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Is Unix In Trouble? Readers Say We're Asleep At The Keyboard

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Is Unix In Trouble? Readers Say We're Asleep At The Keyboard
2. Today's Top Story
    - How To Avoid A St. Valentine's Day Malware Massacre
3. Breaking News
    - FCC Starts Review Of Telephone Record Security
    - U.S. Charges California Man In Botnet Case
    - Intel To Ship Quad-Core Server Chip In '07
    - Tiny High-Capacity HDs Coming For Mobile Phones
    - Wearable Technology Can Save Lives
    - VeriSign Unveils Authentication Network
    - E-Payment Provider Hit With Denial-Of-Service Attack
    - Test Of Net Neutrality
    - A Pill, A Scalpel, A Database
    - Invented In India
    - Better Cell Signals Indoors Come At A Price
    - Army Tries Fingerprint Matching To Catch Iraqi Insurgents
    - Touch Once For Groceries
4. Grab Bag
    - Company Implants RFID Chip Into Workers
    - Congressman Proposes Law Keeping Servers Out Of China
    - NY Team Confirms UCLA Tabletop Fusion
5. In Depth
    - Microsoft Takes European Antitrust Case To The Public
    - EU Fields Windows Vista Antitrust Concerns
    - Microsoft Fixes Flag That Says Symantec Software Is Spyware
    - Four Years Later, Microsoft Still Chases Trusted Computing
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Oracle's 'All You Can Eat' Software
7. White Papers
    - Monsters In Your Mailbox: E-Mail Liability, Compliance, and Policy Management Risk
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones." -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld


1. Editor's Note: Is Unix In Trouble? Readers Say We're Asleep At The Keyboard

A lot of feedback flowed into Information Week after our Jan. 23 cover story, "What's Left of Unix." Most of the responses offered full-bore support for Unix, as in, "Not meaning to be harsh, but man ... wake up, guys!!"

"Like every other Linux/Unix story, you also failed," began Ed Taylor, an independent consultant, 30-year IT veteran and former CIO somewhere on the coast of North Carolina. "IBM, HP, and Sun sell and support tons of boxes... And to think this was an 'In Depth' article..." he wrote. Ouch.

Taylor and other writers have pointed out that Unix as an operating system is not disappearing because of Linux. Linux is Unix. "At no point in the article did you mention that Linux is in fact a conformant implementation of Unix... It's only the proprietary, closed-source Unixes that are having trouble," wrote Dan Kegel, a senior engineer at Ixia Communications in Calabasas, Calif.

An earlier version of the story referred to Linux and its "big brother" Unixes, meant to suggest Linux' direct connection to the more muscular and mature Unixes, but the relationship got lost in the shuffle. It's still there later in the story, when we said, "Solaris now shares with Linux the distinction of being the Unix that runs best on Intel hardware." But this is a subtle statement rather than a plain one. Mea culpa.

Then there's the writer, going simply by David, who points out we didn't mention the new Apple Mac operating system is based on Unix. "I think your article was a little uninformed... How, I ask you, can you leave out OS X and Apple?"

"Not meaning to be harsh," he continued, "but man... wake up, guys!! Trust me. I'm not a disgruntled Mac-head by any means, but I DO know a massively growing technology base when I see it."

It's hard to argue with much of this feedback. When we asked, "What's Left Of Unix," we were clearly addressing commercial, data center Unix that still commands a handsome price tag.

Yes, Linux is a form of Unix that owes a great debt to its predecessors, but Linux is something the older Unixes are not. It is a Unix designed for common-denominator hardware. Linux is free and the hardware on which it runs is cheap. A short while ago, neither Unix nor the hardware on which it ran were cheap. Linux' ability to run well on Intel hardware made it a preferred system among developers who didn't happen to have an expensive workstation in their basement. Linux grew from this foothold among developers into a marketplace force and is now found in the data center alongside the commercial Unixes.

Read the rest and leave your $0.02 on the InformationWeek Weblog.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

How To Avoid A St. Valentine's Day Malware Massacre
Steer clear of some Web sites, unless your idea of romance is spending some more quality time with your help desk staff.


3. Breaking News

FCC Starts Review Of Telephone Record Security
The move comes amid pressure to clamp down on online data brokers that offer to obtain and sell telephone subscriber information.

U.S. Charges California Man In Botnet Case
Christopher Maxwell, 20, was indicted on Friday for crippling Seattle's Northwest Hospital with a botnet attack in January 2005.

Intel To Ship Quad-Core Server Chip In '07
The new chip, called Clovertown, bundles four processors in a single package, allowing computers to process data more quickly or run more applications at the same time, while using less power than a single-core design.

Tiny High-Capacity HDs Coming For Mobile Phones
Seagate's new drive sports a 23% smaller footprint than its current 1-inch hard drive but has 50% more capacity.

Wearable Technology Can Save Lives
A garment called LifeShirt contains tiny sensors that can remotely monitor vital signs and 30 other important biometric readings of patients.

VeriSign Unveils Authentication Network
Called VeriSign Identity Protection, the system lets consumers use a single security device to authenticate themselves to any VIP-enabled Web site.

E-Payment Provider Hit With Denial-Of-Service
StormPay.com's site was unavailable for several hours late Thursday and most of Friday, an Internet performance-monitoring company said.

Test Of Net Neutrality
Telecom companies want to change long-standing practices that treat all network traffic equally. Businesses could face application degradation -- or higher prices.

A Pill, A Scalpel, A Database
Health care is embracing IT to analyze a glut of medical data, find new cures, and provide more-personalized treatment.

Invented In India
India isn't just for outsourcing. It's fast becoming a center of strategic R&D and a growing market for tech products. Third of three parts in the Inside India series.

Better Cell Signals Indoors Come At A Price
A range of indoor wireless communications products delivers cell-phone coverage inside buildings, giving employees, contractors, and guests connectivity. Venture-capital investors are convinced, pouring money into vendors, but there's still a sizeable technology risk for IT managers.

Army Tries Fingerprint Matching To Catch Iraqi Insurgents
Soldiers are carrying field kits they can use to collect digital fingerprints and other physical evidence from battle sites.

Touch Once For Groceries
Supermarket chain launches biometric fingerprint system to speed customers through checkout lines

All our latest news

John Soat with "Week News" in the current episode of The News Show.
IT spending to reach 1 trillion by 2009, Microsoft to expand headquarters, and more...

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

Laurie Sullivan with "Linux Flight Plan"
Linux Flight simulator is one of many new technologies on display at the 4th Annual Southern California Linux Expo.

Larry Greenemeier with "Big Little Things"
Report on the state of the nano-technology industry.


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Linux: Service And Support
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-----------------------------------------


4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

Company Implants RFID Chip Into Workers (Yahoo News)
Tiny silicon chips were embedded into two workers who volunteered to help test the tagging technology at a surveillance equipment company. The company, CityWatcher.com, provides cameras and Internet monitoring for high-crime areas. It says it isn't using the chip to track employees, but rather using them in lieu of cards to control access to secure areas.

Congressman Proposes Law Keeping Servers Out Of China (USA Today)
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.

N.Y. Team Confirms UCLA Tabletop Fusion (Science Blog)
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a tabletop accelerator that produces nuclear fusion at room temperature, providing confirmation of an earlier experiment conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), while offering substantial improvements over the original design. "Nuclear fusion has been explored as a potential source of power, but we are not looking at this as an energy source right now," says Yaron Danon, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer. "Rather, the most immediate application may come in the form of a battery-operated, portable neutron generator. Such a device could be used to detect explosives or to scan luggage at airports, and it could also be an important tool for a wide range of laboratory experiments."


5. In Depth

Microsoft Takes European Antitrust Case To The Public
As the company faces a key deadline on Wednesday, Microsoft has some decisions to make about how to handle hearings, and how much information to make public and when.

EU Fields Windows Vista Antitrust Concerns
No formal complaints have been filed about Vista, but the European Commission is monitoring the situation, a spokesman says.

Microsoft Fixes Flag That Says Symantec Software Is Spyware
Some users got error messages wrongly saying that Symantec software was riddled with spyware and recommending users remove the 'faulty' packages. Symantec and Microsoft are now working together to help these customers.

Four Years Later, Microsoft Still Chases Trusted Computing
When Bill Gates takes the stage this week at the RSA Conference, he will outline how Microsoft will apply its magic formula of usability and uniformity to the security functions that protect its products. The main event: the beta of Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006, an edge security gateway designed to work with Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint Servers to provide more secure remote access to applications from PCs and mobile devices.


6. Voice Of Authority

Oracle's 'All You Can Eat' Software
Stephanie Stahl says: Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison used the Credit Suisse Global Software Conference to pick on the analyst community's "obsession" with licensing revenue as a measure of company health. "Every time I read a quarterly report I [see] the all-important license revenue numbers as some sort of leading indicator," he said. "Oracle is a mature software company. The way to look at a mature company is different than an up-and-comer."


7. White Papers

Monsters In Your Mailbox: E-Mail Liability, Compliance, And Policy Management Risk; Including An Enron Case Study
A major study of potential problems, such as hostile work environments, jokes, and explicit content, that can be caused by inappropriate E-mail messages.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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