January 05, 2001, 9:47 AM — Why be bothered by ethics?
I JUST READ Linda Pliagas' article, "Learning IT right from wrong" (see Oct. 2). In the late 1960s, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) developed a pretty good code of ethics for its members. It received widespread attention at the time and there were ethics panels at a number of conferences. The universities on the whole didn't do anything; nor did management for the most part.
Many practicing professionals anticipated the Y2K bug and even programmed around it -- when we could get away with it. Management, however, often dictated that the problem be ignored. The usual arguments were that the programs would not last until AD 2000; the storage was too expensive and/or too slow to save the extra two digits in every date record and management couldn't be bothered. They knew that they -- and probably the professional techies, as well -- would not still be around when the piper had to be paid.
Stonewall J. McMurray III, New York
I'M APPALLED at the way people are willing to look the other way when it comes to Microsoft's -- and particularly Bill Gates' -- ethics and tactics. On the stand, he was so evasive that the judge laughed out loud. One Microsoft executive said something to the effect that it's not enough for the company to compete on merit; they have to "leverage the OS" to compete in the browser wars. And Bill Gates is the person young IT people admire! He's ruthless and unethical and rich, and money is clouding peoples' judgements.
And look at the Napster phenomenon. These kids act as if they're entitled to someone else's property, and they rationalize theft! Networking is anonymous, remote, and much too easy. It allows people to look the other way.
Michael N. Theochares, Chelmsford, Mass.
Map out the demand
THE TITLE OF the Oct. 2 Test Center Analysis, "Open new vistas with VPN" is appropriate. However, know your Internet connection before you add VPN traffic, because users will place a new level of demand upon it. I've implemented numerous VPN solutions over the past year: LAN-to-LAN and client-to-LAN over a variety of hardware and tunneling protocols. Each performs well, and because of this, they put heavy pressure on the corporate Internet connection. Tunneling protocols in general and IPsec in particular are sensitive to latency. The applications that companies tend to run over VPN tunnels, including Microsoft Networking, can also gobble bandwidth on both ends of the tunnel.
Charles Stern, New York
IT + politics = unbelievable