Microsoft allows third parties to test patches before release -- and more news briefs

Short takes from this week's technology news

Short takes from this week's technology news

Users to test Microsoft patches before release

Microsoft has confirmed that third parties will be allowed to study and test its security patches before they are released. It will allow a select group of users to beta test security patches in an effort to minimise potential errors. However, this has led to fears that unscrupulous employees could leak details of software vulnerabilities before patches are released.

IBM to acquire Ascential Software for £611m

IBM is to buy enterprise data integration firm Ascential Software for £611m to bolster its family of software integration products. Ascential has 3,000 customers who use its products to build datawarehouses, support business intelligence systems, consolidate enterprise applications and create and manage repositories of critical business information. IBM said the acquisition will complement and strengthen its growing information integration business.

Mozilla axes suite to focus on key products

The open source Mozilla Foundation is to axe its Mozilla suite to concentrate on standalone products. The suite consists of the Firefox browser, Thunderbird e-mail client and an HTML editing tool. The foundation said the forthcoming Mozilla 1.7.6 suite will be the last in the series, the organisation will then concentrate on Firefox and Thunderbird. A group of open source developers, called SeaMonkey, will carry on developing the Mozilla suite, with the foundation's support.

HP Proliant move aims to simplify datacentres

In the next two months, Hewlett-Packard will start shipping Proliant servers with multifunction network adapter cards and smaller hard drives. The aim is to simplify datacentre management and infrastructure. The cards bring together storage, networking and clustering features. Over the next 12 months, the features will begin appearing in all HP's Proliant, Itanium-based Integrity, Bladesystem and Storageworks servers.

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