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Operating Systems

The Economist Suggests Linux For Netbooks 445

Trepidity writes "In its roundup of how to choose a netbook, The Economist suggests that users 'avoid the temptation' to go for a Windows-based netbook, and in particular to treat them as mini laptops on which you'll install a range of apps. In their view, by the time you add the specs needed to run Windows and Windows apps effectively, you might as well have just bought a smallish laptop. Instead, they suggest the sweet spot is ultra-lite, Linux-based netbooks, with a focus on pre-installed software that caters to common tasks. They particularly like OpenOffice, which they rate as easier to use than MS Word and having 'no compatibility problems,' as well as various photo-management software." Besides which, does Windows offer spinning cubes for coffee-shop demos?
Operating Systems

Submission + - Google's Android open-source mobile phone OS (arstechnica.com)

Marvin the Paranoid Android writes: Google has officially announced Android, a its open-source mobile phone operating system. 'The Google Phone has arrived, sort of, but not in the long-rumored embodiment that many had expected. Google announced this morning that it has developed a new mobile OS called "Android" — a result of its acquisition of a mobile software company of the same name in 2005 — that will allow the company to get Google's mobile apps into as many hands as possible starting in mid-2008. Android is Linux-based and open source, and will be made available to handset manufacturers for free under the Apache license.' Google will not be making the phones itself; there are a handful of handset makers signed on, including Motorola, Samsung, and LG. As Google CEO Eric Schmidt puts it, 'Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models,'
Security

Submission + - PARC Scientists Demonstrate Self-Encrypting Docs (itworld.com)

narramissic writes: "'Intelligent redaction' technology being developed by the boffins at Xerox PARC automatically identifies and encrypts confidential sections of documents. The technology essentially uses partial document encryption, first analyzes basic types of potentially sensitive information such as company names, people's names, and addresses, and then requires approval by the author before the sections are scrambled to anyone other than those with a software key."
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - iPhone Exploits, Metasploit Style

lol slashdot writes: Thanks to the crafty coders behind Metasploit, exploits for the iPhone are now available and readily usable, possible through the same flaw that allowed developers to unlock the iPhone.

From the article:

"This week Moore posted some payload exploits and provided detailed instructions for writing more of them. Attackers could conceivably write code to hi-jack the contacts in an iPhone address book, access the list of received and sent calls and messages, turn the phone into a listening device, track the user's location or instruct the phone to snap photos of the user's surroundings — including any companions who may be in sight of the camera lens."

Functionality to gain remote shell access to the iPhone through Metasploit was added last month.
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Is browser discrimination ethical?

freeopenadvocate writes: "Recently, I moved to the UK and opened a new bank account with NatWest[1]. Having recently installed Debian Etch with IceWeasel (The GNUzilla[2] version of Firefox), I tried to access my Internet Banking with which I was faced with a message 'The Internet browser you are using is not supported by OnLine Banking' and disallowed access.

Having then logged a support call and requesting them to please enable support for my specific IceWeasel browser, I was informed that they do not have a lot of users requiring that browser, and therefore they will not change their system; but the site will work with Firefox so I should switch over from IceWeasel. Being an advocate of Free and Open Software, and not wanting to change, brings me to the question:

Is it ethical to disallow certain browsers from online services?

If I walked up to a cashier in a bank wearing a T-Shirt with the slogan 'I believe in Free Software', and they informed me, "No, we don't like what you are wearing. We will not provide you with any service.", I would believe that to be discrimination. Is my bank discriminating against me for using IceWeasel instead of Firefox?

[1] http://www.natwest.com/
[2] http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/"
Power

Submission + - Linux vs Windows Power Consumption (phoronix.com)

matelmaster writes: As a follow-up to their recent Linux Power Consumption review Phoronix published a short article comparing The power consumptions of Windows XP Sp2, Windows Vista, Fedora 8 Test 3 and Ubuntu 7.10. The test concludes that Ubuntu uses the most power while both idling and under normal usage, whereas Fedora and Windows XP seem to consume less.
Intel

Submission + - Asus Motherboard has Embedded Linux, 5 Second Boot (pcper.com)

Vigile writes: "A new motherboard from Asus, the P5E3 Deluxe WiFi has more options and features than you could probably ever use. Based on Intel's recently released X38 chipset, the board has three PCI Express x16 slots, runs on DDR3 memory up to 1600 MHz in speed, supports future 1600 MHz FSB Intel Core 2 processors and has not one, but two wireless 802.11b/g/n connections. But the most interesting feature might be the use of flash memory on the motherboard for an embedded Linux OS called SplashTop that offers up 5 second boot times to a web browser and Skype client."
Operating Systems

Submission + - A First Look at PC-BSD 1.4 (itauth.com)

achillean writes: Is BSD ready for prime-time? PC-BSD 1.4, a desktop-centered, FreeBSD based operating system has just been released and is looking to attract attention from the growing throngs of Linux users. But how well does it stack up to popular and easy to use Linux distributions like Ubuntu? Why should anyone care about BSD, isn't it dead? Read on for more about the latest release of this up-and-coming desktop BSD, including installation and desktop screenshots.
Sci-Fi

Submission + - Online Petition: Aliens, Contact Us Now! (alien-petition.org)

An anonymous reader writes: This online petition wants to convince extraterrestrial life to contact now officially human mankind. It is widely accepted by many scientists that extraterrestrial life exists. Also an increasing number of people made observations of extraterrestrial activities. But an official message from this form of life is still pending. This petition asks for participation worldwide and creates a nice map with the comments of its visitors from all over the world. The project seems to end on December 15th, 2007. On that day everybody is invited to report every unexplainable activity in their forum.
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Apple, AT&T sued over iPhone restrictions (msn.com)

Serzen writes: MSNBC may not be the most popular website for hordes of Slashdotters, but they are running a story about two new lawsuits filed against Apple and AT&T as a result of the use restrictions and recent updates to the iPhone's soft/firmware. From the article:

Two separate lawsuits were filed in San Jose on Oct. 5 — one in federal court and the other in state court and both seeking class-action status. Both cases accuse the companies of unfair business practices and violations of antitrust, telecommunications and warranty laws.
The suit also alleges that: "The companies are unlawfully restricting consumer choice by preventing users from 'unlocking' their iPhones, and Apple intentionally disabled unofficial third-party programs or rendered unlocked phones useless with its software update..."

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