1. “Oracle to Push Red Hat from Support Chair,”InfoWorld, 10/25
“Oracle Gambit Crushes Red Hat Shares,”
Oracle was expected to announce an Oracle-branded version of Linux during its annual user conference this week in San Francisco. Instead, CEO Larry Ellison stunned Red Hat and its investors with word in his closing keynote speech that the company will provide “full support” for Red Hat’s Linux distribution to both Oracle and non-Oracle customers for a price as low as $99 per system per year. It was Ellison who sparked rumors about Oracle’s plans in April when he said that the company was weighing whether it should try to acquire Red Hat or Novell. A day after his OpenWorld conference announcement, Red Hat shares plummeted more than 26 percent, hitting a new 52-week low of $13.70 during Thursday trading, and no doubt causing much consternation at Red Hat.
2. “Microsoft Vista RTM Date Bumped Due to Bug,”
“Second IE 7 Flaw Discovered, Secunia Says,”
A late-inning bug that caught most of Microsoft’s Vista team by surprise will delay the OS release to manufacturers, expected Wednesday, to Nov. 8, edging ever closer to the pivotal holiday season. The business release is now expected to “barely” make its deadline next month. The surprise bug would crash the entire system and force a reinstallation of the OS. It was discovered on Friday, Oct. 13. A day after the Vista RTM delay was announced, Danish security firm Secunia said it had found a second flaw in Microsoft’s recently released Internet Explorer 7 browser that allows hackers to put a fake Web address in a browser pop-up window, possibly tricking users into downloading from a site that appears to be trusted, yet is anything but. Microsoft acknowledged there is an “issue.”
3. “Mozilla Firefox 2.0 Hits the Web,”
Possibly reigniting the “browser war,” Mozilla released Firefox 2.0, contending that its browser has usability features not found in IE 7, including the ability to restore the browser to the page a user was on if a sudden OS restart is needed. The update also has enhanced tab features and offers antiphishing. Early reviews expressed fond appreciation for the new browser, but said it doesn’t differ all that much from version 1.5. Mozilla engineers couldn’t duplicate one of the first bugs to be reported, while another bug had already been patched. A third bug is merely annoying versus being exploitable, with large documents loaded into an iframe causing the browser to hang or crash. Engineers are working on that one.
4. “IBM Hits Amazon.com With Patent Suits,”CIO.com, 10/23
IBM says it tried for four years to work out an agreement over patents it holds that it says Amazon.com is infringing. After not making progress at the negotiating table, IBM filed two lawsuits against Amazon, alleging that the e-commerce giant knowingly exploits IBM’s intellectual property, infringing on patents related to the presentation of applications in an interactive service, data storage in an interactive network, advertising presentation in an interactive service and item ordering from an electronic catalog. The lawsuits were filed in two U.S. district courts in Texas and seek unspecified damages.
5. “Dell Uses Opteron Processors in Servers,”
Dell unveiled its first servers running AMD’s Opteron processor—the PowerEdge 6950 four-socket server and PowerEdge SC1435 two-socket server. The latter has a base price of $1,300 and is aimed at dense rack-server environments in SMBs that want a better price-to-performance ratio and enhanced energy efficiency. Among top server vendors, Dell had been an Intel holdout, but it now joins HP, IBM, Sun and others to offer Opteron-based servers as an option to Intel’s Xeon processors.
6. “IBM Cools Chips With Thin Paste,”CIO.com, 10/26
Ever stare at the branching patterns of tree roots or become taken by the veins in your arm? Come on, you can admit it—we all do. Well, IBM researchers turned what seems like mindless daydreaming into a discovery, finding inspiration from those patterns to develop a way to draw twice as much heat off computer chips—a discovery they say will lead to denser, faster processors for server farms and data centers. The research involves a better way to squeeze thermally conductive paste between hot chips and heat sinks. They found they could move a lot of paste with little energy, sidestepping the danger that chips would crack or be otherwise damaged as they expand at high temperatures. So the next time you’re accused of mindlessly staring …
7. “Microsoft Office Antipiracy Checks to Become Mandatory,”CIO.com, 10/26
Microsoft’s Office productivity and collaboration suite will be the next piece of software from the company carrying with it mandatory piracy checks through the Office Genuine Advantage program. As of Friday, any Office Online templates downloaded from within the Office 2007 Microsoft Office System applications will require legitimacy validation. Office Update users will have to validate that their software is legitimate before they can use that service as of January. Ensuring legitimacy will be “quick and simple” for users, Microsoft pledged.
8. “Cisco Names New CIO,”Network World, 10/24
Cisco named Rebecca Jacoby senior vice president and CIO. An 11-year Cisco veteran, she was vice president of customer services and operational systems before her promotion. In that job, she had already been tackling some CIO duties while former CIO Brad Boston was making the move to the job of overseeing Cisco’s Global Government Solutions Group. In her new job, Jacoby will manage Cisco’s IT strategy and operations, with a staff of 1,800.
Check out Senior Online Editor Meridith Levinson’s Movers and Shakers blog post on the subject, Cisco Systems Promotes Jacoby.
9. “Sony Opens Up on Battery Recall,”CIO.com, 10/24
Sony reported a 20.8 billion yen (US$174.5 million) second-quarter operating loss as it heads toward the 51.2 billion yen it estimates it will lose in total because of its massive laptop battery recall. The recall could require the replacement of up to 9.6 million laptop computer battery packs, owing to problems first revealed in August when Dell recalled 4.1 million batteries. On the heels of issuing its dismal quarterly earnings report, Sony also offered more details about the source of the battery problems. The company had previously said that metallic particles got into batteries during manufacturing, and added this week that the particles, which it believes were nickel, probably got into batteries during two steps in production, when grooves were created in battery cases and when electrolytes were poured into the cells. For the particles to cause the fires that were reported by some owners whose laptops overheated, Sony thinks the particles had to fall into a small triangular gap in the cell body, where the cathode ends between two layers of spacer material. Depending on system configuration, that combination could ignite a fire in the battery.
10. “When It Comes to IT Energy Costs, Little Steps Can Save a Lot, Computerworld, 10/26
Utility rate increases, coupled with ever-more powerful servers that eat up electricity, have IT managers increasingly focused on costs and efficiency. The cost to power and cool servers worldwide will jump from $26 billion last year to more than $44 billion by 2010, according to researcher IDC. Those who run IT departments can be stymied in controlling costs if they can’t measure energy output and efficiency, but a new measurement protocol expected out next week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with a development hand from IT vendors, should help. In advance of the final draft protocol’s release from the EPA, IT managers shared how they keep tabs on energy use and efficiency.
-Nancy Weil, IDG News Service
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