Friday, September 3, 2010

Ridiculous Findings

I have to make a small departure from my normally fair stance on things. I am the first to admit that Windows has better 3D performance than Linux, BSD, OSX, Solaris, and other systems. I am the first to admit that the amount of business software developed for Windows makes it an attractive business platform too. That is fine and good, but things are getting completely ridiculous.

Ars Technica posted an article that talks about some malware that now imitates browser warnings about different sites. This is typical scareware stuff that I have seen at work. It isn't all that innovative. What is different is that this malware can even go after Firefox and Chrome. Let's get a few things straight here. I seriously thought that nobody would be dumb enough to fall for scareware. I thought that nobody would even be ignorant enough to be a Microsoft fanboy... but people are. An enormous amount of people really are that ignorant about computers.

It occurred to me today that people are fanboys for one of the industry's largest mistakes ever. The fact that Microsoft was able to peddle a substandard operating system is truly a huge mistake. Someone should have been there to compete with Microsoft from day one, but the UNIX people around at the time truly did not care about the home user market. So, here we are 25 to 30 years later and most people are still stuck on this absolute crap. People have bought the FUD hook line and sinker. They think that Macintoshes are incompatible with Windows, which they some how think is tied up with Microsoft Office. People think that Linux is for super nerds and programmers only. People have never heard about BSD, Solaris, Haiku, or anything else. Many people do not even know that Ubuntu is a Linux based system. I run into this stuff every day and normally do not even fight it.

Do I sell Linux boxes at work? Yes. Do I repair PC and Macs? Yes. Do I try to get people to switch? Only if they seem well informed enough about Linux, and only if I think it would suit their needs (aka, they do not do the stupid coupon crap, and they do not use special accounting, tax, or other mission-critical, Windows-only software). So, to clarify... the people who call and say something like "I got me this computer that said it came with the internet, and I can't get it to work none" or say "I got me this wireless computer, and it won't turn on" never get told about Linux by me. The people who call and immediately say something like "we got a virus, and now cannot pull up client records from the past two years in our SQL Server DB" do hear about Linux from me and they also hear about FirebirdSQL and MySQL, and those people who say something like "for some reason TaxWize can't update to the 2011 tax year for the state of Georgia" don't hear about Linux.

This is the thing though: how can anyone defend Microsoft's operating systems when they are clearly more easily exploited than any other? Don't give me this crap about how Linux and OSX are just as vulnerable. Macintosh has been the target of malware in the past, and guess what? There are still fewer incidents of attack and attempted exploit on Macs by percentage. The same can be said about Linux. People can claim it's the user base being more knowledgeable. People can claim it's security through obscurity. NEITHER OF THOSE ARE TRUE. There are plenty of grandmas and grandpas out there running Linux. Their grand children saw to that. There are plenty of trendy hipsters with mommy and daddy's credit cards using Macs. More than that is the fact that Linux and OSX combined can easily claim 15% of the market, and are more likely claiming 20% or more. Neither is by any means obscure.

With OSX, I am starting to have other misgivings. Some recent patents filed by Apple are making me really nervous, and even more I am just angry that Apple is filing so many software patents. While their hardware and software may be great, I just cannot support a company that files patents which detail spying on customers and shutting devices off when they are not used in an Apple sanctioned manner. Apple fanboys are quick to defend Apple and say that Apple would never do anything with those abilities that would be objectionable, but I feel otherwise.

More than ever, the world needs Linux. More than ever, the world needs open source. We are at a critical time for IT. There have been tons of innovations recently. New processing technologies, new software technologies, new fabrication techniques, new communications protocols and even new ways of thinking about communications, and heck memristors are really friggin' exciting. Do we really want all of that controlled by companies like Apple and Microsoft? Apple and Microsoft are showing their propensities for a complete lack of care for their customer base. They are also showing their true colors. There are companies that genuinely care about their products, customers, and environments. SEGA, Mazda, HP, AMD, VIA, and a few others come to mind when I think of such companies. Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Intel, and the like are not companies of such ilk. It's time for open collaboration to trump top down empiricism.



The Casual Vegan said...

As a Linux fan boy, I'm usually the first to point out why Free is better. And I love that we get a free ride on security. However, their are technical reasons why Mac and Linux O/S don't get worms and malware as often.

For a worm to propagate on the Internet, it scans a range of IP addresses and infects any hosts it finds. If 98% of the hosts it finds are not vulnerable, the Virus spends almost all of it's time dead locked scanning for machines it can't exploit.

Instead of exponential growth, it achieves linear growth and it shut down by filters before anyone even notices it. It's not that worms don't exist for Linux, it's just that the rate of infection can't become exponential when so many machines run Windows.

The only way a worm will really Hit Linux is if it's a cross platform worm.

Kevin Benko said...

First off, the vast majority of the internet infrastructure: webservers, mailservers, everything and anything that allows two computers to connect with each other via the internet, is running on Linux. (Linux, for the most part, is pushing UNIX out of this role). So, while many of people's desktops might be running WiNdOwS, the *internet* is mostly running on Linux.

Crap... I forgot what else I wanted to say....

Flex said...

There are lots of studies of such issues Linux vs. Microsoft Windows. But the whole point is to sit down and figure out your requirements and then see which of them offers a solution for you.-IT Companies Melbourne

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