Monday, February 04, 2002

Trustworthy Computing I had a conversation with someone at Microsoft today about trustworthy computing. She assured me that the February Morotorium on new features was true, and that Microsoft was dedicated to this new vision of Trustworthy Computing. It's going to take more than a month of refactoring to get there though. Microsoft is going to have to change the way it fundamentally does business. So let's think about some catalytic mechanisms the company could adopt that would force real change:

1) Support immediate, full disclosure of vulnerabilities with exploits.
Microsoft can't hide from it's own bad code

2) Both Microsoft and independent developers to get all APIs of the same, open documentation.
No secret APIs. Microsoft must build better products based on superior development processes, not coercion

3) Open file formats.
People should use Microsoft applications because they're better, not because they're trapped by secret code

4) Split Applications from OS
Again, people should use Microsoft because they want to, not because they've been coerced into it.

Trust is having confidence that your supplier has your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, in a closed platform world, this is *only* true until the vendor has built up an installed base. After that point, a supplier's economic imperitive is to harvest monopoly rents, not to better serve customer needs. If Microsoft is serious about building trust, it must abandon platform economics. Kind of like Red Hat


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