Blogrotate #11: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Posted in: Technical Track

Good morning. Welcome to the last issue of Blogrotate for 2009! I expect the world of IT will move on without us for the next couple of weeks , but slowly, as everyone will be out on holidays. On to the show.

Operating Systems

Mark Shuttleworth is stepping down as the CEO of Canonical. He’ll be replaced by Jane Silber, formerly the COO. Read the full release on Mark’s blog My new focus at Canonical and some information from Jane in her blog Management changes at Canonical.

Recently Microsoft released a statement that they controlled the market share for netbooks with some unusually high percentage. Slashdot has a story about this (with links confirming the previous sentence), stating ARM-Powered Laptops To Increase Linux Market Share. There’s some good links to source material in there so I will not repeat them here. Considering most Linux netbooks I have seen make up for the lack of a Windows license with extended hardware, it’s not surprising. I know several people who have preferred the Linux learning curve over paying extra for a machine with less resources (and an OS that really needs more).

Has anyone ever considered installing Windows a form of literature? Canadian Sci-Fi author Cory Doctrow reports of an attempt to define such a thing in Installing Windows considered as a literary genre.


This week the The Software Freedom Law Center has launched a lawsuit against 14 consumer electronics companies claiming violation of the Gnu Public License open licensing scheme by the companies’ use of the BusyBox embedded Linux platform. You can read more in SFLC launches GPL enforcement smackdown on 14 gadget makers. But wait! There’s more! Bruce Perens has issued a statement on the matter saying “I’d like to point out that I’m not represented in these lawsuits, and that the parties and the Software Freedom Law Center have never attempted to contact me with regard to them”. He goes even further. Read all about it in his Statement on Busybox Lawsuits.


Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica writes about the issues between Microsoft China and Plurk, the Canadian startup and microblogging site from which MS China seems to have “borrowed” much of their code. The similarities are striking to be sure, and Microsoft has since taken down the China site in response. Read all about it in Accused of plucking Plurk, Microsoft pulls microblog service. You can also check out a related story at PC Magazine called Microsoft Acknowledges Theft of Code from Plurk, then you can venture back to Ars for Plurk: Microsoft went to great lengths to steal code. I smell lawsuit!


The US Department of Justice Has issued a release about a Taiwanese LCD panel manufacturer pleading guilty to price-fixing and agreeing to pay 220 Million in fines. You can see the full statement in the DOJ press release.


I’ve mentioned in previous columns about the open source cloud Eucalyptus (available in ubuntu 9.10). Matt Asay at CNet has a Q&A session with Rich Wolski, the CTO at Eucalyptus, discussing the future of open source and the cloud. See Eucalyptus open-sources the cloud for the full story.

InfoWorld review: Desktop virtualization for Windows and Linux heats up has a nice comparison of the major virtualization players VMWare, VirtualBox, and Parallels. While VMWare scores the highest in the comparison, it’s not that much over VirtualBox (2nd place) and Parallels (3rd).


Maggie Koerth-Baker on the recent hacking of the $4.5 million Predator drone, used for surveillance by military, using $26 software. See Hacking the Predator drone: Cheaper than dinner and a movie for more. The source material is from the Wall Street Journal‘s article Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones.

Just as decaffeination takes the bite out of coffee, DECAF is to COFEE. Microsoft’s Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor is intended to allow law enforcement to scour systems for encrypted data and passwords, Detect and Eliminate Computer Assisted Forensics is intended to block it’s attempts to do so. The battle between measures and countermeasures always interests me, but in this case I especially love the play on words. See Protect yourself from COFEE with some DECAF for the full story.

That’ll do it for this edition/month/year. Come back in 2010 for the sublime pleasure of reading our weekly rehash of news previously rehashed by other sites. As always your comments are welcome.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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About the Author

Brad is just a guy, you know? I fought my way up in the world tooth-and-nail. Starting in broadcasting and music to travel to computer support to development of mid size xBase programs. Finally I settled into the wonderful world of system administration where I have honed my skills doing many diverse tasks. I started using Solaris in the mid 80's and built my first Linux system on a 386 using 30-some floppy disks and never looked back.

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