someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Thu 3 May 01 03:03
I always assumed it was part of the UNIX culture -- share the information, share the patches, etc. You get lots of completely untrained people running Windows; many fewer non-techies running UNIX. wg
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 3 May 01 08:39
<scribbled by jonl Thu 3 May 01 08:40>
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 3 May 01 08:41
(I erased 102 so I could repost with a minor change.) Yeah, I sometimes wonder how non-techies manage to survive even Windows. Could be that they become more technical, or drop off. When I was doing ecommerce, I was surprised how many people were clueful about web security.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Thu 3 May 01 11:46
Lots of folks starting out with Linux don't have the skillset to securely administer a Unix box. It's great that they're eager to learn, but doesn't help as far as security goes.
someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Thu 3 May 01 13:43
But at least the facilities are there. I remember how astonished I was to move from TRS-DOS, in which you could password-protect a floppy disk, to DOS, in which you couldn't. wg
George Hunka (tally) Thu 3 May 01 13:51
Linux security will probably grow as the kernel becomes more enterprise- ready. Businesses probably won't entrust their computer security to hackers, but they will entrust it to those consultants who have the background for it and look decent in a suit.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 3 May 01 13:58
When you talk about entrusting security to hackers, how are you defining the word "hacker"? It seems to me that any good security group would have one or more "hackers" involved, if a hacker is someone who is creative at exploring networks and connected systems. That's how you can detect vulnerabilities, no? Wendy, do you think the original denizens of the Internet had any idea where all this was going? Did they envision the need for the kind of security we're seeing today?
Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Thu 3 May 01 14:06
That "password protection" of floppies in TRS-DOS was, to put it kindly, just a bad joke.
someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Fri 4 May 01 03:31
I'm sure it was. But it kept the accounts files from being tampered with or written over. Well, as has been written many times, the earliest days of the Internet were characterized by a lot of trust, largely because it was a relatively small, relativelyl homogeneous population. But PGP was written in what? 1991? So obviously people were thinking about the need for some kind of security. And certainly consciousness of hackers goes all the way back to 1984 and the movie War Games -- er, sorry, rab, crackers. I first read about the cracker type person in Bill Landreth's book, and that was mid 1980s. And the potential for widespread damage was pretty clearly shown in 1988 with the Internet Worm. So these really aren't new issues. It's just that there's more at stake now. And it's likely to get worse -- it's not just that we're opening up a world in which millions of people have insecure people attached to permanent Internet connections, but that the tools are so easy to find and use now and we're going to have an entire generation of teenagers at home after school with broadband Internet connections (and you can launch so many more attacks so much faster over broadband)... What's interesting is to look at 802.11b, which I became aware of only recently. You've got geeks driving all over SF looking for open wireless networks and finding them, but at the moment it's like the old Internet days -- they just want to borrow some bandwidth. And there's an outfit here in London that wants to promote that, so you could sit anywhere in town and use a wireless card and get online, kind of grass roots public utility. But you kjnow that if it grows into the mainstream you're going to find the same kinds of abuses popping up we';re seeing on the Internet now. Well, maybe not -- it's like the IRA never bombing the ferries. They need them. wg
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 4 May 01 04:10
PGP was released initially because Phil Zimmermann was concerned over potential legislation against strong crypto, so there's the issue of privacy, protection from government and corporate interests, as well as the issue of protection from crackers. Wendy, have you written about the cypherpunks?
someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Fri 4 May 01 08:40
Not much. net.wars had two chapters on crypto, one called Guerrilla Cryptographers (a title I stole from a topic in the eff conference here, I think it was). The cypherpunk movement would certainly make an interesting history/social study. But Ellen Ullman covered a fair bit of that in Close to the Machine, and I can't imagine doing it better than she did. wg
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 4 May 01 11:37
That book was written as the slipstream caught on that geeks could be sexy.
someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Fri 4 May 01 12:05
I still love it. wg
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 4 May 01 15:31
Wendy, thanks for joining us at Inkwell.vue! We've covered interesting ground here, and I'm sure folks will be eager to pick up a copy of _From Anarchy to Power_. Any closing comments?
someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Sat 5 May 01 02:21
Well: the net wars continue, basically. I find myself somewhat schizophrenic about it. On the one hand, I do believe that the Net has a lot of resilience to being taken over. On the other hand, I do believe that the threat that megacorps pose to the freedoms we enjoy online is a serious one. I really wish the AOL/Time Warner merger hadn't been allowed to go through; we're already seeing all kinds of cross-marketing -- AOL using Madonna tickets as a lure for new members, etc. I get sort of heartened by the failure (or at least, the corporate cessation of willingness to throw money at) of things like Go, which really are attempts to turn the Net into broadcasting channels. But at the same time, fewer and fewer companies control the bandwidth and access. The downside of broadband is I think -- or it's something I've been wondering about this morning -- going to be more traceability. The RIAA is already talking about ways to find the 1% of Gnutella users who do most of the sharing... Hopefully, I'll meet you back here in a coupla-three years. wg
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 5 May 01 04:10
Looking forward to it!
George Hunka (tally) Sat 5 May 01 05:35
Thanks, Wendy. Glad to have had the chance to chat with you.
Paul Bissex (biscuit) Sat 5 May 01 08:22
This lurker says: thanks, Wendy.
Gail Williams (gail) Sat 5 May 01 14:29
Hope the book goes far and well!
someone who just sucked on a dill pickle (wendyg) Sat 5 May 01 15:10
Current Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 wg
Erik Van Thienen (levant) Thu 19 Jul 01 01:24
A very flattering book review of "From Anarchy to Power" in last week's New Scientist : "Don't confuse it with the usual run of nerdy "how to..." books. From Anarchy to Power is an excellent, highly informative book. It cannot be recommended highly enough. Anyone concerned about the future." <http://news.newscientist.com/opinion/opbooks.jsp?id=ns229911>
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 19 Jul 01 09:45
Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 (wendyg) Wed 19 Sep 01 16:27
Er, yes, months ago, and thanks for noticing. The book also had a nice review in the Independent here, but it's no longer online. If anyone has seen a review in the US, I would love to have it brought to my attention. AFAICT, it hasn't been looked at *anywhere*. wg
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