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The Independent Culture
AN APPEALS court in Seattle last week overturned a preliminary injunction made in November by a lower court forcing Microsoft to make changes in Windows 98 and other software because of a lawsuit bought by Sun Microsystems over the terms of its licensing deal for the Java programming language.

The court said that Microsoft's contested implementation of so-called polluted versions of Java would not cause "irreparable harm" to Sun, as the lower court had ruled. It also said that the lower court needed to clarify the central issue of whether a contract violation or copyright infringement had occurred. "The district court held that this case is a copyright infringement case and not a contract case and therefore presumed irreparable harm," Judge Mary Schroeder said. "It is not clear, however, how the district court reached its decision that this case should be analysed under the copyright infringement standard."

However, the appeals court agreed with the judgement of Ronald Whyte, the district court judge, who said that Sun was likely to win the lawsuit. A date has not yet been set for the trial.

MICHAEL DELL, the founder and chief executive of Dell Computers, last week said he had no plans for retirement even though, aged 34, his personal fortune is estimated to be $15bn. Dell, talking at the Dell DirectConnect conference in Austin, Texas, said he would continue working because he enjoyed the job of leading the world's second-largest PC manufacturer and seeing how the hi-tech industry was changing society.

"If I was in it for the money," he said, "I certainly could have retired a long time ago. I think we are truly making a contribution to the way our society operates. It also happens to be a tremendous amount of fun. I have the greatest job in the world."

GLOBAL MARKET, a London-based Internet company, is offering $50,000 to anyone who can break the encryption used on its 1on1mail system. The system uses "448 bit blowfish encryption and the keys are 2048 bit RSA", the company says.

"We believe that this encryption is unbreakable within any reasonable period even with virtually unlimited computing capacity," reads the notice posted on its website (www.1on1mail.com/ k50000.html)

The system tells senders when their mail is received and read. It also offers an "autoshredder" facility to enable a message to delete itself from the recipient's computer system at a specified date and time to minimise the risk of e-mail with personal and confidential information getting into the wrong hands. "We guarantee mail will be delivered, and we guarantee its security as well, and its tracking," said Steven James, the company's technical director.

JAPANESE government researchers and the Sharp Corporation have developed a disk which can store 40 times more data than a digital versatile disk (DVD), Nobufumi Atoda, chief scientist at the National Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research, said last week.

The new technology makes it possible to store 40 two-hour long movies on a single 12in (30.5cm) disk that can store 200Gb of data, compared with 4.7Gb on a DVD disk. The research unit, part of the Science and Technology Agency, will work jointly with Sharp and three other Japanese companies to produce prototypes of the new disk and a disk drive within two to three years.

SCRIBBLE, A UK online workshop for writers (www.fixstudio.com/scribble), launched last week. Its aim is to encourage communication between writers and provide a forum for reading, reviewing and critiquing short stories of up to 5,000 words via e-mail and the Web. Guest editors as well as Scribble members will offer input.

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