Spin it to Me Steve

When I read the news, I had a dizzy spell and had to sit down!

This was of course that Microsoft plans to create a "Secure" PC environment
with a technology called "Palladium", that you can read more about on CW360.

Now, the idea of Microsoft building a secure PC is, well, like the idea of
hospitals without waiting lists, because for all the platitudes about
'Trusted Computing', I have yet to find anyone who really believes that the
company can pull it off and that Trusted Computing is anything more than the
company 'Spinning' what it should have done to its lamentably insecure
products ten years ago.

In reality though, Microsoft has very little choice to do anything else but
strengthen its software. Quite frankly, computer crime of one kind or
another is costing business billions and Governments are starting to become
quite twitchy about the grip the company has on the public sector. Microsoft
either starts making really secure software or the market will steadily and
incrementally, move away from Microsoft.

I, for one, believe that Microsoft has seen the light and really wishes to
demonstrate the reformed nature of its character. The problem is, that
reform will take time, quite probably years, before developments at the
leading edge of the company's technology, filter down to the level of the
desktop, where people are still using Windows 95 or Windows NT.

And that's the problem. Microsoft's incredible growth, the size of its
monopoly and the legacy software it carries with it, a record of success
which was largely responsible for all the problems that still plague us.

Before Windows XP remember, the Operating System really represented the
software equivalent of a Dutch doll. Inside every new operating system were
the remains of earlier DLLs, one built upon the other, all the way back to

But unless we suddenly move to a Network Computing model, the
vulnerabilities that still remain in hundred of thousands of systems will
the Microsoft-centric world vulnerable. It means years to come of buying
anti-virus software licenses, of hacks and cracks and worms and Trojans and

Microsoft, having unwittingly opened Pandora's Box, are now trying to close
it again with clever, innovative technology and a reassuring new "Trust me,
I'm from Redmond
" smile. I am however prepared to bet, that if I bookmark my
calendar for a date twelve months from now, I'll be able to look back on a
catalogue of compromise and disaster, which is little better than the last
twelve months.

Steve Ballmer, you have my full support. Put 'Security First' and really
mean it. Imitate Russell Crowe, rally the troops, brandish your corporate
sword and shout, "What we do in life, echoes in eternity". But also consider
that while strengthening future products shows determination, it's the
immediacy and severity of today's problem that needs to be addressed by
rather more than rudimentary security features in Windows XP.


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