China looks into Windows code

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 09/30/2003 - 08:24

Yes, I've been lazy about updating the site. Lots going on lately. Got a couple new items for you today, though, beginning with ...

China is about to begin studying the source code for Microsoft Windows. This is part of an effort to verify the security of the platform, as well as ensure that there are no "backdoors" into the OS for any U.S. agencies to exploit.

Now, I'm all for security, but am I the only one that feels this is a bad idea? Considering that Windows (unfortunately) runs ~90% of our nation's computers, do we really want the Chinese government to have full access to the source code? Especially when our own government does not? Especially when during the antitrust trials Microsoft said themselves that the source code cannot be released for the sake of national security?

Hmm... Could it be that maybe they care more about making sales than our own national security? Nooo, not MS. With programs like Microsoft's Government Security Program, which includesmore than 30 "countries, territories, and organizations (though no mention of the U.S.)," how could one even think it?

Read the full story here.

Sharp Zaurus SL-C750 Review

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 09/05/2003 - 07:56

A new review has been posted for the Zaurus SL-C750. This PDA (as are all C-7xx PDAs) is only available in Japan through Sharp, but the folks at have translated the OS and applications into English, provide lifetime warranty, etc.

This is a detailed and very favorable review of the device (actually, all reviews I've read have been quite favorable, but some others tended to be a bit more reserved), and is well well worth the read if you're currently considering a new PDA.

Here's the full review. Server Status

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 09/05/2003 - 07:09

The main server is currently down. For various reasons, a complete OS reinstall will be necessary, and it will take a few days to complete this.

In the interim, I've migrated all server duties over to an old laptop. The website and e-mail should remain fully functional through the upgrade, with the exception of the SSH Applet module. If anyone notices a problem I have overlooked, please let me know ASAP.

I expect to have everything migrated back to the main server by no later than Monday, 09/08/03. Thanks for your patience.

The Age of Corporate Open Source Enlightenment

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 09/04/2003 - 08:52

The Age of Corporate Open Source Enlightenment | 2003-09-04 08:52:54 | This article discusses the steadily growing creep of open source software into corporate America from a religous (Linux-zealot vs. Windows-heretic) viewpoint. It's a fairly long article, but it's very well written, highly accurate, and an entertaining read. Be sure to check it out.

Full story

Rockin' on without Microsoft

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 08/20/2003 - 09:24

C|Net is carrying an interview with Sterling Ball, CEO of Ernie Ball, one of the leading guitar manufacturers in the world. A couple years ago, Ernia Ball made headlines by being one of the first major companies to completely switch away from Microsoft, focusing mostly on Linux and other free software.

This interview discusses what caused them to switch, how they've faired, and some of his thoughts on the future.

I want to mention that this interview is quite educational (you rarely hear a CEO speak this way), and definitely worth taking the time to read.

Here's the full interview.

SuSE vs. Red Hat vs. Microsoft "certification"

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 08/18/2003 - 14:17

A new article on The Inquirer takes a look at SuSE/IBM's recent CC Enterprise Assurance certification, and compares/contrasts it with Red Hat/Oracle's similar attempt at certification.

However, the article goes on to further discuss the value of these certifications, pointing out that:

As we've recently seen, these certifications don't guarantee that these platforms are secure. These Microsoft "certified" operating systems have just been compromised on a massive international scale by the "LoveSAN" or "MSBlaster" worm. Microsoft has had to front-end its "WindowsUpdate" site with about 15,000 Akamai servers this weekend (and very ironically, those Akamai servers are all running Linux). This vulnerability is even suspected as the root cause of Thursday night's extensive power blackout throughout the Northeast and Upper Midwest US and extending into Canada, as this SecurityFocus posting posits. At this juncture, one might really wonder how much the DoD formal certifications are actually worth, in terms of effective IT infrastructure security.

It also goes on to discuss recent U.S. DoD problems relating to Linux vs. Microsoft, and even political bias against Europen vendors. Overal, a very good read.

Full story

Joining the Cult of Linux

Submitted by jbreland on Sat, 08/16/2003 - 17:10

There's a fairly interesting article on NewsFactor about making the pitch for Linux and other Free/Open Source Software to corporations. Because FOSS enthusiasts understand and recognize the value of open source code, they tend to base their sales pitches on that as well. However, in an environment (aka Microsoft customers) where source cose access is a completely alien concept, this will only turn off and/or confuse the managers.

It goes on to state that in recent years, as more corporate entities themselves get involves in Linux (Red Hat, SuSE, etc.), pushing source code access has taken a back seat to simply pushing it's reliability and performance.

Pretty good read, overall. Here's the full story

Two on Wireless Networking

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 08/14/2003 - 22:25

Here are a couple intersting articles on wireless networking over on the O'Reilly Network.

First up is "When Is 54 Not Equal to 54?", which provides an examination of the 802.11 a, b, and g protocols, and explains why you may not be getting the advertised speed.

Second is " Dispelling the Myth of Wireless Security", which, obviously, deals with wireless security, and offers tips to test the strength of your network's security and encryption.