System Overlord

A blog about security engineering, research, and general hacking.

Mythbusters: Yes to Ubuntu, No to Vista

Jamie Hyneman of Discovery Channel's Mythbusters (an awesome show) occasionally writes a bit for Popular Mechanics.  This time he's talking about Technology Headaches.  One of those headaches, as most of the IT world has seen, is Windows Vista.  His solution? Ubuntu Linux.  Pretty awesome that one of the guys that can build ANYTHING chooses Ubuntu.  Now if only we could get a Ubuntu-powered robot out of him.  :)

FCC Comments on Network Neutrality

I just wanted to reiterate Michael Trausch's request that anyone concerned with their ability to use the internet freely should file a comment with the FCC on Network Neutrality (and Comcast's filtering, etc.)  See his post for directions on submitting a comment.

Here's what I had to say to the FCC:

Comments on FCC Docket 07-52:

Network neutrality has been a key part of the internet since its invention. Many technologies have originated from the ability to experiment and try new things on the internet. The most successful economic boom in our country's history directly derived from the ability to use the internet as one saw fit. Would we have had the economic growth of the late 90s without the ability to innovate new technologies like streaming media, web conferences, and open software development?

The idea that an Internet Service Provider can select what we, as consumers, are allowed to do without our consent is both harmful and insulting to the American spirit of exploration and innovation. ISPs are expected to provide end-to-end connectivity of a certain bandwidth without interference. Having an ISP perform filtering is akin to having roads that are only usable by people traveling to some destinations. Such filtering limits the ability of the individual to communicate and sets a precedent similar to the Internet filtering in countries like Iran and China.

The Internet was built on an open platform based on information exchange and sharing. It is important that the user be able to reap every possible benefit, especially since ISPs rely on the user for their economic lifeblood. In no other industry would such interference with the customer be permissible. The FCC must continue to uphold America's freedom to innovate, and the consumer's freedom of expression.


David Tomaschik


Insulting Microsoft: Why we're just insulting ourselves.

Melissa Draper has recently posted about the damage done to the FOSS community by the use of terms such as "Micro$oft" and "MicroShaft".  I've probably been guilty of this a time or two, but I have tried to avoid it in recent use, as it does make the Open Source Community look, well, stupid.

The community needs to put on a better image.  We should not sink to the FUD levels that Microsoft uses, and should certainly not draw more attention to Microsoft with "clever" names.  Just think about the reaction from the open source community if a Microsoft blogger called Linux "Lusernux" or something similar.

Open Source Developers have spent a lot of time trying to demonstrate the professionalism of the software and content produced by the community.  Those with a narrow mind who insult our competition undermine that work.   Seriously consider the image that you are presenting when you write.  Closed communications have a way of becoming public.

January LoCo F2F: Success!

Well, I was finally able to make it to the LoCo (Local Community) F2F (Face to Face) meeting yesterday.  To me, it seemed to be a quite successful event.  About 16-18 people made it, which meant that we pretty much took over that entire wing of Mellow Mushroom.  The food was definitely top notch as well -- I had a great calzone.  It was really great to get a chance to know some of the people from the IRC, even if I didn't get a match between name and IRC nick in all cases.

In the future I (and some of the others) would also like to see meetings with activities or presentations.  One idea that was tossed around was an open-source LAN party.  We could break out games like openarena, tremulous, and others.  Hopefully some of these ideas will come together.

Linux wins at CES

In case anyone missed it, Engadget is reporting that the EeePC is Asus's most successful product ever. This comes along with Everex's announcement of their EeePC competitor, the CloudBook, which will run a Ubuntu-based distribution. That's the same Everex that has been producing sub-$200 computers running gOS (Ubuntu-based) that sell out at Wal-Mart.

CES also brings us Linux's foray into the handheld gaming market in the form of the GP2X. As LinuxJournal predicted, this year's CES is turning out to be a big one for Linux.

Addendum: Shuttle has announced a $200PC to also run Linux.  Nothing fancy here: no optical drive, no PCI-Express, etc.  But should make a nice machine if you just need internet access, especially for those with space limitations.  Looks like it'll be a relatively low power consumer as well.