Trustworthy Computing

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-11-24 Print this article Print

Is Trustworthy Computing still the No. 1 priority at Microsoft?

It is where we are putting the most money, IQ and priority. When you apply all this IQ to a problem like this, you make incredible progress. The tools are better; the scanning is better.

Will we have to wait for Longhorn to have the security issue resolved?

The security stuff will all be pre-Longhorn.

Are you now ahead of the curve in security or still in reactive mode?

There are several different things you do. You make sure there is no spreading—that is extremely important. That is where you get updating and firewalls coming in. If those things alone are done right, they prevent the problems. You also want to make sure there is less updating that has to be done, and that is where these tools come in. We feel we have made about an order-of-magnitude improvement in that, and we can make another order-of-magnitude improvement.

Is one way to improve security to be more modular in your approach to development, and is this counter to Microsofts deeply integrated software approach?

There is no relation between spreading and modularity.

Certainly, the only way we can build software as rich and powerful as Windows is to be extremely modularized and have each group focus on its piece. Sometimes the groups have to innovate together, such as in handwriting. It is like designing the 747; you have to get all the pieces to fit together.

Is it as complex as designing the 747?

There is more R&D being spent on Longhorn than on the 747.

How does Java fit into your computing expectations?

It is a language that we have supported in Visual Studio for many years. We support C# and VB [Visual Basic] and, the way our language framework works, even Fortran, COBOL and some of the new innovative research languages. Our whole thing is to use your existing code, to use whichever code you are most comfortable with and be able to combine that with code written in other languages. We have been agnostic about languages and supporting all the new things that come along.

I thought you once said that you might retire or scale back when you turn 50. You are getting pretty close to that age.

No, I didnt say that. I have always been extremely consistent about that. Ive always said it is hard to imagine being 60 and being one of the top people here. I have suggested that by the end of my 50s, someone else will have the job I have today. It does not necessarily mean that I will retire.

Have you read any good books lately?

Tracy Kidder came out with the book "Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer." This is a great piece of work.

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