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Phone 7 FUD, Windows 8 Lockout, Samsung Takes Off Gloves

Friday FOSS Week in Review

This week’s biggest story in FOSS was the quick changing of the guard over at HP. Although HP isn’t really a FOSS company, they do of course sell Linux servers and were recently considered to be on the verge of becoming a major FOSS player with their webOS. There’s no need to cover any of that here, however, as I posted my viewpoints on this fiasco last night.

DigiNotar Put out of Business by Hackers

You know, when you’re a security firm it pays to have your security in place. I mean, it doesn’t look even a little good when you’re hacked, especially when your business is telling other people how not to get hacked. This is a truth that became much more self evident early this week when Dutch security firm DigiNotar announced they were going into voluntary bankrupcy and putting themselves out of business as the end result of a hacking incident that began last July. It seems that attackers gained access to the firm’s internal systems and issued a slew of fake certificates that allowed the hacker/crackers to impersonate web firms like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Skype. Evidently, the certificates were used to gain access to over 30,000 Google email accounts.


The firm probably had little choice but to fall on its own sword. Shortly after the breach was made public, they came under scrutiny for their sloppy practices, and Mozilla acted quickly to remove the company from the list of trusted certificate signers in their browsers – meaning that any https connection to a site using a DigiNotar certificate would bring up a security flag, the kiss of death for an ecommerce site.

LinuxConfig.org’s Last Post

If you’re a regular user of LinuxConfig.org you already know, but if you’re only an occasional user you might want to add LinuxCareer.com to your bookmarks. On Monday the four year old site that supplies Linux tutorials and other information useful to penguinistas posted their last post. Never fear, however. All of their tutorials will remain on site, and new tutorials will be developed and served-up by LinuxCareer.com.

Deutsche Telekom Want to Certify Euro Sites Free from U.S. Government Spying

German telecommunications firm Deutsch Telekom has asked regulators in their home country for a certificate so that EU companies can assure their customers that their data is protected from U.S. government prying. Ron Miller reports on IT Knowledge Exchange:

“DT intends to offer customers a more secure alternative and it wants some certification system in place to prove it. Let’s face it, the EU has much more stringent privacy laws in place to protect companies from government interference with their data.

“Many companies live in fear of placing their data on US servers because of the USA Patriot Act. Earlier this month, I wrote a post, Patriot Act Casts Shadow on Cloud Computing, on the negative effects of the Patriot Act on cloud computing in the United States. As a result of the restrictiveness of the law, many countries and the companies that are based there will not do business with a cloud company if the data is going to be stored on US servers.”

I usually stay away from politics when I write for FOSS Force, but I must say that there was a time in my life when I couldn’t imagine my rights being more protected than in the good old US of A. Sadly, those days seem to be gone and don’t appear to be coming back any time soon.

MS Cranks Up FUD Machine for Windows Phone 7

I can’t swear this item is Microsoft FUD, but it sure smells that way. On Wednesday a writer on CNET’s Microsoft beat reported on a study released by NPD Group. Although the article is never quite clear on exactly what is being studied (unless I missed something – tell me), the point seems to be that lots of potential buyers just can’t wait to get their hands on Windows Phone 7. Again, I could be wrong, but this sounds like the beginning of some sort of Redmond financed campaign to me. Stay tuned…

Google/Oracle Patent Infringement Talks Go Nowhere

It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Google and Oracle are having trouble agreeing on a sum for Google to cough up in the Android Java case. Oracle has been claiming they’re owed as much as $6 billion, and a $15 per Android device figure has been mentioned for the future. Google, on the other hand, thinks $100 million should cover things quite nicely.

In a story released today by Reuters, Ellison & Company is claiming it suffered about $1.16 billion in damages. The case is slated to go before U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco on October 31. On July 22, this same judge rejected the Oracle request for $6.1 billion, but allowed the company an opportunity to revise its claim.

On Windows 8 and the Great Linux Lockout

I imagine that there are few readers of this site who haven’t procured a used Windows box to wipe the hard drive to install Linux on it. Well, there’s been some noise this week that might not be so easy anymore.

Linux kernel developer Matthew Garrett has made it known that a secure booting feature of Windows 8 could lock-out operating systems other than Windows from being installed. In response, the folks in Redmond have been batting their eyes, acting all sorts of innocent and saying this isn’t their intention, that they’re only interested in security.

I’m not going to worry about this. I’m confident that if it does turn out to be a real problem, the fine developers at Linux and at the various distros will find a seamless workaround. Linux will continue to install on any machine, without the user needing to worry about any Windows shenanigans.

Samsung Announces Plans to Escalate Patent War with Apple

This has got to be good news. The Associated Press reported today that officials at Samsung have said they plan to take a more aggresive stance against Apple in the patent wars regarding their Android devices:

“‘We’ll be pursuing our rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on,’ Lee Younghee, head of global marketing for mobile communications, said Friday in an interview.

“Lee, a senior vice president at Samsung, did not say what form the South Korean company’s stronger stance would take or if there would be more lawsuits. But her remarks suggest a definite change in tone. She described its previous approach as ‘passive.’

“So far, Samsung has mostly spoken about the dispute through press releases and comments by anonymous company officials in South Korean and foreign media. The public nature of the comments appeared to back up recent South Korean media speculation the company was planning to go on the offensive.”

Samsung has already recently upped the ante by filing patent suits against Apple, giving them a dose of their own medicine. According to AP, the fight has spread to a total of 10 countries. This new aggressive stance by Samsung, coupled with Google’s beefing up their mobile portifolio and turning some patents over to HTC to help them with their own struggle against Apple, might end Android’s legal limbo once and for all.

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Well, that does it for this week. See you on Monday. In the meantime, 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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