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HTMLfixIT Archive for September, 2004




Thursday, September 30th, 2004 by Franki

In a victory for anyone with enough sense (and no agenda) to be against stupid and vague software patents, the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” have rejected Microsoft’s attempt to patent the FAT file system.

It is believed that Microsoft would have used this patent to get license money from companies making devices that use the FAT file system. That includes most digital cameras, many MP3 players, PDA units and recently a few models of Mobile phones that now include flash cards or micro hard drives.

PubPat (Public Patent Foundation) has the full story here.

This is not only a victory for common sense and cheap consumer products, it’s also a victory for Open Source, because it removes another potential patent problem from Linux distro’s, all of which can create, read and write FAT file systems. (all of which was done to create better interoperability with Windows.)

Also see coverage at The Inquirer and The Register and News.com and
Internetnews.com and Eweek not to mention LinuxToday.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »

Thursday, September 30th, 2004 by Franki

The JPEG image security flaw in Windows that Microsoft recently announced is starting to appear in the wild. TheInq has a story about a new variant that is spreading or attempting to spread via AOL Instant Chat software.

The next bit, also from TheInq, is that apparently there are loads of people out there using Windows that have no idea that they are infected by virus’s, worms or Trojans. It really goes to show that computing on Windows has been marketed as being so easy that most people don’t even know that they need to protect themselves. That’s a real shame, because nowadays it need not even cost you money to protect yourself. ClamWin is a totally free Open Source anti-virus application for Windows, and in my tests, it has been remarkably stable, fast and effective.

Lastly, we have this article, in which Tim Berners-Lee, one of the guys largely credited with what we now call the Internet says something most smart people who don’t work for big software corporations have been saying for some time. That software patents hurt innovation and lock the little guys out of the game. Look at it this way. Where would Microsoft be, if they had to pay big license fee’s for technology based on TCP/IP? (TCP/IP is the protocol that is responsible for the web, and also for a good deal of internal networks as well.)

The pioneers like Mr Berners-Lee created something that has been of benefit to the whole of humankind, and yet none of them that I am aware of, have a 45 billion dollar personal fortune. Unlike a certain someone who has benefited directly and greatly from the work of these pioneers. And this same certain someone’s company recently couldn’t let go of the almighty dollar for long enough to help rid the world of SPAM. Let us all hope and pray that the next generation of pioneers do not work for this certain company.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004 by Franki

In what seems to be a blow to Microsoft Office dominance, the EC has sent Sun a letter that indicates that the “International Organization for Standardization” (ISO) looks like making the OpenOffice.org XML based file formats as the standard ISO file format for office documents.

The reason is pretty simple I believe, OpenOffice formats are just that, totally open. Anyone inclined to, can knock out a program that can read and write OpenOffice format files. The same can not be said for Microsoft office file formats, which have traditionally been very hard for Microsoft competitors to use, and in fact may result in patent lawsuits for people that try.

This is a huge bonus for the free open source office application suite, because if it happens, Microsoft will likely be forced to add OpenOffice file formats to their office suite to ensure compatibility. This means that one more reason to stick with expensive Microsoft software is gone. You will be able to use OpenOffice as your office suite and be sure that MS office users will be able to read your documents.

(more…)

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2004 by Franki

For those of you still using Outlook Express to retrieve mail from their free Hotmail account will have to find an alternative sometime in early 2005.

Microsoft have said they are stopping it due to spam concerns, but aren’t they lucky that it adds value to their paid service as well?
Actually, in this case, I agree with them. One of the ways to make Spamming easy via webmail is to provide access to external local mail clients. I doubt many spammers want to try and use a web interface to send mail, and the only alternative on Hotmail now will be to try and code a script using something like Perl’s LWP module to simulate a browser login.

Now Microsoft just has to think of a way to stop paid users from registering with stolen credit card numbers and setting up SPAM ops from there.

Regards

Franki

1 Comment »

Monday, September 27th, 2004 by Franki

Well, they did it, twice.

Spreadfirefox started out with the goal of getting 1 million people to download the preview release of Mozilla Firefox 1.0, and they reached that goal in about 4 days. Then they decided that they should up the ante to 2 million before the end of the ten days. And they did that too. Not a bad record for a program that isn’t even at the “official” release status yet. I’ve been using it for ages as my main browser now, and found it to be a joy. Apparently I’m not the only one.
Get Firefox!

Perhaps it’s time for you to give it a try.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »

Friday, September 24th, 2004 by Don

Nose Licks and Tail Wags is a site devoted to dogs. I mainly decided to feature it because I thought it might appeal to Hazel, one of our htmlfixit.com guest authors who occasionally posts.

Cheers

Don

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Friday, September 24th, 2004 by Franki

Well, they made the effort, but the Microsoft patent/license issues appear to have completely killed off the MARID group. I’d guess that Microsoft decided that if they couldn’t have their patent and license included in the standard, then the standard shouldn’t get a chance.

I’m rather miffed about that, I already get over 300 SPAM a day, so anything that stood a chance at stopping or lessening that is a fine thing.

Read about the death of MARID at Eweek or Groklaw.

If you every find yourself in a conversation with someone from Microsoft, perhaps you should inform them that sometimes the needs of the Internet at large outweigh their need to line their pockets with everyone else’s money.

Regards

Franki

No Comments »







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