Archive for November, 2007

Dell has announced that it’s to start selling PCs pre-installed with Linux in the UK. The company will sell one laptop and one desktop line with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed. The move follows the highly successful launch of Ubuntu systems in the US, earlier this year.

Dell is continuing to deliver on our commitment to give customers what they’re asking for – the option of choosing Linux as their operating system,” says Charlie Tebbs, marketing director, Consumer, Dell EMEA. “As we hear from customers throughout Europe and around the world, we will continue to explore the opportunities to expand our offerings globally, so stay tuned.”


The systems on offer will be the the Inspiron 6400n laptop and the Inspiron 530n desktop. Dell claims the cost savings made by not having to pay for the Windows licence means they can offer the systems for sale from £329 and £399 respectively, including delivery and VAT.

Dell says it’s not paying a penny to pre-load Ubuntu on to the PCs – and it’s going to make that very clear to its customers. “Customers won’t be charged for the operating system. It will come across on the invoice as a zero-charged item,” Adam Griffin, transaction product manager at Dell, told PC Pro.

However, Dell’s support for the Linux systems is limited. “We’ll offer full hardware support on the products,” says Griffin. “We’ll also offer a basic software support as well, which includes install and uninstall, network connectivity and configuration. For any advanced software related questions, we have a great relationship with Canonical [Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu support company], and we basically will direct customers to Canonical… and that’s a costed support.”

What constitutes an advanced software question that falls outside of Dell’s remit? “They’ll have a set number of questions they can answer,” Griffin claims, all relating to the three topics highlighted above.

Griffin also hinted that the company may consider selling dual boot Windows/Linux systems in the future. “There are no plans at present, but again it’s all about customer feedback. If we hear it’s a customer requirement we’ll look at that. Watch this space,” says Griffin.

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POSTED: Thursday, November 29, 2007

FROM BLOG: SlashGear – Tech news, reviews,and consumer electronics guide


The following blog post is from an independent writer and is not connected with Reuters News. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not endorsed by Reuters.com.


3G Apple iPhone confirmed for 2008It seemed unlikely that Apple could go any other way, but AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson finally confirmed that 2008 will see the iPhone upgraded with 3G connectivity. The handset, which has been robustly criticised for making use of last-gen EDGE data rather than one of the newer, faster technologies, was limited to the slower network as the company felt battery life would suffer unduly from power-hungry 3G chips. Speaking at a meeting of the Churchill Club in California, Stephenson told reporters querying the updated phone that “you’ll have it next year.”

When pushed on price, AT&T seemingly have little say in what Apple charge for their hardware; “[Steve Jobs] will dictate what the price of the phone is” Stephenson explained. Nonetheless, it’s potentially enough to delay some shoppers over the coming holiday period, although ever-verbose Gene Munster of analysts Piper Jaffray & Co dismissed those buyers as “not enough to make a difference.”

The confirmation comes a month after Broadcom unveiled what some believe will be the 3G chipset the upgraded iPhone will use, that boasted 7.2Mbps HSDPA connectivity, onboard graphics support and image processing for up to 5-megapixel cameras, as well as lower power demands than existing chips.

Bloomberg [via Gear Diary]

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Nov. 29 – A South Korean quarry worker was found dead with burning mobile attached to his chest.

Police believe a faulty battery may have caused the phone to explode next to his chest, killing him.

Stefanie McIntyre reports.

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    By Yinka Adegoke

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook is good for keeping up with high-flying buddies, MySpace is for teenage offspring and the BlackBerry is a full-time addiction, according to top media executives who were quizzed on their personal media habits at this week’s Reuters Media Summit.

    “I may be the only human being on earth who’s on MySpace under his own name and I am on Facebook,” said Strauss Zelnick, chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), the video game company behind Grand Theft Auto.

    Peter Levinsohn, head of News Corp’s (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Fox Interactive Media, described such behavior as that of an “uber user” who is on both popular social network sites but uses them toward different ends.

    Fox has found that 65 percent of Facebook users are also on its MySpace site, the world’s largest social network, Levinsohn said. Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) announced last month it was paying $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook.

    Zelnick said he enjoyed Facebook applications like My Questions that lets a member poll friends on subjects close to the heart. He used it to ask his closest CEO pals whether they thought the U.S. economy was headed to a recession.

    But he may not truly be an “uber user” of both, saying he finds Facebook more useful as he likes its applications.

    Levinsohn, as you might expect, is also on both sites. So does he think Facebook is any good?

    “Frankly I’ve found MySpace substantially more entertaining,” he said, adding that he used Facebook “more to communicate with people at work or people I’ve met through the course of my career.”

    But just because a media executive regularly sends press releases to your e-mail doesn’t mean they’ll make you a “friend” online.

    “I am on Facebook, but I don’t take media friends,” Electronic Arts (ERTS.O: Quote, Profile, Research) CEO John Riccitiello told a room full of journalists. Riccitiello is not on MySpace, saying it is a “little too public for me”.

    Of course, some media executives are more popular than others. MTV Networks’ digital chief Mika Salmi admitted to “lurking” with no friends on Facebook in the early days of the site’s launch, but he now has close to 250 friends.


    Outside of social networks, the big winner of media time for these very busy people remains the e-mail fix provided by the BlackBerry from Research In Motion (RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research).

    MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath joked she has considered therapy after waking up in the morning to find she had slept on top of her BlackBerry.

    FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who has five other phones, said he left his “Crackberry” behind before attending the Summit so as to avoid being distracted.

    Blockbuster (BBI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) CEO Jim Keyes has an iPhone from Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research), but he uses the BlackBerry for both work and even watching movie clips.

    All the same, not every media honcho lives on social networking sites or is transfixed by a wireless gadget.

    “I’m old school I guess. I am not on any social network,” said David Sanderson, head of the global media practice at Bain & Co. “In the physical world, I’m in lots of social networks.”

    Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is proud he doesn’t even have a computer and gets by without a BlackBerry.

    “Tom Werner of the Boston Red Sox, wonderfully bought me a BlackBerry a year ago, flew in from L.A., spent a day with me, tried to teach me about it, it’s still in the drawer, off to my right, at home where I left it.”

    (Additional reporting by Michele Gershberg; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

    (Click on http://blogs.reuters.com/category/themes/mediafile/ to see Reuters MediaFile blog)

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    PHILADELPHIA: A University of Pennsylvania junior hijacked a university server — causing it to crash — as he helped a New Zealand hacker attack several online chat sites, the FBI charged.

    Ryan Goldstein, 21, was angry that one of the sites had kicked him off after a dispute, according to an indictment.

    Goldstein’s arrest this month is one of several so-called “botnet” cases across the country announced by the FBI on Thursday, the same day police agencies in New Zealand were executing related search warrants.

    “They view it like a computer game without appreciating that it has real-world impact,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy said. “There is an unreality to it.”

    At Penn, reality struck on Feb. 23, 2006, when an engineering school server crashed after four days of intense traffic.The server, which typically handles about 450 daily requests for Internet downloads, had instead gotten 70,000 requests from the account of an unsuspecting Penn student over four days. Over time, the FBI followed an electronic trail from that student’s account to Goldstein’s screen name, “Digerati,” and a New Zealand hacker with the online handle “AKILL.”

    The Goldstein case is part of a second round of FBI arrests this year of hackers who assume control of thousands of computers and amass them into centrally controlled clusters known as botnets. The hackers can then use the computers to steal credit card information, manipulate stock trades and even crash industry computers, the FBI said.

    The FBI estimates the economic losses from various botnet schemes at more than $20 million (€13.57 million). Several people have been sentenced across the country, while a prominent member of the botnet underground recently entered a guilty plea in California, the FBI said.

    Goldstein was indicted on Nov. 1. He has since pleaded not guilty and been released on bail while awaiting a scheduled March 10 trial.

    “We feel the charges are inflated,” defense lawyer Ronald Levine said Thursday. “We think this is kind of an exaggerated case.”

    Goldstein did not return phone messages left by The Associated Press on his cell phone and his parents’ home in Ambler. He remains enrolled at Penn, according to school spokesman Ron Ozio, who said he could not comment on any possible disciplinary action.

    The crash shut down computers at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for a few hours days, but did relatively little damage, Ozio said.

    “It was inconvenient, but it wasn’t irreparable,” he said.

    Goldstein, a bioengineering major, appears to be a bright, driven student, according to a resume posted on his Penn Web page.

    A 2005 graduate of Germantown Academy, a prestigious prep school in the Philadelphia suburbs, he has spent each summer since ninth grade working in a series of technology-related jobs or research positions.

    He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 (€169,630) fine if convicted of the single count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

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    By Charles Babcock
    Sat Nov 24, 12:00 AM ET

    It’s probably not surprising that open source systems management software would sprout around Linux and Apache servers, giving it a shot at managing infrastructure for big companies.

    But it’s surprising how quickly the software has expanded beyond managing those widely used open source tools. The big four systems management vendors–IBM Tivoli, Hewlett-Packard OpenView, CA Unicenter, and BMC Patrol–face a new round of competition from what 451 Group analyst Raven Zachary calls “the little four”: GroundWork, Hyperic, Qlusters, and Zenoss, all open source suppliers of systems and network management software.

    Hyperic, for example, has started partnering with Red Hat so that Hyperic developers can work with those from Red Hat’s JBoss to develop a common JBoss management platform. JBoss uses Hyperic HQ as the management platform for JBoss Operations Network, a management console Red Hat sells as an add-on service for JBoss application server and middleware. Now, instead of Hyperic developing HQ on its own and Red Hat adapting it for JBoss Operations Network, the two will work together on the JBoss management system and contribute the results to Hyperic as open source code. “We’ll create a combined core, a more generic infrastructure with both monitoring and provisioning,” says CEO Javier Soltero.

    Plans closer ties to open source Nagios, on which it’s built

    Co-devloping with new partner Red Hat, code goes back to Hyperic

    Adds virtual server management to this data center specialist

    Adds Google Maps mashup, for visual of system status

    The JBoss management console shows how open source code can discover a mix of software assets in an infrastructure, catalog them, and monitor them. The software can find servers running AIX, Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, and Windows, and discover the Apache Web Server, Apache Tomcat, and JBoss applications that run on them. HQ Enterprise has been downloaded nearly 125,000 times from SourceForge since it became available as open source code in July last year. When it comes to downloads, however, it’s hard to beat Zenoss open source management software, now in its 2.1 release. With its Core community edition downloaded almost 450,000 times in 20 months, it’s the sixth most frequently downloaded program on SourceForge.


    Zenoss Core is the basis for Zenoss Enterprise, which monitors both servers and the applications and network devices on which they depend. At $50,000 per year for systems managing more than 50 devices, it’s popular with midsize businesses that don’t want to spring for systems management from the big four. It includes auto-discovery of IT assets and the ability to monitor across Windows, Linux, and Unix, as well as JBoss, Tomcat, BEA WebLogic, and IBM’s WebSphere application servers.

    In the latest version, Zenoss added mashups with Google Maps to provide a visual of IT operations across multiple data centers and the network connecting them. The map feature lets Zenoss Core display a network topology map with key devices identified on it. And the map can show the health of each data center operation through green, yellow, and red color coding. Individual aspects of operations can be represented using new graphing and dashboard capabilities.

    Another supplier, GroundWork Open Source, recently formed a partnership with Nagios Enterprises, the commercial company behind the open source monitoring system Nagios, which has been downloaded 1.4 million times since 2001. GroundWork is built on top of Nagios, and the two plan to collaborate more closely under the new pact. Finally, there’s Qlusters, founded in 2001, which produces OpenQRM for provisioning and managing data center servers. It added virtual server management to its capabilities in the latest release.

    Time to toss out your Tivoli? Probably not–no one’s all that eager to rip out big commercial systems, and the open source management systems often work alongside existing commercial systems. Look instead for the open source systems to keep nibbling away, starting in places where open source code is implemented.

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    YouTube rejects calls to monitor videos

    Video sharing website YouTube is refusing to filter out threatening material, despite calls for more restrictions in the wake of the school shooting in Finland.

    Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, used YouTube to publicise his plans to attack his high school in Tuusula, hours before he killed eight people then shot himself. But Peter Fleischer, privacy counsel at Google, which bought YouTube last year, said the website was not considering passing more information to the police to avert such events. “Logistically we couldn’t do pre-screening,” he said. “We don’t want to become censors of the web.”

    Vetting every video on the site would prove a technical challenge, with more than seven hours of footage uploaded to YouTube every minute.

    Auvinen’s YouTube videos, posted using a pseudonym, featured specific details of his plans and images of him posing with a gun. They were removed from YouTube several hours after the killings.

    Mr Fleischer said privacy was of paramount importance but admitted there was no blanket ban on passing on information. “If it were child pornography then we would inform the authorities immediately. In the case of somebody doing a video that looks something like hate speech, however, we would remove the account. In most of these cases we don’t report it.”

    YouTube users can flag up anything of concern, particularly pornography, bullying and violence. Moderators then decide whether the material breaks YouTube’s rules and often remove offending video in minutes. YouTube also employs filtering tools, mainly focused around child abuse and preventing copyright infringement.

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