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Bill Gates had a tough week

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Microsoft

Bill Gates had a tough week... or at least, as tough as it can get when you're the richest guy in the world. Just days after a series of worms ravaged Microsoft Windows-powered networks around the world --and made high-profile splashes at media outlets including Time Warner's CNN, The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News and The New York Times--several new potentially damaging weaknesses in Windows software have been exposed.

The first problem, a weakness in the company's Internet Explorer Web-browsing software, could allow malicious hackers to crash or even take complete control of computers using the software. In order to be affected, IE users would have to visit a specially constructed Web site, but security firms say it's still a serious threat, and that a widespread attack is likely.

Microsoft is also catching heat over a new feature that's been included into test versions of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system. The software --currently released only to about 500,000 beta testers and software developers--apparently comes with a built-in peer-to-peer networking feature, which would allow groups of Windows computers to automatically connect without a central server. In the beta version, the software is turned on by default. That's a violation of Microsoft's security principles and potentially could lead to security breaches. Microsoft says the feature will be turned off in the final software release.

In a final indignity, Linux activists wearing penguin suits crashed a Microsoft promotional party held at the municipal parliament house in Berlin, Germany. The protestors want the city government to use open source software, not the proprietary Windows operating system.

Source.

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today's howtos

Minimal Linux Live

Minimal Linux Live is, as the name suggests, a very minimal Linux distribution which can be run live from a CD, DVD or USB thumb drive. One of the things which set Minimal Linux Live (MLL) apart from other distributions is that, while the distribution is available through a 7MB ISO file download, the project is designed to be built from source code using a shell script. The idea is that we can download scripts that will build MLL on an existing Linux distribution. Assuming we have the proper compiler tools on our current distribution, simply running a single shell script and waiting a while will produce a bootable ISO featuring the MLL operating system. Yet another option the MLL project gives us is running the distribution inside a web browser using a JavaScript virtual machine. The browser-based virtual machine running MLL can be found on the project's website, under the Emulator tab. This gives us a chance to try out the operating system in our web browser without installing or building anything. I decided to try the MLL build process to see if it would work and how long it would take if everything went smoothly. I also wanted to find out just how much functionality such a small distribution could offer. The project's documentation mostly covers building MLL on Ubuntu and Linux Mint and so I decided to build MLL on a copy of Ubuntu 16.04 I had running in a virtual machine. The steps to build MLL are fairly straight forward. On Ubuntu, we first install six packages to make sure we have all the required dependencies. Then we download an archive containing MLL's build scripts. Then we unpack the archive and run the build script. We just need to type four commands in Ubuntu's virtual terminal to kick-start the build process. Read more

GCC Compiler Tests At A Variety Of Optimization Levels Using Clear Linux

For those curious about the impact of GCC compiler optimization levels, a variety of benchmarks were carried out using GCC 6.3 on Intel's Clear Linux platform. Read more Also: LLVM 4.0.1 Planning, Aiming For Better Stable Releases