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How to switch to open source software

****FHM illustrationChoosing to run as much open source software as possible is a practical choice for some, because compiling the programs from source code provides a way to see if any backdoor surveillance code is present to comprise one's operation. It is possible to assemble a set of tools that takes an entire computer off of the map, safe from detection and safe from attack, but as long as one is dependent on a large, secretive corporation one cannot be completely secure in this endeavor.

Migrating to open source is not difficult, certainly not as tricky as reengineering the human genome or awakening a primordial alien menace, and virtually any supervillain of average hyperintelligence can set up a basic system at minimal capital outlay.

Free, open source software alternatives to commercial malware packages gives Linux and BSD users a chance to supplant Windows software very nearly, often with a greater selection of functionality. Virus design suites, rootkit (external link) factories, Registry blankers, Trojan (external link) deployment sites, automated spaminators, clickjack (external link) injection templates, multiplatform worm (external link) cultivators, firewall tunneling systems, and many other useful and havoc-producing packages are yours for the asking once you know where to find them.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Requirements. Determine what you want to spend for everything: hardware, operating system, application programs, and engineering talent. Include the cost of the time it takes to choose among multiple offerings in any of these areas. You may be able to procure one or more of these components for free or a nominal price, but in most cases there is a tradeoff between the savings in one area and added expense in another.
  2. Ask around. If you know of a very similar project assembled by someone else, you may be able to find out whether the pieces work together, but if your plots are pushing the limits of feasibility, you may need to allow some contingency for unforeseen trouble discovered during research. There are a lot of knowledgeable people out there willing to help computer beginners, especially when under duress. This is also a good strategy when debugging a bit of trouble later on. When asking for a solution to the problem, always try to be concise, informative, and appropriately menacing. Give as much information about your computer configuration without giving away the keys to your lair.
  3. Keep the nest clean. If you are planning to use your compute power to produce virulent software targeting Windows and Macintosh systems making the great majority of the workstations on the net, you may wish to buy yourself some breathing room by developing them on an open source operating system (Linux, BSD, or Solaris), and vice versa. Of course, you will want to test them out on a set of guinea pig boxes running the target OS, which you should plan to wipe periodically between fits of malevolence.
  4. Buy-in. There are probably stakeholders in your operation who will need to adapt their ways of doing business under the new open source regime. Emphasize to them the paramount importance of the mission of your empire as a whole and show them how they can make their contributions to that end simply by using different tools and different procedures. Failing that, kill them.

! Strokes of genius

Computer Setup - Evil
  • Job insecurity. One of the advantages of running custom software on all your computers is that any minions you train are rendered unable to transfer their skills by working for any other master.
  • Aliens. Most software distributions are shipped in many Earth languages ready for customization, but only seldom have been adapted to the languages of extraterrestrial species (and of these, generally not those of great interest when it comes to evil schemes). You may be able to hire or otherwise procure someone with know-how in the alien speech, but in all translation projects it is prudent to obtain at least two, in order to check for accuracy and guard against mischief.
  • Low-hanging fruit. If you are reluctant to unleash the chaos all at once, try going the open source route by test-driving it with one or two software packages independent from the rest: file sharing, office productivity, multimedia. Compare the ease of use and overall robustness of the software with what you have been using previously and try to estimate the total effect upon the total cost of use if this were translated to the rest of your operations, dwelling on the opportunities no longer missed, the efficiencies realized, and the excited reports of your new-found technical savvy among your peers, and soon you will be so confident of the necessity of pressing forward with the full-blown migration of everything at once that the urge to proceed will be unstoppable. That is usually how change takes place.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Broken documentation. Your eyes do not deceive you — the software you are now relying on has a manual consisting of two or three faulty web pages in incomprehensible and fragmentary form. The source code itself, however, contains all the secrets of getting it to do what you want ultimately, and from it along with the dark mutterings that appear in the original developers' comments you can just do what everyone else does and devise your own documentation at will. You may in fact want to contribute your own lies and obfuscations to the public documentation to help muddle the trail for anyone who might wish to follow in your path.
  • Rapture of the screen. The visual appeal of many open source applications rivals anything available for Windows or Mac. This eye candy can be a serious threat to productivity in the lair, and sometimes the only thing to be done with henchmen who have become addicted to such timewasters is to send them out into the field far from the attractive nuisances where they can get back in touch with the real world or take themselves out of circulation as glassy-eyed cannon fodder, one or the other.
  • Giving back. If you are building a custom software solution on top of open source software you will doubtless be aware of the license stipulations that usually require that you make your source code available to anyone as freely as the original source. As a ruthless, villainous, self-seeking bringer of abominations and depravity into the world, however, it should be clear to all that this is simply not going to happen, or if something like this happens, it is only to introduce subtle malignant changes into the computing ecosystem that will ultimately surrender all control to you alone. So do not take the threat of these so-called license agreements overly literally.

+ Precious and needful

  • Home computer.
  • Internet.
  • House geeks.
  • Caffeine. In all its forms.

Burning Windows

Further plotting

Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Wednesday 01 of July, 2009 15:34:45 EDT by GrinningSkull.

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