Open Source

Review: BitDefender for UNIX-based operating systems

Bitdefender fills in a large gap left by anti-virus companies that seem to think Linux doesn't need a user-friendly GUI anti-virus application.

Anti-virus software has become a critical aspect of computing at all levels. Although to this point it seems the only operating system that is really targeted by viruses is Microsoft Windows, the time will come when UNIX-based operating systems will be equally as marked.

Because of this I often advocate the use of anti-virus. This is especially true in a business environment. Although it is safe to assume your Linux system won't itself be compromised (at least not yet), you cannot say the same for the systems that you serve up (or share with) those files it houses. To that end, you need anti-virus.

But there is a problem, because most anti-virus tools for Linux are either command line, not-real time, or have a clunky GUI that no one wants to use. Not the case with BitDefender AntiVirus Scanner for the UNIX-based operating systems. This particular anti-virus tool would be welcome on any desktop, regardless of operating system. But is it right for your Linux desktop?


  • Operating system supported: Linux, FreeBSD
  • Kernel 2.4.x or 2.6.x (recommended)
  • FreeBSD 5.4 or better
  • glibc 2.3.1 or better
  • libstdc++5 from gcc 3.2.2 or better
  • RAM: 128MB
  • Disk Space: 100MB
  • Supported distributions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, Fedora 1, Slackware 9.0, Debian 3.1, Mandriva 9.1 FreeBSD 5.4
  • Additional information
  • TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

Bitdefender is designed for any Linux/FreeBSD user who values their data and the data they submit to others. Although many Linux/FreeBSD users claim absolute immunity to viruses, the minute they lay eyes on the Bitdefender anti-virus they will know a company is finally taking Linux seriously enough to predict that Linux will continue to grow in acceptance and usage. Because of this, tools like anti-virus will become a necessity. And for anyone using their Linux machine as a file server, mail server, or any other type of server that serves data to users on more prone operating systems, Bitdefender is a must have.

What problem does it solve?

Bitdefender fills in a large gap left by all of the other Linux-friendly anti-virus companies that seem to think Linux doesn't need a user-friendly GUI anti-virus application. But Bitdefender isn't just a pretty face. Bitdefender is a powerful contender in the ever-growing fight against virus attacks.

Standout features

  • Desktop Integration
  • Filemanager integration (Dolphin, Nautilus, Thunar, Midnight Commander)
  • Background Scanning
  • User-friendly GUI
  • Archive scanning
  • Mailbox scanning
  • Quarantine and virus submission

What's wrong?

The biggest problem people will face with BitDefender for Linux is in order to get file manager integration they are going to have to install that feature from source. Most users will not want to (nor know how to) tackle such a task.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

At some point, you and/or your company may need the services of either a Linux or a FreeBSD machine. And when that time comes you will want to ensure that machine is protected from any possible viruses that are in the wild. When that time comes, you cannot go wrong with BitDefender. Not only is it solid virus protection, it has the single most user-friendly interface of any of the Linux/FreeBSD anti-virus tools.

User rating

Have you encountered or used BitDefender for UNIX-based operating systems? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

Read our field-tested reviews of hardware and software in TechRepublic's Product Spotlight newsletter, delivered each Thursday. We explain who would use the product and describe what problem the product is designed to solve. Automatically sign up today!

Next Page (Photo Gallery) >>


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


I don't dispute anything technical in the review, but unfortunately I am sure Jack is not aware that Bitdefender makes a practice of not cancelling your subscription when you request it. And this wasn't just an isolated incident, it happened to me THREE different times with THREE different licenses at different times last year. They send you an email when it is time to renew/cancel with instructions as to how to cancel and not be rebilled. You follow the instructions to the letter (which I did THREE times) and guess what? You still get rebilled. The only way I was able to resolve the situations was by flooding emails to high-level company execs. EVENTUALLY (after months of high blood pressure) the subscriptions got cancelled. TERRIBLE customer service.


Here we go again. "the time will come when UNIX-based operating systems will be equally as marked." How many *nix systems are internet servers? Is that a large enough target?

D T Schmitz
D T Schmitz

and bootable (Ubuntu variant) CD version.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Anti-virus software is standard for the Windows operating system, but what about Linux systems? Do you use an anti-virus application on your Linux machine?


I've seen anti-virus software for Windows hose server apps and bring desktops to a crawl (McAfee, I'm looking at you). Throw in billing and customer service nightmares and the anti-virus software rivals malware for the headaches it causes. I don't think that I'll be installing a real time virus protection on my Linux or Unix boxes any time soon.

Editor's Picks