- Our friends Mary and Paul came over for dinner last night,
bringing dinner with them. They'd made dozens of delicious shrimp egg
rolls. While Mary and I worked on some computer stuff in my office,
Paul and Barbara cooked the egg rolls. We had them with salads for
dinner, and strawberry shortcake for dessert.
I now have two months to finish the new book. As always, that's not
enough time, so I'll be busting butt between now and then.
- I'm still writing. My final deadline for the new book is two
months from tomorrow, and I have a ton of work left to do on it. As
always, I think I can't possibly make it. As always, I'm sure I will.
But I'm now in crash deadline mode, where I'll remain until the book is
complete. That means short (or no) posts here, slow response to email,
little participation on the messageboards, and so on. Sorry, but that's
the way it has to be for now.
- Poor Duncan. I take the dogs out in the front yard
several times during the day. Every time, they immediately rush over to
the cluster of bushes on one corner of the yard along the street to
check their p-mail, as Barbara calls it. This morning, after some
serious sniffing to locate just the right place to mark, Duncan lifted
his leg to send some p-mail.
Unfortunately, there was a toad. The toad took exception to being
inundated, and jumped, hitting Duncan's back leg and startling him.
Duncan's back end is kind of wobbly at the best of times, and he fell
over into the bush, getting his leash tangled. I helped him up,
regretting his loss of dignity (dignity is a major issue for a senior
dog). Duncan looked at me with his "I did that on purpose" expression,
and I managed to keep a straight face. It wouldn't have done to laugh
at him. I told Duncan he was a good dog and we came back into the
house. Poor Duncan.
- Imagine that the brakes on your automobile start acting up.
The brake pedal feels mushy, and it takes you forever to get stopped.
So you ask your mechanic about the problem, and he tells you that it'll
cost you $700 to repair the brakes and that it'll take a couple of days
to get the parts. You decide that's more than you want to spend and
more time than you want to be without your car, so you simply continue
driving it with the bad brakes.
One day, your brakes fail completely, and you run over a group of
children standing at a school bus stop. The police investigation
establishes that you knew about the problem, so you're arrested and
charged with negligent homicide. When you appear in court, you plead
not guilty, claiming that it would have inconvenienced you to have your
automobile repaired because it would have cost too much and taken too
long to repair. Do you think you'll get much sympathy from the judge
In these days of Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPPA, businesses that continue to
use Windows are in a similar position. As this article by
Charlie Demerjian points out, the day is probably not far off when
businesses will begin being called to account for their decisions to
continue using an operating system that is known to be insecure. It
would be one thing if Windows were the only choice, but continuing to
use Windows when there are clearly more secure operating systems
readily available could successfully be argued to be reckless
disregard. Corporations will find themselves arguing that they did not
migrate to Linux or OS X because it would have been inconvenient for
them to do so. I don't think that argument will hold water.
They're driving without brakes. They know they're driving without
brakes. Eventually, there's going to be a major wreck, and they're
doing nothing to prevent that from happening. An accounting will come.
Maybe not next week, or even next year, but it will come.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm so unfair to Microsoft. Every time I
write something about Microsoft or Linux, I get mail telling me that
I'm, at best, biased, and, at worst unbalanced. These folks don't
recognize neutrality when they read it, because they're too caught up
in their own biases.
Here's the truth. I don't care whether Windows or Linux "wins". I have
no emotional investment in either. I simply want software that will let
me do my job, without getting in the way, taking my data hostage, tying
me up with DRM, or exposing me to malicious exploits. At this point,
Linux wins on all counts. But if Microsoft were to see the light and
ship an OS superior to Linux, I'd drop Linux in a heartbeat.
There are some valid arguments for sticking with Windows. I know,
because I stuck with Windows long after it became apparent that Linux
would ultimately become the better solution for me. It takes time to
ween oneself from Windows-only applications, and even now I keep at
least one Windows system around to run applications that I can't run on
Linux. I expect that'll continue for several years, although the number
of applications I need to run that are Windows-only continues to fall
every month. But that's an argument only for running Windows as a
(very) secondary OS, not for continuing to use it as one's default OS.
I'm really annoyed by the bogus arguments, though, of which two are
First, the argument that because both Windows and Linux have bugs,
they must be equal. That's like arguing that since an average new Rolls
Royce is delivered with 0.5 minor flaws and a Yugo with 237 major
flaws, the Rolls Royce and the Yugo are equivalent. Both, after all,
have flaws. But I know which one I'd rather own.
The second bogus argument is that Windows is victimized so frequently
because it's so popular. Bullshit. Windows is victimized so frequently
because it's bad software. All you need do to verify the truth of that
is compare exploits against the two products in a segment where Linux
is dominant. Compare exploits against Windows/IIS, which is a minority
player in the web serving segment, against Linux/Apache, which
dominates that segment. There has never been a serious exploit against
Linux/Apache. There have been numerous serious exploits against
Windows/IIS, more than one of which has come closing to shutting down
Windows fanboys refuse to acknowledge the evidence that's staring them
in the face. Those of us who run Linux or OS X just shake our heads
when the new Windows exploit-of-the-week comes along. You have to have
your head in the sand to believe that Windows is anything but
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All