Linux-Windows piracy, Cost of hacking, Tortuous Bitstream

If Microsoft wants further proof of the demonic aspirations of the Penguin from Hell, it needs look no further than the latest Gartner study.

Top Stories

- Linux abets Windows piracy

- The cost of hacking

- It’s a tortuous Bitstream all right

- Linux abets Windows piracy

If Microsoft wants further proof of the demonic aspirations of the Penguin from Hell, it needs look no further than the latest Gartner study.

Likewise, Penguinistas must despair at the findings of the study, which says people in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America buy PCs with a Linux distribution preinstalled and then wipe it and install a pirated copy of Windows.

This way everyone loses out. Microsoft doesn’t get license fees, the uptake of Linux doesn’t increase and there’s the security aspect to worry about: pirated and out-of-date operating systems don’t last long on the Internet before they get compromised.

Microsoft’s strategy of selling cheaper but stripped-down versions of Windows to combat the piracy isn’t likely to work either. How could it, when for a few dollars users can buy the pirated full version of Windows?

- Gartner: piracy driving Linux PC shipments

- The cost of hacking?

I did a double-take when reading the differing estimates for the damage caused by a “37 year old Dunedin academic” currently on trial under the new computer crimes act. The company that the miscreant worked for and attacked on three occasions sells turnkey online music stores.

While the company’s CEO reckons they’re $400,000 out of pocket, the QC for the defence whittled that figure down to around $1,500. Why the big difference?

According to the news report, said QC suggested it isn’t necessary for the hacked company to replace the code that has been tampered with. Would that fly with the company’s music store customers, the RIAA and the banks handling credit card authorisation? How will they know that all possible backdoors have been weeded out of the code?

As we don’t know what part of the system the hacker accessed illicitly, it’s hard to say what needs to be replaced and what doesn’t. How else but a complete code audit and overhaul would the company regain the trust of its customers though?

Also, $65 per hour for a highly skilled programmer, just a single one, to reprogram everything? The defence counsel obviously has intimate knowledge of our under-resourced and under-paid industry. Sigh.

- Stuff: Hacker caused $400,000 damage - businessman

- It’s a tortuous Bitstream all right

So, the interim form of the low-speed and low-grade unbundled bitstream service (UBS) with its measly 256/128kbit/s bandwidth and up to 1 second latency specification is out this week. Hooray.

ISPs weren’t exactly enthusiastic about UBS before, and are even less so now that Telecom torpedoed it with a bunch of new Jetstream DSL plans. If you have a choice of either 256kbit/s download speed or 1 or 2Mbit/s for the same price… it’s not a difficult choice, is it? ISPs will be forced to resell the new plans even though it means possible exposure to “TSO Tax” obligations.

It’s almost certain that the UBS farce won’t be seen by the Commissioner and Government as a waste of time and money as well as an anti-competitive squeeze on the UBS ISPs. Instead, expect cheery announcements about how the regulation is working to deliver broadband to the dirty unwashed dial-up users.

The new Jetstream plans are indeed better than the old slowpoke DSL and UBS but… look at the upstream speed as well as the downstream one. With the upstream rate-limited to 128-192kbit/s the new plans ain’t going to deliver the expected performance for peer-to-peer applications and hosting games, or for that matter, when you’re uploading that set of five megapixel photos somewhere, or digital home videos and so forth. The Internet is a two-way street, not a broadcast medium.

In other words, we’re still waiting for a real residential broadband alternative. How many more years and law amendments and conferences and investigations and determinations and twisting and turning will that take?

- Better wholesale margins for new Telecom DSL plans

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