Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Maybe John Ashcroft will arrest Bill Gates! [Update 9/25]

In what has to be one of the dumbest reports to come out of Washington, D.C. in years, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has released the FUD-based Report: Widespread use of Microsoft software poses security risk. Of course, when you realize that it was bankrolled by Sun, Oracle and other "I Hate Redmond" software vendors, it begins to make more sense. These folks couldn't beat Microsoft in the marketplace. The anti-trust settlement did nothing to guarantee them sales so now they want the government to force Microsoft to develop application for non-Windows platforms. No longer is their mantra "diversity" or "competition", though. Now its "security" and "terrorists"! Yep, if you let Microsoft win then the terrorists win. And you'd believe Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison when they told you that, right?

But its not Microsoft's fault, says co-author Bruce Schneier (whom I've never known to pass up a chance to bash Microsoft in the past). Nope, its you who are to blame, the people who buy the software! "I think the blame falls mostly on the buyers," said Schneier. "Because everyone is buying it, because it's compatible, because it's easy, everyone is doing it. The point of the report is to say, 'Hey, there are security implications to your decision.'" Un huh. And if you buy that argument, I've got a bridge I want you to look at.

[Update] A story in the Washington Post quotes Edward J. Black, president of CCIA, as saying that Microsoft's reaction to the report "if anything, underlines the importance and credibility of the report and its authors." So if I tell half-truths about you, and you deny them (as well as criticize my methodology), that validates the charges? Which universe does Mr. Black live in?

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