[Bioclusters] Palladium and biocomputing

J. Steinbachs bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
Tue, 24 Sep 2002 16:56:57 -0400 (EDT)

With our casual, increasingly paranoid discussions revolving around
Palladium (see http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/1378731
for only one article if you haven't heard of it), I was wondering what
plans biocomputing folks are making in the event that this Microsoft-led
plan becomes entrenched in all hardware.

Quick summary of Palladium (at least, my understanding)... Palladium
resides on the hardware level.  Worst-case scenario has some chip
detecting "signed" hardware before booting, a "signed" operating system
during boot-up, and "signed" software applications.  Otherwise, details of
Palladium  are not yet generally available.  It does, however, also tie
into the plans of the TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Alliance) -
HP/Compaq, Intel, Microsoft, and IBM (probably others now also).

So, various x86 linux distributions may not hold the keys to the hardware.
For those running open source biocomputing software on Microsoft operating
systems, I doubt the software will be "signed".  If the hurdle to
getting a "signature" parallels the "ease" and cost of obtaining a signed
certificate from Verisign for web security, free/open source biocomputing
software may be s.o.l.

Any thoughts?