You are hereBlogs / dlindorff's blog / Don’t say you weren’t warned: Stallman, FOSS and the Adobe Nightmare

Don’t say you weren’t warned: Stallman, FOSS and the Adobe Nightmare


By dlindorff - Posted on 07 October 2013

By Alfredo Lopez

 

Recently, Richard Stallman published an article in Wired about Free and Open Source Software [1] and its alternative, "Proprietary Software". As he has for 30 years now, he vigorously called for the use and defense of FOSS and warned about the nefarious nature of Proprietary.

As if the worthy Stallman needed an illustration to dramatize his point, the Adobe Corporation last week announced that hackers had stolen from its servers the password and credit card information, [2] of almost three million of its users as well as a huge amount of code from some of its programs -- probably ColdFusion and Adobe Acrobat. That theft is potentially the most serious breach of user information in recent history and, because of the popularity of Acrobat, could prove devastating to computer users world-wide. Such theft is, in the end, only possible with Proprietary Software.

Since the spectacular theft is being reported (or under-reported) in ways that miss some important issues, analysis is called for, starting with the pertinent definitions.

Proprietary Software is written and distributed by developers (usually companies) who frequently sell it and never release or reveal its code (the programming that makes it work). It's their private work product often protected by copyright laws, special "release keys" that prevent people who don't have the key from using it, and other highly restrictive measures. Most users rely on it for their daily computing.

FOSS, on the other hand, is free and completely open. It can't be sold. Its source code can be viewed and even changed by anyone who knows how and it can't be "hidden and bundled" into commercial or proprietary programs. It's the opposite of proprietary software. You may not use much FOSS on your computer except maybe your web browser and email program) but FOSS programs run the Internet and so all of us are in contact with it and depend on it every day.

The Adobe revelations about user data stolen from its records of customers are dramatic. Having credit card information for so many people (even if it's encrypted as Adobe's is) could result in a whole lot of grief for credit-card holders and multi-million dollar losses for banks and companies. But the more potentially damaging part of the announcement is that code theft because, with that information in hand, good hackers can fashion ways to get into just about every computer using the Acrobat program and steal their data, set up programs that transmit personal information and insert viruses that can wreck stored information.

It was a huge screw-up on the company's part as Adobe sheepishly admitted but the more important issue hasn't been discussed much...


For the rest of this article by ALFREDO LOPEZ (including a list of open-source programs you can turn to that will free you from this corporate nightmare) in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/stallmanadobe

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.