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French Police Migrating to OpenOffice.org
Tuesday, January 18 2005 @ 09:21 AM EST

You can read the news in English, French, or German -- French police ("la Gendarmerie Nationale franšaise") will be switching to OpenOffice.org from Microsoft Office, according to the French industry news service Toolinux:

By the end of January some 35,000 PCs and workstations are to be equipped with the open source office suite; by this summer the number is to reach 80,000. The French police expect to be able to cut costs amounting to more than two million euros by this move.

Maybe they are thinking about security issues, which you can read about in this article about how Linux is getting harder to crack (a new Honeynet Project study shows it now takes up to three months to compromise a default Linux installation, compared to mere hours for unpatched Windows, according to tests by Symantec last year), or in this Linux Journal article, "Linux in Government: How Security Exploits Threaten Government Infrastructures" by Tom Adelstein, which I found on Novell's website. They have been providing some fine antiFUD and informative material there. On their website today, for example, you can find the following:

  • Migrating to Linux the Novell Way
  • IE Flaw Threat Hits the Roof
  • Novell, Mandrake Respond to Sun's Red Hat Claims
  • Unbending the Truth -- Things Microsoft Hopes You Won't Notice, Novell's answer to Microsoft's Get the Facts page. You have to love the url: http://www.novell.com/linux/truth/
  • There is plenty more where that came from.

    Update: Readers are pointing out that a more recent study shows that you only have minutes, not hours, before your unpatched Windows computer is owned.

    If you are using Windows XP SP2, there is this news about the firewall and file and print sharing configuration you'll want to be aware of, as well, contributed by reader Asynchronous. And that's not even talking about spyware. Speaking of spyware, researcher Ben Edelman tested a brand new computer to see what would happen if he downloaded one media file:

    I recently tested a WindowsMedia video file, reportedly circulating through P2P networks, that displays a misleading pop-up which in turn attempts to install unwanted software onto users' computers. . . . On a fresh test computer, I pressed Yes once to allow the installation. My computer quickly became contaminated with the most spyware programs I have ever received in a single sitting, including at least the following 31 programs: 180solutions, Addictive Technologies, AdMilli, BargainBuddy, begin2search, BookedSpace, BullsEye, CoolWebSearch, DealHelper, DyFuca, EliteBar, Elitum, Ezula, Favoriteman, HotSearchBar, I-Lookup, Instafin, Internet Optimizer, ISTbar, Megasearch, PowerScan, ShopAtHome Select, SearchRelevancy, SideFind, TargetSavers, TrafficHog, TV Media, WebRebates, WindUpdates, Winpup32, and VX2 (DirectRevenue). (Most product names are as detected by Lavasoft Ad-Aware.) All told, the infection added 58 folders, 786 files, and an incredible 11,915 registry entries to my test computer. Not one of these programs had showed me any license agreement, nor had I consented to their installation on my computer.

    Can you imagine? 11, 915 registry entries from saying Yes to one popup.


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