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Programming

Microsoft Releases Office Binary Formats 259

Microsoft has released documentation on their Office binary formats. Before jumping up and down gleefully, those working on related open source efforts, such as OpenOffice, might want to take a very close look at Microsoft's Open Specification Promise to see if it seems to cover those working on GPL software; some believe it doesn't. stm2 points us to some good advice from Joel Spolsky to programmers tempted to dig into the spec and create an Excel competitor over a weekend that reads and writes these formats: find an easier way. Joel provides some workarounds that render it possible to make use of these binary files. "[A] normal programmer would conclude that Office's binary file formats: are deliberately obfuscated; are the product of a demented Borg mind; were created by insanely bad programmers; and are impossible to read or create correctly. You'd be wrong on all four counts."
Censorship

Scientology Given Direct Access To eBay Database 684

An anonymous reader writes "The Church of Scientology can delete auctions from eBay with no supervision under the VeRO program, and has used this to delete all resale of the e-meters Scientologists use. This is to stop members from buying used units from ex-members instead of buying from the official (and very expensive) source. Given Scientology's record of fraud and abuse, should eBay give them this level of trust? Will this set a precedent for other companies that want to stop the aftermarket resale of their products?"
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - ZFS will offer a new level of Data Protection

widhalmt writes: "According to a blog posting by Richard Elling, a further release of Suns ZFS Filesystem will introduce a technique called "ditto blocks" which will allow to automatically copy data within one storage device or meta device.

As you can set this per filesystem one can create one large metadevice out of e.g. many Raid devices and create "low security" filesystems without ditto blocks and and "high security" filesystems with instant copies spread over the different raid arrays. Even if one whole Raid Array fails, the filesystem with ditto blocks enabled will still work as normal.

This adds further levels of data protection to really important data as well as more granularity to chose how "secure" your data should be.

Some Maths about what combination of raidlevels and copy levels is best suited for your needs can be found within the posting linked above."
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun joins development of OpenOffice.org for Mac

widhalmt writes: "In a Blogpost a member of Sun Microsystems announces the new effort of Sun Microsoystems to help with porting OpenOffice.org to Mac OS X.

The Open Source Office Suite is well known on Linux and Windows, but lacks support for Mac OS by now. For a long time Sun did not want to join the development of that port but now they will actively push it."
Communications

Submission + - Slashdot, Too, Engaging in User Censorship?

An anonymous reader writes: In light of the recent controversy at digg.com over the censorship of the recently released HD-DVD decryption key, it is interesting to note that, under the very post that discusses digg's attempt at suppressing its users, many Slashdot users are still seemingly barred from moderation, due to a mass meta-moderation by the Slashdot administration over a controversial thread. As a long-time Slashdot reader, I have to question the hypocrisy of criticizing digg at the same time that you refuse to acknowledge censorship of your own users. When will the moderation capabilities of these users be returned, and why was it taken from them in the first place? If Slashdot is indeed supposed to be a "shining example" of freedom online, why is it so difficult for the administration to answer these simple questions in a public manner?
Red Hat Software

Submission + - RedHat EL 4.5 released. Including Xen

widhalmt writes: Today RedHat Enterprise Linux 4.5 was released. This update includes some new drivers but, most important, the ability to install RHEL4 as Xen DomU. RedHat provides support for 7 years so subscribers will be happy to migrate their installations to virtual DomUs on Xen hosts (e.g. RHEL5)

Subscibers can upgrade their installations via RedHat Network.

CentOS 4.5 and similar recompilations of RHEL 4.5 are expected to be released in the next weeks.

References: heise (German) and Golem (German)
Operating Systems

Submission + - Dell to use Ubuntu on Linux PCs

jdawson writes: BBC News is reporting ... 'Computer maker Dell has chosen Ubuntu as the operating system for its range of Linux computers for consumers. Fans of Linux hope that the move will persuade more mainstream PC users to abandon Microsoft Windows and opt for the open-source operating system. Michael Dell, the founder, chairman and chief executive of Dell, is himself an Ubuntu user. He has the operating system installed on a high-end Dell Precision M90 laptop he uses at home.'
Media

Submission + - Do We Need Another OS Platform?

tupac writes: We have been battling it out between Apple's OS X, Microsoft's Windows and Linux for a long time now. Is it time for us to come up with a fourth platform to completely shift the computing industry? OSWeekly.com writer Brandon Watts ponders in his latest column. "One of the advantages that alternative operating systems have is that they're usually composed of small development teams, so changes and new ideas can be implemented, tested, and released quickly without having to be coordinated by numerous different groups within a major corporation. In addition, whereas an operating system like Windows relies on abundance of what can be considered as legacy code, these smaller operating systems have a chance to start fresh and build a great product from the ground up.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Dell Computers with Ubuntu

widhalmt writes: "According to an article on golem.de(German), Dell created a partnership with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux to sell at least 3 different Desktops with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled. By now, there is no information what Desktop series Dell will ship with Ubuntu. The article further reads that Dell chose Ubuntu because of the large reaction on Dells own Idea Storms Website to some user asking especially for Ubuntu Linux on Dells Desktops."
Censorship

Submission + - Digg listened, the digital revolt succeeds

An anonymous reader writes: From Kevin Rose' blog on dig: Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts... In building and shaping the site I've always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We've always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code. But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you've made it clear. You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won't delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying. Digg on, Kevin
Google

Submission + - Google Rebrands Personalized Homepage as iGoogle

rm69990 writes: Google has officially rebranded their personalized homepage as iGoogle. According to Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of search products and user experience, iGoogle was floated as a name for the Personalized Homepage back in 2005 when the service was being assembled. One of the major new features of iGoogle is the ability to build gadgets without any prior programming experience. For those not in the know, Gadgets are similar to widgets on Apple's Dashboard or... gadgets on Vista's toolbar.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Geeks Make Better Lovers

An anonymous reader writes: Before going to bed, I decided to hit some more websites and then this Wired article hit me back. It seems I already have some more solutions from the infinite space of answers about why my partners start to undress when I start talking about technology. Quoting: "Geeks have seen all the porn you can imagine and then some, priming them to be open to your sexual peccadilloes. They are not only less likely to be shocked by your exotic requests — they might not even realize that other people think your turn-ons are exotic."
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - NEW Sun SPARC M-Class Enterprise Servers released

unixgod13 writes: Sun Microsystems released details on their new M-Class line of SPARC64 VI servers with the high-end server supporting up to 32 processros and 2TB of RAM. Sun and Fujitsu allied themselves to development these new SPARC64 VI systems.

These new servers give you extreme scalability, sophisticated RAS features, and SPARC64 VI processing for large workloads, databases, BIDW, and OLTP.

Sun SPARC Enterprise M9000 server: 32 or 64 processors
Sun SPARC Enterprise M8000 server: 16 processors
Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 server: 8 processors
Sun SPARC Enterprise M4000 server: 4 processors

The family also includes two rebranded servers that feature the Sun UltraSPARC T1 processor with CoolThreads technology. They're compact rack-optimized servers with up to eight cores with four threads per core. Their quick, 32-simultaneous threads are ideal for Web 2.0 and application tier environments, as well as OLTP database environments.

Sun SPARC Enterprise T1000 server: 1RU
Sun SPARC Enterprise T2000 server: 2RU

http://www.sun.com/servers/sparcenterprise/?intcmp =hp2007apr17_launch_learn

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