Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 15:54:25 -0500 (EST)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LXP] Linux Pipeline - 01.25.2006 - Mozilla Mystery! Linux Pipeline Newsletter | Mozilla Mystery! | 01.25.2006
Linux Pipeline Newsletter

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: Mozilla Mystery!
  • Top Linux News
        - Firefox Users Draw Surprise Beta-Test Duty
        - F-Secure Moves Fast To Patch Windows, Linux AV Products
        - IBM's 2005 Results: Soft Sales, Higher Profits
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Review: Browsing Off The Beaten Path
        - GPL Debate: Who Gets Final Say On Open Source?
        - EU Initiative Could Revive Software Patent Debate
        - Extra: It's Salary Survey Time!
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: Is DRM DOA?
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    Editor's Note: Mozilla Mystery!

    Yesterday afternoon, I found myself gawking at a surprise on my OS X desktop: A Firefox popup window telling me that a "version update" was ready to download, and that Mozilla "strongly suggested" installing it as soon as possible.

    As you'll soon learn if you haven't already heard, this was Mozilla's way of asking for volunteers to test a release candidate for its first Firefox bug-patch update since releasing version 1.5 nearly two months ago. I had, indeed, worked quite a bit with the OS X versionis of the Firefox 1.5 beta releases, and then with the release candidates. And this time around, when Mozilla Corp. once again needed some tire-kicking help with Firefox, the company assumed that, like a lot of other Firefox 1.5 beta testers, I might be willing to do a little more tire-kicking on its behalf.

    Mozilla was right, at least in my case. Nevertheless, its whole approach to this process struck me as more than a little screwy. For starters, the update notice on my desktop didn't say anything about a release candidate or software testing -- it simply said that Firefox version was available, and that I should come and get it right away. To make matters worse, the "more info" link included with the update notice took me to a page full of release notes for every previous version of Firefox -- but it didn't have any information at all concerning the release.

    By the time I checked out some other breaking-news pages on the Mozilla site (no luck) and then ran the auto-update on my Windows and Linux Firefox clients (both negative), I wasn't thinking "release candidate." I was thinking, "Russian mobsters are about to hijack my browser, compromise every computer on my home network, and probably drain every last cent of that $57.14 nest egg in my checking account."

    Fortunately, I got a clue before I went into full freakout mode and yanked all the cables out of my router. But really: Some things do NOT make fun-filled surprises, and mystery-meat software updates are among them. There has got to be a better way of rounding up volunteers.

    Take The Linux Test!
    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is probably my favorite writer covering the Linux and Open Source beat these days. He's a great communicator, has a spot-on sense of humor, and of course, he knows the subject matter better than almost any other journalist around these parts.

    In one of his recent columns on, Steven mentioned an interesting decision-making tool for indecisive desktop Linux users. The Linux Distro Chooser Quiz comes courtesy of Daniel Eikeland, a project leader at Zegenie Studios in Norway. Consultants, even Open Source consultants, aren't known for their fun-loving ways, but Daniel's quiz is a fun way to find out which Linux distro might be worth your time to try.

    The Linux distro world is a big and sometimes confusing place. And while I'm still riding my Ubuntu high these days, one of the great things about Linux is its chameleon-like ability to adopt to so many different platforms, applications, skill levels, and other variables. Check out Daniel's quiz when you have a moment -- and be sure to drop me a line afterwards. I'm curious to hear about the results.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, and stay in touch.

    Matt McKenzie
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

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    Top Linux News

    Firefox Users Draw Surprise Beta-Test Duty
    Why does your Firefox auto-update wants you to install software that hasn't yet been released? Mozilla is testing release candidates for its next minor update, and it has a favor to ask.

    F-Secure Moves Fast To Patch Windows, Linux AV Products
    Finnish security software maker F-Secure releases patches for nearly two dozen "critical" vulnerabilities in its flagship Windows and Linux anti-virus products, after an independent researcher reveals the existence of the flaws.

    IBM's 2005 Results: Soft Sales, Higher Profits
    IBM reports a 2005 revenue drop of more than five percent, as modest rises in its software and services income fail to close the gap left following the sale of its PC manufacturing operation. Big Blue's bottom line, however, didn't skip a beat, as profits climbed more than six percent over 2004.

    Firefox 1.5 Passes 20 Million Mark
    Firefox 1.5 has been downloaded more than 20 million times since its late November release, Mozilla Corp. announced Tuesday.

    Unofficial Firefox For Intel Macs Debuts
    It may not yet have the green light to carry the Mozilla brand, but a version of Firefox that will run on Apple Computer's new Intel-based Macs is all but finished, according to the developer who did almost all of the work on the project.

    EC Grants Microsoft Extension; DoJ Says Tardy
    The European Commission gave Microsoft an extension Monday to respond to charges relating to a 2004 antitrust ruling. Meanwhile the U.S. Department of Justice took the company to task for falling behind in providing documentation required under a 2002 antitrust settlement.

    Google News Goes Final, Adds Feature
    Google has taken its online news service out of beta, and has added a feature that automatically recommends stories to subscribers of its personalized search offering.

    Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Leaks To Web
    Screenshots and code for the most recent build of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 browser have leaked to the Internet, leading to speculation that the browser will soon enter public beta testing.

    Editor's Picks

    Review: Browsing Off The Beaten Path
    Microsoft's and Mozilla's browsers may get the most attention, but they're not the only games in town. There are also some lesser known (and in at least one case, all-but-forgotten) browsers that sport a number of unique, and often quite compelling, features.

    GPL Debate: Who Gets Final Say On Open Source?
    The Free Software Foundation has released a draft of a major revision to its open-source General Public License. Before the GPL sees any changes, however, some participants are determined to make the revision process itself far more democratic than it has ever been before.

    EU Initiative Could Revive Software Patent Debate
    A senior EU politician is backing a renewed initiative to establish a consistent European patent system -- an effort that opponents see as a thinly-veiled attempt to revive legislation allowing corporations to secure and enforce U.S.-style software patents

    Google: Messaging, VoIP Interop As Easy As XMPP
    Google Inc. has opened it instant messaging and Internet telephony services to any company willing to support the XMPP protocol. While the results are promising, some notable players, including Yahoo and Microsoft, aren't yet willing to join Google's new game.

    Consumers Say Feds Should Protect Their Right To Internet Services: Survey
    Two-thirds of Internet users worry that Internet providers may block their access to information and services, and a majority support congressional action to prevent the practice, says a new survey.

    EXTRA: It's Salary Survey Time!
    Do you deserve a raise? Is your career on track? The editors of InformationWeek magazine invite you to add your .02 to their National IT Salary Survey.

    + It's fast. It's convenient. It's confidential.

    + Size up your salary against your peers' with our 30-plus page report -- including free national and regional survey results.

    + And, of course, there's the payoff potential: Respond by February 1, and we'll put you in the running for some cool prizes, including the grand prize: A Sony 42" ED-ready plasma TV valued at $2,500)

    No matter which way you look at it, this is a winning proposition: Take the survey at

    Voting Booth: Is DRM DOA?

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    This week, we want to know what you think about the impact the Sony BMG Entertainment case will have on the use of aggressive digital rights management systems on users' PCs. Will Sony's deal settling the class-action lawsuits filed against it scare the rest of the industry straight? You've got opinions -- and we're all ears. Bring it on!

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