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Week of 15 August 2005


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Monday, 15 August 2005
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08:10 - 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.


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Tuesday, 16 August 2005
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10:10 - 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.


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Wednesday, 17 August 2005
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09:21 - 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.

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Thursday, 18 August 2005
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10:32 - 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 and jury?

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.


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Friday, 19 August 2005
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08:53 - 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 very common.

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 the Internet.

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 garbageware.



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Saturday, 20 August 2005
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Sunday, 21 August 2005
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