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Sunday, 24 August, 2003

News headlines from Slashdot, Wired, and the New York Times, are below. Other news sources are:

Slashdot headlines

America's Hams Embrace Linux
Anonymous Coward writes "The current survey question over on the eham site shows that around 40% of Amateur Radio operators that responded to the survey are using Linux/Unix as an operating system in some form or other. Part of the ham radio charter is to 'experiment and innovate'...seems the tradition is alive and well in ham radio. Some of the comments are interesting as well ...What's Amateur/Ham Radio? See"
FCC's Triennial Review Released
rednaxela writes "The FCC, after six months of deliberation, released the Triennial Review order on the evening of August 21. The Order makes substantial changes to the rules governing the obligations of the regional bell operating companies (i.e., SBC, BellSouth, Verizon and Qwest) to lease their networks to the competitive local exchange carriers (e.g., MCI, AT&T) for the provision of local phone service and, perhaps more interestingly to this audience, broadband. Brief summary here, link to the order and the FCC Commissioners' statements at"
Gnumeric Now Supports All Excel Worksheet Functions
unmadindu writes "The latest beta release of Gnumeric has been released. According the the developers, it is now ready and stable enough for general use and deployment, and the final 1.2.0 release will be made on September 8th. This release also marks the realization of a major milestone -- all of the worksheet functions in the U.S. version of MS Excel are now supported. I have been using 1.1.19 for quite some time now, and it is incredibly fast, and hugely improved compared to Gnumeric 1.0."
The Origin Of Sobig (And Its Next Phase)
MrZeebo writes "According to this story at, the FBI, along with other authorities, have traced the origin of the Sobig worm. The quick timeline: Apparently, an earlier version of the worm installed a backdoor on a home computer in British Columbia. The creator of the worm used this compromised computer to create a Usenet account with in Phoenix, using a stolen credit card. The worm spread from Usenet, and contained the IP addresses of 20 computers to contact on Friday, and to download an unknown program from those computers. Officials were able to take 19 of these computers offline before the mass-download. However, the 20th computer stayed online, and many copies of the worm were able to get the rogue program. Those that did were merely redirected to a porn site, no damage done. However, now infected computers will continue to try and connect to the other 19 every Friday and Sunday until the worm expires on Sept. 10th." Reader muldoonaz points out this brief Reuters story about the investigation, too.
Seven Spam Filters Compared writes "Those wondering how their spam filtering software performs in comparison to other's may want to read this article on Freshmeat, where Sam Holden performs comparative testing of various popular e-mail filters. The filters tested includes Bayesian Mail Filter, Bogofilter, dbacl, Quick Spam Filter, SpamAssassin, SpamProbe, and SPASTIC."
Embarrassing Dispatches From The SCO Front
An anonymous reader writes "Dennis Ritchie has acknowledged he with Ken Thompson wrote the code cited as 'proof' by SCO. This seems to fit perfectly with Bruce Perens' Analysis of SCO's Las Vegas Slide Show, and undermine Blake Stowell's claim 'At this point it's going to be his word against ours." Andreas Spengler writes "In the ongoing battle between SCO and the Linux community, German publisher Heise has shown that not only was the Linux implementation of the Berkeley Packet filter written outside of Caldera (now SCO), but that it was common practice there and at other companies to remove the BSD copyright notices from the internally used source code. In effect, SCO has proven publicly that they violated the BSD license." (Warning, article is in German.) Finally, a semi-anonymous reader writes "Learn all about how IBM's stomach will be roasted on a pyre of CDs at WeLovetheSCOInformationMinister."
Japanese Robot on Diplomatic Tour
baquiano writes "Inaugurating 21st century diplomacy, Japan's Pime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is visiting Prague this week, accompanied by Honda's experimental humanoid robot, Asimo. According to this story, Asimo even attended the official dinner. Apparently, the Czech Prime Minister Spidla has often been criticized because he's too 'stiff' and 'robot-like.'" Uncomfortable moments aside, it's a fitting tribute, for as stated in the story, the Czech writer Karel Capek was the first to use the term robot.
Electronic Voting Machine Cracker Challenge
An anonymous reader writes "In the ongoing debate on the security of electronic voting, an Atlanta area programmer has confronted Georgia election officials on the potential for fraud in its statewide electronic voting system. She claims that she can be prepared to crack the system within a week, and officials have accepted the challenge." What makes this even more interesting is that the election officials are encouraging the woman, so that any possible exploit can be found and remedied.
Supercomputer Breaks the $100/GFLOPS Barrier
Hank Dietz writes "At the University of Kentucky, KASY0, a Linux cluster of 128+4 AMD Athlon XP 2600+ nodes, achieved 471 GFLOPS on 32-bit HPL. At a cost of less than $39,500, that makes it the first supercomputer to break $100/GFLOPS. It also is the new record holder for POV-Ray 3.5 render speed. The reason this 'Beowulf' is so cost-effective is a new network architecture that achieves high performance using standard hardware: the asymmetric Sparse Flat Neighborhood Network (SFNN)." Because this was a university project, KASY0 was assembled entirely by unversity students, which while being a source of cheap labor, is also a good way to get a lot of students of involved in a great project.
Corel Goes Private
prostoalex writes "Ottawa-based Corel, known for its CorelDRAW, WordPerfect, Painter and Bryce products, has been acquired by Vector Capital Corp. for $124 mln. with the intent to get de-listed from Nasdaq and Toronto stock markets and go private. 80% of shareholders approved the deal, according to the story. At certain points of its corporate history Corel was a Linux vendor and even partially owned by Microsoft. Microsoft paid $135M for 25% of the shares, so Vector Capital paying $124M for 100% stake looks like a pretty good deal." It's been over a month since this was first announced, but it's actually come to pass now.
Canadian Telcos Agree on WiFi Hotspot Standard
Jucius Maximus writes "As reported by Globetechnology, Canada's cellphone providers have agreed to create a common standard for their subscribers to connect to the Internet via public "hot-spots." The agreement became necessary because Canada's cellphone providers offer four different and incompatible connection technologies. The carriers will continue to vigorously compete with each other, both for customers and Wi-Fi hotspot locations, the CWTA said in a statement."

Wired headlines