[sf-lug] S. F. politics and software policies

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Sep 8 13:14:51 PDT 2009

Quoting jim (jim at well.com):

>         Participating drivers will receive signals on their cellphones 
>         alerting them to bottlenecks approximately 60 seconds ahead. 
>         The phone will say, "Slow traffic ahead" through its speaker 
>         phone or headset, and a message will appear on its screen.
>         The operators of the program will use traffic information from 
>         several existing sources, including Caltrans, and crunch it to 
>         provide the real-time warnings. Only cellphones using... 
>                 Windows-based operating <----  systems 
>         ...will be able to download the software to take part in the 
>         test--which leaves out iPhones and BlackBerrys, among others.

Begs the question of whether you'd want to run proprietary, binary-only
software from someone you have no reason to trust using root-equivalent 
authority on the same device where you have significant amounts of your
personal data including your address books and personal call data.

Most people seem to accept the "Trust us, run our code" model so readily
that they _complain_ when they can't participate.  IMO, seeking to allow
other environments besides "Windows-based operating systems" to suffer
the same security nightmare is solving the wrong problem.  

A better approach is to build the expectation that IntelliDrive data
should use a fully documented format using commodity protocols and that
there be freely available sample code, such that important aspects of
the service aren't hidden in manufacturers' secret sauces.  IEEE802.11p
/ DSRC seems compatible with open source, but my sense is that they're
playing proprietary games with other details including data formats.
See: http://www.intellidriveusa.org/about/overview.php

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