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There’s a Nasty Bug Affecting Mac, Linux, and Other Devices That Use Linux, Check to See If You’re Affected

Someone call Kernel Panic! Tech puns!

A vulnerability has just been detected in the Bash Unix shell that is used by Mac OS X computers, Linux machines, and various other devices like routers. The Bash Bug, also known as "Shellshock," has been rated a 10 out of 10 on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System scale that's the tech industry standard for scoring security threats. Here's how to check and protect your system.

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Creator of C and Co-Creator of UNIX, Dennis Ritchie, Has Died

Dennis Ritchie, creator of C and co-creator of the UNIX operating system, has died in his home this past weekend. Along with being the original developer of the C programming language and being a central designer in the development of UNIX, he also won the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology in 1998. Boing Boing points out a poignant message left by James Grimmelmann on Twitter, simply stating "Dennis Ritchie (1941-2011). His pointer has been cast to void *; his process has terminated with exit code 0." A fine tribute to the C developer in 140 characters or less. Head on past the break to see a small, tasteful vigil for Ritchie.

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Happy UNIX Epoch Day 15,000

Even though UNIX was first released in 1969, the Bell Labs engineers who developed the operating system decided that for the sake of round numbers, UNIX time should begin on January 1, 1970, which is known as the beginning of the UNIX epoch. 41 years and 25 days later, today marks the 15,000th day in UNIX time. The folks behind celebrated last night at a DJ party with 40 people, cake (above), and pizza.

The last time we turned a 5k mark (day 10000) was May 19th, 1997, nearly 14 years ago. Entire computing paradigms and the rise and fall of operating systems happen in less than that amount of time. You probably weren’t doing what you are doing now 14 years ago, Heck, you probably weren’t even on the Net 14 years ago. So its really time to celebrate the fact that an operating system design can last for not just 14 years, but 41 years.
The next big moment in UNIX time will come at 11:01:20 UTC on July 13, 2012, when the time number, which is counted in seconds, hits 0x50000000 as expressed in hexadecimal, or 1,342,177,280 seconds. UNIX time is in for some trouble on January 19th, 2038, when its own version of Y2K, known as Y2K38, kicks in. Time is stored as a signed 32-bit integer, and on that day, the clock will strike 2,147,483,648 (2^32/2) seconds, causing it to reset to zero. Some solutions have been proposed for this, but they all present one sort of headache or another as applied to many computer systems. (Day 15,000 via Slashdot)

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Dear Mom and Dad: Thanks for Teaching Me Unix

Dear Mom and Dad, This week, I went to a Women In Tech panel at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, and the arguments got pretty heated. One of the points raised — for what feels like the millionth time — was that young girls aren’t as encouraged to get advanced math/sciences/programming education, which very likely influences the large gender ratio in the tech startup industry. I’ve had the opposite experience, and it’s certainly due to your support. I’m a woman in tech who has enjoyed every single second of it, often relished in and capitalized on my uniqueness, and has never felt one moment of discrimination. Maybe this has been blind luck. Maybe I’m not as “geeky” as I fervently hope. Maybe I’m being a big iPollyanna in response to a panel that was shockingly embarrassing and devolved into a “catfight.” What I do know is that I could talk on and on about all the seemingly insurmountable problems and frustrations, but I’m more inclined to take a break to appreciate my own experiences. I remember being about 7 when I first became curious by the amount of time you two spent on the computer. Of course, I was already pretty into the Logo Turtle and gleefully landing my helicopter on the scurrying hostages in the Choplifter game on my Apple 2C. But all this seemed like child’s play to me and I wanted to know more. So when I asked, what did you do? Well, you taught me Unix. >>>Full essay at Mediaite.

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There’s a Dirty UNIX Joke in the New York Times’ Facebook Backlash Story (Update)

This morning's New York Times features a story on a group of NYU undergraduates working on a would-be Facebook killer called Diaspora*, the software for which "will let users set up their own personal servers, called seeds, create their own hubs and fully control the information they share." The article is a neat read both for the specifics of the proposal and the anti-Facebook sentiment it highlights amongst young'uns in the tech community; it also marks what may be the first time a dirty UNIX joke has managed to sneak into the hallowed pages of the Times. A tipster draws our attention to the writing on the left side of the chalkboard behind the students: "TOUCH GREP UNZIP MOUNT FSCK FSCK FSCK UMOUNT." Wait a second: That's not intelligible code! It's almost as if it has another meaning.

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