Yahoo - Video Relaunched, YouTube Competitor

What is Yahoo! thinking? One of the products it has worked best on was launched without any fanfare and mediums were kept mostly in the dark surrounding the event. Yang needed the attention to show the shareholders that he was head of a strong and organized company, not one that couldn’t dwell on its best features.

Trying to copy Google’s Video, probably, Yahoo!’s
counterpart was supposed to be a showcase for professional content, while the user created videos were to be sent to Flickr, as Stewart Butterfield announced last summer.

Butterfield, Flickr co-founder, announced last summer that "soon" there will be video hosting options available for his creation, but soon afterward he got on the paternity train and took some time off. Playing the YouTube card might not prove to be as successful, because Google’s video sharing service already has the fan base and it’s not likely it will move to Flickr just for the fun of it. Yahoo! should probably try and capitalize on the fact that video and photos are now probably being shot with the same handheld device, so it would be a waste of time to browse to a different site to upload the output of one device.

Yahoo! Video is looking rather stylish, and the one thing I noticed it has above YouTube is color. If users are presented with the option to choose based on aspect, it would be a no-brainer.

After user-created content will be sorted out and taken somewhere else, Y! Video will be a Hulu contender with full rights. Or at least that is its reported intention, but reality will probably come to bite the Sunnyvale-based company in the behind, as it kind of did in the past two years. Nothing went the way it was supposed to, the only two products still flying their colors with pride being Yahoo! Mail and Flickr.


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What’s New in Microsoft Land: 11 – 15 February, 2008

Yahoo! put an end to all the speculations around Microsoft’s unsolicited bid on Monday. The answer was a big no, thank you, and the motivation was that the Sunnyvale-based company’s board considered that the offer greatly undervalued Yahoo! The proposal of $44.6 billion, or $31 per share, was forwarded to the Internet giant on the first of February.

The rejection couldn’t go unanswered, so Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO issued a statement saying, among others, that "A Microsoft-Yahoo! combination will create a more effective company that would provide greater value and service to our customers. Furthermore,
the combination will create a more competitive marketplace by establishing a compelling number two competitor for Internet search and online advertising. The Yahoo! response does not change our belief in the strategic and financial merits of our proposal. As we have said previously, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal."

The last phrase gave birth to a lot of controversy regarding what all of those "necessary steps" might be, a hostile takeover being what everybody instantly thought about. Nobody dared compete with Microsoft head on regarding the Yahoo! deal, but several companies reportedly had some talks with the Internet company about eventual alliances that would save Jerry Yang’s firm from being forced to sell. Google was the first, but its interest won after realizing that regulators would not allow it to happen and AOL came second, but that was mostly the rumor mill working its magic. The most serious of all was News Corp, and messages being sent back and forward between Murdoch and Yang were reported in the press.

Tuesday, the Redmond-based company officially confirmed that Windows 7 and Office 14 would not be confined to desktops only. Eyeing the tremendous growth of its online counterparts from Google in particular and some other companies, Microsoft decided to implement its own branded strategy with Software plus Services.

"On the consumer side, though, our work will be anchored in a few core things. Windows and Office need to embrace the Internet and go live, and we’ve got good efforts underway and in market for both Windows Live and Office Live," CEO Steve Ballmer said after, the previous day, Chairman Bill Gates had underlined the importance of blending the desktop-based Office System with services in the clouds.

The peer to peer copyrighted file sharing scandal that has been roaming the Internets (© George W. Bush) for the past month or so, with renewed vigor, convinced Microsoft to conduct a survey among students between the seventh and tenth grade, and its results found that most of them were not aware of the laws in state. Wednesday was educational day for the Redmond-based company, so it launched an interactive web site, for the young to develop their own intellectual property and assign usage rights, by mixing music online to create a custom riff for downloading as a ringtone, according to Press Pass.

49 percent of the respondents said that they were not familiar with the laws and the penalties for such crimes, while only 11 percent admitted to knowing "very well" what the regulations were. The rest answered that they were aware that illegal downloading wasn’t a good thing and said that some rules were clear, but rather in a big haze.

"Widespread access to the Internet has amplified the issue of intellectual property rights among children and teens," said Sherri Erickson, global manager, Genuine Software Initiative for Microsoft for Press Pass. "This survey provides more insight into the disparity between IP awareness and young people today and highlights the opportunity for schools to help prepare their students to be good online citizens."

Valentine’s Day didn’t deliver on the love, but it compensated with the best known surrogate: promotion. Not one, but fourteen, and all at the top. It was the 14th after all, so they kind of had to go with that number.

These came to reflect the company’s commitment to maintain and furthermore built a strong and dynamic management team across its unique portfolio of businesses. "Along with attracting world-class talent from outside the company, one of my top priorities is growing Microsoft’s existing leadership team. […] Each of these executives will play a critical role in leading Microsoft into the future. Today’s promotions are a result of their ability to think strategically on a global scale, the respect they’ve earned from their peers, customers and partners, and their significant contributions to the company," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

The seven executives that were promoted to senior vice president are Chris Capossela, Kurt DelBene, Antoine Leblond, Andy Lees, Satya Nadella, S. Somasegar and Bill Veghte, and the seven executives promoted to corporate vice president are Walid Abu-Habda, Brad Brooks, Larry Cohen, Steve Guggenheimer, Scott Guthrie, Roz Ho and Brian Tobey. Best of luck to them all!

On Friday, news came out about long time security giants Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro being bested by Microsoft’s alternative, the lesser known Forefront, in terms of performance. It was widely less resources consuming, using 60 percent of what Symantec threw at it, the AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.2. Compared to the same product, Microsoft Forefront proved to be able to deliver 13 times faster boot times and more than twice greater speed at quick scans.

This study was conducted to test Forefront Client Security’s system performance compared
to the three leading competitive products. Testing was carried out during April and May 2007. The study shows that Microsoft Forefront Client Security’s results were favorable, compared to those of two of the leading competitors. It uses few system resources on servers and is comparable to the leading competitor in scanning times on both older and newer machines, and also when scanning .cab files. West Coast Labs also found that when malware was discovered, Microsoft’s bandwidth usage on clients was the lowest of all the four products," revealed a member of Microsoft Switzerland.


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Bill Gates: We'll Use the Ribbon/Fluent User Interface across Windows 7

One aspect that is inherently associated with the evolution of the Windows platform is the redesigning of the operating system's graphical user interface. From Windows XP to Windows Vista, this evolution was marked through the introduction of Windows Aero. For the time being Windows Aero has survived into Windows 7 Milestone 1 Ultimate edition. But in the future, the graphical user interface of Windows 7 could go in the same direction of the UI of the Office 2007 System, namely the Fluent/Ribbon.

"I'll mention that with Office 2007 the Fluent UI with the ribbon represented a major risk that Microsoft took, after all, for many years that File, Edit, View menu that we had created in our Windows and Mac applications, that was the standard way things were done," Gates stated. "And yet we saw that that was hiding the functionality,
the fact that you had those dropdowns were getting longer, and longer, and you weren't even sure which menu things were underneath. It meant that many of the features we were being asked to put in our applications were features that were already in the applications."

One thing is clear about the Fluent/Ribbon graphical user interface. It is nothing short of a hit with Office 7. So much so that Microsoft has implemented a similar concept in Office 2008 for Mac. Additionally, the Redmond company is also licensing the Ribbon/Fluent to third-party developers in a subtle effort to make it into a standard of functionality that will be inherently associated with the Office System.

"And so we said, well, if we don't change the UI, what is it we're going to do to make sure people are getting X of these, say, formatting capabilities. And the answer was that we really needed to do something different. And so the Ribbon was that change. We usability tested it massively, and fortunately it has had a very strong positive reaction," Gates added.

Now, if you are thinking that Fluent/Ribbon will remain limited to Office 2007, Office 14 and above, then you'll be happy to know that is not the case. Microsoft is looking to made the Fluent/Ribbon graphical user interface an integral part of the Windows 7 experience. Still, there is one catch.

"So we're very pleased to see that, and we're pleased to see people taking this and building their applications. In fact, we in the next version of Windows will be using this fluent UI quite a bit across a number of applications. And so the Ribbon really got started with Office 2007, but we see it spreading to all the really neat client applications. It turns out it's the user interface that works very well for the pen and touch as well as being a better way of revealing application functionality," Gates promised. (emphasis added)

So, Windows 7 will indeed feature the Fluent/Ribbon UI. But will it do so only via the applications and default programs that ship as built-in components? Or will users be able to enjoy a highly evolved Windows Aero – Fluent/Ribbon hybrid? One detail that points into this direction is the move of Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President, Windows Experience Program Management, from the Office project to Windows. Julie Larson-Green is the one responsible for the Office 2007 System's Fluent/Ribbon interface.

And according to her official bio, she is hard at work on the design of Windows 7. "As corporate vice president of program management for the Windows Experience at Microsoft, Julie Larson-Green oversees the design for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Her responsibilities include the end-user interaction design and overall experience for the Windows products after the release of Windows Vista, which will be available in 2007. She is responsible for program management, product design, usability and product planning within the engineering organization in the Microsoft Platform and Services Division under President Kevin Johnson," Microsoft revealed.


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Yahoo Board to Reject Microsoft Bid

Yahoo Inc.'s board plans to reject Microsoft Corp.'s unsolicited $44.6 billion offer to acquire the Web giant, a person familiar with the situation says.

After a series of meetings over the past week, Yahoo's board determined that the $31 per share offer "massively undervalues" Yahoo, the person said. It also doesn't account for the risks Yahoo would be taking by entering into an agreement that might be overturned by regulators. The board plans to send a letter to Microsoft Monday, spelling out its position.

Yahoo's board believes that Microsoft's is trying to take advantage of the recent weakness in the company's share price to "steal" the company. The decision to reject the offer signals that Yahoo's board is digging in its heels for what could be a long takeover battle. The company is unlikely to consider any offer below $40 per share, the person said.

It's unclear whether Microsoft would be willing to pay such a premium, which would increase the value of its original cash and stock bid by more than $12 billion. The rejection comes as Yahoo's board has been considering various other scenarios, including a search advertising partnership Google Inc. Yahoo's directors are still considering that and other options that would safeguard the company's independence, people close the company say.

Yahoo's board appears to be betting that Microsoft doesn't want to "go hostile" and try to acquire the company against the wishes of management and the board. Such a course could cause deep resentment among the rank-and-file engineers whose cooperation is crucial to the company's success. A hostile takeover could also make it more difficult to get the deal past regulators if Yahoo management tries to convince authorities that the deal is anticompetitive.

Yahoo has taken "poison pill" provisions to prevent an unwanted takeover. Microsoft would likely have to oust the board in order to overturn them.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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KDE 4.1 Release Schedule and Goals

KDE 4 is finally out, as you probably already know, and it comes with a lot of innovations for the Linux desktop. KDE 4 is the next generation of the popular K Desktop Environment, which seeks to fulfill the need for a powerful yet easy-to-use desktop, for both personal and enterprise computing. KDE project's goal for the 4.0 release is to put the foundations in place for future innovations on the FREE desktop. But today, we will talk about the future versions of KDE 4 and what features they'll bring.

Let's have a look first at the main goals for KDE 4.1, which will be released somewhere in July:

· Windows port (Frameworks and Applications)
· Mac port (Frameworks and Applications)
· OpenSolaris port
· Plasma with widgets on canvas, makes things like layouting much easier, and generally integrating widgets into Plasmoids
· Webkit in Plasma
· GStreamer, Quicktime, DirectShow9 Phonon backends
· Apple dashboard widgets support in Plasma
· Decibel VOIP and real-time communication framework
· Done! Dragon Player multimedia player
· Done! Lokalize (formerly Kaider) computer-aided translation system
· More polished Kopete
· KDevelop and KDevplatform modules
· KDE-PIM module, with some Akonadi functionality
· KBlogger for KDE-PIM
· Move Akonadi library into the kdepimlibs module
· GetHotNewStuff2 / DXS
· Plasmagik plasma packages and add-on creator
· Lots of smaller features

Now, let's take a look at the release schedule for future KDE 4 versions:

· January - KDE 4.0.1
· February - KDE 4.0.2
· March - KDE 4.0.3
· April - KDE 4.0.4
· May - KDE 4.0.5
· June - KDE 4.0.6
· July - KDE 4.1.0
· August - KDE 4.1.1

...and a closer one to the KDE 4.1 release schedule:

· March 31st, 2008: Soft Feature Freeze
· April 22nd, 2008: Hard Feature Freeze
· April 22nd, 2008: Tag KDE 4.1 Alpha 1
· April 29th, 2008: Release KDE 4.1 Alpha 1
· May 20th, 2008: Message Freeze.
· May 20th, 2008: Tag KDE 4.1 Beta 1
· May 27th, 2008: Release KDE 4.1 Beta 1
· June 17th, 2008: Tag KDE 4.1 Beta 2
· June 24th, 2008: Release KDE 4.1 Beta 2
· July 8th, 2008: Artwork Freeze
· July 8th, 2008: Tag KDE 4.1 RC 1
· July 15th, 2008: Release KDE 4.1 RC 1
· July 22nd, 2008: Tag KDE 4.1.0
· July 29th, 2008: Release KDE 4.1

If you want to install KDE 4.0 on your Ubuntu PC and don't know how to do it, we wrote for you a step-by-step tutorial about this. Get it here!


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How Google Could Keep Yahoo From Microsoft

Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, is offering Yahoo — and, it seems, anyone else — whatever help he can to make sure Yahoo isn’t swallowed by Microsoft.

What sort of help could that be? Lots of money for the right to sell ads on Yahoo’s search results, most likely. Google would have a very hard time buying Yahoo outright, for antitrust reasons. But if Google offered a long-term guarantee for advertising revenue on Yahoo’s search pages, there would be a pot of money that could help finance a bid for Yahoo by a private equity firm or a media company. Yahoo also could try to stay independent by cutting such a deal and giving part of the money from Google back to shareholders in the form of a share buyback or special dividend.

There is a lot of money at stake. Since Google earns more for every search than Yahoo does, such a deal would immediately add money to Yahoo’s bottom line.

Here is a back-of-the-envelope way to look at how much is involved. Google agreed to pay a reported $3.5 billion to sell advertising for IAC/InterActiveCorp’s unit. In December, according to comScore, Ask handled 1.1 percent of all search queries worldwide, while Yahoo had a 12.8 percent share. That means Yahoo has 11.6 times the volume of Ask. If you multiply the $3.5 billion figure by 11.6, you get a theoretical $40 billion over 5 years. That may be a bit high, as Yahoo had a total of $6 billion in ad revenue in 2007, split between search ads and graphic display advertising.

Regardless of the exact numbers, there are tens of billions of dollars in play that could be used to enable all sorts of financial engineering meant to keep Yahoo out of Steve Ballmer’s hands.

I’m not so sure any of these is likely to happen. What’s more, they are almost all really bad ideas, if you look at the long term value created by what is now the Yahoo business.

The reason gets to the challenge of running Yahoo, as well as Google, Microsoft and AOL: A company can make the most money at the highest margins if it has the biggest network of advertisers, the biggest network of sites on which ads run, and the largest group of sites it owns and operates. But those economic forces push companies to almost unmanageable sprawl.

Advertisers value both reach and effectiveness. That means they will pay higher rates for their ads to be shown to the most targets; broad media, like network TV, get a premium over targeted media like cable channels. But in search in particular, they do also value ads that are shown to the most likely prospects. Having the biggest network, and the right technology, allows a company like Google to offer both broad reach and effective targeting. As a result, ads on Google command a premium over ads on other ad networks, like Yahoo’s.

The way to get the biggest network is to negotiate for the rights to sell ads on lots of other sites. But the problem with this is that ad networks like Google give away about 80 percent of the money spent by advertisers to the sites on which ads appear. For sites that the ad company owns outright —Google’s own search pages, for example — it can keep all of the ad revenue. That’s why AOL’s new management has rejected, so far, proposals to sell off its portal business so it can concentrate on its growing advertising business. When it looks at this, it realizes that owning sites on which it can place ads is the best way to reap the profits from the ad network.

All of this means that if Yahoo splits its ad network from the rest of the sites it operates, it will erode the value of both halves of its business.

Lots of very smart people disagree with this assessment. Many current and former Yahoo executives, and lots of others in the Valley, argue that Terry Semel made a terrible mistake in trying to take on Google in search, and that it would have been better to double down on parts of its site that were most conducive to brand advertising, where it had been the leader. It certainly is true that the race to build Yahoo’s search engine and then the Panama search advertising system diverted resources from what could have been other initiatives that didn’t compete head on with Google.

But for Yahoo not to be in search or in search advertising, I think, would consign it to a much smaller role in the future. Search is so much a part of how people navigate the Web that it is hard to imagine being a successful Web portal without search at the center. Moreover, there is no longer a strict difference between search ads — sold in a huge auction — and brand ads — sold by a sales force over lunch. Rather, there is increasingly a smooth gradation, with even some graphic ads for big brands placed through automated systems and, soon, advertising exchanges. I suspect — although I’m not sure — that one big system that can handle all sorts of ads will have advantages over narrower advertising networks.

That’s why the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo in theory has the best likelihood of creating real value. It will have the second-largest ad network and a vast array of sites on which to place its own ads. Microsoft, moreover, has resources to pay for the development of lots of corners of the business at the same time in a way Yahoo did not.

The caveat here is management: If Microsoft and Yahoo cannot actually build sites and ad technology the market wants to use, none of this theoretical profit will wind up in the bank. And one of the few advantages of a complex arrangement that gives Yahoo’s search business to Google is that the remaining company would be easier to run.


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Google Works to Torpedo Microsoft Bid for Yahoo

In an unusually aggressive effort to prevent Microsoft from moving forward with its $44.6 billion hostile bid for Yahoo, Google emerged over the weekend with plans to play the role of spoiler.

Publicly, Google came out against the deal, contending in a statement that the pairing, proposed by Microsoft on Friday in the form of a hostile offer, would pose threats to competition that need to be examined by policy makers around the world.

Privately, Google, seeing the potential deal as a direct attack, went much further. Its chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, placed a call to Yahoo’s chief, Jerry Yang, offering the company’s help in fending off Microsoft, possibly in the form of a partnership between the companies, people briefed on the call said.

Google’s lobbyists in Washington have also begun plotting how it might present a case against the transaction to lawmakers, people briefed on the company’s plans said. Google could benefit by simply prolonging a regulatory review until after the next president takes office.

In addition, several Google executives made “back-channel” calls over the weekend to allies at companies like Time Warner, which owns AOL, to inquire whether they planned to pursue a rival offer and how they could assist, these people said. Google owns 5 percent of AOL.

Despite Google’s efforts and the work of Yahoo’s own bankers over the weekend to garner interest in a bid to rival Microsoft’s, one did not seem likely, at least at this early stage.

For example, a spokesman for the News Corporation said Sunday night that it was not preparing a bid, and other frequently named prospective suitors like Time Warner, AT&T and Comcast have not begun work on offers, people close to them said. They suggested that they did not want to enter a bidding war with Microsoft, which could easily top their offers.

A spokesman for Time Warner declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Comcast. A representative for AT&T could not be reached.

In the meantime, people close to Yahoo said that the company received a flurry of inquires over the weekend from potential suitors. Some people inside Yahoo have even speculated about the prospect of breaking up the company. That could mean selling or outsourcing its search-related business to Google and spinning off or selling its operations that product original content, these people said.

“Everyone is considering all kinds of options and deal on search is one of them,” a person familiar with the situation said.

One person involved in Yahoo’s deliberations suggested that “the sum of the parts are worth more than the whole,” arguing that its various pieces like Yahoo Finance, for example, could be sold to a company like the News Corporation for a huge premium while Yahoo Sports could be sold to a company like ESPN, a unit of the Walt Disney Company.

Executives at rival companies were less optimistic about such a breakup strategy. “No one can get to a $44 billion price,” one executive at a major media company said, “even if you split it into a dozen pieces.”

In making its bid for Yahoo, Microsoft is betting that past antitrust rulings against it for abusing its monopoly power in personal computer software will not restrain its hand in an Internet deal.

In the United States, a federal district court in Washington ruled in 2001 that Microsoft had repeatedly violated the law by stifling the threat to its monopoly position posed by Netscape, which popularized the Web browser. The suit, brought during the Clinton administration, was settled by the Bush administration. But as a result of a consent decree extending through 2009, a federal court and a three-member team of technical experts monitors Microsoft’s behavior.

In 2006, for example, after Google complained to the Justice Department and the European Commission that Microsoft was making its MSN search engine the default in the most recent version of its Web browser, Microsoft modified the software so that consumers could easily change to Google or Yahoo.

In Google’s statement on Sunday, it said that the potential purchase of Yahoo by Microsoft could pose threats to competition that needed to be examined by policy makers.

Google’s broadly worded concerns lacked detailed claims about any anticompetitive effects of the deal, and the company did not publicly ask regulators to take specific actions at this time.

“Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?” asked David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president and chief legal officer, writing on the company’s blog.

Yahoo and Microsoft declined to comment Sunday on Google’s actions. Earlier on Sunday, Microsoft’s general counsel, Bradford L. Smith, said in a statement: “The combination of Microsoft and Yahoo will create a more competitive marketplace by establishing a compelling No. 2 competitor for Internet search and online advertising.”

Google’s effort to derail or delay the deal on antitrust grounds mirrors Microsoft’s own actions with respect to Google’s bid for the online advertising specialist DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, announced in April.

The strategy is not surprising, considering that any delays would work to Google’s benefit. “Google can tap into all of the ill will that Microsoft has created in the last couple of decades on the antitrust front,” said Eric Goldman, director the High-Tech Law Institute at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

The outcome of any antitrust inquiry will hinge, in part, on how regulators define various markets. Microsoft-Yahoo, for instance, would have a large share of the Web-based e-mail market, but a smaller share of the overall e-mail market.

“The potential concern would be that Microsoft, if it acquires Yahoo, could do on the Internet what it did in the personal computer world — make technical standards more Microsoft-centric and steer consumers to its products,” said Stephen D. Houck, a lawyer representing the states involved in the consent decree against Microsoft.

Yahoo has not made a public statement about the proposed deal since Friday, when it said it was weighing Microsoft’s offer as well as alternatives and would “pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders.”

Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, said an antitrust review of the Microsoft-Yahoo deal could take a long time and “may well bleed into a new administration with an entire new view on antitrust than the Bush administration.”


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Linux Kernel 2.6.24 Released

It's here and it is the hottest Linux kernel ever! Why? Because it includes CPU "group scheduling", tickless support for x86-64/PPC and other architectures, memory fragmentation avoidance, new wireless drivers and a new wireless configuration interface, SPI/SDIO MMC support, USB authorization, per-device dirty memory thresholds, support for PID and network namespaces, support for static probe markers, read-only bind mounts, SELinux performance improvements, CIFS ACLs support, SATA link power management and port multiplier support, Large Receive Offload in network devices, memory hot-remove support, a new framework for controlling the idle processor power management, many new drivers and many other features, improvements and bugfixes.

"The release is out there (both git trees and as tarballs/patches), and for the next week many kernel developers will be at (or flying into/out of) LCA in Melbourne, so let's hope it's
a good one. Nothing earth-shattering happened since -rc8, although the new set of ACPI blacklist entries and some network driver updates makes the diffstat show that there was more than the random sprinkling of one-liners all over the tree," said Linus Torvalds.

Let's have a look now at the most important technologies introduced in this release:

• CFS improvements
• Tickless support for x86-64, PPC, UML, ARM, MIPS
• New wireless drivers and configuration interface
• Anti-fragmentation patches
• SPI/SDIO support in the MMC layer
• USB authorization
• Per-device dirty memory thresholds
• PID and network namespaces
• Large Receive Offload (LRO) support for TCP traffic
• Task Control Groups
• Linux Kernel Markers
• Read-only bind mounts
• x86-32/64 arch reunification

Among the new drivers introduced in this release we can mention:

Bluetooth drivers
• Added generic driver for Bluetooth SDIO and USB devices
• Added UART driver for Texas Instruments' BRF63xx chips

Sound drivers
• Added driver for the AT73C213 DAC using Atmel SSC
• Added ASoC CS4270 codec device driver
• Added driver for Gallant SC-6000 card and clones: Audio Excel DSP 16 and Zoltrix AV302

Hwmon drivers
• Added driver for FSC chips
• Added driver for Fintek F71882FG and F71883FG Super-I/O chips
• Added driver for Analog Devices ADT7470 chips
• Added driver for Fintek F75375S/SP and F75373 chips
• IBM power meter driver
• Added driver for the SMSC SCH3112, SCH3114, and SCH3116 Super-I/O chips
• New driver to read FB-DIMM temperature sensors on systems with the Intel 5000 series chipsets
• Added Davinci I2C controller support

Network drivers
• Added ixgbe driver for Intel(R) 82598 PCI-Express 10GbE adapters (v4)
• Added new E1000E pci-express e1000 driver (currently for ICH9 devices only)
• Added Sun Neptune ethernet driver
• Added fast ethernet controller driver for mpc52xx
• Added driver for IP1000A GBit cards
• Added Tehuti network driver
• Added AR7 ethernet driver
• Added device tree-aware EMAC driver
• Virtual ethernet device driver
• Added IrDA driver for Kingsun Dazzle IrDA USB
• Added IrDA driver for Kingsun KS-959 IrDA USB

USB drivers
• Added atmel_usba_udc driver
• Added driver for CH341 USB-serial adaptor
• Eagle IV chipset support

SATA/IDE drivers
• Added driver for bf548 on chip ATAPI controller
• Added AVR32 PATA driver
• Added platform IDE driver, used mostly for Memory Mapped IDE devices, like Compact Flashes running in True IDE mode
• Added driver pata_cs5536 ATA driver for Geode companion chip
• Added driver for Freescale 3.0Gbps SATA Controllers

I2C drivers
• Added Davinci I2C controller support

Graphics drivers
• Added the uvesafb driver; uvesafb is an enhanced version of vesafb. It uses a userspace helper (v86d) to execute calls to the x86 Video BIOS functions. The driver is not limited to any specific arch and whether it works on a given arch or not depends on that arch being supported by the userspace daemon.
• Added a framebuffer driver for Blackfin BF54x framebuffer device driver

MTD drivers
• Added map driver for NOR flash on the Intel Vermilion Range chipset
• Added blackfin on-chip NAND Flash Controller driver
• Added NAND Driver for Olympus MAUSB-10 and Fujifilm DPC-R1 card readers

• Added ivtv-fb framebuffer driver for cx23415 devices
• Added a driver for Toshiba TCM825x VGA camera sensor
• Added driver for the internal MPX of the Panasonic VP27s tuner
• Added driver for the silicon baseband tuner MT2266 from Microtune
• Added driver for the silicon baseband tuner MT2131 from Microtune tuner
• Added driver for the Samsung S5h1409 demodulator, also known as the Conexant CX24227 demodulator
• Added driver for the silicon baseband tuner DIBB0070 from DIBcom
• Added CX23885/CX23887 PCIe bridge driver

For a full change-log with all the new features, drivers and improvements, please click here.

The Linux Kernel is the essential part of all Linux Distributions, responsible for resource allocation, low-level hardware interfaces, security, simple communications, and basic file system management.

Linux is a clone of the Unix operating system, initially written from scratch by Linus Torvalds, assisted by a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net. It aims to achieve POSIX and Single UNIX Specification compliance.


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Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista Officially Got F5’d

Long have I complained about the fact that the Yahoo! Messenger team did nothing whatsoever to improve their products and instead preferred to bring up front the older features that they thought people weren’t using. And up until today they've never failed with the disappointment, they were like clockwork.

The refresh that the Instant Messenger service got for its Vista version came as a gentle breeze to remind us that once in a blue moon things can be done. It’s been attended carefully and several things have been added or fixed, as follows.

Visually, they’ve cleaned up and enhanced some menus (image picker included), offline messages are shown in a
conversation window and have been added a timestamp and a new "While you were out" tag. Performance and stability have also been dealt with, the new version of the client (2008.01.11.428) is sensibly more stable and it responds a lot faster to typing or switching between tabs and windows, as the Yahoo! Messenger blog reads. Some work has been put into the sidebar that the IM came with, so those who wanted to use it, but were annoyed by the bugs, can now rest assured and start it up with confidence.

And talking about bugs, many of them have been squashed with the refresh: the sign in problems that some encountered were fixed and what managed to piss off everybody I know who uses it, the scrolling of the window has been reconsidered. It was fairly annoying to have to manually scroll down in order to see every single message received.

Hopefully, they’ll keep up the good work and not stop at this, there’s still room for more improvement both for the Vista version and the XP one. Off the top of my head, I could think of the sounds that have been changed with the latest versions, so now a BUZZ!! is more like a distorted excuse for a doorbell and receiving messages isn’t so prominent any more. Of course, you can manually change those, but it would have been nicer to have the option to switch to and from them at your free will.


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Norton Antivirus Now Protects Yahoo Messenger

Yahoo Messenger 9 is expected to bring a totally new chating experience to all its fans out there and the Sunnyvale company really struggles to reach this goal.
Following the recent implementation of several new functions (embeddable clips displayed straight into the YM window, new contact list and others), the folks at Yahoo rolled out a brand new security function of the Yahoo Messenger users: automatic file scanning for consumers of Norton Antivirus 2007/2008 and Norton Internet Security 2007/2008, all of them for the Windows operating system.

The interoperability means that every time a user who installed one of the mentioned Symantec software solutions receives a file on Yahoo Messenger, it is automatically scanned in the background and, in case there's something dangerous, the access/execution is blocked. With a continuously growing number of computer infections attempting to spread themselves on instant messengers, this function should be expanded to other security vendors in order to protect a wider segment of users.

Please note that this auto-scanning functions only works with Norton Antivirus 2007/2008 or Norton Internet Security 2007/2008 and Yahoo Messenger Beta or above.

"Chat is a great way to spontaneously get photos or other files from friends and family. It’s also an easy way to inadvertently get a virus or spyware onto your computer. Yahoo engineered Yahoo IM 9.0 with special antivirus integration capabilities. Symantec responded immediately by partnering with Yahoo to deliver a new, tighter level of integration between Yahoo IM 9.0 and Norton Internet Security 2007/2008 and Norton AntiVirus 2007/2008. Norton is the first and only antivirus software to take advantage of this new feature of Yahoo IM," the official page of the Symantec/Yahoo Messenger deal reads.


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Mandriva 2008.1 Beta 1 Released

The first Beta version of Mandriva Linux 2008.1 was released a few days ago and includes some major new features, like XML-based package meta information system, multimedia key support and much more. Let's take a more detailed look at them:

New XML-based package meta-information system
Just as before, the basic information necessary for installing packages is present in a synthesis hdlist file. The trick is that rather being a single full hdlist file for each repository containing further information, the information has been split across several XML-formatted files for each repository. If a new repository is added, the synthesis hdlist will always be retrieved.

Multimedia key support
Nowadays, many keyboards have multimedia keys, that's why this pre-release will provide out-of-the box support for these keys. Simple functions like changing the sound volume work in an instant now.

Perl 5.10
Since the release of Alpha 2, Perl has been updated to version 5.10, which brings a major change required for rebuilding several hundred packages.

Revert previous replacement of teTeX with TeX Live
The teTeX system was replaced with TeX Live in Alpha 2, but due to some problems and necessary features that were unimplemented in TeX Live, Mandriva 2008.1 Beta 1 will use again teTeX as default TeX system.

Latest NVIDIA and ATI proprietary drivers
This release comes equipped with the latest proprietary drivers from NVIDIA and ATI, 169.09 and 8.45.2, respectively.

KDE 4.0.0 Available
The final release of KDE 4.0.0 is available in the Cooker /contrib repository along with this pre-release.

Major Nautilus / GVFS changes
The latest version of Nautilus, the GNOME file and desktop manager, is included in this pre-release. It is now based on the new GVFS VFS system, which replaces the old gnome-vfs system.

Kernel 2.6.24 RC8 with ALSA 1.0.16 RC1
The latest available release candidate of kernel version 2.6.24 made its way into Beta 1, and provides the widest possible hardware compatibility.


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BREAKING: Microsoft to Buy Yahoo for $44.6 Billion

In its race to become the runner-up on the search engine and online advertising markets, Microsoft is about to give Google a little something to chew on. The Redmond company is looking to buy Yahoo for no less the $44.6 billion. Microsoft has just announced the proposed acquisition of Yahoo for $31 per share. According to current estimates, the transaction is valued at no less than $44.6 billion and Microsoft is to offer both cash and stock. Yahoo
has been increasingly losing its position on the search engine market, as well as its audience eroded by social networks.

The latest financial results posted by the Sunnyvale Internet giant feature a consistent loss, with profit dropping to $660 million for 2007, down from $751 million in 2006. Yahoo was even preparing to lay off a reported 1,000 workers of its 14,300 workforce, after the poor financial results of the past year. Microsoft's proposed acquisition offers shareholders a 62% premium to current trading price for Yahoo! The Redmond company has presented its proposition to Yahoo's Board of Directors.

"We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. "We believe our combination will deliver superior value to our respective shareholders and better choice and innovation to our customers and industry partners."

"Our lives, our businesses, and even our society have been progressively transformed by the Web, and Yahoo! has played a pioneering role by building compelling, high-scale services and infrastructure," said Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft. "The combination of these two great teams would enable us to jointly deliver a broad range of new experiences to our customers that neither of us would have achieved on our own."

Yahoo has failed to officially respond or comment on the acquisition proposal from Microsoft. Still, it is clear that the Redmond company will not hesitate in the least to cough up no less than $44.6 billion for Yahoo. The aims is of course the online advertising market, which is estimated to double in the next couple of years, from $40 billion in 2007 to nearly $80 billion by 2010. Microsoft revealed that the move to buy Yahoo was made as a measure to counter Google and its increasing dominance over the online advertising market.

"The combined assets and strong services focus of these two companies will enable us to achieve scale economics while reaching R&D critical mass to deliver innovation breakthroughs," said Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms & Services Division of Microsoft. "The industry will be well served by having more than one strong player, offering more value and real choice to advertisers, publishers and consumers."


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