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Licensed Operating Systems

Thu Aug 21 10:03:39 GMT 2003

I've written earlier about "illegal" Linux, but I now think I have a pretty good idea how it could come to be.

John Dvorak wrote about licensing computer users, but that's not what's going to happen. No, what the s.o.b's will probably try to do is license operating systems that can connect to the internet.

Here's the argument they'll make: unpatched, unlicensed operating systems are too dangerous. National security is at stake, and businesses are losing billions of dollars because of this.

Only "approved" operating systems will be allowed to connect. Of course Microsoft will happily include Windows 98 and NT4 in the unapproved list, because then it's not their fault you have to upgrade.

Microsoft and anyone else who wants to play will have to build certain bogus "safeguards" into their offerings, but no Open Source need apply because obviously it's too easy to pervert the safeguards if you have source. So anything you can build yourself, that hasn't been compiled by a duly licensed operating system vendor, will be illegal on the Net.

So you'll be able to use your Linux, but not if it connects to the internet. Effectively, that means you can't use it at all.

This really can happen. I am certain that plans along this line are being pitched by some jerk right now. Our legislators will love the idea: it shows them as being proactive on national security, pro-business, anti-virus, anti-spam, and think of the economic boost from all those forced upgrades and conversions. Heck, it's tech boom all over again.

Keep your eyes and ears open. If you see anything that even vaguely smells like this, report it and try to counter it. I don't think I'm off base here.. though I would love to be.

See Internet access is not a right also.

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. (Helen Keller)

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