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OpenOffice.org has released two patches for security flaws in older versions of its open-source office productivity suite. The two vulnerabilities affect versions of OpenOffice prior to version 2.4.2. Version 3.0, released earlier this month, is unaffected. The two bugs are in code for handling images in Windows Metafile formats, WMF and EMF. If an attacker can persuade an OpenOffice user to open a specially crafted document, they could execute arbitrary code on the OpenOffice user’s PC. So far, say OpenOffice developers, no working exploit has yet been seen.

Sun Microsystems reported a 1.68 billion dollar loss for the quarter ended Sept. 28, a performance even worse than analysts had forecast. The company has now disappointed financial analysts for three straight quarters, and its profit margins are eroding as it is increasingly selling low-end servers while being squeezed by competitors. Sun blamed its revenue shortfall on trouble in the financial services sector, which has been hammered by the global financial crisis. Wall Street long long been a good customer for Sun’s servers and workstations. Last week, Sun’s largest shareholder changed its ownership status in the company in a way that allows it to take a more active hand in company management. The next day, one of Sun’s brightest engineers, Chief Scientist Andreas Bechtolsheim, said he was taking a job with startup Arista Networks, which he founded. Bechtolsheim will stay with Sun part time, but his new position is not exactly a vote of confidence for Sun.

Symantec expects to begin laying off employees next month, anticipating a slowdown in IT spending. Symantec isn’t saying exactly how many of its 17,800 employees it will lay off, but on Wednesday Chief Financial Officer James Beer said that the company is looking to trim about 4.5 percent of the cost of its workforce. Separately, Symantec is also outsourcing some of the work done by its IT and finance departments.

Three of the biggest laptop computer makers are recalling certain batteries because of a risk they may overheat and catch fire. Sony made the batteries, as it did in a similar recall two years ago. This time, only around 100,000 batteries are affected, a fraction of the 9.6 million recalled in 2006. The batteries in question were manufactured between October 2004 and June 2005 and to date there have been about 40 incidents reportedly globally of overheating, Sony said Friday. Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba have already issued recalls for the batteries that were used in their products.

And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Peter Sayer in Paris. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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