Mundie's analogy has some holes
In response to the Jan. 18 Perspectives column by Craig Mundie, "Computing you can rely on":
Mundie's perspective on reliable and trustworthy computing ignores two basic issues his analogy to electrical distribution helps illustrate. General public acceptance of safe and reliable electrical power emerged when:
1. Uniform electrical-power distribution was overseen by quasi-governmental regulators to promote fair, stable pricing and to prevent unfettered profiteering by monopolistic commercial pioneers.
2. Professionally licensed engineers and trade craftsmen assumed responsibility, and the corresponding liability, for the production and delivery of uniformly available electricity.
Mundie, and Microsoft, cannot be faulted for acting in their own self-interest. And while Mundie's short essay understandably avoids these issues, his company's record for truly supporting the development of trustworthy, reliable computing casts a dark and puzzling irony on his words.
The tone of his essay implies that to "build trust into these systems from the ground up" is primarily a technological challenge. To look past even cursory mention of the critical business, legal, regulatory and academic factors in achieving trustworthy computing that swirl around the realm controlled by Microsoft, Mundie's viewpoint is difficult to take more seriously than a statement of the nearly obvious.
George L. Carroll
Arlington Heights, Ill.