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29 September 2009, 08:40

Stallman apologises for Mac OS X backdoor claims

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Richard Stallman
Zoom Richard Stallman
Source: cc-by-sa Chris McKenna
In a posting on his FSF blog, Richard Stallman has apologised for "repeating a criticism of Mac OS which I cannot substantiate and must presume is false". The claim, that Mac OS X has a backdoor which could install changes without the user's permission, is one that Stallman has repeated, but he now says there "is no basis to claim there is one".

Stallman had, for example, previously said "Windows has a backdoor which enables Microsoft to change software any time it likes. The user has no control at all - no defence. Windows has no security against the worst perpetrator of Windows malware which is Microsoft itself." and continued saying "Apple has done the same thing in Mac OSX. And no, in general, GNU/Linux doesn't have such a backdoor."

Stallman's apology is limited to that claim; in the rest of the message he resumes an attack on Apple's use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) and claims that Apple misleads users over what updates will do. He also criticises the proprietary nature of Mac OS X. Stallman refers to various updates of iTunes and QuickTime, where security updates were used to close holes that allowed the DRM system to be overridden or where a bug was introduced in the process of updating the software to support new DRM functions. He ends saying "I don't withdraw my condemnation of Mac OS. But I do withdraw the claim it has a known backdoor". Stallman does not say in his message what prompted this withdrawal.


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