The Truth: A New Red Hat Distro, Google on the Warpath with Publishers, TeamViewer IPO

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Welcome to The Truth, my daily tech newsletter. Today, we have a new Linux distribution being announced by Red Hat, the biggest tech IPO in Germany since the dotcom bubble and Google showing the big publishers what it thinks of their copyright reform. I also rip a PR company a new one for sending me unsolicited crap.

There seems to be a zero-day vulnerability in the much used forum software vBulletin that is being used for attacks as we speak. Versions 5.0.0 to 5.5.4 are vulnerable to having malicious code injected, according to a report on the Full Disclosure mailing list.

Are you still using ColdFusion? If you are, you should deploy some fixes for CVE-2019-8072, CVE-2019-8073 and CVE-2019-8074. Also: WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STILL USING COLDFUSION???

Is Fedora too cutting edge for you, but you find RHEL or CentOS too stale? Well, Red Hat’s got you covered because there is now a new distro called CentOS Stream that is supposed to slot in right between Fedora and RHEL. Red Hat says it’s aimed at developers, rather than admins and devops types. At first I thought “who needs another Red Hat distro?” but the more I think about this, the more sense it makes, actually. I’ve always been more on the developer-y side with my Linux usage and this seems to be right down my alley.

An while we’re on the topic: Concurrently with CentOS Stream, CentOS 8 has also been released.

TeamViewer just IPO’d in Germany. The shares quickly fell under the issue price of 26.25 euros and are currently hovering at around 25 euros. The company say they are happy with the results at what is being reported as the biggest tech IPO in Germany since the dotcom bubble burst. It’s not like there is much competition in this field, though. Germany isn’t exactly known for prodigious tech IPOs.

So, here’s some fun bullshit: This PR company sends me some unsolicited press release about Google’s birthday, which is on Friday (Google was officially founded on 27 September 1998). It was sent to a generic contact address, which means I’ve never agreed to be placed on their PR list – in other words a clear violation of the GDPR. And to make it even better, they specify an embargo date of Friday, 27 September. Which is all well and good, but sadly I never agreed to receive embargoed information from them. Which means I refuse to be bound by their terms, which is what they should have assumed in the first place. So then, what is this secret information they sent me? It’s research that claims less than a fifth of consumers trust search results and only 63% of consumers start “their online journey” with a search engine. Bullshit! You guys do know that entering anything other than a complete URL in a browser address bar will get you to a search engine page, right? And who brings you this groundbreaking research? A company called Yext. Never heard of them? Well, they say they are “leading brands into the future of search.” Well, I think they need to learn more about search first. And they probably need a better PR agency, too.

What’s happening with the Atari VCS console, you ask? Nothing, it seems. People are trying to find out where their pre-order money went, but it isn’t going very well. “Atari responded by… deleting the post. On a Reddit forum that it didn’t run but had been invited to serve as a moderator. That also did not go over well. In fact, it’s safe to say that people went into somewhat of a rage. So Atari responded by… deleting all the subsequent angry comments. At which point its representatives had their moderator rights removed. So Atari responded by… setting up its own subreddit where it has continued to delete posts and comments it doesn’t like.” Ouch. They also need a better PR agency.

If you need some cheering up after that, The Register has published a great review of the book How JavaScript Works. Believe me, it’s a lot less boring than it sounds. Worth a read.

After the EU copyright reform – which was largely pushed through via lobbying from big European publishing companies, many of them in Germany – the publishers thought they’d be in a position to get more money from Google for all the content that Google apparently steals from everyone. Well… “Google will not pay press publishers in France to display their content and will instead change the way articles appear in search results, a senior executive said on Wednesday.” Doesn’t look like Google is going to play ball. On the contrary: “We don’t accept payment from anyone to be included in search results. We sell ads, not search results, and every ad on Google is clearly marked. That’s also why we don’t pay publishers when people click on their links in a search result.” Them’s fighting words. They’re only going to show headlines in France from now on. The country is so far the only member state that has local laws going on the books to satisfy the new EU rules (member countries have two years to pass the EU directive as local laws). Interestingly, this is being reported on Politico which, as they point out in the piece, is owned by Springer – one of the biggest proponents of this reform.

A Silicon Valley company that wanted to build giant fighting robots that cost millions of dollars has gone bankrupt, reports TechCrunch. No shit.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos says they figured out how that mysterious hole got into the Soyuz capsule. Naturally, they won’t tell anyone. I wonder if they told the NASA and ESA astronauts who were also on board? Probably not. Old habits die hard.

This is an archived issue of my daily newsletter FOXTROT/ALFA. You can find more information about it, including how to subscribe via email, on this page.