SolarWinds is a Dust Bowl Disaster of Modern Computing

What was the Dust Bowl Disaster?

The term Dust Bowl was coined in 1935 when an AP reporter, Robert Geiger, used it to describe the drought-affected south central United States in the aftermath of horrific dust storms. Although it technically refers to the western third of Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the Oklahoma Panhandle, the northern two-thirds of the Texas Panhandle, and northeastern New Mexico, the Dust Bowl has come to symbolize the hardships of the entire nation during the 1930s.

I know it’s fashionable to call security breaches Pearl Harbor, but what if we use an industrial-scale economic disaster of American history instead to describe the SolarWinds news?

Here’s an image and story that might help explain. Unix seems natural. Microsoft has always been about rapid returns from mass digital agriculture.

Are we looking at a unix ecosystem on the left versus Microsoft’s rapid plant and expand strategy on the right… got root? Source: David Davis, US DoD Wildlife Biologist

Aside from a risk of us overlooking likely criminals to blame, we also avoid the greater risk of falsely labeling something cyber war. In my mind the Dust Bowl makes for a better analogy because Microsoft for so many years worked on an extremely expedited model with minimal security or ecosystem investment inviting a predictable disaster.

Bill Gates admitted this in his infamous 2001 memo saying he shouldn’t have ignored all the warnings and suffering for so long.

Gates thus seems to be rich because he very shrewdly under-invested in safety, pushing competitors unfairly out of the market while transferring the burden of care to others to clean up what has been his disastrous legacy.

When people ask “what is the US government going to have to spend to fix this” everyone should keep in the back of their mind how Gates is still extremely wealthy. In other words, for all his supposed “charity” work, he hasn’t lifted a finger to help those suffering from his own top-down handiwork.

Maybe send a Dust Bowl Disaster cleanup bill to Bill?

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