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Programming

Apple Bans iPhone App For Competing With Mail.app 464

recoiledsnake writes "Another submission has been rejected from the iPhone App Store, this time for 'duplicating the functionality of the iPhone Mail application.' The author claims that his application allows the user to log into their multiple web email accounts and that Apple seems to be confusing Gmail and Mail.app. This comes on the heels of Apple rejecting an application for competing with iTunes and rejecting other silly but harmless apps as being of 'limited utility.'" ComputerWorld has an update to the rejected Podcaster app mentioned above. It seems the developer has used Apple's "Ad Hoc" service to begin distributing the software despite the fact that they blocked it from the App Store.
Patents

Submission + - Comparison of IBM, Sun, Microsoft patent covenants (nyud.net)

harlows_monkeys writes: Here is a side-by-side listing of Microsoft's patent covenant for their XML document formats, Sun's patent covenant for ODF, IBM's patent covenant for ODF, and Microsoft's Open Specification Promise. The corresponding sections from each are colored the same, to make comparison of exactly what each grants and does not grant easier. There's been a lot of talk about some of these licenses recently, and whether they are safe or not. Hopefully, this side-by-side comparison will make it easier for people to figure out for themselves what the licenses mean and whether or not they are safe.
Government

Submission + - Nations and Organizations that Adopted ODF in 2007 (odfalliance.org)

christian.einfeldt writes: "The ODF Alliance has released a report on 3 January 2008 detailing the state of global adoption of ODF as a governmental policy and in deployments of software applications. The 15-page report (PDF warning) says that 2007 'ended on a high note,' with the Netherlands and South Africa joining 10 other nations that had already adopted the ODF standard, formally known as ISO/IEC 26300:2006. There are now 40 software apps supporting ODF, with dozens of those coming in September and October alone. The ODF Alliance itself now claims just under 500 member organizations in 53 countries."
Government

Submission + - NY State could shape the global OOXML - ODF debate (fanaticattack.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "As was reported first here on Slashdot on 18 December 2007, the State of New York has opened a Request For Public Comment (RFPC) on whether it should adopt ODF (the current ISO standard) or Microsoft's OOXML as a standard for electronic documents for the State's government agencies. The public comment period will end on 28 December 20007. In response to that Slashdot article, open format advocate Russell Ossendryver has updated a previous open letter that he had penned to the National Boards of the countries eligible to vote in the upcoming February Microsoft OOXML ISO contest. In the update, Ossendryver urges New York State CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart to consider the impact that her report could have on the subsequent ISO vote: Says Ossendryver,

'The timing of the due date for the release of the report, 15 January 2008, places New York State in a position to have an impact on the international vote in late February, a mere 40 days or so later. The eyes of the world will be watching you, New York! '
Scroll to the bottom of the page to see that update."

Software

Submission + - Dutch government adopts open code and standards (google.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "The Dutch government has set a target date of April 2008 for its agencies to start using open standards-based software, the Netherlands Economic Affairs Ministry said Thursday, according to a 14 December 2007 Associated Press article by Toby Sterling. Government organizations will still be able to use proprietary software and formats but will have to justify it under the new policy, ministry spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg said. Microsoft Netherlands spokesman Hans Bos claims that Microsoft's Office productivity suite will still be used widely in the Dutch government until April, and that Microsoft Office will comply with the new Dutch rules once Microsoft's so-called "Open Office XML" standard is approved as an international ISO standard in February, as Microsoft sees it. The Dutch policy directs government organizations at the national level to be ready to use the Open Document Format to save documents by April, and at the state and local level by 2009, according to the AP's Sterling."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft will vote on Open XML

Elektroschock writes: "Rui Seabra reveals that the national standard organisation of Portugal plans to sent Microsoft as head of its ISO delegation to the Ballot Resolution meeting in Geneve. The Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) will work on amendments to the Open XML standard (DIS 29500) as put forward by ECMA International. The meeting will be held behind closed doors and last 5 days. While Microsoft would get privileged access and voting rights other interested stakeholders for instance Portuguese SMEs and software develoeprs are excluded from participation and review. The head of the delegation will exercise all voting rights for the nation, here Portugal. All national ISO members need to submit their list of delegates to ISO until Dec 11."
Microsoft

Submission + - Danish Standards Association will reject OOXML (computerworld.dk)

SplatMan_DK writes: According to Computerworld Denmark (Danish only), the Danish Standards Association, which holds the Danish ISO vote on the approval/disapproval of OOXML, is leaning heavily towards a rejection of Microsoft's document standard. While the vote has not been given yet, the Document Subcommittee have "agreed that they are in disagreement" which may turn out to be a major problem for Microsoft and the OOXML format. ODF supporters have given the subcommittee a list of 40 specific technical OOXML issues which are believed to be hindering interoperability. According to the voting instructions (directly quoted from the actual voting slip):

"If a national body votes affirmatively, it shall not submit comments. If a national body finds the DIS unacceptable, it shall vote negatively and state the technical reasons."
In light of the dispute in the committee (and the 40 very well-documented issues) this translates into "disapproved" for the OOXML ISO vote. There is simply no such thing as "approved with comments" when it comes to ISO standards. The Danish branch of Oracle, who is supporting ODF, is already calling the dispute a half victory (Danish only).

Security

Submission + - Designing a PCI-Compliant Log Monitoring System (net-security.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Log monitoring activities are an integral part of Requirement 10 of the PCI Data Security Standard and it can be difficult to understand how the different logging portions of Requirement 10 interrelate. Despite this fact, some organizations are seeking to redesign their PCI logging environment in order to best accommodate the PCI requirements. This article examines a few key design points for architecting a log monitoring and management system that would be compliant with PCI Requirement 10.
Supercomputing

Submission + - Japan to develop processor will be 10 times faster

An anonymous reader writes: After unveiling ambitious plans to replace the Internet the Japanese are now planning to develop a high-performance computer chip with a processing speed 10 times faster than existing ones in cooperation with local industry. To be developed in co-opearation with the industry it aims to significantly enhance semiconductor performance by making a "3-D" semiconductor current chips are flat and use it to realize "dream technologies," such as domestic robots. The US and South Korea have been developing the chip since quite some time and Japan is aiming to beat them.
Portables

Submission + - Dell laptops still exploding (consumeraffairs.com)

bl8n8r writes: "It "looked like fireworks which would have been cool had it not been in my house." said Doug Brown of Columbus, Ohio. Brown, a Network Administrator, called 911 last week when the Dell 9200 laptop burst into flames in his house. Emergency response units included two pumpers, a ladder truck, a bamalance, the HAZMAT unit, and a battalion chief. When Doug phoned Dell to inquire about liability, he was asked if he had insurance. It's not clear if Doug's laptop is one of the earlier models recalled by Dell; a Macbook is cited in TFA for allegedly burning down a house in Australia as well as another instance of a suspect Dell laptop burning down a pickup truck in Nevada. If the burning battery issues are going to continue to be a problem, who's going to be responsible for losses? Insurance companies, Laptop makers, Battery vendors, and consumer negligence could presumably be cited in all cases."
Microsoft

Stephane Rodriguez Dismantles Open XML 188

Elektroschock writes "Stephane Rodriguez, a reengineering specialist who became popular for his article on MS Office 2007 binary data, now comprehensively debunks Microsoft's new Open XML format. With small case studies he demonstrates the impossible challenges third-party developers will face. His conclusion: it is 'defective by design.' Next week members of the International Standard Organization are likely to approve the format as a second official ISO standard for office documents, even though most nations have submitted comments. Rodriguez claims he is 'not affiliated to any pro-MS or anti-MS party/org[anization]/ass[ociation].'"
Censorship

Submission + - Iraq Whistleblower Imprisoned, Tortured (forbes.com)

cbhacking writes: "Forbes.com has a telling story on the fraud and corruption that has plagues the Iraqi reconstruction efforts and, more frighteningly, the harsh penalties faced by whistleblowers. Many have been vilified, demoted, or fired outright. Now, the story has come out of Navy veteran Donald Vance, who was working as a civilian in an Iraqi company. After reporting to the FBI that his company was making illegal sales of military weapons to customers ranging from State Department workers to Iraqi insurgents, Vance was held without a trial for 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad. During his time there, he was subjected to "that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over."

Vance is now back in the USA and, along with a colleague who helped him gather evidence and was treated similarly in return, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics "reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants.""

Privacy

Submission + - Skype-Linux reads /etc/passwd and firefox profile! (skype.com)

mrcgran writes: "Users of Skype for Linux have just found out that it reads the files /etc/passwd, firefox profile, plugins, addons, etc, and many other unnecessary files in /etc. This fact was originally discovered by using AppArmor, but others have confirmed this fact using strace on versions 1.4.0.94 and 1.4.0.99. What is going on? This probably shows how important it is to use AppArmor in any closed-source application in Linux to restrict any undue access to your files."
Microsoft

Submission + - Rodriguez slaughters Open XML

Elektroschock writes: "Stephane Rodriguez, a reengineering specialist who became popular for his article on MS-Office 2007 binary data, slaughters Microsoft's new Open XML format. With small case studies he demonstrates the disadvantages for third party developers. His conclusion: It is 'defective by design'. Next week members of the International Standard Organisation are likely to approve the format as a second official ISO standard for office documents. However, most nations submitted comments. Rodriguez claims to be "not affiliated to any pro-MS or anti-MS party/org/ass"."

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