Cox demonstrates political nature of open source

I know the ZDNet audience is very tuned-in, and can see through the headline to the meaning, as I just explained it. But what of those "low information voters" out there in the operating system world? Will they be as forgiving?

This week, Alan Cox offered a quick primer on just how political open source remains.

Speaking at the London Linuxworld conference, he said something quite obvious. Open source is not inherently more secure than other software.

Well, you'd think he just cursed from the way folks went on about this.

Here is the money quote. "High quality only applies to some projects — those with good code review and those with good authors." Cox also said that metrics alone are not the way to measure security. I agree 100%.

The result of this was headlines like Alan Cox: Open Source not inherently safer or better. Sounds reasonable, but a lot of folks are going to mentally take out the word inherently and read that a Linux guru says Linux isn't better.

Seen as a business case, it's no big deal and easy to explain away. Seen politically, it's a gaffe. Just look at the current home page at Cox's employer, RedHat. Unfakeable Linux, it proclaims, linking to a response to Oracle's Unbreakable Linux announcement of earlier this week.

That's politics, in full snark. And the election in this case won't be held November 7. It's being held right now, in a million different places around the world. RedHat's advantages over Oracle are political, but gaffes can hit any candidate. Ask George "Macaca" Allen.

But what do you think? I know the ZDNet audience is very tuned-in, and can see through the headline to the meaning, as I just explained it. But what of those "low information voters" out there in the operating system world? Will they be as forgiving?

[poll id=4]

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