The H Week
LinuxTag, the annual conference for Linux developers, has been running in Germany, from Wednesday through to Saturday, so this week The H Open has featured a few stories from there and further developments from the conference are to be expected in the coming weeks.
There were several news items this week about public institutions and their uptake of open source, both in the UK and in Germany.
Although it's been a fairly busy week for The H Open source, in contrast things have been quiet for The H Security.
Open Source news
Partly due to the activity at LinuxTag there were two issues of the Kernel Log this week. The Tuesday issue covered the end of further IDE development and included coverage of some of the activities at LinuxTag, while the Thursday issue documented the end of the main development phase of version 2.6.31 of the kernel.
It's hard to believe, but it seems the SCO versus Linux court battles will trundle on, with the news of the formation of a new company – uniXis. The new company will acquire the assets of the SCO Group, allowing it to avoid bankruptcy at the last moment and providing it with funds to carry on as a litigation 'shell'.
There was news from Germany this week of two public institutions that have mandated a change to open source operating systems and applications software. On Thursday the H Open published a story about three Berlin art colleges with a common IT department switching to Ubuntu for their workstations and Debian for their servers. The change is being made because the colleges cannot afford the cost of upgrading their hardware for a move to Vista or Windows 7.
In Munich the City Councils LiMux project moves slowly forwards and its expected that OpenOffice and Firefox will have replaced Microsoft applications on all workstations by the end of this year.
On Friday the UK government responded to a petition to number 10 asking that new software being developed for the Timely Information to Citizens project be open source.
Friday brought welcome news of the imminent release of the new OSDtBench desktop benchmark suite, which the Linux Solution Group (LiSoG) demonstrated in prototype form at LinuxTag. The final release of OSDtBench is expected within the next fex days. The most commonly used desktop and laptop benchmark tests are the BAPCo, Wintel based, proprietary software. Hopefully the LiSoG benchmark will provide testers with an equivalent for open source systems.
On Monday ICANN experts warned against the increasingly popular practise of top level domains (TLDs) redirecting links for inactive domains to alternative domains of their choice. Such redirections interfere with basic DNS features and with many core services.
As The H Security has reported recently (Andy Raff and the Month of Twitter bugs) the social networking sites are an attractive and vulnerable target, in particular the accounts of the rich and famous. Twitter fell victim to another hack on Wednesday when the account of Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist and former Apple evangelist, was used to spread links to malware.
Shortened URLs represent one of the dangers on Twitter and other similar sites because they mask the true target of the link, a classic example of the trade-off between convenience and security. Finjan the Californian security specialist has released a free browser extension for Internet Explorer and Firefox that alerts users of potentially dangerous links in Google Search and other popular sites and online portals.
Security updates to close vulnerabilities are arguably just as important and effective as anti-malware or firewalls. The problem being that few end users keep their machines up to date with the latest patches. On Wednesday security specialists Secunia published version 1.5 of their Personal Software Inspector, a program designed to check Windows machines have all the latest application updates in place.
To see all last week's news see The H's last seven days of news and to keep up with The H, subscribe to the RSS feed, or follow honlinenews on Twitter. You can follow The H's own tweeting on Twitter as honline.