OS Religious Wars

Quoted from this CNN article

Ballmer said the security fears some governments had about using Microsoft software were overblown.
“We think our software is far more secure than open-source software. It is more secure because we stand behind it, we fixed it, because we built it. Nobody ever knows who built open-source software,” he added.

I don’t routinely take part in the debates over Linux v. Microsoft. These debates tend to become religious wars very quickly. What I find amusing about this quote, though, is that Ballmer is essentially using an appeal to authority to justify his claim of better security. Appeals to authority are one of the key traits in a “religious” belief, as opposed to an empirical belief. The whole crux of empiricism is that beliefs are open to evaluation, and are judged on their objective merits, not on who’s doing the talking.
Open Source software is directly and irreversibly in that category. The source code is there for evaluation, and the evaluation criteria are objective. (If someone claims there’s a bug in the code, anyone can compile it and run the test case.) Ballmer assailing Open Source because anyone could have written it is the same as someone rejecting the theories of Einstein because they were written by a patent office clerk. Authorship is not the question under debate. The debate is about design and implementation, both of which are available for evaluation when you use Open Source, and not available when you use Microsoft.
All hail the Church of Microsoft; and Pope Ballmer, who speaks with the authority to declare software secure or insecure.