Do you trust the software you have on your computer?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nowadays, many people download and install different software from the Web onto their computers. For example, one might download media players, anti-virus software, photo-editing software,..., the list is endless.

However, the question might be: How much trust do you have on the software you install on your computer? To understand the importance of this question, we might need a definition of the word "trust". According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, trust is defined as "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something". The Free Dictionary defines trust as "firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing".

Consider a case where you download and install a media player on your computer and every time you open it, it collects your private information such as your credit card information and even your passwords and it sends them over to the person who created the software? Is this what the software was supposed to do. I do no think so. You had the trust that the media player was supposed to be used to play media files and not to be collecting your private information without your knowledge. Isn't it? I hope we now see how trust is a fundamental issue in software.

When we install particular software do we ask ourselves questions on the integrity or reliability of the software? Or we just blindly trust that the software is supposed to do what the software developers tell us of their software. I think as software users we need to be more careful.

I for one only have trust in software whose source code is "open". By the way source code are human readable and understandable instructions which are later converted to a form which a computer can execute i.e. binary code. A computer can only execute instructions in binary code. So if the source code is "open", I can inspect the code of the software and see by myself whether the software really does what its developers claim it does. On the other hand, if the software is distributed only in binary code and its source code is hidden from the public then it becomes a problem to trust that piece of software.

Fortunately, there are loads of software out there which have open source code. One great open source software is the robust Web browser, Mozilla Firefox. I just love it so much after being tired of ... Whether you are using Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, you may download Firefox from http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/.

Are you interested in learning more about open source software, then its time to make that move by logging on to this website: http://makethemove.net/foss.php and possibly now start to trust the software you install on your computer.

Good luck!

4 comments:

Amanda Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:25:00 PM  

This post is very informative. I never knew anything about open code and binary code. It's definitely good to know this sort of thing because I do not wish for software to collect my personal information without me knowing.

lessca01 Thursday, October 25, 2007 4:14:00 PM  

Hi Benny. Love reading your posts. Downloading software is always risky. You have to wonder sometimes if the virus writers are not the same people who write the solutions.

Les

Natural Friday, October 26, 2007 4:20:00 AM  

sadly, i do trust the software i download. i don't download just anything though. i do a quick check and if it passes, i download. i don't trust computers period, but i can't stop using them.

FriedClyde Monday, October 29, 2007 4:48:00 AM  

yo bennet, thank for the comment, and I would advise you to begin moving in the ads into your posts asap thats the biggest money maker!

apart from that, I see you have put a link to flikr why dont you put a phot widget in so people can see your photos as soon as they get to ur blog.

Keep writting benny and im sure google will give you what you need :) haha !

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