[clug] Any Public Service organisations using Linix desktop and Open Office?

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 13:53:00 GMT 2008

On 2008/Jul/03, at 3:33 PM, Edward Lang wrote:
> Hi,
> On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 7:38 PM, Kim Holburn <kim.holburn at gmail.com>  
> wrote:
>>> Software Firewall: Windows includes one.  It drops packets.  Define
>>> "decent" in this context; desktops don't need fancy mangling rules.
>> Would you trust your security to Microsoft?
> The reason I don't currently want a UNIX variant as desktop
> environment in the public service is that l don't want root access on
> it. Well, I do -- root access is great, because it gives me the
> ability to tinker and to install and to break and to start over again
> -- but if I have that power to build worlds on my own computer, I'm
> going to want to have that power on my corporate application's
> development, acceptance testing, stress and volume testing and
> production environments too, because then they would most closely
> resemble the environment in which I wrote my application, or how I use
> my application, etc.
> As a UNIX systems administrator, giving users that taste for unlimited
> power is my worst nightmare. I want nothing of it. I want them to be
> under lock and key for their entire software development / delivery /
> usage life cycle. I want the users to suffer and do things correctly,
> properly. And, if they set up a system themselves with their own money
> and time, and they have local root, and it breaks things, I don't want
> to know about it, let alone support it.
> I trust vendors more than I trust users! no matter how nice and
> friendly the users may be ;-)

Nasty.  And I think the real problem is that the software is in most  
cases so dreadful and asks the users things that it is not possible  
for them to know and the security model that we currently have in all  
operating systems is so outdated that most modern systems are  
insecure.  I don't think the current situation is the users' fault  
really, it's the vendors'.   I think computers are useful tools but  
most people aren't computer experts and shouldn't have to be to use a  

Back to windows: Tell me have you seen any corporate/government laptop  
used by travelling agents that doesn't have admin access?  I know  
there are many things you just can't do on windows without admin  
access, for instance, for a long while you couldn't burn CDs without  
admin rights.  Zonealarm used to drive me round the twist when I tried  
to get people to run it without admin rights, solved by not  
recommending it any more.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
Ph: +39 06 855 4294  M: +39 3494957443
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny.
                           -- Lloyd Biggle, Jr. Analog, Apr 1961

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