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LinuxWorld.com: How Apache & Plan 9 will defeat Microsoft�s Passport

Sep 21, 2002, 08:30 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Murphy)

"As a group, the so-called 'mainstream press' often appears to favor Microsoft and show an appalling lack of technical depth in its enthusiastic repetition of the latest Microsoft press release. There's been a lot of speculation on why this is and whether it even happens. So far, no definitive research provides answers one way or the other.

"I think there are two explanations. First, the press is largely the victim of a Microsoft marketing strategy that plays off of the social rules people learn in high school: Money and social skills define the in-crowd, and only nerds kvetch about the importance of better technology. Second, editors are part of a feedback loop, reflecting the views of their readers in the decisions they make on content and wording. Their perception of their market as a shallow Microsoft PC market therefore leads them to favor cheerleading over analysis because doing so sells more advertising, more subscriptions, and more advertised product.

"What happens when journalists find themselves reporting the legal and personal risks associated with Microsoft's Passport can be easily avoided by adopting better technology from the open-source world? The normal legal standard for judging the adequacy of professional services--such as those involved in setting up an e-commerce site--is consistency with the 'best' or industry-wide practices. What does the mainstream press do when that standard is largely set by the 66 percent of Web administrators who use Apache and open source? I don't know, but I think we're about to find out courtesy of Plan 9's pending victory over the X-files in the matter of single sign-ons and network authentication..."

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