NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Sony discovers its roots, Grokster gets the boot

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Sony discovers its roots, Grokster gets the boot

In yet another twist to its suit against IBM, the SCO Group detailed 217 alleged violations of its proprietary Unix code - in a sealed document only the judge can read. I hear the new evidence reveals the name of the insider who leaked the code: Lewis "Sco-oter" Libby. Remember, you read it here first.

The rootkit of all evil: As if foisting Mariah Carey on us wasn't bad enough; Sony BMG Music Entertainment has been caught installing a rootkit - a tool typically used by malware. If you play a copy-protected Sony CD on your PC, it installs a digital rights management scheme you can neither detect nor remove. After security wonks revealed the rootkit could be used to compromise systems merely by appending the prefix $sys$ to the name of any rogue program, Sony and software partner First 4 Internet issued a steady stream of denials, along with a patch that removes the rootkit. Everybody in the music biz wants to be a gangsta, but Sony seems to be taking those dreams literally.

It's only grok 'n' roll: File-swapping network Grokster has closed its doors and agreed to pay $US50 million in damages to the record companies (although, given Grokster's subzero bank account, the companies may have to accept payment in Monopoly money). So, to recap: Making it possible for consumers to illegally swap music is very bad. Making it possible for hackers to illegally hijack your computer, however, is just an average day in the record business.

Bong voyage: For a brief-yet-disorienting period last week, Websense users were unable to access parts of According to The Register, the Web-filtering program mistook the software giant's download pages for a marijuana site. That would explain Ballmer's new dreadlocks-and-Rasta-cap look.

Ride a painted pony: Mac user Doug D said when he tries to reach MSN's home page in Internet Explorer 5.2.3, all he sees is IE's spinning wheel. Other Macheads report a similar experience; apparently MSN's HTML code now contains the comment, "Dude, I'm so baked, I think I just trashed the home page." Must be that new hash algorithm Microsoft's working on.

Got hot tips or SCO code? Send them to and you may receive a leakproof bag in return.

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