Reason Morning Links: G8 Meets Today, Federal Security Flaws, Google OS to Challenge Microsoft

|

• Obama set to talk economy with world leaders at G8 meetingâ€"oddly in an Italian town still feeling aftershocks from big earthquake in April.

• Google to release operating system next year, expected to compete with Microsoft.

• Swiss government steps in to prevent Swiss banks from complying with U.S. demands to hand over data on customers.

• Government security failure: GAO able to smuggle bombs, detonators into federal buildings; federal cybersecurity system doesn't work.

• Good news from marijuana debate: Bong photo doesn't seem to have harmed Michael Phelps' endorsement potential at all.

NEXT: Reason Columnists Around The TV and The Interwebs: Veronique de Rugy on C-SPAN's Washington Journal at 8 A.M. ET, Talking Stimulus Blues

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. ? Swiss government steps in to prevent Swiss banks from complying with U.S. demands to hand over data on customers.

    I always, always love it when foreign governments tell an overreaching US administration to piss up a rope. I love it more when foreign companies or NGOs do it, but them days is few and far between.

    Less encouraging:

    “Switzerland will use its legal authority to ensure that the bank cannot be pressured to transmit the information illegally, including if necessary by issuing an order taking effective control of the data at UBS,” the Swiss government said in a response to U.S. authorities filed in Miami on Tuesday.

    This makes it sound less like they are interested in protecting the privacy of people doing business in their country and more interested in telling Obama to cram it.

  2. “This makes it sound less like they are interested in protecting the privacy of people doing business in their country and more interested in telling Obama to cram it.

    True, but is telling Obama and his ilk to “Fuck off” ever a bad thing?

  3. Once GAO investigators got the materials in the buildings, the report said, they constructed explosive devices and carried them around inside.

    Shouting, “Looky, looky, what we got cheer!”

  4. “I always, always love it when foreign governments tell an overreaching US administration to piss up a rope. I love it more when foreign companies or NGOs do it, but them days is few and far between.”

    on something like this, I agree. I want to throw shoes at Obama

  5. Nothing is better than Vista.

  6. Once GAO investigators got the materials in the buildings, the report said, they constructed explosive devices and carried them around inside.

    That is so awesome. Fuck the feds, yo.

    On another note, it must be weird working for an agency with such an oxymoronic name as the Government Accountability Office.

    Nothing is better than Vista.

    Don’t make me come over there.

  7. I hope Google Chrome OS is as different and innovative as it sounds. The GoogOS that you sometimes see on magazine racks at Borders or Barnes and Noble is just a tweaked version of Ubuntu. I like Ubuntu, don’t get me wrong, but if I want to use Ubuntu I will just use Ubuntu (or gNewSense).

  8. “Nothing is better than Vista.”

    Except for any operating system other than Vista or Windows Mistake.

  9. Guys, *nothing* is better than Vista.

  10. No, Rich is right. If I had a choice between Vista and nothing, I would choose nothing every time.

  11. If Hugh Akston’s comment doesn’t go on to win the thread then damn…just damn.

    Also, Rich, that is some good trolling. That’s the kind of trolling we can all support.

  12. “As we approach the eighth anniversary of 9/11, and 14 years after Oklahoma City, it is simply unacceptable that federal employees working within buildings under FPS’ protection, and the visitors who pass through them, are so utterly exposed to potential attack by terrorists and other enemies,” Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said in reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington and the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

    Dear Senator Lieberman-

    Guess what I’m thinking.

  13. > Also, Rich, that is some good trolling. That’s the kind of trolling we can all support.

    Arrrgh, bleeping Vista!!
    Just had to get it out of my system.
    Sorry, I’ll be good now.
    Looking forward to checking out Chrome OS.

  14. Sounds like Windows 7 is actually a decent OS. Too bad MS didn’t skip Vista and release 7 in the first place.

  15. All the idiot tech pundits who’ve been pushing The Cloud for the last couple years are creaming in their pants today, and experiencing visions of the future to come: crappy, half-functional web apps, and subscriptions for every damn thing because all your data are belong to us.

  16. I’m with Rhywun. I want my stuff on my system.

  17. I’m with Rhywun. I want my stuff on my system.

    Ich auch.

  18. Sounds like Windows 7 is actually a decent OS.

    Meh. It promises better performance (I didn’t notice any difference) while doing nothing to address everything I hate about Windows such as the crappy interface and the popup windows up the wazoo. And don’t get me started with the fucking “Ribbon”.

  19. ? Obama set to talk economy with world leaders at G8 meeting-oddly in an Italian town still feeling aftershocks from big earthquake in April.

    Unfortunately, despite some recent rumors, I don’t think Spain’s going to replace Italy in the G-8 anytime soon.

  20. The case, which comes amid a global fight against tax cheats supported by the U.S. administration, has damaged the UBS brand and could result in an expensive settlement for the bank at a time when the bank needs to focus on restructuring.

    Tax cheats? Like Timmay?

  21. Wow that is way cool dude, now you are talking!

    RT
    http://www.be-anonymous.tk

  22. Centos on my desktop, Ubuntu on my laptop.

  23. > The case, which comes amid a global fight against tax cheats supported by the U.S. administration, has damaged the UBS brand and could result in an expensive settlement for the bank at a time when the bank needs to focus on restructuring.

    >> Tax cheats? Like Timmay?

    Well, he *is* a tax cheat supported by the U.S. administration.

  24. Johnny,

    I take it you’re mom’s still in the hospital.

    Chin up, lad, chin up.

  25. From the brief article I read about the Google OS, it is still going to be just a tweaked ubuntu which will be good for netbooks, but not for desktops/notebooks.

    It’s also good to see the Swiss telling Treasury to eff themselves. Anyone else have to file FBARs? What a pain in the ass.

    Sneaking bombs past government security – well, we’ve already heard this story before. Funny (well not really), this is supposed to be an area where you might be able to stop a terrorist (a specific building with security measures). Airports, train stations, your average Manhattan skyscraper, or any other general landmark? Yeah, good luck with that. I’m sure the random bag search will do wonders as a security measure.

  26. From the brief article I read about the Google OS, it is still going to be just a tweaked ubuntu which will be good for netbooks, but not for desktops/notebooks.

    I think that it is going to have a new window manager, so no X11. Will be interesting to see what comes from it.

  27. I use a Unix box with a 7″ monochrome screen, which displays everything in machine language.

  28. Emacs >> vi

  29. I’m still peckin away on a commodore vic20 that is slightly hotrodded. A man doesn’t need more speed than he can handle.

  30. I seem to remember a time not so long ago when people would not have stood for this sort of despotic rule by an elected royalty. Dude, where’s my liberty?

  31. vi rules.

  32. I use a Unix box with a 7″ monochrome screen, which displays everything in machine language.

    I don’t even see the code anymore, I just see blonde, brunette, redhead.

  33. All of my comments are submitted using punchcards via a slightly refurbished Babbage engine.

  34. I dictate my comments to an automaton which then transmits them through a tube.

    I still can’t train it to make a decent peanut butter and jelly sandwich, unfortunately.

  35. “All the idiot tech pundits who’ve been pushing The Cloud for the last couple years are creaming in their pants today, and experiencing visions of the future to come: crappy, half-functional web apps, and subscriptions for every damn thing because all your data are belong to us.”

    Crap web-apps aside (I totally agree) Chrome OS I suspect will still rock. The whole idea is a very streamed down OS that’s just an OS. Every major OS maker and commercial Linux distro suffers from trying to be everything right out of the box. Vista’s problem is bloat.

    Microsoft is a doomed company, in the same sense GM was a doomed company back in 1980. You can see how Microsoft ended up in this plight with Vista:

    The marketing dorks tell the corporate tools that the sheep (their customers) are worried about internet security more than anything. Instead of concentrating on getting rid of buffer-overruns and the like in the next OS’s critical functions, the tools decide instead to “market” the security via the Windows Security Center and Doze Firewall and all the rest, complete with annoying messages telling you how insecure you are and how dangerous every webpage you visit is.

    To implement said “features” while maintaining “shareholder value” the corporate tools get most the code via backoffice contracts in India or wherever coders can be had in bulk on the cheap to “save costs.” Result? a bloated mess designed by committee and actually built by the lowest bidder. Just the way the government acquires toilet seats.

    Microsoft has configured itself to work that way under Steve Ballmer. Vista is the first example of a Microsoft product baked and sold in that system, and it will eventually kill that company.

  36. Microsoft seems on the path to destruction or, at least, to lesser status, but they are still profoundly loaded with cash and have the opportunity and financial health to turn things around or buy their way out of trouble.

    I do think they need new leadership for any of that to happen.

  37. It’s not very often that I’ll stand up and cheer for any government, but today I’m very impressed by the Swiss. They enacted the Schweizer Bankgeheimnis laws in response to the Nazis, and I would have been very disappointed if they’d failed to stand up to the IRS.

    -jcr

  38. “Microsoft seems on the path to destruction or, at least, to lesser status, but they are still profoundly loaded with cash and have the opportunity and financial health to turn things around or buy their way out of trouble.”

    That’s why I compared Microsoft today to GM in 1980. Still with a lot of cash and resources, but an endemic institutional rot has set in with ascension of the MBA’s and marketing degree tools running the companies and the actual product geeks being sidelined.

    Eerily similar in my opinion.

  39. MS should be able to change a lot more quickly than GM, though. Don’t forget the unions and the greater government entanglement of GM, which made GM about as flexible as a block of ice.

  40. MS should be able to change a lot more quickly than GM, though. Don’t forget the unions and the greater government entanglement of GM, which made GM about as flexible as a block of ice.

    And redesigning software should be much more dynamic than producing complex physical systems like automobiles, even when legacy support has to be maintained.

  41. MS should be able to change a lot more quickly than GM, though.

    Microsoft’s problem is the management, not the rank and file. Until and unless their top six (!) layers of managers are kicked to the curb, they have nothing ahead of them but a steady decline. I expect them to lose about 30% of their market share in the next three years, with Apple getting most of the desktops, and Linux vendors getting most of the server business.

    -jcr

  42. 30% in 3 years??? No offense, but you’re on crack.

  43. Microsoft won’t drop like a rock, because PC sellers still bundle their OS and, to a lesser extent, applications with the PCs. Until that changes, MS is relatively safe. Their market share remains quite high.

  44. “MS should be able to change a lot more quickly than GM, though. Don’t forget the unions and the greater government entanglement of GM, which made GM about as flexible as a block of ice.”

    “And redesigning software should be much more dynamic than producing complex physical systems like automobiles, even when legacy support has to be maintained.”

    Inflexibility and the union can’t explain things like the Cadillac Cimmarron or the Pontiac Aztek, or why they were using push-rod V6’s in $25,000 dollar rides and hoping no one noticed.

    And another thing, Microsoft isn’t just in the software business anymore. Under Ballmer they foolishly got in the hardware business. What the hell are they doing making something like the Zune? Epic stupid. How many billions have they thrown at the Xbox mess for what, like ten years now? I think they’ve seen two profitable quarters for the Xbox division in all that time.

  45. Yes I am seriously this ignorant. Is there an OS that is more user-friendly for the millions that own computers that don’t know shyte about them?

  46. I think tech people overestimate the degree to which computer customers want change.

    Heck, I think Microsoft overestimates the degree to which its customers want change.

    I’m fine with code improvements that are invisible, but frankly I would be much happier if Microsoft hadn’t changed the Windows interface since Windows 98.

    Every time they update their shit, I have to learn new ways to use the Control Panel. Every time they update their shit, I have to figure out where they’ve hidden everything in Word and Access. More importantly, I get to look forward to the 1000 hours of patient, repetitive explanation it’s going to cost me to show my wife how to use the computer all over again.

    Just leave shit where it is, guys. I’ll keep buying it when I buy a new computer, I promise.

  47. “Yes I am seriously this ignorant. Is there an OS that is more user-friendly for the millions that own computers that don’t know shyte about them?”

    Its called OS-X and Apple sells it. I’m not an Apple fanboy by any means whatsoever. But I remember watching my girlfriend and a couple of her companions in a Best Buy I forced them to go in with me finding the Apple display. In ten minutes that gaggle of hotties were deep, deep into giggling away with Garage Band somehow. The non-techs, especially non-techie chicks dig OSX.

  48. The reason I asked the question had to do with Microsoft’s market share. Most regular folks have been using windows in one form or another for what, two decades? An OS will have to be far superior in a way the unwashed masses can understand before they will make the switch. With the stranglehold Microsoft has on the market, I think they would have to implode financially to the point they are not able to market a product before anyone else can make a serious dent in the OS market.

  49. Will the google OS track and trace everything you do on your computer?

  50. Apple won’t gobble up much more market share until they drop the smug-enabling and come WAY down in price. They certainly don’t do anything to steer people away from the image (illusion) of exclusivity.

  51. “Apple won’t gobble up much more market share until they drop the smug-enabling and come WAY down in price. They certainly don’t do anything to steer people away from the image (illusion) of exclusivity.”

    I don’t think Apple is after more market-share per se in desktops, they’ve got their shtick and they stick to the script that way. It has done them well…they make absurd margins for a hardware vendor.

    Where they want the giant marketshare is in mobile widgets. And they have done spectacularly well there. Mobile widget business reminds me of desktop PC business circa 1985 or so. All these different companies selling proprietary widgets with proprietary software.

    A good example of Microsoft’s current ineptness at doing anything well is the mobile business. They had a years-long head-start on everyone but RIM. And they have gotten their asses handed to them on a silver platter to show for it. Windows Mobile bleeds away market-share on a daily basis, and all the vendors that used Windows Mobile are running for the similarly distributed, but much better and free Android.

    The WinMo 6.5 is a desperate stop-gap to staunch the bleeding until the not-so-desperate stop-gap WinMo 7 comes out sometime “next year” or so. By then all the OEM vendors will be making their capacitive screen widgets for Android. The Microsoft chumps are done in mobile.

  52. frankly I would be much happier if Microsoft hadn’t changed the Windows interface since Windows 98.

    If Mozilla made a browser which worked with it, I’d happily go back to Mac OS6.

  53. Zeitgeist,

    You’re pretty much right and hit on a point I failed to make – Apple isn’t in the OS business, they’re in the hardware business for desktops and laptops.

    Thing is, with Apple, I don’t see them really gaining a ton of market share in mobile as long as their mobile devices remain as closed as they are (though they’ve been doing better). They’re positioned to go nuts if they stop the proprietary crap, but they have to be careful, because that will naturally let in even more competition.

  54. “Thing is, with Apple, I don’t see them really gaining a ton of market share in mobile as long as their mobile devices remain as closed as they are (though they’ve been doing better). They’re positioned to go nuts if they stop the proprietary crap, but they have to be careful, because that will naturally let in even more competition.”

    Apple has done a pretty good job on making the iPhone OS platform open with the App Store. But I don’t think any OS platform will dominate in mobile like Doze did/does on PC’s. In the old PC wars, when you picked a platform you were trapped in that standard; Amiga stuff didn’t work on PCs etc. But with the mobile space developing in the internet age, the internet itself is the platform standard and the device/OS is just a way to access it. Different game with different rules there, proprietary doesn’t matter as much.

  55. Fluffy all the annoying changes to the Windows UI that make you spend time to relearn old features are done on purpose. The more time you spend relearning Windows stuff you already know, the more you’ve invested in Windows. The sunk cost makes it harder to quit. If you spent that much time learning on Linux or OS X, you would pick up entire new skillsets.

  56. The total cost of the system, designed to protect all nonmilitary government computers, is classified

    WTF?

  57. Crap web-apps aside (I totally agree) Chrome OS I suspect will still rock. The whole idea is a very streamed down OS that’s just an OS.

    I was under the impression that everything is done via browser–hence my prediction of total suckage. If it’s just a stripped down Linux, I don’t really see the point.

    The non-techs, especially non-techie chicks dig OSX.

    So do a growing number of techies, myself included.

  58. I’m fine with code improvements that are invisible, but frankly I would be much happier if Microsoft hadn’t changed the Windows interface since Windows 98.

    ….

    Just leave shit where it is, guys. I’ll keep buying it when I buy a new computer, I promise.

    For this I give you a standing ovation. This has been my bitch for 20 years running.

    Anybody use Framemaker? They have added functionality to it without changing the interface for almost 20 years now. And when I open a Framemaker document that I created in 1992, it looks today just like it did back then.

    It can be done.

    all the annoying changes to the Windows UI that make you spend time to relearn old features are done on purpose.

    That’s obvious.

    The more time you spend relearning Windows stuff you already know, the more you’ve invested in Windows.

    That isn’t.

    We need a massive consumer revolt. And a class-action lawsuit against the software vendors for wasting economic resources, by forcing everybody to relearn what they know with each new software release.

  59. One benefit of Google competition:

    It said in May it plans to remove a restriction of running three applications at a time on its forthcoming Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is designed for netbooks.

    I had to re-read that sentence a few times for it to sink in. Three at a time. Just wow. How’s that for innovation?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.