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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

Oracle’s Quick Java Patch–Too Little Too Late?

On Sunday, Oracle pushed an “unscheduled” patch to fix a security hole in Java that had prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to take the unprecedented step of advising all Internet users to disable browser-side Java. The hole was already being exploited in the wild when white hats brought it to the public’s attention last week, mainly being used to install “ransomware.”

Despite Oracle’s assurances that it’s safe for surfers to go back in the water, security experts remain uncertain about the safety of Java. On Information Week, writer Mathew J. Schwartz quotes at least one security expert who gives the security patch a thumbs up:

Java Security Vulnerability – How To Disable Java In Linux Browsers

When the Homeland Security folks get into the mix and urge all computer users to disable Java in their browsers, you know it’s serious. Indeed, the exploit announced yesterday seems to affect all operating systems, including Linux, and it’s already being exploited. According to Trend Micro the flaw is already being used by blackhat toolkits mainly to distribute ransomware. In a blog posted yesterday, the company advises all users to disable or uninstall Java:

To prevent this exploit, and subsequently the related payload, we recommend users to consider if they need Java in their systems. If it is needed, users must use the security feature to disable Java content via the Java Control Panel, that shipped in the latest version of Java 7. The said feature disables Java content in webpages. If Java content is not needed, users may opt to uninstall Java as it can pose certain security risk.

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

When Free Software Isn’t Free

Wowie-zowie! How truly great is Windows, which offers up so much fun stuff we never get to see running Linux.

Yesterday while searching through tech sites looking for articles to use on our Facebook feed, I ran across a review of a free utility application for Windows. The program, Toolbar Cleaner, basically aids the user in removing unnecessary programs that might be slowing a Windows machine down, such as toolbars and browser plugins and extensions. Need I mention that most toolbars were probably installed by other free programs for Windows?

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

“Old” Novell Board Faces Shareholder Lawsuit

Novell is back in the news.

Not the downsized “new and improved” Novell owned by Attachmate, though they have briefly been a part of this story. We’re talking about the old, basically inept Novell–the company that once practically owned enterprise networking back in the day when Bill Gates was shortsighted enough to believe that the future of computing was in stand alone and unconnected boxes. You know, the Novell that was second cousin, by way of Raymond Noorda and the Canopy Group, to SCO. The same Novell that decided to save their proprietary business by embracing open source and buying the SUSE Linux distribution in an attempt to reposition themselves as a poor man’s IBM sans hardware.

In case you’ve forgotten–a couple of years can seem like several lifetimes in the tech world–this is the company that managed to sell the rights to UNIX to SCO without selling the copyrights. The company that, although mistrusted by many of us in the FOSS world, stepped up to the plate and spent a pocketful of cash defending these copyrights, thereby directly defending IBM and indirectly defending Linux.

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

Are You Ready For iBuntu?

I’ve said for years that if the folks at Canonical want to get serious traction with Ubuntu and truly compete with the likes of Microsoft and Apple, they need to come out with their own line of hardware. Face it, the big OEMs still show little to no interest in pre-installed anything other than Windows and most home computer users aren’t ever going to start installing their own operating systems.

Consumers generally just want to open the box and start computing. They’re not interested in what’s under the hood. As for the enterprise, their server needs are either being met by Red Hat, its clone CentOS, or they’re rolling their own in-house, starting with a “pure” Linux like Debian or Slackware.

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

Ubuntu Phone OS – What Are Its Chances?

By now, probably everyone interested in FOSS has heard that Canonical is going to be coming out with Ubuntu Phone OS, a version of Ubuntu specifically designed for the smartphone market. This OS will be in addition to the already available Ubuntu for Android. Media experts had prepared us to be ready for both a phone and a tablet offering, but that evidently isn’t going to happen–at least not yet.

Not surprisingly, the tech press has been all over this story since yesterday’s announcement–especially the FOSS press–making this the biggest story so far in this just born year. The stories that are appearing online are either straight forward reporting of the facts, or speculation on what this will mean for mobile and Ubuntu.

Reading the later category of article can be a bit confusing. Obviously, this early in the game nobody, including Canonical, has even a clue as to how this will work out. But that doesn’t stop some writers from getting out the old crystal ball and having a go at Free Software fortune telling.

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

I’m Back To Doing What I Do Best – Reporting On FOSS!

It’s no fun getting sick under any circumstances. It’s especially no fun getting sick when you can’t afford medical insurance. And if you’ve ever heard it said that there’s no need to worry, the ER will take care of you no matter what, don’t believe it. First you have to be pretty much dying, then you have to be prepared for a whopping huge bill. I visited the ER in September, a month after I came down with some mysterious respiratory illness that wouldn’t go away and got a bill for over a thousand bucks for a diagnosis that was questionable at best. That was enough to keep me away from the ER after that.

I had to give up working on FOSSForce. My day job, which is really an eight bucks and change an hour night job, doesn’t pay me when I don’t work, so I’ve been spending my days in bed resting so I’d have enough energy and health to keep working and keep myself from ending up on the street. At 61 years of age, I don’t think I want to end up in a homeless shelter, capisce?

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

Assange on the Run: Going Nowhere for Now

Assange now has help, but seemingly not enough.

He’s surrounded by hostile Brits and a government threatening to storm the Ecuadoran embassy where he’s holed up. Ecuador’s government has granted him political asylum and is calling the Brits’ bluff, pointedly reminding them they’re not a colony and haven’t been for quite a long time.

If he does manage to escape and get his feet safely planted on Ecuadoran soil, he has a good chance of being able to eventually return home to Australia, where he has a strong support base.

For now, the Brits are unlikely to follow through on their threatened raid; that would set a dangerous precident. Ernest A. Canning, writing as a guest on The Brad Blog, explained the danger the threat exposes:

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

Kim Dotcom – ‘Dr. No’ Meets ‘Mars Attacks’

When the feds enlisted the help of New Zealand authorities to arrest Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, I figured there was evidence. I’d forgotten that this is the new USA, where the concept that proof is vital in criminal proceedings seems to have died long ago. This is a fact the New Zealand courts are now realizing, as they delve into the matter of their police’s involvement in the fiasco.

They’re also discovering that New Zealand law enforcement was acting on information that could come out of any cold war spy movie from the sixties. Our feds thought Dotcom had a suicide device, a way to instantly destroy the evidence and escape their justice. New Zealand Herald‘s David Fisher quotes testamony from Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, in charge of the New Zealand raid on Dotcom’s home:

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

LendInks, Mob Mentality and the DMCA

The streets of the Internet can be dangerous.

Every day, people are gunned down when they leave the relatively safe main streets of Reddit, Facebook or Twitter to wander into bad neighborhood forums where they’re not known. The usual weapons are words and the common advice is to grow thick skin for protection. Consequences are usually low; feelings are about all that ever get hurt.

Sometimes, however, mobs form. Posses meet up outside a hated website and hit the owners with barrages of venomous email. If a site has a forum or a Facebook page, they try to take over. If it’s supported by ad money, they might launch a campaign against the advertisers, as happened in 2010 with Cooks Source Magazine–a New England site brought down by web users for cavalierly stealing content.

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

SCO Never Can Say Goodbye

I’d almost forgotten that SCO was still around until PJ at Groklaw reported the company was in the process of switching from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. In bankruptcy talk that means the company’s stance has changed from we’re-going-to-come-out-of-this-alive to it’s-call-the-priest-for-last-rites-time. The trouble is, this is SCO, so you know it’s not going to be that simple. They’ll come up with some stupid request for the court that confounds logic, which they’ve done.

If I’m reading PJ right, SCO wants to both eat and have cake, which is pretty much what they’ve always wanted. This time they want to go bankrupt and leave their creditors without a dime but still stick around to continue litagation against IBM for alledgedly giving Linux all sorts of code. Here’s how PJ intreprets what SCO is telling the court:

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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