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Comment Reliable and uniform? (Score 4, Insightful) 304

Why should I, as a Windows Admin, have to write an incredibly long and painfully meticulous netsh command to allow something past my firewall when I can just click my way to network settings?
...
Step back a second, and ask all of those questions with their Linux counterparts. The answer turns into "BECAUSE THERE IS NO OTHER RELIABLE AND UNIFORM WAY TO DO SO."

Reliable and uniform -- not the words I would have have used in context of windows administration. The problem with windows administration (and I mostly mean 3rd party server software, but also Microsoft stuff) is that often the GUI is the only sane way to do things -- the cli interface, if it exists, is an afterthought. So automating anything is impossible or hard and debugging problems becomes a game of guesswork.

Yeah, that may be an unfair extrapolation from my experience that includes some fairly bad software vendors and it might even be outdated (as I haven't touched windows in years). Still, that is one of the reasons I prefer not to have anything to do with Windows, at home or at work.

The Courts

Submission + - Type host -l, pay $50,000+ and perhaps go to jail (spamsuite.com) 1

Joe Wagner writes: "In a written judgment that has only become public today, anti-spammer David Ritz has lost the SLAPP lawsuit filed by Jerry Reynolds filed for running "unauthorized" DNS lookups on their servers. Knowing "commands are not commonly known to the average computer user" can get you into serious peril in some judges' court rooms.

I kid you not. The Judge ruled that "In all intended uses of a zone transfer, the secondary server is operated by the same party that operates the primary server." The original complaint is here.

Ritz was a thorn in Reynolds' side during the years when Ritz was trying to get the Netzilla/Sexzilla porn spam operation to stop spamming. Reynolds has been quite aggressive in trying to get his past erased from the net (including forged cancel posts). The North Dakota Judge also awarded attorneys fee which could theoretically make the total bill over $500k for doing a domain zone transfer. Reynolds also filed a criminal complaint against Ritz which was on hold pending resolution of this trial.

Here is a literal worst-case scenario of what can happen when a court fails miserably to understand technology. The judge ruled:

Ritz has engaged in a variety of activities without authorization on the Internet. Those activities include port scanning, hijacking computers, and the compilation and publication of Whois lookups without authorization from Network Solutions.
The port scanning/hijacking computers is posting a test message through one of Verizon's machines to prove to Verizon they had an open relay — i.e. posting to 0.verizon.security via the relay a note to Verizon's security saying "What's it going to take to get you to secure this gaping hole in what you call your network," or words to that effect. Verizon apparently had no problem with the demo post and closed the relay.

Take note, for those anti-spammers out there, this Judge is ruling that if you post the whois record for a spammer's domain your are doing a malicious, tortious act.

There is a legal defense fund that was set up for his case. I believe he does not have the resources to appeal and this would be a very bad precedent to stand."

Media

HD Monitor Causes DRM Issues with Netflix 540

Jeremiah Cornelius points us to Davis Freeberg's blog, where he discusses his "nightmare scenario" of losing access to his DRM-protected purchases by upgrading his PC monitor. "When I called them they confirmed my worst fears. In order to access the Watch Now service, I had to give Microsoft's DRM sniffing program access to all of the files on my hard drive. If the software found any non-Netflix video files, it would revoke my rights to the content and invalidate the DRM. This means that I would lose all the movies that I've purchased from Amazon's Unbox, just to troubleshoot the issue. Because my computer allows me to send an unrestricted HDTV feed to my monitor, Hollywood has decided to revoke my ability to stream 480 resolution video files from Netflix. In order to fix my problem, Netflix recommended that I downgrade to a lower res VGA setup."
Linux

Linux Foundation's Desktop Linux Survey Results 172

DeviceGuru writes "While the Linux Foundation's third annual desktop Linux survey doesn't officially end until November 30th, the number of daily respondents have shrunk to a trickle and the Foundation is working on analyzing the results. They now have up an early look at the raw data. For starters, almost 20,000 self-selected users filled out this year's survey compared to fewer than 10,000 in 2006's survey. Not surprisingly, the Ubuntu family of Linuxes is the most popular among organizations, at 54.1 percent. This was followed by the Red Hat family — RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux/Fedora/CentOS) — with 50.2 percent. The Novell SUSE group — SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) and openSUSE — came in third, with 35.2 percent."
Software

How Fast is Your Turnaround Time? 418

petrus.burdigala writes "I work for a mid-sized commercial software company (~20 Mloc) and we are frequently challenged by our supervisors to get fixes around the clock. Overall, we manage to get a 'bullet-proof' patch in about 4-5 weeks (from coding->QA->Build/Packaging->shipment), which I consider not so bad. But the other day, we got an urgent request from our support team to come up with a decent fix in 48 hours. I think they're a tiny bit unrealistic. So I wanted to get feedback from my peers: are we doing that bad? It takes months for other software vendors to issue zero-day exploit fixes, are our customers being unreasonable?"
Censorship

Submission + - Myspace eliminates "Gay" option

ishboo writes: "Just recently myspace abolished the option to select "Gay" as a sexual preference in your profile while still leaving bi and lesbian. This comes form chairman of News Corps. (Myspace's parent company) Rupert Murdoch who made this choice based on "Personal Family Values" who has a history of being accused of being homophobic. http://rawstory.com/news/2007/MySpace_deletes_abil ity_of_users_to_0503.html"
Security

Submission + - Wikipedia admins go on rampage

joeszilagyi writes: After their passwords got cracked: At least four different Wikipedia administrators have had their weak passwords taken in the past 24 hours. They deleted the home page repeatedly, and one person even put Tubgirl on the "Site notice", which is a global header for all of en.wikipedia.org. How did it happen? Weak logon security measures — there is no CAPTCHA; crappy passwords, and on top of that, while there is an encrypted SSL logon page, it's hard to find. The scariest thing is that people with passwords of "password" are entrusted as sysops and administrators on one of the Top 10 websites on Earth. They even blocked Jimbo Wales repeatedly from his own website!
Intel

Submission + - Intel to launch Linux-powered mobile Internet devi

daria42 writes: Intel is developing its own take on the mini-tablet, with a new ultra-mobile PC platform to be announced at this week's Intel Developer Forum in Beijing. The big surprise? It's based on Linux. Called a Mobile Internet Device (pic), or MID, the devices will have screen sizes from 4.5 to six inches with a target audience described as "consumers and prosumers" rather than mobile professionals.
Businesses

Lenovo Tops Eco-Friendly Ranking 94

gollum123 writes to tell us that according to a recent list compiled by Greenpeace, Lenovo has topped the list of "eco-friendly" companies scoring an 8 out of a possible 10 while Apple fell to the bottom of the list with only a 2.7. "Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace international toxics campaigner, said the industry had made some positive steps in the last 12 months with firms starting to act rather than just issue statements of intent. Of the 14 companies profiled, said Ms Kruszewska, nine now score more than five out of 10."
Security

VBootkit Bypasses Vista's Code Signing 210

An anonymous reader writes "At the Black Hat Conference in Amsterdam, security experts from India demonstrated a special boot loader that gets around Vista's code-signing mechanisms. Indian security experts Nitin and Vipin Kumar of NV labs have developed a program called the VBootkit that launches from a CD and boots Vista, making on-the-fly changes in memory and in files being read. In a demonstration, the 'boot kit' managed to run with kernel privileges and issue system rights to a CMD shell when running on Vista, even without a Microsoft signature. The demo was run on Vista RC2. The researchers say the only reason they didn't do it on Vista final was cost. Schneier blogged the exploit."

MS Four Points of Interoperability and Adobe 274

Andy Updegrove writes "Recently, spokespersons for Microsoft's standards group have been promoting 'design, collaboration and licensing' as alternatives, rather than supplements to, open standards. There's an important difference between an open standard and any of these ad hoc arrangements among companies, however, and that is the fact that with a standard, everybody knows that they can get what everybody else can get, and on substantially the same terms. With a de facto standard, that's not the case - as Microsoft itself found out last week when Adobe refused to offer the same deal on saving files in PDF form that Apple and OpenOffice enjoy."

Google's Insular Nature 188

stockpicker_dude_78 writes "Robert Cringley has written a thought-provoking article on Google's insular nature, and compares them to the similar environment at Microsoft." From the article: "Google is secretive. This started as a deliberate marketing mystique, but endures today more as a really annoying company habit. Google folks don't understand why the rest of us have a problem with this, but then Google folks aren't like you and me. The result of this secrecy and Google's 'almighty algorithm' mentality is that the company makes changes -- and mistakes -- without informing its customers or even doing all that much to correct the problems."

Microsoft Joins OpenDocument Alliance 256

Jim writes "Microsoft has joined a committee that has a key role in the ratification of OpenDocument as an international standard, leading to accusations that it intends to sabotage the process. Microsoft has denied this accusation, claiming that the only reason why Microsoft employee Jim Thatcher has joined the group was to get involved in the ISO standardisation of its own file format." From the article: "'There sits Microsoft, waiting, like a spider,' wrote Jones, in a posting on her site. 'I am imagining ODF plodding along, with Microsoft asking questions, fine-combing through the comments, did you mean this or that?, getting bogged down in minutia until, lo and behold, either Microsoft's XML makes it as an ISO standard first, or they arrive neck and neck.'" More information here on a subject we touched on in a recent Slashback. update a few readers have asked for the clarification that MSFT has not joined ODF, but rather the "INCITS/V1 Technical Committee"

Mozilla Firefox 2.0 Alpha Peeking Out (Or Not) 216

anadgouda writes "Mozilla Firefox 2.0 alpha is released. The links for download were not available directly on Mozilla.com website. Being Alpha, all features might not work and most of the plugins might not be compatible." Reading thru the comments, it appears there's some disparity as to whether or not this is actually just a naming scheme that they use; but let me reiterate that there has been no official announcement from Mozilla, so take with a giant grain of salt. Some good screenshots at OSdir.

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