Feeds

MS Hailstorm is no threat – Torvalds

Don't worry. Be happy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

LinuxWorld Expo Linus Torvalds capped an hour of debate over the future of Linux by dismissing the threat posed by Microsoft's Hailstorm caper.

A panel composed of Dirk Hohndel, Brian Behlendorf, Larry Augustin, Torvalds and Sheffield's finest, Jeremy Allison, was agonising over the future of the great open source adventure.

When the subject of Microsoft's .NET arose, a tanned Torvalds (he obviously hasn't spent the summer in San Francisco, but somewhere warmer... like Greenland) dismissed fears that users should be worried about the centralised control implicit in Hailstorm.

"Do not worry, it's not the issue," said Torvalds. "If Microsoft is going to tax everyone on the Internet, don't think the governments will watch their monopoly on tax collection go by." Nation states have as much power as a single corporation, he said. "Trust in Uncle Sam," he said, to great applause.

Behlendorf made a sharp distinction between the components of .NET - dismissing the me-too language C#, acknowledging that the common run-time element was something Sun had done but that yes, we ought to have got around to doing it ourselves, and warning that Hailstorm was the most dangerous portion. "Like Kerberos," he said, "but with one single server." The massive aggregation of user data had its own centrifical force, pulling in Hotmail, MSDN and Encarta users into its gravity field.

Torvalds' genius for project management, and specifically for resolving the most acrimonious disputes amicably is often remarked upon, but here was a perfectly example of it in practice. His soundbyte incited the largely libertarian audience to an ovation, but contained the message that governments do have the power to draw boundaries around private greed.

Yes, they may only be replacing unaccountable private greed with semi-accountable public greed, but that's a distinction that gets amongst advocates of globalisation. Made with throwaway good humour, here was an iron fist in a velvet glove.

The Beast's .NET drew the strongest reactions on the panel. Again, Behlendorf summed things up sweetly with the observation that although single sign-on was much needed, and widely welcomed, "having only one company running the profile server is a bad thing."

Jeremy Allison repeatedly returned to the point that much of the discussion would remain moot unless Microsoft's grip on the distribution and loading of Windows was weakened. While most of the panel wished there was a cleaner, healthier, open version of Hailstorm, Allison said that such efforts would be futile unless the clients could respond in kind:

"Why do so many people use SAMBA?" he asked rhetorically. "It's not because it's a great protocol, but because it's what's shipped with the client."

Loading alternatives, said Allison, remains difficult and a minority pursuit for the technical cognoscenti. Meanwhile world+dog will continue to use what's preloaded, because life is simpler that way.

"You have to break the client monopoly - unless you do you, your alternative infrastructure is irrelevant," he said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.