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Larry and Bill love Linux

This week saw a big Linux investment from Microsoft – it is putting $348m into Novell. The money pays for vouchers for SUSE Linux. The company is also spending over $90m in marketing the open source software. It's good news for Novell – the deal represents about quarter of its annual revenue – but less good for Red Hat.

In more "not good for Red Hat" news, we've got an analysis of Larry Ellison's decision to support Red Hat for Oracle customers. We caught up with Mark Shuttleworth – the man behind Ubuntu to see what he made of the deal. He reckons Oracle will get sick of maintaining its own Linux fork and either buy Red Hat outright or choose another vendor. Of course, thanks to Oracle's moves, buying Red Hat looks a lot cheaper now than it was a couple of months ago.

EC says it's all about the money

You probably already know that the European Commission wants mobile operators to cut the cost of making and receiving calls from abroad. And it won't surprise you to know that the EC action is likely to take a couple of years to lumber into effect. So the EC is playing the revenue card and making the obvious point that people would use their phones more if charges were more reasonable. They've done a survey and everything.

Software patents hit UK courts

Software patents are a sensitive issue and one which divides European and US lawmakers. The issue is before the UK courts this week. Neal Maccrosan wants to go to the House of Lords after the Appeal court this week threw out his case. He wrote a program which automates the process of incorporating a UK registered business. The court decided this was software and a business method, so not covered by patent law. But they didn't sound too sure.

Microsoft takes on domains

It might have been famously slow at recognising the importance of the internet, but this week it emerged that Microsoft received ICANN approval to resell internet domains. It might not actually go on to sell domain names, but it would surely be an easy fit with its move to online services. And we can only hope it means Microsoft will do a better job of re-registering its own domains – remember when it forgot to re-register hotmail.com?

Vista dawns

This week also saw a date named for the Vista release. Jim Allchin said the code was ready to ship and would be broadly available from 30 January. Only brave; foolhardy volume customers might get the software earlier.

BBC rubbishes science

A quick mention of a story we did a couple of weeks ago but are still getting emails about. Horizon – the BBC's flagship science programme – has come in for some stick for dumbing down. That was before Reg readers got involved. Go here for a selection of vicious, but heartfelt, letters on the BBC's presentation of science. And there's even more, with pictures, here.

HP's boss takes on old firm

HP is set to launch a range of high-end storage or data warehousing products, but it's not keen to talk about it. Called NeoView and based on NonStop Itanium servers, the range will pitch HP squarely against NCR's Teradata – which is Mark Hurd's old employer. The HP boss should know the market then...and know it's going to be a tough one for HP to crack.

Results round-up

A busy week for financial results. First up Lenovo – the Chinese inheritor of IBM's PC business. The company still seems to be struggling to absorb the PC unit with mutterings of cultural problems. Revenues were flat at $3.7bn for the three months ending 30 September, but profits were down 16 per cent to $38m. Officially, the company is blaming "unusually aggressive pricing from US competitors".

Also reporting this week was BT. The telco brought in revenues of £4.9bn and grew profits to £655m. It is claiming 3m broadband customers and "new wave revenue" - cash from networked services, broadband and mobile - now makes up over a third of revenue. The company has done a content deal with Disney.

Also up this week was Cable & Wireless – which reckons its dark days are behind it. The first six months saw £1.7bn in revenues – mainly thanks to the takeover of Energis.

And last and largest, Cisco, which sold $8.2bn worth of kit in the three months compared with $6.5bn in the same period last year. It made a profit of $1.6bn in the quarter. Wall Street was impressed and sent Cisco shares six per cent higher.

Security summary

Dutch MPs were warned this week that emails sent via BlackBerries were not necessarily safe. The Dutch intelligence service said end-to-end encryption on the devices cannot be guaranteed so politicians should not discuss anything important using them. Surely they're not suggesting their politicians use their BlackBerries for anything other than vital communication?

Zangocash is an annoying bit of pesterware which, once downloaded, will plague you with pop-up adverts. No sane person would download it deliberately. But if you're watching what appear to be YouTube clips on MySpace you won't realise the software is downloading secretly in the background. Zango has already paid $3m to settle previous charges of installing its software without telling users.

Other security news this week:
One in four phishers calls US home
Chile collars NASA hacker
Next Tuesday will be patchtastic – Windows security update
US calls for global data laws

It's like the Millennium Bug but in space...

Weird story of the week – if the next space shuttle mission is delayed beyond 18 December it will have to be postponed until January next year. Bizarrely, computer systems onboard "were never envisioned to fly through a year-end changeover" - or in English – they won't work over New Year's Eve. Shuttle crew could reboot systems, but can you think of a worse way to start a hungover New Year's Day? Plummetting through space waiting for the start-up song to start...

A word in your shell, like

In case you missed it, last week saw the launch of the Reg's own podcast – a bit of news and a bit of entertainment. It's called RTFM...an acronym we don't have to spell out...

Go here to download and have a listen. It's a work in progress, so please let us know what you think.

That's all for this week. Stay tuned. ®

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