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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Internet may collapse by 2010

Tue, 27 Nov 2007 14:14:10

Collapse of the internet would severely affect our daily life.
A report issued by a US-based technology analysis firm has warned that by the year 2010 the Internet could collapse due to excessive data.

Nemertes Research Group has reported that the increasing demand by users and customers to download and upload data may well clog the information superhighway in a few years.

The study suggests that the network is now struggling to conduct the huge amount of data, which contributes to reduced speed.

The study suggests that the improvement of the network's capacity would require a total outlay in the region of 137 billion dollars.

The Internet infrastructure and capacity might be insufficient to support popular Websites such as Google and YouTube and the projected slowdown could severely affect their operation.

Experts worry about serious effects resulting from the collapse of the Internet on the life of people in the electronic world of today.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mozilla patches three Firefox security vulnerabilities

November 27, 2007 5:32 AM PST
Posted by Robert Vamosi

Mozilla on Monday released Firefox version The update addresses three high-impact security vulnerabilities. Two concern cross-site request forgeries, which can be used to steal personal information while visiting certain sites, and one concerns memory corruption.

The update is being pushed out to all current Firefox users. New users can download the current Firefox release from the Mozilla site (or download the English versions for Windows or Mac from CNET

The first cross-site request forgery vulnerability could allow an attacker to generate a fake HTTP referer header by exploiting a timing condition when setting the window location property.

Mozilla says the referer header is supposed to reflect the address of the content that initiated the script. "Instead, the referer was set to the address of the window (or frame) in which the script was running, and this vulnerability arises from that tiny difference." It credits Gregory Fleischer with reporting the issue.

The second cross-site request forgery vulnerability concerns the JAR ZIP format, which enables Web sites to load pages packaged in ZIP archives containing signatures in Java archive format.

According to Mozilla, a blogger noted that redirects confused Mozilla browsers about the true source of the JAR content: it was "wrongly considered to originate with the redirecting site rather than the actual source. This meant that an XSS attack could be mounted against any site with an open redirect, even if it didn't allow uploads."

A proof of concept demonstrates how to exploit this vulnerability to steal a user's Gmail contact list. Mozilla credits security researchers Jesse Ruderman and Petko D. Petkov with reporting the issue.

The final update concerns memory corruption, and Mozilla says there are three specific fixes that improve the stability of Firefox. The concern here is that with enough effort, some of these memory crashes could be exploited to run arbitrary code.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Europe the leader, not the follower in open source

November 23, 2007 6:50 AM PST

Matthew Aslett of The 451 Group quotes from Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information and society, on Europe's need to capitalize on its open-source assets:

As online software, or software as a service, replaces traditional packaged software, Europe has advantages that give it a "window of opportunity to develop a leadership position in software." These include a large home base of demand to build on, high levels of qualified talent, and the fact that 70% of open source developers worldwide are of European origin. However, "the window is small and it will soon be closed if we don't act," since 90% of the economic benefits of open source are being won by US companies.

Despite this, as Matthew goes on to say, Europe is a bit conflicted on open source. Its public policy statements tend to be affirmative of open source, but its purchasing policies tend to be neutral. I think it's just a matter of time before the rhetoric gives way to purchasing decisions.

Indeed, I've already seen it firsthand. Most open-source companies operating in Europe do a steady and growing stream of business with European governments (while, interestingly, much of the sales in the US are to private corporations).

Regardless, open source has a large home base in Europe. Indeed, I'd argue that open source is distinctively European in its roots and mindset, and that VCs who want to find the best open-source investments may well have to get on a plane to find them (even if they ultimately succeed in getting European executive management to move back to the US, as with Marten Mickos of MySQL and others).

The economic impact of open source on Europe should not be understated. Europe needs to accept this and buy accordingly. Its future is not in exporting euros to the U.S. Its future lies in building its own IT ecosystem with open source.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Google’s OpenSocial: What it means

Google’s open social networking platform play is the buzz of the blogosphere tonight. (see Techmeme). Indeed, it is called OpenSocial in that the set of APIs allows developers to create applications that work on any social network that joins Google’s open party. So far, besides Google’s Orkut social net, LinkedIn, hi5, XING, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning (see Marc Andreessen’s post) have joined the party.

Oracle and are also supporting Google’s OpenSocial efforts, which indicates that they have plans to add social networking elements to their application platforms. OpenSocial will officially launch on Thursday.

Plaxo emailed a statement about OpenSocial this evening, getting ahead of the stampede:

“Dynamic profiles redefine what users should expect in terms of how they can represent themselves in a social or business network,” said Todd Masonis, Co-Founder and VP of Products for Plaxo. “We believe that users should have full control over what they share with whom – and that the catalog of widgets that they can choose from should be as open and diverse as the web itself. We are excited to support in dynamic profiles any application written to Google’s just–launched OpenSocial APIs. ”

According to TechCrunch, which first reported on Google’s larger social networking ambitions, OpenSocial consists of APIs for profile information, friend information (social graph) and activities, such as a news feed. OpenSocial users Javascript and HTML rather than a markup language as Facebook does.

This comes on the heels of the Facebook’s dynamic growth based on opening its social graph to developers and Microsoft’s $240 million investment for 1.6 percent of the company. However, unlike Google, Facebook doesn’t open its APIs to support other social networks. The other social networking giant, MySpace, is also planning to open its platform to developers.

This openness is part of what Vic Gundotra, Google’s head of developer programs, meant when he said last week, “In the next year we will make a series of announcements and spend hundreds of millions on innovations and giving them away as open source.”

He explained the newfound openness as more than altruism: “It also makes good economic sense. The more applications, the more usage. More users means more searches. And, more searches means more revenue for Google. The goal is to grow the overall market, not just to increase market share.”

What does OpenSocial mean for Facebook?

Facebook has a lot of wind behind its sails, but OpenSocial will cause developers to rethink their priorities. Developing OpenSocial applications will be easier than creating Facebook apps and will work across different social networks. However, Facebook is winning because 50 million users like the service and the applications. Unless the other social networks, which in aggregate have more members, have greater appeal to users, Facebook will continue to gain ground and developers won’t abandon the Facebook Platform. Facebook could also consider supporting OpenSocial in addition to its own APIs and markup languages as a way to be more open. It will be interesting to see how Zuckerberg and company, as well as the MySpace team, respond.

The New York Times story by Miguel Helft and Brad Stone quotes Google’s Joe Kraus on the Facebook topic.

Joe Kraus, director of product management at Google, said that the alliance’s conversations preceded Microsoft’s investment in Facebook. “Obviously, we would love for them to be part of it,” Mr. Kraus said of Facebook. Facebook declined to comment.

What does OpenSocial mean for Google?

As cited above, OpenSocial is part of Google’s quest to increase usage of the Web. More applications can mean more searches and ad searches. You could also expect some new advertising services based on tapping into the OpenSocial APIs that work across all compliant social networks. In addition, Google will weave OpenSocial across its services beyond Orkut, such as iGoogle, and eventually embed the social graph in the Internet fabric for its users.

This could create some issues for Facebook, which is rumored to be cooking up a targeted ad service that can follow its members across the Web. And, Google, taking a page from Microsoft, has some confidence that over time it can build or buy its ways into a leading social network. Google will try to have its cake and eat it too.

What does OpenSocial mean for users?

For users, it means more applications that can tap into user data, social graph, feeds and other content on a variety of social networks. They will have more choice of social networks and potentially some degree of portability as the APIs evolve and Google and other heavyweights push for more standardization.

What does OpenSocial mean for developers?

For developers, they have more opportunity to spread their work across different networks without significant cost and complexity. Many of the top Facebook developers are expected to support OpenSocial APIs. In the end, the top developers will flock to the social networks that have traction, leaving room for others to build apps for the less popular networks.

What does OpenSocial mean longer term?

It could become a kind of identity fabric for the Internet–with user profile data, relationships (social graph) and other items associated with an individual, group or brand that is used as a basis for more friction-free interactions of all kinds.

See also: VentureBeat has a draft of the Google OpenSocial press release

OpenSystem Unleased into the Wild

Now that OpenSocial has been partially release into the wild, the effects on the ecosystem are being felt. TechCrunch reported on a hack of an application on Plaxo’s OpenSocial-compliant host. Plaxo shut down the application. Plaxo’s chief platform architect told Mike Arrington the OpenSocial platform is a work in progress and a few kinks need to get ironed out.

It’s early in the life of OpenSocial. The APIs are not yet stabilized and developers are just starting to test out the code in the Orkut sandbox. Plaxo jumped the gun with public access to an OpenSocial widget (Emote) on its service.

For enterprises, such as Oracle and who jumped on board in support of OpenSocial on day one, the road to implementing the APIs will be longer than the consumer social networking services, given more sensitivity to security and identity management issues. But there should be no doubt that next year, OpenSocial will have significant impact and at least bring thousands of applications across the divide.

See also: Marc Canter on OpenSocial compatibility–social networks and applications vendors working together

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Five Facts About Google Phone

Written by Om Malik

Monday, September 3, 2007 at 12:01 AM PT

Is Google (GOOG) Phone fact or fiction? Engadget says Google’s entry into mobile phone business is for real, and the company is going to announce it soon. Scott Kirsner talked to a bunch of folks over who are intimately familiar with the effort and outlined his findings in an article for The Boston Globe.

The story talks about a handful of Boston entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have seen the phone, but are under NDA and can’t talk about it. Rich Miner, a co-founder of Android, a mobile software company he started with Andy Rubin (formerly of Danger) is based in Boston.

Google bought Android in August 2005. Later Google snapped up Reqwireless and Skia, two tiny start-ups with mobile expertise, and since then has been hiring mobile-focused folks at a pretty steady clip.

The news (or rumors) were enough to get me dialing-for-dirt over the big holiday weekend. These are the tidbits I picked up from a reliable source:

  1. Google Phone is based on a mobile variant of Linux, and is able to run Java virtual machines.
  2. All applications that are supposed to run on the Google Phone are java apps. The OS has ability to run multimedia files, including video clips.
  3. The user interface is similar to a UI typical of mobile phones, and the image (with red background) floating around isn’t representative of the Google Phone UI. The entire UI is said to be done in Java and is very responsive. The UI, of course has a “search box.”
  4. There is a special browser which has pan-and-browse features that are common to modern browsers such as browsers for iPhone and Symbian phones. The entire browser is apparently written in Java. But then others have told us that the browser is based on the WebKit core, the same engine in Safari and in iPhone, and Google has been making optimizations to speed it up. This is one aspect of the Google Phone I am not sure about.
  5. Initially there was one prototype, but over past few months Google has the mobile OS running on 3-to-5 devices, most of them likely made by HTC, a mobile phone maker, and all have Qwerty apps. The model that folks have seen is very similar to the T-Mobile Dash. Around 3GSM, there were rumors that Google, Orange and HTC were working together on mobile devices.

These tiny-bits of information are pretty close to what Simeon Simenov, a VC with Polaris Venture Partners had very clearly outlined on his blog eons ago. I can’t seem to find that post, so here is is an alternate link. Simenov also wrote a pretty good post on what should be an ideal mobile stack. Google is pretty close to what Simenov had outlined.

We will post more details as they come our way. I had initially thought that it could be a more viable option to the $100 PC. While that argument still remains true, I think this is a strategic move by Google to keep Windows Mobile’s growing influence in check. Microsoft has spent billions on its mobile efforts including buying companies such as Tell Me Networks.

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