Saltzer, Schroeder, and Star Wars

When this blog was new, I did a series of posts on “The Security Principles of Saltzer and Schroeder,” illustrated with scenes from Star Wars.

When I migrated the blog, the archive page was re-ordered, and I’ve just taken a few minutes to clean that up. The easiest to read version is “Security Principles of Saltzer and Schroeder, illustrated with scenes from Star Wars.

So if you’re not familiar with Saltzer and Schroeder:

Let me start by explaining who Saltzer and Schroeder are, and why I keep referring to them. Back when I was a baby in diapers, Jerome Saltzer and Michael Schoeder wrote a paper “The Protection of Information in Computer Systems.” That paper has been referred to as one of the most cited, least read works in computer security history. And look! I’m citing it, never having read it.

If you want to read it, the PDF version (484k) may be a good choice for printing. The bit that everyone knows about is the eight principles of design that they put forth. And it is these that I’ll illustrate using Star Wars. Because lets face it, illustrating statements like “This kind of arrangement is accomplished by providing, at the higher level, a list-oriented guard whose only purpose is to hand out temporary tickets which the lower level (ticket-oriented) guards will honor” using Star Wars is a tricky proposition. (I’d use the escape from the Millennium Falcon with Storm Trooper uniforms as tickets as a starting point, but its a bit of a stretch.)

Entering Our Prime

Today is amazingly enough the fifth anniversary of Adam starting this blog. It’s amazing how fast time flies when things are chaotic. Seems like just yesterday Adam was doing the initial Star Wars posts. Appropriately enough the most recent in the category was just this past Saturday. Thank you to all of our readers for making the last 5 years so much chaos and so much fun.

Fake Steve and Real Mackey

So with the small, literal men at the New York Times poking through the veil of anonymity that allowed Fake Steve to produce the best blog since “The Darth Side,” we have a serious threat to the stability of the republic, which is the false hope that by assigning people names, we can control them. Prevent the random, the funny, the disrespectful. The powerful have always hated having fun poked at them by the anonymous. They forget that anonymity acts as an important social valve, allowing people to share ideas without retribution.

John Mackey took a different approach. He didn’t blog, but engaged in conversation on a message board about his company.


I think it’s a good thing to be able to hear from CEOs shedding their spin, from journalists freed of their need for access, and everyone else who wants to put forth their own words to stand or disappear on their own strength.

Fake Steve is a little less interesting since the unveiling. The posts about immortality were a nice touch, but, I thought, over-wrought.