Microsoft: we cannot trust code we don’t own

How can I trust Firefox? is an article/blog entry by a microsoft employee. According to Slashdot, the article raises “some interesting security related points.”

But I didn’t read the article that way. To me, this article cannot imagine a reality outside of its centralized system of control. There are ways around his concerns that do not involve giving control of one’s machine to microsoft or anyone else. Open Source software is open, and you can examine it as deeply as you want, right down to examining every single line of code if you are so inclined. If you’re that concerned, download the source code from two different places, double check them against each other (using, say, the diff command in Linux), compile it, and run it.

But even if you aren’t so motivated, let’s think about this pragmatically. How many people are having security problems with Firefox? Raise your hand? Hello?

And I know countless people out there are using Firefox. Even some of my friends are starting to switch. Firefox is the first Free software application to be attractive to several of my friends, which is saying something. You, my dear readers, have been listening to me (and probably others) pontificate about free software for years. I have not yet been able to turn a single person I know onto Linux. Or OpenOffice. But I know several people using Firefox, which is significant.

This is, at bottom, nothing more than FUD. There is no pragmatic need for such draconian security measures. It’s not about control. It’s about openness.

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