The H Roundup for 2011
As 2011 comes to a close, The H has had a look back on what our most read features and news items were for the year and with the mix of open source and security that is the trademark of The H we think you'll find it a different holiday read.
So settle back and click through to relive a 2011 full of security breaches and embarrassment, Linux's big 20th birthday and not quite so big 3.0, odd bedfellows and strange breakups around open source and free software, some finely recalled history, security advice, security holes and more.
The H's most read features of 2011
Anonymous makes a laughing stock of HBGary – When Anonymous hackers got into security company HBGary and started releasing email and other documents, it revealed a strange world of contracts and proposals to snoop on social networks. Juergen Schmidt from heise Security, The H's associates in Germany, explained how that world was penetrated.
Arch Linux – "It is what you make it" – Arch Linux has a strong following of users, thanks to its own philosophy of how a Linux should work. Richard Hillesley took a look at why Arch Linux users like their Linux distribution so much and what makes it different from the other Linux systems out there.
We won and we didn't notice – a conversation with Jeremy Allison of Samba – Samba is part of the fabric of free software and one which has taken on Microsoft on the home turf of its own protocols. Jeremy Allison, creator of Samba, reflected on how things have changed since the early years of free and open source software.
What's new in Linux 2.6.39 – When each major Linux release happens Thorsten Leemhuis is there breaking down what is new in that release. In 2011 we saw Linux 2.6.37, Linux 2.6.38, Linux 2.6.39 and the jump to Linux 3.x with Linux 3.0 and Linux 3.1, but our statistics don't lie; it was the Linux 2.6.39 article that was most popular this year.
CSI:Internet - A trip into RAM – Read how a forensic analysis of a compromised system revealed the functioning of a banking trojan and learn what tools were pressed into action. This was one episode in the second series of the popular CSI:Internet articles that take readers into the mind of security specialists and explain the techniques they apply. For the other articles in the series, check out the CSI:Internet HQ pages.
Why I was wrong about Microsoft – Glyn Moody, a regular columnist at The H, looked at how Microsoft has changed, and yet remained the same, in its recourse to litigation against free and open source based products. It's just one of the many free software and open source related subjects that Glyn Moody has discussed in his thought-provoking column.
Linux photo tools – In association with c't Digital Photography, The H presented Robert Seetzen's review of photo tools for Linux including Bibble Pro, digiKam, Picasa, LightZone, Raw Therapee. For even more in-depth articles on digital photography, see the print or digital issues of c't Digital Photography.
Nokia and open source – a trial by fire – 2011 was a hard year for Nokia as it turned its back on Linux and headed to Microsoft. Richard Hillesley looked at the tricky relationship that Nokia has had with open source in general.
Ubuntu and the price of Unity – Canonical's decision to create its own shell for GNOME 3 in the form of Unity has stretched a number of relationships for the Ubuntu builder. Richard Hillesley asked if this stretching has been worth it and what the cost of pioneering on the Linux desktop was. For more from Richard Hillesley, see his article archive on The H.
Storing passwords in uncrackable form – With the advent of rainbow tables and other techniques, simply hashing passwords to make them secure on the server is not enough. Daniel Bachfeld looked at techniques to remedy that situation.
The H's most read news of 2011
- Microsoft contributes a lot of changes to Linux kernel 3.0 – In July, people were surprised to see Microsoft at the top of a list of corporate changes made to Linux 3.0.
- No more desktop Linux systems in the German Foreign Office – The German Foreign Office decided in February that it wasn't going to keep deploying Linux, though the reasons why weren't clear.
- Linux receives 20th birthday video from Microsoft – In July, Linux celebrated its 20th birthday and Microsoft was apparently among the well-wishers, sending a rather odd little video.
- Hurd Progresses - Debian GNU/Hurd by end of 2012? – The Duke Nukem Forever of operating systems, GNU/Hurd, continued its many-year voyage to completion, though there were plans discussed in July to create a Debian release based around it.
- Linus on Android headers: claims "seem totally bogus" – In March, claims that Android headers were a derived work of the Linux headers were dismissed by Linus Torvalds as "totally bogus".
- Controversy surrounds Red Hat's "obfuscated" source code release – Also in March, Red Hat attempted to slow down Oracle's cloning of its operating system by stopping the release of patches and shipping a tarball of its modified source so that cloners had to sift through the tarball to discover what had been changed.
- PlayStation Network temporarily shut after attack – Sony's PlayStation Network was shut down "temporarily" in April when intruders got into its systems. It turned into a major disaster for Sony with thousands of credit card numbers taken and the company's senior management forced to apologise.
- First beta for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot released – People were excited to get a first look at the latest iteration of Ubuntu in September, as the developers worked to make the Unity desktop more accessible.
- Mac OS X Lion fails to check passwords when authenticating via LDAP – August saw a security flaw appear in Apple's new Mac OS X 10.7 when it was found that its LDAP implementation would accept any password with a valid username.
- USB driver bug exposed as "Linux plug&pwn" – Bugs in Linux USB drivers that could cause buffer overflows when USB devices with long names were inserted were demonstrated allowing an attacker to plug in and take over a system.
The H will be back in full in the new year, so we wish you an excellent holiday and a Happy New Year and thanks for reading The H.