Fight The Good Fight
In response to the characterization of the position of the Programmers Guild as "extreme," I respond by pointing that extremism depends on your point of view ("Identity Crisis" Sept. 22, 2003).
The description of the disorganization among programmers is correct. Even with unemployment hitting unheard of levels because of the importation of foreign programmers on H-1B and L-1 visas, the programming community has largely remained inactive. Things are changing, but probably not fast enough.
A number of organizations have led the fight for programmers, including the Programmers Guild, the American Engineering Association, and the Independent Computer Consultants Association. While these groups have put up an amazing fight in spite of their small numbers, with politically active programmers in the country numbering only a few thousand they're in no position to defeat groups that can buy a presidential veto with a fund-raiser.
John Miano Founder
Programmers Guild, Newark, N.J.
Insisting Isn't Enough
Do IT professionals actually believe Microsoft (or any other vendor) can create and deliver a secure operating system ("Time To Insist On Secure Software," Sept. 15, 2003)?
Come on now--there's no such thing and never will be. What's needed are competent network administrators and engineers who understand security issues and can identify and patch security holes efficiently across the enterprise before the underworld can develop hacks and worms that take advantage of the vulnerabilities.
Shelby Township, Mich.
Alternative To Microsoft
Many years ago, we determined that Novell wasn't a product that needed to be fixed. I have 5,000 desktops at seven campus locations, supporting 73,000 students and running on 76 servers, of which 18 are Linux and AIX/ Unix and 33 are Novell. The rest are Windows NT and Win 2000, but they're isolated from Novell Directory Services and will stay that way. We're an Exchange shop as well, but Microsoft will have to go a long way to match the stability and capability of Novell, NDS, and Zenworks.
Senior Director of Technical Services, The Community College of Baltimore County
Limit Employees' Surfing
I've been blocking ports 135 and 139 for several years as part of a structured firewall policy, and we patched and updated our signatures before Sobig hit the streets ("Fix-It Fatigue," Sept. 15, 2003).
How much damage will it take for companies to get the point and quit worrying about convenience of employees surfing the Internet? Limiting where employees can surf and what they can do would be cheaper than keeping their networks open as much as they are.
Mike Emig Yokosuka
Take What You Can Get
One point of the article "Good As Gone" may have been misinterpreted (Sept. 8, 2003). It states, "The most surprising finding in the Accenture survey is the top reason managers give for looking for new jobs: money."
I was laid off in February 2002 with well over 20 years of experience in IT and spent the first couple of months looking for my dream job. By the time I actually got a job, it was for less than half the salary I made the year before, at a corresponding skill level. After eight months of looking for a job, my main criterion had become money, meaning a regular paycheck, not a bigger paycheck. Most of us prefer any income to no income.
Distributed Programmer/Analyst, State of Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn.
Tax Spam Away
I agree that we need to fight back against spam, but the tool is not the $30 million fine Stephanie Stahl suggests ("Let's Reclaim Our E-Mail In-Boxes," Sept. 1, 2003).
Spam is an everyday reminder that our basic assumptions about the Internet are incorrect: E-mail was founded on the notion that the Internet is a zero-cost resource.
What the Internet needs is a mail protocol that levies a tiny delivery charge (a millicent?) against the sender for each message sent. This "tax" would be insignificant to legitimate E-mail users, yet significant enough to take the fun away from spammers. Use the proceeds for any common purpose (subsidize operation of the root servers, for example, or buy spiced-ham lunches for kids).
Under this model, 99.9999% of spam would vanish overnight.
The Real Junk Mail
Quit whining! Only a bunch of IT folks could turn this "problem" of virtual (because it isn't real) unwanted mail into a multimillion-dollar business. Yet no one has uttered a word about the other spam.
For as long as I can remember, junk mail has shown up in real mailboxes all across the country. This is not only a nuisance, but an incredible waste of real resources.
Owner, Small Office Support Plymouth Meeting, Pa.