News Briefs

Canadian Linux users take aim at SCO

Several Canadian Linux users banded together last month to officially launch the Canadian Linux Interests Coalition (CLIC), arguing that SCO’s legal threats regarding the Linux source code are unsubstantiated. Comprised of Linux professionals and users from across Canada, CLIC said it will not remain silent while SCO “disparages Linux, the work of thousands of contributors worldwide.” Recently, SCO filed a lawsuit against IBM Corp., claiming that the Linux kernel contains programming code rightfully owned by SCO. The company is attempting to collect royalties on Linux installations. CLIC’s immediate plans involve giving Canadian Linux users as much “honest and valuable” information as possible. For more information, visit

End of an era for Ottawa’s Corel

Corel Corp. is set to be acquired by Vector Capital Corp. after more than 80 per cent of Corel shareholders voted in favour of the buyout last month – regardless of some shareholder claims that they were unable to vote. Derek Burney, president and CEO of Corel, said although Corel will continue to develop software, the company still faces challenges in “converting enthusiasm for its products into meaningful revenue growth that will be rewarded by the market.” Still, some shareholders argued that many of them were unaware of the voting procedures and had not received proxy circulars, which detailed voting information.

Trojan horse attacks GNU Project

Malicious code recently compromised the FTP server for the GNU Project, a developer site for many components in the open source Linux operating system. The attack happened in March 2003, according to a statement from GNU’s sponsor – the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The compromise was a Trojan horse that was installed on the root system of GNU’s servers. The Trojan had been on the server system for several months and had gone unnoticed by the GNU until late July. A local user sparked the attack and was collecting passwords and attempting to use the site as a launching point to attack other machines, the FSF said.

Dell handheld users told to wait

Frustrated Dell Axim users are once again complaining on Internet message boards and forums about the lack of a patch from Dell Inc. to correct performance problems in their Windows Mobile 2003 handhelds. Dell was supposed to make a patch available through its Web site on July 30 to correct performance problems that stemmed from faulty firmware shipped with Dell’s Axim handhelds sold after the launch of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile 2003 operating system on June 23.

Redmond mulling automatic patching

In the wake of a widespread Internet worm, Microsoft Corp. is weighing options to get more users to secure their computers, including automatically applying security patches to PCs remotely, the company said. “We are looking at a range of options to get critical updates on more systems, from finding ways to encourage more people to keep their systems up to date themselves to where it is done automatically by default for certain users,” said Matt Pilla, senior product manager for Windows at Microsoft. Microsoft does not plan any immediate changes to the way it delivers security patches, but the company also does not intend to wait until the release of its next operating system to improve it, said Pilla.

Flaw in 9i requires patch, says Oracle

Database giant Oracle Corp. is warning customers about security holes in versions of its Oracle 9i Database Server. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company released a software patch and Security Alert to fix “a set” of buffer overflows in the XML (Extensible Markup Language) Database component of Oracle9i.

PeopleSoft expands Oracle lawsuit

Continuing its efforts to block Oracle Corp.’s hostile takeover bid, PeopleSoft Inc. has added more allegations to its lawsuit against the database software maker, the company announced recently. PeopleSoft has amended its complaint against Oracle to include what it claimed are “extensive new facts” about Oracle’s alleged efforts to disrupt PeopleSoft’s customer relationships and a campaign to mislead PeopleSoft customers about Oracle’s plans to support the company’s products.

The amendments also add claims of interference with customers of J.D. Edwards & Co., the software vendor PeopleSoft finished acquiring last month.

Oxford grants cyberslackers legitimacy

Cyberslacker is one of over 100 IT-inspired or related words that have made their way into the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English. The new words point to the increasing importance of technology in everyday life. Acronyms like IMAP (Internet Mail Access Protocol), DNS (Domain Name System) and CGI (Common Gateway Interface) are in the new dictionary alongside words like script kiddie, for “a person who uses existing computer scripts or codes to hack into computers, lacking the expertise to write their own,” and open source, for “denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available.”

DARPA work is shaping Sun’s future

A desktop-size supercomputer, new types of computer memory systems and easier-to-build microprocessors will someday be reality if research being conducted by Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Sun Labs pans out, according to the head of the company’s applied research division.

Though a desktop-size supercomputer may be little more than a dream at this point, Sun is working on some new technologies that could help bring that project to fruition, thanks in part to a US$50 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that the Santa Clara, Calif., company was awarded last month.