The release (announced Monday and available for download on Thursday, April 23) has added little surprises since the final beta test last week. Die-hard Linux fans and even curious looky-loos have been anticipating version 9.04 or "Jaunty Jackalope" for months. Available in desktop and server versions, the software is expected to be a viable alternative to basic Windows XP PCs, especially in the category of compact laptops, called netbooks. Ubuntu's handlers boast that Jaunty Jackalope's desktop improvements will give users more time between charges along with immediate access after hibernation. Included in the bundle are the OpenOffice.org 3.0 productivity suite and support for Skype. Adobe Flash Improved switching between Wi-Fi and 3G environments also has been broadened to support more wireless devices and 3G cards.VMware vows to overhaul data center with "cloud operating system" - Network World
The server version's biggest addition is its connection with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). The feature makes Jaunty Jackalope the first commercially supported distribution to let companies build cloud environments on an intranet or connect with an external cloud provider like Amazon. The release is compatible with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth said. http://www.ubuntu.com/
Seven months after VMware began teasing the industry with previews of the "Virtual Datacenter Operating System," VMware on Tuesday dropped that moniker and is now calling vSphere a "cloud operating system" to take advantage of growing interest in cloud computing and the idea of the private cloud.Palm's webOS lives up to hype, early developers say - Network World
In pushing the private cloud, VMware is hoping IT shops will build highly virtualized, fault-tolerant, self-service data centers that resemble those of cloud providers such as Amazon and Google, but which exist solely within the firewall for the benefit of an enterprise's own users. VMware said it will eventually release an upgrade letting IT shops connect their private clouds to cloud services offered commercially by the likes of Terremark, Savvis and SunGard.
For the mobile enterprise, Palm’s webOS and companion Mojo software development kit offer a dramatically simpler way to build sophisticated mobile applications that are highly integrated with Web-based content and services, according to several developers working with these tools since early this year.Windows 7 release candidate to tip up in two weeks - News - PC Authority
Yet another leak has sprung regarding Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 release, this time with the firm's partner programme web site noting the release candidate will be good to go before May 5th, just two weeks from now.Windows 7 will have hobbled 'Starter Edition' - News - PC Authority
The page, reading: "Partners: If you have a subscription to MSDN or TechNet, you can download Windows 7 RC now, otherwise, you can download Windows 7 RC starting May 5, 2009," came to the beady eyed attention of Tech enthusiast site Neowin on Saturday afternoon.
Software giant Microsoft is going to have starter version of Windows which it will sell on low-spec PCs and laptops jolly cheap.Apple preparing to release new Snow Leopard beta build - Ars Technica
Although the Vole has not said what it considers jolly cheap, the biggest downside is that the OS will be crippled so that it can only run three applications at the same time.
The big idea is that the Vole will help keep the price of the hardware down, but will force users who want to use it to pay for an upgrade for more usable to software.
To be fair, it would not make much sense to run more than three applications at the same time on a netbook, but it depends how the OS will count the three applications.
The Snow Leopard beta process has been underway for a while now. In recent months, Apple has been releasing new test builds of the upcoming OS roughly four to six weeks apart. The schedule now appears to be changing a bit; Apple is preparing to release a new beta build of Snow Leopard at some point this week, according to AppleInsider, although it's unclear exactly how significant the new build will be.Slashdot | RIAA Brief Attacks Free Software Foundation
"The RIAA has requested permission to file a response to the amicus curiae brief filed by the Free Software Foundation in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Boston case against a Boston University grad student accused of having downloaded some song files when in his teens. In their proposed response, the RIAA lawyers personally attacked The Free Software Foundation, Ray Beckerman (NewYorkCountryLawyer), and NYCL's blog, 'Recording Industry vs. The People'. The 9-page response (PDF) — 4 pages longer than the document to which it was responding — termed the FSF an organization 'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs', and accused the FSF of having an 'open and virulent bias against copyrights' and 'blatant bias' against the record companies. They called 'Recording Industry vs. The People' an 'anti-recording industry web site' and stated that NYCL 'is currently subject to a pending sanctions motion for his conduct in representing a defendant' (without disclosing that plaintiffs' lawyers were 'subject to a pending motion for Rule 11 sanctions for their conduct in representing plaintiffs' in that very case)."BBC NEWS | Business | UK 'has the worst copyright laws'
UK copyright laws "needlessly criminalise" music fans and need to be updated, a consumer watchdog says.Optus joins ISP net filter trials - Internet - iTnews Australia
UK laws that make it a copyright violation to copy a CD that you own onto a computer or iPod should be changed, says Consumer Focus.
The call came after global umbrella group Consumers International put the UK in last place in a survey of 16 countries' copyright laws.
Consumer Focus said the UK had to catch up with the rest of the world.
"UK copyright law is the oldest, but also the most out of date," said Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus.
Optus has won a place in the second round of the Federal Government’s controversial internet filtering trials, whilst Telstra will now also conduct non consumer-facing technical tests of filtering technology.Concern as Microsoft fails to patch PowerPoint flaw - Security - iTnews Australia
The news is an about-face on Senator Conroy's decision to shun Optus from the first round in favour of six other ISPs.
It appears to add considerable weight to the technology pilot, which previously counted Primus as the largest participating ISP.
"The participation of Optus will help ensure the Government obtains robust results from the pilot which will inform the evidence-based development of our ISP filtering policy," Senator Conroy said.
Security experts are expressing concern at Microsoft's failure to patch a flaw in PowerPoint that is already being exploited by malware writers.Analysts weigh up costs of Telstra split - Telecommunications - iTnews Australia
The flaw is being used in attacks at the moment and many were expecting a patch at the last Patch Tuesday but to date there has been no sign of the fix.
“This PowerPoint exploit is in the wild right now,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
“It comes in the form of a presentation showing naked Japanese girls bathing in rockpools, or as an IQ test, to lure the user in. We're hoping Microsoft will patch this soon.”
He said that so far the exploit was being used in a targeted fashion but there was serious concern that it would be spammed out as part of a botnet recruitment drive.
Macquarie Research estimates functional separation would cost Telstra five per cent in product margins and a 33 per cent hit to its share price, but the forced sale of its HFC network is a greater risk to the carrier.VMware takes virtualisation to the next level - Software - iTnews Australia
In a research note released yesterday, the financial analyst group weighed up the costs Telstra shareholders would wear should the various scenarios tabled in the Federal Government's upcoming regulatory review come into effect.
Macquarie estimated functional separation would cost Telstra shareholders between six and 33 cents per share - the lower figure representing a scenario in which regulatory changes are made without a National Broadband Network (NBN) being completed by the Government, the latter including the competitive effect of an NBN.
Even without an NBN, Macquarie said, the "implementation costs" of functional separation - the setting up of two new divisions, new systems and new brands - would be significant.
Competing with an NBN, meanwhile, would result in Telstra earning five per cent lower margins on its fixed line products, "stemming from greater equivalence of inputs for access seekers versus Telstra's retail division, as well as the impact of having to provide additional wholesale services that would bring fresh competition to the market place."
VMware has officially launched the next version of its virtualisation platform, adding storage and network virtualisation features designed to turn corporate data centres into a single giant resource the company dubs "the software mainframe".Activists rally troops against proposed EU 'Net regulations - Ars Technica
However, the company is also targeting smaller companies, a market it has been perceived as neglecting, with affordable entry-level editions of the new platform.
Due to ship before the end of this quarter, vSphere 4 is the successor to VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) and proclaimed by the company as "the first cloud operating system".
But VMware was also keen to point out it allows customers to build their own "internal cloud" based on infrastructure that they have already invested in.
"We are turning IT into a service, whether it is offered by an external service provider or offered internally," said Paul Harrapin, managing director of VMware Australia, at the launch today.
According to press reports, the EU's attempt to overhaul the Internet market within its member states has now set the EU's Parliament and said states on a "collision course." We've been reporting on the proposed telecom reforms package for several years now (most recently here), in part because its a massive overhaul and modernization of network policy, and in part because the unwieldy structure of the European political system has frequently allowed various interest groups and member states to insert their own take on issues into the package. The latest hold up arose over the handling of copyright infringers, but it has given various advocates of other issues the opportunity to mobilize against other features of the reform package.Big Content seeks injunction as Pirate Bay appeals verdict - Ars Technica
If it's hard to follow what's going on, that's hardly surprising. The reforms package has been making its way through the European Parliament, a legislative body, under the direction of members of the European Commission, which is the executive branch. Commissioner Viviane Reding of Luxembourg, the Telecoms Commissioner, has had primary responsibility for the text. But, to actually be implemented, the reforms also need to be approved by the European Council, which is comprised of the individual union members' heads of state. Getting everyone on board for a single document has proven challenging.
Those challenges have been made greater by the fact that the proposed legislation takes different approaches to handling differences in the laws of member states, depending on the subject. So, for example, it demands interoperability among the networks of different EU countries, regardless of local laws. In contrast, when it comes to issues of network management and net neutrality, member states are permitted to set their own standards; nevertheless, the legislation states that companies throughout the EU are required to disclose any limits they place on traffic to their customers.
The Pirate Bay verdict is in, but the site operators aren't in jail, haven't paid any fines, and continue to run the site. They have also filed their promised appeal in the case, ensuring that the whole episode will drag on for quite some time. That's just fine with The Pirate Bay's administrators, though, who today speculated that the case will take another two to three years to wrap up. In the meantime, "The site will live on!"Study: pirates biggest music buyers. Labels: yeah, right - Ars Technica
The fact that the site lives on is a little weird, given the guilty verdict, the 30 million kronor fine, and the year of jail time for all defendants. What's missing from the collection of penalties? An injunction shutting down The Pirate Bay.
A spokesperson for the Motion Picture Association said after the verdict, "We now look to the Swedish authorities to end this criminal enterprise," but that apparently won't happen without another win in court. John Kennedy, head of international music trade group IFPI, told the New York Times last week that his group "planned to file additional litigation to try to get The Pirate Bay shut down."
Those who download illegal copies of music over P2P networks are the biggest consumers of legal music options, according to a new study by the BI Norwegian School of Management. Researchers examined the music downloading habits of more than 1,900 Internet users over the age of 15, and found that illegal music connoisseurs are significantly more likely to purchase music than the average, non-P2P-loving user.Digging up dirt: Facebook spies for hire - web - Technology - theage.com.au
Unsurprisingly, BI found that those between 15 and 20 are more likely to buy music via paid download than on a physical CD, though most still purchased at least one CD in the last six months. However, when it comes to P2P, it seems that those who wave the pirate flag are the most click-happy on services like the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3. BI said that those who said they download illegal music for "free" bought ten times as much legal music as those who never download music illegally. "The most surprising is that the proportion of paid download is so high," the Google-translated Audun Molde from the Norwegian School of Management told Aftenposten.
Record label EMI doesn't quite buy into BI's stats, though. EMI's Bjørn Rogstad told Aftenposten that the results make it seem like free downloads stimulate pay downloads, but there's no way to know for sure. "There is one thing we are not going away, and it is the consumption of music increases, while revenue declines. It can not be explained in any way other than that the illegal downloading is over the legal sale of music," Rogstad said.
Rogstad's dismissal of the findings don't take into account that the online music model has dramatically changed how consumers buy music. Instead of selling a huge volume of full albums—the physical media model—the record labels are now selling a huge volume of individual, cherry-picked tracks. It's no secret that the old album format is in dire straits thanks to online music, which is a large part of why overall music revenue is going down.
BI's report corroborates data that the Canadian branch of the RIAA, the Canadian Record Industry Association, released in 2006. At that time, the organization acknowledged that P2P users do indeed buy more music than the industry wants to admit, and that P2P isn't the primary reason why other people aren't buying music. 73 percent of of respondents to the CRIA's survey said that they bought music after they downloaded it illegally, while the primary reason from the non-P2P camp for not buying music was attributed to plain old apathy.
Large companies and government departments are employing a new Sydney-based company to dig up dirt on staff by spying on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube posts.The Internet Kill Switch - Network World
SR7 specialises in "online risk and reputation management" and claims to be the only company in Australia that actively monitors social networking sites on behalf of companies.
It was formed about eight months ago in response to the growing trend for people to take conversations they would have traditionally had with mates at the pub on to their social network profiles.
Few people realise these seemingly private sites are still public spaces. If controversial posts leak to the media, it can lead to brands suffering immense damage to their reputations.
SR7 director James Griffin said business was booming following recent public relations disasters sparked by the stupid social network behaviour of a few rogue employees. The firm's clients included "a number of blue-chip companies in a variety of industries" and "government departments and agencies".
This week, two Domino's employees were sacked and arrested after they published videos of themselves on the web fouling up customers' food. Late last year, three scantily clad Californian teens were fired from their jobs at KFC for publishing photos of themselves on MySpace bathing in a KFC basin.
But these are extreme cases, and there are scores of other instances where staff have been disciplined for seemingly innocuous posts, such as announcing in their Facebook status that they are tired of work.
David Vaile, executive director of UNSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, believes SR7 may be acting unethically and said he suspected companies were using dirt gathered from social networking sites as an excuse to fire people due to the challenging economic climate.
He said the practice could backfire when the economy turns around as people would refuse to work for or trust companies that spied on staff.
A bill, currently in draft, which is sponsored by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), is a great example of how watching political sausage making will cause you to lose all respect for those cranking the handle.Is your ATM card safe anymore? Hackers crack PIN data covertly without skimming - News - PC Authority
Hackers have apparently found a way to decipher the PIN code data from millions of ATM cards without the need for external skimming devices at the ATMIs your ATM card safe anymore? Hackers crack PIN data covertly without skimming - News - PC Authority
According to this Wired story, the code breakers are here and they're actively seeking more efficient ways of pulling the PINs from customer accounts without their knowledge.
Until now, it was believed that after you had entered your PIN, the code would be transmitted to the bank, completely encrypted and invisible to third parties. It was once assumed to be impossible to grab PIN data in the system, but a number of academic reports, including one from Israel have shown it is not only possible, but actively happening in various hacker circles.
In simple terms, the hack has been made possible due to a breakdown in the security process, where certain contractors have different systems in place for the data process that's transmitted from the ATM (or merchant) to the branch. In between, the PIN data must flow through a series of hardware security modules, known as HSMs and according to Wired's report, it's across these HSMs that the hack on encrypted PIN data is occurring.
One of the more troubling aspects of this emerging threat, is that unlike credit card transactions, it's very hard for the customer to prove the fraudulent activity has taken place. If cash is removed from a customer's account using a secure PIN (that has been compromised covertly), it becomes very hard for the customer to prove they are not at fault, due to the lack of evidence.
Although it's not clear how this impacts the Australian banking industry, it's clear that this won't be the last time we'll be hearing about PIN fraud.