Tag Archives: Ken Starks

Security By Obscurity?

If they don’t know what Linux is, maybe they’ll leave us alone?

I just finished reading a not-so-surprising, but still disturbing article on Ken Starks’ Blog of Helios called Is Linux Brand Poisoned?

Here’s a bit:

I queried 109 people.  People who either owned, managed or worked as Executive Assistants to those in small to medium-sized businesses.

And for full disclosure, there were 144  businesses or people I approached that would not take part in this survey.
Of that 109 that did, I asked each of them a few simple questions:

144 declined to take part? What’s up with that? Anyway, Ken asked:

What is Linux?

Here’s what he got for answers:

Of the 109 people asked, 71 did not know.  24 of them responded with the generic equivalent of “It’s some sort of computer program”.  The remaining number were able to accurately describe Linux as an operating system or a server solution.

Fully 65% had no clue what Linux was. HA! And some people think Microsoft is feeling threatened by Linux? That’s rich. 65% is about the same percentage of ignorance that I run across in my own experiences when the topic of Linux comes up in conversation. So, 6.5 folks out of 10 are not out to hack/crack/corrupt Linux. That’s good news, huh? Guess how many folks know what MS Windows is? Heh!

Very rarely does anyone ask for less bang for the buck. Linux’s inherent security aside; if you’re snot-nosed, pimply-faced  13 year old cracker Yuri Titov, do you really want to spend weeks designing and coding a bug that once released will only affect 1% of all the computers in the world? (1) See what I mean… security by obscurity? If Linux ever develops market share numbers even 1/2 of MS Windows, Yuri and his pals will start getting more interested, sadly.

Ken goes on to say:

It would be easy to draw several conclusions from this focus…and maybe they would many times be incorrect.  This was no where near scientific, nor was it done within any controlled environment.

It was simply an attempt to see what the enterprise, at least in a limited way, thinks about Linux as opposed to what they currently use.  In their mind, does Linux equate to difficult or geeky?  Does the mention of Linux conjure images of complex terminal environments and limited scope and scalability?  Do these notions poison the Linux brand in the applicable market place?

It would seem…

It was an interesting survey, scientifically performed or not, as was the entire article. Give it a read.

Until next time…



1. Wikipedia: Linux Adoption – Market Share and Uptake

The Helios Project

Once there was a needy child who wanted to learn, but had no computer.

A man named Ken Starks in Austin, Texas saw that child and wanted to do something to help. Ken had been a student of Bruno Knaapen of Amsterdam, a tireless, selfless teacher of All Things Linux. Ken created something that served to provide that needy child with that necessary computer so that exploration of the world of the Internet could begin; quenching that burning desire to know what is out there to be known. How did Ken do this?

By creating The Helios Project, an Austin-based not-for-profit organization that provides computer systems installed with the GNU/Linux operating system to needy children. There are no paid directors or staff at The Helios Project. Everyone volunteers his or her time and effort to this cause. Bruno Knaapen himself deemed Ken’s project highly worthy of praise and support, as do I… as I’m sure you will also, once you become familiar with it.

A child who wants to learn but has no means to achieve that goal is indeed a sad thing, in my opinion. Knowledge should be the most free of the freedoms that a society enjoys. No child should be denied knowledge for monetary reasons. Those who hoard knowledge to themselves, guarding against its spread to the masses, are paranoid and selfish souls; securing knowledge to themselves and as a consequence… power.

FREE knowledge = FREE world = FREEDOM!

Help Ken and the Helios folks spread that knowledge. Visit the site and see if you have anything they might need in the way of hardware and parts. If not, maybe just consider clicking that Donate button, hmm? Feel really ambitious? Follow Ken’s example and set something like The Helios Project up in your own town.

Check out The Blog of Helios (on my Links You Might Like page also) when you get a chance. Also, Ken was just recently awarded the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award. Congratulations, Ken!

Until next time…