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The Economist: Microsoft: Deadly Embrace [& Extend of Kerberos]

Apr 04, 2000, 15:55 (6 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Gary Virene for this link. ]

"THE Microsoft trial is at last coming to an end—at least for the moment. ... At such a time you might expect Microsoft to be on its best behaviour. Not so, say computer-security experts. They complain that the company is as reluctant as ever to abandon its much-criticised business tactic to "embrace, extend—and extinguish". This bodes ill, they argue, if Microsoft is offered a lenient settlement or has only modest remedies imposed on it by the courts."

"The argument is over an encryption technology called Kerberos, after the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades. The program scrambles passwords travelling on computer networks, so that they cannot be stolen by eavesdroppers. It is the standard for identifying users on servers running Unix operating systems."

"Up to now, Microsoft has "embraced" the technology, meaning that computers running Windows could connect to Unix servers. But with its new operating system, Windows 2000, the company has "extended" Kerberos, making a slight change so that Microsoft's version is not fully interoperable with the standard version found at hundreds of universities, financial institutions and other firms across the world."

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