The New York Times ran an article by Matt Richtel and John Markoff on
the 17th about PC users driven to frustration to the point of discarding
virtually brand new and perfectly serviceable hardware in an attempt to
rid themselves of viruses, spyware, and other malware.
This is one of a few similar spyware / malware articles the Times has
run in the past year. I was quoted in an earlier piece running 19
September, 2004. I responded to that article with a longer technical
piece, and am extending this to address Richtell & Markoff's article, to
be posted shortly at:
I find the latest piece markedly pathetic on a number of points:
- It fails to point out that the problems are almost wholly specific
to Microsoft operating systems and products (mailers, browsers).
- It implies a grossly overstated cost of Apple alternatives. Sure, a
high-end laptop might run $3000, but the Mac Mini is available for
$500 or less, and used Mac hardware on Craigslist runs in the
- It utterly ignores GNU/Linux. With the most recent Ubuntu
offerings, I'd say the feasibility of GNU/Linux is at least on par
with legacy MS Windows, if not significantly better. Issues, yes,
but of an entirely different stripe.
- It *completely* misses the mark, in that Microsoft's ubiquitous,
deep, and pervasive security problems are well known, widely
understood by those familiar with technology, and are not in the
least addressed by discarding perfectly usable hardware.
Moreover: there are numerous organizations and causes which could very
much make use of this hardware.
I'm aware of several PC recycling efforts around the Bay Area, though
most seem oriented to legacy MS Windows-based rebuilds. For anyone
aware of efforts geared at turning out GNU/Linux-based systems, please
post details here.
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