North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Re: product liability (was: Virus Update)

  • From: Shawn McMahon
  • Date: Tue May 09 17:51:46 2000

On Tue, 9 May 2000, Jim Mercer wrote:
> it is not enough to say that people don't have time to read and/or patch
> their systems.
> that is like saying that there is no time to train school bus drivers,
> just send them out to pick up our kids.

However, if the bus were designed so that it was possible for a passing
driver to honk his horn in a certain way and cause the wheels to fall off,
and there was a switch under the dash to turn that behavior off, *AND* the
company that makes the bus ships them with the switched turn ON and no big
sign on the dash that says "warning; turn this switch off before you drive
this thing", we'd sue the bejeezus out of them.

You're talking about a product sold under the advertising promise that
little to no training is necessary, and with default behavior that makes it
TRIVIAL to write crap like this.

Not just possible; not even easy, but TRIVIAL.  Any high school kid with a
couple of "Idiots Guide to Visual Basic in 21 Days for Dummies" books under
his belt could have written this, and if he'd had a class on programming
he'd have written better code than this piece of crap.

If he'd tried to write something similar for a Unix system, he'd have done
a little damage to a couple of systems, max.  Most of those hit would have
at worst lost the files of a single user.

But as it is, even large companies that don't use Outlook had expensive
damage, because of Microsoft shipping complex unmanageable
cruft-accumulated bloatware that can't be locked down very well even by the
top experts in the field without removing functionality that Microsoft
proclaims to the world that you need to go Where You Want To Go Today.

Where I want to go today is to work without having to recover 1,300 files
damaged by two idiots double-clicking something they shouldn't have.

Ask CBS' network folks where they want to go today.  They'll probably tell
you "to Redmond, with AK-47s".