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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Security Report: Windows vs Linux

    (Edited by HansV to make URL clickable - see <!help=19>Help 19<!/help>)

    I am not out trying to cause a flame war or anything but I am after genuine opinions on the following article (from both sides of the argument):

    Security Report: Windows vs Linux | The Register

    I am not anti-Linux (I have used many versions of the OS but I remain a master of none, guess I'm just a brain-damaged Windows techy) however I find it hard to accept claims that Linux is supposedly as good, as secure, as easy to manage and user friendly as some would have us believe.

    What I said to the person who claimed that Linux was more secure (she claims Linux is everything Windows isn't i.e. that Linux trumps Windows in every way possible) was:

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Security Report: Windows vs Linux

    I use Windows 2000 / Windows XP at work on various PCs, and I use GNU/Linux as my primary OS at home, as Canadian Tax software doesn't yet exist (to my knowledge) for a GNU/Linux environment, and I haven't been able to have it work (yet) within WINE. That's my background for this reply.

    In my experience, Linux has been more secure when dealing with viruses, trojans, worms and the like. However, fixing a problem caused by such nasties, is bettter documented for the Windows environments on the web, making Windows easier to fix.

    The PC user must remember that no system is 100%. The closest you can get, is a PC that never connects to another PC, in any fashion. Meaning, no internet, no intranet, no floppy drives, usb drives, cd-roms, dvds, etc. In fact, better keep the scanners, digital cameras, mice, trackballs and keyboards away too. You wouldn't want input from anything to damage your PC.
    Christopher Baldrey

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Security Report: Windows vs Linux

    Fanatics of any type will contort facts to suit their needs, but let's take a more balanced look at this shall we? And encourage whomever is being hard-headed to do the same.

    Viruses/trojans rarely penetrate Linux because of better technology.
    The simple truth of this is that Windows has an overwhelming market share and commands nearly every consumer desktop, along with many small businesses and the like. Virus writers don't target platforms with miniscule market share; the purpose of a virus is to infect as many systems as possible. Apple's platforms are also "more secure" for the same reason. That's not to say that Windows doesn't have its fair share of holes, because it does (and IE is horribly insecure). But far fewer nasties are written with the intent of invading *nix based operating platforms because there are fewer of them out there. Were it a more dominant platform, it would be susceptible to just as many attacks. Linux is not bug free.

    Windows is not a multi-user system.
    A mixed bag again. Windows NT, which was developed from an entirely separate code base, was designed with multiple users in mind. One of the original architects, David Cutler, came from the DIGITAL VAX/VMS environment and brought its design principles (along with several engineers) to the project. The real problem in modern day computing is that Microsoft made users administrators by default. This is not the case in *nix environments, and Microsoft has never made it easy to run as a limited user. Windows Vista will finally start to close this gap. Microsoft also encouraged developers to write code that ran in single user mode -- Windows 9x, which had its underpinnings in DOS, was once the dominant platform and was decidedly single-user. Microsoft is trying not to alienate their cash cow - paying users - as they transition to a more secure code base.

    As Chris noted, there is no one system that is perfect. Windows has its faults and so does Linux. And both have their strengths. Windows is easier for the average person (read: not technically inclined) to use; Linux is far more complicated to set up and get running. I'm a long time tech person and having used these two platforms and many others, I stick with Windows: the software is there and so is the compatibility. I don't want to go through extra steps to get applications to run and I don't want to write my own. I just don't have the time or inclination. I'd hate to see what would happen if you put my mother in front of a Linux box.

    So, bottom line - I'll take Windows for daily use in spite of its design flaws and perceived faults, because it requires less work in advance in order for me to get my work done. When Linux reaches a point where both ease-of-use is better and the software support that the real world requires on a daily basis is there, I'll use it. In the meantime I am not going to sacrifice compatibility for what is "arguably" a better design.

    Edited to add this postscript:
    Let us also not forget that Windows is developed by a company that needs to make a profit - which inevitably leads to some bad decisions simply to increase market share. This is one serious piece of baggage that Linux has never had, and never will.
    -Mark

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