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Fighting Claims That Open Source Is Insecure? 84

Posted by Cliff
from the ways-to-counter-the-fud dept.
Lumpy asks: "Lately there has been a HUGE push by Certified Microsoft Professionals and their companies to call clients and warn them of the dangers of open source. This week I received calls from 4 different customers that they were warned that they are dangerously insecure because they run Open Source Operating systems or Software because 'anyone can read the code and hack you with ease' they are being told. Other colleagues in the area also have noticed this about 3 Microsoft Partners or so they claim have been going out of their way to strike fear of OSS in companies that respond with 'yes we use Open source or Linux' when the sales call comes in. I know this is simply a sales tactic by these companies that will remain nameless, but how do I fix the damage caused by these sales tactics? I have several customers that now want more than my word about the security of the systems that have worked for them flawlessly for over 5-6 years now with minimal expense outside of upgrades and patching for security. Does anyone have a good plan or sources of reliable information that can be used to inform the customer?"
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Fighting Claims That Open Source Is Insecure?

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  • Just tell them to wait till the new year to make a decision.... long enough for Microsoft's shiny new baby to show itself just as insecure, or even more so
    • Even simpler... (Score:5, Informative)

      by rbochan (827946) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:36PM (#17068344) Homepage
      One word:
      botnets [wikipedia.org]

      Then you can explain how it's actually the closed source OS that is the [techweb.com] most [zdnet.co.uk] damaging [microsoft-watch.com].
      Hell, just show them some apache logs that are still constantly being hit by things like IIS servers still infected with Sasser, years after it should have been eradicated.

      • by toadlife (301863)

        "Hell, just show them some apache logs that are still constantly being hit by things like IIS servers still infected with Sasser, years after it should have been eradicated."

        What do stupid admins who don't bother to patch their boxes have to do with the security of the OS they use?

        I could show them the auth logs on my BSD router that shows owned linux boxes trying to brute force sshd every day, but that would certainly not prove that linux is insecure, would it?

        Seriously, if people buy into the "open source less secure because the code is open" bullshit, they probably shouldn't be running any kind of server.

        • by AmigaBen (629594)
          Seriously, if people buy into the "open source less secure because the code is open" bullshit, they probably shouldn't be running any kind of server.

          Well, there's a good realistic suggestion for him!

  • you said the solutions work well with minimal expense. I would start with telling them to use the evidence in front of their own eyes. Next I would also mention that they have "only the word" of the people pushing the anti-open-source views also. Remember: Just because you can see the source doesn't mean the bugs (which are necessary for exploits) exist.

    Aside from that, google for security comparisons for the open source solutions you promote and their competition.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by casings (257363)
      saying that software is 100% bug free, or not exploitable is a complete fallacy.

      all software has bugs in it, there is no such thing as a completely secure application.

      the point of open source software is the more eyes you have looking at code, the easier it is to find and patch these bugs...

      the problem with closed source software is that the bugs aren't easily as found, and certainly not easy to patch, especially since only few have access to the source. So while the bugs exist, they go unfound, generally
      • I didn't mean that open source has no bugs - I meant to say that they are more rare, for the reasons you mentioned. At least, in the security department, when security matters.
      • the problem with closed source software is that the bugs aren't easily as found, and certainly not easy to patch, especially since only few have access to the source. So while the bugs exist, they go unfound, generally found first by some obscure hacker who may or may not have the best intentions.

        Or worse, if your vendor won't release news (or a workaround) of a bug until there is a patch. If they don't put out a patch for a few months, you're not only SOL, you don't even know it!

      • Re:well... (Score:4, Informative)

        by The_Wilschon (782534) on Friday December 01, 2006 @05:33PM (#17072882) Homepage
        all software has bugs in it, there is no such thing as a completely secure application.
        Not so. Computer code can be proven to be correct according to a specification. Now of course this is prohibited by effort on any kind of large or even medium scale, and furthermore you would have to not only prove your code, but also libc, the kernel, the cpu microcode, the bios, any firmware, the physical design of the motherboard, etc. However, if you do prove both your code and the platform it is running on, and the specification doesn't have any security problems (sometimes easy to establish, sometimes not), then you have a completely secure application.

        You might say, yes yes, I know about all that, but you can't actually do that in practice. I would bet, though, that some of the early electronic calculators were proven correct. The people making them in the very beginning were probably interested in such things. Perhaps some apps running on MIT LISP machines were also proven (LISP is easiest to prove, and the MIT AI lab people are the type to do it), although in this case it is unlikely that the entire platform up to the app was also proven. So it is not so cut and dried as to allow you to say that there are no completely secure apps. Reasonable, useful apps today, probably none are completely secure, since I doubt that any kernels are completely secure if for no other reason. But nonetheless, it is possible to have 100% bug free, 100% secure software.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nevyn (5505) *

        saying that software is 100% bug free, or not exploitable is a complete fallacy.

        all software has bugs in it, there is no such thing as a completely secure application.

        Yes, and no. You can't make "bug free" software, because one persons feature (or lack of) is another's bug. However, I believe, you can make secure (read: no remote exploits) software. That's a much smaller scope you have to defend against, and it's mostly testable. Also multiple people have done it [and.org], or claim to have done it ... includ [and.org]

      • by segin (883667)
        I can write a program that has no bugs:
        int main() { for(;;); }
        See? It does EXACTLY as intended no matter what - loop around and eat up CPU time!
  • I see and interesting article [theregister.com] on the reg about vulnerabilities in commercial software.

    And why is any solution more secure than any other..???
  • Open source use (Score:5, Informative)

    by pubjames (468013) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:11PM (#17067840)
    I think one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate open source is to show people how much they are using without even knowing it.

    On a couple of occasions I've spoken to IT people who have said things like "we'd never touch open source because..." and then I've been able to point out multiple ways they use it without realising it. If they use google, if they use email, if they use many websites, then they're using open source software. Many bits of hardware contain open source code (wifi boxes for instance). Many companies are using Apache for their web sites without realising it.

    Another good argument is just to spout off a list of Fortune 500 companies who use open source to run their websites. "it's secure enough for IBM, but not secure enough for you?" is the type of argument that's difficult to counter. Very often they just don't know much about it.

    The problem you have to fight in people who say things like "open source is insecure" is their ignorance.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``The problem you have to fight in people who say things like "open source is insecure" is their ignorance.''

      That, and the fact that people don't like to be confronted with their shortcomings. So they may be ignorant, they may be wrong, they may even know it, but that doesn't mean they'll admit it and do the Right Thing.
    • Many think of OSS as something created by hobbyists for fun and do not realize that many of those "volunteers" are fully employed programmers by companies like IBM, Novell, Sun, Red Hat, Oracle, etc. etc. etc. that have realized that they don't have to do EVERYTHING in house but they better cooperate on some things and compete on others. They invest by dedicating programming resources that the "contribute" to the public, but this is based on a business decision that it is more cost effective to share their
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:13PM (#17067882)
    Ask your customer a simple question in reply:

    Does that fact that closed source software hides it's defects mean that it doesn't have any defects?

    Or, how about the really important one:

    Would you rather be at the mercy of your vendors to disclose (against their own self-interest) and fix security issues (on their own timetable); or would you rather have a multitude of people, who are dedicated to the values of openness and transparency, constantly striving to keep open source software as secure as possible?
    • by KermodeBear (738243) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:22PM (#17068054) Homepage
      You can also make an analogy to government using the parent's ideas. Would you rather have an open, transparent government where you can inspect each and every process or would you rather have a closed, secretive government where anything can happen without your knowledge?
      • by lawpoop (604919)
        This sounds like a typical geek answer that sounds ridiculous to a non-geek.

        "We brought this guy in here to discuss the security of our software, and now he's ranting about the government!?"
      • Problem with that is that there are so many people today who think "OMG TER'RISTS!" and decide that since the government has told them that being more closed will help them fight terrorists, the government should be more closed. So you'd have to know who you were talking to pretty well before deciding to use that argument.
    • by turbidostato (878842) on Friday December 01, 2006 @02:08PM (#17068998)
      "Ask your customer a simple question in reply:
      Does that fact that closed source software hides it's defects mean that it doesn't have any defects?"

      To attain exactly, what?
      Just to follow your argument, here comes the obvious answer to your "counter-question":

      Of course closed software has its defects. But then, its defects are hidden, aren't they? So they are obviously more difficult to exploit, and I prefer to have a software its defects are difficult to exploit rather than one which is easy to exploit. I'm questioning my confidence on your ability to have the things done if I have to explain to you such an obvious thing!

      "Would you rather be at the mercy of your vendors to disclose (against their own self-interest) and fix security issues (on their own timetable); or would you rather have a multitude of people, who are dedicated to the values of openness and transparency, constantly striving to keep open source software as secure as possible?"

      Hummm... at the end of the day, a USA corporation may be held legally liable. Do you really expect me to try to recover damages from a stinky teenager deep in Soviet Russia (where teenagers stink you) that happened to develop some seemingly cute software in his spare time?

      No, the answer has been already told. If they really are paying attention at such stupid arguments like those from 'M$ drones', they are ignorant about these issues, and the best course of action is enligth them in such a way they can understand:

      Look at IBM: they extensively use open source and it seems they are not going into bankrupcy anytime soon.
      Look at Google: they critically use open source, they have an ashtounding computer-base all around the globe and still it doesn't seem like they are hacked everyday, do they?

      You can ask a question *then*:
      Look at IBM or at Google, or at almost every Fortune 100 out there; they do well using open source. Don't you find suspicious the only ones pesting about open source are companies (Microsoft and its VARs) that *do* would go bankrupcy if open source took the computer world for a raid?
      • by Toba82 (871257)
        I take exception to this.

        I'm not stinky.
      • "Hummm... at the end of the day, a USA corporation may be held legally liable. Do you really expect me to try to recover damages from a stinky teenager deep in Soviet Russia"

        As opposed to the enormous success corporations have had in recovering damages from major commercial software vendors?
        • "As opposed to the enormous success corporations have had in recovering damages from major commercial software vendors?"

          Since this FUD campaign seems to gain some success, is obvious it is not a matter of facts, but a matter or perceptions. The ignorant one that pays on the arguments of Microsoft's marketroids certainly will try the 'liability argument', so you better avoid that field.
    • Better questions would be:

      Where are the articles about companies losing data due to defects in OSS?

      Now where are the articles about IE (for example)?

      Once they compare them, they will see the light.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:15PM (#17067916) Homepage Journal
    "'anyone can read the code and hack you with ease'"

    Likewise, anyone can read the code and repair it with ease.

    High-profile projects run by responsible people will benefit from the "many eyeballs" approach and be better quality than if they were closed-source run by a team of a few or dozens of people.

    The FUDsters do have a point when it comes to out-of-date or low-profile software:

    If an adversary knows YOU run last-year's version of apache or that you run some obscure open-source database on your web site, they can find and exploit bugs that are either already fixed or that nobody else is looking for.

    The moral of the story:
    1) Stay current with security patches
    2) Hide what you use from the adversary. If they don't know you run ObscureWebServer 1.0, they don't know to try attacking it first. Keep them guessing.
    3) Make sure the official vendor/caretaker takes reports of security breaches seriously and is willing to consider patches from the community

    above all,

    4) Don't depend on your software's security to protect your assets. Make sure you have good backups. Train your employees against social engineering attacks.

    Security is but one of many factors that go into the open/closed source decision.

    For me, two of the biggest factors are:
    1) if the product is abandoned or sunsetted, I can maintain it myself or hire someone to maintain it
    2) If I don't care about paid-for support, I can use the product on as many machines as I want without worrying about "product activation" or getting sued.
    • by brass1 (30288)
      The FUDsters do have a point when it comes to out-of-date or low-profile software:

      If an adversary knows YOU run last-year's version of apache or that you run some obscure open-source database on your web site, they can find and exploit bugs that are either already fixed or that nobody else is looking for.


      That's no different than a site running Windows 2000, or IIS 1.1 on their website. This point also holds true for closed source as well as open source. The intent is differentiate between closed and open
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tacocat (527354)

      Rather than going through all this debate (de-bait?)...

      I like the point of Past Performance and the special interests that Microsoft has in telling you the other software is "bad"

      BTW -

      Apple is based on Open Source.
      SUN Solaris 10 is Open Source (mostly?)
      IBM has chosen to grant much of it's invested IP to Open Source

      If that doesn't convince them even a little bit then you might just consider one of your two remaining options:

      Quote how much is would cost in new servers, software for converting to 100%

    • ...
      The moral of the story:
      1) Stay current with security patches
      2) Hide what you use from the adversary. If they don't know you run ObscureWebServer 1.0, they don't know to try attacking it first. Keep them guessing....
      Point 2 is just a variation of security by obscurity. Since a simple port scan can identify your software and its version number, this point can be ignored.
      • You clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

        Firstly, you seem to be misinformed about what a port scan is. A port scan will only tell you which ports are opened (or filtered or closed). While it's possible to guess which services are running by assuming any open ports are running their IANA assigned services, this isn't necessarily the case. It is possible for some port scanning software to guess which operating system you are running by comparing it's behavior with existing data, but this isn't ne

  • Security design (Score:2, Informative)

    by iainl (136759)
    Open Source knows the source is going to be open. So the security model starts from knowing that will be the case.

    Closed Source security thinks that no-one else knows what is in there. THINKS being the operative word. Maybe they've worked on that assumption, and just obscured the holes rather than fixed them. Maybe they've left some deliberate backdoors, on the grounds that no-one else knows they are there. Possibly not, but you don't know that.

    The MS people are correct to say that it is easier to construct
  • Put it in terms they will understand ie Open source is like building a house and letting lots of eyes look at it for ways a thief can get in. Any holes that get noticed will get sealed with bricks Closed source is like building a house, then blindfolding you when you want to look at it - so you dont notice the large hole in the wall and the people getting in and out through it.
  • This logic assumes that the bad guys are smarter than the good guys and are much better at finding vulnerabilities in code ... or that they can do this faster than the good guys can fix them. It's so damn stupid and easy to refute, and it has been refuted numerous times.

    The only thing that closed source does is to create a false sense of security ... 'they can't see the code, so they can't find vulnerabilities'. This completely ignores other methods such as reverse engineering and just plain stubborn testi

  • by chroot_james (833654) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:21PM (#17068048) Homepage
    I find what Adobe said [linux.com] about software development for Linux simply being hard more interesting than the security question. My experience has been that most people expect any platform to not be as secure as they'd like the same way they've expected their computers to not be as stable as they'd like. The thing they need is good software and now Adobe is pointing out that writing and maintaining software for Linux is difficult because, despite some good efforts, there still is no standard definition for what a linux system is or contains...
    • "and now Adobe is pointing out that writing and maintaining software for Linux is difficult because, despite some good efforts, there still is no standard definition for what a linux system is or contains..."

      Well, Apache Software, MySQL AB, Postgres folks, KDE Team, Gnome fanboys, Mozilla Foundation... they all don't seem to find writing and maintaing software for Linux (and *BSD, and quite some different Unix flavours) to be so terribly difficult, so maybe Adobe's efforts are not so good after all, despit
    • by doshell (757915)

      I think the problem is that companies like Adobe still haven't realised "Linux" isn't a single entity. They have to regard different Linux distributions as different (even though similar) targets for their software -- instead of trying to release a "compatible with all Linux distributions, even if we have to include all required libraries instead of using those of the host system" package, which unfortunately is often the case.

      As a related note, I don't buy the "standard package manager for Linux" argumen

  • by NullProg (70833) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:22PM (#17068068) Homepage Journal
    I have several customers that now want more than my word about the security of the systems that have worked for them flawlessly for over 5-6 years now with minimal expense outside of upgrades and patching for security.

    Try IBM,
    http://www-1.ibm.com/linux/opensource/ [ibm.com]
    Download some of the report PDFs and send them to your clients.

    This week I received calls from 4 different customers that they were warned that they are dangerously insecure because they run Open Source Operating systems or Software because 'anyone can read the code and hack you with ease' they are being told.

    I'd have your sales rep call your clients and let them know that your company shares thier concern. At the same time remind them of SQL Slammer, Code Red, Melissa, Blaster, etc. Point out all the other companies using OSS products, Google, Wall Street, etc.

    Of course I'm just a programmer, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
    Enjoy,
  • by internewt (640704) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:25PM (#17068150) Journal

    The fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia has this article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the _Bazaar [wikipedia.org], which is interesting. Its an essay/book about open source development, and there is a link to the full text in the WP article. There's a chapter about why open development is good (from a quick look at te text), and I know I've read similar-minded texts on sites like gnu.org and fsf.org, but was unable to find them. I think Cory Doctorow has written some good articles about secrets and the management of them, but I think his are more DRM musings, though the same principles apply to proprietry software vs. open software.

    Articles about why SSH etc. are secure, even though their inner workings are wide open to the world, may be helpful too.

  • A lot of this centers around that because the source is exposed, anyone could exploit it for flaws.

    Consider which is less secure, a project whose source is always available, or a project whose source suddenly becomes available? I would guess that since Microsoft has never officially had its source be in the hands of hackers, there are TONS more exploits there that if you did see the source, you would easily find. Since OSS is always visible, people are quick to point out and fix various holes. This is a much more effective way to manage source control, since any fixed number of people can only read so much into a massive body of source code.

    Also, not anyone can modify the actual gold master source for an OSS project, so it's not insecure in that way.
    • Here's an example with bank vaults. Suppose I have two identical looking bank vaults, one showing the schematic and one hiding it. Which one can you exploit more easily? The vault showing the schematic has nothing to hide... if it's secure, then seeing the schematic doesn't make getting through a foot of steel any easier. However, the one not showing the schematic might have reason not to show it from a security standpoint, i.e. that little screw in the back of the vault, that if you just were to unscre
  • Open source is more secure given an equal number of bugs, and probably has fewer bugs. Here's why:

    Scenario: A piece of software contains some exploitable bug.

    Closed source software: Bad guys reverse-engineering the code probably find the bug before it is found by the general public (the only other possibility is that it's found and fixed by the vendor's QA). It becomes known after it starts getting exploited in the wild. People notice they're getting hacked, put pressure on the vendor. The vendor needs

    • "Open Source projects never need to rush out a release to meet quarterly-revenue targets or arbitrary market windows."

      Just tell that, ie. to Red Hat Inc.
      • by mutterc (828335)

        Good point, though in their cases, the part that gets the commercial treatment is usually a small part of the product, rather than the whole product, mitigating the effect.

        To take a random example, RedHat creates kernel patches for various purposes. Those kernel patches are subject to most of the usual commercial-development pressures I mentioned, so they don't get the usual open-source quality boost. (I don't actually know if they're good or bad quality; let's for the sake of discussion assume the worst

        • You don't need to explain that to me. I was just taking the 'devil's advocate' role.

          And you cannot have it both ways: you either explain that properly chosen open source software can be as "corporative" as any privative one, in which case your "no commercial pressure" doesn't hold water, or you try to go with the "no pressure argument" and the next you will be told is that if there's no commercial pressure is because such software is developed by pimply teenagers in their basement.

          So, all in all, I find be
  • by hey! (33014) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:43PM (#17068494) Homepage Journal
    then simply note that that the assumption being made is that all software is flimsy. The point of open source is to subject software to examination so that it is strenghtened.

    Here's a good analogy. If I walk into my local bank branch, I can see the bank vault behind the tellers. The massive, foot thick steel door stands wide open, and if you look, you can see the network of gears and lever bars that are needed to for a person of ordinary strength to drive home the dozen massive two inch hardened steel bolts that secure the vault when locked.

    Now, the design of the door mechanism might useful information for me if I wanted to break into the vault. The bank is placing this information in full view in part to reassure its customers. But it also deters people like me from even trying. Yes, it reveals potential vulnerablities, but on balance the message to me is that there are more practical ways to make a buck.

    Being confident enough to expose your vulerabilities is a good sign, not a bad one.

    Hiding vulnerabilities is not a sign of strength. If the customer can't see for himself or through an agent that a piece of software is secure, why bother making it secure? And hiding source code doesn't hide vulnerabilites. A burlgar can make use of floor plans if he has it, but not having floor plans is no deterrant. Furthermore, unlike you, hackers can reverse engineer the source code, so the only party left in the dark is you.

    Here's a good question to ask: has the software vendor subjected his product to a responsible and independent third party security audit? Why not? Companies disclose source code all the time under NDA, so there's no risk there. And it isn't expensive in the grand scheme of things, unless they audit reveals the sofware to be so insecure the vendor has to throw a lot of it out.
  • I would give your clients a list of other companies that rely on open source software. There is a good (but outdated) list of companies [mtechit.com] who use Linux, for example. That's just the OS. What about, for example, companies that use open source scripting languages (Like PHP, Perl, Python, etc.), open source databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Firebird, etc.), and open source web servers (Apache, LightHTTPd, etc.)?

    Many companies rely on open source; Cisco, Google, Yahoo, even the US Military [theregister.co.uk]. Yeah, the "if it is good e
  • OSVDB (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jerf (17166) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:55PM (#17068720) Journal
    Along with any number of other good answers, I'd also point out that Microsoft has a very poor security track record and is hardly in a position to be making ominous threats about other people's security.

    Here's a search for "Microsoft" on the Open Source Vulnerability Database [osvdb.org]. ("Open Source" here refers to the nature of the database, not covering only open source products.) Pop in any other large closed-source vendor you can think of and you'll find something. ("Oracle" is another personal favorite. It may have "Enterprise-class" performance, which I can't vouch for either way having never used it, but it sure doesn't have "Enterprise-class" security.)

    I think the main problem with the implied argument is that you don't need source code to find security vulnerabilities (in fact it might not even be helpful given the other cracking techniques you can use), but you do need it to fix them, with rare exceptions.
  • With open source, as others have said, the source is out there - for anyone to fix or exploit. At the same time, there are well-known people who are discussing open source security, there are well-disclosed flaws and fixes. There is a process and it gives every appearance of working most of the time. Moreover, its operation is generally transparent so we can see when it works and when it doesn't. When it doesn't work, we can also see people upset and trying to fix it.

    Back to those well-known people... About
  • it's not even about Windows versus Linux (or Netware, Vines, OS2, OSX or any other OS you might care to mention) it's about people, it's about experience and about not taking anything or anyone for granted.

    To put this into perspective a colleague and I once received a email from a particularly challenging group of users during an ongoing discussion which stated 'we are *** University Computer Scientists, we are the best sysadmins in the world'. Now while this may or may not be true they do have a far better
  • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .171rorecros.> on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:13PM (#17070188) Homepage
    Open-source software, particularly the big, high-profile projects, tends to be better-written than the closed-source alternatives. There are objective tests [wisc.edu] that illustrate this [com.com], over [informationweek.com] and over [gcn.com].

    You can also point out that, when bugs are found, they tend to be fixed very rapidly, frequently within hours of their discovery. Since the source code is available to everyone, anyone affected can create an update to fix the problem. This happens exceedingly rarely [com.com] in the closed-source world, despite the large numbers of bugs encountered.

  • MS still has a high market share. That means that 9 out of 10 companies are using MS. Each of those companies have money. They have data that can be used against them to generate profit for their competitors or some other party.

    No matter what OS you use, you will have security issues. Just because Open Source has its code open to the public does not make it secure! All it takes is a smart individual to create a piece of code that looks very legit among the OSS community but in actuallity that code's purpose
  • "Lately there has been a HUGE push by Certified Microsoft Professionals and their companies to call clients and warn them of the dangers of open source. This week I received calls from 4 different customers that they were warned that they are dangerously insecure because they run Open Source Operating systems or Software because 'anyone can read the code and hack you with ease' they are being told."

    Look, these people can clearly be influenced by the words from complete strangers with no proof or justificati
  • From TFQ[uestion]:

    I have several customers that now want more than my word about the security of the systems that have worked for them flawlessly for over 5-6 years now with minimal expense outside of upgrades and patching for security.

    It's a damm good thing I'm not one of your customers - because if I saw this, I'd drop you like a hot rock and go find an honest vendor. You've been pushing the religion of OSS - without any facts to back you up. When asked for facts... You have to go the lame rou

    • by NullProg (70833)
      Folks, you want to know why OSS is having such a hard time gaining market and mindshare? The OP is a prime exhibit of the reason - too many zealots who confuse philosophy with business.

      IMHO your being a bit unfair. Have you ever seen Microsofts sales force in action? They are just as much zealots (If your a MS salesforce rep, I apologize, but you are a zealot).

      OSS has market share in Apache right now. OSS has market share (or double digit growth, gaining market share) in Linux servers and embedded Linux p
    • I like that one, mod +100 for humour.

      I've told this before, but let me tell you this again - you ought to get yourself invited to a seminar where MS is flogging its wares to a high value buyer, say, Government. Go there because you can see your tax money being wasted right in front of your eyes.

      A couple of characteristics:

      (1) The person or group they're presenting to rarely has an ability to understand or question the "facts" presented. Classic golf course sales setup.

      (2) The "facts" need careful examinat
      • I love it - you are about the 3rd person to excuse the dishonesty of the OP by explaining how dishonest Microsoft is. Yet more proof of why OSS is getting such a bad rep - too often their recourse is to name calling and finger pointing.
  • I know this is simply a sales tactic by these companies that will remain nameless, but how do I fix the damage caused by these sales tactics?

    Oh wow.. Thank GOODNESS you're protecting these poor companies using these lying tactics. I'd hate for their business to be negatively impacted as a result of them.

  • Peoplesaywhat? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Friday December 01, 2006 @05:01PM (#17072300) Homepage Journal
    > because 'anyone can read the code and hack you with ease' they are being told

    Hm. In the open source arena, if someone is reading your code, they've obtained it legally. Most people who read OSS code do so to improve the code--not specifically for the purpose of creating a full-fledged exploit with it.

    In the Windows world, if someone is reading your code then they are either: 1. an employee of Microsoft or 2. someone who stole the code. In the first case they're ethically barred (not supposed to. *ahem*) from using their corporate knowledge to hack you. In the second case they've already established themselves as a criminal.

    Which situation makes you feel more comfortable about knowing that other people can read your code? I choose OSS.
  • So let me get this straight: Your competitors are making unfounded claims about the quality of the products you provide, in order to gain a competitive advantage against you?

    I believe there are laws against that sort of thing.
  • from http://www.opensource.org/advocacy/faq.php [opensource.org]

    Q: Doesn't closed source help protect against crack attacks?

    A: This is exactly backwards, as any cryptographer will tell you. Security through obscurity just does not work.

    The reason it doesn't work is that security-breakers are a lot more motivated and persistent than good guys (who have lots of other things to worry about). The bad guys will find the holes whether source is open or closed (for a perfect recent example of this see "The Tao of Windows Buffer Ov
  • I expect that pointing out that they are taking advice from Microsoft, which is a repeatedly convicted international offender, may be a better way to get through to the average PHB than any factual security claim.

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.

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