Category Book Reviews
From TechWorld.com: Has
Microsoft killed off its secure computing architecture?
Microsoft's silence on its Next-Generation
Secure Computing Base (NGSCB) architecture has some industry insiders wondering
if the technology has been substantially delayed, or even axed.
Microsoft unveiled NGSCB, formerly known
as Palladium, in 2002. The technology, Microsoft has said, uses a combination
of software and hardware that boosts PC security by providing the ability
to isolate software so it can be protected against malicious code. NGSCB
requires changes to a PC's processor, chipset and graphics card, for which
Microsoft has said that it enlisted the help of hardware makers including
Intel and AMD.
Critics have argued that NGSCB will curtail
users' ability to control their own PCs and could erode fair-use rights
for digital music and movie files.
Last May, at its Windows Hardware Engineering
Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle, Microsoft said it was retooling NGSCB so
some of the benefits would be available without the need to recode applications.
The vendor promised an update on NGSCB by the end of 2004. It did not release
one and has remained silent since that time.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has shut down an
NGSCB discussion group on its website. The NGSCB product page is now empty
and previously posted details have been mothballed into an archive page.
Several notes on the NGSCB site say: "NGSCB architecture is evolving."
Bill Gates, speaking at the RSA Conference
last week, highlighted many of Microsoft's security efforts but did not
mention NGSCB. Asked about the technology, a Microsoft spokesman at the
event said that although the company had promised an update, it does not
have one. "We do not have an update on NGSCB to share at this time.
Microsoft continues to actively work through many of the technical details
and we expect to be able to provide more details in the near future,"
the spokesman said.
The silence on NGSCB raises significant
questions about the future of the technology, which Microsoft once loudly
promoted, said Michael Cherry, a lead analyst at Directions on Microsoft.
"Unless they do something soon, I think NGSCB is dead," Cherry
This is one of the habits that drives me
up the wall when it comes to Microsoft (and why I don't trust them). A
hot subject comes up, and Microsoft makes a big splash announcement about
how they are moving into that area. Everyone dithers over how that
changes the computing environment. CEO/CIO types are given briefings
about how this will affect their business. And then when things die
down and attention is diverted elsewhere, the big fanfare is forgotten,
the hype is diverted, the technology isn't moving as quickly as originally
promised, and things get quietly swept under the rug. The front-line
IT folks are left wondering what they are supposed to do and how they are
supposed to implement a technology mandated by their management that isn't
materializing, and management is content to think that the vendor is a
forward-thinking visionary because they spent a weekend being wined, dined,
and shown smoke and mirrors...
IBM's not innocent here either, but they
also aren't in the market to try and take over every aspect of computing
from home to office. And they definitely aren't in the habit of making
huge software initiative announcements based on vaporware that never materializes...