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Posts published by “Christine Hall”

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Firefox: To Configure Or Not To Configure

An interesting item came down the pike yesterday by way of Katherine Noyes on PCWorld. It seems that Alex Limi, a project design strategist at Mozilla, has blogged some concerns he has over Firefox being too configurable. It appears he’s become aware that it “…ships with many options that will render the browser unusable to most people, right in the main settings.”

This is absolutely true, but does it really matter?

I remember, many years back, I was clicking away inside Firefox when I managed to make the Menu Bar disappear. This was quite problematic because with the Menu Bar missing there was no place to click to reinstate it. I frantically searched around online, seemingly forever, until I finally found the fix. I’d like to think that I learned something from the experience, other than don’t click away the Menu Bar, but I don’t think I did for I have no memory of what I did to restore the missing item, so if I were to do it again I’d find myself back in the same boat.

Java Remains Unsafe–Not Likely To Be Fixed Soon

Guess what? We’re hearing reports this morning that the black hats are continuing to take advantage of security vulnerabilities in Java. Of course they are. That’s what black hats do. We’re also hearing from security experts that browser side Java isn’t likely to be made secure in the near future.

Oracle’s management of Java since obtaining it from Sun has been nothing short of a joke. It’s about time for them to decide if they want to keep Java or not. If they don’t want it, they need to spin it off or let it die. If they think it’s a valuable part of their software portfolio, they should treat it as such and work overtime to make it safe.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

What’s Good For Canonical Is Best For Ubuntu

Mark Shuttleworth can’t leave well enough alone. First it was Unity. Then it was Wayland. Now it’s Mir. Inquiring minds want to know: what does he think he’s trying to do? It’s simple, really. He’s not trying to do anything. All indications are that he’s actually accomplishing what he’s setting out to do. Except for making money and only time will tell if that’s going to work out for him.

Unity was a no-brainer. Practically everybody hated GNOME 3, so he pretty much had to do something. What everyone expected that something to be was along the lines of Cinnamon or MATE, an interface that would offer users the look and feel of GNOME as they knew it, not as it had become. What Shuttleworth offered was, in the words of Monty Python, “something completely different.” Different from both GNOME 2 or 3. Different from KDE. Different from Windoze and OS X. Unique to Ubuntu.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

The Robo Cloud Is Coming

I was just getting used to yesterday and suddenly it’s tomorrow.

Am I the only one who worries that we’re going a little too fast in our move to bring robotics into everyday life? Shouldn’t we sit down as a group and ask first, “Is this really something we want to do?” Maybe I’ve read too much science fiction, or maybe it’s those images from The Matrix that I just can’t get out of my mind. Or maybe it’s the memory from 2001 of the mentally ill computer with self awareness, Hal, trying to convince Dave that it was all a misunderstanding and that he promises to be good if only he’s not disconnected from his power source.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Demand Progress Video On Implications Of Kirtsaeng Case

The internet activist group Demand Progress has released a short 2 1/2 minute video on YouTube that explains the implications of the legal wranglings between student Supap Kirtsaeng and textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons in a case that’s already gone before the U.S. Supreme Court and is now awaiting a ruling.

At issue is the reselling of new textbooks purchased cheaply abroad in the United States. Kirtsaeng, a Thai graduate student in the U.S., sold textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons on eBay that had been purchased by relatives in Thailand. The publisher is claiming copyright infringement, and so far has won all rulings in the Federal courts.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Oracle Patches 2 Java Holes–At Least 5 Remain

It would seem that Oracle is getting serious about addressing security issues in Java. Late Monday the company pushed Java 7 Update 17 that fixes two security holes that were already being exploited in the wild.

The vulnerabilities addressed in Monday’s patch had been known since at least February 1 and were originally scheduled to be fixed in a scheduled security update in April, according to a security blog on the Oracle website:

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Five, Count ‘Em, Five New Security Holes In Java

Those who thought it was safe to re-up Java on their browsers will need to go back and turn it off again.

If you listen to us, after you do you’ll never turn it back on. Browser side Java has been made pretty much obsolete by newer technologies, which means you don’t need it, especially since it’s proving to be about as easy to keep secure as ActiveX, sandbox or no. Here at FOSS Force, we haven’t had it enabled on our browsers for years, with no noticeable problems when we surf the web.

You may remember that back on January 10th it was announced that Java had a security vulnerability that was already being exploited in the wild. This security hole was serious enough to prompt the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to suggest that browser side Java be turned-off on all computers.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Back to the Future With Apple’s Rumored Smart Watch


For the last couple of decades we’ve watched as our technology has caught up with the world of Star Trek much faster than Gene Roddenberry could ever have imagined back in the 1960s, when Kirk, Spock and the gang first rode into our living rooms, mostly in “non-living” or “dead” black and white, as not many of us had “living” color back then.

Well, here we are, nowhere even close to the 23rd century of the original Enterprise, and we already have our smart phones, which are an awfully lot like the gee-whiz communicators into which Kirk would bark “beam us outta here” whenever a bug-eyed monster got too close for comfort. Indeed, we even have satellite phones, which could presumably communicate with the crew of the Enterprise if they were in orbit around our third rock from the sun. Though we don’t yet have replicators, holodecks or transporters, we can only imagine its only a matter of time before we can pick them up at Best Buy too.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Avast AV Finds Malware On LA Times Website

This morning the Prague based antivirus company Avast! pushed notification to it’s subscribers of the presence of malware on the LA Times website. The notification came by way of a link to a blog on the antivirus company’s site delivered with the morning’s virus signature update. According to the blog’s writer, Brian Krebs, the Times site has been affected for about a month and a half. The problem is not site wide and only affects visitors to a small section of the site:

“…Fortunately for most of the users, only one of the low-profile websites was infected, so the assumed number of the infected people is not really high. But! I checked yesterday’s stats, then day-before-yesterday and the result was a bit of shocker! We have consecutive reports of malicious iframes on their sub-site from 23rd of December and it is still working there while I’m writing this blog.”

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

FOSS’s Response to Office Rumor


Depending on who you talk to, Microsoft may or may not port their Office productivity suite to Linux. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at ZDNet seems to be the biggest naysayer at the moment. You can count me in his camp. He’s right; at present we don’t represent a big enough potential market for the Redmond folks to entertain any thoughts of putting high dollar coders to work doing the porting work. I’m sure the Microsoft bean counters would estimate it would take decades for them to earn their investment back. For that reason alone, it ain’t going to happen.

But the big story here is that this isn’t the big story here.

The big story is in how we, the FOSS community, have reacted to this rumor in a way that shows how much we’ve grown and matured in the last four or five years. We’ve reacted to this rumor like responsible grown-ups and I, for one, feel like a proud parent.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

A Nightmare on Linux Avenue

Let’s say it finally happens and the big OEMs get tired of dealing with Microsoft and decide to make Windows only one choice of several on new computers. Not a world like we have now, where the likes of Dell halfheartedly offer half baked and broken installs of Ubuntu, installs that need serious tweaking before they’ll work. Not that world, but a pretend world of Linux being offered across all models, with a choice between two or three distros. You know, OEMs giving Linux exactly the same treatment as they give Windows today.

Sounds like Tux heaven does it not? Don’t be in too big a hurry to celebrate.

Christine Hall

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. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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