Blogrotate #8: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Posted in: Technical Track

Good morning and happy Friday to all. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends, family, acquaintances, and well-wishers in the US. Enjoy the turkey and the football. As always, there’s not shortage of news stories, though the week seemed a bit slow because of the holiday. Here are some things we thought were interesting this week.

Operating Systems

Lately it seems like every week a new OS comes out. Windows 7 led the pack, then Ubuntu, then Red Hat. This week’s release? FreeBSD 8.0. There are a lot of changes in this release, so check out the FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE Announcement.

KDE (The “K” Desktop Environment) is Repositioning the KDE Brand. This does not change the functionality, it’s a change to make a distinction between the community and the desktop itself. This probably will not interest most, but since I use KDE and write this blog I get to tell you about it anyway.


In a follow-up to last week’s article about GPL code being found in a new Microsoft USB/DVD download tool found in Windows 7, Microsoft has delayed opening the source for the tool. This appears to be because they want to remove proprietary code from the release. Emil Protalinski has more in his article, Microsoft delays open sourcing Windows 7 tool. More details can be found on the Port25 blog at MS tech net in, Update on the Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool.


There’s yet another browser vulnerability for IE6 and IE7. Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica has the details in, IE6 and IE7 vulnerable to latest flaw; IE8 immune.

Not to be outdone, a major IE8 flaw makes ‘safe’ sites unsafe, as The Register tells us about XSS issues in IE8.

Science Daily has an article about how Search Engines Are Source of Learning. The article discusses a report from Penn state about their research into how and why people use search engines. Among other things, “They found that search engines are primarily used for fact checking users’ own internal knowledge, meaning that they are part of the learning process rather than simply a source for information”. Hey! That’s how I use them!.

Have you ever wondered how much the internet weighs? Chris Stevens at CNET UK does some math in How heavy is the Internet?


Since we covered VMWare Fusion a couple weeks ago, check out The counter-punch: a review of Parallels Desktop 5 by Dave Girard.

Networking Datacenter

Virginia IT Systems Lack Network Redundancy is a scary little number. According to the article, “…in just five weeks this fall, the Virginia DMV suffered 12 computer system outages, putting individual offices out of business for a total of more than 100 hours”.

Did you ever wonder what the magic was behind World of Warcraft? Data Center Knowledge says WoW’s Back End: 10 Data Centers, 75,000 Cores, 13,000 blades and over 100TB of RAM.


Have you ever needed to have a massive amount of storage on a budget? If so, this one may be for you. The folks over at BackBlaze offer a service allowing you to backup your PC for just $5 per month, and they do all of their storage in the cloud. Their solution to the storage problem was to build their own, and they have put all the plans and schematics for doing this on their site so you can too. Check out Petabytes on a budget: How to build cheap cloud storage. Caution: your mind may be blown.

Smoking could be hazardous to your Apple warranty by Jeff Smykil is an interesting read. Apple is refusing warranty service due to potential health hazards from second hand smoke transferred to laptops. Hey, Apple, if I’m sending my laptop in for repair, I expect it to be done by technicians with masks, goggles and rubber gloves (and anti-static straps of course). One would think this should be enough to protect your employees.

Networks Innnnnnnnn Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace

This one is really really cool. On Nov 23rd Cisco launched what I think might be the worlds largest router into space. Layer8 at Network World has the details in, Internet routing blasts into space. There is an official news release: Cisco Router Sent Into Space Aboard Intelsat Satellite.

Well, that will do it for another week. Be sure to leave some comments with your own top stories this week. I checked the logs, I know people are reading. Let’s start some chatter.

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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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