Vasileios Vlachos -> Blog



On Web Browsers - Part II (11/03/2006)



On Web Browsers - Part II (11/03/2006)
I use for the last months the SeaMonkey web browser and I more than impressed. Kudos to its developers, for their excellent work. I have always preferred the Mozilla Application Suite and the SeaMonkey than the mainstream and popular Firefox, but I couldn't describe the reasons for my preference very well, since both projects share a very large part of their code-base. I think that I found the explanation at  http://slashdot.org/articles/06/01/31/1917251.shtml and  http://ilias.ca/SeamonkeyvsFirefox.html

Check also this excellent link - http://www.ie7.com/ - for those who might want to give Internet Explorer another chance.

Three Albums!!!! (11/03/2006)
The story with the Sony imported rootkit (named with the fancy name XPC -eXtreme Copy Protection) reminds me a recent research that demonstrated that the majority of users would reveal their password for a chocolate. Now Sony offers to any of the half-million of infected users three downloadable cd albums of their choice for free. After all it seems like a bargain to me, to have your computer infected with a completely hidden and quite impossible to remove rootkit for three cd albums. I was wondering though how many of those people would accept to handle the keys of their home for three cd albums, which appears pretty much the same to me if you take in to account that is not unusual to store in PCs valuable personal and financial information?

The major problem with security is not only technical but also social. Now that broadband connections becoming the norm a few hundred infected PCs can bring large part of our digital infrastructure to halt, so a bare minimum of computer knowledge should be required before anyone plug his system to the net.

And to conclude with Sony I am sure that they can find much better ways to protect their intellectual properties than this one. Most importantly by offering incentives and additional motives to people to look for legal music. Reasonable pricing and extra services are, at least for me, much more effective than rootkits.

References:
http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0512.html#6 -sony
http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=27855
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2005/11/22/ccsony22.xml&menuId=242&sSheet=/money/2005/11/22/ixcoms.html
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=27794
http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=927


On Web Browsers (18/11/2005)
As an old linux user since 1998 I still remember these days when it was extremely difficult to find a decent browser for our favorite OS. Netscape Communicator was rapidly loosing market share from Internet Explorer and Netscape was struggling to survive the competition from Microsoft. Nonetheless the linux version of the Communicator was never a great product. It was constantly crashing, support to other languages was practically non-existent (still remember the horrible procedure to install Greek fonts) and it was far from trivial to install various plug ins such as Java. After a couple of years came Mozilla, derived from Communicators' source code, which was never actually used except the code for the SSL. I used it from the very beginning (M16) and I was really impressed. Now the situation changed dramatically as we have a number of first class browsers for linux such as Firefox, Mozilla Application Suite, Opera, Konqueror and others.

While I have nothing against the Mozilla Foundation, their decision to abandon completely the Mozilla Application Suite in the favor of Firefox, was a real disappointment for me. The idea to discontinue the product that make them known in most linux users seems to me a very bad one. I still have Mozilla as my main browser and I was really happy to see that some brave hacks decided to continue the development of SeaMonkey as it was mozillas' original name. I am sure the will come with a great browser in a few months and I would like to suggest to any Mozilla user to keep an eye to their excellent efforts.

Keep up the good work guys!
On Window Managers (23/10/2005)
A week ago Vasilis Karakoidas, a colleague and very good friend of mine, switched from GNOME to KDE. He was really impressed with the improvements of the KDE, which surprised me a lot. Not because I don't believe that KDE is an excellent environment, but because it took him so long to find it. This guy is an excellent software engineer and as most of us has a number of boxes, but he kept installing on every single one of them GNOME as he found sometimes long ago that it was better than KDE.

I have a totally different philosophy on that issue. I am trying constantly new things. So recently I got an old 550MHz Celeron notebook and installed on it Mandriva 10.2 with GNOME as the primary window manager just to give it a try. My main system is powered by a SUSE 10 Linux with KDE as the main graphical environment and I use also a Mac Mini in my office. I believe that in our field nothing is static and things change rapidly. In other disciplines this doesn't happen almost at all, but in ours if someone wants to do research he also should use the bleeding edge of the existent technology. To conclude I don't argue that we should install in our systems every beta release of every known or unknown project, but my opinion is that we should never install the same applications twice, because that way we loose an opportunity to try and test possible better solutions.
On Blogs (22/10/2005)
I was never a blog reader or writer till very recently. Fortunately most of my colleagues and my Professor use to have blogs in their homepages and most of them are very interesting so I decided to try it my self. Please bear in mind that what you read here are personal views and you may find them offensive, stupid, useless or anything else. If you want to read further do it at your on risk. Furthermore as I am not a native English speaker you should probably go to another page if you want to improve your English skills as you may encounter any possible grammar or syntax error. Finally since I don't expect this blog to gain much popularity I will not add to this page RSS Feeder or anything similar for the time. Just plain static HTML. If you find it interesting check for new posts by yourself and If you want to comment on something do it with the traditional way - drop me a mail and I will post your comments.