Explorer 6 gets early outing

A preview version of Internet Explorer 6, a future release of Microsoft Corp.’s Web browser, has been made available prematurely over the Web by at least two specialist software sites.

The beta version had been distributed by Microsoft to a small group of software testers, who typically are made to sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from sharing the software. Somehow a version wound up in the hands of two sites aimed at software enthusiasts, The-Ctrl-Alt-Del and FileClicks, which offered the program for download from their Web sites. The-Ctrl-Alt-Del soon pulled the plug on the download after learning through news reports that Microsoft was investigating the matter, said Eric LeVasseur, the site’s editor-in-chief and senior Web developer. The beta was available on the site for about 18 hours before it was pulled, and was downloaded by thousands of people, LeVasseur said. He wouldn’t say where he obtained the software beta. Disclosing information could result in “major consequences,” he said. “I don’t feel bad, because I’m not stealing anything,” he said. “It’s not as if this is the next operating system…this is software that will be free” with a future version of Microsoft Windows.

Linux development lab opens

Linux development received a boost recently with the opening of the industry’s first independent, non-profit developer’s lab. The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), an 11,000-square-foot complex in Portland, Ore., is backed by more than US$24 million in funding from industry sponsors including Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. and NEC Corp.

According to OSDL lab director Tim Witham, “anybody developing under an open-source licence can use the lab on a first-come, first-served basis.” Fifty two-way servers, six four-way severs, an eight-way server, and more than 5 terabytes of available storage make up just some of the equipment that developers will have access to at the OSDL, Witham said. One of the first projects the OSDL will tackle will be to successfully scale a 16-way, 64-bit open-source computer, Witham said. However, Witham, a former Intel employee, added that while Intel is a founding sponsor of the OSDL the lab’s maiden 64-bit open-source project is not targeted at Intel’s up-coming 64-bit Itanium processor. Each of the OSDL’s sponsors have their own Linux and open-source product offerings. And Witham said that other companies “participating in open source, should give something back [to the open-source community]” by becoming an OSDL sponsor.

Intel unveils peer-to-peer security building blocks

Attempting to provide a framework for the development of secure peer-to-peer (p-to-p) applications, Intel Corp. recently made an open-source library available for free download to companies that are developing p-to-p systems.

Intel’s Peer-to-Peer Trusted Library is designed to allow software developers to add elements of security to their p-to-p applications. It provides support for digital certificates, peer authentication, secure storage, public key encryption, digital signatures and symmetric key encryption. “Security is one of the primary issues that the whole p-to-p thing will have to address,” said Bob Knighten, Intel p-to-p evangelist, at the company’s Peer-to-Peer Working Group meeting. The Peer-to-Peer Trusted Library is built upon the Open SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Tool Kit, officials said. The Open SSL provides low-level certificate support. The Peer-to-Peer Trusted Library makes Open SSL easy to use and more flexible, according to Intel officials. The p-to-p trusted library is available for download at www.sourceforge.net/projects/ptptl.

J.D. Edwards teams with Humber

J.D. Edwards Canada will open its doors this month to offer customers and the Toronto community the latest in Web development training through an educational partnership with Humber College.

J.D. Edwards Canada developed the training program with Humber College after a client survey showed strong demand for Web development training with HTML and JavaScript programming to create functional, innovative and exciting Web pages. J.D. Edwards’ alliance with Humber College, which hosts one of Canada’s largest digital imaging training centres, follows a shared philosophy to enhance technology education to the corporate market. The program is based on courses taught at the College, streamlined to focus on the corporate learner.

VoiceGenie awards XML developers

VoiceGenie Technologies Inc., a provider of telco-grade VoiceXML Gateway products, recently announced at the Telephony Voice Interface Conference the winners of the VoiceGenie VoiceXML Developers’ Challenge.

In first place receiving US$10,000 for his application entitled “Who wants to be a Villionaire?” was Rishi Malhotra of Toronto. This application is a voice (hence the V in the spelling of Villionaire) spin-off of the popular Who Wants to Be a Millionaire game show. “I wanted to build something that was creative and entertaining, an application that everyone could enjoy,” Malhotra said. Participants were challenged to create a VoiceXML application over a two-month period. All submissions were judged on functionality, originality, ease-of-use, richness, responsiveness, usefulness and reliability. VoiceGenie’s Developer Workshop provided the development platform and VoiceXML development resource tools for the contest.