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OS Blog: Windows, Linux Highlights From Around the Web

May 17, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Windows Genuine Advantage is coming. In its battle against software counterfeiting and piracy, Microsoft will require users to prove they've got a valid installation of Windows before receiving software updates. If a copy of Windows hasn't yet been properly activated, users will be asked for their product key code.

The program is currently opt-in in the U.S., but will be mandatory later this year, the company announced in January (see story). It is also mandatory for certain international uses (see story).

"In the second half of 2005, visitors to the Microsoft Download Center and Windows Update will be required to participate in WGA in order to access content," David Lazar, Microsoft's director of Genuine Windows, told BetaNews in a detailed interview.

One of the knocks on desktop Linux has been in the mobile world, where users still complain there isn't robust driver support for wireless options. According to Tom's Hardware, HP Europe has been working with distributors of Ubuntu Linux "to offer its customers an operating system that is tailored to work 100 percent with the hardware - including wired and wireless network, Bluetooth IrDA and IEEE1394 - of selected notebooks. Supported devices are the notebook models nx6110, nc6120, nc6220, nc6230, and nc6000." However it doesn't appear that the program is expanding to the U.S. anytime soon.

May 10

Wow, talk about getting personal.

SCO CEO Darl McBride has reportedly challenged the identity of the woman who runs the popular anti-SCO blog Groklaw, claiming author Pamela Jones isn't who she says she is (a paralegal turned journalist).

OS newsletter author Maureen O'Gara, considered part of the pro-Windows camp by many Linux fans, seemed to back McBride's suspicions. "How come such an influence peddler is so mysterious?" she asks in a piece for Linux Business News.

That's a rather odd query from someone in the authoring business, given the centuries-long tradition of influential figures writing anonymously, from "Publius" (the pen name of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison for the Federalist Papers) to "Atrios" (a popular liberal blogger whose identity was unknown for awhile) and Primary Colors' "Anonymous" (Joe Klein turned out to be the author of that "fictional account" of a Bill Clinton-like presidential campaign). It's even stranger today, considering how easy it is for someone to mask their public identity when posting online someplace like Blogspot. For that matter, how many people know who "CmdrTaco" is at the popular geek site Slashdot?

I suppose it's fair to wonder how any blogger can spend what looks like a huge amount of time and effort covering these cases if she also needs to earn a living. Because what makes Groklaw stand out isn't its rants against SCO's claims of Linux IP ownership -- lots of people do that -- but its depth of coverage surrounding SCO's various lawsuits. But maybe she's efficient. Maybe she doesn't sleep much. Maybe she has a trust fund.

It's a pretty large leap to insinuate that perhaps Groklaw is a front for IBM's lawyers, as O'Gara coyly dances around (by noting the question was asked "by a reporter" if there was a connection). But what's most irritating about this, if O'Gara is accurately portraying McBride's comments, is that the SCO CEO said his company has been investigating the identity of the Groklaw's creator and that the situation is "much different than advertised" and "all is not as it appears."

Darl, if you've found out something interesting and relevant about Groklaw's creator, TELL US WHAT YOU KNOW. To simply raise suspicions based on alleged "evidence" that you won't actually reveal seems quite a bit more objectionable than bloggers posting commentary that you feel is misleading, whoever they are. Actually, some might say it sounds a bit like the SCO suit against IBM.

May 4

Microsoft "Technical Evangelist" Robert Scoble has put the call out for 20 "super users" to give detailed feedback on Longhorn while it's in development. The group has been dubbed "Team 99," named for the "the road you drive from my house to get up to the Longhorn bar," he explains. "So, Team 99 is the team that'll take us to Longhorn's launch."

Scoble is seeking nominations to the exclusive group, seeking people who are well-known and trusted in the developer community. One interesting requirement: "All members must be bloggers," although all will have to sign non-disclosure agreements on what they hear at their team meetings.

If you've got a nomination, you can tell HIM on this Microsoft Developers Network thread. Our sister company the IDG News Service has posted a story on the effort.

May 3

Start-up QCD Microsystems Inc. says it's developed a way to use Windows graphical admin tools to oversee Linux systems. QCD's InterStructures lets sysadmins use Windows MMC to administer Samba, DHCP, Apache HTTP, Linux services and Web proxies, according to the company Web site.

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