Technology news in brief

Cray Linux gets Common Criteria certification

The Cray Linux Environment, a Linux distribution for Cray supercomputers, has been certified under the Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme.

Specifically, Cray Linux Environment 2.1, which runs on the Cray XT4 and Cray XT5 computer systems, conforms to the specifications of Evaluation Assurance Level 3+, and the vendor has promised to provide flaw remediation at the ALC_FLR.1 level. Atsec Information Security conducted the evaluation.

Overseen in the United States by the National Information Assurance Partnership, the Common Criteria is a set of security requirements established by government agencies and private companies and approved by the International Organization for Standardization. To receive certification for their products, vendors must provide a set of security attributes for each product, which an independent laboratory verifies.

The Defense Department uses the certification as a baseline for buying information technology products for secure networks.
NIAP is a partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and National Security Agency.

NIST funds sensor research

With a wary eye on the country’s decaying infrastructure, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced nine awards for new research projects aimed at developing sensor technologies that would monitor the health of structures such as bridges, roads and water systems.

The awards — the first to be made under NIST’s new Technology Innovation Program — will provide as much as $88.2 million in the next five years to fund research for monitoring and inspection technologies.

TIP awards are limited to no more than $3 million for three years for a single company’s project and no more than $9 million in five years for a joint venture’s project.

For details and a list of the winning research projects, go to

Windows 7 Beta availability extended

Microsoft announced that it has extended the public availability of its Windows 7 Beta yet again, with Feb. 9 set as the new deadline. It doesn’t apply to Microsoft Developer Network and Microsoft TechNet Plus subscribers.

For those who partially downloaded the beta version, Feb. 11 is the last day to complete those downloads.

Those who don’t have product keys will still be able to get them even after Feb. 11, according to Microsoft’s announcement. Without the product key, the beta version will work, but it will expire in just 30 days.

Microsoft plans to end the Windows 7 Beta Aug. 1 and follow up with a release candidate version after Microsoft gathers sufficient user input, according to the company.

"The feedback we get in the early stages of Beta will help enable us to discuss the next Windows 7 milestone," a post on Microsoft’s TechNet forum states.

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