Giorgio Pioda: “Every Monday we had 20 machine to fix for viral infections”

Different organization. Different country. Different language. Same problem. That other OS makes itself useless to schools by giving a home to malware. That was the last straw where I last paved over a school full of XP machines.

We decided to move to Linux because students at our school have own laptop and we have the responsibility to keep the laptop ready to use; we were really unsatisfied with Microsoft since every Monday we had 20 machine to fix for viral infections… With Linux this has been reduced to zero, since people installs almost only from official repositories.

via Debian Edu interview: Giorgio Pioda.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Giorgio Pioda: “Every Monday we had 20 machine to fix for viral infections”

  1. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy –Are you seriously trying to compare people who try to raise money for sick children to scammers?–

    Ever wonder how scammers get the numbers. One of the ways is charities and other approved bodies out sourcing call centre work. This is a nice way to get access to lines that will not trip automatic monitoring.

  2. That Exploit Guy says:

    @oiaohm

    ‘Do-Not-Call Registry is a joke go read all the exceptions to it. https://www.donotcall.gov.au/faqs.cfm Section 2. Then notice register as a charity you can call anyone even when you are selling product.’

    No one is talking about charities. Are you seriously trying to compare people who try to raise money for sick children to scammers?

    ‘Why waste the bandwidth. Seen it before. Did to cover exactly how come its so spotable he did not cover how the proper operates right.’

    If I understand you correctly (I am pretty illiterate in moonspeak, in case you aren’t aware), you are telling me that some random person has faked a one-hour-and-a-half long video just to make someone who can’t string a coherent sentence, can’t cite anything outside of Wikipedia, can’t find evidence to back up his “facts” and can’t do basic mathematics to save his own life look like he’s lying.

    Either you are a master of self-deprecating humour, or this is the most desperate attempt to save face I have seen for a while.

  3. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy really its simple open a clean install windows eventlog and notice the error messages clean out box. Exactly how should a clean install error it should not really. They are always there so people can play on it. This just makes attackers life simple.

    That Exploit Guy In fact for numbers you don’t want called you pay silent number fee in Australia.

    Do-Not-Call Registry is a joke go read all the exceptions to it. https://www.donotcall.gov.au/faqs.cfm Section 2. Then notice register as a charity you can call anyone even when you are selling product.

    Any Australian worth there salt reads that. Calling a silent number on the other hand is automatically do not call to all parties including charities. Unlisted number basically is listed no where.

    Random dialling by a random number generator is a breach of the Australia telecommunication act as well. Computer generated number is not legal in Australia. So they had to get number from somewhere or they have committed offences.

    That Exploit Guy
    –The least you could have done would have been to watch the video I linked to in my last comment.–
    Why waste the bandwidth. Seen it before. Did to cover exactly how come its so spotable he did not cover how the proper operates right.

  4. Chris Weig wrote, of irony, “It’s not the point of irony and/or sarcasm that everyone gets it. Quite on the contrary, it is hoped and expected that not everyone gets it (at least not right away), otherwise it would make no sense to employ these devices.”

    This is the 21st century. We live in a multicultural network where such things are a waste of time. Imagine Intel’s CPUs randomly giving the wrong results… What part of the network should operate that way?

  5. That Exploit Guy says:

    @oiaohm

    ‘JR the scam is not new. Of course That Exploit Guy skips over the fact as part of normal operations MS Windows is placing failures in the event-log so making scam more believable to the untrained. Ideal is failures should not be part of normal operations.’

    Before you want to state anything as a “fact”, make sure you have the fact and is willing to back it up with evidence. So far you have not only failed to do that but also shown you don’t even understand the basics of computer science required to make proper judgments on the subject matters we have discussed. I strongly suggest you just stick to real facts and avoid questioning people of their credibility that you are sorely lacking at the moment.

    ‘JR I had the one Ars Technica.’

    If you wanted to reference to second-hand information from Ars Technica, the least you could do would be to link to it.

    ‘Yes you know something wrong when only computers in your house are Linux and the person is giving information about windows infections.’

    That’s why it’s called “cold-calling”. They ring up random numbers and hope that the person on the other side of the phone is a Windows user (and there’s a good chance he/she is). In Australia, businesses are required by law to avoid calling numbers from a black list known as the “Do-Not-Call Registry” (which is similar to its US counterpart in nature). The cold-callers operating the scam do not respect this list and will call you with excuses such as “we have detected your computer has a virus” to avoid being questioned about the legality of the call. Again, as I said, I got called by these scammers twice, and they don’t care whom they are calling so as long as they can find the victims they are looking for.

    ‘The problem here people don’t know what a real one sounds like. Education problem. Here in Australia real call is from your ISP they tell you to refer to your last bill and call them.’

    The least you could have done would have been to watch the video I linked to in my last comment. Notice his accent? He’s an Australian, and he made it very clear that he was in Australia several times in that video. Next time, if you don’t know something, do some research instead of filling in the blanks with your own imagination.

    ‘Its also a non human message. Then you find your Internet connection disabled due to detected infection sourcing from your computer.’

    Interesting, but before you want to build upon your story any further, take notice that there are about 22 million people currently living in Australia, and any one of these 22 million people who have Internet access can point up pretty straight away that whatever you are saying here is simply false. Do you want to give up now, or you want me to follow and deconstruct your fairy tale until there is nothing left?

    The choice is yours.

  6. oiaohm says:

    JR the scam is not new. Of course That Exploit Guy skips over the fact as part of normal operations MS Windows is placing failures in the event-log so making scam more believable to the untrained. Ideal is failures should not be part of normal operations.

    JR I had the one Ars Technica. Yes you know something wrong when only computers in your house are Linux and the person is giving information about windows infections.

    The problem here people don’t know what a real one sounds like. Education problem. Here in Australia real call is from your ISP they tell you to refer to your last bill and call them. Its also a non human message. Then you find your Internet connection disabled due to detected infection sourcing from your computer.

    Same with bank calls over possible fraud on your account. They never ever work from them calling you the call to you is a automated message to refer to bill to call them. You call their 1800 or equal local call charge number.

    Real tech support calling you about infection or fraud in Australia has a really strong signature. They will have to refer to bill/branch/police. Never in the message have any contact information. Also the message will have a reference number.

    JR now your country might be the same as Australia. It does pay to ask your banks and ISP’s how they handle these issues.

  7. Chris Weig says:

    If you want to be sarcastic, explicitly state that so the readers who don’t know the meaning of the word can look it up. Otherwise, you are just being a troll.

    Wow, how does that work out for you when you are reading books? Maybe it hasn’t dawned on you that irony and/or sarcasm are rhetorical devices whose nature it is to be more or less ambiguous, and deliberately so. It’s not the point of irony and/or sarcasm that everyone gets it. Quite on the contrary, it is hoped and expected that not everyone gets it (at least not right away), otherwise it would make no sense to employ these devices.

  8. JR says:

    @ That Exploit Guy

    Many thanks for the reply maybe just maybe no one will spin this.

    The mind boggles at what these people get up but this is the first time I have ever heard of this scam.

    One learns something new everyday.

    Maybe an idea to pass it on.

    Thanks again.

  9. That Exploit Guy says:

    @JR

    ‘So please do not use it for ulterior motives.’

    So you don’t want this to be spinned into a “use Debian” or “buy my solution” thing? On mrpogson.com? Your expectations are a bit too high, aren’t they?

    The scam is run by the India-based, now ex-MS Certified Partner Comantra. I got cold-called by them twice. Every time, they would tell you about your computer catching a virus, then, according to some sources (e.g. here), instruct you to look at the Event Viewer to make you into believing in problems that don’t really exist and convince you to buy support services that you don’t need.

  10. JR says:

    @ All Posters

    Anybody seen or heard of this scam before.?

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/i-am-calling-you-from-windows-a-tech-support-scammer-dials-ars-technica/

    NB. This is a genuine question. So please do not use it for ulterior motives.

    Chris Weig that includes you.

  11. oiaohm says:

    Chris Weig
    –GTFO, Pogson! You know, not too long ago the Debian security team consisted of ONE person. That should give you an idea how seriously security was taken by Debian. Today they have something like five guys doing it. Let’s hope they have some clue what they’re doing. I somehow doubt it.–
    Lol Never was. The project lead of the Security team was just 1 person yes the team has never been one person. After the what happens if he get hit by a bus a few backups were assigned. Current number of leads is 12. That is without counting the security testing team that is another 8 that only work on the testing and sid branches. Yes a total team size of 20.

    Remember the security teams for a bug in a package also pulled in the package maintainers for those packages. If the package maintainers don’t fix package and the security team has to the package maintainer might find him self no long an maintainer at worst package removed from future versions until a new maintainer can be found.

    So the security team each one might be working on many bugs at the same time due to delegation down to package maintainers and upstream. Chris Weig yes there is a layer system to debian.

    http://www.debian.org/intro/organization lists the staff break down no need to be bogus Chris Weig.

    JR basically Chris Weig was lieing as normal. The team size is 20. Those are the leads who can sign off on a security fix and ship it out. Other people can make the fixes.

  12. Chris Weig, spreading FUD, wrote, “You know, not too long ago the Debian security team consisted of ONE person. That should give you an idea how seriously security was taken by Debian. Today they have something like five guys doing it. Let’s hope they have some clue what they’re doing. I somehow doubt it.”

    That’s a bunch more than most distros and because Debian GNU/Linux is so secure that’s enough. “I somehow doubt it.” is weak, really weak. Debian GNU/Linux is used on a huge number of servers on the web because it is so reliable.

  13. JR says:

    @ Chris Weig

    Your comment refers ……..

    “Debian security team consisted of ONE person. That should give you an idea how seriously security was taken by Debian. Today they have something like five guys doing it. Let’s hope they have some clue what they’re doing. I somehow doubt it.”

    Maybe five guys is all they need!.

  14. Chris Weig says:

    Meanwhile M$ makes thousands of blunders per day and TEG doesn’t care.

    GTFO, Pogson! You know, not too long ago the Debian security team consisted of ONE person. That should give you an idea how seriously security was taken by Debian. Today they have something like five guys doing it. Let’s hope they have some clue what they’re doing. I somehow doubt it.

  15. JR says:

    @ That Exploit guy

    With all due respect you site this example as a reason for your distaste of the Linux repository system …..

    “I have made it amply clear of my distaste for Linux repository systems with an example (i.e. the Debian OpenSSL blunder).

    Surely windows updates are in a repository.?
    Or is it a totally different concept to the Linux repositories.?

    Forgive my ignorance here but was this not how the flame virus entered the windows ecosystem.?

    http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/06/flame-malware-hijacks-windows-update-to-propogate/

    http://www.h-online.com/security/news/item/Windows-Update-compromised-1612246.html

  16. TEG gave one example of a blunder in Debian, “I have made it amply clear of my distaste for Linux repository systems with an example (i.e. the Debian OpenSSL blunder).” and thinks he’s won something. Meanwhile M$ makes thousands of blunders per day and TEG doesn’t care.

  17. That Exploit Guy says:

    @Robert Pogson

    ‘If you want to be sarcastic, explicitly state that so the readers who don’t know the meaning of the word can look it up. Otherwise, you are just being a troll.’

    Face it:

    1) Everyone disagreeing with you is a “troll” in your book. It’s only a matter of finding an excuse to ban him/her to save yourself from being asked tough questions that you are unable to answer.

    2) I have made it amply clear of my distaste for Linux repository systems with an example (i.e. the Debian OpenSSL blunder). If you somehow find a way to see an opposite meaning in all that, that’s your problem, not mine.

  18. TEG wrote, “I was being sarcastic about Linux repository systems.”

    Sarcasm flops seriously on the web:

    • no body language,
    • no timing assumptions, and
    • no common culture, (people from 100 countries visit here)

    If you want to be sarcastic, explicitly state that so the readers who don’t know the meaning of the word can look it up. Otherwise, you are just being a troll.

  19. That Exploit Guy says:

    @JR

    ‘Does that clear things up ?’

    Yes, and, yes, I was being sarcastic about Linux repository systems.

  20. JR says:

    @ That Exploit Guy

    Your Comment no 11 refers:

    You quoted this from dougman and from what I understand he was asking Chris Weig where the windows repository was.

    ‘Solutions which allow one to install software from a “repository” do exist for Windows, too. Where???’

    You replied…

    “So you want a pool of packages trickled down from third-party sources at a glacial pace and mangled by someone who barely has the time to read or understand the code before it arrives at your end of the funnel. Who wants that… I mean, who doesn’t want that?”

    My WTF was in response to your reply above as I was wondering whether you were referring to a windows repository somewhere or just being sarcastic about a Linux repository.

    Does that clear things up ?

  21. That Exploit Guy says:

    @JR

    ‘Where???’

    http://mrpogson.com/2012/09/30/more-stats/#comment-98512

    ‘WTF’

    That’s quite a way to justify the existence of something as mind-boggling as a “repository”, isn’t it?

  22. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson I did not say the greed is as bad as Microsoft.

    Greed in the sense of thinking about how they can make profit than people privacy. Basically forgetting the first rule of business. That Microsoft forgets as well. The welfare of yours customers is important. If they are harmed you are harmed.

  23. oiaohm wrote, “the most popular desktops distributions in the Linux world seam to get greedy”.

    Your dictionary must have a different meaning for “greedy” than mine. Any touch of greed in the FLOSS world pales in comparison to M$ convincing much of the world M$ is owed a living. The entire FLOSS revenue stream is still like pocket-change to M$. Even as unbalanced as the playing-field is M$ still demands a shot a government/educational revenue although FLOSS will provide the same service for ~$0. That’s greed.

  24. oiaohm says:

    eug funny thing Ubuntu is history repeating mandrake did the same thing in places. I don’t know what it is the most popular desktops distributions in the Linux world seam to get greedy people who think they can get away with anything.

  25. True. That is an issue for many but for many it is not. Many people view the web as their “PC” and don’t give any thought to what’s out there about themselves. Better/more relevant search on the web is something many will enjoy. The hard-core GNU/Linux user may hate what Canonical has done but gazillions of consumers may love it. I expect Canonical will divide the local search from the web search more carefully in the future but I don’t expect them to abstain from finding new ways to make money: app stores, music/media stores, on-line selling, search, etc. Imagine if Canonical and Google got an ad-thing going… Amazon may just be the beginning.

    I expect as GNU/Linux succeeds technically and in the market, more businesses will find ways to make money from it. After the failure of “8”, I would not be surprised to find M$ puts out a distro, “That Other OS One”, for example, touting all their innovation and “convenient” money-making services.

    I still have Debian GNU/Linux where I have complete control over what my system does.

  26. eug says:

    There are many things that comprise a successful Linux distribution, but there may be none more important than trust. Before you build a production Linux system, you have to trust that the distribution isn’t going to contain malicious code or back doors or any number of other potentially major problems. Since the advent of Linux, this really hasn’t been an issue.

    In the rare occasions that backdoors or spyware have been injected into a particular Linux distribution, the nature of the open source community is such that it has been discovered and patched quickly. But we’re talking about clandestine operations here, such as a bad actor unrelated to the distribution getting access to the source tree and injecting their bad code in the mix.

    But what if the distribution does this on purpose? What if, by hook or by crook, a popular, successful distro released a new version that contained code that exposed much more information to third parties than a user would like, while simultaneously claiming that it’s a nonissue? Canonical has run right into this wall, and the collision has been ugly.

    (…)

    http://www.infoworld.com/d/data-center/ubuntu-has-bigger-problem-its-amazon-blunder-203467

  27. oiaohm says:

    That Exploit Guy
    –So you want a pool of packages trickled down from third-party sources at a glacial pace and mangled by someone who barely has the time to read or understand the code before it arrives at your end of the funnel. Who wants that… I mean, who doesn’t want that?–

    Really major distribution the process is slow due to quality assurance processes. For someone who tries to act as a security person this is a basic problem.

    Most distribution maintainers happen to take part in mainlines of the projects. So they really do know the code.

    You are turning into another Chris Weig who wants to make open statements without any documentation That Exploit Guy.

    That Exploit Guy big difference is not format C: or rm -rf /. The big difference is when you enable security on Linux a business network it harder with more options than Windows.

    That Exploit Guy your turn to answer this>>
    –Tell me how do you install windows on a computer and make the OS/software partition read only?? You are only allowed 1 hard-drive and that is all.–

    You are wanting to play the expert card Exploit Guy lets see how good you really are.

    Or will you agree that Windows is lower quality on security options than Linux. Really would should be demanding better than both.

    That Exploit Guy you came the balls to claim I don’t know what I am talking about. The problem is I do know the topic of security very well. It is really put up or shut up time Exploit Guy. You did not understand the bug that Debian Openssl was. This make be believe you are not a security person. Googling will not answer what the Debian Openssl bug was before I mentioned what it was. Since its security the basics.

  28. JR says:

    @ That Exploit Guy

    Comment from Chris Weig….

    “Solutions which allow one to install software from a “repository” do exist for Windows, too.”

    The Question:

    Where???’

    Your Answer:

    So you want a pool of packages trickled down from third-party sources at a glacial pace and mangled by someone who barely has the time to read or understand the code before it arrives at your end of the funnel. Who wants that… I mean, who doesn’t want that?

    WTF

  29. That Exploit Guy says:

    The blog’s spam filter is getting hungry again.

  30. That Exploit Guy says:

    @dougman

    ‘With Linux, you are never given full administrative privileges unlike say Windows’

    Really? Why not get yourself a copy of, say, RHEL and give it a whirl?

    ‘Solutions which allow one to install software from a “repository” do exist for Windows, too. Where???’

    So you want a pool of packages trickled down from third-party sources at a glacial pace and mangled by someone who barely has the time to read or understand the code before it arrives at your end of the funnel. Who wants that… I mean, who doesn’t want that?

    ‘If Windows was built right from the first place, then one would not need to lock down the laptops and introduce proper software management, but no its not and in M$ eyes security is an after-thought.’

    I am sure you are familiar with Ubuntu, right? I am sure you also notice that the first account that it gives you is a sudoer, correct? Now, explain to me how that is supposed to be any different to Windows in your scenario.

    ‘sudo rm -rf / no different then a noobie learning format c:/’

    Now you are just moving the goal posts.

    You hand out a bunch of laptops to a bunch of kids who are known to do just about anything with their computers as long as the cicrumstances permits. You allow them the ability to become sudoers/administrators. Now what do you think is going to happen?

    Of course, we are supposed to take up the religious belief that they won’t do anything unthinkable as long as they are using Linux, aren’t we?

    You might as well just give them Kellogg’s corn flakes to stop them from masturbating. (Yes, that’s the reason John Harvey Kellogg invented corn flakes. Look it up.)

  31. dougman says:

    Re: I was smart enough to do that. I re-imaged every PC with the most anal-retentive anti-malware software known to man, requiring the hashes of all executables to be listed and no one but me had administrative privileges yet malware happened because of the vulnerabilities in that other OS and the ability of malware-artists to run stuff in RAM without the sniffer seeing it. Several times I found the anti-malware disabled and dozens of malwares on a PC. The mean time to failure of a PC running that other OS when used by students was just a few weeks. Not one GNU/Linux machine was infected even with no anti-malware software running on them…

    What Robert said is still viable today even with Windows 7 on the scene, nothing changes with M$. They just redress the same ol’ pig, put on some lip stick, sunglasses and perfume. Windows 8 and METROFAIL will be more of the same; I gesture to say that it will fail more then VISTA.

  32. oiaohm says:

    Chris Weig
    –This Giorgio Pioda guy complains that they had to fix virus-infected laptops every monday, yet he wasn’t smart enough to lock down the laptops and introduce proper software management.–

    Theory does not work. Or at least the time when he was doing it.

    Chris Weig with Linux I can place the OS core on read only media. Even if it only software enforced.

    Yes install updates on reboot like windows. Under Linux I can mark home directories as not able to contain executable files.

    These are all safe guard options of Linux. Chris Weig the problem with windows they are Missing in action. Tell me how do you install windows on a computer and make the OS/software partition read only?? come on mister smart ass Chris Weig answer it. You are only allowed 1 hard-drive.

    Simple security difference. Each of the simple differences between windows and Linux add up to one huge security weakness in Windows compare to Linux.

    That Exploit Guy
    –Then explain to me why there is such a job position as an “Linux administrator” and why one person cost on $87,000 on average to hire.–
    Most Linux administrators don’t just look after Linux machines. They do windows and other machines as well. Why they have spare time to make custom software for the company and assist the Windows administrator to get their job done.

    Linux administrators do far broader jobs than just look after the servers.

    Lot of Linux boxes have the habit of being self caring. Study of most Linux administrators workloads show they are mostly their in case of failure as insurance so not realy doing server administration most of the time.

  33. Chris Weig wrote, “he wasn’t smart enough to lock down the laptops and introduce proper software management.”

    I was smart enough to do that. I re-imaged every PC with the most anal-retentive anti-malware software known to man, requiring the hashes of all executables to be listed and no one but me had administrative privileges yet malware happened because of the vulnerabilities in that other OS and the ability of malware-artists to run stuff in RAM without the sniffer seeing it. Several times I found the anti-malware disabled and dozens of malwares on a PC. The mean time to failure of a PC running that other OS when used by students was just a few weeks. Not one GNU/Linux machine was infected even with no anti-malware software running on them…

    BTW. By adding anti-malware, with that other OS the number one task of me became updating the applications software for their vulnerabilities and updating the anti-malware with the new checksums each time I did that for every PC in the place and for every application updated…. an explosion of labour for IT. I was forced to switch to GNU/Linux or quit. I switched and my workload dropped to near zero, just a few minutes a day to check that everything was running. It usually was.

    One can see this effect in IT support all over the world. Munich has 30K employees and 1K IT people partly because they have 50 buildings but also because they used to run that other OS and felt 30:1 was the right ratio. At Easterville I had 153 seats of GNU/Linux and almost zero workload as the guy in charge of IT. I have no idea how many users one GNU/Linux IT person can support but it must be thousands. One expects ~1% per annum hardware failures or so and 1000 users would not keep one person busy that way. I have read of schools expanding seats three-fold with no increase in IT staff and Largo reports they have five times fewer staff than similar organizations with that other OS. The trolls here will respond that I am an idiot for not using technique X to solve this issue but they forget there is no issue at all for GNU/Linux. That other OS requires special techniques and years of study just to keep it working. I have worked in systems set up by M$-certified people and they still had malware.

  34. dougman says:

    Exploited, I was referring to Desktop users not a server.

    Regarding deceptive marketing, speak with M$ on that.

    Solutions which allow one to install software from a “repository” do exist for Windows, too. Where???

    With Linux, you are never given full administrative privileges unlike say Windows. I dare say that I could give a Linux laptop to a 10-year old and receive it back just fine after a week, with Windows its rather dubious that the same could be said.

    If Windows was built right from the first place, then one would not need to lock down the laptops and introduce proper software management, but no its not and in M$ eyes security is an after-thought.

    sudo rm -rf / no different then a noobie learning format c:/

  35. Chris Weig says:

    LMAO! Another classic. This Giorgio Pioda guy complains that they had to fix virus-infected laptops every monday, yet he wasn’t smart enough to lock down the laptops and introduce proper software management. Solutions which allow one to install software from a “repository” do exist for Windows, too.

  36. kozmcrae says:

    The Exploit Guy Wrote:

    A bash command that would really screw up a newbie’s installation without giving any indication what that command would do. On a help forum that would get you banned immediately.

  37. That Exploit Guy says:

    @dougman

    ‘Linux is install, configure and forget.’

    Then explain to me why there is such a job position as an “Linux administrator” and why one person cost on $87,000 on average to hire.

    All your other dubious anectodes and marketing-speak aside, you do realise deceptive marketing is illegal, right?

  38. That Exploit Guy says:

    @Robert Pogson

    ‘We decided to move to Linux because students at our school have own laptop and we have the responsibility to keep the laptop ready to use’

    So they gave each student a laptop with full administrative privileges and they wonder why the OS hadn’t been nuked to orbit after the weekend.

    Let’s hope the same students won’t discover “sudo rm -rf /” any time soon.

  39. dougman says:

    Right on!

    Linux is install, configure and forget.

    Nothing more needs to be done.

    Reading the interview reminded me of why M$ Windows will never be seen in vehicles and here is why.

    Note: This is rather dated, but some of them are still pertinent even today. 🙂

    If Microsoft Made Cars

    At a recent computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon.”

    In response to Bill’s comments General Motors issued a press release stating the following: “If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would be driving cars with the following characteristics:

    1. The radio would be computerized, but you’d need to install 64 Meg of RAM, a new sound card, a game card, a new video driver, a CD drive, and type C:\radio\talk\rush*.* to get it to play.

    2. The entire engine wouldn’t be in the bay at once, and the car would have to keep stopping and starting to load in the relevant parts.

    3. The speedometer would read 70 even though you are only doing 50.

    4. You would have to have a full service every 500 miles.

    5. Your car would refuse to start with a message “Abort, Retry, Fail?”

    6. For some reason the engine controller would need a 1G hard disc and would take 5 minutes to boot up.

    7. The steering wheel would be replaced with a mouse and you’d need to memorize the keyboard short-cut for “Brake”.

    8. A particular model year of car wouldn’t be available until after that year- instead of before it.

    9. They wouldn’t build their own engines but form a cartel with their engine supplier. The latest engine would have 16 cylinders, multi-point fuel injection and 4 turbos, but it would be a side-valve design so you could use Model-T Ford parts on it. There would be an “Engium Pro” with bigger turbos, but it would be slower on most existing roads.

    10. The air bag system would say “Are you sure?” before going off.

    11. New seats would require everyone to have the same butt size.

    12. We would all have to switch to Microsoft Gas.

    13. The U.S. government would be forced to rebuild all of the roads for Microsoft cars; they will drive on the old roads, but they run very slowly.

    14. The oil, alternator, gas and engine warning lights would be replaced by a single ‘General Car Fault’ warning light.

    15. Sun MotorSystems would make a car that was solar-powered, twice as reliable and five times as fast, but would run on only 5% of the roads.

    16. You would be constantly pressured to upgrade your car.

    17. You could have only one person in the car at a time, unless you bought a Car95 or CarNT — but then you would have to buy ten more seats and a new engine.

    18. Occasionally, your car would die for NO apparent reason and you would have to restart it. Strangely, you would just accept this as normal.

    18b. Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail to restart and you’d have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you’d just accept this, too.

    19. Every time the lines of the road were repainted, you would have to buy a new car.

    20. People would get excited about the new features of the latest Microsoft cars, forgetting that these same features had been available from other car makers for years.

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