily solve this problem. You can use it on Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X, the same approach.

Notes from a FOSS conference in New Delhi (with videos)

Every year, Linux enthusiasts in India's capital, New Delhi, hold a conference to help spread word of free and open source software (FOSS). This year they called their conference Freed.in, and had more talks and attendees than they've had in the past. While the event was a wonderful opportunity for the FOSS community to interact in person, discuss issues, and brainstorm solutions, attendees were overwhelmed by the number of talks jammed into a two-day schedule.

Get Linux Speed-Booting with an Open Bios

On many systems, a large portion of boot time goes into providing legacy support for MS-DOS. Various projects, including LinuxBIOS and Open Firmware, are trying to replace the proprietary BIOS systems with streamlined pieces of code able to do only what is necessary to get a Linux kernel loaded and running.

12 Tips for KDE Users

Back in the late 1990s,when the KDE and GNOME desktops were getting started, KDE had the reputation of being the most suitable choice for new GNU/Linux users, especially those migrating from Windows. Whether this generality is still true is debatable (personally, I could never see much difference between the two desktops), but KDE remains one of GNU/Linux's most popular graphical interfaces, as well as one of the most easy to learn.

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