LXer Weekly Roundup for 16-Sept-2007

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Sep 16, 2007 8:45 AM EDT
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)
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LXer Feature: 16-Sept-2007

Some of the big stories this week, SCO files for chapter 11, Microsoft pushes through another shadow update, IBM finally decides to officially support OpenOffice and Apple modifies their new iPods to not work with Linux.

Some of the big stories this week, SCO files for chapter 11, Microsoft pushes through another shadow update, IBM finally decides to officially support OpenOffice and Apple modifies their new iPods to not work with Linux.

It's time to retire the mom test: One of the more humorous ad series today is the Geico "caveman" commercials, featuring a caveman complaining about the stereotype of something being "so easy a caveman could do it." Since we don't have to worry about offending cavemen (or cavewomen), companies can safely poke humor at that demographic group and not worry about alienating anyone. However, you might want to think twice about saying "it's so easy your mom can do it."

Microsoft starts a "Get the Facts" campaign...against itself: You've got to hand it to Microsoft. It hates ANYTHING and ANYONE that gets in its way of selling its software. Including, apparently, itself. In a very funny turn of events, Microsoft is out preaching to the industry that XP is a bloated expense hog, while svelte Vista will cure world hunger (or, at least, cost less). Anyway, Microsoft must really be hurting if it has to resort to beating up on its most stable product in years.

Fix a Frozen System with the Magic SysRq Keys: You finally got your Linux environment to crash. Ctrl+Alt+Backspace does nothing, nor do the F-keys. You know you shouldn’t have installed that bad driver, but you did it anyway. So you reach for the power button. Stop. Mashing in the power button to reboot could cause a problem if your hard drive is still being written to, and usually causes more problems than it solves. The Linux kernel includes a secret method of restarting your PC should it ever stop doing its job.

And There You Have It: You Need Novell (Not Just .NET) to Run Moonlight: Sliverlight for Linux? Not so fast. You’ll need to pay some ‘Microsoft tax’ first, for protection from Novell — a ‘protection’ that expires within about 4 years. How do we know this? Thanks to our reader, Victor Soliz, we have it right from the horse’s mouth. To paraphrase Victor and quote Miguel de Icaza, he says that in order to legally use Moonlight you will have to “download it from novell.”

IBM Throws its Active Support behind OpenOffice.org (at last): In what many will see as a long-overdue move, OpenOffice.org announced today that IBM will become an active supporter of, and contributor to, OpenOffice, the leading ODF-compliant competitor to Microsoft Office. The question that many will be asking is this: What took so long?

IBM beats Microsoft over the head with its own code: IBM added a delicious twist on its new commitment to help OpenOffice.org battle Microsoft Office by donating code that was originally derived in part from a Microsoft-developed technology. IBM’s iAccessible2, code-named Project Missouri, is a specification for technology used to help the visually impaired interact with Open Document Format (ODF)-compliant applications and was developed in part using Microsoft Active Accessibility (MAA) as a starting point.

Is .NET on GNU/Linux a Trojan Horse?: A take on the dialog regarding the strategic risks involved with the increased proliferation of .NET and Mono based software in GNU/Linux under the banner of Microsoft-Novell patent deal.

VMware Unveils VMware Tools as Open Source Software: VMware, Inc., announced that it has released a majority of VMware Tools as open source software as part of the project Open Virtual Machine Tools. VMware Tools is a set of guest operating system virtualization components that enhance performance and improve management of VMware virtual machines.

3 moments in Vista that make me consider Linux: While I definitely think some elements of Vista are definite improvements, 10 months of experience has shown me there are some things that just annoy me to my very core. Here are the three things that most make me wish I had the strength to move over to Linux — full time.

Linux step by step and certification along the way: Here's a series of well written IBM Linux tutorials to help you learn Linux fundamentals and prepare for system administrator certification. These are considered the most popular free online preparation methods cited by LPI exam candidates.

Microsoft dispells rumors of stealth Windows updates: It's all about updating the updater. Microsoft officials are seeking to dispel rumors the company is performing stealth updates on Windows machines. They are also pledging to be more transparent in the future to prevent such misunderstandings from happing again. Yeah right.

Microsoft's plans for XP: The recent news about the stealth Windows updates (as summarized by The Register) got me to thinking about the last time Microsoft was performing undisclosed updates. In early 2006, Microsoft pushed out updates for Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) without giving people a change to deny them. Some people found that these updates included a "kill-switch" for disabling computers that did not pass the WGA test, whether because the OS was truly pirated or because the test was faulty. At the time I remember thinking that if someone had AutoUpdates turned off it would be impossible for Microsoft to get this kill switch onto the computer.

SCO Group files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Groklaw is reporting that "The SCO Group Files Chapter 11 to Protect Assets as It Addresses Potential Financial and Legal Challenges". Trading shares of SCOX stock was halted on the NASDAQ several hours ago, and there was speculation as to why. Now the SCO Group has put out a press release explaining why.

Apple Cuts Off Linux iPod Users: So, it's finally happened. Unhappy with other media players being better than iTunes, Apple have apparently decided to stop them from working with the new range of iPods. There's no iTunes for Linux, so popular Linux iPod management tools like gtkpod and Rhythmbox will not work with the new range of iPods. The iPod keeps track of the songs and playlists in your iPod with a database file. At the very start of the database, a couple of what appear to be SHA1 hashes have been inserted which appear to lock the iTunes database to one particular iPod and prevent any modification of the database file.

The dangers of automatic updates: When I started using GNU/Linux eight years ago, I was dumbfounded to encounter Debian users who started their day by upgrading their entire system. Yet now, with the updaters that sit in the notification trays of recent GNOME and KDE-based distributions, I realize that these daily upgraders were not daredevils, but pioneers in the idea that all upgrades are desirable.

» Read more about: Story Type: LXer Features, Roundups; Groups: Debian, GNOME, GNU, IBM, KDE, Kernel, Linux, LPI, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice.org, SCO

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