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Re: Government minister takes pop at Microsoft security

Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> espoused:
> Hash: SHA1
> ____/ bbgruff on Thursday 22 May 2008 15:07 : \____
>> A Government minister has launched a veiled attack on Microsoft's
>> security record.
>> Baroness Vadera, the parliamentary under secretary of state for the
>> Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) cited
>> Internet Explorer as an example of customers deserting a product
>> because of poor security, whilst giving evidence to the House of Lords
>> Science and Technology Committee.
>> "Microsoft's Internet Explorer automatically downloads security updates
>> every 30 days," she claimed. "There's an interesting thing going on of
>> a switch to an alternative, Firefox, because it does it every six days
>> and people are beginning to get aware of that."
> http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/199329/government-minister-takes-pop-at-microsoft-security.html
>> (Hmmm... maybe you folks haven't wasted your time making all atht
>> coffee - it looks to me as though folks are starting to waken up....)
> Last year they had a hearing where they put Microsoft under great pressure for
> leaving us in a world where almost 1 in 2 PCs is a zombie. What can they
> really do about it though?

The time-constant involved in making a change here is huge.  Microsoft,
in all honesty, probably never had a chance to write a secure operating
system, since if they had done so, they would've probably, more or less,
had to reinvent either VMS or Unix.  In doing so, they would've taken
much much longer than they did in order to come out with WinNT3.1 and
later, and Win5/2k and 5.1/XP would be still under development.

Microsoft's goal never was to produce a secure operating system, rather,
it was to get an MS OS on every computer sold on the planet, and charge
for using it.  The amazing coup of getting Office and IE on most of them
was arguably even better, though.  

Where Microsoft mis-judged the world, though, is that they genuinely
believed that they could continue to grow the model until they had
control of everything, using the desktop as a springboard into
server-land, and then a springboard into messaging, file formats,
telephony, mobility, media playback and gaming.

At some point, the world, finally, smelt a rat.  I'd love to be able to
say that Linux and OSS won because it was a better economic and moral
choice, but I suspect that in many respects, it's won because Microsoft
have annoyed so many people that they cannot find a way back.  That
they've failed to recognise the depth of mistrust they have engendered
is evidenced by the ISO fiasco;  their overt attempts to corrupt the 
system have resulted in embarassment for everyone involved.  I really
do wonder if we'll ever see Jesper Stocholm here again, but I have my
doubts - I suspect he's feeling extremely embarassed about now.

So, back to your question, what can they do?  Well, precious little,
now, to affect the currently installed base, but even so, they could do
somethings.  One would be to fix all the oustanding problems which they
know about, and to come up with a new way of releasing "security" fixes
so that users can pick those which are better tested than the current
crop.  Clearly, Microsoft cannot keep up with the open-source world in
this, so perhaps we should expect them to find an alternative approach?

It won't be long before the leaders start to lap Microsoft in this race,
they're no longer in the lead, or even in the pack.  They're not even
just behind the pack, rather, they're stumbling along in the tail, with
the leaders waiting to pass them again.

| mark at ellandroad dot demon dot co dot uk                           |
| Cola faq:  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/linux/advocacy/faq-and-primer/   |
| Cola trolls:  http://colatrolls.blogspot.com/                        |
| Open platforms prevent vendor lock-in.  Own your Own services!       |

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