Archive | January, 2006

Another quarter-million Windows machines exploited

InfoWorld: Top News reports Microsoft warns of file-trashing worm.

(InfoWorld) – “Microsoft has published a security advisory warning Windows users of a file-trashing worm that has been circulating via e-mail for several weeks. The worm, which is programmed to destroy a wide variety of files on the third day of every month, has been circulating since mid-January, and is estimated to have infected between 250,000 and 300,000 systems worldwide.”

Almost missed the monthly warning: DO NOT open files or click links from untrusted sources. THERE ARE NO TRUSTED SOURCES. Verify the sender really sent you the file. Scan it with a virus checker. Don’t use it if you don’t trust it.

Boston Globe publishes a quarter million credit cards

“Credit and bank card numbers of many as 240,000 Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette subscribers were inadvertently distributed with bundles of T&G newspapers on Sunday, officials of the newspapers said today.”

Follow the link to read how clever they were…

Give Upgrades A Chance

Over at Resigned to the Bittersweet Truth, Bill McGonigle posts Call To Action – Upgrading. “I spoke to Tim Burke, Director Emerging Technologies (including the Linux kernel and Fedora) at RedHat about the state of upgrading this past Tuesday at the GNHLUG meeting in Manchester…”

“So, I issue a challenge to all package maintainers out there who have their projects integrated into distributions like Fedora – give upgrades a chance.”

It’s a tough challenge, but a necessary one. Upgrading is inevitable, and the costs of updating/upgrading are becoming an increasingly important factor in calculating the total costs of owning a system.

Freedom to Connect

Joho the Blog blogs Isenseuss. Here’s the talk David Isenberg gave at O’Reill eTel. It is, rather amazingly, a disquisition about freedom to connect, done in the style of dr. Seuss.’ …”

Here’s the first stanza, to encourage you to read on…

When Ed Whitacre, the head of AT&T, says,
“They’re not going to use my pipes for free”
he’s not talking about Them, he’s talking about Me.
He’s talking about Us, it should be plain to see.

What HTML markup is used on the web?

Slashdot post: A Statistical Review of 1 Billion Web Pages. chrisd writes “As part of a recent examination of the most popular html authoring techniques, my colleague Ian Hickson parsed through a billion web pages from the Google repository to find out what are the most popular class names, elements, attributes, and related metadata. We decided that to publish this would be of significant utility to developers. It’s also a fascinating look into how people create web pages. For instance one thing that surprised me was that the < title > is more popular than …” “The graphs in the report require a browser with SVG and CSS support (like Firefox 1.5!). Enjoy!”

The study by Google has some interesting conclusions, like this one from the page on the body tag:

One conclusion one can draw from the spread of attributes used on the body element is that authors don’t care about what the specifications say. Of these top twenty attributes, nine are completely invalid, and five have been deprecated for nearly eight years, half the lifetime of the Web so far.

Where does all this bad code come from? Are individual authors writing junk in Notepad and vim, or are large commercial sites using bad HTML, augmented with lots of Javascript and CSS tricks to try to render some cross-browser effect they can’t do through the standards? A few answers are on their page on Editors, but this is mostly a survey that indicates there’s need for more study.

What’s up with Novell? asks “What’s up with Novell’s new licensing?” with some interesting numbers on Novell and Red Hats subscription numbers.

New Hampshire Considers Considering Open Source

New Hampshire House Representatives Sam A. Cataldo and Roy D. Maxfield have sponsored a bill to establish a study committee to determine if state agencies should have to consider Open Source alternatives when obtaining software. Should choice be mandatory? I think so. No business case should be presented claiming that alternatives have been considered if they haven’t.

Fortune 500 may be liable for millions of postcards…

Now here’s a silly headline: OSNews purports that Linux Users May Be Violating Sarbanes-Oxley. A brief read of the article will tell you that a corporation is likely violating its obligations to its shareholders if it is failing to audit, track, monitor and closely examine the copyright, license and patent requirements of ALL of the products they use. There may be just as much liability from the shareware, freeware, postcardware and every-ware installed willy-nilly inside a company. Developers, consultants, IT personnel and users are notorious for bringing in a little utility from home on floppy, USB tab or download and spreading it around the office. It may be that the Fortune 500 is liable for thousands of postcards for EditPad as well.

The solution is to follow the law, even one as obnoxious as SOX (and complain to your legislator if this is burdensome), with an audit and a compliance plan. The inflamatory headline that “Linux users are bringing chaos to the world” is just insulting. Any company using software needs to do their best to ensure they are not violating copyright, patents or licenses. No news here, move along.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.