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Johansen is likely to remain in the news as his retrial on charges relating to his involvement in the DeCSS code has just begun in Oslo. Though acquitted in a lower court, the case (which began five years ago) has been appealed.
The Register has also reported that the FCC in the US has approved the controversial Broadcast Flag. Though the FCC claims that the measure is necessary to prevent piracy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation contends that the rules will
"[force] manufacturers to remove useful recording features from television products you can buy today"The archive of EFF documents relating to the Broadcast Flag regulations can be browsed online at http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/HDTV/
It appears that there may be some loopholes in the detail of the regulations relating to export of non-DRM enabled equipment. The full implications of the rules will of course become clearer over time.
Two contentious issues: electronic voting and the DMCA, have been at the centre of a recent story regarding the Diebold company. Diebold specialises in ATMs, electronic voting systems and similar products. However, their voting products have not been without their problems, the extent of which was starkly highlighted in emails leaked from the company.
Once the emails started to circulate on the internet, Diebold sought to lock down this embarrassing material by invoking the dreaded DMCA. Happily for the American electorate, the Online Policy Group, backed by the EFF, brought legal action against Diebold and forced the company to back down.
This is an important win, as the integrity of the voting system (and people's ability to verify it) is fundamental to the functioning of any democracy. As Scott Granneman has pointed out, e-voting has had a chequered history, and it is imperative that it be properly exposed to public and expert scrutiny. This is not just an American issue, as electronic voting machines are being installed in countries around the world. Some, such as those in Australia, use open-source software and operating systems, but many (for example the system being deployed in the Republic of Ireland) leave a lot to be desired in terms of transparency and openness.
Basic concepts or real-time operating systems [courtesy LinuxToday].
Linux Weekly News reports on the fork of Linux Gazette.
Ian Murdock, rethinking the Linux distribution business model (courtesy LinuxToday)
Joe Brockmeier on how to build Debian packages.
As mentioned below, several Debian project machines were recently compromised by an attacker who took advantage of an exploitable flaw in the 2.4 series of kernels. Though this integer overflow in the brk system call was not initially thought to have serious security implications, now that an exploit is loose in the wild it is very important that sysadmins patch their systems. The problem has been fixed in the 2.4.23 release of the kernel.
A recent attempt to insert backdoor code into the Linux kernel has been thwarted by the vigilance and openness of the open source development process.
Linux In Libraries (LIL) is an electronic mailing list/user group dedicated to utilizing the Linux operating system in academic, public and special libraries as an alternative affordable solution for public access computing.
2-Disk X window embedded Linux is a tiny net-centric Linux that aims at portable secure remote system usage. It contains many utilities including: X Windows, vncviewer, rdesktop, a Web browser, a file manager, a text editor, a terminal, a window manager, a menu system, a dialog system, X scripting facilities, and many others. It aims to work from 1 or 2 floppy disks in any remote location. The FAQ is particularly good.
NewsForge recently reported on the ADIOS boot CD. It includes some features not so common on boot CDs, such as User Mode Linux and Security Enhanced Linux.
Debian GNU/Linux has been updated. The new version, Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (r2), mainly adds security updates to the stable release, along with some corrections of serious bugs.
Several Debian servers were recently compromised by a local kernel exploit. Fortunately, the attacks were noticed and it has been confirmed that the archives were not tampered with. The investigation report makes for interesting reading.
The Linux From Scratch community has announced the release of LFS-5.0. This release features a new method with strong emphasis on building a correct compilation environment and base libraries independent from the host system. Release 5.0 features the Linux kernel version 2.4.22, the GNU C Library (glibc) 2.3.2, the GNU Compiler Collection (gcc) 3.3.1 and a bootloader change from LILO to GRUB, amongst other package upgrades. The book's explanatory texts have also been enhanced, providing an even richer learning experience while you build your own customised, hand-crafted Linux installation.
Mandrake Linux 9.2 ISOs are now available for download, including the new LG CD-ROM fix.
Mandrake has also released MandrakeMove "...a new product based on Mandrake Linux 9.2 that provides a complete personal desktop operating system on a bootable CD".
News that Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for Red Hat Linux 9 from the end of April 2004. This also marks the end of the Red Hat Linux product line. To some extent, the Fedora Project will carry the torch from now on.
The Ogg Vorbis CODEC project has released new versions for all its tools and software. Libogg 1.1, vorbis-tools 1.0.1, libvorbis 1.0.1 and OggEnc 1.0.1 are included.
ICS has announced the release of QicsTable, a sophisticated grid/table GUI object. With QicsTable, developers can present large tables of information using a familiar spreadsheet-like user interface paradigm. This makes their applications easier for end users to understand and use. Built on the Qt framework from Trolltech AS, applications written with QicsTable run without changes on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and UNIX based systems. QicsTable is being released under both the GNU Public License (GPL) and a commercial license that includes access to source code.
Also recently released is an update to the Apache 1.3 codebase, the new version is denoted 1.3.29.
Semiconductor distributor The Memec Group and embedded Linux and eCos consulting firm Mind have collaborated on a port of Linux and RedBoot to Memec's Virtex-II Pro Development Board. The board is used to design and verify applications based on the Xilinx Virtex-II Pro Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) family.
The Apache Software Foundation and The Apache HTTP Server Project are pleased to announce the 3.1.2 Beta release of mod_python.
Some feature highlights:
The Middle East's e-learning platform, EduWave, is to be made available on the Linux platform following a deal between IBM and Jordanian IT company Integrated Technology Group(ITG).
Mick is LG's News Bytes Editor.
Born some time ago in Ireland, Michael is currently working on
a PhD thesis in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University
College Dublin. The topic of this work is the use of Lamb waves in
nondestructive testing. GNU/Linux has been very useful in this work, and
Michael has a strong interest in applying free software solutions to
other problems in engineering. When his thesis is completed, Michael
plans to take a long walk.