[plans] distributed.net .plan update

plans at nodezero.distributed.net plans at nodezero.distributed.net
Mon Jul 9 20:53:35 EDT 2001

distributed .plan updates in the last 24 hours: 

nugget :: 09-Jul-2001 00:15 (Monday) ::

Well, since it's hit slashdot and I'm getting lots of mails asking if
we're aware of the situation, I thought I'd post a plan explaining
distributed.net's perspective on David McOwen and the State of Georgia.

  http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/07/08/2153206 for details

distributed.net can confirm that at least some part of what's being reported
is accurate.  We were subpoenaed for information relating to Mr. McOwen's
participation in the RC5-64 project and supplied that information as
requested.  We also spoke at length with representatives of the prosecution
to make sure they understood the actual impact of the dnetc software on
the machines and networks in question.

However, part of the subpoena restricts us from commenting on the details
of pending litigation.  Especially since we do not know the details or
circumstances of the alleged activity, we do not want to do anything which
would endanger either party's position in this case.  We trust that the
community understands our position in this matter.

In the more general sense, not commenting at all on the specifics of this
case, it is never a good idea to run the distributed.net client software
on computers you don't own or administrate.  In the four years or so that
we've been in operation we've been dragged in to a handful of situations
where people have lost their jobs, positions, and scholarships by thinking
that forgiveness would be easier to obtain than permission.  Nobody,
especially distributed.net, wants to see this happen.

It's important to keep in mind that the literal resource consumption of
the client (which is as close to "zero" as can be) is often not the only
factor important to a business.  The existence of prize money with the
RC5-64 project is discomforting to many organizations.  One tactic which
has proven to be very effective is to provide an affidavit that you will
donate any winnings to a charity if a client you installed on a company
or university machine finds the winning key.  In many cases, this has been
key to a participant receiving permission to run the client on non-owned

Another frequent stumbling block is with service and support contracts
which prohibit non-certified software running on workstations or servers.
Your university or employer may risk losing support on their equipment if
software is installed that hasn't been explicitly mentioned in the support

The bottom line is, always get permission first.  It might not be as
difficult to get permission as you think.  And if you can't get permission,
don't install the client.

We hope for a speedy and just resolution to this case, whatever that
outcome should be, and that we never have to be involved in another one.

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