Wednesday, March 13, 2002

SSSCA and the New York Times Jonathon Zittrain is an assistant professor at Harvard Law School and was roommates with one of my professors here at Chicago, Austan Goolsbee. Zittrain has a NYTimes Op-Ed piece where he talks about the SSSCA, and how getting computers to do less would make them more reliable.

While it's true that complexity is the enemy of reliability, and one way to reduce complexity is to strip out functionality, it is also possible to have secure, flexible, powerful systems (see Unix). And while I'm sure there's a market for simpler Internet appliances that do less, Zittrain fails to point out is that the SSSCA aims to outlaw the general purpose computer entirely (along with general purpose operating systems, like GNU/Linux). And we know there's a large market for general purpose computers.

If people want to buy an uncomputer (like a TiVO) they're welcome to do so. But outlawing the general purpose PC is insane.


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