LAB NOTES

LAB NOTES

Adobe patch. There is now a patch for an Adobe Acrobat security vulnerability affecting Acrobat Reader clients.

First mentioned in July by iDefense Inc., a Fairfax, Va., Internet security company, the potential exposure is widespread because of the common use of Adobe Portable Document Format for read-only documents.

The Acrobat buffer overflow of data occurs on systems running Microsoft Windows when a .pdf file has an overly long string of text that causes Acrobat to crash. This could cause other, malicious code to execute.

Adobe's fix for the problem is included in the 2.8M Acrobat 4.05 Update 2, downloadable from www.adobe.com/misc/pdfsecurity.html.

VA Linux takes a lesson from Dell. The Build-to-Order Software Selector on the Web site of VA Linux Systems Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., at www.valinux.com, lets buyers specify open-source software components for factory installation on the company's servers.

Dell Computer Corp. made its name in Web sales by pioneering a customization strategy for Microsoft Windows systems.

VA Linux's BOSS will customize a server, cluster, workstation or storage system with any of dozens of software applications for Web, application, file, print or database serving as well as caching, firewalls and other tasks.

All the apps that can be selected through BOSS run under Red Hat Linux 6.2 from Red Hat Inc. of Durham, N.C., which is one of several open-source operating systems VA Linux uses.

Dell itself sells Linux server platforms, and chairman Michael Dell said last month that the company is exploring use of Linux on desktop systems.

The menu moves. The GCN Lab review of BeOS, a desktop PC operating system from Be Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., stated that the menu bar is fixed at the top right of the screen [GCN, Aug. 14, Page 25].

That statement has elicited dozens of e-mail messages from loyal BeOS users who said the bar can be moved to eight different positions on the screen by gripping and dragging it with the mouse.

Term of the day. TNEF, or Transport-Neutral Encapsulation Format, is what Microsoft Exchange and Outlook use to send messages composed in Rich Text Format. TNEF separates the text of the message from its formatting and puts everything back together at the receiving end. But non-Microsoft e-mail clients can't decipher the TNEF blocks, which show up as winmail.dat attachments that can safely be ignored.

See www.pcwebopedia.com for definitions of other obscure acronyms.

'Carlos A. Soto, csoto@gcnlab.com, and Michael Cheek, mcheek@gcnlab.com

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