SCO vs. Linux

Personally I think this lawsuit, like so many others, won’t go anywhere. It seems to me like one of those cases where the lawyers of a dying company desperately try to leach off someone else’s intellectual property. Considering the coverage it gets (on Slashdot, through Eric Raymond, etc.), I am sure that they will eventually back off and die quietly.

Can you secure Windows for Internet Cafes?

Guess what: It usually took me less than ten minutes to run Putty. I am not a hacker, I am a power user at best. It’s just that Windows doesn’t provide a mechanism to control execute access. I recall three instances where I ran Putty:

  • At Kinko’s I could run Putty after renaming it into “notepad.exe”.
  • At an Airport Internet Terminal, I could doubleclick the file I downloaded to the desktop. Before I could get to the file, I had to disable active desktop, which previously kept it out of sight.
  • At EasyInternet in Times Square in New York, I saved the file, saved it a second time, and when the “Save as…” dialog popped up, I could right-click the previously saved copy of Putty and select “Open”, which executed it.

Ask yourself whether you consider executing any application a security risk (even if other resources like the hard drive are secured). I think it is, as this really allows anybody to launch truly untrackable attacks.

Halloween VII

The title is “Attitudes Towards Shared Source and Open Source Research Study”, and the memo discusses Microsoft’s strategy towards Linux and OSS. The study looks at the effectiveness of past Microsoft strategies: (1) they discover that bad-mouthing OSS doesn’t work; (2) they discover that their Shared Source model could be effective, but few people know about it.

Second, they explored the reasons why people use OSS. The top two reasons were (1) for lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), and (2) as an alternative to Microsoft.

This puts Microsoft in a tough position. It’s not easy to offer a lower TCO – especially for the more successful OSS projects (like Linux or Apache). If this memo can be taken seriously, I would expect to see more talk about Shared Source in the future. It will be interesting to observe the next moves from Redmond.

The $200 AOL Computer running Lindows

It is nice to see this transformation of the software industry. Finally something is happening that should have happened a long time ago: Operating systems are becomming a commodity.

Progress on MS antitrust case

This is two days late, and more for the record than anything else. The justice department and Microsoft reached a tentative agreement. Read the details here – nothing groundbreaking, though…

Competitors to SmartLink technology

A Microsoft technology for Windows XP that was under attack recently were the so-called “smart tags”. MS would insert links into any web page you would browse, that would allow you to access “relevant information”. Obviously, this is quite controversal, as the creator of the web page has nothing to say about the links Microsoft would insert into their page.
SmartTags are off for now, but don’t hold your breath – other companies are rushing into this space! Click on the above link for details.

Don’t install Windows XP! You’ll regret it!

In fact, even the writers of the Wall Street Journal regret it, and the Journal is usually pro-capitalist. So, what’s going on? Basically, you are bullied around during the installation of XP. Microsoft requires a “profile” of your hardware configuration that will prevent the same copy of XP to run on any other machine. Worse, perform significant changes to your machine, and your license might stop work. Hey, don’t forget that there are alternatives: Macintosh, Linux, BSD, just to name a few.

Microsoft fights open source even harder

Microsoft just released the “Mobile Internet Toolkit”. The scary thing about this: The licence does not allow this toolkit to be used in connection with open source software, which they call “potentially viral software”. This is really disgusting – I hope they won’t get away with it.