Security

Cyber security: Can the Senate make the Internet safe?

Two new bills have been introduced in the Senate. One would create a new cabinet-level position of national cyber security advisor. The second gives that person sweeping powers to control cyberspace. Sound like a good idea? You tell me.

I've read both bills and they seem to make sense on the surface. Yet, I'm puzzled. Should something as powerful as a bill being introduced to the Senate use ambiguous terms? For example, the bill creating the National Cybersecurity Advisor position explains that the advisor:

"Shall furnish timely and appropriate recommendations, information, and advice to the President in connection with the administration and execution of laws of the United States relating to cybersecurity and otherwise assist the President in the administration of such laws."

So this person is going to be in charge of cyber security. What does that mean? I know that cyber security has been used as a buzz word for many years now. Still it's a buzz word and nowhere in either bill was the term cyber security explained. Neither was cyberspace and that term was used just as much.

That seems odd; it should be second nature for legislators steeped in debate to define important terms. So I spent several hours researching and couldn't find an official .gov definition for cyberspace or cyber security. Hopefully, I just looking in the wrong places and somebody will straighten me out. Until that time, I'd like to start the ball rolling by offering some unofficial definitions I did find.

Cyberspace

The author William Gibson is credited with coining cyberspace in his novel titled "Burning Chrome", but the definition in his next novel "Neuromancer" is typically referred to:

"Cyberspace: A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding."

Sound about right? Well, maybe not. I'd be remiss if I didn't include the Wikipedia definition of cyberspace:

"Cyberspace is the global domain of electro-magnetics accessed through electronic technology and exploited through the modulation of electromagnetic energy to achieve a wide range of communication and control system capabilities."

One of the more official definitions I found was used in the 2003 report "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" written by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

"Our Nation's critical infrastructures are composed of public and private institutions in the sectors of agriculture, food, water, public health, emergency services, government, defense industrial base, information and telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking and finance, chemicals and hazardous materials, and postal and shipping. Cyberspace is their nervous system-the control system of our country. Cyberspace is composed of hundreds of thousands of interconnected computers, servers, routers, switches, and fiber optic cables that allow our critical infrastructures to work."

I can't see legislators using the Wiki definition so I guess for their sake; we will use the DHS version for now.

Cyber security

Unlike cyberspace, I couldn't find cybersecurity in any of the dictionaries I checked. It appears that most organizations split cybersecurity into two words. The most appropriate individual definitions I could find were given by the On-Line Dictionary of Computing where I had to take literary license and stretch cyber into:

"The use of cybernetics, which is the general study of control and communication systems in living organisms and machines, especially the mathematical analysis of the flow of information."

The On-Line Dictionary of Computing defines security as:

"Protection against unauthorized access to, or alteration of, information and system resources including CPUs, storage devices, and programs."

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) gets my vote for the best explanation of cyber security:

"It seems that everything relies on computers and the Internet now - communication (email, cellphones), entertainment (digital cable, mp3s), transportation (car engine systems, airplane navigation), shopping (online stores, credit cards), medicine (equipment, medical records), and the list goes on. How much of your daily life relies on computers? How much of your personal information is stored either on your own computer or on someone else's system?

Cyber security involves protecting that information by preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks."

I was surprised to learn that Wikipedia doesn't have a page for cyber security; it defaults to a page defining computer security and the explanation isn't inclusive enough to not serve our purpose. US-CERT's explanation does though, which is good as US-CERT is tasked with providing response support and defense against cyber attacks.

I wonder how these definitions compare to what the bill's authors understand cyberspace and cyber security to be. It'd be nice to be on the same page. Well, at least we have an idea as to what they should mean, so let's tear into the bill and see what it's about.

Cybersecurity Act of 2009

Sen. John Rockefeller and Sen. Olympia Snowe are the two senators that proposed both the bill for creating the cyber security cabinet position as well as the bill titled Cybersecurity Act of 2009. The purpose of the second bill is brought to light in the prologue:

"To ensure the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners through secure cyber communications, to provide for the continued development and exploitation of the Internet and intranet communications for such purposes, to provide for the development of a cadre of information technology specialists to improve and maintain effective cyber security defenses against disruption, and for other purposes."

Quoting commissioned reports and experts

The bill starts out by providing numerous quotes chosen to point out the sad state of current cyber security. Here are some examples. According to the 2009 Annual Threat Assessment (pdf):

‘‘A successful cyber attack against a major financial service provider could severely impact the national economy, while cyber attacks against physical infrastructure computer systems such as those that control power grids or oil refineries have the potential to disrupt services for hours or weeks'' and that ‘Nation states and criminals target our government and private sector information networks to gain competitive advantage in the commercial sector.''

The bill's authors relied heavily on the 08 December 2008 report titled "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency" that cited three major findings:

  • Cybersecurity is now one of the major national security problems facing the United States.
  • Decisions and actions must respect American values related to privacy and civil liberties.
  • Only a comprehensive national security strategy that embraces both the domestic and international aspects of cybersecurity will improve the situation.

OK, that's what we have now. Next let's focus on how the bill will improve the situation.

Licensing and certification

Of what should be of interest to us IT types is the provision mandating the licensing and certification of cybersecurity professionals:

"Within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall develop or coordinate and integrate a national licensing, certification, and periodic recertification program for cybersecurity professionals."

Secure DNS

Since many parts of the federal government are currently initiating the use of DNSSEC, I guess I don't understand why this bill puts forth such a feeble attempt at making secure DNS mandatory. The bill only mentions that:

"Within 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information shall develop a strategy to implement a secure domain name addressing system."

Three years to figure out what to do? That's not good; DNS spoofing is fast becoming a cyber weapon of choice.

Cyber security research

The National Science Foundation will be given responsibility to research all aspects of cyber security, giving priority to computer and information science in the following areas:

  • How to design and build complex software intensive systems that are secure and reliable when first deployed.
  • How to test and verify that software, whether developed locally or obtained from a third party, is free of significant known security flaws.
  • How to test and verify that software obtained from a third party correctly implements stated functionality, and only that functionality.
  • How to guarantee the privacy of an individual's identity, information, or lawful transactions when stored in distributed systems or transmitted over networks.
  • How to build new protocols to enable the Internet to have robust security as one of its key capabilities.
  • How to determine the origin of a message transmitted over the Internet.
  • How to support privacy in conjunction with improved security.
  • How to address the growing problem of insider threat.

To me this part of the bill is good news and can't come soon enough.

NIST compliance

The bill empowers the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop metrics and compliance testing to make sure the entire infrastructure is functioning in a secure manner:

"Within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall establish measurable and auditable cybersecurity standards for all Federal government, government contractor, or grantee critical infrastructure information systems and networks"

Security experts seem to be pleased with this section of the bill since NIST is well positioned to do this and has much of the required structure in place already.

Internet switch

Anytime disabling the Internet is talked about it raises controversy and this bill is no exception. Page 43 line 17  of the bill explains the new powers that will be given to the Executive branch. Most make sense and aren't new or unusual, but there are two lines that make up for that:

  • May declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network.
  • May order the disconnection of any Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security.

NetworkWorld's John Fontana has written an article titled "Cries of protest, censorship greet news of cybersecurity bill" which highlights how people feel when the term disconnection and "in the interest of national security" are both used in the same sentence:

"You would be amazed at what the government can consider national security. Let's see. A report about black water goes public on CNN. Government feels report undermines its authority. Next thing you know, CNN is disconnected from the world due to national security."

Final thoughts

I think we can all agree that something has to be done to increase on-line security for both public and private entities. It appears that's what these bills are attempting to do. I also understand that the documents are preliminary and obviously need a lot of help. Which is why we need to stay on top of what's being decided on our behalf, otherwise we all may lose something special.

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Information is my field...Writing is my passion...Coupling the two is my mission.

134 comments
grosende
grosende

I see the goverment if finding any way to control the NET it will be for their benifit or used to make more money for them to waste , they will do what is nessary to benfit them. They can not keep Red China and the Russians out of out power grid computer. This happened recently. Both countries hacked in, how deep ???? Not Good. The goverment will not let you to return fire. Example hacker attacks you, you send back allot of junk files back to where that the attack came from, this over load his machine bring it down. There is software out there now that can do that for you. Wounder it the hacker uses anti hacking software like AVG. The hacker would be busy working on that machine after that attack was given to him for trying you.. Machine out of service memory and buffer all filled up. That senario above would not harm no other machine just the hacker.

gabill
gabill

I think congress can screw up a one car funeral, and will probably have little difficulty destroying the net. gabill

ronkell
ronkell

Cyber security to the government? My God, that is the last thing anyone who respects privacy and personal security needs. This, in addition to the hidden instrusions already conducted by police and the CIA, and other government "protection" organisation, known and unknown? Get serious folks. Openess of the Internet is rapidly becoming the last place of freedom in our modern society. Increasing power to any governmental body will only lead to repression and functional disaster. Reread George Orwell's 1984, and remember, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Companies set up their BIOS for correct operation of their system and when Windows boots the Windows Registry zeros out all of the BIOS settings.Organizations like this see the entire BIOS.They are not restricted to a limited BIOS that I am told is set up at the factory.Windows is in the BIOS and CPU but it may be difficult to locate.You would never be able to do a banking network with the Dell default BIOS settings.

Wcoyote1
Wcoyote1

There are good sounding things that are written into the synopsis of these two bills, and kudos to you Michael for picking them out. On the other hand, these two bills start my cynicism/paranoia klaxons going off. I can understand perhaps an official set of standards that get reviewed and modified periodically as information technology advances. However, this sounds to me like a prelude to more draconian regulations/federal interference of the essence in networking technology. Let's consider for a moment the relatively sweeping powers that are already held by the DHS. There's been stories (whether factual or not isn't the issue) of wiretapping, searches, seizures, and detainment of individuals with debatable legal standing. All these things are supposedly done "in the interests of national security and homeland defense". Now comes along another security department, only this one now deals with the single, widest spread, information sharing system. Even more interesting is that they apparently want to test, regulate, identify and put a tag and tracking collar on anyone working close to the field of internet security. All this really means is that we legal persons in the IT field are now paying the government to give us yearly permission to do our jobs. Those who don't get the license are now subject to arrest and federal prosecution because they're operating without government sanction. Now some may say it's the same thing as a driver's license, but it isn't. As long as you obey the traffic laws, the chance of you getting arrested without a license is pretty small. You can, for the most part, move freely and not look over your shoulder. As an IT professional, however, we all know (given the resources) that anyone can be found anywhere at any time. So I could see it being taken as if you don't register yourself, you've obviously got to be up to no good so we're going to stop you before you do anything. Like Michael's quote of John Fontana said, "you'd be amazed what the government can consider a matter of national security". To me, right or wrong, this sounds like the leveraging and consolidation of power away from the people in general and into the hands of the few.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

I can't see how it could be a good thing. Having one entity with that much control over something as diverse as the Internet, that is just plain scary. What's worse is that they would likely put political pressure on Canada, and any other country at their beck and call, to follow suite. THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA!!!!!

dixon
dixon

...that's never been invented in the first place: a secure internet. Some of the most brilliant minds on the planet (working in the private sector, of course) work tirelessly night and day trying to offset the inherent insecurity of the internet. Guess what? No matter how hard the good guys try, the bad guys are always several steps ahead, and every single day, we in the trenches have to learn about and mitigate against a variety of new threats. I guess that'll all be different after congress gets done legislating. The problems will all disappear because the bill establishes high school technology contests with cash prizes. Maybe we should have high school contests to pick senators instead.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Come on down! God! Our country is going down the tubes, LOL! And I'm just laughing my ass off watching it happen. Goodness gracious. When I think of the Senate; I think of a bunch of old fogies arguing for the sake arguing. The position will be filled by a complete moron ( like many other government officials ) who will be brought up to speed by "hopefully" intelligent sources. Although that won't help if the person is set in their ways ( old ) and doesn't have a clue about IT in general. You'd be better off filling the position with someone young( 30ish like me ). I said it! It's age discrimination at it's worst but it's our best hope because most younger people are actually using the technology and know about some of the actual risks. If Ted Wilson isn't our man; then let's nominate Sarah Palin, LOL?? She was ( and probably still is ) using her Yahoo account to send sensitive Alaskan government data to sources, correct? She knows how to use them fangled Inner-Tubes!

howiem
howiem

Licensing? Another infringement on the freedom of the individual...licensing will be followed by unions, and will increased costs to consumers. Someone might be a great IT man, but may not be able to pass the exams. One of thr reasons that health care is so expensive is because it is run by a union, the AMA. Let the free market determine who gets and keeps jobs, not the nanny state. Anyone who thinks that the government can do it better needs to think again. This is just another attempt to control our lives. The government can't even secure its own systems. Any government can abuse power, so the less power the government has the less they can abuse us. Let's suppose that an ISP does not comply with the guidelines, what is the government going to do, shut them down and screw the users? Those who keep saying it won't happen must think they have advanced degrees in fortune telling. Even pre-Soviet Russia only had one czar. Remember what happened to him.

sunbear01
sunbear01

My Opinion - everything the gov't gets involved in gets screwed up, costs too much, doesn't work, etc. Look at gov't run programs like, IRS, social security, medicare, the post office, etc. and hundreds of laws that don't work. Gov't is to involved in our lives.

simpalhsd
simpalhsd

Just more government control over our lives, which will result in loss of freedom and liberty.

emenau
emenau

To make the internet secure they need to sweep Windows offline

matt.glaze
matt.glaze

The changes in this country are making me sick! Socialism - Communism - now this? Where are we headed? It seems everyone on both sides of the two major political agendas are in fear of our direction. Two words: LAISSEZ FAIRE. One word: REVOLUTION!

scarville
scarville

Don't think for a minute think this bill is about security. It is about exerting control over the Internet. The only honest part in this bill is, "To ensure the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners..." Not "information". Commerce. The rest is the typical feel good pelosi (Here in California that name is becoming a synonym for BS) Nebulous wording in a bill has become pretty standard in modern lawmaking. It is hard work to study a subject and then craft a carefully targeted law. Frankly, I suspect any politician who actually did that wouldn't last long. The result is lazy lawmakers who can keep up appearances (AKA "doing something") in between rustling up money for the next election cycle. It is much easier to pass a feel good bill (especially if big contributors want it) and then let the bureaucrats make the actual law through regulations. Democracy insures that people get the government they deserve. The government's job is to make sure they get it good and hard.

thecbob
thecbob

"Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." ? Thomas Jefferson The Internet has evolved into a global tool of commerce and communication. To surrender control to the government, any government is ludicrous. Symantec, Cisco, McAfee and host of other companies have dedicated their labors to ensuring the free-flow of "Cyberspace". We have US-CERT, NIST, DISA, NSA and the list goes on; government agencies, standing watch over the Internet now. Giving a politician the power to disconnect portions of the Internet (in the best interests of the country) to prevent data loss or destruction of critical systems is paramount to making all the traffic lights go RED to prevent vehicle accidents. Yep, everything stops, but at what cost?

kdreis
kdreis

First of all isn't this bill a violation of our right to privacy. and second a bill passed in the US on cybersecurity is not going to stop foreign intervention into the Internet in the US. There is nothing to stop it now How is Congress going to stop that. I think that there are more important things to consider like drug trafficing, illegeal aliens or the budget, than to wast time on the Internet. And to create another position costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years where that money could be put to better use.

csualum
csualum

Thanks for pointing this bill out. This bill gets us one step away from communist and socialist countries - internet censorship. The government doesn't own the internet - they shouldn't have rights to turn it off. Government systems are less secure than private - the government should take some queues from the private sector! If this passes, IT ingenuity in the USA will die. It is the responsibility of local IT folks to secure their systems and check out software. We don't need the government to place a stamp of approval onto vendors software. What will stop corrupt politicians from doing what they do now - get me into office and I will give you (or a software vendor) some pork? In a time when America is in a recession why is the government getting bigger and spending more money? It should be getting smaller and more efficient too!

oarf
oarf

You mean, like they kept watch over Wall Street and the Financial systems? I think they need to go back to 9th grade social studies for the Democracy and Free Market lessons.

Chashew
Chashew

Ok-I have a feeling that much like Canada's gun control program this may be just another seat for someone who knows absolutely nothing,gets a job. With all the trashy sites online today and all the hi tech attackers who is really qualified for the job? I for one am skeptical, that any one team or one person can make a diff. to an animal gone wild. I work on many machines daily that have been attacked by zero day viruses and know this is a growing problem. Where security is involved I think and confess that the team at Tech Republic are far more qualified than some wanna be back seat politician who wants only to protect the big guys. What about the little guys people who enjoy such wonders as Facebook and others to numerous to mention here. what do we have when cyberspace pirates can spy on other countries and others can steal from nieve people. To this Homeland Sec. I wish you all the luck God gave a rabbits foot.

ashepard
ashepard

With so many people using the internet for phone, twitter, and news the ability to cut off any section seems to be a violation of public safety and reporting. If one section is overrun - whouldn't it better to have a redundant system for alternate traffic? If there is a virus - how am I suppose to download the fix if they turn off the internet? The bill by Rockafella and snow is dated April 1st - so this must be a sick joke.

mrwelch98
mrwelch98

"To me, right or wrong, this sounds like the leveraging and consolidation of power away from the people in general and into the hands of the few." Our government has for quite a while wanted to tax the Internet. How can you tax something you can't control? Without trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist, The same idiots that exist within the power grid infrastructure networks, also exist outside those networks. Every day they show up to work, they bring thier bad habits into what we hope to be a secure environment. This same thing can be said about ALL government networks. If the truth be known, what was reported as an intrusion by Chinese and Russian hackers, was actually the result of "The Enemy Within" doing the same stupid things they do at thier homes, AND thinking it is entirely ok. The government is famous for distorting the facts to jusify the means. If they really want to pass some meaningful legislation, they need to pump some money into educating the idiots! Of course that would involve reading something...which appaearantly would be a new thing to expect of Congress.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I'm trying but am clueless as to what options we have.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

My argument is just a simple question. Where would we be without Mr. Gates and Windows? Not here and now.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

well, actually, to secure the Internet, all clients that connect would need to be disconnected!

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Stay tuned and look for an article about GhostNet by me. It's a great story.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I don't think anyone is surrendering. I suspect that everyone just needs direction as to what to do.

grelfod
grelfod

There are many big corporations that for many years have been (trying) to provide antivirus utilities. Recent years have seen those same corporations expand into "internet security" packages. We continue to see that they still cannot get it nailed down and they have years of practice. The government has a poor record of "creating safety" despite its self evaluations. I am very afraid that this is yet one more political ploy to mess up even more. Welcome to the United Socialist States of Amerika!

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

That's their world. The Internet is ours and we can do a better job.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

What should we do? I will agree that the TR writers and members are by far the most tuned-in experts I know.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

My life would be one huge withdrawal if I lost access. I'll let others decide whether that's a good thing or not. I'm not even going to tell how many hours a day I spend on-line.

Wcoyote1
Wcoyote1

I appreciate the support, thank you. I just wish I might have an equally insightful solution to what most on this subject have agreed is a BAD idea. The only thing we might hope for, is that it is put before general election by the people of the United States and that they end up well enough informed to say emphatically: "NO!" Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. What I foresee is an abundance of buzzwords that have been frequently used to instill fear in the general public. They'll attribute this bill to helping solve the "problem" and make their lives "safer". In which case, it will be asked for BY the people without any real thought as to what they're asking for. Another scenario to get this passed, might be a little more devious, depending on how determined somebody is to get this passed. I believe (could be wrong) that they could attach this as a rider on another bill that's more open and influential, say something on health care. In which case, the disguise of the major bill is passed without objection and thereby this just sort comes along as an extra passenger. Information is going to be the key to trying to keep this from happening. People are going to need to be properly informed on the negative aspects this could have. That way if put to the test, people could have the informed opportunity to deny the bill. How can this be managed? I have no idea. It seems like the vast majority of attention spans throughout the general public is limited to about 5-7 minutes of information. Actually reading what constitutes the core of a proposed law and then thinking about it is becoming a lost art. And it usually doesn't help that these things are written in a foreign language ...Legalese.

dixon
dixon

...but here's what ought to be done, maybe. They've already engaged some of the most respected people in the industry, for the purpose of sitting around in hearings, while senators endlessly bump their gums about "soft underbellies" and such. This helps to legislate, I guess. Instead, why not simply pay those same folks...right now...to analyse the security situation and write clear recommendations and AUP for government employees? And then, maybe, actually implement and enforce them? I've only dealt with minor tentacles of government networks, but I see all the goofy security blunders you see with users everywhere. I sure hope that security policies and practices are much better at higher levels, but wouldn't be too surprised if they're not. Private sector folks who actually know something should be paid to regularly review and verify that optimum security is in place. That's not only step #1, and far more useful than a bill, but it's probably all that can really be done. But they'll probably just pass their marvelous bill, with much sycophantic back-slapping, utterly oblivious to the fact that they've created more problems than they've solved.

webradley9929
webradley9929

Shoot the bill down, wait two years, shoot it down again, and so on ad nauseum. I am thinking specifically of the push to open Alaskan wilderness up for oil exploitation. It got shut down the first time, so the gov't waited two years, reintroduced the bill, possibly with a more sympathetic congress, and introduced and passed it on the second try. The point I am trying to make is, just because you stop it this time, doesn't mean the government will respect our wishes and drop the subject. It will keep coming up for years to come. Government can and does have a right to secure their own systems. I still think that cyber-security is best left in the hands of the experts that spend their time and money to properly research the problem.

howiem
howiem

Michael, When the government makes a law, it can interpret it any way it wants to, and if the czar decides that Windows is the cause of security problems, the legal foundation will be there, especially if the alternative OS lobby can muster up enough campaign contributions. When dealing with crooked politicians, never dismiss anything out of hand.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think the personal computer revolution would have happened without Microsoft. We may not have the same size of security and support industries that we have now but we'd have modern computing be it further ahead or lagging behind where we are now. In terms of the thread topic, Windows doesn't need to be blocked from the net but product quality needs to be addressed more including third party developers. Microsoft would have to fundamentally rethink some design decisions; the shareholders would never go for the risk in relaxing strategy though.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

that you were online more than me, and I am online for most of the day

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

How? I'm a geek, spent my whole waking life trying to figure out what electrons do. This is significantly not what I'm used to. So please help.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Some good memories. I haven't thought about those old boxes for some time.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The innovations MS has come up with have been overwelmingly in the business processes and strategy area rather than technology. The real public moneymakers in technology from MS seem to be mostly bought or borrowed. Graphic desktop elements from Apple. Office productivity software combined from many buyouts into a suite. The Internet Explorer browser only after there own lack of developing new technology became a threat in the form of Netscape and the Internet. Where technology might be if MS hadn't been such a business process innovator is one of the great What If topics. I think it would have progressed faster but any market with real competition is going to evolve it's products faster.

rmerchberger
rmerchberger

Quote: "I think the personal computer revolution would have happened without Microsoft." It was already happening long before Microsoft was a pimple on the revolution's butt. ;-) People were taking home PDP 8i systems and using them, building their own microprocessor based systems & who knows what else at the time. Some might even argue Microsoft has never been part of the revolution, they were part of the coup. Microsoft has never been an "expert" in microcomputing, they're an expert in *marketing.* Look at the technology that we could be using had a) Microsoft not stifled technological breakthroughs and b) the geeks in control of the "wonderstuff" knew one whit about marketing. Commodore & Amiga. (Genlocks, 3D processing, etc.) Atari. (Midi, Music, etc.) BeBox & BeOS (Efficient graphical multiprocessing, multimedia with a sense of humor) Tandy & Microware. (RTOS [OS-9] on an 8-bit CPU) and the list goes on. Companies that either were king or could have been if it wasn't for their inability to market efficiently and keep up with the changing market. Now that market doesn't change anymore thanks to Microsoft. [[ All of this is IMHO, of course. ]] Laterz! "Merch"

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