Forum OpenACS Q&A: MS in Peruvian open-source nightmare

Posted by David Kuczek on
"There's a letter circulating, purportedly from Peruvian Congressman
David Villanueva Nunez to Microsoft Peru, which cuts the heart out of
Redmond's chief 'panic points' to chill those considering open-source

Apparently, the Peruvian government is considering a bill mandating
open-source software for all public bureaux. From the congressman's
letter, we gather that MS had circulated a FUD communique calculated
to frighten world + dog with images of collapsing domestic software
markets, spiraling costs and systems migration nightmares. Villanueva
Nunez slices and dices with great skill to reveal the internal
inconsistencies, unsupportable claims and irrational conclusions which
the MS flacks trade in.

The letter provides the most thoughtful and thorough rebuttal we've
ever seen to Microsoft's standard open-source terror boilerplate."

Posted by Don Baccus on
I like this sarcastic snippet:
If the transnational software companies decide not to compete under these new rules of the game, it is likely that they will undergo some decrease in takings in terms of payment for licences; however, considering that these firms continue to allege that much of the software used by the State has been illegally copied, one can see that the impact will not be very serious.
Posted by Tom Jackson on

Thanks David! Anyone considering the use of proprietary software should be directed to this letter. Almost subconsiously, users and decision makers absorb the many points made by the Microsoft Rep.; so it is nice to have them put down in ink for all to see.

Posted by Bjorn Thor Jonsson on

Open-Source Fight Flares At Pentagon
Microsoft Lobbies Hard Against Free Software

Posted by Roberto Mello on
What I don't understand is how can Microsoft be telling the pentagon that free software is bad when it has testified before a federal court ( its products are so flawed that even publishing specs for some of its products will become a risk to national security?

How can a company with such products recommend _anything_ to the pentagon, where security is simply an absolute requirement?

That doesn't make any sense to me.

Posted by Talli Somekh on
Roberto writes: "How can a company with such products recommend _anything_ to the pentagon, where security is simply an absolute requirement?"

i would comment on that, but, well, that one is too easy...


Posted by David Walker on
This seem dangerous. Software glitches leave Navy Smart Ship dead in the water

At least with an open operating system the naval troubleshooters can locate and fix the problem whether it is in their application or in the operating system. That sounds more secure to me. I hate to think of our national security being dependent on source code that some company keeps hidden from our government.

Of course, the alternative would bother me as well. Opening the source code to the naval programmers and our government pay them to fix MS source code so MS can sell it and make lots of money at our expense. The only solution that wouldn't bother me too much is for MS to continue selling their product but include source code with each purchase (unfortunately their product is probably so buggy we would have to put up with 10 years of horrible security issues before things would get better).
Posted by Jerry Asher on
It's almost certainly the case that the Navy did have the source to NT.    When I was in aerospace, the source to everything, including our software, the OS we were using, and any third party drivers were always  part of any contract with the government and that included the Air Force and Navy contracts.

That doesn't enable the Navy to fix their boat in the blue water though.  Good engineering is what would enable them to fix their boat, and actually, I think that could occur, even using NT as the base OS.

The Yorktown problem wasn't merely NT related.  The Yorktown incident occurred September 97, when NT 4 was released only 13 months earlier.  I am appalled that the Navy chose NT 4 to base all their stuff on, in May 97 with NT 4 only being ten months old.  It had to be a political decision.  (Not dems vs. repubs or yangs vs coms, but someone looking to make rear admiral.)

It was just awful engineering all the way around to pick such an immature OS, to test it as poorly as they seemingly did, and not to have designed other failsafe mechanisms to handle and recover from crashes.

I've always been surprised to read just these initial stories of the towing, with never any followup.  What has happened?  How was the original decision made and by whom?  Has the Navy, five years later, gone to a total NT commitment?  Did Congress or anyone ever investigate?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Posted by David Walker on
It probably isn't fair to quote the Yorktown story as I think the program was problably in beta or 1.0 at the time. I bring it up because of the frustrated experiences I have had with servers locking up and me having no clue why.

I'm glad to hear that about the source code. I feel more secure with the idea that Microsoft probably doesn't have a back door into our weapons systems. I'd hate to hear of Bill Gates ordering attacks on AOL. (especially since I run AOLserver).

According to the smart ship program has continued and is scheduled for Phase II this fall.
Posted by Talli Somekh on
David Walker writes: "...the smart ship program has continued and is scheduled for Phase II this fall."

Oh man. This shit is too rich. "Smartship", huh...

During the Kosovo campaign in 99, I remember hearing about a cruise missile that, uh, "missed" it's target.

What happened was that this missile was of the radar tracking variety. As it made it's way into Yugoslavia, it picked up a radar signal. The Yugo army, realizing a missile had locked onto a particular radar signal, shut that one off. The missile, being "smart", quickly picked up the next signal it could find and promptly smashed that signal's source.

Unfortunately, that signal was in Bulgaria (another country, for you kiddies who don't know the Balkans that well. Oh, and for DonB too.)

However, I must admit I don't what OS that missile and its systems were running. I bet the Bulgarians might know, though.

Of course, this episode must be a totally anomolous moment in military technology history...


Posted by Jerry Asher on
This is straying pretty far afield of an open source discussion, but yeah, that can happen and has, just last October when a Ukrainian missile, flying past its intended target, retargeted on a Russian airliner flying out of Israel killing all 78 aboard.

Ukrainian missile was culprit in Black Sea shoot-down -- Jane's.