Security Alerts for the Week Ending 8/15/2010

Security Alerts for the Week Ending 8/1/2010

feeds | grep links > Chrome Gains Resource Blocking, Iron Languages Go Open Source, and Apple Answers Location Data Privacy Concerns

Security Alerts for the Week Ending 7/11/2010

How Chrome May Really Start to Pull Users from Firefox

I saw the news that the social browser, Flock, had switched its base from Firefox to Chrome but didn’t really feel the need to comment. I never tried Flock, never seeing the appeal. If a user wants to distance themselves that far from the underlying browser, I expect they care little what exactly is under the hood.

Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet’s Open Source blog has a view that gives me pause, being a diehard Firefox fan. The idea is that Google, much more strongly motivated to win users, is and will be entering into exclusive arrangements with extension developers to hack for Chrome and not Firefox. Blankenhorn sees Google’s imperative as a commercial concern driving this sort of gambit at the expense of Mozilla.

My concern isn’t based on Firefox losing to Chrome. Either browser is a huge win for open standards, improved security and privacy, and any number of other issues that Microsoft has inflicted on the vast majority of users online. Mozilla doesn’t have to out compete anyone, being at its heart an open source project. Sure the foundation has a certain economic logic to it that must be satisfied by Firefox itself merely needs to subsist.

Blankenhorn’s view is lopsided, only looking at the traditional zero sum game of the firm and the market. As long as Chrome doesn’t go the way of Internet Explorer and start doing harms to the web, I only care that Firefox continue in some form as an active project. If we extend his logic to Safari, which now supports 3rd party extensions, that would concern me. Although Apple’s monomaniacal control of which extensions get approval is probably a self limiting situation with regards to using them to lever users away from the other browsers.

feeds | grep links > ZFS Linux Port Stalls, FroYo on iPhone 3G, Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group, and More

  • Adoption of Linux ZFS port hampered by license issues
    There has been a lot of interest in ZFS, including rumors of Apple offering it as a choice for OS X. The feature list is impressive, including a staggering 128-bit address space, snapshotting to provide native support for rolling back the state of the disk, and some novel concepts around managing disks and volumes. Unfortunately Sun’s license choice, as Ryan Paul at Ars Technica explains, prevents the merging upstream of the recent Linux port or distribution of the file system in binary form. My understanding is that license compatible alternatives already available for Linux are catching up, if not already comparable.
  • Android 2.2, FroYou, hacked to run on iPhone 3G
    Wired has details of another early stage port, again targeting an older model iPhone. I am pleased the hacking community undertaking these ports is bringing the latest Android features but wonder when they’ll get around to a port, stable or like this one unstable, for 1G iPod Touches.
  • Chrome Frame beta brings welcome improvements
  • Broadband technical advisory group set to launch
  • More on broadband advisory group
    The emphasis of this group’s efforts will be on trying to define what constitutes reasonable network management, Nate Anderson at Ars Technica explains. The problem with that, as he points out, is users are left out of the cold. At least one public interest group, the Open Internet Coalition, is already speaking up though more over concerns that the proposed BITAG could sap the FCC’s “third way” plan. This certainly echoes earlier concerns about the first suggestions of a loophole for reasonable network management.
  • What’s new in PostgreSQL 9.0
    Via Slashdot
  • Eye sight control for smart phones

Audio of Court Proceedings, Dissecting Lily Allen’s Fevered Piracy Arguments, and More

  • Microsoft objects to Google Chrome Frame on security grounds
    According to the Zero Day blog at ZD, Microsoft says they think the plugin increases the opportunities for malware to attack the browser. I don’t see how it is any worse than Flash, really, with which the Redmond giant seems perfectly fine despite repeated and prolonged exposures from problems with Adobe’s plugin.
  • Using debate with Lily Allen to teach
    In case you missed the full back and forth, Mike Masnick has been interacting with UK musician Lily Allen over the p2p file sharing debate. In his latest piece on this, he takes to heart a very constructive comment about turning the situation into a teaching moment. This post is also a good one for back tracing the full story on Techdirt.
  • More on Lily Allen’s anti-piracy meltdown
    Corry actually reminds me that the story started with a TorrentFreak interview with Mike Masnick, among others. Cory’s BB post also adds his perspective, focusing on the constructive takeaway rather than piling on Ms. Allen.
  • Limited reform of the states secret privilege
    The EFF has a nice bit of analysis on the Obama administration’s announced reform of how it will use the states secret privilege that lets it pull evidence from a court case if it would interfere with state secrets. The only problem is the vague wording around the rules that will limit the privilege and that those rules will be enforced by the executive branch itself which will undoubtedly make the planned checks more of a rubber stamp than even a speed bump.
  • Pilot program to add audio to PACER to be extended
    Nate Anderson at Ars has details about this program that has been underway since 2007. He also discusses some of the concerns around too much open-ness that is limiting some courts from participating. He nicely dovetails it too with the kerfuffle around the RECAP Firefox plugin to free up the documents normally locked behind PACER’s paywall.
  • Shuttleworth offers usability testing to Linux app developers
    I think he is especially on to something with the rule on developers being present during the offered tested, namely they have to keep quiet. There is nothing quite so informative as focusing solely on observing users trying to puzzle out the design choices you may have undertaken in too strong a development vacuum.