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Software Freedom Law Center Appoints Two New Attorneys to Defend ...

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), today announced the appointment of two new attorneys. Karen M. Sandler and James Vasile have joined the SFLC and will apply their technology and legal experience to support FOSS projects, developers and vendors.

Is It Time To Switch To p2p Email?

Base your email transport on something like gnutella, they say, and you'll diffuse message delivery across a sea of nodes. Blow up a node, and its peers will still see that the message reaches its target. The dream even made it onto Wired's 101 Ways To Save The Internet.

[Ed.- Be sure to take a look at the PDF linked at the end of the article, "Secure and Resilient Peer-to-Peer E-Mail: Design and Implementation," by Kangasharju, Ross, Turner]

A Firefox Extension called Fasterfox is a Must Have

Fasterfox by Tony Gentilcore was released on October 26, 2005. It provides real "performance and network tweaks for Firefox. Fasterfox allows you to tweak many network and rendering settings such as simultaneous connections, pipelining, cache, DNS cache, and initial paint delay. "

Firefox Gets SEO Extension

  • WebProNews; By Jason Lee Miller (Posted by tadelste on Oct 31, 2005 7:39 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
The beauty of open source software is the seemingly limitless options that pop up. For search engine marketers only, a new extension for the Firefox browser has been developed that lets users browse search engine statistics with a simple mouse over.

Google throws bodies at OpenOffice

  • CNET News.com; By Stephen Shankland (Posted by tadelste on Oct 31, 2005 7:27 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
Google plans to hire programmers to improve OpenOffice.org, a demonstration of its affinity for open source initiatives and one the company believes also shows sound practical sense.

Book Review: File System Forensic Analysis

  • Unix Review; By Kristy Westphal (Posted by tuxchick on Oct 31, 2005 7:21 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Reviews
Before I even had this book in my hands, I was truly excited about it. I have used Autopsy and The Sleuth Kit for some time now in my forensic work, and I am a big fan. These free tools are straightforward and critical to any forensic investigation. Brian Carrier, the author of File System Forensic Analysis, also created these tools, so when I saw that he wrote an entire book on file systems, I was pumped! Who better than Carrier to detail a topic that has been sparsely documented?

The Hercules System/370, ESA/390, and z/Architecture Emulator

The web site reads: "Hercules is an open source software implementation of the mainframe System/370 and ESA/390 architectures, in addition to the new 64-bit z/Architecture. Hercules runs under Linux, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Mac OS X 10.2 and later."

It runs best on Linux and it helps shops without mainframe access port their software to Linux on the S/390 and zSeries platforms.

BeOS rises from the grave, takes the name ZETA

  • NewsForge (Posted by dave on Oct 31, 2005 7:00 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
It's Halloween, and what better way is there to celebrate than by reanimating a dead operating system on your PC? The zombie of choice this year is the ZETA Live CD 1.1, the first free download to bring the long-lost BeOS back from the grave.

Answering Microsoft: Comments on Microsoft's Letter to MA

As most readers probably know, Massachusetts has chosen the OpenDocument standard as their standard for office suite data exchange. Massachusetts has published the comments about this decision from many sources, including Adobe, Corel, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems. Microsoft was extremely unhappy that the OASIS OpenDocument standard was selected instead of their proprietary XML format, aka the Microsoft Office Open XML format, that is under development.

Pamela Jones asked me to comment in more depth on Microsoft’s response, because I’ve had past related experience (e.g., with standards, XML, and even OpenDocument specifically). Many people have made brief comments about this letter, but she thought a more detailed commentary would help those who are less familiar with this topic. So, here’s my attempt at commenting on Microsoft’s letter in more detail.

[ED.- A very long, but thorough rebuttal of Microsoft's anti-ODF FUD, complete with references. A must read, especially if you're a government, or any other organisation concerned about your who controls your own documents!]

Hardware emulation with QEMU

  • NewsForge (Posted by dave on Oct 31, 2005 6:30 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
QEMU is an open source cross-platform emulator for Linux hosts. It allows you to emulate a number of hardware architectures (x86, x86-64, and PowerPC are currently known to work, with others, including SPARC and MIPS, in development). QEMU thereby lets you run another operating system on top of your existing OS. Going through the process of installing and configuring QEMU not only gave me a worthwhile new software tool, but also helped me learn a few things about Linux.

Ellison, Old Friends in Software Showdown

  • Yahoo News; By Michael Liedtke (Posted by tuxchick on Oct 31, 2005 6:23 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison knows all about battles with old friends. After all, Oracle just pulled off high-profile takeovers of PeopleSoft Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc. - a pair of rival software makers run by former subordinates who turned against him. Now, Ellison is straddling another set of fractured friendships in a drama unfolding around Salesforce.com Inc. and NetSuite Inc.The pioneering upstarts - conceived by a younger generation of Ellison's corporate progeny - have been helping steer the business software industry in a new direction with applications that are accessed directly over the Internet.

Once considered a crazy idea, the concept of online, or "on-demand," software has turned into a hot market as thousands of companies decide they would rather lease applications monthly than pay an upfront licensing fee and then deal with the costs - and headaches - of installation, maintenance and the inevitable software upgrades.

The Sky(pe) is falling

Robert Vamosi writes: ...it didn't surprise me to read last week that a new buffer overflow vulnerability was found within the very popular Skype VoIP service. But what will make or break VoIP will be how this very young industry handles emerging security issues and whether the public eventually puts its trust in the new technology. Judging by the way Skype has handled its recent vulnerabilities, I think the prognosis is good for VoIP in the long run.

[A positive prognosis for Skype and VoIP, generally speaking. Oh what fun it is to defend your Skype calls from Internet-based attacks! - Ed]

Software Firewalls versus Wormhole Tunnels

  • Security Focus; By Bob Rudis and Phil Kostenbader (Posted by tuxchick on Oct 31, 2005 5:26 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story, Security
In a VPN configuration, most personal firewalls are configured to drop their shields (because all traffic is heading to and from a trusted source), so the VPN client is, in fact, a liability because there is no need to use a libpcap outbound wormhole-tunnel communications channel. The firewall will happily ignore whatever packets a malicious program might need and they go unfiltered through the "secure" VPN connection... Creating and using a wormhole-tunnel communications channel is not limited to malicious use by malware, spyware, viruses or worms. The following scenario illustrates how one can legitimately (and more robustly) bypass the firewall without the use of libpcap.

[Ed.- and don't forget email, web browsers, and all the ways that SSH can sneak around firewall rules.]

Oregon Governor Announces New Open Source Technology Initiative by ...

On Tuesday Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski announced the contribution of $350,000 by search technology leader Google Inc. to a joint open source technology initiative of Oregon State University and Portland State University. With the grant, the universities will collaborate to encourage open source software and hardware development, develop academic curricula and provide computing infrastructure to open source projects worldwide. The universities will also help provide a bridge between Oregon's universities and Oregon's growing open technology industry.

Oracle goes free to fight MySQL, SQL Server Express

Its Database 10g Express Edition is free, and is compatible with the vendor's higher-end offerings.

Sierra Club grows open source application

Jennifer Mears writes: "Best known for its grassroots environmental protection activities, the Sierra Club also helps thousands of members get outdoors each year with trips that span the globe. Sierra Club has offered these worldwide adventures for more than a century, but in recent years its IT team has focused on streamlining the trip-reservation process by enabling members to sign up online."

Shareholders rebuke Sun

  • Yahoo News; By Therese Poletti (Posted by tuxchick on Oct 31, 2005 3:32 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
Shareholders attending Sun Microsystems' annual meeting Thursday chastised Chief Executive Scott McNealy for everything from the company's performance and low stock price to his stewardship...A second shareholder proposal, to tie stock options for senior executives more closely to the company's performance, was defeated. But it got a sizable 42.8 percent of the votes.

Plenty of news heading into Open Source Business Conference

Mark Brunelli writes: The days leading up to this week's Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) bore witness to an influx of announcements from open source companies and projects looking to make headlines ahead of the show.

[This article highlights some of the big announcements leading up to the Open Source Business Conference - Ed]

Red Hat Readies for Government Scrutiny

"There have been a couple of runs at trusted operating systems in the past, but the difference between what's out there now and what we're announcing is that, in the Linux world, we'll have trusted capabilities in a standard distribution," said Paul Smith of Red Hat.

A Look at Trolltech and Qt 4

  • KDE Dot News; By Jonathan Riddell (Posted by dcparris on Oct 31, 2005 2:06 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: KDE
Jonathan Riddell writes: "Two recent articles cover the success of Trolltech and their product Qt 4, on which KDE 4 will be based. Trolltech: A case study in open source business looks at the continued growth of the company based on dual licenced Free Software. The article describes what KDE and Trolltech gain from each other, including user feedback to Trolltech and sponsored developers for KDE. The Australian Computerworld declairs that Qt 4 raises the bar for cross-platform app dev tools. They cover the separate modules of Qt 4 and the cross-platform quality, giving it a 9.2 out of 10 approval rating."

[As pointed out in the KDE News post, the Computer World article erroneously refers to software in the public domain. This stuff has been around for over 22 years. Seems like professionals in the field would have some concept of this by now. - Ed]

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