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Microsoft loves Linux, Vista licenses, CA boss goes to jail

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft's Linux moves

It's been a weird couple of weeks for Linux. Last week we saw Larry Ellison's Oracle dive into the server business by offering to resell Red Hat server products for less than Red Hat itself sells them. This week we saw Microsoft get involved through a deal with arch rival Novell. Microsoft will work to improve interoperability between its products and Novell's SUSE Linux.

As well as funding co-development of products, Microsoft has also promised not to sue developers for intellectual property infringements they might make while improving SUSE Enterprise Linux Server. An optimist would say Red Hat must be doing something right if Microsoft is attacking it.

Who loves EULA?

Reading software licenses is far too much fun for Friday afternoon so we blackmailed a bloke from Security Focus to do it for us. Scott Granneman has read the Vista licenses, and it wasn't pretty.

Vista's licensing includes restrictions on benchmarking and the cheaper versions do not allow you to run them in virtual environments. And if you're installing the software on a device which subsequently needs a major hardware upgrade, you could be in for a world of pain. Go here to avoid the torture of reading the small print.

Microsoft seems to have got the message - by the end of this week it was already backtracking on some bits of the license.

Who runs the internet? These people...

This week saw the first ever Internet Governance Forum in Greece. The start was overshadowed by the host government arresting a blogger, but things did improve. Among general uncertainty as to how it would work, this first meeting can be counted a success. It's early days of course, but the group does look like it might improve discussion of how, and who, should run the internet. For a UN meeting it was really quite friendly too.

Ofcom neutral on net neutrality

While we're talking internet governance, the Reg went along to Ofcom's annual lecture and heard what the boss makes of net neutrality. It's been a big row in the US, but Lord Currie described it as a confused debate. He said Ofcom would be staying well out of the row.

CA's Sanjay Kumar goes to prison

US accounting investigations continue to claim scalps. Computer Associates former chief executive Sanjay Kumar was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The judge said that although he was not a violent criminal his actions "did violence to the legitimate expectations of shareholders".

Which is true, but 12 years is a long time for doing anything to someone's expectations. There are a long line of IT execs facing similar charges.

YouTube sued by tube maker

When Google bought YouTube many observers predicted a rash of lawsuits. But most people reckoned these cases would centre around copyright issues rather than actual tubes. But YouTube is being sued by tube manufacturer UTube. The company is fed up of bleedin' kids sending it happy slapping videos.

Of course, the predicted lawsuits from copyright owners have been slower to appear – mainly because YouTube has been quick to do deals – offering companies shares in exchange for rights. But also because the film and TV world seems to have woken up to the fact that letting lots of people watching your promotion clips might even be a good idea.

Home Secretary wants his ejector seat and he wants it now

We at the Reg always welcome politicians getting involved in technology. Mainly, admittedly, because they talk such a lot of rubbish. And we've been missing the rants of ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett, so it's nice that the current Home Secretary John Reid is getting involved.

This week the wee Glasgow hard man called on the technology industry to get cracking making better surveillance kit to keep us all safe – something along the lines of the Dambusters seems to be Reid's big idea.

It also emerged this week that Reid's claimed number of people charged and convicted for terrorism offences is not nearly as high as he would have us believe. Reid claimed 367 people were charged for terror offences between 2001 and 2006. In fact, a brief look at the numbers shows that despite close to 1,000 arrests only some 25 people were actually convicted under the Terrorism Act of 2000. Here's the full maths lesson for the Home Office.

While we're looking at government stuff, we learnt a little more about government plans to put fingerprints on passports this week

Older people have experience? Like, wow!

A report out this week finds older IT staff just as capable of adapting to change as their younger colleagues.

Security means locking doors

Level 3, and data centres alike, is meant to provide a entirely safe environment for keeping vital equipment in. So red faces all round this week with news that thieves got in and stole a load of live equipment. The lights went out at 6.30am when someone got in and helped themselves to live router cards.

And it's not the first one either – two weeks ago Easynet was hit by a very similar theft. Usually such companies are happy to talk – to apologise to their customers, to warn other people who might be a victim, and so that anyone who's approached by a dodgy geezer with a Transit full of kit will call the police rather than restock their server room - but Level 3 was not so keen.

Security round-up

In other, non-robbery, news, if you've heard about the latest Windows firewall hole don't worry too much. Seen a lot more spam in the last few weeks? Here's why there's more junk email around.

And we've got an update on the security bun-fight over Windows Vista. Microsoft's refusal to let security firms get into the kernel has already been cracked. Microsoft isn't happy and promises to fix what it considers a bug.

Get gaming at the Science Museum

And finally, we know the real reason you got into the IT industry was to play computer games. If you want to revisit those early games that, wrongly, set you on this career path get down to the Science Museum in South Kensington. We sent a reporter down to check out the exhibition - PacMan on a ten foot screen, apparently...

That's it from us. Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend. ®

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