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Open Source is an Open Target?
Will Nett

Microsoft has for the last few years ridiculed Open Source Software, and one of their biggest claims, (by Steve Ballmer) is that by being closed source, they are more secure and more reliable. Um, Pssst... Steve, your source code for NT, 2000, and XP was leaked to the Internet last week.

Microsoft's Official response was nothing short of a Baghdad Bob claim, "There is nothing to see here, there is no threat, please move along." I sincerely have to doubt this.

First off, Microsoft last year at the 2003 server launch (in San Diego at least) claimed that all of it's source code is reviewed at least once by another engineer... so just how does profanity and vulgar language pass Quality Assurance criteria checks? For the record, I don't recall seeing any such comments in Linux code... Steve, could you please explain?

Secondly, many are worried that the unleashing of Microsoft's source code will provide virus writers with a plethora of ammunition for writing new viruses, many others are worried that Microsoft will shift to a SCO tactic claiming in the future, that Linux is using Microsoft code. Seems kind of convenient that the code was leaked within weeks after Microsoft made Windows Services for UNIX free. This does smell kind of Sun Tzu'ish... What better way to kill a beast than to crawl into it's belly?

Thirdly, Linux advocates and developers are taking an anti-view stand, they don't want to see Microsoft's code, and they are advocating abstinence from viewing the code. "Please don't taint what we have."... so what's to stop Microsoft developers from releasing Linux code which came from Microsoft? Nothing.

This is all a terrible mess... One guy, Linus Torvalds created an open source technology, and one giant want's to kill it. Sorry Steve, this time my moneys' on David. Granted Linux does not have four billion dollars, but they do have forty thousand code writers, and four thousand journalists. To the rogue Linux coders, might I suggest patching Microsoft... and truly show your dedication to secure environments and clean code?

So, that's it kids... the cat's out of the bag, the lawyers are gathering their e-tickets, and the crystal ball's a bit cloudy. My forecast is for an interesting Microsoft front followed by a tsunami of Linux rebuttals, and occasional FUD showers.

Willam M. Nett


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