Making computer systems secure is very difficult. The consequences of insecure systems are already extremely serious and will be catastrophic in future if they are not already. Malignant people, often sponsored by malignant states, are actively attacking computer systems and have had considerable success doing so.
So it is surprising that companies whose stated aims are to increase security are effectively working to make their customers’ systems less secure.
Recently I wrote two articles about Richard Stallman (RMS) and the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Someone who is autistic wrote to me and pointed out some unfortunate implications of what I wrote, which were both wrong and offensive to neurodivergent people: I am sorry for that. The remainder of this article is an attempt to correct those mistakes.
Rishi Sunak has told people that working from home may hurt their career. Sunak, like many conservatives, is frightened, not only of the future, but of the present.
The Free Software Foundation has reelected Richard Stallman to its board. At first glance this looks like a wilful act of self-harm by the FSF: RMS has expressed opinions which are abhorrent and has behaved appallingly towards women, at least. This is to misunderstand both what the cause of the FSF really is and what their options for that cause now are.
If you think that we can continue economic growth by simply moving to Mars, you’re a fool.
A comment by my friend, whose nom de guerre is Zyni Moë, reproduced with her permission. Note that Zyni’s first language is not English.
People attacking carbon offsets or net zero emissions are attacking the wrong target and harming their cause. The problem is that the things we call ‘carbon offsets’ are not carbon offsets and ‘net zero’ is not net zero: they are lies. That’s what they should attack.
The authors of the Signal messaging system are acting as useful idiots for state security and police services: while they are almost certainly not working for them or funded by them, what they are doing is extremely convenient for them.
Once upon a time, when the world was younger, a young and rather foolish physics student used to debug his FORTRAN programs using printed backtraces.
Richard Stallman (RMS) is a famous hacker who wrote Emacs and founded the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project. He is an important figure in the history of free software. He is also someone whose behaviour towards women has been appalling and who believed, for a long time, that sex with children was not harmful: he is someone who should have no place in the present or future of free software, at all. And yet he is vociferously defended by a significant number of free software advocates: this says exactly what you think about them.