The H Week
There was a flurry of activity this week associated with Android, the open source mobile platform, as founder Google had words with an errant developer, it was announced that chip maker MIPS had joined the Open Handset Alliance and a group of developers announced the formation of the Open Android Alliance.
Two stories this week about OpenStreetMap indicate that this very worthwhile project is flourishing and that its utility is gaining leverage with the wider community.
On a slightly odd note, Richard Stallman, software freedom activist and founder of the GNU project, this week issued a public apology to Apple for saying that their operating systems contain a secret backdoor that could be used by the company to install changes without the users permission. Stallman has apparently given no explanation of why he was prompted to issue this apology.
The H published one feature this week, "Linux and the Trusted Platform Module by Terry Relph-Knight" a look at the implications for open source of moves to integrate security with the hardware of personal computers.
We have at least two new features due for next week; an examination of the Open Core marketing model, "Open core, Closed heart? by Richard Hillesley" and an article about open source projects approaches to releasing major changes in their software, from our editor-in-chief Dj Walker-Morgan.
Open Source News
On Monday we published another issue of our rolling Kernel Log series "The main development phase of Linux 2.6.32 completed" covering improvements in the Direct Rendering Manager and Kernel Based Mode setting for graphics display, added support for Intel's Trusted Execution Technology and the integration of the somewhat controversial devtmpfs.
The OpenStreetMap project continues to thrive and a further 26 languages have now been added to the language choices for the free mapping application, for a total of 51 choices now available. Flickr the online storage facility for digital photographs, has added support for OpenStreetMap tags allowing images to be linked directly to online maps.
Steve Kondik, the independent developer distributing Android firmware, has responded to a cease and desist request from Google by saying he will remove all proprietary code from CyanogenMod, but will continue to distribute a modified version. In a related move another group of developers has formed the Open Android Alliance with the aim of coding a version of Android that replaces the proprietary Google Apps with free open source versions.
Following up swiftly on the release of Android 1.6 the Android development team has now released version 1.6 rel 1 of the Android NDK (Native Development Kit). When used with the Android SDK, the NDK allows native libraries to be embedded in application packages for deployment on Android devices.
The Cabinet Office, the UK government office that "sits at the very centre of government" and "has an overarching purpose of Making government work better" has thrown its weight behind open data. It has announced that it is developing a platform for developers to cooperate in making government and public information accessible and useful.
The anticipated end of October release of Ubuntu 9.10 was preceded on Friday by the release of the first beta version.
The SMB2 vulnerability in Windows issue came to a head on Tuesday with the publication of a working exploit. While Microsoft has yet to release a patch for the vulnerability, the company has released a "one-click" work-around that disables the vulnerable protocol.
In response to rising threat levels Microsoft have released the promised free Security Essentials anti-virus program. The hope is that by making a free and easily obtainable anti-virus product available the overall security of the entire Windows ecosystem will be improved.
A team of academics from three American universities have published a paper describing an attack on a security hardened electronic voting machine. The method used – "Return-oriented Programming" – demonstrates an ingenious approach which has broader scope than just voting machines and could be used for other attacks.
Security specialist Jacob Appelbaum published an SSL certificate and pertinent private key that together allow web servers to avoid triggering an alert in vulnerable browsers. Appelbaum said that since the major browsers have all published patches for this vulnerability he felt publication was useful as it provides a check tool for testing and ensuring that patches are in place.
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