[Linux-aus] Unix world reminded of creator Thompson's stunt

linux-aus at amos.mailshell.com linux-aus at amos.mailshell.com
Wed Apr 14 13:30:15 UTC 2004


In a speeech intended to serve us a wake-up call to anyone relying on 
the "many eyes" that look at the Linux source code to quickly find any 
subversions, the CEO of Green Hills Software Inc. last week reminded his 
audience how Unix's creator Ken Thompson installed a back door in the 
binary code of Unix that automatically added his user name and password 
to every Unix system - a secret he revealed only 14 years later.

At first I though that the conclusion from this is that Linux is more
secure. But the speaker managed to spin this around to claim that it is
less secure.

I think the main fault in the logic of the speaker is that he assumes
that UNIX' source code exposure is similar to that of Linux.

All his arguments sound just like what Windows and closed-source is
already plagued with today.

A counter-argument might be the cought attempt to add a back door into
the source code a couple of months ago (something to do with
"if (... = ...)" instead of "if (... == ...)").


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