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Microsoft Sits On Linux Dilemma Of Its Own Making

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Sits On Linux Dilemma Of Its Own Making
2. Today's Top Story
    - Privacy: The Problem That Won't Go Away
    - Technology To The Rescue
    - Privacy File: 10 Events That Impacted The IT Landscape
3. Breaking News
    - Red Hat Releases Enterprise Linux Beta, Rejects Deal With Microsoft
    - Microsoft Gives Free Vista To Some Testers
    - Researcher Warns Of Thanksgiving Attacks On Windows
    - Rootkits, Polymorphics Turn Threats Tougher In 2006
    - Universal Music Sues MySpace Over Copyright Infringement
    - MySpace Tests Tool To Flag Copyrighted Material To Appease Media Companies
    - Hollywood Sues To Keep DVDs Off iPods
    - Comverse Fugitive Alexander Will Face The Music In April
    - CA Sues Ex-CEO For Repayment Of $14.9 Million
    - Spanish Bank Outsources E-Mail To IBM
    - Tenet Healthcare Hands Perot 10-Year Outsourcing Deal
4. Grab Bag
    - Secure U.K. Passport Cracked (The Guardian)
    - Wikipedia Blocked Again In China (CNN.com)
    - The 13 Most Embarrassing Web Moments (PC World)
5. In Depth
    - Sony Launches PlayStation 3 In U.S. Amid Frenzy
    - PlayStation 3 Sellers Reaping Rewards On eBay
    - Remote Control Helicopters, Media Recorders, And TiVo Dominate DigitalLife Conference
    - Melitta Peddling Microsoft-Powered Coffeemaker That Tells You The Weather
    - Report: Manufacturer Of Apple Products Issued Order To Build The 'iPhone'
6. Voice Of Authority
    - The TechCrunch NYC Party: Web 2.0 East
7. White Papers
    - The Goldilocks Principle: Approaches To Software Validation
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote Of The Day:
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." — Thomas Jefferson


1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Sits On Linux Dilemma Of Its Own Making

When Microsoft signed a patent agreement with Novell, owner of Suse Linux, it thrust itself onto the horns of a dilemma. It seemed to be saying that Linux contains patent exposures. If you're a Linux user, Microsoft may sue you for using its intellectual property, unless you use Suse.

Now Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has made it explicit. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer presents him in his own voice saying: "Anybody who has got Linux in their data center today sort of has an undisclosed balance sheet liability." What does that mean—"sort of?"

The recent patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell was meant to give Microsoft a share of the growing role of Linux in the data center. Microsoft is cooperating with Novell and open source virtualization vendor XenSource to make it easier to run Linux in the form of Linux virtual machines under Windows, and vice versa.

By doing so, Microsoft takes its existing strong position in Windows and extends it into a next generation of computing, which will have virtualization as its centerpiece. To fail to achieve interoperability with Linux in virtual machines threatens to start pushing Windows toward the sidelines. Virtualization increases the cost disparity between Windows and Linux. As virtual machines multiply, so do software costs. Microsoft charges for Windows licenses in virtual machines; Linux, of course, does not.

Why did Microsoft strike such a deal as it did with Novell at this time, after years of opposing open source in general and Linux in particular? "To the degree that people are going to deploy Linux, we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft," Ballmer told the Post-Intelligencer.

But Microsoft's own customers have more Red Hat than Suse. Red Hat has refused to put itself and the Linux community in the position of paying royalties to Microsoft based on claimed patents, even though Microsoft would like to have such a deal. If Red Hat doesn't sign, Microsoft faces a lot of customer questions about its intentions toward Red Hat Linux.

To read the rest, and leave your $0.02, visit this post on the InformationWeek Weblog.

Charles Babcock
cbabcock@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Privacy: The Problem That Won't Go Away
Your privacy mistakes can easily become everyone's business. Here's how to keep your company—and your career—out of the spotlight.

Related Stories:

Technology To The Rescue
From anonymizers to network monitors to identity management systems, there's a host of privacy-enhancing products and strategies available.

Privacy File: 10 Events That Impacted The IT Landscape
Here's a quick scan of recent events that have roiled the privacy waters at AOL, at the FBI, and in Europe.


3. Breaking News

Red Hat Releases Enterprise Linux Beta, Rejects Deal With Microsoft
Ballmer said Microsoft was ready to cut a deal with Red Hat similar to the one it struck with Linux seller Novell last week. But Red Hat isn't interested.

Microsoft Gives Free Vista To Some Testers
Two weeks before the official Nov. 30 launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft has posted the final code for MSDN and TechNet subscriber download.

Researcher Warns Of Thanksgiving Attacks On Windows
Exploits against the vulnerability in Microsoft's XML Core Services will probably jump next week, one security analyst says.

Rootkits, Polymorphics Turn Threats Tougher In 2006
Rootkit technologies cloak malware to evade detection, and when malicious code is spotted, make it harder to completely eradicate it from the infected system.

Universal Music Sues MySpace Over Copyright Infringement
The suit accuses MySpace of breaking the law by accepting from users video filled with illegal content owned by others, and then reformatting the video so it can be displayed on the site.

MySpace Tests Tool To Flag Copyrighted Material To Appease Media Companies
MySpace is testing a tool with Major League Baseball and Fox Broadcasting that will find and flag infringing video, which MySpace would then remove from the site.

Hollywood Sues to Keep DVDs Off iPods
The suit was filed against a Massachusetts-based company to prevent it from helping people load purchased videos onto iPods and other portable video players.

Comverse Fugitive Alexander Will Face The Music In April
An African court will decide next year whether the fugitive should be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges related to the operation of tech vendor Comverse.

CA Sues Ex-CEO For Repayment Of $14.9 Million
Business software maker CA is suing convicted former CEO Sanjay Kumar, seeking repayment of $14.9 million it says it fronted for his legal defense, according to court documents.

Spanish Bank Outsources E-Mail To IBM
Under the deal, worth approximately $9 million, IBM will manage the hardware and software that supports e-mail services for 10,000 of the bank's employees.

Tenet Healthcare Hands Perot 10-Year Outsourcing Deal
Perot will manage information systems at all of Tenet's 66 hospitals throughout the country; about 400 Tenet IT staffers will transfer to Perot with comparable benefits and salaries.

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-----------------------------------------


4. Grab Bag

Secure U.K. Passport Cracked (The Guardian)
Two British security experts were able to read encrypted data off a supposedly highly secure U.K. RFID-equipped passport using equipment priced at less than #250. But is that an impressive hack? The U.K. government thinks not.

Wikipedia Blocked Again In China (CNN.com)
The easing of a ban on the popular online encyclopedia in China was short-lived. Barely a week after Wikipedia viewers were able to access the Web site—after a yearlong ban—they reported Friday that it was blocked again in several parts of China.

The 13 Most Embarrassing Web Moments (PC World)
The Internet is the most efficient information distribution system ever known. But if you're not careful, it's also the perfect way to embarrass yourself in front of the entire world.


5. In Depth

Sony Launches PlayStation 3 In U.S. Amid Frenzy
Thousands camped outside of stores to be among the first U.S. buyers of Sony's new PlayStation 3 video game machine, but violence marred the debut when one man was shot outside a Connecticut store.

PlayStation 3 Sellers Reaping Rewards On eBay
One console that was offered in an auction that was nearing its close on Friday afternoon had bids that reached $2,850. Sony suggests a retail price of $500 for the basic system.

Remote Control Helicopters, Media Recorders, And TiVo Dominate DigitalLife Conference
The PC-BOT, combining capabilities of a PC and robot, can patrol offices, turn lights on and off, and give customers information through a remote-control Webcam. It can be yours for $4,995.

Melitta Peddling Microsoft-Powered Coffeemaker That Tells You The Weather
The Melitta Smart Mill And Brew, which went on sale Thursday, uses Microsoft's MSN Direct wireless service to display current weather conditions, the day's forecast, and sunrise and sunset times.

Report: Manufacturer Of Apple Products Issued Order To Build The 'iPhone'
The Commercial Times newspaper in Taiwan reports that Apple has placed an order for 12 million "iPhones" with its longtime manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.


6. Voice Of Authority

The TechCrunch NYC Party: Web 2.0 East
Stephen Wellman says: While I didn't make it out to San Francisco for Web 2.0 earlier this month, I felt like I was at the East Coast version at the TechCrunch party. The TechCrunch partay was at NYC nightclub BED and included Webheads, tons of marketing people, investors looking for the next big thing, biz dev people from mainstream media firms desperate to keep their jobs, and bloggers galore. There were plenty of startups on hand, ranging from companies that have been around since 2000 to tiny operations that seemed as though they were founded on the spot. Here are the trends I spotted.


7. White Papers

The Goldilocks Principle: Approaches To Software Validation
Software validation requires critical thinking and knowledge of the tools available to manufacturers. A new technical information report can be used to get validation just right. This document describes how to apply principles of critical thinking and risk management to produce value-added validation evidence.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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