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Slashback: Dell, 800, Disclosure 164

Posted by timothy
from the stunning-lunch-at-t.ho-in-knoxville dept.
Slashback this evening brings you an update on the (departed, or departing) Bleem; an open letter from Dell on Linux support for some of its line; another creative way to fight spam; and some gaming updates for everyone whose thumbs still function.

Spinning so had they can feel it in Ft. Worth. L-Wave writes: "This Story is running on linux.com. Apparently Dell has written an open letter toLinux users. 'Dell has published an open letter to its Linux customers "clarifying" its position as regards the insurgent OS. Actually, the letter is headed "Clarifying Dell and Linux," but either of these would be a massive task, and we think we know what they meant to say.'"

Please note that all Dell is saying here is that they will load customer-specified software at the factory -- it's probably convenient for some customers, but nothing new for Dell. In the case of software with expensive licenses, it means some simplified paperwork. With Free software, it just means convenience. The letter is therefore rather lukewarm, but at least a lot better than refusing to install software that doesn't include a licensing markup.

Brush up on your polite conversation skills. doublem writes: "This site lists the toll-free numbers of known Spammers, so they can be called, harassed and otherwise vented against for their crimes. Something tells me the ./ crowd will like this sort of thing as evidenced by this recent article. I'd like to add 1-888-288-9043 as the number for the well-known VORTEX SUPPLIES, a collection of jerks who refuse to take me off their mailing lists." I started doing the same a few months ago, but this guy has me beat by miles, even if he doesn't list Miss Cleo's number thanks to Psychic spam that knew I'd react with a call.

Yessir, our team goes into action right after the first fortnight. jeffy124 writes "Microsoft has admitted knowledge of an IE bug a full week before a security firm announced it. Turns out sec firm Online Solutions privately informed MS of the bug Nov. 1, but MS initially said they first heard of it Nov. 9 after Online made the find public the same day. MS claims standard procedure of allowing themselves two weeks in order to make sure someone's not cryin wolf and write a patch. They also claimed that no breaches occured during that wait. MS says that Online acted responsibly in their actions, and "'apologizes for innacurate statements.'"

You mean the lawsuits didn't kill it? Far from certain conpiracy theories advanced after Bleem published their own epitaph ShadeEagle writes: "Here we find out that Sony didn't know about Bleem's death until they were asked about it. Gamespot has more relevant information as to the possible (or impossible) future of Bleem." And another gaming note: mickeyreznor writes "According to this article on CNet, Sega appears to be in good financial shape despite the trouble they've had with the dreamcast. In addition, 60 games are being planned for X-box and PS2 over the next year. Sega's future looks bright, and that can only be a good thing for gamers."

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Slashback: Dell, 800, Disclosure

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  • everything else and making sure that this patch wouldnt open up any holes for a few weeks.
  • Well, nice to hear... The thing is, I'm won't by my linux box from dell, I'm going to build it myself... Sorry, dell, I'm glad their semi cool with Linux now, and because of that I'll point customers to them, but I can build my own machine for 1/4 - 1/3 the price...

    Now I wan't some turkey!
    • Re:Yehaw! (Score:1, Informative)

      by jdrogers (93806)
      umm, maybe you should actually read the article. Its not clear to me that Dell is now 'cool with linux'.

      I do agree that I will probably always build my own systems, but it was nice to see one of the really big suppliers offering linux. Dell did that for a while. You could select redhat instead of win when you ordered a system. In august, they quit doing that, and if you read the article, its not as if they are about to start again.

      JD
    • You claim to be able to build an equivalent system for 25% to 33% of the price Dell charges?

      Back that up.

      -Graham
      • Uh, yeah. I install Dells, Compaq, HP's, IBM's, and a few other servers, constatnly for work. If you know where to buy your parts, than you can do it form MUCH cheaper...
  • Emulation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by r.suzuka (538257)
    It upsets me personally to see the death of various console emulators. I have a friend who did work on such a project while completeing a Math degree here at the University of Tokyo. This was in 1996/7 if I remember correctly.

    He released some tools such as a disassembler which while of course not for emulations, Sony did not like so much. Sony sent him an unfriendly letter and unfortunately my friend removed his tools from public access ;_;

    It is especially bad since he was simply trying to assist the hobbyist PlayStation programmer. It is too bad Sony does not realize their loss.

    R. Suzuka
    • reverse engineering (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Doppler00 (534739)
      I never understand why companies would discourage university students reverse engineering and learning about there product. If anything, Sony should make technical documents more public so that people could learn more about there systems and be more inclined to program on Sony's platform than a competitors.
    • Re:Emulation (Score:2, Interesting)

      Doesn't the PS just use a basic MIPS R3000-derived processor? The MIPS instruction set is not exactly a trade secret.

      If the disassembler was a generic one that just dumped the MIPS instructions out, and otherwise did not use Sony intellectual property, I don't see how Sony could have a legal leg to stand on?
      • This has been said many times before, but yes. The Playstation does have a MIPS-based CPU. It uses the mipsel instruction set (iirc) to be exact. PS-One's CPU is 33MHz, while the PS2's CPU is 297MHz. Numerous MIPS emulators exist, as do numerous PS-One emulators. The main challenge in emluating a Playstation is probably the sound and graphics processors. The PS2 GFX/CPU/sound system, called the Emotion Engine, is really a collection of different stock SGI CPUs, with a little Sony tweaking, all wrapped up into one. MIPS CPUs are faster than x86 CPUs of two or three times the clock speed, which is why the PlayStation2 at 297MHz is faster than the X-Box at 733MHz.

        As for the disassembler question, if it in fact simply dumped MIPS instructions of hobbyists programs there would be no way for Sony to pursue legal action because the MIPS/mipsel instruction set is open. However, if the tool could be used to reverse-engineer games written for the console, Sony could have grounds for a lawsuit.

    • Bleem died for a number of reasons, but one that particularly stands out in my mind is their complete arrogance towards people who bought the PC version of bleem. They stopped updating for compatibility with newer games, their forums were closed because of 'a technical error' and when the Bleem page was finally updated, it was to announce Bleemcast, leaving PC owners in the dust. They told people to write 'BLEEM!' on the registration cards for new PSX games and send it in to Sony to prove that Bleem boosted PSX sales. Obviously it didn't work.

      Maybe -- just maybe -- had they adopted UltraHLE's policy of emulating the BEST GAMES FIRST, they wouldn't be in this mess. In my opinion, UltraHLE is still one of the best emulators due to its compatibilty with the best games. Games such as Final Fantasy 8 didn't work right, and Bleem's only response was basically 'update your drivers, wait for an updated version, or screw off'

      Anyone wanting to charge for an emulator better learn from Bleem's example.
  • XBox, bah (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Vardamir (266484)
    If there wasn't a Wintendo before now there is.

    But I was thinking, since MS looses about 100 dollars or so on the sale of each Xbox, why not make a huge cluster of them at MS's expense (by using Linux, obvioulsy)?
  • "We are obviously not going to respond instantly--we have to sieve the wheat from the chaff to determine how reliable the vulnerability warning is," said Neil Laver, Windows product marketing manager for Microsoft. "Until we can investigate the issue, we are not going to issue a bulletin, as that would create a crying wolf situation."

    can anyone argue with this? think how easily a crapflood of spurious security vulnerability reports could erode MS' product reputation. i would say if they didn't do this, they'd be acting irresponsibly.

    so why the anti-MS tone? there's enough about them that's worthy of criticism; let them alone on the other points.

    • Re:why anti-MS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:25PM (#2598830)
      "We are obviously not going to
      respond instantly--we have to sieve the wheat from the chaff to determine how reliable the vulnerability warning is," said Neil Laver, Windows product marketing manager for Microsoft. "Until we can investigate the issue, we are not going to issue a bulletin, as that would create a crying wolf situation."

      can anyone argue with this?


      I can. It doesn't take a week to recreate an exploit like this and say, "OH shit!"
      br>Microsoft is a large enough company to have someone on the job whose exclusive responsibility is to read incoming exploit reports and IMMEDIATELY test the described method. Immediately after that (ten minutes after the report arrived, if they have a bunch of configured machines immediately available - again, MS is big enough to afford this) they can say, "Report verified. Issue a bulletin and get the engineers on the job fixing that bug."

      In the case of a major (or any) exploit, there is no excuse for a large outfit like MS to require more than an hour or two to verify that a problem exists. Actually fixing it will probably take longer, but the fact that the expolit exists should be immediately published so those running the affected software can decide if they want to take their servers off-line or take some kind of self-protective action.
      • getting something like this done in 2 weeks isn't bad for a large corporation, and considering how meeting centric MS is, 2 weeks is pretty damn fast.
        • getting something like this done in 2 weeks isn't bad for a large corporation

          But THIS is security! To take a real-world example, if you break into a bank at night and start carrying out the cash, the security guards don't have to stop and ask their supervisor to wait for the next board meeting (in three weeks) to obtain permission to apprehend the criminals.

          There's no room for bureaucratic bullshit in matters of security. You set a policy that affords the maximum protection to your customers, and follow that. No ad-hoc decision-making required. If there's a possible exploit, test it NOW and report NOW and release an advisory RIGHT NOW. Period. Just like apprehending the criminals on the way out of the bank. "Halt! You're under arrest!"
      • Re:why anti-MS? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darkfred (245270) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @09:57PM (#2599035) Homepage Journal
        In the case of a major (or any) exploit, there is no excuse for a large outfit like MS to require more than an hour or two to verify that a problem exists.

        Wow! you really have no idea how software development and engineering departments work. With an engineering department that can switch gears and start projects as fast as the one you described we would be able to get a new version of windows ever 2 months.

        I will explain to you how most large bug reporting/engineering systems work. First a secretary or intern will be assigned to read the bug mail and sort out the legitimate problems from the lunatics writing in that your product just SUCKS.
        If it is a legitimate bug report and it includes all the information necessary to reproduce it then it gets entered in the bug tracking/administration system. An email or memo will be sent to the manager of the division that handles testing.
        The manager will assign the bug to a tester who will try to reproduce it. That is after he has worked on all the other items in his queue that have a higher priority. Once he has reproduced it he identifys what component causes the problem (or guesses). And add adds the item as a reproduced bug to the bug tracking system.
        The manager in charge of the division that handles that system or component will get the notice and eventually get around (depending on priority) to assigning the bug to an engineer.
        The engineer will then start working on the bug, but only after he has already completed what he was working on at the time, and cleared any higher priority items out of his queue as well.

        It would take at least a day to go through any one of these steps. And even more time depending on how busy people are and what priority rating the bug gets. Plus in larger companies these things actually go through more steps such as priority assignment meetings and impact analysis.

        In short your expenctations are insane. When you are dealing with a company of any size about 30 employees you have to use a system to kepp all of them working, or you are loosing money. That means you need to manage tasks and verify bugs before assigning them to engineers. And you don't have 30 engineers just sitting in the back room waiting to work on whatever you give them. They are probably already working on fixing another terrible exploit. The resources have to be allocated as you go based on what you see the threat as.

        Anyway i hope this gives you a little more respect for the engineers who actually do this.

        Regards,

        • Re:why anti-MS? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I'm a kernel developer at the world's largest computer company. (No, not MS.) If a customer has a showstopper bug, that thing flies through tech support and lands on my desk. I fix it NOW. Overtime? Holiday? Too freakin' bad. Now means NOW. If one of my customers' big retail backend databases crashes on black Friday due to my networking code, I won't be sleeping off the Thanksgiving triptophan. I'll be at work, hacking. The only way it might take a while is if it isn't easily traceable to a particular component.

          In the case of a well-documented application security hole, there's no excuse for not passing it to the owner immediately.
        • >Anyway i hope this gives you a little more respect for the engineers who actually do this.

          I'm not the original poster, but I still agree with him. And I have respect for the engineers, as you'll soon see. :-)

          >The manager will assign the bug to a tester who will try to reproduce it. That is after he has worked on all the other items in his queue that have a higher priority.

          There's the weak link right there. Get rid of the manager. If it is a security bug send it directly to the people who handle it.

          My lack of respect is for the manager that's so lazy they can't take 1 minute out of their lunch break to email the security bug of the day. And if you are getting more than 1 security bug a day from "tested" software I'd suggest you fire yourself for hiring incompetent engineers and testers!
        • Re:why anti-MS? (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Thatman311 (316281)
          Whelp...that pretty much sums it up as to how it works at MS. It takes time and usually the developer that has to fix the issue has to look at code that is over a year old since they last looked at it. So there is some ramp up time for the dev to figure out how it is best to fix it. Then even after you have a "fix" the testers have to check it not only to make sure it fixes the security hole but that the functionality is what it should be and sometimes due to the fix that can spark off a round of meetings to figure out just exactly how the fix should be implemented since some functionality may have to be taken away.
        • I'll explain this process in terms of the popular Bugzilla tracking system.

          First a secretary or intern will be assigned to read the bug mail and sort out the legitimate problems from the lunatics writing in that your product just SUCKS.

          The user enters the bug into the bug tracking system, and the system marks it UNCONFIRMED. If it is a legitimate bug report and it includes all the information necessary to reproduce it then it gets entered in the bug tracking/administration system. An email or memo will be sent to the manager of the division that handles testing.

          And the bug becomes NEW.

          The manager will assign the bug to a tester who will try to reproduce it. That is after he has worked on all the other items in his queue that have a higher priority.

          Bugathon [mozilla.org]. Also note that this step may be less necessary if an experienced user attaches a reproducible test case to the bug report.

          Once he has reproduced it he identifys what component causes the problem (or guesses). And add adds the item as a reproduced bug to the bug tracking system.

          In the process, he adds keywords to the 'summary' and 'keywords' fields and more description such as a stack trace. He also "triages" the bug, marking it as high, medium, or low priority.

          The manager in charge of the division that handles that system or component will get the notice and eventually get around (depending on priority) to assigning the bug to an engineer. The engineer will then start working on the bug

          ASSIGNED.

          but only after he has already completed what he was working on at the time, and cleared any higher priority items out of his queue as well.

          Bugzilla sometimes calls its queues "plates" or "radars".

          Once a patch gets r= and sr= (two types of approval from two different groups of code reviewers), somebody with write access to the CVS tree checks it in and marks the issue RESOLVED.

          Sound more familiar? In other words, the primary difference between Microsoft's bug tracking system and Bugzilla is that Bugzilla work happens in a public forum as opposed to a private forum.

    • Excuse me, "erode MS' product reputation"???? They would have to have a positive reputation for security in point release products for someone to erode it. Before the asbestos long johns get toasty, let me state that, yes, I run an MS OS. Yes, I run MS apps. I am not anti-MS, just anti propoganda. That said, I would take it better if they said they didn't issue a bulletin so as to prevent knowledge of the hole leading to attacks. I won't comment on the engineering time, I've seen fast patches and slow ones. But I've also seen a whole lot of them regarding MS and security. Just my opinion. Not trying to troll here. My opinions are my own, my employer doesn't pay me enough for my opinions to be his.
    • think how easily a crapflood of spurious security vulnerability reports could erode MS' product reputation

      Perhaps. However, in this case, the people who found the vulnerability provided Microsoft with working exploit code so it wouldn't have taken a single Microsoft employee more than a few hours at most to see that the exploit worked and that they had a problem.
  • A couple of notes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:15PM (#2598793) Homepage
    Regarding the tollfree spam site: he mentions that you should *67 first to disable Caller ID. 800 numbers, as he almost mentions, use ANI to track calls. Call these spamming motherfuckers from payphones unless you want them to have your home phone.

    Also, he talks about some 800 lines being on a flat monthly rate. Don't let that stop you from calling up and wasting their time anyway (or calling and setting the phone down for the 3-minute message). When 10,000 bored Slashdot readers call these guys and rack up the minutes, believe me, the phone company will notice. Enough calls might be enough to make the telco selling a flat rate line think twice about renewing a contract.

    -Legion

  • Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by VA Software (533136) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:15PM (#2598795) Homepage
    Autodialing laws [autodialerscentral.com] by state [autodialerscentral.com].

    If you are so inclined ....
  • by 4444444 (444444) <4444444444444444 ... 444444@lenny.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:18PM (#2598803) Homepage
    got to http://www.goto.com and do a search for "bulk email" each link you click will cost the spam companys up to several dollars per click It's a great way to fight back it would be nice to /. their bank account

  • by compugeek007 (464717) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:20PM (#2598807)
    Getting Dell to maintain installation of Linux is kinda a big deal. I scope out servers from Dell often for my job, and I know as well as any other sys admin that when a box comes with any OS pre-loaded the first thing to do is wipe it out, resetup your RAID set and reinstall.

    The importance is not that they load the OS, it's that they are treating Linux the same as Microsoft. PHB's like to feel secure, and knowing that Dell, a major player in the OEM server / PC market, is offering Linux as a platform they stand behind just like Netware and NT/2000 - makes them feel secure. It all comes down to big management catch words like "Enterprise" "Scalable" and maybe even a little "TCO."

    The fight for Linux is not a fight of technical profecciency, that is already achieved, it is a fight of making managers at 35,000 feet feel comfotable with it. (IMO)

    • You know what the odd thing is? I'm an IT Manager. My manager just doesn't care what OS we use - he wants (for example) our web server to remain up and a failover process if it falls over. He wants this data backed up.

      Why the hell should he care what OS we're using? So he doesn't and I use a mixture of server OSes - including Debian. If you have an non-technical boss who mandates a choice of OS, you should consider (where possible) a word - s/he hired you because of your expertise, and if you reckon you can get better performance etc for lower cost blah blah then why should s/he care where it comes from?
      • You've got a good manager. What if your manager is country club or golf buddies with the local microsoftie, and just tells you to go microsoft regardless? Microsoft are GOOD at manipulating the opinions of the technically-clueless, by "networking". Happens all the time in Ireland+England, anyway. The subverted manager will just ignore what you say, and, when you quit*, they'll just hire a drooling-idiot MCSE to be their yes-man to back up their decisions to their bosses.

        *of course, chances are, an already-subverted manager means that you woulnd't have been hired.

        If you really want to get rid of MS stuff, you have to buy a few shares in the company, then go to the shareholder meetings, and vociferously question their IT overspend relative to a linux or bsd solution.
      • Because when you leave, your manager is going to have to find someone to replace you.

        "So, we ran our shop on a mixture of Amiegas, PowerMacs, Some IBM machines running BeOS, and a few TRS-80s, just to show it can be done. Do you have experence with all these platforms?"

        'er, no.'

        "What?! Again? Doesn't ANYONE have experence with all these items?"
  • This could be good. Dell pre-installs linux on some comps, more companies will buy. Dell is one of the few good computer companies trying to sell to compaies. (IMHO, of course)
  • Ok so Dell do it, (kinda) Whats the chances of MkLinux [mklinux.org] ever being preinstalled on a Mac. I know Apple have been partially involved in some of the development, I have no idea what the situation is now though. Thinking about it which companys do sell boxes with linux pre installed? Even if you end up just wiping and installing your favourite distro it saves you the pain of paying for Microsoft products that your never gonna use when you buy a box.
    --
    • Apple has completely dropped linux due to Mac OS X (BSD). This isn't a bad thing. Third party linux projects will always take place. Apple just isn't going to throw their money at them anymore.
      • Yeah but does anybody no if they used any of the code that was produced from that projuect in OS X? I'm don't know a lot about the diffrences between Linux and BSD but could they have used any of the drivers or did it all come from the Darwin project?
        --
    • heh, nice typo there :)

      I don't think A HREF="http://www.apple.com/macosx/">Apple would bother [apple.com] with an outdated project like MkLinux, especially since it only ran well on pre-PCI Power Macs.
  • As part of an organization that has standardized on Dell's product lines, the more support that Dell gives Linux, the happier I am. My own Dell-Linux experiences have moved from being simply horrible to at least tolerable these days (at least in their server lines).
  • Disloyal Dell (Score:4, Informative)

    by jeffphil (461483) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:23PM (#2598822)
    Dell has been losing face for a while IMHO.

    First they jumped on the almighty Linux bandwagon a few years ago, claimed open source this and that, but in reality they never did anything to help the cause.

    In fact, when they were selling linux on machines you could configure two exact systems - one with linux and one with windows, and the windows box was always around $200 less than the same linux box! It makes economic sense to buy the window box then wipe the drive and install your own linux. No wonder they had no demand.

    Dell does not give a sh*t about their customers, their employees, or GNU/Linux.

  • by reaper20 (23396) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:25PM (#2598831) Homepage
    Nice Try Dell,

    A buddy of mine bought 5 rackmount servers with cabinet and a kit to convert his company's current server to a rackmount.

    We had to call Dell multiple times and sit through at least half a dozen nested menu options (the dead end ones that force you to hang up suck) trying to get the bundled Red Hat deal with them. Half of the reps didn't even know they offered linux, this is from the server people mind you. And then, come to find, the linux options are just as expensive as the windows options, if not more.

    "No, I want Linux, I don't want you to email me information about win2k advanced server." Say that a few dozen times. sigh.

    So, the poor wretch bought the Red Hat 7.1 package "specialy certified to run on Dell hardware" for $150.

    When the servers arrrives he gets the cardboad box for RH7.1 (no cover, so you can't even put it on a shelf to look cool), and NO STICKERS. Oh yeah, a photocopied sheet of instructions for installing Redhat.

    Dell buys Red Hat, and then jacks up the price, THEY COULD HAVE AT LEAST GIVEN US THE DAMN REDHAT STICKERS!!

    Don't let any of these OEMs try to kiss up and say that they support linux, and they are doing everything they can to help the community blah blah ... This letter is a reaction to the bad karma that they got from "he Register Cable Select Debacle"

    So far, IBM is the only large company that is doing a damn to help Linux. At least HP was smart enough to say "We don't know shit about Linux or their community, let's hire Bruce Perens...."
    • Hmmm.....we've had no trouble whatsoever with DELL and Linux....
      We've bought a number of servers from them over the last couple of years, all with Linux pre installed.. and never had a problem..

      We even had a case where we requested a server with redhat 7 preinstalled by mistake (We actually wanted 6.2 for use with Oracle) and they were happy to send us a copy of their DELL specific version of 6.2 (it includes drivers for the PERC raid controller that didn't exist in the RH version) at no charge.....

      And we've ALWAYS received stickers ;) and printed manuals.

      So maybe DELL Australia is a little more helpful than DELL America, or maybe we've just got a better account manager?
      • We must share account managers as I've had the same experience with Dell Australia. Order servers, haggle a bit over price, specify linux, and they arrive a couple of weeks later, with the stickers, manuals and RH 7.1 pre-installed.

        The technical docs even included instructions on how to use ibm's network driver module instead of the default one.
    • We just buy them all spec'd with no OS. I don't trust anyone to pre-load my servers .. whether they are NT, Novell, or Linux .. we do it all ourselves.

      Jason
    • by Crispy Critters (226798) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @09:06PM (#2598950)
      Why does Dell bother to offer Linux at all if they are going to give it such lousy support? I think it is because of the deals that they have with businesses and institutions.

      I have a Dell on my desk which was bought with Linux on it (actually, they sent it to me with a blank hard drive, but that is a different story). Why? Because if I had bought a machine from one of the many vendors [linux.org] that sell Linux boxes, I would have had to file Selection of Source paperwork, get references for the vendors, et cetera. With Dell, all I had to do was get a web quote and send it to purchasing. Their mediocre Linux support was just barely sufficient to not drive me to another vendor.

      Note that they flat-out refuse to sell hardware with Linux installed to an individual consumer. Why? They charge more for Linux than for Windoze, so the profit margin is higher. The only possible reason is (dare I say it?) anti-competitive marketing agreements with MS. Pure speculation on my part, of course.

      • They actually tried to convince me there was a federal law that says you can't sell a computer without an OS pre-installed because there were too many people too stupid to install it themselves. I'm only buying the latter part, and only a little at that...
    • 1. Red Hat Server is not Free - you can buy it from Red Hat if you want yourself for about $179. If you really are going to complain about $150 (small potatoes) you can buy the Servers with no OS and get Red Hat GPL and load it yourself.

      2. Not getting stickers, manuals, or a box? Are you kidding? If I kept all the boxes, stickers, Manuals I got, I would have a sea of cardboard in my cube. I would prefer just getting the OS CD maybe documentation on the CD too (I never read it anyway) and no paperwork whatsoever.

      3. All Dell is a major player in the small server market. You can't compare IBM and HP's monster boxes to Dell's. Plus both HP and IBM have a cadre of Computer Scientists and consultants to draw upon. Dell makes no pretenses about what they will and will not supply.

      4. I have called DEll support / Service too. It sucks - no questions about that. I guarentee you that if your company was larger and had a dell rep - you would have AWSOME service. My rep bends over backwards and makes all sorts of things possible.

      All and All, I think your experience is isolated and shouldn't be held against Dell.
    • I have to throw in my .02 cents on this one. I've bought many Dell servers with Redhat preloaded on them. All I got was the OS CDs, but that was all that I needed. I blew them away and reinstalled fresh anyway.

      I think you're missing the bigger picture here. Where this counts is that you can call and get server support from someone who is trained on Dell servers running linux. You don't get that when you're running build your own crap at some mom and pop company.

      And finally, if it really bothers you THAT much that you didn't get stickers, mail Redhat and ask for them, or get an eBay account and buy a Redhat box for $5 and toss everything but the stickers.

  • by MongooseCN (139203) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:30PM (#2598849) Homepage
    All these phone numbers are taken from spam mailings. The whole reason these numbers were put in the emails was because spammers WANT people to call them. Most of these numbers are just automated machines with menus you have to endlessly punch through before you can get to a real person. It's just like trying to reply to a spam mailing itself asking to be taken off the mailing list.
  • It would be to freely release Bleem source code and contribute it to the public, or at least one of the many open-source PS emulation projects, since none of the open-source ones out there are in any sort of viable state now, for the most part.
  • My understanding is that spammers usually pre-pay for their 1-800 lines with a flat fee. That way they can get any number of calls for a finite period of time and not worry about anti-spammers ringing them constantly and driving up their bill. Any substantiation/refutation of this?
    • I thnik they probably do use flat fees, but if the line gets bombed I'm sure it's disconected or the rate goes up the next month. But I was under the impression that there is a fee for all pay phone calls to 1-800 numbers, so go call them from a pay phone.
    • My understanding is that spammers usually pre-pay for their 1-800 lines with a flat fee.

      It doesn't matter. They also have to pay the time for the people who deal with the calls, and/or they will have a limited number of lines to handle incomming calls. If you're on the line with a live person, you're costing them at least $.10/minute. (presumimg a $4.00/hr minimum wage lackey plus the cost of their office space). If you get a recording, then you're locking up that line.

      In either case, nobody can connect to that line/person while you're there.

  • by Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:37PM (#2598880) Homepage Journal
    Everyone here is all upset because the X-Box runs Windows. Well, guess what. So did the much-beloved Dreamcast [ign.com]. When the Dreamcast came out, I didn't hear anyone moaning and groaning about Microsoft trying to take over the gaming world. What's different this time? So Microsoft is "making" the X-box: so what. That's just outsourced hardware. The Dreamcast ran WinCE and it eventually ran Linux, we can expect the same from the X-box, as well as the upcoming NetBSD port.

    Operating system is hardly the most important consideration with regard to the X-Box. All consoles are sold at a loss, so if Microsoft decides to start selling outsourced hardware at a loss that runs Linux, that's pretty much a victory for us right there.

    That said I think it's obvious to everyone in the industry that the X-Box is by far and away the most technically advanced [consolehaven.com] console ever built. With nearly five times the polygon fill rate of a PS2 and 5 times the MHz of comparable Sega systems, this thing puts the wimpy PowerMac-wannabe "GameCube" to shame.

    Don't let your prejudices blind you. The X-Box is an impressive piece of hardware - once everyone starts using them as Linux web servers you'll stop bitching.
    • What you're missing here is that the WinCE on DC was only for specific games. WinCE was used in very few games, it was only there to make development easier for some developers. WinCE was never stored on the DC, it was always on the GD-ROM. Unlike the XBox which has the NT5 essentials on the hard drive.
    • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @09:41PM (#2599012) Homepage Journal
      Everyone here is all upset because the X-Box runs Windows. Well, guess what. So did the much-beloved Dreamcast
      Wrong on two counts. First, people care less about what OS the X-Box runs than the fact that any profit it makes goes into Mister Bill's pocket. Petty of us, perhaps, but he's already the richest person in the world. Shouldn't somebody else have a chance?

      Second, the Dreamcast is Windows CE compatible. The OS is actually on the CD (shades of AppleDOS!) and its up to the developer which OS to use. I have three DC games (D2, Seaman, Shenmue), and only the D2 uses Windows. Sega's in-house developers seem not to like it -- can't imagine why.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Play the X-Box and Gamecube side by side fucktard - this 'wimpy' RISC processor can easily keep up with your M$ whale while pushing more textures to boot
  • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @08:54PM (#2598917) Journal
    In other Microsoft/bug news, the MSNBC Bug of the Day for yesterday [msnbc.com] offers this helpful tip:

    Nov. 20: Don't mess with RedHat Package Manager files

    RedHat Package Manager (RPM) files are compiled and prepackaged programs which can be downloaded and installed on Linux systems. It is possible corrupt the data in an RPM file so code is executed on a Linux system when the RPM is queried for version information. This is a difficult thing to do since the memory location of the hacker shellcode would need to be known. However, It's possible so don't mess with RPM files from untrusted sources.

    I'd suspect Taco is moonlighting over there if it weren't for the correct use of the apostrophe in "It's."

    • >>I'd suspect Taco is moonlighting over there if it weren't for the correct use of the apostrophe in "It's."

      The use of the apostrophe is correct. It's the capitalization that's incorrect. The apostrophe is omitted in the possessive pronoun.
    • It is possible corrupt the data in an RPM file so code is executed on a Linux system when the RPM is queried for version information.
      <TimAllen> Arooo? </ta>

      Buffer overflow, or more MSNBC FUD?

      I could see a buffer overflow happening in rpm, but really, I don't put anything past Unca Bill... particularly when Smith Barney today just put out a downgrade on MSFT that basically said the guys in Redmond have jumped the shark with XP and the XBox...

      --
      Shipping Penguins [pogolinux.com] in Bill's backyard...

      • i think msnbc is trying to say you should use debian? :)

        nearly everything i've wanted to install on my debian system comes in debian unstable, so i just have to trust debian mirrors... :)
  • Considering everything they've unlawfully done to Bleem I'm not buying anymore Sony products. This is the only way I can help stop companies like Sony from doing things like this. Hopefully more will join me.
    • Knock yourself out. You can boycott 'em. That leaves more awesome high quality Sony products for me. :)
      • hallelujah brother..

        imagine you making some real nice hardware and some cheap arsed git allowing others to pirate your games and run them on their PCs while your nice piece of hardware is still selling.. and getting away with it..

        I think bleem should have died sooner.

        mind you, I'm not a cheap bum and can afford to buy my own games..
  • by zeno_2 (518291) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @09:33PM (#2598996)
    There is a problem that the new Dell machines are having, they won't admit it, but it is there.

    If you have a newer dell machine that has Windows (tm) on it, check the uptime of the os (seems to be only machines that were built before may of 2001). If you are unsure on how to do this, just go to download.com, search for windows uptime, and download the Windows Uptime 1.3.3, its a tiny download, but you will be able to check this quickly... The problem with these machines is that they are not reporting a correct uptime of windows. I am not sure if this happens with other os's, my job only lets me see these that have Windows on them.. I saw a dell machine last week, it was a week old, but reported an uptime of 40 days. Ive seen another dell machine that said it had a 6 hour uptime on a fresh boot, and an hour later it says 30min uptime.

    Dell isn't taking any responsibility in this.. I am really not too sure if it is Dell's fault, but it is only happening on new Dell machines. I have had 4 people call them up, and ask them why their machine does this, and they get one of 2 answers:

    1 - We have never heard of this problem before, but don't worry about it

    or

    2 - This is a Windows problem, call Microsoft

    Soo.. if you do have one of these newer dell machines, try looking at the uptime for windows. Heck, if it has linux on it, check it too. I know of a few games that will base their internal clock off of the Windows Uptime (dont ask me why, im really not too sure why they use windows uptime, Links 2001 is an example of a game that will use the uptime for the internal clock.) If you have a machine with this problem, document it and send the info to dell. They do have responsibility over the OS that ships with a new machine, but they are just pawning it off and screwing customers over.

    Well there is my rant, I used to like dell quite a bit but lately their support is just utter crap. I am really suprised that if someone spends 3 grand on a machine, and then gets that from dell when asked about the problem, I would take the machine back myself..

    If anyone knows/has a fix, or knows why this might be happening, please reply back, im kinda dying to know you could say =)

    Zeno

    • My guess is that it gives them a random seed from 0 seconds to 49.7 days [cnet.com], probably to call a function called "murphy"


      /*Function invokes Murphy's Law*/

      murphy (win_uptime, curs_pos_x, curs_pos_y, swing_power)

      {
      /* win_uptime is the system uptime in seconds, sets "random" seed
      curs_pos_* are the x and y position of the strike point as selected by the user
      swing_power is the swing power selected by the user

      */

      if (win_uptime 12345) //we'll go easy on the guy

      { return 0;

      } else (winuptime == 12345)

      { return 1;

      } else (win_uptime > 4294081) //system should be dead already, here to prevent problems

      { write_random(); //writes random sequence of 0 and 1 to disk
      crash_system(); //infinite loop calls to launch iexplore.exe, current record is 56 calls
      return 2; //keeps compiler from spitting syntax error

      }

      }

      switch murphy()

      {

      case 0:
      return dont_alter_values(win_uptime, curs_pos_x, curs_pos_y, swing_power);
      break;

      case 1: return randomize_values(win_uptime, curs_pos_x, curs_pos_y, swing_power);
      break;

      }

      I just realized how rusty my c++ is, might have to start using it again, and if your are a game developer, this one is public domain.

  • Modem dialing... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mike McTernan (260224)
    So now all I need to do is to get busy with wget | sed, make some chat scripts and have my computer dial these guys when I'm not doing anything.

    Of course, I'll have to modify the init string so that it doesn't try to negotiate a modem connection, otherwise it will fail too many times and the numbers will become BLACKLISTED.

    Oh - and I need to move to the US since it won't be free otherwise :(
  • Los Alamos Computers [lanm-pc.com] will build your Linux PC to order. They use quality components and do a bang up job.

    Mines been up and running for several months now and I've yet to have a single complaint. This is so much better than the last time I went mail order and spent the entire first two months on the phone with tech support.

    Regards,

    -l

  • Sony first sued Bleem over its products in May 2000. Bleem countersued, claiming Sony was exercising an illegal monopoly over the video game industry.

    Wow, they were scraping the bottom of the lawsuit barrel with that one.
  • "Vortex Supplies" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrsam (12205) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @10:54PM (#2599128) Homepage
    This one is actually the latest sock puppet of scumbag Sam Khuri, the "Benchmark Print Supply" spambag.


    As "Benchmark Print Supply", Khuri nearly went to jail for spewing out of his spamhole, and is really under a court order that prohibits him from spamming. He's just hoping that nobody would notice that it's really him.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @11:32PM (#2599233)
    That's nice. Now if only they let consumers have the option of not having to have one of those damned crappy Conexant winmodems. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if those machines with Linux installed still have said winmodems in them...
  • The story referring to polite conversation skills seem to say ./

    I can't put my finger on it, but something with that just seems wrong ...
  • Crud, I bought a copy of Bleem. I haven't used it for a year or more, but I'd like to get a copy of the final version they shipped. It'd be nice if that was at least available. Anyone got any mirrors of it?
  • by beefstu01 (520880) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @12:05AM (#2599312)
    First and foremost, I would like to say that it was good when Dell offered Linux on their machines, I got my Inspiron 8000 and GX1 for about $200-500 less than a windows version.

    -BUT-

    The installations REALLY sucked. I had to go back and re-install Linux on both. On top of that, I also needed to dload the newest Linux (at the time, Dells shipped w/ RH7.0, when Red Hat had been shipping 7.1 for a long time). The problems ranged from not being able to have the CD drive toast CD's, or even read stuff to having the computer randomly lock up. All problems were fixed upon the re-installation, but it was a (minor) inconvience. I think that all Dell did was make one install image and then use them for all the machines, from laptop to desktop. I seemed to have fewer problems on the OptiPlex...Oh well

    Just letting the public know about how *much* Dell cares about Linux. Next time I want a computer, I'll just buy the parts. (I would have done that, but these damned grants don't let you do that, now do they?) If people are really interested in getting a quality linux box, they should go to Penguin Computing [penguincomputing.com] at . My buddy just got a machine from them, and he tells me that they are the Alienware of the linux world.
  • I get a lot of hits to formmail.pl (I don't have it installed, it just 404s). I found out that there is a bug in some versions that spammers can exploit to send spam.

    Anyone out there have a good script to put in place of formmail that can do some "interesting" things?
  • This doesn't answer my big question - can I buy a Dell (or some other common) laptop without any operating system?

    While having a Linux preinstalled may be good for some people, I don't really care. I'd probably re-install my own fav distro anyhow (especially as some manufacturers preinstall Caldera or something equally exotic/nonstandard).

    Most essentially, I absolutely refuse to pay for any Microsoft software, especially if I wouldn't even use it.
    • Oh this is fun. I sent mail to the Dell's Finnish sales representative.

      Me: "Hi, is it possible to buy a Dell laptop without an operating system? If so, how does it affect the price?"
      SR: "We don't sell Inspiro laptops without an operating system or softwares. You can order a Latitude laptop without softwares or also without operating system. However, we have remove the pre-installed operating system, which work will cost you $40."
      Me (pondering): "Also a Latitude might do. How much is the price reduced if I buy it without an operating system and other softwares, which are usually in the price?"
      SR: "The basic price is without softwares and since the operating system is an OEM version, it doesn't affect the price."
      Me: "Thank you for your answer. I understand that Dell as an OEM pays for the operating systems it installs on its products, so it's clear that it affects the price."
      Me: "Understandably, I will not pay for products which I do not use, so Dell laptops are not an option for me."
      Me: "If you change your offer, you may contact me."
      Me: "Best regards, "

      So great, if I want to buy a laptop without paying money for criminal organizations, I have to pay more. Absolutely great.

      Same problem with Compaq. IBM sells some Linux laptops, but I think they have Caldera, and cost strawberries, and not even less than with Windows. Umh. DoJ, DO SOMETHING!
  • The problem as I see it: many people hate spam (especially sysadmin types like myself), but lack the time to hunt down and kill those idiots one-by-one.

    The proposal: make a central database of 800 numbers,e-mail addresses and websites advertised through spam (rather big I figure). Then, anytime you get annoyed (about 10 times per day probably) by a spammer, first report the contact details and then run a script that randomly grabs say 100 email addresses from the database and sends loads of crap to them. Do the same with 800 numbers and website forms. If we get 10000 angry sysadmins sending loads of random crap or just angry letters to poor souls who decided to advertise through spam we may quickly make them get some clue and stop annoying us.

    Of course, reasonable filters are mandatory - e.g. an 800 number gets added to the database only after 10 people from different subnets report it.

  • Anyone else notice that L-wave's submission takes a sentence directly from The Register's John Lettice? Look at http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/22928.html.

    -Paul Komarek

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

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