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U. Washington Crypto Course Now Online for Free

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  • by Radicode (898701) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:13AM (#15466253)
    I think most online software developpers should learn the basics of cryptography. Not only would it improve security but it would also lead to better design in general. No more "base 64 encoded password in a text file" stuff please!

    Radicode
  • More outsourcing! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:39AM (#15466363)
    People in India and China will use this course material to study crypto and eventually more American jobs will be transfered to India. This is like a jackpot to Indian educational institutes. And all of this is funded by American citizens. Like Kennedy said - ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. This is just wrong! College students pay huge amounts of money to get access to this kind of material. They pay - the rest of the world benefits.
  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:40AM (#15466366)
    How is this special? Princeton's entire CS curriculum [princeton.edu] has been there for all to see for the last 9 years, and I haven't seen any /. articles about it in that time.
  • Re:Found on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deesine (722173) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:40AM (#15466367)
    Great, now you can get some decent comments about it.
  • by kfg (145172) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:46AM (#15466390)
    Now all the foreign people can study this course for free.

    And without it they couldn't just go to a library.

    KFG
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:51AM (#15466414)
    Believe it or not, some people are still into learning for learning's sake: you know, the whole increase your knowledge thing.

  • by orthogonal (588627) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @11:08AM (#15466483) Journal
    Now all the foreign people can study this course for free. It has costed some big dollars to get that course material. Tax payers money! We pay - others benefit. Do you have ANY idea how much this costs?

    How much are you paying the Sumerian guy (yes, and others) who invented writing? The Babylonian who invented the calendar? Hell, most of the early American industrial revolution depended on violating English patents on water-wheels and drive-shafts and various cogs and pulleys. That God there was no Berne Convention then, huh?

    When you enjoy Bach's Musical Offering, do you send a buck to the descendants of Bach's patron, Frederick II of Prussia?

    The truth is, every one of us -- even the most prolific and creative inventors -- benefit far more from our shared cultural patrimony than we contribute to it.

    Most of Newton's genius would have been wasted if he'd had to spend his life chasing down gazelles to get his lunch. Little of that genius would have been transmitted to anyone without the efforts of the anonymous inventor of writing and thousands of others who refined that tool and so many other tools down through the ages.

    Information, knowledge -- they are not, contrary to the more glib claims of the Open Source movement, free. Knowledge must be wrested from nature at great cost by discovers, and each of us to understand that knowledge must pay our own cost to learn it.

    But the Open Source advocates aren't wrong either: knowledge can be transmitted at little marginal cost: developing the course did cost the tax- and tuition-payers of Washington State, but the additional cost to make it available to all is the negligible amount required to host it on a web server. Nor is it "free" to anyone -- anyone who wants to possess it must take the time and effort to learn it, to re-make his own mind by incorporating that new (to him) knowledge. There is no "royal road" to knowledge; commoner or king must wrestle it into his own head.

    Don't be a Philistine: millions, alive and dead, your teachers and people entirely unknown to you have for fifty thousand years given you knowledge and indeed a rich material culture based on that knowledge. Don't begrudge passing it on.
  • Re:Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkByers (770551) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @11:17AM (#15466528) Homepage Journal
    I totally know what you mean. If you mention Digg on this site you get modded Troll or Flamebait. Weird, huh? Personally I think both sites are good and both have positive and negative points. I see no reason why anyone wouldn't want to read both.

    I guess I'm just too radical...
  • Re:Thanks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @11:55AM (#15466712)
    Ever tried mentioning Slashdot on Digg?

    A passing reference got me -40. Yet, copying comments verbatim from Slashdot (when I'm certain they weren't the same people) usually resulted in being modded up.

    I can't say I've seen many intelligent conversations there. I sometimes look at Digg, but I no longer look at the comments.

    And by the way, since you seem to be very vocal about how Digg is good because of 'equality', you might try Googling for that incident with Kevin Rose a while back, where the same 10-20 people instantly Dugg certain stories, while stories with 3 times as many Diggs in half the time never made it to the front page.

    It's not a democracy there either.
  • by dhasenan (758719) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:10PM (#15466794)
    Okay. The alternative is that an intelligent Indian person comes to the US and studies cryptography, then goes back to India and starts teaching it.

    What's the net benefit to the US? Maybe $100K. So how do we keep the money in the US? Force everyone with a graduate degree from a US university to stay in the country? Then you get a pair of intelligent Indian people; one gets a doctorate in applied cryptography and teaches everything he learns to the other.

    Now we require that everyone who talks with anyone with a graduate degree from a US university has to stay in the country. Hell, why not just close the borders entirely? Nobody gets in, nobody gets out.

    There's still the problem of correspondence. So why not close all borders permanently to all traffic? No goods enter or leave the country; no communications outside the country. And set up a 50-mile wide belt of land mines around all our borders so people can't use semaphore, and outlaw radio communications, and....

    Hell, why not just outlaw learning. That'd show 'em.
  • munitions status (Score:3, Insightful)

    by babanada (977344) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:14PM (#15466812)

    In the past, as I'm sure most here know, encryption software was considered to be munitions. I actually purchased the Zimmerman book that was just PGP in source code format at the UW bookstore. The idea at the time was how can you control a book? Now, I know that laws have changed, and the US has relaxed its stance on this. Most distributions of GNU/Linux have SSH included.

    This is fresh in my mind because I recently created a specialized GNU/Linux distribution and debated about whether or not to include SSL and SSH. Although I knew the status of this software had changed, I could not find any definitive regulations regarding crypto software. Certainly the last four years don't make me any less paranoid about getting burned by making a mistake here. There is a good presentation that specifically talks about these issues here [washington.edu] in TFA. Yes, it does talk about how the munitions stance has relaxed, but I'm still not entirely sure that I don't have to notify some government agency that I'm including encryption if I distribute the root filesystem in binary form.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:47PM (#15467328)
    Since the passage of the DMCA, most people who can break encryption are Teh Terrorists.
  • by daveb (4522) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .remerbevad.> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:38PM (#15468695) Homepage
    Isn't the whole point of taking post secondary courses to have the credentials necessary to get a job in your chosen field?

    As others have said "hell No"!

    oh alright - yeah, sometimes

    Sometimes you need various accreditation to get/keep/progress in a job. this may be

    • an academic certificate such as Bachelors/Masters/PhD
    • professional accreditation - pass the bar in law, accountants have something - it's common in various professions to have to get approval from a body of esteemed peers
    • a industry/vendor related such as those offered by Novell, Microsoft, Cisco, Redhat etc

    BUT (and it's a big point) eventually you get to the stage where another bit of paper just doesn't matter. You are interested in knowledge and skills for their own sake. That motivation is desirable even in the accreditation activities above. But what do you do when you've got all the paper you want/need/care-about? Often self-study and keeping abreast of the field is enough. But sometimes it's good to take a prepared and structured course that is relevent to you regardless of whether you get the final qualification.

    I regularly "cherry-pick" courses with no intention of getting the final certificate. It plays hell with the institutions completion-rate reports, but that's not my problem.

    I love the idea of these courses being made freely available for cherry pickers such as myself that just want to learn

  • what library? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by themusicgod1 (241799) <themusicgod1@zwo[ ]com ['rg.' in gap]> on Monday June 05, 2006 @02:52AM (#15470544) Homepage Journal
    After DRM/trusted computing is done, there will be no libraries.

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