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Just a few questions

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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March 18, 2008 10:34:07 PM

I was wondering, first of all, has anyone tried the new Firefox? What are your thoughts/impressions? Also, same goes for opera and IE. Second, have any of you heard anything more about that competition where they were going to set up linux, mac osx, and vista systems to see which one could be most easily hacked? A story showed up about it on slashdot a while back and a little while later the guy over at desktoplinux.com made an entry about it ( found here http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS7077740070.html ), but it has been almost a month since the later of the 2 entries and I have heard nothing about how that turned out, or if it has even occurred yet. Any info you guys can share is appreciated.

-Zorak

P.S. I just remembered I wanted to ask this earlier, but i thought it would be inappropriate to jack someone else's thread to ask this question. What do you guys think of that eee PC? Do you think having something that small is impractical, or do you think the ultra-portability makes up for the difficulty of using a smaller device?

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March 19, 2008 8:30:56 AM

Feel free to nick my Eee thread on the second part of that question.

BTW the Eee as it ships is rootable due to a samba bug they failed to fix before release.
March 21, 2008 3:50:38 AM

It's very small, attractive, lightweight and infinitely portable :) 

The default distro is tolerable.

On the downside...

The keyboard is too small so it can be hard to type especially if you have big fingers.

The 7" LCD is limited to 800x480 which will cause major withdrawal symptoms if you're addicted to 1280x1024 and up as I am.

The DC power connector is too fragile as it is on most laptops.

I think they need to make the keyboard just a little bit bigger and upgrade the LCD to 1024x768 or 1280x768.

:) 
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March 21, 2008 7:48:22 AM

Heh, looks like the eee PC managed to hijack this thread ;) 
Do you guys have any thoughts about my first 2 questions?

-Zorak
April 1, 2008 12:24:36 PM

Hmm, perhaps I should be more specific. Does anyone think it makes sense to worry about "integration with the platform's look" for cross-platform browsers like firefox? I know this is something they tout quite a bit for the new firefox 3, but I don't quite understand this. As it stands, they say that firefox looks out of place on either linux or windows, but I think it looks fine. Does it really make much sense to emphasize such aesthetic features? Don't get me wrong or anything, i'd like FF to look nice, but I think its looks don't need any more tweaking.

-Zorak

P.S. What is up with mozilla and wanting to integrate their browser more with the OS? Isn't that what we had with IE that made things so awful? This observation is based on articles about plans for Firefox 4 that i have read on arstechnica and slashdot.

April 1, 2008 1:29:09 PM

There was something on Slashdot about this just yesterday. The hack contest was won by a guy who used a new zero day flash exploit and rooted the Vista box and grabbed the prize. The Mac was next and the Ubuntu box remained non compromised.

In terms of the intigration I have to agree that I like my applications stand alone and just to use the framework provided by the OS / GUI. Applications should be able to interact via the framework / API provided without resorting to embeding itself as part of the OS.

I'm posting this via Opera which I am starting to like more and more although I still have to set up some items to get the full support I want. FF2 with NoScript and AddBlock is still my first choice for most tasks. I've yet to play with FF3 but I'll have a try as soon as it hits the main repo's. At the moment I just want to keep my machine nice and stable so I'm not playing with much to be honest.
April 1, 2008 7:55:03 PM

Actually, when i posted the question about that contest, those articles had not yet come out. I was pretty happy to see that the mac actually got compromised first (within 2 minutes on the 2nd day of the competition due to an exploit in safari). I am happy that the mac got taken down because that will put some much needed humility in apple and its zealots. My hatred for apple aside, I thought it was impressive that all 3 OSes managed to survive day 1, showing that the OSes themselves are now less vulnerable to direct exploits, which means that if you exercise intelligence as to what programs you use, you can probably avoid being hacked.

I also wondered, though, whether or not the flash exploit would have worked vs the mac or the linux box, but as I understand it, the code for flash on each platform is radically different, which may limit or eliminate that exploit as a cross-platform attack.

-Zorak
April 1, 2008 9:27:07 PM

I was sure the Mac lasted longer than Vista but I've just checked the article and you are correct:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/29/ubuntu_left_sta...

Interesting if you read it again is that SP1 initially stopped the hack from working as the exploit had not been tested on an SP1 system. It would seem therefore that a lot of the hole was due as much to MS as Adobe code. The guys used javascript to work round the new measures in SP1 and this is why it took them hours and not minutes to get in. Whilst a 3rd party application can create new holes a well designed system does as much as it can to reduce the exposure. It is however a good reminder that no system is truly secure.
April 2, 2008 12:27:10 AM

I've been playing with the new firefox in Hardy Beta. Looks nice, has a few more features. A noticeable one is when your typing a url, it brings up a menu of suggestions, which can be helpful, but if your a big pr0n surfer, I can see this being a total embarrassment in front of others...

April 2, 2008 2:32:30 AM

I wonder if there will be a way in about:config or somewhere else to turn off that feature; I just started using FF3 and it is a tad annoying to see a HUGE list of suggestions pop up and get in the way. I think i prefer the older ff2 style in terms of that url bar. Otherwise, i'd say ff3 feels pretty good, but I don't know whether or not it is actually faster. This is a prime example of why i hate doing subjective tests for myself... just like going to the eye doctor, I can never tell if 1 or 2 was better if they seem really close! In an instance like that, objective measurements like page load times are really helpful.

-Zorak

P.S. I think it would have been good if the guys who did their mac and vista exploits tried to see if they would work on the other platforms, just so that we know for sure whether or not things are as safe as they ought to be. For instance, if they had tested that safari hole on the windows machine and the flash vulnerability on all 3 boxes, I think that would have provided the community with some important info. Alas, this was not to be.
April 2, 2008 5:24:14 AM

In that artical, the hacker that used the flash exploit said that with a few hours of tweaking, he would have it working on mac and linux.
April 2, 2008 6:06:54 AM

Well, I certainly hope that adobe decides to plug this security hole on all platforms (as opposed to only windows/osx) if it is possible to tweak it for use against linux and osx. Correct me if i am wrong, but doesn't adobe traditionally not give linux much support?

-Zorak
April 2, 2008 9:00:37 AM

I'd tried to stick with the open source flash alternative but found that a lot of sites had now started to use Flash 9 functionality and as such a lot of things did not work. My best suggestion at the moment is to use NoScript, it does wonders at blocking those stupid flash banner adverts and offeres a degree of protection when you are visiting less reputable sites.
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