... un-PLUGged?

gabriel rosenkoetter
Wed Jul 9 03:13:03 2003

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On Tue, Jul 08, 2003 at 04:29:05PM -0400, Magnus wrote:
> I see the PLUG guys are taking it lying down.  :)

As a "PLUG guy" (a moniker I'll wear only reluctantly in outside-
PLUG circles, since the L part implies something that's simply not
true about me), I guess I hear what you're saying (it's good for
more people to use BigLumber because it implies a greater
penetration of strong crypto into the population), but I'm far from
convinced that it's not just yet another geek circle jerk.

Spawning competition between various Linux users groups (and other
geek enclaves) is well and good. But you're hitting the highest-
percentage-per-capita PGP users there. Get my parents and my English
professors from Swarthmore registered in BigLumber, and you've
*really* accomplished something.

Perhaps my cynicism (on PLUG, sorry to gnupg-users for the
cross-pollination) makes a bit more sense now?

Point is, getting people who are already using open source (or even
Free, ugh) software to use strong encryption isn't hard, because
they're people to whom strong cryptography makes sense more often
than not (because, statistically speaking, if you're into the open
source movement, you're also into computer science and mathematics;
and you maybe even have politics that lines up with Free). That's
not a fight much worth fighting, imho, because it's so easily won.

Getting the regular Outlook Express and Eudora email user to use
strong encryption (which, to me, implies understanding it enough to
be safe, which doesn't imply learning *any* math, really, just
understanding lock and key paradigms, plus grasping the concept of
PKI, which latter is simple with the former clear) is a real win.

My parents and English professors are my problem. Get BR (again,
sorry for the off-gnupg-users reference; pick, at random, a
developer you know who's good at what he does but doesn't think
strong encryption is worth understanding and you've got the sense)
signing every email, and I'm impressed.

gabriel rosenkoetter

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