Pirated Open Source Software

Here is my comment reply to CS blog entry titled “Pirated Open Source Software????“.

First of all, open source software is NOT free of charge. It means “freedom”. There are several types of open source licenses. Each is slightly different in detail. The most generous one(IMHO) is BSD license.

Under GNU General Public license, anyone is ALLOWED to distribute the software for free or fee, provided source code is included. That means the pirate vendor is LEGAL if they sell OSS WITH souce code. At the other hand, some vendor sell Linux distro WITHOUT souce code(normally the last 2 CDs), it is ILLEGAL under GNU license.

However, some OSS are NOT freely download/distribute(example: Redhat Enterprise). Those software may contain components(or services, support) which disallow to re-distribute without permission. Vendor who sell(re-distribute) this kind of softwares WITHOUT permission is ILLEGAL.

The reason I buy OSS CDs is because I cannot afford downloading GBs image files using 56k dialup!!!

Regarding your reason no.2 on distribute OSS for free, it has been done by JARING previously in effort to support OSS. I got my CDs of Mandrake and OpenOffice! :D

Malaysia goverment does support open souce software. We always have those OSS seminars held in our country. However, we hardly see action being done to encourage user to use OSS…

Generally, if the vendor sells OSS(with complete souce code) that we can download for free(Mandrake, Fedora, etc), they are safe. If they are selling OSS that not available for free download(or without complete source code), then they may doing their job as “pirate vendor”. ;)

In a nutshell, we still need to refer to the software’s license for detail. I may made mistake(s) here, comments(or flame?) are welcome. :)

Note(to Othman Ahmad): OSS is not limited for personal use only, enterprise can use OSS without paying a cent too!


Run Your Web Browser From USB Drive

I want to run Firefox from my USB drive, so that I can have my very own browser wherever I go. Besides, running web browser from USB drive ensure that you do not leave any private data(e.g: password, cookies, etc) on the PC you accessed.

Firefox comes with portable support that allow you to install it on remote storage, such as USB drive, since version 0.9.x. However, the process to make it works is quite troublesome and lacks of Firefox extensions support.

Thanks to John T. Haller! He created a custom package of Firefox — Portable Firefox, which can be easily installed and run on remote storage. Plus, it supports extensions!

Installation and Use:

  • To install, download Portable Firefox zip file and unzip it to the root directory of your USB drive. It will create a “firefox” folder.
  • To use Firefox on your (USB)drive, launch it with the PortableFirefox.exe file in the “firefox” folder.

    Note: DO NOT launch the firefox.exe file directly! Else, It will not load “profile” in USB drive.

Note on Firefox Extensions Installation:

  1. Extentions’ XPIs must be downloaded to your PC before installing. To install, opened XPI file in Firefox by clicking File -> Open File…
  2. Close and Restart Firefox after installing an extension.

Now wherever I online also can use my favorite browser with my custom settings, without worry leaving any track to others! :grin:

For more information on Portable Firefox, please refer to http://johnhaller.com/jh/mozilla/portable_firefox/. Portable Thunderbird also available!

P/S: John T. Haller is a nice and friendly guy. He promptly responsed my enquiries on Portable Firefox. :)

Mozilla Browser Security Hole Found Fixed

Developers at the open-source Mozilla Foundation have confirmed that the latest version of their Web browsers have a security flaw that could allows attackers to run existing programs on the Windows XP operating system.

The flaw, known as the “shell” exploit, was publicized Wednesday on a security mailing list, along with a link to a fix for the problem. Updated versions of the affected software programs, which include the Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird browsers, have been released.

Developers said the flaw affected only Windows users, not computers running either the Macintosh or Linux operating systems. Like recent Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, this flaw only allows the attacker the ability to run an existing program and requires that security problems in other applications be exploited to gain further access.

[ More information @ ZDnet ]

New Mozilla releases that fixed the security hole:

Don’t want download new installer? There are patches for Mozilla/Firefox and Thunderbird.

[ More information @ Mozilla.org ]

IE is not safe, now even Mozilla is not safe on Windows huh? :neutral: Anyway, the Mozilla team fixed the hole very fast. thumb up