Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 15:31:43 -0400 (EDT)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LXP] Linux Pipeline - 05-31-2005 - Halfway Home Linux Pipeline Newsletter | Halfway Home | 05.31.2005
Linux Pipeline Newsletter
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: Halfway Home
  • Top Linux News
        - Mozilla Readies Alpha Release For Firefox Update
        - Microsoft's Fix For New Netscape Bug: Dump Netscape
        - Security Firm Delivers Firefox Anti-Phishing Extension
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Survey: Many Web Users Unaware Of Browser-Security Link
        - Review: PepperPad Amazes, But What Is It?
        - Love At First Surf -- One Firefox Feature IE Can't Beat
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: Your 64-Bit Future
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    Editor's Note: Halfway Home

    Anyone who works with technology knows how tempting it can be -- and how utterly wrong -- to conflate ignorance with stupidity. While "ignorance" is never an endearing term, it's important to remember what it means (a lack of knowledge or education) as well as what it doesn't mean (a lack of grey matter between the ears).

    I kept this notion fresh in my mind when I read this week's story about a recent survey that found half of all Web users still don't get the connection between Web browsers and computer security. The fact is, these results probably say less about the competence of the users surveyed than they do about people who spend a third of their lives staring at a computer screen, working with badly designed tools that slowly drive them nuts -- and then hold forth on what should be "obvious" or "common sense" to people who work normal jobs and lead healthy, balanced lives.

    (Not that I know anyone who fits that description.)

    Yet even if it's reasonable to discover that so many Web users could understand so little about security, the implications are no less appalling than they ever were:

    -- These users would still consider ActiveX a convenience rather than a threat to their well-being, to the extent that they consider ActiveX at all.

    -- They're almost entirely at the mercy of their default security settings; put one of them in front of a PC running Internet Explorer that somehow got configured for intranet-level security, and they'll be lucky to escape with the clothes on their back.

    -- As a group, these users represent enough exposed computing resources to keep every phony Nigerian attorney and wanna-be eBay proprietor running at full power for the next several hundred years.

    --These users ensure that spam and spyware will continue to be practical, highly lucrative sources of income for people who, in the past, might have made a living peddling Nevada beachfront property.

    These are some ugly truths, and they have consequences up and down the open-source food chain. As more new users come into closer contact with software originally designed for people with deeper technical knowledge and much higher security awareness, the potential for a train wreck somewhere along the line increases day by day. How may products still assume, as MySQL did until very recently, that users know better than to leave a default blank password? How accurately, in the end, will Mozilla have assessed the right time in Firefox's development process to implement an auto-update feature? Might Linux distro vendors pay just as high a PR price for being considered more secure than its competitors, if consumers and even business users decide that their new, "secure" system will take care of itself"

    These users aren't stupid -- not by a long shot. But someone had better sit them down and explain the facts of life: Open-source software delivers freedom, power, and flexibility, and the people who use it return the favor by assuming they will always be their own best defense against things that go 'bump' on the 'net. It's a vital message both for users and for the products they'll be tempted to blame for whatever awful things happen to them. And clearly, it's a message very few of them will already have heard when they arrive at the party.

    Matthew McKenzie
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

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    Top Linux News

    Mozilla Readies Alpha Release For Firefox Update
    The Mozilla Foundation this week plans to release an early-stage version 1.1 release for its open-source browser, which includes an updated Web page rendering engine supporting several new standards.

    Microsoft's Fix For New Netscape Bug: Dump Netscape
    A Microsoft developer on the Internet Explorer team said that a bug in Netscape 8 will break IE's ability to render XML content unless users uninstall the rival browser. Netscape confirms the bug but insists Microsoft is overstating its severity.

    Security Firm Delivers Firefox Anti-Phishing Extension
    U.K.-based Web security firm Netcraft releases a Firefox version of its anti-phishing toolbar, matching a similar product Netcraft developed for Internet Explorer users late last year.

    Microsoft Paints Modest Picture Of IE 7 Tabs Feature
    Microsoft on Thursday divulged a few more details about its upcoming Internet Explorer 7, admitting that its first stab at tabbed browsing will look more like a "catch-up" move to rivals such as Firefox and Opera.

    Apple-Intel Rumors Prompt Doubt, Speculation
    Most Apple-watchers don't expect to see an 'Intel Inside' label on the Mac anytime soon, if ever. Yet Apple has a number of other products where an Intel deal makes far more sense, including an OS X emulator for Pentium chips.

    Nokia Launches Linux 'Internet Tablet'
    The mobile vendor's first Linux-powered device, which supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, is aimed at business users who need Web and email access while on the move.

    Microsoft Faces EU Antitrust Ultimatum
    A failure to loosen competitor access to Windows server source code, or to produce a Windows version without Media Player that satisfies European Commission regulators, could lead to fines of $5 million per day.

    Tumbleweed Expands Email Security Product Line
    The company's says its Outbreak Detection technology adds a new layer of protection against spam, phishing, spyware, virus and worm attacks sent out in e-mail blasts.

    Russian Adware Site's Twisted Take On Affiliate Marketing
    A Russian-based online business offers Web admins six cents for each visitor they infect with adware and spyware -- a malevolent , and most likely profitable, twist on legitimate affiliate marketing programs .

    Report Sees Windows Servers Gaining On Unix; Linux Still Off Analysts' Radars
    A server market survey sees Windows gaining fast on a long-time Unix stronghold. As for Linux, in spite of runaway growth numbers the platform still doesn't rate place at the en doesn't make the analyst radar due to a low starting point.

    Mainsoft Debuts First Visual Studio .Net Plugin For Linux
    Mainsoft this week unveiled Visual MainWin for J2EE Developer Edition, called Grasshopper, a Visual Studio .Net plug-in that enables Visual Studio developers to quickly develop Web applications for Linux.

    OSDL Axes U.S. Staff, Plans Overseas Push
    The Open Source Development Labs, the Beaverton, Ore.-based Linux consortium that's the professional home of Linus Torvalds, has axed staffers in a layoff intended to refocus the operation.

    IBM Appoints Open-Source Promoter To Head Rational Software
    Danny Sabbah is a 30-year veteran of the company and an architect of its open-source policy, as well as overseer of its mainstream WebSphere middleware.

    PalmOne Returns To Its Roots With New Name, New OS Deal
    Device vendor will change its name to Palm, Inc. this fall and extends its commitment to the Palm OS through 2009, but questions remain about its future device plans.

    IBM, Oracle Tie For Lead In Database Market Race
    IBM and Oracle took equal shares of the lead in global RDBMS licensing revenue last year--and Oracle in particular owes most of its gains to a surge in Linux database sales.

    Red Hat Prepares Enterprise Product Push
    The Linux vendor plans to launch its new Directory Server and Certificate Management System and discuss its plans for open-source Xen virtualization technology, during its first annual summit meeting this week in New Orleans.

    Editor's Picks

    Survey: Many Web Users Unaware Of Browser-Security Link
    Opera Software has released a survey concluding that only 51 percent of the "adult online population" realize that their Web browser choices affect the overall security of their PCs.

    Review: PepperPad Amazes, But What Is It?
    This Linux-powered, Mozilla-Web-browsing, Wi-Fi-enabled, hard-disk-equipped device is to "media player" what Disney World is to "amusement park."

    Love At First Surf -- One Firefox Feature IE Can't Beat
    Microsoft can copy all the Firefox features it wants for IE 7 and beyond. But it will never inspire the affection that so many people already feel for Mozilla's open-source browser, says Pipelines Features Editor Valerie Potter.

    This Week's Must-See IT: As The Palm Turns
    The intrigue is increasing this week in David Haskin's favorite mobile industry soap: As The Palm Turns. Can Linux save the Palm OS? Will palmOne save its former sibling PalmSource? Will Microsoft save palmOne? Stay tuned, dear readers.

    Blog Jobs: Five Business-Ready Blogging Packages
    Blogs aren't just for preaching and punditry -- they're now serious business tools. We review five blogging packages that can suit a range of business sizes and budgets, including an open-source application that can match almost anything else on the market.

    Open-Source Vendor Support Wins Big Business
    Three corporate users discuss the reasons for their move to Linux and open-source applications, citing vendor service and support as the key reasons for their shift away from proprietary products.

    Voting Booth: Your 64-Bit Future Vote

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    This week, we're continuing our poll on your experience so far using 64-bit systems, either in production or on test systems. We pay good money to rig our elections, so get over there, and make it look good!

    Poll Results:
    The results so far: If our deceptively scientific-looking poll is any indication, companies pushing 64-bit technology as the wave of the future better start pushing harder: A majority of you aren't even experimenting yet with 64-bit hardware or Linux distros.

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