Blogrotate #17: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Posted in: Technical Track

Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of the usually, mostly, kind of weekly news for System Administrators. I was on a much needed holiday for the last couple of weeks. Many thanks to Tim for filling in on the last one. What with clients’ priorities and February being a short month, we did not have the cycles to get a blog out last week, and this one will be short because, frankly, the IT news world has been a bit slow of late. With that I shall cease my preface and move on to . . .

Operating Systems

The Phoronix media site is reporting that the end may be near for Open Solaris since the purchase of Sun by Oracle. Oracle has been quiet on its plans for the free/open source version of its Solaris operating system, and the Service Life Status for OpenSolaris Operating System Releases does show the GA (General Availability) phase support as “TBD“. See a little more info in Oracle Still To Make OpenSolaris Changes. This one will be worth watching and I’ll update the blog when more is available.

Users running the Max OS X 10.4 “Tiger” beware–the next versions of the popular Firefox web browser will no longer support you. Check out In future Firefox will drop Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger support for more and a link to the Mozilla press release. Apparently, about 25% of Mac/Firefox users are still using 10.4. Time to upgrade, people!

Red Hat has a beta release of RHEL 5.5, and is gearing up for a full release in the near future–probably April or May. You can check out the full 5.5.b1 release notes on the RedHat site.


Probably the biggest story this week revolves around a secret court injunction requested by Microsoft to take out 277 domain names belonging to the Waledac botnet. By taking these domains off the net it basically cripples the command and control structure for the bots, as they will no longer be able to “phone home” for instructions. This will only be a temporary win I am sure, but anything that reduces the volume of spam is a benefit even if it’s short lived. Peter Bright has more in his article entitled Judge’s restraining order takes botnet C&C system offline. If that’s not enough for you, Google has lots of news items about this. The thing I find funny is that MS did this to reduce the spam being sent to Hotmail, which IMHO has always been a big source of spam due to its disposable accounts.

Google has released a new version of Chrome for Windows, to resolve three high-risk vulnerabilities and some other lesser issues. This is worth an install to make sure you stay safe on the net. More detail is available in Google fixes vulnerabilities in Chrome 4 for Windows.

In a follow-up to a previous post in this blog, Google has now stated that YouTube support for IE6 will officially end as of March 13, 2010. Time to update those NT4 servers folks. See YouTube to kill IE6 support on March 13 over at Ars Technica for more information. There are also details on the Google/Youtube support site in Solve a Problem: Upgrading your browser.


Several Cisco IronPort products are vulnerable to attacks allowing unauthenticated access to files and the ability to execute arbitrary code on the affected devices. Cisco has released patches for these devices and also have workarounds documented for those who are unable to upgrade just yet. See Cisco Security Advisory: Multiple Vulnerabilities in Cisco IronPort Encryption Appliance for the full details.

This one is not really IT-related, but it’s scary none the less. Kelly Jackson Higgins at Dark Reading details the recent revelation that criminals in Utah have planted card skimmers in gas station pumps, meaning that if you pay at the pump, your information could be stolen and used for nefarious purposes. Criminals Hide Payment-Card Skimmers Inside Gas Station Pumps has the full story. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Adobe has released a new version of their download manager to fix a severe flaw allowing specially-crafted web sites to push malicious software to your PC. All versions of the Adobe Download Manager on Windows prior to the 23rd of February, 2010 are affected. Check out Adobe patches critical vulnerability in Download Manager for the gory details.

Too funny to not include

Have you ever wondered how eBay retires their datacenters? With extreme prejudice, it seems. See Retiring A Data Center. With an Axe for a good chuckle.

That’ll do it for this week folks. I hope you enjoyed your trip through this door.

Fetch the aliens, write the blog . . .  brain the size of a bloody planet . . .

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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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