Regardless of which side you're on (though as a true computing enthusiast, you shouldn't be taking sides), you've heard the arguments back and forth on the which operating system is truly safer – Mac OS X or Windows.
It is of the opinion of Charlie Miller, a well known Mac security guru, that even Snow Leopard, the latest version of Mac OS X, isn't as safe as Windows.
One key point is that Snow Leopard still doesn't have ASLR, or address space layout randomization, which randomly arranges the position of key data making it harder for hackers to target for exploits.
In software your security track record is ideally judged by the products you release, not the products you are developing. Nonetheless, Microsoft is drawing flack over an unpatched vulnerability in the beta and Release Candidate versions of Windows 7; Windows Vista; and Windows Server 2008. With attacks incoming, Microsoft and security experts are urging testers to run a workaround to disable to exploitable component in the meantime. The entire mess, though, goes to demonstrate both the dangers and benefits of thorough software testing.
With its deepest Windows 7 discounts yet, Microsoft is targeting students who might otherwise chose Apple. The company has announced qualified college and university students can obtain Windows 7 for just $30 in the US and 30 pounds in the UK. Students in the US can pre-order their copies from September 17 and download with general availability on October 22, while UK students can begin pre-orders on September 22. Students in other countries can order from October 22, it's reported here.
A Microsoft Software Engineer has posted the results of tests the company performed to the upgrade time of Windows 7. Worst case scenario is that it will take a bit over 20 hours. But a clean 32-bit install on what Microsoft calls "high-end hardware" should take only 30 minutes.
The Mozilla team just released two new security updates for its popular web browser, Firefox 3.5.3 and Firefox 3.014. The updates are now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users and fix several security issues as well as stability issues.
Specifically, the new update for Firefox 3.5x fixes crashes with evidence pointing to memory corruption. The team presumes that with enough effort, at least some of these bugs could be exploited to run arbitrary code.
Additionally, the default Windows font used to render the location-bar and other text fields was improperly displaying certain Unicode characters with tall line-height. An attacker could use this vulnerability to prevent a user from seeing the URL of a malicious site.
There are other security concerns addressed which can be found in the Security Advisories release notes.
Firefox 3.0.14 and Firefox 3.5.3 can be downloaded here.
Security experts are concerned about the potential impact of a new security hole affecting the Windows operating system. The potential exists to create a worm that would allow an attacker to take complete control of vulnerable systems without any user interaction--a jackpot for malware developers.
This past Tuesday was Microsoft's big patch release day for the month of September. Microsoft released a total of five new Security Bulletins, all of them rated Critical. Microsoft quickly followed the regularly scheduled patch release with a Security Advisory warning of the new unpatched flaw.
Microsoft already had its own open source (OSI-approved) licenses, its own open source project hosting site and now it's adding its own non-profit open source foundation. That's right, the company that is still banging the patent drum against open source now has its own 501(c)(6) open source foundation. Officially called the CodePlex Foundation, it's a separate effort from the CodePlex site and is aimed at helping to get more commercial developers involved in open source. Considering how they continue to attack Linux and open source, will anyone take them seriously?
The biggest danger to Windows 7 and Windows Vista isn't Mac OS X or Linux --- it's Windows XP, whose windows xp the aging operating system. But it looks as if XP may finally be on the way out, which is good news for Microsoft. Windows XP's share of the OS usage market fell 1.1 percentage points during August, tying its November 2008 record drop.
At the same time, Vista and Windows 7 use was up, Vista by 0.9 percent, and Windows 7 by 0.3 percent. Windows XP is still dominant, though, with 71.8 percent use, compared to 18.8 percent for Vista, and 1.2 percent for Windows 7. Mac OS X use has stalled, with 4.9 percent share.
For the first time in years, the PC market is starting to draw serious attention from Wall Street. Dell (DELL) shares surged after the company beat earnings expectations for the second quarter. The next day chip giant Intel (INTC) gave the sector another lift by raising its forecast for PC processor sales. Hopes are building among investors that the industry will see a revival in growth as Microsoft (MSFT) unveils its new operating system, Windows 7, on Oct. 22 to replace its troubled Windows Vista.
Earlier this month, software giant Microsoft was shocked when they lost a patent dispute to i4i and were told that the word processing application Word would be blocked from sales starting in October.
Microsoft has appealed the decision and today has gotten some backup support from the large computer manufacturers (and big Microsoft customers) HP and Dell.
The companies asked the judge in the case to reconsider the injunction, or at least delay it by 120 days.
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