Experts were quick to take issue with the University of Calgary Department of Computer Science’s decision last month to offer a virus and malware course. The course, which will be open to fourth-year students in the school’s undergraduate program, will commence this fall. Along with focusing on legal, ethical and computer security issues, students will be shown how to develop computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses.

Jan Hruska, CEO of antivirus vendor Sophos Inc., said in a statement that those who have engaged in writing viruses need not apply to the company for a job. “You are of no use to us. The skills required to write good antivirus software are far removed from those needed to write a virus,” he said in the statement. In a statement on the university’s Web site, the U of C outlined the rationale for offering the course. “In order to develop more secure software, and countermeasures for malicious software, you first need to know how malicious software works and the mindset of its creator.”

Microsoft settles AOL lawsuit over browser

Microsoft Corp. will pay AOL Time Warner Inc. (AOLTW) US$750 million to settle a private antitrust suit filed on behalf of Netscape Communications Corp. by America Online Inc. in January 2002. As part of the deal, AOLTW’s America Online Internet division will receive a royalty-free, seven-year licence to use Internet Explorer with AOL’s client software, the companies said. They will also work together to make their respective instant messaging clients work together, though “no time frame has been set for that,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect.

The industry giants will also collaborate on long-term initiatives for distributing digital media to consumers, and support new business models for content owners, the companies said. Microsoft will further provide AOL with a new worldwide distribution channel for software to certain PC users, and provide technical cooperation and information “to ensure the best possible AOL member experience on current and future Microsoft operating systems.”

Free hotspots unveiled in Ottawa, Toronto

BWireless Zones Inc., based in Vancouver, launched a new wireless hotspot in Toronto’s financial district late last month. The hotspot, which will be free to users until the end of the year, is the first of three locations that the wireless products and services provider has announced out of 102 zones the company plans to launch in Canada by year’s end. The Exchange Tower in Toronto is the first launch site on Monday. Also up for a launch is the Royal Bank Plaza. Meanwhile, the second launch of Ottawa’s Parliament district is planned for later in the year.

Emil Bosnjak, CEO and founder of BWireless Zones, said that although U.S. wireless hotspot users are a little more conditioned to having wireless LAN (WLAN) locations at their fingertips, Canadian users aren’t quite there yet. “[To them] it’s a bonus. It’s something you show [customers] when they come to the store, it’s new technology…we’re just trying to get mobile professionals and our clientele to adopt wireless and to adopt this type of technology,” Bosnjak said.

Novell says SCO never took Unix patents

Novell Inc. is taking The SCO Group Inc. to task over SCO’s legal claims over Unix and against Linux software. The company says it never transferred the copyrights and patents of Unix System V when it sold the software to SCO in 1995. SCO claims all Unix flavours in use today are based on Unix System V, and that it owns the software code and licensing rights to that software.

Novell, however, said the company is apparently aware that it lacks these copyrights and patents because over the past few months SCO has “repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests Novell has rejected,” Novell’s president and CEO Jack Messman wrote to his SCO counterpart, Darl McBride. SCO launched an initiative in January called SCOsource to more aggressively enforce the licensing of its Unix software. That initiative led to company’s US$1 billion lawsuit against IBM Corp. in March and to later allegations that Unix code it owns has been illegally copied into the Linux operating system kernel.

SAP unloads database development to MySQL

SAP AG said it plans to hand off lead development of its SAP DB database software to MySQL AB and work with MySQL to deliver an enterprise-class version of that company’s namesake open source database. Officials at the German software company said the agreement with MySQL is an attempt to put increased development muscle behind the open-source movement and make it easier for corporate users to deploy Linux-based ERP systems without having to pay big database administration fees.

SAP includes SAP DB with its applications as a free alternative to Oracle, DB2 and SQL Server databases, and it released an open source version of the technology in late 2000. The business applications vendor said about 1,100 customers are using SAP DB.

Speedier notebook PC chips expected

Intel Corp. is planning to roll out a new line of faster Pentium M and mobile Pentium 4 (Pentium 4-M) processors for notebook PCs this month. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker plans to make the Pentium M more appealing to customers by raising its maximum speed from 1.6GHz to 1.7GHz. The company is also planning to release low-voltage Pentium M chips running at both 1GHz and 1.2 GHz.

The new Pentium 4-M will take over the job that was previously held by both the current Pentium 4-M and the Pentium III-M, to be the company’s chip of choice for thinner and lighter notebooks. There are also plans to boost the speed of the new 4-M, which currently sits at 2.5GHz. The new Pentium 4-M boasts features including easier implementation into notebooks than desktop chips; faster speed than the older models; a 533MHz bus; and better affordability.

Low-end NAS array announced by HP

Hewlett-Packard Co. this month began shipping a new Network Attached Storage (NAS) server that will cost US$5,000 less than the least expensive Windows Powered NAS array in its current product line.

The StorageWorks NAS 1000s will list at US$2,999, and will include a number of features already available in HP’s more expensive StorageWorks products, including the ability to replacing storage drives without stopping the machine, and a “quick restore” mechanism that lets users restore the machine to its original “factory install” state within 15 minutes, HP said.

The storage servers will be based on 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor machines with 512 MB of RAM. They will contain four ATA hard disks that will vary in size between 80 GBand 250 GB each, depending on the machine.

IBM, EDS lead Web hosting market: Meta

In the US$2.3 billion North American market for managed Web hosting and related services, IBM Corp. and EDS Corp. took advantage of market changes and turbulence during 2002 to extend their lead over rivals, research firm Meta Group Inc. concluded in a recent report. As the Web-hosting market evolves, large vendors will increasingly dominate, according to Meta, based in Stamford, Conn. Driving the market’s widening gap between vendors is the commoditization of low-end services such as collocation infrastructure provisioning, and the relative immaturity but growing importance of high-end consulting and full-management services, the firm said.

IBM and EDS have the staffing, infrastructure, technology and financial resources to adapt to changing customer demands and to weather rough market conditions, Meta said. They also have the advantage of bulk: With the economy shaky, customers are reluctant to sign on with smaller vendors that could be acquired or wiped out, according to the report.

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