Firefox 4 Launch Party – Chennai #fx4party

Yes, we just had a Firefox 4 launch party at our college today!!! and a mighty blast it was

Started off as a surprise as all the students gathered there were told it was a seminar … Oh the look on their sad faces when they were told they had to listen to another lecture was priceless…  (and a sample below below) … and yes one kid slept off just as he sat down !!!

When he heard it was a lecture he was asleep in a jiffy

First question I managed to blurt out… why do you think you are here… one smart kid who had seen some Firefox banner on the notice board managed to guess it was a launch party… To get some interest we immediately rewarded him with a FF bag, a few badges and an armband!!! Bang… everyone was awake!!!

Though a huge part of the crowd seemed to know firefox, not many of them had yet started using FF 4 … we played the videos straight of the site… quite a bit of fun to watch ppl wowwing and the very same features i take for granted ( What would i do without firefox ?)

Jus for fun, i quickly stripped the wall of all firefox posters, handed out papers to everybody and the person with the best likeness of the firefox logos got a bag… while that went some techies pitted their minds against our FF quiz… surprisingly one of them even managed to answer my question about “the book of mozilla” (mental note to self : make questions harder next time)

Before the first batch of attendees was sent away we got em to screen “Firefox 4” … I think I’m half deaf now 😦

Screaming FF 4

It would have been fun to see the other off stage competitions we had but i was stuck helping out with the quiz!!!

We Finally ended up distributing the swag (so kindly sent to us by the Mozilla foundation) … The funniest part was when the kids who attended the launch went about getting the students who had classes all riled up!!!

Then some total off stage work like “firefoxing” our entire lab… and fotos with our HOD and professors… All in all an amazing event…

Note : some fotos are in this post… will be posting some on flickr with the tag #fx4party … and the fotos with other ppl will follow as soon as i get them!!!

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All browsers fail at Pwn2Own, IE8,safari and sadly even firefox

Most of us our in a bubble that we use a browser that can’t be hacked… or rather we use the best browser… Well we’ve always known IE is shoddy piece of coding brought out just to keep Microsof in the race… The only reason they are still alive is cos they distribute with their OS’es…

Peter

IE8 toppler - Peter Vreugdenhil

Getting back,  in Vancouver Canada the CanSecWest Pwn2Own competition was on, and guess what the following browsers were exploited to gain access to the machines… -> IE8 (obvious), Safari (hmm, thats new) and firefox (god damn, totally out of the blue).

Most of you using chrome must be thinking, “yeah i run the best browser”, unfortunately we’ll never know because no-one tried to hack chrome this time round… As for you firefox fans, the firefox on 64bit version of windows 7 was hacked… So what about the edition on the more common x86 (32 bit ) edition.. again remains unanswered so far…

IE8 users, I’m hardly surprised, its about time you lot change to a more stable browser…

But here’s something even more interesting… They managed to hack an iphone… not a jailbroken one but a fully patched one… and guess what they were able to access.. messages.. including the deleted ones…  (Apple, what went wrong?) And apparently the hacker claims he could have got anything else he wanted from the phone…

Time for the browser creators to look up and solve all these issues.. before these are used by some on who ACTUALLY wants to hack systems…. (lucky this was jus a contest!!)

Read more about the IE exploit here.

Read more about the firefox exploit here and the iphone hack here

Google converting software to Open Source?

Google

Google - our Hero!!!

Google always does something to ensure it stays on the front page!!! Most of the times this appeals to users , sometimes not!!! But this time they have certainly succeeded in amassing goodwill (especially among the programming/open source community)

How did they do this? – Google bought reMail in mid february. reMail is application for the iPhone which allows the user to download his/her mail to the iphone and thus make all mail available offline! This app gained a lot of popularity because accessing mails became faster, cheaper and quicker!

Google first did something really funny by killing reMail (removing it from the app store). This did not affect those who had already bought the app (as it requires only the iPhone and has no server).

They brought it back 2 days ago… How does this earn goodwill u ask me??? They brought it back alright but now its open source. Yup you read it right. Google bought reMail and gave the code to the world.

Here’s what Founder(of reMail) Gabor Cselle had to day about this

As someone who is passionate about mobile email, my hope is that developers interested in making email-related apps can use reMail code as a starting point. Part of the reason email apps are hard is because you have to pay the tax of figuring out how to download email via IMAP, parse MIME messages, handle attachments, and store data. reMail has already solved these problems. If you have a great mobile email idea, I hope you will find reMail’s source code helpful in your quest.

We know that Google never does anything if it doesn’t benefit from it, but I’m seriously clueless as to how this helps them! They did something very similar to this last year, Google acquired etherpad as it was going to shutdown and made the technology open source too.

Thats twice now.  Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope to god that this continues!

Whether this is good for Google I don’t know, but I do know that the open source community has something to rejoice about! Lets hope they keep this up and convert more such technology to Open Source

Mysql, is it the end?

The open source community has had a bit of a shock recently… When Oracle announced the takeover of Sun Microsystems the first thing that came into one’s mind was “What’s going to happen to Mysql?”

Now a few days ago many open source enthusiasts searched the Mysql site for its previously available source code, but to no avail !

Also to note Ken Jacobs an Oracle employee and Oracle’s liaison with the Mysql community for quite a few years retired on Friday. Jacobs hasn’t stated reasons for his departure but it is believed that him not being selected to run Mysql (which is now a part of Oracle) is one of the major reasons.

Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs

Jacobs was the man who ensured that Oracle’s takeover of InnoDB ( a storage engine for Mysql), wasn’t to try to kill Mysql.  He helped maintain the peace which existed before the takeover.

Now about the missing source code. Most technologists believe that this is temporary. (I seriously hope so). This has created quite a flutter with people jus looking through the site in repeated intervals to see if its up again!

The only consolation we may have for now is the email Jacobs sent out during his departure.

I know that there are many people in the open source community who are concerned about Oracle’s plans for MySQL. They are wrong to worry. Oracle will keep its commitments to invest in MySQL, and help grow the business. Oracle will make MySQL better. Doing so gives Oracle a presence in new markets, and the resources and investment Oracle will make should mean great things for customers, as well as the larger community.

You will find Oracle a terrific place to work! I believe it is good for MySQL (the product, the company, the people and the community) that you are now part of a software company. And a database company. And a company that is profitable, and that innovates and delivers high customer satisfaction. That’s where MySQL belongs!

Lets cross our fingers and hope to god he was right!

Edward Screven, Oracle’s Chiefo Corporate Architect will be heading Mysql, and he will reporting directly to Oracle’s CEO Larry Elison. This may prove to be a bonus point for Mysql.

We’ll just have to wait and see what lays ahead for Mysql.

I know that there are many people in the open source community who are concerned about Oracle’s plans for MySQL. They are wrong to worry. Oracle will keep its commitments to invest in MySQL, and help grow the business. Oracle will make MySQL better. Doing so gives Oracle a presence in new markets, and the resources and investment Oracle will make should mean great things for customers, as well as the larger community.

You will find Oracle a terrific place to work! I believe it is good for MySQL (the product, the company, the people and the community) that you are now part of a software company. And a database company. And a company that is profitable, and that innovates and delivers high customer satisfaction. That’s where MySQL belongs!