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Happy Birthday Tux, Android Number One in Malware & Kubrick to the Rescue

Friday FOSS Week in Review

I’m back from vacation and raring to go. Of course, when I decided to take time off, all heck broke out in the tech world – isn’t that the way it always goes. Now that I’m back, things will probably slow down and I’ll find myself begging for things to write about. Of course, the biggest story this week has little direct connection with FOSS, but has to do with Apple…

Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple’s CEO

By now, I assume everyone’s heard the news about Steve Jobs’ resignation as CEO of Apple, presumably due to health reasons. For the time being he’ll be staying on as board chairman and will continue in some undefined role as an “employee.” He’ll be replaced as CEO by chief operating officer Tim Cook, who’s worked closely with Jobs for thirteen years. By all accounts Cook is capable and is credited with solving the company’s supply problems early in his tenure at Apple. To my thinking, it’s much too soon to tell how Jobs departure will affect Apple, though it’s certain his absence will be felt.


Unfortunately, many tech writers are approaching this story as if it’s an obituary, with much writing about Jobs in the past tense. I prefer to wait until people quit breathing and their heart stops before writing obits, so I’m currently hoping for his health to improve. As a FOSSer, I have issues with some of Jobs actions, but I think he’s basically one of the good guys. He’s certainly had an extremely positive influence on computer tech.

Google Buys Motorola & Android Continues to Be a Malware Magnet

Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion is a story that happened while FOSS Week in Review was on vacation. Although the main reason for this purchase was to beef up Google’s patent portfolio to help them defend Android, there’s been tons of speculation in the press about Google’s other intentions with this acquisition and how it’ll affect their relationship with their Android partners. I intend to offer my own two cents worth in an article next week. Until then, I’ll tell you I don’t think this is going to have a negative effect on Android makers in the least. In fact, it should remove some of the roadblocks that are being constructed by the patent trolls.

If that’s the case, then Android’s main problem for the user becomes the malware issue. According to Reuters, McAfee is saying that Android has now passed Symbian as the largest target for mobile malware. With Android now the most used mobile platform, it’s only to be expected that the bad guys will take advantage. Again, I don’t think we need to wring our hands and fret. I’m certain we’ll see Android’s developers working on this issue.

Rapid7 Announces $100,000 Fund for Open Source Security Projects

On Tuesday Help Net Security reported that Rapid7, a Boston based vulnerability management and penetration testing company, has created a $100,000 investment fund for up to seven open source security projects:

“Any security-related open source project – with a preference for BSD-compatible licensing – is applicable and encouraged to submit a ‘Magnificent7′ application.

“After the Rapid7 program committee reviews all initial proposals, promising projects will be chosen to participate in the second round of application, taking place at the UNITED Security Summit, where they will be granted a 45-minute presentation and in-person Q&A session with the Rapid7 committee.”

It’s always good news to find money available for FOSS projects. Maybe they’ll invest in a developer working to make Android less vulnerable, but I doubt it. My guess is they’ll be going after enterprise level projects – and that’s okay.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” Becomes a Defense Exhibit in Tablet Patent War

As a friend of mine said, this move is both “obvious and brilliant.”

According to FOSS Patents, on Monday Samsung filed a brief in opposition to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the sale of Galaxy Tab in the United States. Although this brief was filed under seal and not available, the site notes that court records show that Samsung’s lawyers have filed an exhibit with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California that, among other things, offers a clip from Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey as proof of prior art. In the clip, Kubrick’s space travelers are using devices that look suspiciously like a modern day tablet.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo&feature=player_embedded

I hope this flies. It should, as the scene in question not only shows something easily recognizable as a tablet computer, but it shows it being used in a Skype type situation. The film was based on a novel by Arthur C. Clarke who is considered something of a visionary, credited with being the first to imagine such now commonplace technologies as satellites. We’ll have to wait and see what the court thinks, however.

Linux Turns Twenty

Finally, we want to wish Tux a big happy birthday, as it’s been twenty years since Linus Torvalds first announced the creation of the Linux kernel to the world, on August 25, 1991. In case you’re interested, ars technica posted a very good retrospective to celebrate the event.

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That does it for this week, I’ll see you on Monday. If you live on the east coast, stay out of Irene’s way. May the FOSS be with you…

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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