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7/12/2007
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How DRM Becomes Law

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: A Tale Of Two Browsers
2. Today's Top Story
    - A Behind-The-Scenes Look At How DRM Becomes Law
3. Breaking News
    - CIOs Speak Out On Google Apps Vs. Microsoft Office
    - NextWave Is Flying Down To Rio With A Wi-Fi Deployment Plan
    - Proponents Say Regulations Could Curb Compulsive Online Gambling
    - Criminals Google 'How To Open Safe' In Middle Of Burglary
    - Bots Helped To Boost Microsoft Live Search Gains
    - SaaS Vendor NetSuite Has No Separate Backup Center For Customer Data
    - Small Investors Group Presses Vodafone To Spin Off Its Stake In Verizon Wireless
    - Apple Reports iPhone-To-Outlook Sync Glitch
    - Apple Patches Eight QuickTime Bugs
    - Warner Music To Stream All Its Music Online For Free
4. The Latest Open Source Blog Posts
    - An iPhone For Hackers: The OpenMoko 'LPhone'
    - Microsoft Avoids GPL Trap To Step Into Snare
    - Linux Creator Calls GPLv3 Authors 'Hypocrites' As Open Source Debate Turns Nasty
    - Microsoft Vs. GPLv3: How To Trip Over Your Own Feet
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
    - What Every IT Executive Needs To Know About Legacy E-Mail Infrastructure
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things." -- Terry Pratchett


1. Editor's Note: A Tale Of Two Browsers

Internet Explorer and Firefox are sitting on a bench, enjoying the warm summer sun. Suddenly, Firefox sneezes, reaches for its handkerchief, grabs its cell phone, and calls its doctor. "I think I'm coming down with something," it says. "Is there something I can do to get rid of this problem?" Then IE sneezes. What does it do?

It reaches for its handkerchief, grabs its cell phone, and calls its doctor. "I just want to tell you," it says, "that wasn't my sneeze, my handkerchief is perfectly clean, and if I sneeze again I'm telling everyone it's Firefox's fault."

Sorry for the bad joke, but this is what immediately popped into my head when I read Sharon Gaudin's recent news item about a new security flaw that seems to be affecting both browsers. Apparently, a researcher named Thor Larholm has asserted in his blog that there's "an input validation flaw in Internet Explorer that allows you to specify arbitrary arguments to the process responsible for handling URL protocols." In other words, if you're using IE and visit a Web page that calls on a Firefox URL -- with, presumably, malicious code attached -- Firefox will be launched and will execute that code. The result? Two sick browsers.

Of course, this all depends on several factors, including the tendency of the user to go to malicious Web sites and whether your version of Firefox has the specific FirefoxURL handler. However, what I became most interested in was the reaction of the two browser vendors to the news: A Mozilla representative said the company will be patching the problem in an upcoming release, while a Microsoft representative wrote that "this is not a vulnerability in a Microsoft product."

Strictly speaking, the Microsoft rep is right. The ultimate vulnerability is in Firefox. But this vulnerability only exists in the presence of both browsers. And would those of us who have both IE and Firefox on their systems (which includes everyone who installed Firefox but decided not to uninstall IE -- in other words, a lot of people) really care which browser is the one being ultimately targeted when our systems slow down to a crawl? And is a general policy of defensiveness really appropriate when you're dealing with a potential problem that will affect your user base?

Over the years, Microsoft acquired a reputation -- not unearned -- of acting as though it was the only viable source of software around; if its products had any interactions with other software products that didn't work, well, it was the user's fault for straying from the path. Over the last year or so, my impression was that Redmond had mellowed a bit, understood that our current technology is based on a culture of complex collaborations with other products, and had learned to Play Well With Others. I hope I wasn't being optimistic.

Barbara Krasnoff
bkrasnoff@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

A Behind-The-Scenes Look At How DRM Becomes Law
Cory Doctorow looks at the backroom dealing that allowed entertainment and electronics companies to craft public policy on digital rights management.


3. Breaking News

CIOs Speak Out On Google Apps Vs. Microsoft Office
CIOs are testing Google Apps, but don't think the Postini acquisition will give Google leverage in many Microsoft Office accounts.

NextWave Is Flying Down To Rio With A Wi-Fi Deployment Plan
The municipality of Paraty will operate on-site equipment at the project's government centers and supply logistical support for new networks.

Proponents Say Regulations Could Curb Compulsive Online Gambling
A special-interest group also points to technology as a way to spot dangerous patterns and control certain gambling behaviors.

Criminals Google 'How To Open Safe' In Middle Of Burglary
A couple of burglars were stymied when they tried to crack a safe, so they found a computer that had been left on and simply Googled for the information they needed to make off with $12,000 worth of loot.

Bots Helped To Boost Microsoft Live Search Gains
The good news for Microsoft is that more people are using Live Search. The bad news is that more bots are using it also.

SaaS Vendor NetSuite Has No Separate Backup Center For Customer Data
Just before launching its IPO, the company admits its single data center is located in a third-party facility in an area of California that's vulnerable to earthquakes.

Small Investors Group Presses Vodafone To Spin Off Its Stake In Verizon Wireless
Efficient Capital Structures' chairman ramps up his campaign for Vodafone to sell its 45% stake in Verizon.

Apple Reports iPhone-To-Outlook Sync Glitch
Contacts created with iPhone's "Custom" labeled phone numbers feature will show up in Outlook's "Other" files because of software incompatibilities, among other items.

Apple Patches Eight QuickTime Bugs
Apple released QuickTime 7.2 to fix eight security flaws; all of them affect Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.

Warner Music To Stream All Its Music Online For Free
The partnership allows people using the Imeem community site to create and share playlists, video channels, photo slideshows, and blogs.

All Our Latest News

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4. The Latest Open Source Blog Posts
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/open_source/index.html

An iPhone For Hackers: The OpenMoko 'LPhone'
You would have to be deaf to ignore the screaming about the iPhone that's been filling the air. Meanwhile, another company has been quietly gearing up to offer a phone that's as open to hackery as the iPhone is closed.

Microsoft Avoids GPL Trap To Step Into Snare
Microsoft sought to avoid tangling itself up in the GPL license when it struck a deal with Novell. But did Microsoft circumvent the trap of GPLv2 by stepping into the snare of GPLv3?

Linux Creator Calls GPLv3 Authors 'Hypocrites' As Open Source Debate Turns Nasty
Linux creator Linus Torvalds said the authors of a new software license expected to be used by thousands of open source programmers are a bunch of hypocrites and likened them to religious fanatics.

Microsoft Vs. GPLv3: How To Trip Over Your Own Feet
The whole thing has turned into what looks like yet another test of the way software licensing can be interpreted in the real world -- something that might turn real sour for Microsoft in the future.


5. Job Listings From TechCareers

Monsanto seeking IT Team Lead in St. Louis, MO

ITT Corporation seeking Manager, IT Business Systems in Fort Wayne, IN

University of Idaho seeking Server Systems Analyst in Moscow, ID

Monsanto seeking Application DBA in St. Louis, MO

Monsanto seeking Java Developer in St. Louis, MO

For more great jobs, career-related news, features and services, please visit CMP Media's TechCareers.


6. White Papers

What Every IT Executive Needs To Know About Legacy E-Mail Infrastructure
One of the challenges of e-mail network systems is the reliance upon legacy, open source technology. Read why large organizations must implement a true enterprise mail transport platform to support the growing array of business and operational requirements for e-mail traffic.


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