[linux-elitists] defanging TCPA?

Phil Hughes fyl@a42.com
Thu Feb 6 05:45:49 PST 2003

On Thu, Feb 06, 2003 at 08:23:20AM -0500, Shawn McMahon wrote:
> 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
> granny's.
> 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.

While it has its own shortcomings, it seems like the NIC box is
something that headed in the right direction. That is, it works just
like a refrigerator but rather than having to think to do an upgrade,
all you do is toss in a new CD and turn it on.

The downside (besides performance) is that you have a monitor to plug in
and such. But, it seems like a NIC built like an iMac without a hard
disk might be close.

Phil Hughes, fyl@a42.com  Phone/FAX: 506-483-1265 
Aptdo. 89-4060, Alajuela, Costa Rica

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