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Editor's Note: Linux and FOSS are Good, and Windows is Sucky, and the World is Mad

Feb 14, 2009, 00:02 (26 Talkback[s])

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

It has been One Of Those Weeks. I don't know why it bothered me this week more than all the other weeks, but reading all the dopey news articles about Windows malware bringing down armies and navies all over the world got to me in a big way.

What excuse is there for using inferior, insecure software in military networks? Military technicians are not "Joe Sixpacks", they are smart and trained and they know better. My guess is it's a result of the classic Microsoft tactic of targeting pointy-haired boss decision makers, and avoiding the smart people like the plague. It makes me feel like the world is even more corrupt that I thought, which is a lot. It makes me feel like humans with consciences are a dying minority breed, and that selling out for a few tickets to a hooter bar or a shiny new laptop is the norm. I could be wrong; it seems that the price for selling out an entire navy or air force should be higher. Maybe they get extended loans of the hotties at the hooter bars, and a laptop and a netbook.

We Can't Fly, But We're Not Affected

The salt in the wound is the bizarre reactions of the people who are affected by Windows' over-friendliness to any stray malicious executable that wander by, and weird news reporting that treats these events as insignificant. The slant is nearly always the same-- oh those bad hackers and those careless lusers, tsk. What a wacky world we live in. Poor victimized Microsoft. If they even identify the worm or virus of the day as a Windows worm or Windows virus, which they often don't. Nooo, it's a PC virus, as though it were a hardware defect.

This quote sent my blood pressure into the ozone:

"French fighter planes were unable to take off after military computers were infected by a computer virus..

""The computer virus problem had no effect on the availability of our forces.""

No effect on the availability of their forces? But but but...they could not fly. Is everyone taking crazy pills? Is their backup plan jets driving on highways?

We hear of Linux geeks who practice "tough love" and refuse to support Windows users anymore. It is unrewarding and tedious, like trying to sail a sieve. No matter how fast you slap on the patches there are a million more holes, and the old patches fail as soon as your back is turned. This is not mysterious, secret knowledge. It's the way it is, and the way it has been ever since Windows was a baby.

The Secret Code of the Suits

So why isn't Microsoft being sued into oblivion? Businesses sue each other all the time for stupid stuff. Is it against the Secret Code of the Suit to engage in litigation on meaningful issues? I don't get it. Manufacturers get in trouble with government regulatory agencies all the time for unsafe products, and even when customers misuse their products and get hurt. I would say that using Windows at all is a classic case of misuse, because it is impossible to use it safely.

Why aren't news media treating this like the scandal that is? They get all foamy over some Congresscritter using public funds to buy him or herself some expensive goodies, which for an especially talented spendthrift is a few tens of thousands of dollars. That is nothing compared to the tens of billions of damage caused by Redmondware every year, and I can't put a price tag on not being able to fly the fighter jets when they're needed. Is Microsoft more powerful and fearsome than Congresspeople?

Meh. My head hurts. I'm going to enjoy the long weekend, and return to our regularly scheduled Linux and FOSS programming. To everyone who gets a holiday on Monday, enjoy! To everyone that doesn't, Linux Today will be on a reduced posting schedule, but we'll still be putting up fresh stories and monitoring Talkbacks.

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