Bonum Certa Men Certa

With Microsoft, 'Security' Is Code for 'Monopoly'

Bruce Schneier: With iPhone, 'Security' Is Code for 'Control'

A couple of readers have asked us to cover what initially seemed like old news. Slashdot picked it up some hours ago, the the story appears to have been reborn. It's about Microsoft treating GNU/Linux on a dual-boot system like it's garbage, throwing it away under the guise and excuse which is "security".



One reader writes: "I just spotted this piece of news. The war Redmond is waging against GNU/Linux intensifies. [...] I'm sure they will ridiculously attempt to justify this step for security reasons (but what best security measure than running a virus-resilient OS instead of windows in order to perform a sensitive task with safety than having a dual boot system - for example for online banking or to recover data from a windows partition after suffering a winOS crash-)."

Two similar examples where Microsoft used "security" to battle competition include:

  1. Blocking of access to old file types due to so-called "security issues". Why fix some undisclosed flaws when you can force an upgrade (more revenue)? Is OOXML really more secure or is it somewhat of a back door?


  2. Then there's the story about Microsoft trying to block virtualisation (of GNU/Linux of course) using a EULA, thus putting limitations also on the BIOS. Microsoft's excuse was "security", but antitrust interference had them give up the charade. It remains to be seen how it ends up.


At the moment, almost 1 in 2 Windows PCs is a zombie PC. When Microsoft speaks of dual-boot, i.e. GNU/Linux, as a security hazard (as opposed to ActiveX, back doors, and other cracker- or government-friendly 'facilities'), one can hardly keep a straight face.

Politicians typically use words like "paedophiles" and "terrorists" to justify radical action or modification of the law. Microsoft too uses the same tactics, but it uses the word "security". While there may be an element of truth sometimes, don't believe it for a second. It's a case of cutting off an entire limb because of a bad fingertip or toe tip. It's opportunistic.

"Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect."

--Linus Torvalds

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