[linux-elitists] defanging TCPA?

Shawn McMahon smcmahon@eiv.com
Thu Feb 6 05:23:20 PST 2003

On Wed, Feb 05, 2003 at 11:10:12PM -0800, billy@damaged-world.net said:
> 	People want computers to be applinances. You turn them on, they
> 	work. 

The computers most people use should be appliances; with all the
programmability of a typical refrigerator.

If you can't put more programs on the hard drive, a whole host of
post-exploit shenanigans are eliminated.  If the programs and OS
themselves are limited-purpose, as opposed to general-purpose, a whole
host of potential exploits are eliminated.

Unfortunately, appliances don't market well to non-technical folks, in
small part because of word of mouth from us.  "Don't buy that stupid
email appliance, you'll be stuck with that crappy email service and
limited to what they let you do, get a real computer and I'll come over
and set it up for you."  It's exacerbated when grandma's benefactor is
himself possessed of only limited technical knowledge.  If he ain't
patching and firewalling his system, he damn sure ain't keeping up with

We ought to be fighting to get these things done right, marketed right,
and given away for pennies if necessary to prevent grandma from buying a
Wintel box and contributing to the chaos.  Maybe that new paper
circuitry they're using for disposable cellphones is part of the answer.

Shawn McMahon         | Every time you walk out of the house
FedEx Services        | with clothes on, you give up freedom
DSS-MCO Security Lead | for temporary safety.
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