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Security, SCO, Sun, and salaries reign supreme on TechRepublic

Last week on TechRepublic, members wrangled over the new Super DMCA laws, while columnists shared insights and info on everything from SCO's plans to revoke SGI's UNIX license to pay equity to security spending. Here's a chance to catch up.


Fall arrived last week, signaling the onset of cooler weather. But on TechRepublic, members turned up the heat with discussions about politics, peers, and peeves. Articles featured the latest on SCO's legal maneuvers, IT managers' complaints about their bosses, equitable salary increases, and strategies for justifying security expenditures, among other things. Here's a look at the week's highlights.

Another week, another SCO target
News.com reported last week that SCO has decided to give SGI the IBM treatment by yanking SGI's UNIX license. Coincidentally, SCO's stock went up after the announcement of this news, reversing a downward trend that began after IBM decided to slap back by widening the countersuit it filed against SCO. Meanwhile, Tim Landgrave pointed out that Linux continues to spread worldwide, now gaining increased favor in China.

Lucky for us, CBS isn't SCO
Although she's no David Letterman, TechRepublic senior editor Judy Mottl put together a Top 10 List showing the 10 biggest peeves IT managers have against their bosses. TechRepublic members responded by listing additional peeves Judy didn't mention and providing additional comments. Judy's next article: "Will IT float?"

Don't bite the hand that feeds you
Even though there may be 10 (or more) ways that bosses irritate us, they still control the purse-strings—especially when it comes to salary increases. Molly Joss discussed the best way to make sure that salary increases remain fair in an organization, without irritating the people that are giving them.

Politics and religion
Maybe you shouldn't discuss politics or religion at parties, but TechRepublic's Discussion Center shows that IT folk don't hesitate to express their opinions. Alex Breeding's article about the Super DMCA laws led to a flurry of discussion about that law and related ones, including the Patriot Act. Although the presidential election is a year away, TechRepublic members are already expressing their views on who should be president. And when it comes to religion, you won't find a less fanatical group than Linux proponents, as evidenced by TechRepublic's Linux Discussion.

Brother, can you spare a dime—or at least 10 TechPoints?
When you participate in the Technical Q&A section of the site, you can earn TechPoints—and lots of them. We've seen questions posed by members who have offered thousands of points for an answer. Of course, not everyone can spend that much. Here's a list of folks who could barely afford to offer TechPoints in the double-digit range. In case you don't know how TechPoints work or how to award them, here's a reminder.

StarOffice vs. Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office may be in the high 90s when it comes to market share percentage, but StarOffice has its devoted followers as well. One of the emerging trends in office suites is the use of XML. Gartner took a look at how XML support will affect the two suites. As Gartner discussed the outlook for the competing suites, News.com reported that Sun, the creator of the inexpensive StarOffice suite, will be reporting dismal quarterly earnings, while Microsoft settles yet another antitrust lawsuit with loose change from Bill Gate's couch. Meanwhile, OpenOffice 1.1, StarOffice's freebie cousin, just became available.

Is there a doctor in the house?
In an ideal IT shop, every PC would have the identical configuration, and you would have that configuration thoroughly documented in an easy-to-find location when you need to reinstall operating systems or applications. Welcome back to the real world. Bill Detwiler showed how you can find out what's inside your computer by using Dr. Hardware 2003.

This little light of mine
You know how hard it can be to maneuver around the inside of a computer case, moving cables aside to get a component while chewing on a penlight to see where you're going. Greg Shultz introduced a flashlight from Net Itze that can save frustration as well as your dental work.

Justifying security
With all of the talk about viruses and hackers, you shouldn't need a reason to justify increased spending on security—but economic realities dictate otherwise. Usually, IT people take one of two courses to justify security spending. They either scare management to death with horror stories or they go into long return on investment analyses. Here are some alternative suggestions.

When security tools aren't secure
OpenSSH is a popular way for network administrators to securely log into their networks from a remote location. TechProGuild even ran an article for its subscribers showing how Windows administrators can use this normally Linux/UNIX-only tool. But The Locksmith, John McCormick, discovered that OpenSSH might have its own vulnerability that can lull you into a false sense of security. His column explains what to do about it.

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