Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Back page page.
Are you curious about the occasional references to the "Wiki Wiki Web" or just "Wiki"? Wiki sites take a new approach to web pages by allowing anybody to make changes to any page on the site. Wiki sites are thus truly cooperative developments. It sounds like a recipe for chaos, but, thus far, it seems to work fairly well. See the original Wiki Wiki Web site at the Portland Pattern Repository for a starting point. Have some patience at the beginning, getting started with Wiki takes a bit of effort. See also the ZWiki site for a Zope-based implementation.
For a distinctively read-only experience, instead, William Gibson's classic novel Neuromancer is online.
Section Editor: Jon Corbet
May 18, 2000
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Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 10:49:17 +0100 From: kevin lyda <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Nathan Myers <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: proprietary distros? Nathan Myers wrote: > Perhaps once Potato is out, Debian will just take over the world; > then all those people working on proprietary distros can go home and > do something productive instead. :-) huh? one of the most propreitary distro's i know is corel - based on debian. mandrake is based on redhat, and seems quite open. redhat's distro is gpl'ed so people are free to copy it (like mandrake and a number of other distro's outside the states). redhat for one has done a great deal to increase the amount of gpl'd code available, including but not limited to their own distribution. to call mandrake and redhat [proprietary] is a disservice to the entire free software community by watering down the true meaning of propreitary. kevin -- email@example.com "we were goin' for breakfast. in canada. we fork()'ed on 37058400 made a deal: if she'd stop hookin', i'd stop meatspace place: home shootin' people. maybe we were aiming high." --porter, "payback"
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 13:29:03 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Peter Lawson <email@example.com> Subject: LoveBug "virus" As a biologist, I see an obvious analog to the epidemic of LoveBug infections. In agriculture, large fields of genetically identical plants are vulnerable to novel diseases precisely because there is no variability among the plants. Each is equally vulnerable and each spreads the disease in the same way. The large population of Windows computers running Outlook is a monoculture, just as large fields of corn or soybeans may be. A virulent virus spreads rapidly through the fields of Outlook just as it would spread through a field of corn. Nicholas Petreley comes closest to suggesting this analogy in his LinuxWorld article when he pointed out that linux users are less vulnerable to this kind of attack because there is so much variety in the mail programs we use. The problem is clear -- Microsoft has suppressed variability in the software world with its monopolistic practices, rendering the largest segment of the community vulnerable to relatively simple attacks. The solution is also clear -- do whatever it takes to allow variability in software to flourish, as it would in a fair, competitive environment. This is the best evidence I have seen of the harm that the Microsoft hegemony is causing in the computer world. Cheers, Peter Lawson firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 11:40:26 +0100 From: Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Linux viruses There was an entertaining discussion in the mutt-dev mailing list about how Linux can be made to support viruses just as well as Microsoft. Thomas Roessler suggested one recipe, which can probably be adapted to work with mail clients other than Mutt (www.mutt.org): .mailcap: application/x-sh; sh %s; copiousoutput .muttrc: auto_view application/x-sh I hope I am right in assuming that no reader of LWN is sufficiently stupid to actually use this recipe ... Edmund
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 13:29:11 -0400 From: Pierre Baillargeon <email@example.com> Subject: Re: The trouble with redirects To: firstname.lastname@example.org At the end of the article you mention that fixing the problem would "not be an easy problem to fix; it's buried pretty deeply in the structure of the web." Well, the the fix may be better applied on the other side of the web: the browser. Wouldn't it be trivial just to ask the user approval for redirection, just like it is currently possible with cookies? Browsers could even detect that the URL contains a submission and only request the approval for such requests. By putting the fix in the hand of the users, security conscious people can actively defend themselves against site which refuse to implement the proposed fixes. A knowledgeable coder could put this idea in practice in Mozilla now, providing yet another example of the benefits of free software: the possible quick response-time to a security problem.
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 21:28:18 -0500 (CDT) From: Dave Finton <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Where mp3 users and businesses have it wrong MP3 and/or similar formats have the potential to flip the entire media industry on its head. It's no wonder the lawyers have come out a'marching. Scarcely a day or week goes by without some major new development about such-and-such a band suing so-and-so mp3 company. How can we fight this, when the current state of laws lean heavily towards the copyright holders? The problem is our insistence of taking old media and converting it over to the new. The old media doesn't want to give up their current position. So why force them? What we should be doing it creating original content (lots of it) and distributing that through these brave new formats. It would be the best strategy to follow because 1) the media companies can't sue when they don't own the copyright of the distributed content in the first place and 2) the DMCA would protect the new media just as effectively as the old. If this strategy were followed to the point of critical mass (much like the internet did) the new media would simply supplant the old in a manner similar to how the internet is slowly supplanting newspapers and TV today. One way to do this would be to encourage independent labels to jump on board. MP3.com and napster both have been moderately successful in signing up some bands; let's continue the trend. At any rate, it sure beats a no-holds-barred lawsuit. - Dave Finton P.S. I know this isn't directly related to Linux but the open nature of mp3's lend themselves to being the favorite format of open source enthusiasts (as well as many other people as I've seen in my experience)... and it's definitely an important matter when the DMCA is involved no matter what. So I apologize for being somewhat off-topic. :^) --------------------------------------------------------- | If an infinite number of monkeys typed randomly at | | an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite | | amount of time, they would eventually type out | | this sentencdfjg sd84wUUlksaWQE~kd ::. | | ----------------------------------------------------- | | Name: Dave Finton | | E-mail: email@example.com | | Web Page: http://surazal.nerp.net/ | ---------------------------------------------------------