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Journal heironymouscoward's Journal: Futurewars 7

Some wars of the future...

1. Microsoft vs. Free Software

Microsoft using patents to try to send free software developers to jail. Use and distribution of "unlicensed" source code becomes a felony. Software producers gain the right to inspect systems for unlicensed software. Outcome 1: free software becomes a historical curiosity, something that "might have become something" but could not survive in the face of a serious onslaught from vested interests. Outcome 2: vested interests realize that they have more to gain by allowing free software developers to do the hard work, and the patent issue becomes a historical footnote.

2. The Fanatics

Silently, a small group of fanatics is building a global network of hundreds of millions of computers. These computers run their software, do their bidding, but are doing so unknown to their nominal owners. The fanatics have tested a series of techniques, starting with large scale proof-of-concept DDoS attacks on popular web sites in 2001. They concentrate now on expanding their domain of control, only stopping now and then to launch 5000, 10000 computers against the small amateur web sites that try to fight them. Via worms, viruses, and spyware, they have a simple mission: control more than 50% of the Windows Internet, and then sell this capacity to the highest bidder. Want to bring down your business rival? That can be done. Want to incapacitate a foreign country? It can be done. Want to spy on your citizens? Possible, and easy. The fanatics have been infiltrated by the agents of state authority but the sheer power of the network they are building seduces and corrupts so that these infiltrators are themselves now among the most fanatical. One might say that there is a war going on between the fanatics and the general public. But the real war is between the original fanatics, and splinter groups, who find the agenda too slow, too pedantic. "Strike now", they cry, "show the world our power!" The young radical fanatics have started to piggy-back the original network with their own infectious software. Another splinter group has already sold its services to a wealthy sponsor, who plans to launch what can only be described as a terrorist agenda, bringing down large parts of the Internet simply to draw attention to his political cause. The original fanatics are aware of the competition and adapt their software daily, finding ways to detect and kill parasites that don't belong to them. This is war between three, perhaps even more groups, for control of the Internet at a level that few people even realizes exists.

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  • #2 sounds like the script for a new austin powers/james bond movie :)
    "Sure, i'll take out your competition.... for a hundred BEEEEELLIION dollars!"
    • Sadly (either for myself, or for the Internet) I don't think it's fiction.

      It would be quite interesting to map the DDoS attacks that have been documented over the last four years and try to postulate the structure and agenda of the interest groups behind them. For example: there have been large-scale attacks against by unknown groups: fought the CoolWebSearch spyware. How many PCs does CWS control? Are they being used for any other activities than just forcing the user to view the
      • oh, i dont doubt that its not fiction!

        even the stuff that Gibson wrote up on his website is somewhat interesting stuff, along with all the arguments for and none (that I know of) against blocking invalid IP's from leaving ISP's subnets.

        and then you have gangs running extortion rackets out of online bookies when big events are coming up..

        i'd love to know more about the people controlling these "botnets" - are they really who we think, sad, lonely and angry teens with a "point" to prove, or really
        • I'd love to know more about the people controlling these "botnets"

          Steve Gibson has some interesting stories to tell.

          It may simply be that botnets are ad-hoc things put together by idle hands in spare moments.

          It seems however that there is a commercial interest involved, at least with spyware and DDoS attacks on anti-spyware sites, spam and anti-spam sites, etc. That would make the people involved "professionals".
  • damn it, heironymouscoward, given the success rate of your previous predictions, we may as well tell eveyone with windows computers to either learn linux now, or, given (a) above, sell them to other suckers they have no compassion for.
    can you quit scaring me and predict some good stuff?
    • Predict some good stuff? OK. Why not...

      History will record the last decade as having been the Internet's First Wave. The First Wave was about bringing mass communications to all rich consumers worldwide.

      The Second Wave will not come from the US or Europe but from China and India and will be essentially about bringing mass communications to all poor consumers worldwide.

      Some of the key elements in this second wave: open source software; ultra-lowcost computers (around $25) with TV-out; packet-radio "dia
  • In order for free software to ever be a threat to microsoft it has to have some appeal outside of geek circles - it's all about ease of use. The problem, of course, is that a true geek (and all the Linux developers are) is never satisfied to, say, plug in a USB printer and just have it work. That's no fun.

    Chris somebody neatly summed it up in a parody ad [] which I'm surprised more slashdotters haven't heard of.

    And yes [], I have read _your_ journal.

System checkpoint complete.