Based on the Talkbacks to a recent news story about a "highly critical" security flaw in RealNetworks' RealPlayer media player software, the aged-old question of whether software vendors can be held accountable for insecure or buggy software is once again rearing its two heads. I say two because the answer is both yes and no.
Between the Lines
Larry Dignan and other IT industry experts, blogging at the intersection of business and technology, deliver daily news and analysis on vital enterprise trends.
Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic.
Rachel King is a staff writer for ZDNet based in San Francisco.
Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.
The escalating rivalry between SAP and Oracle underlies much of the news coming out of the German software maker's customer conference in Copenhagen this week. The most significant item: the business software giant is teaming with Microsoft to develop and market software that will link SAP's business management systems more closely with Microsoft's Office suite.
Charles Cooper explained in a commentary piece last week why Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn operating system is so important for Microsoft to get right. There's a lot of these kinds of articles now, as the technology press in the runup to major software releases serves the same function as the tense music that you heard when David Hasselhoff tried to defuse a bomb in Knight Rider.
In this blog, David Berlind's voice has often joined the chorus of rage against the patent machine. Will that chorus take heart in this week's developments?
Here's a wrinkle that many devotees of open source either don't know about or don't talk about: Open source projects can get acquired by commercial software companies. To demonstrate that point, one of the more popular open source projects on sourceforge.
Tony Byrne of CMS Watch sent me a note about a fun series of posts over at the xml-dev mailing list using Monty Python to poke fun at the Semantic Web, RESTful Web Services, and Web Services specifications. Its worth reading the comments in between the quips as well.
In addition to finding out that a megamerger happened while you were gone, there's nothing like coming home from a vacation to find out that someone else has not only volunteered to do some work that was on your to-do list, but they went ahead and did it. Gratis.
Of the many character roles played by Windows, the one that probably gets the least coverage is its use in public as the underlying technology behind embedded applications such as kiosks and information panels. Earlier this year, I interviewed a designer of embedded systems who had been unwavering in using Windows as his choice for embedded operating systems.
South Korea is an interesting country. The nation has gone from a per capita GDP of $87 in the 1950s to $17,580 at purchasing power parity in 2003.
Pittsburg-based HyperActive Technologies has reportedly deployed a fast-food restaurant demand management system, called "Bob," that can reliably predict whether you'll want burgers or chicken nuggets even before you walk in the door. By examining your height, it can decide whether you're a child (nuggets, probably) or an adult (burgers, probably) and get the chefs working seconds or minutes before you actually order.