[H-GEN] Good news for us unix-heads

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Thu Jan 17 10:26:05 EST 2002


On Thu, Jan 17, 2002 at 09:00:10PM +1000, Greg Black wrote:
> Robert Brockway wrote:
> | Plenty of jobs for unix Sysadmins will come out of this! :)
> | http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/netsys/article/0,,11961_954821,00.html
> Good to see.
> But what about the implications of this:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/17/technology/17SECU.html?todaysheadlines

Well, there's always the slashdot take: "People criticized Microsoft
for treating security breaches as a public relations problem, so
Bill Gates sent this email out to the Associated Press to prove them
wrong. (rimshot!)".

The Reg has the full memo, along with its own snide remarks:
	http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/23715.html

So I can't help myself, I'm snide too:

``There is a lot of excitement about what this architecture makes
possible. It allows the dreams about e-business that have been hyped over
the last few years to become a reality. It enables people to collaborate
in new ways, including how they read, communicate, share annotations,
analyze information and meet.''

Surely *everyone* is sick of meaningless strings of buzzwords like that
by now? "<foo> lets hype about <bar> become a reality! It helps people
collaborate!" Geez.

Anyway.

Microsoft seems to be reasonably good at achieving something, once they
decide to. "A computer on every desk running Microsoft software", eg.
Or "producing the best browser, and obliterating Netscape". If they
actually make there software "so fundamentally secure that customers never
even worry about it", that's a pretty impressive technical achievement,
and it'll almost certainly create some new techniques that'll improve
the way free Unices are written.

OTOH, if it ends up focussing on the "stopping people from worrying
about it", rather than "making their software fundamentally secure", that
would be bad, but hopefully there are enough punk kids who like writing
trojans and viruses out there that the former won't be a possibility
without the latter.

It'll also be interesting to see if they can get away with claiming to be
`delivering on Trustworthy Computing', while retaining statements like
`MICROSOFT HEREBY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS WITH REGARD
TO THE SOFTWARE, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS OF
MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE'. If you're not even
confident enough to say "We think this product is actually reasonably
fit for its ordinary purpose", why should *anyone* trust your product?

There's also a couple of other key ways the free Unixes compete with
MS, and the "freedom" one is pretty key (once a large Linux system's
deployed, replacing it with MS software has a large cost, so there's
some lock-in on that count; getting equivalent access has a larger cost;
enabling effective competition at all levels of IT service provision is
a win in a competitive capitilist economy).

In any event, it's nice to see Microsoft chasing our tail lights.

Cheers,
aj

-- 
Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

The daffodils are coming. Are you?
      linux.conf.au, February 2002, Brisbane, Australia
                                --- http://linux.conf.au/
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