Monday, March 18, 2013

Attribution: On the Shoulders of Giants

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
--  Isaac Newton, 1676

Attribution is a vital thing. One of the more fubar things about 'security researchers' is that they do not always rigorously credit people that laid the foundation that they are building upon.

If we have attribution, we can trace the evolution of thought in all of science and mathematics. The knowledge that we would impart to others gains context. This isn't a corporate, marketing thing, or the current round of patent fights; it's more about how your children will lead better lives.  Attribution is important. because it is the scaffold upon which we build, and can trace, the most important advances the human race has ever achieved.

No, I am not writing about the development of brewing. Yes, beer is important. But I'm not going there right now. It's more important that I say something that should probably determine whether this thing is worth the time it takes you to read it.

I have a couple of rules about how I will post, the first of which is that I don't name people or clients without permission and attribution, and I don't believe in failing in either.

I have permission to admit I worked a gig at Fiserv. I negotiated that going in, as it was obviously going to be a fairly long-term thing, and I was once an employee there, doing a lot of security-related things related to Linux, HP-UX, cloud-facing servers, etc.

Where I can do proper attribution, I will. In some cases, I have permission from Fiserv. In other cases, I was on other gigs, and absolutely do not have permission to do any traceable attribution. That was also understood from the start, and anything related to that work can only be discussed in theoretical terms. I wish it were otherwise, but this is the fubar world we live in.

Bye for now. There is yard work to be done, this is the Northwest, and the weather forecast (fubar that it is) says rain for the next few days.

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