September 2004
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I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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New USB standard?

PBS’s I, Cringely wrote about how he feels the new USB standard Redmond is pushing will likely include hardware security controls that are designed to work in correlation with Windows Longhorn, and coupled with that, the new MS strategy for a BIOS-less mobo, thus making it useless while running Linux or possibly even MacOS. They have done it in the past, and much of what he says is true. He forgets one very important thing though: whatever can be done, can be undone.

I’m not saying it won’t be a pain in the ass; my own struggle with ATI drivers attests to the problems of running Linux in a Windows-oriented world. The fact is, though, that I did manage to get them working. Anything is possible if you put the rights heads together on a problem, and some of the brightest people in the world are Linux enthusiasts who take great joy in subverting Bill Gates’ dream of a computing world he controls.

On top of that, it is far more difficult to make something secure than it is to bypass those securities – it’s a simple fact of engineering. Take a look at your car: it has an ignition key lock that costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 to replace and locks on the door of a similar nature, but the doors can be openned with a simple piece of flat metal and the car started by simply bridging a couple of wires under the dash and kicking the wheel to break the turn-lock. Hell, I once stunned a frined of mine by bypassing his $7,000 home-security syatsm with a piece of wire and two alligator clips.

Now, the examples I just gave you are examples of illegal behavior. While Microsoft and it’s partners would like you to think so, using a device or tool for something other than it’s intended purpose is NOT inherently illegal – it’s the how you use it that may be illegal. Using a VCR to record a show for later playback is not illegal, it’s the distribution of that copy that gets you in trouble. What we’re talking about here is using a device for it’s intended purpose, just not in a way that MS & Co approve of.

It’s like using a pair of pliers to pound a nail. Is it the easiest way to do that? No. Will it work? Yup. Is it illegal? Get real.

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