Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Criticised for Trying to Tax UNIX and Linux Users Over Windows Zombies

Accounting calculator tax return



Summary: Microsoft's government insider and executive is told off for his distasteful plan of fighting the plague of Windows botnets at taxpayers' expense

USERS of GNU/Linux, BSD, and Mac OS X already suffer from Windows because they receive SPAM, get around outages (mostly caused by DDoS attacks), and they have their personal details stolen from compromised servers. Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft's Charney having the nerve to suggest a universal Internet tax to clean up Microsoft's mess (or at least trying, obviously in vain). Charney's statement was extremely unpopular (more coverage in [1, 2]).



Mike Masnick explains why Microsoft's analogies are totally improper:

Tank Szuba alerts us to the story about a Microsoft security exec suggesting that it might make sense to implement an internet usage tax to help fund a "computer healthcare system" to fix the notoriously insecure software that his company produces.

[...]

Has he looked at how well healthcare has been working lately? Of course, as with healthcare, the real issue should be preventative efforts, and those mainly start with Microsoft and how it architects its software. But I guess it's easier to just ask everyone to pay a tax to hide that.


Joe Brockmeier, who left Novell not so long ago, explains the role of operating systems in all this:

The idea of Microsoft-funded PSAs advertising Linux as a way to avoid Internet-spread malware sounds much more reasonable than taxing all users to shore up defenses against Windows-based botnets. And it would give Microsoft an added incentive to work harder to solve the problem. If and when Windows-based botnets are a thing of the past, then the company could stop paying for the PSAs. At least that makes more sense than a general taxation for end users.


A contributor of ours, sebsebseb, told us last night about another botnet (among so many) being taken down in Spain:

Spanish authorities have arrested three men in an operation that has crushed a major botnet network of infected computers.


Given that one in two Windows PCs is said to be a zombie PC [1, 2], the above will have virtually no effect. The root problem is not botmasters but botmasters-friendly operating systems, in the sense that they are easy to hijack remotely. And now that Microsoft offers no patches for IE6, things are bound to get worse (not just for web developers, who have suffered enough).

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