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This month's answers created by:

[ Ben Okopnik, René Pfeiffer, Rick Moen, Thomas Adam ]
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Our Mailbag

[OT] Interesting interview

Jimmy O'Regan [joregan at gmail.com]

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 19:53:43 +0000

(Sorry the subject wasn't more descriptive, but Rick's setup objected to the subject 'Interview with an adware author': 550-Rejected subject: Monitoring/spyware software or removal tools spam.)


"It was funny. It really showed me the power of gradualism. It's hard to get people to do something bad all in one big jump, but if you can cut it up into small enough pieces, you can get people to do almost anything."

[ Thread continues here (5 messages/7.75kB) ]

Life under Windows these days

Ben Okopnik [ben at linuxgazette.net]

Tue, 13 Jan 2009 22:23:22 -0600

Interesting interview with a former adware blackhat.


Quote describing adware wars between competitors:

M: [...] I used tinyScheme, which is a BSD licensed, very small, very
fast implementation of Scheme that can be compiled down into about a 20K
executable if you know what you're doing.
Eventually, instead of writing individual executables every time a worm
came out, I would just write some Scheme code, put that up on the
server, and then immediately all sorts of things would go dark. It
amounted to a distributed code war on a 4-10 million-node network.
S: In your professional opinion, how can people avoid adware?
M: Um, run UNIX.
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://LinuxGazette.NET *

[ Thread continues here (3 messages/2.45kB) ]

SugarCRM and badgeware licensing, again

Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]

Tue, 13 Jan 2009 01:35:16 -0800

By the way, I've just now reminded Bruce Perens of his kind offer, last February, to let Prof. Moglen know about the latest SugarCRM ploy. I've stressed that we'd be glad to hear any feedback, if Prof. Moglen has time. I'll let LG know if/when I hear back.

To correct my below-quoted wording, strictly speaking, SugarCRM's latest licensing doesn't literally replicate the "_exact same_ badgeware clause" as in the prior proprietary licence, but it's really close: As written, the licensing ends up requiring derivative works to display the firm's trademarked logo or equivalent text (if technology used doesn't support displaying logos) on _each and every user interface page_ of SugarCRM's codebase that the derivative uses.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 07:52:26 -0800
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
To: luv-main@luv.asn.au
Subject: Re: Courier vs Dovecot for IMAP
Quoting Daniel Pittman (daniel@rimspace.net):

> Jason White <jason@jasonjgw.net> writes:
> > Zimbra is distributed under the Yahoo Public Licence, which isn't
> > listed on the OSI Web site.

That's because it's proprietary -- and because Zimbra (now Yahoo) deliberately avoided submitting it for OSI certification, knowing it would be denied.

> It is basically the MPL, and reasonably free, from my research.

It's a "badgeware" proprietary licence that deliberately impairs third-party commercial usage through mandatory advertising notices forced on third parties at runtime for all derivative works, one of a series of such licences produced by Web 2.0 / ASP / Software as a Service companies that carefully avoid seeking OSI licence certification, because they know they can't get it. Non-free.

In YPL's case, the clause that makes it non-free is 3.2:

    3.2 - In any copy of the Software or in any Modification you create,
    You must retain and reproduce, any and all copyright, patent, trademark,
    and attribution notices that are included in the Software in the same
    form as they appear in the Software. This includes the preservation of
    attribution notices in the form of trademarks or logos that exist within
    a user interface of the Software.
> OTOH, not all components of Zimbra are covered under it, so the whole
> thing is kind of non-free, depending on your tastes.
> I believe the entire OS edition is freely available, though.

This is a very typical marketing tactic for badgeware: There is a "public licence" (badgeware) version to entice new users, that's left buggy, feature-shy, and poorly documented. If those users then try to submit bugs, or request fixes, or inquire about customisations, the sales staff then launches an all-out effort to upsell them to the "commercial version". (***COUGH*** SugarCRM ***COUGH***).

----- End forwarded message ----- ----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> -----

[ ... ]

[ Thread continues here (1 message/16.42kB) ]

rkhunter problem after upgrading to 1.3.4

J.Bakshi [j.bakshi at icmail.net]

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 20:24:28 +0530

Hello list,

Has one any faced the problem with latest rootkit hunter ( 1.3.4 ) ? I have upgraded the rootkit hunter to 1.3.4 and after that it reports a huge warning. I don't know if the Warnings really indicate any hole in my system or it is just the rootkit hunter it self which creates false alarm. Below is the scan report. Any idea ?

[ ... ]

[ Thread continues here (2 messages/6.33kB) ]

USB test module

Ben Okopnik [ben at linuxgazette.net]

Tue, 13 Jan 2009 15:13:46 -0600

I'm trying to do something rather abstruse and complex with a weird mix of software, hardware, and crazy hackery (too long to explain and it would be boring to most people if I did), but - I need a "magic bullet" and I'm hoping that somebody here can point me in the right direction, or maybe toss a bit of code at me. Here it goes: I need a module that would create a serial-USB device (/dev/ttyUSB9 by preference) and let me pipe data into it without actually plugging in any hardware.

Is this even possible? Pretty much all of my programming experience is in the userspace stuff, and beating on bare metal like that is something I've always considered black magic, so I have absolutely no idea.

* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://LinuxGazette.NET *

[ Thread continues here (10 messages/16.38kB) ]

Proxy question

Jacob Neal [submacrolize at gmail.com]

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 17:22:08 -0500

Hey...I want to access restricted sites from behind my schools firewall. Both the computers there and my home computer use linux. I might not be able to install software on the school computer. What can I do?

[ Thread continues here (7 messages/5.61kB) ]


[owner-secretary at dcs.kcl.ac.uk]

Tue, 13 Jan 2009 15:50:30 +0000

This address secretary@dcs.kcl.ac.uk is not in use. Please see the website http://www.dcs.kcl.ac.uk/ for contact details of the Department.

[ Thread continues here (2 messages/1.79kB) ]

how to play divx with vlc ?

J.Bakshi [j.bakshi at icmail.net]

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 23:21:56 +0530

Dear all,

Is not vlc has divx support ?

I am runnig debian lenny. The installed vlc is 0.8.6.h-4+lenny2

But when I open an .avi file having divx format the progress bar of vlc only proceds with out any sound or video. Has any one faced the same problem ? Is there any fix for this problem ?

One more thing. The sound output for mp3 files are very very low in vlc.


[ Thread continues here (3 messages/2.19kB) ]

Virtual Hard Disks

Michael SanAngelo [msanangelo at gmail.com]

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 13:05:20 -0600

Hi, I was wondering what are the possibilities of creating and using virtual disks for. I understand I can use dd to create it then mkfs.ext3 or something like it to format the disk. What purpose could they be used for besides serving as a foundation for creating a live cd?

I want to do this from the cli so no gui.


Michael S.

[ Thread continues here (5 messages/7.98kB) ]

Command-line DVD ripping

Deividson Okopnik [deivid.okop at gmail.com]

Mon, 5 Jan 2009 15:24:21 -0300


Anyone knows of a good command-line util i can use to rip a dvd to divx?

[ Thread continues here (3 messages/1.19kB) ]

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Published in Issue 159 of Linux Gazette, February 2009