Anti-Linux strategy predicts Longhorn insecurity?

Anti-Linux strategy predicts Longhorn insecurity?

Summary: If Microsoft pulls it off, they'll have set a new standard in the black art of succeedingthrough failure because, of course, those people wouldn't be needed if Microsoftbuilt reasonable security into their systems

TOPICS: Microsoft
Have you ever wondered why big trucks and highway trailers are so high given that using smaller wheels would make them safer and easier to load while significantly reducing fuel use? The answer is that the first railway trucks were designed by wagon builders who knew what the drawbar height should be to minimize strain on a team of Clydesdales.

Nobody knows (or at least I don't) what this has cost, but given that people around the world have been using railways and motor trucks for over a hundred years, I'm guessing it's in the tens of thousands of lives, billions of manhours, and trillions of dollars. Think about that for a minute and you'll see the importance of Dana Blankenhorn's blog entry yesterday, Microsoft's winning anti-Linux strategy warning that Microsoft could intentionally pull off something similar.

His idea, and I'm sure he's right, is that Microsoft is trying to establish PC security management as a profession in the expectation that the professionals produced will then help keep Microsoft in business by insisting on the products they know how to distrust.

If Microsoft pulls it off, they'll have set a new standard in the black art of succeeding through failure because, of course, those people wouldn't be needed if Microsoft built reasonable security into their systems -and that tells us something important about their plans for the future. Specifically that Microsoft will have to choose between abandoning these people, or expanding the market for its own security products and services simply by failing to make its next generation products any more secure than its current ones.

You'd think that would be an easy choice, but how many heavy trucks do you see rolling around on eighteen inch wheels? So you're right, they are likely to consider this an easy choice, but they won't make the choice you or I would.


Topic: Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Why aren't soliders automated?

    [i]"those people wouldn?t be needed if Microsoft built reasonable security into their systems"[/i]

    I find it difficult to accept that assertion. You must keep in mind that business systems (whatever software they run) are and always have been under attack. At the end of the day, it boils down to this simple fact: those systems store (or can access) data that certain people are willing to risk themselves to obtain. As has been said many, many times before, if someone really wants what you have, there is little you can do to stop them.

    Notice I said 'little' instead of nothing. Unless hackers/crackers/computer criminals/internal threats up and call it quits, there will always be a need for information security professionals.

    And before the Linux/Mac faithful start hopping up and down on me, I acknowledge that it takes more resources to patch an average Windows system. But I still say that even if all Windows systems evaporated tomorrow, we would still need IT security folks.
    Real World
  • Two concepts at play.

    1. Create a problem only you can fix and make people pay you for that.

    2. Exploting the momentum of tradition or a pattern to keep a market alive.

    McAfee and Norton have made a business around providing security for Windows. You can be sure that MS and these guys are good friends. There is no reason for MS to tighten security. Security is in complete oposition to ease of use. MS will never design around security unless it will broaden thier market share and in the market they thrive security is an afterthought.

    Auto makers wouldn't have installed seatbelts in cars if they weren't forced to by federal law. People don't like security. It's inconvienient and not much fun but it is responsible.

    Linux, Mac, BSD, OS400, AIX, Solaris, and other Unixes have had this one figured out for a long time because they were based around responsible computer use. Its time that MS takes some responsibility.
    • Exactly, don't forget the new OneCare scam they are trying.

      Charging subscriptions to fix the problems they caused.

      So what incentive do they have to totally fix their security issues?

      Microsoft is just one big SCAM artist.
    • Lazy, Irresponsible Automakers

      Actually, many cars had seatbelts before there were any laws requiring them.

      Without laws it would only have been the lazy and irresponsible manufacturers who would not have implemented them after statistics demonstrated their effectiveness in saving lives.

      Sound familiar?
      • I totaly agree!

        Unix et al had also built in "seatbelts" only
        lazy and irrisponsible companies waited until it
        was forced to begin security.
  • Microsoft security is still a joke when you break it down.

    1. Windows is flawed by design.
    2. They scammed people into thinking a hardware solution could fix a software design flaw (NX bit)
    3. Their glorious XP SP2 crowning achievement? Turning on the firewall by default and disabling some activex default settings.

    A firewall is supposed to be a secondary defense- Windows is using it as a primary one!
    • Xunil, Do You Eat?

      Amazing how your name is in every post. Maybe you're a clone ...

      And each clone is just as wrong! Amazing what technology has wrought -- now I see the danger that Bush sees in biological research. I just hope he puts a stop to the likes of you.
  • Double whammy

    "Have you ever wondered why big trucks and highway trailers are so high given that using smaller wheeels would make them safer and easier to load while significantly reducing fuel use?"

    You obviously know nothing about wheels and tires, and your tin-foil hat theory on MS is just as laughable.

    FYI there are a number of reasons to use large tires on tractor-trailers. First is the load consideration. Bigger tires can handle heavier loads. Given that a typical loaded trailer can reach 40,000 pounds this is not a trivial consideration. The air inside the tire handles the load, so bigger tires = more volume for air = lower needed pressure = less stress on the tire = safety.

    Second, bigger tires rotate slower than smaller ones. This generates less heat, lowering the stress on the the tire and lengthing the life of the tire. Given that 18-wheeler tires are so expensive this is a major consideration. Also, bigger tires have more tread wear than smaller ones, also increasing their life.

    Third, bigger tires provide a larger contact patch, increasing traction. When you're hauling 20 tons this is a definite safety issue.

    Now, as for your assertion that MS is attempting to deliberately make their product less secure to increase marketshare--well all I can say is you've been watching way too many z-rated mysteries on TV.

    Do a little research next time, ok?
    • Good post, but think further.

      The foolish paranoia on display here about Microsoft not wanting increased security has two points:

      First, the implication that Microsoft products never will be more secure.

      Second, the implication that Micvrosoft cares about customers so little that the problems of security are unimportant to them.

      In short, groundless accusations intended to push hostile emotional responses on readers tending to want to criticize Microsoft.

      At best, trolling.
      At worst, part of a more insidious approach to advantaging open source.

      Of course, you can think of it as a demonstration that open source can be compared to Microsoft only by using disreputable emotional manipulation.
      But I don't think anyone should consider Microsoft unassailable by honest means. They do have real faults, and honest inquiry can identify them.

      Can't rely on the honesty of this run of columns, though.

      As you wrote:
      Now, as for your assertion that MS is attempting to deliberately make their product less secure to increase marketshare--well all I can say is you've been watching way too many z-rated mysteries on TV.
      Anton Philidor
    • It is the width of the wheel

      that affects the contact patch of the tyre not the diameter of the wheel so with smaller wheels you could have more of them and that would improve safety, but also increase cost.
  • Big Trucks

    So why are big trucks and highway trailers are so high? Because they have to back up to standard height loading docks.
    • Which came first?

      The big trucks and highway trailers or the loading docks? And who's to say you can't lower both?
      Michael Kelly
      • Because of the failure potential

        Duh - has nothing to do with drawbar height for horses - geez what idiocy or urban myth.

        Wheels large and small have been used on both tracked and untracked vehicles - as in everything else there is a series of tradeoffs that lead to the final size:

        Smaller wheels make the load center of gravity closer to the ground, yes. Which also reduces clearance, which also means that your wheel generates/retains more heat (smaller surface area, right?). Which also means your tractor has to use more energy (Geez guys, why oh why is there 10 or more speeds on a bike? Duh - small wheel to get me going, then progressively larger gear wheels to get to cruise).

        Take the idea out of the box an put it into another circumstance. If the small wheel is so much more effiecient than the larger wheel - why didn't Lance Armstrong use 12" wheels on a frame morphed to utilize the lower clearance, yet still give his legs and torso the reach it needs to generate the power necessary to turn the crank? Answer - the larger wheel is more effecient as it uses less energy overall.

        If this is a common example of the thinking used by OS people, oh my.....

        BTW - Mylar is more fashionable than aluminum foil - it'll look better on your head when you are trying to keep those evil MS mind control rays away from you.
        • Mylar vs. Aluminum

          I'm a tin man myself...
        • Answer - the larger wheel is more efficient

          A larger wheel can carry more load.
          The load carrying capacity is a function of the (footprint area) x (the tire pressure). A larger diameter wheel will have a larger footprint. The rubber deformation is less with a larger diameter.

          The author might look for a better analogy.
  • Logic in a vacuum

    When measuring efficiency you can't just look at one little thing, it has to taken in the context of the whole.

    Trucks depend on infrastructure support like loading docks that have historically been at height X. When an engineer is designing a loading dock they have standards to follow. The same with ship building, railroads and just about every other industry. If those industries didn't have standards there would be chaos. Every truck manufacturer would make trucks the height they find convenient, every loading dock would be different. The resulting inefficiencies would dwarf the little bit of efficiency lost because of the size of truck tires.

    So, yes, because of the need for infrastructure to work together sometimes standards last far beyond the original model.

    I don't believe MSFT will ever succeed by making a crippled product. Data can be shaped to fit the loading dock for the delivery and likewise the data loading dock can adapt to the incoming data format. Data transfer is not as infrastructure dependent as a shipping container. If MSFT makes themselves too expensive or inconvenient, they can be replaced. If it becomes necessary to pay a security consultant to keep MSFT crippleware running securely, the market will find alternatives.

    Fortunately for security people good security practices and secure data management will be needed regardless of the operating platform. Secure data management is as much about good business practices as it is about technical issues and a good security consultant understands the difference.
  • Addressing the wrong problem

    You've got to wonder about the integrity of a company that's history shows that they continually address the wrong problem.

    When people complained that Windows took to long to reboot, Microsoft spent huge amounts of man hours making Windows look like it reboots faster. What users got was a desktop that appears earlier, but still isn't functional for quite some time (until all those things load in the background and appear in your task bar).

    So, what did Microsoft get wrong. They forgot (or ignored) that the real problem was that Windows was unstable, and that instead of working on faster reboots, they should have been working on system that needs rebooting less often (because it's more stable).

    Looks like they're going to apply the same strategy to security. Don't secure the software, just make it easier to patch when security problems are finally fixed.
  • Just Kidding, Right? Another Jokester ...

    ... in the "Jeff Spicoli" tradition. This Linux community has us rolling in the aisles with their faked conspiracy theories. You guys who informed the blogger of the realities of tires don't get it ... this guys is just trolling for responses ... I think.
    • Why am I muttering about locomotives?

      Those "realities of tires" were actually the realities of gears - look at steam locomotives then, and farm tractors (and tricycles) today, and what you'll see is oversize drive wheels (and lower drawbars) because these wheels form the final gear ...but what was I thinking? oh, wait! yes! now I remember... "loco to assert motives without evidence" yep, that's what it was. Say, thanks for clearing that up!