Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week: Sun to once-again sell Intel-powered servers

1. "Sun to Once Again Sell Intel-Powered Servers,"CIO.com, Jan. 22

Sun and Intel forged an alliance that will expand Sun’s involvement with Intel and move it along the x86 path. The long-term collaboration will optimize Solaris on Intel processors and also involve joint research and development, executives from the companies said at a press conference in San Francisco, announced just a few hours before it started. Intel will promote Solaris and Sun will build "a complete line of Xeon servers as well as workstations," CEO Jonathan Schwartz said at the announcement event, which was also hosted by Intel CEO and President Paul Otellini. The companies will synchronize releases around chip and OS upgrades. "We want Solaris to absolutely scream on Xeon," said Schwartz with his characteristic enthusiasm.

2. "IBM to Form Joint Venture With Ricoh,"CIO.com, Jan. 25

IBM is turning its enterprise printing systems division over to Ricoh, the Japanese printer and copier monolith. The companies are forming a joint venture around the IBM unit, which will eventually be a Ricoh subsidiary. At first, Ricoh will acquire a 51 percent stake in the joint venture, called InfoPrint Solutions, and then over the next three years it will gradually take over the other 49 percent of the business. The first part of the deal is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of this year, pending the usual sorts of regulatory approvals and conditions. Ricoh will pay IBM $725 million for the 51 percent and for prepayment of the remaining stake in the venture. The final amount of the deal will be determined at the end of the three-year period depending on how much the venture makes or loses. InfoPrint Solutions will be based in Boulder, Colo., at the same headquarters where IBM has its printing systems division.

3. "Storm Trojan Worst Outbreak Since ’05, Symantec Says,"

CIO.com, Jan. 23

The worst malware outbreak since 2005 hit the Internet when the Storm worm went out in millions of spam messages, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers globally. The messages purported to have attachments with news reports such as "230 Dead as Storm Batters Europe" and "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice Has Kicked German Chancellor." Tempting as it would be to read either message, the attachments were delivered via .exe files, which astute e-mail users know they shouldn’t open. Those who did unwittingly installed malicious software that then waited for further instructions over the Internet before doing its nasty business. Though it was dubbed a worm, the malware actually was not a worm. Soon after the malware spread, security vendors warned that the e-mail topics were being changed to lure recipients with romantic subject lines such as "A Day in Bed Coupon" and "A Monkey Rose for You."  4. "Microsoft Already Gearing Up for Vista Service Pack,"Computerworld, Jan. 24

There’s nothing like planning ahead. Testers who are part of Microsoft’s technology adoption program are providing feedback for the first service pack for Vista, which was released to volume-license customers in November. The OS is due for release to home and small business users next Tuesday. The company’s service pack road map doesn’t provide update plans, and a spokesman said the release date for the first service pack isn’t yet available. But we gather it’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, Microsoft will provide fixes for Vista security problems in its automated patch rollout system.

5. "AMD Pins Hopes on Barcelona Chip,"

Network World, Jan. 24

AMD is staking its hopes for a rebound from a $574 million fourth-quarter loss on the "Barcelona" quad-core Opteron server chip. While rival Intel’s "Clovertown" quad-core Xeon chip, released in November, is mainly being used by high-end research server platforms, AMD is aiming for a broader market, hoping that Barcelona will appeal to small and midsize businesses as well as managers of high-performance computing centers. Barcelona is expected to be out by midyear. Analysts persist in their concerns that quad-core technology is hitting the market too quickly with Intel, and that AMD focused too much on its own chip war and not enough on what users actually want, need and can use. 6. "Cisco Discloses 3 Router Security Vulnerabilities,"CIO.com, Jan. 25

Cisco warned that three critical holes in its router operating system could let hackers run arbitrary code and launch denial-of-service attacks. The holes included a TCP packet problem involving a memory leak in some versions of IOS, an IPv6 router header vulnerability preventing the IOS from properly processing IPv6 packets, and a crafted IP option vulnerability affecting how IOS processes IPv4 packets with a specially crafted IP option. CERT said the secondary effects of a denial-of-service attack could be severe because devices running IOS may transmit traffic for a number of networks. Cisco issued workarounds for the holes and an updated IOS version.

7. "Office 2007, OpenOffice Get New Development Tool Kits,"Computerworld,  Jan. 23

Microsoft and the OpenOffice.org project released separate tool kits meant to simplify development of a range of applications that support their rival desktop software. OpenOffice.org’s tool kit enables developers to use that technology as a programming framework to create and process OpenDocument Format documents rather than as a desktop application. Microsoft released three tool kits mean to help developers build applications for components of its new Office 2007 desktop suite and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

8. "IBM Social Networking Site Looking for Many Eyes,"Network World, Jan. 24

IBM launched a social networking website called Many Eyes, combining information analysis and discussion features so that business users can work on and chat about data they upload from spreadsheets and other files. Users can create visual representations of data and share the representations, such as graphs. The idea is that business users will combine their "collective intelligence" in their discussions and collaborative work with data on the site. The company also showed off Lotus Connections, which are social networking tools that will ship this year, and said it has more such collaborative tools being developed in its research labs and undergoing testing by its employees that could wind up being released as future products. Many Eyes is up and running at IBM’s alpaWorks Services website.

9. "OSDL, Free Standards Group to Merge,"CIO.com, Jan. 22

Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group are merging to create the Linux Foundation. The two main Linux evangelizers are in the final stages of merging their operations, with Jim Zemlin, who has been the FSG executive director, set to head up the new organization. Now that Linux is an established OS for embedded, desktop and server systems, the focus will shift from evangelizing to making sure that the Linux community is able to effectively compete with Microsoft and the rival Windows OS. The hope is that the Linux Foundation will be the go-to Linux development center. The two groups have worked closely together all along and have talked about merging in the past, but decided that now is the right time.

10. "Microsoft Said to Offer Payments for Wikipedia Edits,"

CIO.com, Jan. 23

Microsoft offered to pay Australian software engineer Rick Jelliffe to change some Wikipedia entries, he said in a blog posting that set off debate first about the ethics of a company doing such a thing and then about the challenges faced by an online collaborative community where anyone can edit entries. Wikipedia volunteers expressed varying opinions about whether it’s acceptable for a company to change entries, using a paid independent "editor" or otherwise. David Gerard, a volunteer Wikipedia spokesman, suggested that the discussion set off by Microsoft’s deal with Jelliffe is likely to lure more contributors to the pages in question, so that the articles wind up being that much more informative. A Microsoft spokeswoman said the same thing. In short order, multiple changes had been made to the OpenDocument entry at Wikipedia.

-Nancy Weil, IDG News Service

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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