LXer Weekly Roundup for 02-Dec-2007
This week we have the beginnings of a book for Andy Upgrove, a couple articles about Firefox, Richard Stallman's guide to writing, South Africa, Netherlands and Korea move towards ODF support, Ten things you can do to help open source and Microsoft spreads the FUD with a Windows to Linux Security comparison.
Ten Firefox extensions to keep your browsing private and secure: Most people lock their doors and windows, use a paper shredder to protect themselves from identity theft, and install antivirus software on their computers. Yet they routinely surf the Internet without giving a second thought to whether their browser is secure and their personal information safe. Unfortunately, it's easy for someone with nefarious intentions to use a Web site to glean data from -- or introduce spyware to -- your computer.
ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words: For some time I've been considering writing a book about what has become a standards war of truly epic proportions. I refer, of course, to the ongoing, ever expanding, still escalating conflict between ODF and OOXML, a battle that is playing out across five continents and in both the halls of government and the marketplace alike. And, needless to say, at countless blogs and news sites all the Web over as well. Well, I've taken the plunge, and if you are so inclined, you can help.
3 Wireless Setups for Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon: Check out 3 ways to install wireless on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon; works out of the box, ndiswrapper and manual install.
Torvalds speaks on Linux progress, plans: In a recent interview, Linux founder Linus Torvalds offered some of his thoughts on the progress of the Linux kernel so far and some ideas as to where development was headed for the year ahead.
Tips for Taming SELinux: Users are considered dispensable, like the red-shirted crewmen on the original Star Trek series. As soon as a guy in a red shirt appeared, you knew he was going to be toast before the second commercial break. Think about it—what's the most important stuff on your computer? The system files? You can easily replace those. An attacker might still want to acquire root privileges so they can replace key system binaries to try to cover their tracks. But the system files themselves are not valuable. The valuable stuff sits in your home and other data directories. If you're storing sensitive data of any kind, such as databases full of customer data, that's what an attacker wants.
Side by side comparison of Firefox 3 and Firefox 2 with pics: Quick and simple comparison of the new version of Firefox (Firefox 3 Beta) and Firefox 2, showing some of the differences between them and using Screen shots.
Richard Stallman and the Connotations of Language: Anyone looking for a summary of the free software movement's concerns needs only to look at Richard M. Stallman's essay "Some Confusing or Loaded Words and Phrases that are Worth Avoiding." Behind the modest title, the essay lists all the classic free software concerns, ranging from insisting on the term "GNU/Linux" for the operating system usually called Linux to efforts to emphasize the dangers of so-called Digital Rights Management and Trusted Computing.
Billions and billions of...lines of proprietary code to go open source: Eric Raymond made the point years ago that most software is written for use, not for sale. Eric put the number at 95%; that is, 95% of all software is written for in-house use, rather than for sale. If he's right, and I believe he's not far off, then banks, manufacturers, retail chains, etc. are sitting on a massive gold mine of software.
South Africa, Netherlands and Korea striding toward ODF: As Microsoft's Office Open XML document format remains in ISO limbo, a trio of countries are pushing forward an adoption of the alternative Open Document Format (ODF) instead, according to an ODF advocacy group. Government ministries and state services in the Netherlands will begin to add ODF support next April, according to a statement from the Washington-based ODF Alliance. All other governmental organizations there are set to follow no later than December 2008.
Liberating Java: Now that Sun have begun freeing their Java implementation the way has opened for free software developers to create an entirely free implementation. This free Java, IcedTea, was shipped by default with Fedora 8, and so we talked to Thomas Fitzsimmons, the lead developer behind this feature, to find out more about what it can offer users.
Linux PCs: Look Beyond Wal-Mart: Yes, you can purchase a $200 Linux desktop -- the Everex gPC -- from Wal-Mart this holiday season. That’s great news for consumers and the open source movement. But it might be wiser to look elsewhere for affordable, reliable PCs running Ubuntu Linux. Here's why.
It's the Directory, Stupid: Until Red Hat, Novell, or another party focuses around open-source directory services, Linux will be stuck playing catch-up with Windows 2000. I've been covering Linux and open-source software closely since the dawn of this millennium, and over those seven or so years I've become a believer in the potency of the open-source development model.
Advanced SSH configuration and tunneling: We don't need no stinking VPN software: In a recent Red Hat Magazine article, Paul Frields gave some examples of how SSH port forwarding can be used to remotely gain access to resources, or ports, from a remote location. This article will show a pragmatic implementation of SSH port forwarding by demonstrating how to use configuration files and conditional statements to create permanent, yet dynamic, SSH configurations for your home, office, and any virtual machines you may have on your systems.
Why the ODF Shuttered its Doors: Did the OpenDocument Foundation recently shutter its doors for good because it was unable to convince Oasis to support its converter, known as Da Vinci? Or was it because OpenDocument Format was simply not designed for the conversion of Microsoft Office documents, applications, and processes? The debate on these issues continues two weeks after foundation members confirmed the organization had shut down.
Tiny PCs use pico-ITX main board: The U.K.-based company Sharp and Tappin Technology (STTech) is readying two PCs based on Via's recently introduced pico-ITX motherboard. The picoPC1 and picoPC2 measure as little as 5 x 3.4 x 1.5 inches, and feature separately available cases fashioned from billet aluminum, according to the company. The systems will be available with STTech's own "customized, optimized version of Gentoo Linux," according to spokesman Ben Sharp. Sharp added, "We are considering/evaluating a few other distros as possibilities to ship with the PicoPC range, including gOS"
Ten things you can do to help open source: Open source has at its heart a big idea, which some find uncomfortable and others find liberating: it's about collaboration. It's about getting involved. It's all about having lots of people working at making useful things: you pay with your time, and you get paid with the time of thousands of others. If you're happy just using open source, then no problem. But if you want to contribute, because you have a problem that nobody else is fixing — or simply because you want to do your bit in exchange — it can be difficult to know where to start. The following suggestions might just inspire you to join in.
Ubuntu Alternatives For Beginners: I have heard a number of people tell me that as much as they love the speed of development and the community, sometimes Ubuntu just gets ahead of itself. And I suppose in a larger sense, this is what makes Linux such a fantastic platform in the first place. If you dislike GNOME, you can use KDE, or instead, pick a slimmer desktop manager like Fluxbox. Wireless woes?
Review: gOS: Undocumented Enlightenment: gOS, the hot new Linux distribution, has been generating a lot of buzz because it comes with the Everex Green PC, sold at Wal-Mart for $200. Linux reviewers are totally in love with it, and are praising it to the skies. Naturally, Carla Schroder had to find out if it lives up to the hype.
File permissions in GNU/Linux: In PolishLinux.org Command Line Tricks series they have described Getting help and Processes management. Now it’s time to understand how the file permissions in Linux work. The article covers topics such as the basics of Linux file access rights, useful commands that allow you to manage file permissions, as well as numerical and special access modes.
The Convenient Fiction of Distributions: I am increasingly convinced all of the arguments between Linux distributions are going to become moot very soon. If they aren't there already. Not that I have anything against diversity, mind you. I have (and will) actively support the right to create and use any Linux distribution you want. My concern is, I think the distributions are becoming so similar in their construction, and the differences between them so subtle, the whole notion of distribution superiority is completely moot.
Documentation: Give it up; it won't happen.: At one point in time and not too very long ago, I fancied myself a decent system administrator with a decent resume and work history. When I finished a series of writing tasks working on technology subjects that included system administration, I thought the time had come for me to work in a shop with Linux and MS. I put my resume up on Dice and Monster and waited for the phone to ring. When it didn't ring, I went up to see the hits. I saw six on Monster and eight on Dice. Only one company saved my data.
Microsoft FUDwatch: Windows vs. Linux security: It's been at least a week since the last bout of Microsoft FUD hit the wires, so I guess it was time for a new wave. Today's FUD comes from an article Microsoft released on how its security compares with that of Linux. It should come as no surprise that Windows comes off as the Second Coming while Linux is left on the wrong side of Acheron. It's amusing to watch Microsoft attempt to claim the moral high ground with security.
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