Sun's Gage urges participation in security

In a presentation at the Oracle world conference here that featured a demonstration of a global geospatial application and an explanation of its military usage in Afghanistan, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s John Gage, chief researcher and director of the company's science office, urged community participation to promote secure computing.

Stressing that security still is a challenge globally, and citing instances such as the recent attack on Internet DNS servers, Gage emphasized that the community at large can help.

"I know that I can draft you all as the ground troopers," Gage said.

Gage noted new government efforts to boost security. Programmers, he said, need to reveal their knowledge of vulnerabilities to boost security.

Gage also took issue with the name of Oracle's "Unbreakable Linux" project for a scalable Linux system. "Please talk to the engineers because you make us all seem stupid when you say 'unbreakable,'" Gage said.

He also said Microsoft's Windows operating system was not secure, unlike Solaris, which was built with security in mind.

"You can never retrofit Windows to be secure. End of story," Gage said.

Additionally, Gage criticized Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell for what Gage characterized as Dell's critical comparison of Unix with Linux. "Would somebody please tell Michael [Dell] that Linux is Unix?" Gage said.

Dell in an OracleWorld speech on Tuesday said Linux was a superior alternative to "proprietary" Unix operating systems, and called Linux "the new Unix."

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