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The Software Politics Of 2004's Presidential Race 417

mjamil writes "The NYT(free registration required) has an article talking about the polarized use of OSS in the building of campaign Web sites. Specifically, it states that the sites for John Kerry (Democratic candidate for President) and the Democratic National Committee are built using OSS, while the site for President Bush's re-election campaign uses IIS. Linus and ESR are quoted. It's an interesting look at how even presidential politics are no longer immune to the free software war (free as in beer)." (David Brunton, pictured in the article, wrote to say "Now I'm going to go call my mom... won't she be proud? For all those girl geeks and gay geeks out there, I'm already taken, but it is an awful nice picture, isn't it?")
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The Software Politics Of 2004's Presidential Race

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  • by hfis ( 624045 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:45AM (#9612093)
    I dont know, maybe i'm wrong? It just seems to me that most politicians wouldnt really *care* about what platforms their websites are hosted on..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Computers and websites are tools, nothing more. ./ readers tend to beleive there is a conspiracy around many things - which is **always true** if M$ is involved, but not very likely for everything else. There is no reason any normal candidate would care which is used between OSS or non-published source software.

      Full Disclosure: I'm an independent/libertarian - most likely to vote for Bush (it's the war on terrosism stupid!), and wouldn't touch any software from M$ unless forced to do so to keep my job; whi
      • Funny is, every terrorist site on web, including Al Queda ones runs IIS :)

        Even our (turkish) anti american communist terrorist(this last one is the issue) morons sites run IIS ;) Even Frontpage!
      • Full Disclosure: I'm an independent/libertarian - most likely to vote for Bush (it's the war on terrosism stupid!)

        Christ, Bush has done everything possible to say Fuck You to libertarians, more so than any Democrat ever has since LBJ, and you're still going to vote for him on the basis of his most statist position--an orwellian-style endless war? I don't think you know what libertarian means.

        In any event, your choice of tools determines the level of power corportations like Microsoft have over our live

      • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @01:10PM (#9614068)
        A liberterian? Voting for bush? NEVER.

        Bush has grown the size of the govt more then any other president in recent history.
        He runs up record debt.
        He invades sovereign countries which are of no threat to the US.
        He is the champion of the patriot act.
        He wants to amend the constitution to prevent gays from marrying.
        He fights states that want to legalize medicinal marijuana.
        He fights states that pass right to die statutes.

        Like most people who call them sleves liberterians you are simply a republican you is ashamed to say so. Please don't besmirch the liberterian party by calling yourself one while voting for the least liberterian candidate.
        • by Money for Nothin' ( 754763 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @03:51PM (#9615354)
          Wish I had mod points. You put it perfectly, in a wonderfully-similar style as Thomas Jefferson did in the Declaration of Independence where he laid out the King's transgressions.

          You may add to your list the following:

          * He supports laws which violate the Second Amendment. [e.g. the 1994 Assualt Weapons Ban]
          * He supports the arrest and incarceration of those accused of a crime without giving them a trial as required by the Constitution. [in Gitmo. Fortunately, the Supreme Court recently smacked him for doing it.]
          * He has attempted to merge church and state. [particularly in schools]
          * He has instituted taxes upon the consumers of particular industries so as to aid those industries in their commerce. [e.g. the steel tariffs, although thankfully, they have been reduced from their original level]

          I'm sure there's others too if I sat around and thought about it long enough...
    • I am not american but I don't think its a coincidence.

      They are working with world's best PR companies right?
    • This is only redundant in that what the poster says should be blindingly obvious to anyone smart enough to turn on a computer and navigate to slashdot.
    • I think it would be more accurate to say that most politicians don't even know what software is running on their web sites. It's more a question of who they've hired to build the web site. Bush's people probably hired someone that they've known since IIS was a popular choice. Kerry's web site is newer and so OSS was a more likely choice.
      • by m.corum ( 661762 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:33AM (#9612290)
        That's spot on. NPR did a story on this about a month ago, and as it turns out, Kerry's site was only using OSS because the people (either hired or volunteer) that designed and implemented the site were fans and users of OSS themselves. Kerry himself had no direct input into the matter.
        • It doesn't mean Kerry likes OSS, but it's still notable that (some) fans of OSS would rather work for Kerry than Bush. That Kerry ended up with OSS IT guys, and Bush ended up with MS-lovng IT guys (claiming that more people know how to use IIS than Apache--is this true? seems unlikely) says something about the culture of their campaigns.
          • It doesn't mean Kerry likes OSS, but it's still notable that (some) fans of OSS would rather work for Kerry than Bush. That Kerry ended up with OSS IT guys, and Bush ended up with MS-lovng IT guys (claiming that more people know how to use IIS than Apache--is this true? seems unlikely) says something about the culture of their campaigns.

            Or maybe it just says that they happened to pick companies that like OSS and Microsoft, respectively.

            Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

            PS: I hate both of them. :)
    • with a gap in financial support in the tens of millions of dollars, the kerry campaign has had to save every penny it could, and free software and low-cost LAMP hosting is certainly one way to do that.
    • I dunno, the Republicans are always harping about their platform this and platform that...
    • Actually, it's just old news rehashed. I've had this posted on the wall of my cube at work for months:

      Penguins for President? []

      The best part is at the end:

      For what it's worth, the Republican National Committee is running Microsoft IIS on Windows 2000, while the Democratic National Committee is running Apache on Linux. As of this writing, November 5, 2003, the RNC has an uptime of 4.26 days (maximum of 39.04) and a 90-day moving average of 16.91. The DNC has an uptime of 445.02 days (also the maximum)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:48AM (#9612104)
    In a campaign season of polarization, when Republicans and Democrats seem far apart on issues like Iraq, the economy and leadership style, it is perhaps not surprising that the parties find themselves on different sides in the politics of software as well.

    The Web sites of Senator John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee run mainly on the technology of the computing counterculture: open-source software that is distributed free, and improved and debugged by far-flung networks of programmers.

    In the other corner, the Web sites of President Bush and the Republican National Committee run on software supplied by the corporate embodiment of big business - Microsoft.

    The two sides are defined largely by their approach to intellectual property. Fans of open-source computing regard its software as a model for the future of business, saying that its underlying principle of collaboration will eventually be used in pharmaceuticals, entertainment and other industries whose products are tightly protected by patents or copyrights.

    Many of them propose rewriting intellectual property laws worldwide to limit their scope and duration. The open-source path, they insist, should accelerate the pace of innovation and promote long-term economic growth. Theirs is an argument of efficiency, but also of a reshuffling of corporate wealth.

    Microsoft and other American companies, by contrast, have long argued that intellectual property is responsible for any edge the United States has in an increasingly competitive global economy. Craig Mundie, chief technical officer and a senior strategist at Microsoft, observed, "Whether copyrights, patents or trade secrets, it was this foundation in law that made it possible for companies to raise capital, take risks, focus on the long term and create sustainable business models."

    The dispute can take on a political flavor at times. David Brunton, who is a founder of Plus Three, a technology and marketing consulting company that has done much of the work on the Democratic and Kerry Web sites, regards open-source software as a technological expression of his political beliefs. Mr. Brunton, 28, a Harvard graduate, describes himself as a "very left-leaning Democrat." He met his wife, Lina, through politics; she is a staff member at the Democratic National Committee.

    His company's client list includes state Democratic parties in Ohio and Missouri, and union groups including the United Federation of Teachers and the parent A.F.L.-C.I.O. "The ethic of open source has pervaded progressive organizations," Mr. Brunton said.

    The corporate proponents of strong intellectual property rights say, in essence, that what is good for Microsoft, Merck and Disney is good for America. But they argue as well that the laws that protect them also protect the ideas of upstart innovators. They have made their case forcefully in Washington and before international groups, notably the World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations specialized agency.

    "This is a huge ideological debate and it goes way beyond software," said James Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology, a nonprofit group affiliated with Ralph Nader that advocates less restrictive intellectual property rules.

    But the politics surrounding open-source software do not always fit neatly into party categories. The people who work on software like the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server and others are an eclectic bunch of technologists. "You'll find gun nuts along with total lefties," Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, said in an e-mail message.

    Still, those who find the cooperative, open-source ethos appealing tend most often to be libertarians, populists and progressives. Not surprisingly, open-source software was well represented in Howard Dean's Democratic presidential primary campaign, which so effectively used the Internet and Web logs in grass-roots organizing.

    Those open-source advocates will presumably find Senator Kerry more appeal
    • You only copied the first page of the two-page article. Why don't you just go read it for yourself [] (no reg. required).
    • Yes you violate copyright and steal the ones work who wrote article, figured what that site runs and comment about it.

      It will take too long until people figure what "free" is...
    • Another reader pointed out this:

      Microsoft Campaign Support []

      Apparently Microsoft campaign spending is down, and is pretty biased towards the Democrats right now, reversing a previous trend of biasing towards the Republicans.
  • Michael Badnarik (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stile 65 ( 722451 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:51AM (#9612117) Homepage Journal
    The Libertarian presidential candidate's websites are running FreeBSD [] and Windows 2003 []. Interesting. :>
  • What Microsoft gives (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:53AM (#9612132)
    I guess it's good time to keep our eyes on what Microsoft gives [] to political parties.
    • by zhenlin ( 722930 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:04AM (#9612180)
      1998: 64% to the Republicans.
      2000: 53% to the Republicans.
      2002: 60% to the Republicans.
      2004: 42% to the Republicans.

      Hmm. General trend, downwards.
    • It startles me to see that Microsoft gave more this year to the Dems... But not that much. The financial company I work for gives similarly - to both parties - though they tend to favor the incumbent. Makes sense I suppose, you can pay for your legislation with either party, but you don't have to work as hard to bribe the party already in power...
  • by chegosaurus ( 98703 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:54AM (#9612136) Homepage
    this has to be the single most unimportant issue in world politics today. I really struggle to believe that anyone would read anything into, or make any kind of an issue over what webserver hosts a politician's website.

    What's the reasoning here? "Kerry's webserver runs teh linux, so if he wins he will destroy MS and the world will be happy and live as one with no more wars or fighting."
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      What's the reasoning here? "Kerry's webserver runs teh linux, so if he wins he will destroy MS and the world will be happy and live as one with no more wars or fighting."

      It's a metaphor, son. One side in this race believes in unquestioned authority, tight control, sacrosanct wealth, and operation through secrets. Care to guess which? Hint: It runs as deep as the software they choose.

      Is this the sort of thing that makes a person vote one way or another? No, but it's all part of

    • True its likely most voters will be swayed by more pressing issues than tech policy, but I think you've over-simplified the issue. The appointees to various agencies (FCC, Commerce, NSF, NIH) will make key decisions about tech, some limited in scope but some that will have huge impact. Some of the issues that come to mind are media consolidation, VOIP, unlicensed spectrum, stem cell research, the relationship of telecomms to indepedent ISPs, copyright control, IP in trade.

      These aren't "linux fanboy" issu
    • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @09:24AM (#9612484) Journal
      this has to be the single most unimportant issue in world politics today. I really struggle to believe that anyone would read anything into, or make any kind of an issue over what webserver hosts a politician's website.

      I disagree. The fact that the Republican party would choose to use an inferior commercial software package (IIS) when a superior free version of the same software is available (Apache) goes a long way towards showing what type of party they are. As much as they say they want "small government", when it comes down to it, they want "big government" propping up "big companies" with taxpayer subsidies. Plain and simple. This also shows why as soon as they are in power, they invent a war in order to provide more government money to their big contractor buddies (Halliburton, KBR, Enron, etc.). Sure, the webserver expenditures are only a small part of it, but it shows how completely the GOP has been bought and paid for by large corporations.

      I'm not saying the Dems are completely innocent as well, but let's face it, they're much less in the pocket of large defense contractors, pharmaceutical companies, energy companies, and yes, software monopolies.
    • Gee, you think Karl Rove plays fair? There's some limit to what Dubya would do to stay in power? Like not using torture?

      Dubya has already blown most of his $200 million stash, and he's at zero now. Kerry is still holding his fire. Now it's possible that Dubya is just going to fade quietly into the sunset, but I don't think so. I think you're going to see the dirtiest and nastiest political campaign in history. (Sadly, that seems to be the historical trend.)

      One of the least vicious tactics is going to be D
    • I won't vote for Kerry because he agrees with Bush and supports the DMCA.

      I won't vote for Kerry because he agrees with Bush and supports the war on Iraq.

      I won't vote for Kerry because he agrees with Bush and supports the USA-PATRIOT Act.

      I might vote for Cobb (the actual Green Party nominee), Nader is a more remote possibility.

      Now, if the Libertarians are going to support Microsoft, that gives me enough incentive to not vote for Badinov (well, that and I have little enough information on him that I can't

  • by dysprosia ( 661648 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @07:58AM (#9612159)
    But not all girl geeks are straight, dammit!
  • by tritone ( 189506 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:04AM (#9612178) Homepage
    That would be more revealing than what their websites run on. To the best of my recollection, Kerry didn't answer the question "Mac or PC?" at a debate among the democratic contenders (Al Sharpton was the only Mac user). I also recall reading that Bush used a Mac, and that he used to be an enthusiastic emailer until he was informed that records would be kept of all his email. I may be wrong about all this. Maybe someone could provide better info.
  • by phr2 ( 545169 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:08AM (#9612197)
    In 2000, I remember noticing that GWB's site used Apache and Gore's used IIS.
    • In 2000, I remember noticing that GWB's site used Apache and Gore's used IIS

      This is an important point to make. I'm neither trying to be a Bush apologist nor a conspiracy theorist, but it would seem to me that MS put its money where it thought the winner would be (when it made the donations). Certainly Bush has let MS off the hook from their previous trial, but I wouldn't read a cabal in that, rather just a "let's get the govt off of big business' back" appeal to core right-wingers.

      If MS handed a campaign a bunch of software with hints of donations to go along with it, any campaign manager would quickly overrule the IT guy who wanted to use Apache "on principle". I wouldn't doubt that the Kerry people would do the same if the same carrots were held out to them (like they were to Gore in 2000).

      The sad part is that Open-Source is actually closer to the heart of what used to be core rep[ublican values: openness of information, openness of commerce, libertarian leizzes-faire approach to the market.

      *sigh* where are you Ike?
    • by nevets ( 39138 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:20AM (#9612240) Homepage Journal
      Hmmm, I actually remember it being the other way as you state it. GWB with IIS and Gore with Apache. Gore was the one to support the anti-trust case against MS while talking to the people at MS.
      • mod parent up. This is correct.
      • Man, anyone can say anything about anything without proof and people will believe it. So, now I'll add some evidence. The original parent was partially right. Al Gore's web site originally was NT, but has changed. Here's /. with the answer. Please see the comment:

        Originally, ran on an NT box using the IIS Web server. The move to Linux came about for a number of reasons, and coincided with the campaign's move from K Street in Washington, DC to a new location on Charlotte Avenue in Nashvi
    • Nope--it was the other way around, at least in February of 2000.

      Here's an interesting(?) review [] of the sites of the Presidential candidates' websites.

      Here's another review and commentary [] about the websites, including a count of the number of errors in the HTML.

      Netcraft says [] that Bush actually was running Apache for a while before the election, but switched to IIS by October (at the latest) and has been stuck there ever since.

  • News, Timothy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) * on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:10AM (#9612210)
    I have to wonder if Timothy would have posted this story had it been the other way round? Same as the Greenpeace story earlier. Ooo, political organizations that Timothy personally likes use technology too!

    This is not news, Timothy.
    • Re:News, Timothy? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilroy ( 155262 )
      Blockquoth the poster:

      This is not news, Timothy.

      Well, the editors of a world-class newspaper see it differently, so at least there's room for doubt. I don't understand the hostility: If you don't like it, don't read it. On the other hand, it's something I didn't know, something that has (allegorical) meaning in the race, and it relates to tech. I think that brings it under the banner of "News for Nerds".
      • Well, the editors of a world-class newspaper see it differently, so at least there's room for doubt.

        Last I checked, this wasn't the NYT discussion forum, but a whole 'nother site.
  • by Hungus ( 585181 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:23AM (#9612249) Journal
    Subject: Rating the Bush and Kerry Web sites on security
    Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 17:43:44 -0400
    From: Richard M. Smith <>
    To: 'Declan McCullagh' <>


    To rate George Bush and John Kerry on the Homeland Security issue, I just
    completed two quick security audits of the official Bush
    ( and Kerry ( campaign
    Web sites. Unfortunately, I found problems at both Web sites.

    Here are the results of my testing so far:

    1. Both the Bush and the Kerry Web sites have cross-site scripting errors
    (XSS). These errors can allow a prankster to create fake Web pages which
    load from the Bush or Kerry Web sites but additional content can be supplied
    from a different Web server belonging to a prankster. A prankster could
    then say anything they want on a Bush or Kerry Web page using a XSS error.
    Examples include fake news stories, slogans telling visitors to vote for the
    other candidate, and doctored photos of a candidate.

    2. Error trapping at the Kerry Web site isn't very good. Typing unusual
    characters into Web forms at the Kerry Web site causes Web server
    applications to fail and a visitor is shown very cryptic error pages. These
    problems might be a sign of SQL injection errors which can be quite serious.
    An SQL injection error can sometimes be used by an outsider to break into a
    backend database at a Web site and then to make off with private information
    from the database.

    3. The Bush Web site has hired a company called Omniture to track users at
    the Bush Web site. Omniture uses hidden Web bugs to do this tracking.
    Perhaps this Web site feature was requested by John Ashcroft? ;-) This
    relationship with Omniture is not spelled out in the Bush Web site privacy
    policy. For more about information about Omniture, check out their Web site

    4. Both the Bush and Kerry Web sites encourage visitors to add banner ads
    for the candidates to their own Web pages. The Bush banner ad uses
    JavaScript supplied from the Bush Web server (See spx). The Kerry banner ads use
    an embedded IFRAME (See
    B oth banner ad schemes allow the campaigns to track visitors to any Web
    pages where the banner ads appear. In addition, the Bush JavaScript scheme
    allows the Bush Web server to run any script code inside of other people's
    Web pages. This scheme doesn't strike me as a very good idea from a
    security standpoint.

    5. Both candidates have good Web site privacy policies. For some odd
    reason, the Kerry Web site privacy policy is also certified by Truste and

    6. It appears that the open source vs. closed source debate has also
    entered the presidential campaign. The Kerry home page comes from an Apache
    Web server running on a Red Hat Linux box. The Bush Web site on the other
    hand is hosted on a more corporate Microsoft-powered IIS 5.0 server and uses
    ASP.NET. I did not check to see if this IIS server is up to date with
    Microsoft security patches.

    If anyone else runs across anything interesting at these two Web sites,
    please let me know.

    Richard M. Smith

    ________ _______________________________________
    Politech mailing list
    Archived at
    Moderated by Declan McCullagh (
    Now when it comes down to who uses what tools and software let me ask this as my own comment. Do you think either politician even knows what their site is running on? Further do you think they care? Most likely someone on the IT staff at each party knows someone who works at or owns a hosting company and whatever they have as default is what the candidate is using. I would personally be far more interested in what they use personally compared to this, and of course far more than that in their policies and practices.
  • Call me crazy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:24AM (#9612254) Homepage
    Call me crazy, but I think really this has as much or more to do with their web designers and/or sysadmins as it does with their political stance. I mean, I guess their webservers do somewhat match their political standing, but I doubt it was really a concious decision. Bush could have just as easily hired some Unix heavy group who would probably run Apache or John Kerry could have just as easily hired some sort of dream team for his site. If I recall correctly in 2000 Gore DID run IIS and Bush DID run Apache.

    I would bet that if you were to look at political websites beyond those of the Democratic and Republican candidates the division would be far less clear (although I would bet you would still see some of the same division).
  • by ChrisWong ( 17493 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:27AM (#9612270) Homepage
    • Open source lowers the cost of doing business by substituting free labor for expensive developers.
    • Offshore outsourcing lowers the costs of doing business by substituting cheap labor for expensive developers.
    • Open source creates a few losers -- Microsoft, SCO -- but benefits many more by lowering costs and making stuff cheaper in general. "So let's screw the losers."
    • Offshore outsourcing creates a few losers -- some US workers -- but benefits many more by lowering costs and making stuff cheaper in general. "So let's screw the losers."

    As one who rather likes open source, but whose job can potentially be offshored, I am having trouble making up my mind about this offshore outsourcing thing. I know there are other differences and complexities. The "free software" advocates want code to be free-as-in-speech, but the momentum is really behind the free-as-in-beer motive. Also, there are some who argue that offshore outsourcing will be detrimental to the US economy as a whole, but those who argue otherwise -- and back their arguments with data -- seem to have the better argument. So the above paragraphs distill the state of my reasoning at the moment. I have trouble seeing how I can favor one and oppose the other.

    Please, argue with me.

    (Pardon this repost ... didn't get any response last time).

    • You can't fight offshoring without causing the protectionist death spiral.
      If a US firm can't compete in an area, they must either become competative or get out.
      If the governement protects them it will result in higher costs for other US firms that depend on this. This will continue until all US firms are globally incompetative and the US is completely isolated.
      When the population at large gets their high standard of living from cheap imports, cutting them off will result in a significant lowering of the sta
  • by kieronb ( 780769 )

    The incumbent Liberal [] party (which is actually very conservative) uses IIS. The opposition Labor [] party (which is slightly less conservative) uses Apache.

    The Greens [] (progressive) use Apache on Linux for all their websites (including the one I built []) and have a pro-F/OSS policy in general.

    Yes, this is shameless self-promotion.

  • by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <{gorkon} {at} {}> on Monday July 05, 2004 @08:28AM (#9612273)
    I sure as heck ain't changing my vote because of this issue. Anyone who is voting for any person because of only one reason is not thinking about the whole picture. So what? Bush probably is hosting their site and their host uses Windows and IIS. Bush uses Movable Type on his Blog too. Does that mean he's a worse candidate then Kerry is JUST because he paid for his software? Again, this is just probably how it worked out and neither candidate probably has a clue WHAT software their web site runs on.
  • I find it more likely that the Kerry organisation chose OSS simply to lower their running costs. The Bush camp has more cash to burn ($200m) and so can afford to go for a more user friendly OS(I'm not trolling,Windows IS more user friendly). I wouldn't have put it past MS to have 'donated' serveral hundred licences and server software to the current administartion.

    Though the situation in the Bush camp does seem to compliment their politics, I doubt Kerry and his followers give a danm about the OSS/CLSS debate. They just went with the cheapest option.

    Of course they will benefit from ability to handle higher email loads and site requests. If the bush site is an aspx, then .NET will probobly crumble at the first YRO slashdot headline.
    • User friendly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuggz ( 69912 )
      I disagree. I'm not in the computer industry.
      I'm a long time linux user at home, however I use NT at work.

      My friends and family use windows 2000 and XP. I can't figure it out. I spend a lot of my time asking them how to do the simplest of tasks, different applications have different default save locations. I don't know where the configuration files are.

      I like knowing that when I use an application it will save in ~
      The user specific configuration is in ~/.application.
      When I reinstall windows I am sure to f
    • I'm not trolling,Windows IS more user friendly

      Stating opinion on a controvercial and hotly debated
      issue as objective fact is the definition of trolling.

      Sadly, the content of your post (minus the troll) was
      actually quite insightful. Next time you have something
      insightful to say, you'll reach a larger audience if you
      don't interject unrelated and inflamatory statements
      that turn off some of your audience.
  • During the last elections over here, I first checked the party's standpoints on free software and software patents. Not that I decided to vote for them because of that, I was already planning to do so, but if their opinion was "Our computers run on Microsoft Word and it is a very good operating system" or something like that, no chance they would have gotten my vote. It turned out they were the only party to propose free software use and they supported protests against software patents. Sweeet.

    I think I'm
  • interesting quote (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 )
    "You'll find gun nuts along with total lefties," Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, said in an e-mail message.

    Any prizes for guessing who he was referring to? ;-)
  • Fire this guy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @09:16AM (#9612449) Journal
    The principal consideration, Mr. Ellis said, was computer security and protecting the privacy of personal data on the Web site. The programming tools, procedures and the larger pool of workers skilled in using Microsoft software, he said, prompted the Republicans to opt for Microsoft's Web server, called Internet Information Services, running on the Windows 2000 operating system.

    This guy obviously has his head so far up Microsoft's ass that hey's bought everything they've said about secure computing. Let's see, there's currently a worm that's infected thousands of IIS servers across the internet (who knows, it could have even infected the GOP's), and it's spreading via Javascript to millions of IE users, for which Microsoft has issued no patch, and yet this is somehow the most secure solution? The mind boggles. Even joe sixpack by now knows that MS is not secure after his Windows box sends him popups when there is no browser loaded and he has to reformat it and start over every three months after being infected with the worm du jour.

    I personally find it interesting that the vast majority of the people I talk to consider this to be a "normal" computing experience. When my landlord told me the other day that they'd been infected by Bugbear and had spent a difficult few days trying to clean it off, I said "Well, that's one of the reasons I switched to Mac... No worms or viruses (yet)." He said "Oh, really? You don't have to run Norton's?"

    I find it amazing that the majority of computer users out there think that spending $30 a year on subscriptions to AV software and firewalls is a normal expense that you just have to pay for, like the electric utility or water bill, if you want to use a computer. They have no clue that this software is only necessary to make up for a lack of security in the OS to begin with.

    The only analogy I would compare it with is if Ford, rather than recalling all of the Explorers that rolled over, simply said, well, you'll have to buy a subscription to our special "tire tread enhancer service", and bring in your car every week to have the treads updated to the latest and greatest treads that won't separate. That way you won't roll over in a crash and explode in a ball of fire. Can you imagine the outcry if that happened? Why isn't MS held to the same standards?
  • big omission (Score:5, Insightful)

    by akb ( 39826 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @09:40AM (#9612554)
    I think the article makes a large omission when it doesn't point out that the Internet was a government funded project that grew up with the proto-free software movement. DARPA first approached ATT, then the owner of all phone lines in the country (when modems came along you weren't allowed to plug them directly into a phone line), about building a network based on open protocols and ATT turned them down because they wouldn't be able to control it. Remember AOL before they built in access to the Web? That probably is what the Internet would have looked like had ATT had control over whatever the Internet might have been in that alternate universe. Hell, even in the late 80's [] the head of ATT said there was no need for NSFnet because they could provide ISDN to the desktop.

    It was a specific type of policy oriented towards open-ness that led to the Internet being the way it is. The software that underlies the Internet is free software, it has been and still is the dominant form of software in the infrastructure which makes up the Internet. Open source is not "counter culture" on the Internet as the article portrays. The only reason MS has any role on the Internet is they have leveraged their desktop monopoly.

    I wish reporters understood these things.
    • Re:big omission (Score:3, Interesting)

      AT&T was given a demo of the first internet routers by the researchers who would later found Cisco. The demo had it's normal goofs when your are showing off something radically new.

      The AT&T guys chuckled at the problems. Who is chuckling now phone boy!

  • by poofmeisterp ( 650750 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @10:01AM (#9612681) Journal
    ...but I like how the first line in the post's text with the headline including "software" and "politics" contains "registration required" simply to view the article.
  • W3C? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mattwolf7 ( 633112 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @10:43AM (#9612926)
    Yeah maybe one uses Linux and the other is MS, but both of their developers can't code worth beans

    John Kerry W3C []

    George Bush W3C []

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.