The hacker community is on the brink of a split.
Paul Graham published a great essay on the parallels between hackers and painters. I find it funny that this would come up on the net this week as I was pondering some of the same things in the past few weeks, since I visited the amazing Da Vinci show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this year. I’d like to add a few points to Paul’s discussion on this, however. Unlike other great forms of art, great programming is more appreciated for its risk taking at the time at which it happens. For example, if you visit the Musee D’Orsay, which covers the full range of 19th century art, you come to realize that the paintings that received the most prizes in art competitions were not the ones that took the most risks. They were generally more bland and the more daring pieces were often the cause of much controversy and shunned by the “people who mattered”. In the same fashion, some of the greatest books in history have had very rough beginning, often being recognized as masterpieces only years after their author’s death. In the programming world, however, a great piece of code is highly praised for its ingenuity…Read More
Last week, for the second week in a row, IIS administrators have had to face Code Red. More than a simple virus, Code Red could represent a new acceleration in the online virus war and shows that we may not be ready, as an industry, for the era of web services. A Rapid Epidemic Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s take a quick look at how Code Red spread. First of all, there was a simple buffer overflow problem in Microsoft Index Server, for which the company produced a patch. A month later, Code Red starting showing up. However, its rate of growth was relatively slow at the beginning. The true epidemic did not start until July 19th, when Code Red exploded onto the scene, increasing the number of infected servers from just around 300 at 00:15am to 2994 by 7:30am, over 30,000 by 14:40pm and over 300,000 in the 6 hours after that. In other words, in less than a day, Code Red went from a relatively small annoyance to a full blown attack on the net infrastructure. Had no one rung the bell on it, it would have taken only a couple of days for it to…Read More