Feds snub open source for smart radios
But a new federal rule set to take effect Friday could mean that radios built on “open-source elements” may encounter a more sluggish path to market–or, in the worst case scenario, be shut out altogether. U.S. regulators, it seems, believe the inherently public nature of open-source code makes it more vulnerable to hackers, leaving “a high burden to demonstrate that it is sufficiently secure.”
If the decision stands, it may take longer for consumers to get their hands on these all-in-one devices. The nascent industry is reluctant to rush to market with products whose security hasn’t been thoroughly vetted, and it fears the Federal Communications Commission’s preference for keeping code secret could allow flaws to go unexposed, potentially killing confidence in their products.
By effectively siding with what is known in cryptography circles as “security through obscurity,” the controversial idea that keeping security methods secret makes them more impenetrable, the FCC has drawn an outcry from the software radio set and raised eyebrows among some security experts.
For a counterpoint, see What’s App? New Web Ways to Connect — pdf
That is an entrepreneurial sentiment shared by many of the thousands of developers racing to create applications for social-networking sites, blogs and, most recently, the iPhone. Less than a week after Apple’s launch of the iPhone, hundreds of applications are available for the device, with many from homegrown developers.
The open design of technology is making it possible for more people, and brands such as the energy drink Red Bull and the Ford modeling agency, to experiment with building Internet applications. Add-on applications include features that insert photo slideshows on MySpace or a gas-station locator for the iPhone. Application developers can test their creations on an audience of millions simply, quickly and cheaply. The goal: find out what works, maybe generate advertising revenue, and turn it into an independent business.
The programs range from the practical to the ridiculous. [...]
Which domain would *you* prefer?