waz on 6 Nov 2000 12:16:37 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> ms code or ms dogma

> Almost in parallel, the Halloween letter of Bill Gates to MS staff was
> published in [2]. Apparently, the text on the linux.com, [3], is
> authentic.

No. If you read the linux.com article to the end, you'll notice the

"Note: This article is a piece of satire meant to brighten your day."

It is more than a piece of satire. It is a timely and well-written
critique of Linux and the open-source community, using the character of
Gates as an excuse to be rude about everything but to make a number of
valid (if arguable points). Reading through the comments on both the
slashdot and the linux.com versions is an extremely good barometer of
the Linux community at this time. A large number of readers failed to
spot the 'This Is Satire' line and responded as if it was in fact Gates,
missing the point by several miles; others gave a more measured

> * many not_necessarily_rocket_scientists will continue to attack, and
> some of them manage to get into MS servers and even internal network -
> eventually changing material on the ftp servers or even code of the
> future products;
> * no one will be sure that malfunction or strange behavior of any
> future MS system is a consequence of the hardware or software error or
> deliberately implanted virus from some Dimitri.

You might not like M$, and I certainly don't, but I have far more
respect for them than this. It seems odd that they have been hacked
twice in such quick succession, given that they are big enough and
powerful enough to hire the best in Windows security. Hate Windows
though I do, I know that a Windows box secured by an expert is more
secure than a Linux box secured by a newbie, and that's the end of it. I
find it hard to believe that M$ got hacked unless they wanted to be.

I don't think we need worry about trojan horses or deliberately
implanted virii, though. I think they've probably worked out how to
ensure that their code-bases remain intact even against a malicious
outsider. This is most likely because the same codebases need to remain
intact against malicious insiders; they are known to be highly paranoid
as a company. For some reason. It is highly unlikely that they don't
have backups that can roll back every change ever made to the code, so
even if someone did make some naughty changes and attempt to upload them
back, the chances of anything getting out are slim, and the 'integrity'
(sic) of their codebase is not at issue.

What scares me is the idea that it was all a deliberate ploy to tarnish
the name of Open Source, both legally and in the minds of pointy-haired
budget weilding bosses?

If pointy-headed budget weilders start thinking, "Open Source? Isn't
that the people who break into places and steal code?" then M$ will have
won and Linux will have lost. If the code that was "stolen" suddenly
pops up in a number of places, then M$ will be able to launch legal
injunctions against any projects designed to improve Windows/Linux
interoperability. "This project based on stolen code must stop," they
can say, and who will hire the better lawyer, M$, or the distributed
bunch of open-source coders working for free and for love of the
project? And ouch.

Cheers etc.,


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