The Leap Day Laggers

It may not always be obvious, but every week we wade through thousands of stories, looking for the very best to bring you, our beloved readers. In the process, we always run across a few stories that we want to share, but just never seem to fit in with the rest of what we've found. As a special celebration of Leap Day, we're bringing you four of this week's important stories that just didn't run with the crowd.

First up on the list is the news that Novell will be picking up PlateSpin — responsible for developing virtualization-management platforms PowerCovert and PowerRecon — for a cool $250 million. The buyout helps to close gaps in Novell's virtualization offerings, an area of the industry that has seen a great deal of growth from all sides in the past year.

Moving forward, the British government is probably wishing that it used more virtualization this week, as a CD/DVD containing confidential files from the UK's Home Office was discovered underneath the keyboard of a laptop sold on eBay. It's not entirely clear how the machine came to be on the online auction site — the British government has had numerous incidents of laptops and discs disappearing in the last few months — or exactly what kinda information was stored on it. Apparently, the purchaser didn't even know about the disc until a local repair shop found it during maintenance.

Back on the US side of the pond, things were equally embarrassing for embattled ISP Comcast, as it was revealed that many of the people sitting in Monday's FCC hearing on discriminatory traffic throttling weren't the concerned Comcast employees they were purported to be. A company spokesperson admitted Wednesday that the company paid people who didn't even know what the hearing was about to attend as "placeholders" for Comcast employees who couldn't make it. If that's the kind of stunt they pull right under the FCC's nose, who knows what kind of flimflam is going on behind the scenes.

There are a few things we're sure aren't being faked, however, and one of them is the growing success of Mozilla's Firefox browser. The popular Open Source offering — which is gaining market-share globally and is already routing Internet Explorer in some parts of Europe — has officially been downloaded over 500 million times. Add that to the reports from December showing more than 125 million active users and you've got yourself a cocktail mixed to give Microsoft a run for its money.

And with that, dear friends, we bid you all a pleasant weekend and a Happy Leap Day. Don't forget to set your calendars forward!

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

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