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QtWeb: Not Quite Ready For Full Time Browsing

I thought my motherboard was dying.

I have an old Lenovo built, IBM branded desktop with 512 megs of memory and a 3 GHz processor. It runs Windows XP Pro, because the bank requires I run a piece of crap software that only speaks Windows. I’ve learned to live with it.

It’s got a Pentium 4, which had heat dissipation problems, which is why I figure the folks at Lenovo installed a gee-whiz thermostat controlled fan that’ll rev-up way high when needed. Normally that hasn’t been necessary, except when I get carried away watching high def movies or spend too much time strolling down memory lane on YouTube.

Linux Achieves Bodhi Enlightenment

Until recently, most desktop Linux distros were about the same on the surface. What differentiated them were things like configurability. Some distros, those preferred by Linux purists or designed primarily to be used as servers, required users to open a terminal and change settings with a text editor. Others sought to be newbie friendly, and had devised schemes so that most systems settings could be done point and click, just like with that evil operating system from Redmond.

On the surface, though, whether newbie friendly or designed for geeks, the user was mainly offered an out-of-the-box desktop, usually KDE or GNOME, that was maybe dressed-up a bit with the distro’s logo but otherwise seemingly added almost as an afterthought.

Will Oracle Wake Up & Smell the Java?

Does Oracle not know their own code?

I’m talking about Java. You know, the write-once-run-anywhere platform that seems to be severely broken from a security viewpoint, rendering it more than useless when used inside a browser.

Oracle, the company that’s owned Java since purchasing Sun Microsystems in 2010, seems to be clueless. Back in October the company pushed out a patch to fix some security holes that were already being exploited. There were complaints at the time that they were being secretive, saying little to nothing publicly about the problem, acting as if they were sweeping dust under a rug. Indeed, two months earlier, in August, the founder and CEO of the Polish security firm Security Explorations, Adam Gowdiak, told PCWorld that Oracle had known about the security problem for months:

Dotcom’s New Mega: Not Ready For Primetime

It’s funny how things work out. Entrepreneur Kim Schmitz changed his name to “Dotcom” in respect for the technology that made him filthy rich. However, his newest website doesn’t end in dotcom. He doesn’t dare use that top level domain because that would be an open invitation to the U.S. authorities to mess with him. I think Mr. Dotcom would like to be through dealing with the American government if he can. So he’s using .nz, the top level domain code for New Zealand where he resides.

Actually, his new site is a double dot–, or Mega. Originally, he planned to use the too trippy url, using the domain country code for Gabon, a plan that was derailed because the government of Gabon didn’t want to be party to “violating copyrights.” Mr. Dotcom might be excused for suspecting the United States for being an outside instigator in this matter.

Linux & Windows 8: So Far the Penguin Is Ahead

There’s no real way to compare how the various desktop Linux distros are doing against Windows 8, Microsoft’s newly crowned flagship product, since Linux isn’t offered preinstalled in any meaningful way by the major OEMs. What we do know is that the new Windows would seem to be failing to excite buyers; folks haven’t been rushing to the big box stores to purchase new desktops or laptops running the new operating system.

This seems odd, since Microsoft was claiming unbelievably fantastic figures for their new touch based OS before the arrival of the holiday shopping season, as Sarfaraz A. Khan explained a few weeks ago on Seeking Alpha:

A Kodak Moment As Ericsson Feeds A Troll

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While there’s been a feeding frenzy at Kodak, with a group of tech’s heavy hitters grabbing patents at fire sale prices, Ericsson has been busy making a deal with a troll to do their dirty work for them.

In the later case, the troll is Unwired Planet, a company that at one time, as Openwave Systems, was a major player in the mobile software world, credited with pioneering the Mobile Internet and being the original developer of HDML, a precursor to WML. Nowdays it appears as if the company has morphed into troll territory, having shed itself of most, if not all, of its software offerings to concentrate on licensing and enforcement of its portfolio of patents.

Java Still Isn’t Safe – Possible New Vulnerability

I was just guessing on Monday when I said that the Java security patch pushed by Oracle on Sunday was “too little too late.” This appears to have been a lucky good guess on my part, as word is out now that the Java browser plugin still isn’t safe.

At least that’s what Brian Krebs is reporting on his blog Krebs On Security. Evidently there’s a black hat on a hacker forum who’s offering-up info to two buyers on a new vulnerability in the latest and greatest version of Java (that would be version 7, update 11) for the sum of $5,000 each.

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.

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?

“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.

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