Re: [fw-wiz] Personal Firewall Day?

From: Crispin Cowan (
Date: 10/07/03

  • Next message: Gary Flynn: "Re: [fw-wiz] Personal Firewall Day?"
    To: "Marcus J. Ranum" <>,
    Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2003 16:44:46 -0700

    Marcus J. Ranum wrote:

    >Crispin Cowan wrote:
    >>I submit that dumb terminals are dead & gone
    >I said we needed to kill general-purpose computing, not go to dumb
    >terminals. Why did everyone assume I was talking about dumb terminals?
    I didn't assume that of you; I was responding to the guy who responded
    to you (Hicks?) who overtly said that he wanted dumb terminals back. I
    do too, but I don't expect it to happen soon.

    "Dumb" is also highly variable. At one extreme it's a VT100, which is
    really pretty dumb. At the other extreme is diskless workstations, or
    even diskful workstations that get their OS and software from a central
    server, and use a local disk for swap (wrote my thesis on one of those
    in the early 90s). The modern Linux variant is a PC that boots from a
    live CD, e.g. the Knoppix distro and the Linux
    Terminal Server Project

    As attractive as these systems are, I expect low uptake as each
    individual finds *some* reason to need to have a custom
    something-or-other on their PC, and so they diverge from the diskless
    machine or the live CD image they were handed, and instead install a
    full OS on a hard disk because they can. This is how PCs took over back
    in 1982: IT departments were rigid about what software they would
    support, and end-users responded by deploying PCs running VisiCalc
    because they could do it on their own and it solved their problem.

    >example, as are some of the massively multiplayer games. It should
    >be feasible (technically) to produce a desktop that can drive an IMAP
    >client, a browser, an office automation suite, HTML editor, and image
    >editor on the front end with remote file storage of personal data (non
    >system info) on a backend. None of this is rocket science. But we're
    Until 5% or so of web sites require Flash 7 (or whatever) to be able to
    view their content, and then the fixed-software machines all need to be
    updated. Central IT tries to be as fast as possible deploying upgrades,
    but global constraints mean that central IT cannot possibly upgrade as
    early as some individuals demand, and so the balkanization starts.
    General purpose computing devices are attractive for a reason.


    Crispin Cowan, Ph.D. 
    Chief Scientist, Immunix
    firewall-wizards mailing list

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