Monday, April 17, 2006

Blame it on Open Source

That's exactly what McAfee AVERT Labs has done. In its latest report, AVERT Labs said that the use of stealth technologies to conceal both malware and commercially viable Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) is on the rise. In fact it said the number of rootkits (malicious programs using stealth technology) submitted to the Labs in the first quarter of 2006 rose by nearly 700% as compared to the first quarter of 2005.

AVERT Labs said, "The "open-source" environment, along with online collaboration sites and blogs, are largely to blame for the increased proliferation and complexity of rootkits."

So how far is this report going to affect the Open Source initiative? It's hard to say. When one thinks of Open Source the first thing that comes to mind is software such as Linux, Firefox, etc., i.e. the good it has brought about. No one really thinks of the dark side, that it's also being used to propagate malware, rootkits, etc. One thing for sure is that the report is going to make people look at Open Source from a new angle.

Open Source has resulted in a multitude of free utilities. But if these open source utilities are going to make a PC vulnerable, we could well see a drop in the number of takers for such freeware. While most freeware users do make a background check before downloading any software, they will be more cautious from now on and will use freeware from only those sources they trust.

How much will software companies that deliver pre-configured solutions capitalize on this report is to be seen. Also we may see enterprises that were looking to reduce costs by deploying open source software rethinking their decision.

It is still too early to tell what the outcome is going to be, so let's just wait and watch.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Whale of a Mouse

It's good to see Microsoft expanding its line of High Definition mice. (see Microsoft Expands its Line of High Definition Mice). While Microsoft's range does seem to be on the expensive side compared to other brands, they do, however, have some very ergonomic and really comfortable mice.

I had reviewed the Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 2.0 a long time ago and was really impressed by the design, it reminded me of a Whale's tail. It was really comfortable to use, both your thumb and little finger were supported at the sides with your middle finger on the scroll/tilt wheel.

Well Microsoft will be shipping the new Wireless Laser Mouse 5000 this month, which has the same design. Only its High Definition and Laser.

I'd love to get my hands on it, let's see; maybe I could pull a few strings and get it at least for a month.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Happy Birthday Gmail

It seems like just yesterday, but yes, two years have gone by. And as I look back these past two years, I can truly say, "Yep, Gmail has beaten the rest."

When Google first talked about Gmail there was quite a bit of skepticism. Would they be able to beat Hotmail and Yahoo? Coming out on April 1st with 1 GB seemed a joke, and we weren't sure whether to carry as part of our spoof articles or as an actual news item. (I was at then.)

1 GB sure got everyone's attention, but a quite a few other email services took up the challenge and matched Gmail's 1 GB. Rediffmail for one offered 1 GB free (you paid for more though). At least I thought they matched Gmail, until I found all my mail deleted because I hadn't accessed my rediffmail account in a month.

It didn't take me very much longer to join to the bandwagon of those willing to sell their kidneys for a Gmail account. Well I was lucky I didn't have to go that far for an account. (thanks to McGun)

In 2005, Gmail celebrated their first year of success with a bash - by adding one more GB. During the last 12 months Gmail has added on so many features to their email service, which two years ago, one would have hardly dreamt possible. You'll find all that Gmail has achieved here. And as for space, it's gone from 1 GB to 2 GB to 2.7 GB and more.

But it's two years down the line and I've already missed Gmail's birthday. I'm a day late. As I thought about this I realized that Gmail is no longer the new kid on the block. Gmail has become a part of us and we've begun to take its existence for granted. Gmail themselves didn't seem to have thrown a party yesterday. If they did, then they've done a pretty good job of cleaning the Internet of all the decorations and leftovers.

Gmail is never going to be as popular as the Google search engine, I mean we'll still say, "I'll email it across" and not "I'll Gmail it across", unlike "just Google it". Gmail is also soon going to have face Microsoft and that will be the next big face off on the Internet. But till then, there's just no good reason for not having a Gmail account.