Here's some irony for you. On one hand, Google stifles human rights by censoring Google China for the authoritarian Chinese regime. At the same time, Google Code hosts an antidote, a new human-rights monitoring program, called Karapatan-Monitor. Created and maintained by the Computer Professionals' Union in the Philippines, the open-source Karapatan-Monitor records incidents of human-rights violations and allows for classification of violations, perpetrators and victim status. Specific victim updates (for example, court cases and file attachments) also can be recorded. Now, the question remains, “Dear Google, can those who need Karapatan-Monitor most, such as our Chinese brothers and sisters, even access it?”
The battle of good vs. evil continues, with the good guys adding a sharp new arrow to the quiver: Avinti's NEWT Free Malware Security Service. Fresh out of beta, NEWT (Neutralize E-mail and Web Threats) is a freeware plugin filter for Sendmail, Postfix and (soon) Exim that addresses blended threat attacks. Avinti reported an average of 750 new threat e-mail messages per day in late 2007. The company emphasizes that “blended threats are an increasingly popular way for hackers to bypass traditional e-mail security” by sending URLs hosted on botnet-infected computers. In addition, “some of the malware also is on legitimate sites that have been injected with a cross-site scripting hack, making detection and blocking by Web filters difficult.” NEWT can block, tag or quarantine e-mail messages containing such threats. NEWT is available for free download from Avinti's Web site.
WaveMaker has declared Visual Assembly Studio & Rapid Deployment Framework, a new team of products for developing Web applications, as “Web Fast and CIO Safe”. (Do you breathe fire, as well, dear CIO?) Visual Assembly Studio provides departmental developers with a visual environment to create scalable, data-driven Web applications without complex code or portal frameworks. Meanwhile, Visual Assembly Studio enables the drag-and-drop assembly of Web applications using Ajax widgets, Web services and databases. WaveMaker claims a 67% decrease in development time and a 98% reduction in lines of code written vis-à-vis .NET. Both products are built on open source and open standards. Visual Assembly Studio is free, and the Rapid Deployment Framework is available under commercial license.
VMware, Inc., and SAP AG recently announced a partnership whereby SAP's 64-bit enterprise applications and business solutions (such as ERP, BI, CRM, SCM and so on) for Linux and Windows will run on VMware's ESX Server. Already-certified hardware includes servers from Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, HP, IBM and Sun. Both firms will collaborate on support services and problem resolution arising from the partnership. The companies state that the partnership will “combine the powerful process management capabilities of SAP solutions with the robust data-center management and cost-saving features of VMware infrastructure.” The results are projected to provide improved management of IT resources, reduced downtime, reduced server sprawl and quick-and-easy server provisioning.
If you take advantage of the SAP-VMware deal (page 40), here's a strategically placed impulse buy: Edward L. Haletky's VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers, published by Prentice-Hall. Author Haletky, an expert in large-scale ESX Server implementations, has gathered a practical, solutions-focused collection of information on the application—tips, best practices, field-tested solutions, issues, trade-offs and pitfalls. He also covers the entire life cycle, including planning, installation, system monitoring, tuning, clustering, security, disaster recovery and so on. Focusing on ESX v3.x, the book also illustrates differences with ESX v2.5.
Nowadays, finding a professionally produced guide to an open-source application is a snap, thanks in part to nimble book publishers like Packt Publishing. Packt just released Vadym Gurevych's osCommerce Webmaster's Guide to Selling Online, a guide to creating a successful osCommerce-based on-line business. osCommerce is an open-source e-commerce solution using PHP and MySQL that runs on a variety of platforms. This book focuses on fine-tuning an osCommerce-based site to maximize its effectiveness, such as increasing Google juice and improving shopping-cart design. Meanwhile, Packt offers a different book, Deep Inside osCommerce: The Cookbook, for the development side of the application.
Do you think that Ubuntu Server will take over the Linux server space as it has the desktop? Apress has a new means for you to decide for yourself in Sander van Vugt's Beginning Ubuntu Server Administration: From Novice to Professional. Intended for system administrators who need to “land that crucial entry-level job”, Beginning Ubuntu will help you securely install, update and deploy an Ubuntu server, focusing on practical information rather than theory. The book covers standard servers, the command line and remote management.
In-home device convergence has long been the Holy Grail for many a company. Remember WebTV? (Stop giggling, please, we must proceed!) A new and compelling Grail-seeker is OpenPeak with its forthcoming OpenFrame line of devices. Although details remain sketchy pre-Consumer Electronics Show, we do know that the goal is to create a line of Linux-based devices that “revolutionize the home phone into a 'third screen', complementing the home's PC, TVs and mobile phones.” These devices will utilize telephony, VoIP and Internet, thus allowing users to access e-mail, voice mail, personal calendars and information, as well as leave memos for family members and make phone calls—all from one device. The good news for us is that OpenPeak is seeking outside developers to create applications for its software platform. All products will be available through OEM partners, the first of which is Verizon.