Linux

There will never be a 'Year of Linux' on the desktop OS

TechRepublic member dcolbert says a major Ubuntu Linux security flaw, and a lack of accountability by the Linux community, will keep him from ever considering it as a viable alternative desktop OS.

Several months ago, I started a discussion on TechRepublic about whether or not Linux was suitable for the corporate desktop. At the time, I had discovered windows floating in front of the screen saver for anyone to read, even though the Linux desktop was locked and those windows should have been hidden. I wanted to know if this was a frequently-encountered issue, and if so, had it been addressed and resolved. My point was that I had never seen anything like this happen on a Windows desktop (or a Mac OS desktop, for that matter).

Since then, I applied countless patches and fixes to my Ubuntu box, which is running 9.04 because 9.10 just hung when I attempted to update it. However, my desktop windows still continued to float in front of my screensaver, for the entire world to see, even though the machine was locked. That’s strike 2 for Ubuntu Linux on this matter.

As a HIPAA regulated industry, something like this is a huge deal to me, and it means I will absolutely never consider Ubuntu as a viable alternative desktop OS for the 200 desktop users at my office. I grabbed a screenshot and a video of the issue with my Droid, but I needed to obscure some information that was visible before I submitted the following  picture to TechRepublic.

In my mind, the bigger problem is the lack of accountability that I’ve encounter with the Linux community. It seems like they often deny issues or shift responsibility. In fact, I'm quite sure hardcore Linux fans will say something in this discussion thread like, "You should be on 9.10 by now."

It’s time for the Linux community to step up to the plate and admit "We've still got some serious issues!" instead of directing the blame elsewhere with accusations like, “It must be your fault!" But the truth is, I didn’t do anything to make my Ubuntu box occasionally display windows that should be hidden behind a locked screensaver. That’s a significant Linux security issue – one that Microsoft or Apple would respond to aggressively, and one that, from the looks of things, Ubuntu may not even have acknowledged exists.

Now, a valid response might be, "Did you do anything to address this issue or alert Ubuntu support or development?” No, I did not. Do you know why? When I encounter a problem on OS X or Win32/64, usually if I just wait a little while, Microsoft or Apple fixes the problem. That’s how it should work – that’s the contract I signed up for as a consumer (and as someone making decisions about what will be deployed to my desktop users).

If you have a product that you think can compete with and challenge other solutions, it better also meet the bare minimums requirements on service and support. Linux does not. Linux spends a lot of time shifting the blame and responsibility back to the user, but the products Linux competes with do not. For whatever reason, Linux does not have the same level of quality assurance and testing that Microsoft and Apple seem to invest in their platforms, and it shows in countless ways.

When a Microsoft product has a vulnerability or unresolved bug in an aging OS that’s still in use, the Linux community is among the first to jump all over them. But the Linux community sure doesn’t like the taste of its own medicine when told, "There are Linux distros out there with large security issues that have never – and never will be – addressed.”

As I see it, this alone is an argument in defense of Microsoft's model, where the market almost mandates that the company continues providing assistance long after we all know they would rather EOL all support for those platforms.

Linux development seems to move ever forward, never looking back, and when development and support for Linux products stop, those products are often killed dead in their tracks. The community response is, "Tough, we don't do it that way anymore… get with the program, and move to the new solution." Of course, the new solution might be pretty rough and still working out the bugs, but that’s just the way it goes with Linux. (Photo credit: Jinx, Inc)

Let's face it. Linux is not a good OS platform for home users – for your teenage child, parent, grandparent, in-law, or other relative – or for average corporate desktop OS users. In almost all of these cases, a commercial OS from Microsoft or Apple is inevitably going to be a better solution.

Now, I don't think it’s necessarily fair to expect Linux to live up to the standards set by Microsoft and Apple. The very nature of the organizations developing these platforms makes them largely incomparable. I've always had a fundamental philosophical distrust for the claims of the Linux community, because I do not believe that the DIY ethic will lead to an ultra-competitive, superior OS platform to commercial alternatives. Their early idealism, almost political in nature, set the bar far too high and too early for Linux. Because of that, Linux has spent the last 15+ years producing headlines that have become almost satirical – next year will be "the year of Linux."

If we're looking for "The year of Linux," we need to stop trying to define it as Linux somehow eroding massive market share from the current OS leaders. We need to set more reasonable goals, such as: 1) Finding wider adoption and acceptance among IT professionals and other technology-oriented employees (check); and 2) Becoming the base-platform for an increasing amount of professional and consumer electronic devices (check).

Yes, there are things that Linux is doing well. However, being a desktop OS alternative continues to be a weak area for Linux. They continue to be third in a three-horse race (and trailing by a wide margin, at that). The Linux community is not constructed in a manner that can deliver the world-class corporate support of organizations like Microsoft and Apple, and the misty-eyed idealism that thought some sort of communal brotherhood of nerd-dom would elevate Linux above the commercial alternatives is a bankrupt theory. It hasn't happened, and it’s not going to.

What it comes down to is that people working on testing and development during evenings and weekends (on their own time) aren't ever going to be as responsive as multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporations. It was a nice utopian vision, but like all the others, it didn't pan out as well in practice as it sounded in theory.

To be fair, Linux has improved tremendously. For example, I find myself fighting less often with things like WiFi, enabling 3D on video cards, or entering monitor refresh rates into a X config file by hand.

I've also heard a lot of good things about Mint, but I think it proves one of my longest-standing arguments. By the time Linux can effectively compete with Windows and Mac OS, it will have lost the very things that made it unique. Those warm-and-fuzzy ideals that make me dry heave are part of the intrinsic appeal of Linux, on a certain level.

Once you move away from the Ubuntu/Debian idealism – which makes adding proprietary drivers and codecs a nightmare to a more consumer friendly, realistic approach – you're a dangerous step closer to embracing exactly the kind of ideology that differentiated Linux from closed OS platforms. A Linux that can effectively compete with commercial OS platforms will end up virtually indistinguishable from the others, including all of the negatives that make Linux idealists love Linux so much.

Bottom line? Linux is imperfect, and we will never have a "Year of Linux" on the desktop OS. It’s time to stop worrying about that and admit that Linux just isn't suitable beyond the needs of hardcore techie types. Every time Linux gets misrepresented, it results in Linux experimentation by people who shouldn't be using it, and they find it an unpleasant experience in the process.

I've gone great lengths to integrate Linux into parts of my daily routine, to give Linux a chance to prove itself, and to be open-minded. In certain situations, Linux has a lot of added value and benefits compared to the alternatives. But ultimately, Linux is in my life only as a supporting role, not a star.

I know what I can trust Linux to deliver and what I can't. If the Linux community was more forthcoming and honest about Linux strengths and weaknesses – rather than hiding those weaknesses or trying to misdirect the blame for its limitations – it would benefit, not hurt, the entire Linux community.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

539 comments
modmadmike
modmadmike

"At the time, I had discovered windows floating in front of the screen saver for anyone to read, even though the Linux desktop was locked and those windows should have been hidden." This was a bug in the GNOME desktop NOT Linux!! Linux ONLY refers to the Linux kernel. GNU/Linux refers to the typical desktop installation of Linux utilities plus the kernel used by most distributions. There are many other desktop environments like KDE or XFCE which never had this bug! Your blaming a KERNEL for a problem with a piece of SOFTWARE. That would be like blaming Windows for a problem with Firefox! Don't complain about something that you don't understand. "Now, a valid response might be, ?Did you do anything to address this issue or alert Ubuntu support or development?? No, I did not. Do you know why? When I encounter a problem on OS X or Win32/64, usually if I just wait a little while, Microsoft or Apple fixes the problem." Microsoft and Apple get bug reports FROM THE USERS, if you have a problem that nobody reported, how do you expect it to be fixed.

rusivi
rusivi

Dear Donovan Colbert/Sonja Thompson: Thank you for writing about this flaw in Ubuntu 9.10, and I empathize with how this bug is negatively impacting you. However, you do have to take more responsibility in mitigating this issue in addition to blogging it, bring it to the direct attention of the Ubuntu developers! :) You may do this by filing a bug report against this issue via typing in a terminal: ubuntu-bug gnome-screensaver We are all looking forward to this article being updated with a link to the bug! -rusivi

~doolittle~
~doolittle~

I have seen the screensaver daemon crash - when whatever it is trying to run crash. Solution - have it blank the screen ONLY (fade to black is ok) and lock it. Then have power management put it to standby / power-off modes. Once that is done, you will never have a screensaver problem. Of course, people will complain that windows does not have this problem - what can you do? IMHO LCD monitors don't need pretty pictures since they don't suffer from burn-in, just have it shut off the backlight via standby or poweroff - that is what a screensaver *should* do - save your backlight!

rcugini
rcugini

I don't have this problem with FEdora. Usually this sort of thing is caused by improperly setting up the desktop. First, set up a screensaver and tell the desktop to use a screensaver when you lock the screen. Second, configure the system to require the user's password when they log back in. Third, go into the power settings and configure them to cup power to the screen and suspend to RAM after some idle time, the shorter the better. Of course, you can also get non-free versions of Linux like SLED or Redhat which may give you a little more hand holding & support as required.

lsatenstein
lsatenstein

Here is an example. I bought a Txxxxxx car. I had all kinds of problems with it, because it was 3 years old. I tried to fix it, and I still had problems. Therefore, my conclusion is that if I had problems with it, then all other users had the same problems. Therefore, the Txxxxxx brand of car is no good. Now the individual dcolbert indicated that she / he upgraded from an older version of the software. There are possible issues with that, since a later version of some updates would not install all intervening updates. That is akin to going from version 1.x to version 5.y, and leaving out all the intermediate updates. Why did the author not try a fresh installation. She/he was definitely not going from version x to version x+1. thats my view

hariks0
hariks0

The animation in the background is not called screen saver. The Time in the top panel reads 9.43 am and the last download is 3.27 pm. Why is the Firefox download window kept open for so much time? You can try the screen saver plug in of Compiz if you want Linux to really show your windows in screen savers. :)

umer
umer

I know I will incite strong response to this title, but please hear me out. I had to give my 2 cents of the story in response to Linux DIY approach and not being honest. First its wrong to compare Linux and Windows, because they are designed for a different set of crowd. Windows (and more so Mac) is targeted to the not so geeky crowd; people who want to enjoy technology without getting involved in it too much (same as we like to enjoy driving a car without becoming mechanics). Linux is targeted to the geeky folks who are into technology and love to get involved in their customization. They feel a sense of achievement in it. Second Linux geeks are more than honest (Open source!). Unlike proprietary software folks who hide & conceal, Linux community is out their to share and be open. Just attend a local linux gathering. Or get a Linux mentor. If you want someone else to solve your problems, keep dreaming. Linux geeks hate the lazy type who do not wish to learn. As far your using Windows is concerned, its your choice. If you wish to use a system that has huge resource requirements and does not actually do anything remarkable; A system that restricts your creativity and freedom; A system that is home to virus/trojan/worm/spyware: Then who am I to stop you. :)

pgit
pgit

Amen, modmadmike! I see the double standard all the time, windows, and to a lesser extent Mac, get a pass on blame they do deserve and never get blamed wrongly as does Linux. (time and time again) Your reply here is valuable as it's succinct, clear and you add the element of bug reporting to drive the distinction home. Well done. You've given me a sharper spear to throw at the stupidity. (or just laziness often)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The screensaver as a way to save the screen from burning is really a cosmetic holdover from times long gone when tube monitors would actually etch stuff into the display screen over time.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I mean... I appreciate the careful attention you have paid to the screencap - but... Because the last download was near the end of the business day, at 3:27 PM. I probably set the download to start and walked away from the machine after locking the console. Then I went home at 5PM. Then the next morning, when I returned, I looked over and discovered that screens that were supposed to be hidden were in the foreground, and giddily grabbed my Droid and prayed that it would open the cam app without crashing or becoming unresponsive (Yup, that super stable Linux architecture that the Android OS is built on sure works out well)... took the picture, and made a note to write a ranting blog about it later. Seriously. Man.... I mean, this is like implying that a photojournalist has doctored a photograph. It is a *strong* claim to make unless you've got basically inarguable evidence. *This* direction of the discussion is actually starting to bother me a bit.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Between Dcolbert's history on TR and Sinister's ability to recreate the same signs of an issue on a Windows machine, I don't believe it's a faked photo or video. I can't see Dcolbert taking the time to create a fake just generate an article out of it and Sinister's experiment shows one possible way it could happen. If anything, it's an obscure bug in Ubuntu's build assuming Dcolbert made no config changes related to Gnome layering or Xscreensaver. Potentially a bug in systems with the same version and config settings for Gnome/Xscreensaver.

Saurondor
Saurondor

Personally I think there is quite a bit of geekieness in Windows. We just happen to be used to it. There is certainly customization in both camps. The average user will do a lot of GUI customization and an experienced user will dig deep into the guts. Lets keep in mind that there is a great deal of open source software for Windows. So your Windows experience can be pretty open source too. Just like you can install closed source software on Linux. The main issue for me is experience and stability. And by stability I don't only mean will it crash. I mean how stable will the product be over time. Windows became a bit stable due to the Vista fiasco. That is prior to that it was pretty much a moving target. After seven years of XP your knowledge was worth something, but now we're back to a moving target. Every new release changes things. In contrast to that Linux is a more stable platform. Not so much of a moving target. Built by many different parts it easier to customize. Time spent to learn something is time well spent. It won't expire anytime soon. Personally I don't have time to be relearning things every 3 o 4 years. I'd also like to add that upgrading from one Ubuntu major release to the next is quite an easy thing to do and nothing like what it takes to do so with Windows.

dcolbert
dcolbert

And will continue to hold that market share, which will *never* result in a "Year of the Linux OS". Be elite. The rest of the entire world will continue to prefer an OS that allows you to get from point A to point B to buy groceries, not an OS that requires constant upkeep and tuning to be able to go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds on a strip, once a week - and require a complete teardown and rebuild after every race. I'm not sure why so many Linux advocates are arguing with themselves to prove my article's core thesis - in this thread. :) I mean, we even had the picture of the Elitist Penguin right there. (And I could totally imagine Neon doing a facepalm as he read the OP's message, too. "Stop, you're playing right into his hands!").

hariks0
hariks0

You have actually summarised the issue very well. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I see too many differences between seporate distributions to say all "Linux" is for tech savvy folks. Some distribution manufacturers are targeting there products at the non-savvy user. Canonical is the loudest marketed around these parts but Mandriva is the original to do "new user friendly" and other distributions have done a great job. There is just no lumping together something like Ubuntu with Slackware or Backtrack; they are very distinctly different machines. Linux User Groups are a great way to get mentoring. If there is a local group and they are still doing the monthly or quarterly install day a new user should get a solid introduction. In terms of malware, it exists on all platforms. Regardless of running a Linux based distribution, a BSD distribution, osX or Windows; one should be running Antivirus and malware scanners. Actually osX users who have the current version and patch level already are running AV that Apple has quietly slipped in behind so as not to conflict with there marketing spin.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Is your friend. It can't be bothered. It's what I use to bother the hell out of others.

dcolbert
dcolbert

And proves to me that you never know which article is going to be the controversial one that generates a ton of heat and traffic. I felt like Linux was a pretty beaten horse around the TR forums. We discussed not publishing this one.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Windows *has* been a bit of a moving target moving from the XP/2000/Win98/NT4 paradigm through Vista and into Win7. A lot of those changes were responses to complaints from the *nix community about the previous model's security implementations (UAC is just SUDO by a different name, and really just as intrusive as OS X or Linux asking for some sort of SU authentication before allowing an action. UAC was proabably a little too invasive and chatty when it was first released, but I'd blame that on Microsoft being super sensitive to it after being bashed by *nix for the previous 10 years). I'll admit, I've recently been on support calls where both the support tech and I were going, "Ok, I need to look at THIS (control panel, log, whatever) but I don't know where it is in W2k8 or Win7". But, in general, if you're a competent Windows admin, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. I haven't given up defeated looking for something familiar that has moved or been modified, yet. Windows has evolved *aggressively* between XP and Win7. Innovative, feature packed, and much improved. A lot of the baby got thrown out with the bathwater - but that is what the Linux community has been saying needed to happen for the last 15 years. I find it ironic that Microsoft responds to those criticisms and meets them, and then the Linux community crucifies Microsoft for listening to their advice. As for upgrades - that is something that *all* OS platforms have improved incredibly on in the last 4 years or so, and that has been hit and miss for all platforms traditionally. I just upgraded my Mac Mini to a 500GB hard drive (something only for the uber-confident DIY propeller head). But Apple's time-capsule solution is supposed to make recovery of the point-in-time of your actual OS a piece of cake that any Gorilla that knows ASL can complete. It wasn't. I was successful, but only after repeated attempts and applying my technical experience in a way that an "average user" probably wouldn't have thought to try. Likewise, my upgrade to Ubuntu 10 failed on one machine the first time I attempted it. It rolled back nicely, and later I was able to complete it - but it still wasn't flawless. My recent upgrades to Win7 had varying degrees of success - some flawless, some requiring a complete build from scratch. So I think upgrades are still a wild-card for the entire industry, and implying it is a piece of cake on Ubuntu and nothing like that on Windows 7 is a bit of a stretch, at the very least.

umer
umer

I would like to quote what a blogger said some time back in reply to some one saying that Linux has a 0% market share: "Which market? We OWN the supercomputing space, 7 out of the top 10 supercomputers run Linux. (other 3 run UNIX). I don't think Windows is in the top 50. We OWN the embedded space, things like Netgear ADSL routers/gateways, TIVO, SatNav, Mobile Phones. We OWN the internet server space, GOOGLE, AMAZON, PAYPAL etc all run on Linux. You use Linux everyday unless you live in a cave. We OWN the third world. So what if 800million plus run windows, the planet is 6billion+ and growing. You think China is going to be beholden to MS? You think Brazil is going to grow it's fledgling industry (which barely has dialup) on vista? You think Africa can even afford to buy software? We OWN the new sub $400 notebook space. ASUS eeePC? Prices will only come down further too. When the OS and Office become more than cost of the hardware things change. We OWN the science space. You think NASA runs on windows? We OWN the secret space. You think NSA runs on windows? We OWN the distributed space. PIXAR makes all their films on Linux. You think SHREK was made on windows render farms? We OWN the geek/early adopter space. Compiz Fusion baby. Businesses and average Joes are late adopters and are stuck in the world of malware and viruses and DRM and forced upgrade policies and restriction. But those business who have embraced open-source do not shout it from the roof tops because they would give up their competitive advantage. Why would they find an edge and then broadcast it to their rivals? The whole industry is so young it's unbelievable. Look ahead 50-100 years. We will OWN the desktop too. If it even exists."

umer
umer

Thanks for appreciation. I had to stand-up and defend Ubuntu... after all I have so much fun using it and it has made my life so much easier... :)

Slayer_
Slayer_

Ok, now I gotta know, is there something I can tell the next snotty mac user I encounter, what to do to prove his computer is shit and Apple secretly installed a virus scanner on their system? A command or something maybe?

Slayer_
Slayer_

I messaged you the info. Forgot to mention, I recommend not using multiple connections. The server is pretty slow, the extra load can cause it to drop your connection and if your client tries to reconnect, it could get auto banned for server hammering.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My peer messaging should be working, you may have to fire one back this way if my msg didn't arrive yet.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Cause I don't think those messages thingies work...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Give me a few days to consolidate my collection. I've been lazy and leaving new additions on the mobile drive. I'll peer message when ready soon.

Slayer_
Slayer_

How many images do you have? I have capacity for roughly another 4000. I suspect we have lots of duplicates though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think I know where I can host it temporarily though unless you want to open an ftp/upload and send me a temporary password.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And share your collection with me?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

expect your servers to show a hit from wget. ;)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]How the heck can IT people survive without knowing how to code programs?[/i] We know people who know how to code programs and aren't afraid to borrow. :D

Slayer_
Slayer_

http://trevorsarchives.selfip.net/funpics/images/Index1.htm For thumbnail previews. And for the entire list (may contain more than the thumbnail list, due to delayed thumbnailing process) http://trevorsarchives.selfip.net/funpics/images/FullSize you can easily use this program to grab all the contents. http://www.httrack.com/ And yes, just like the logging program, I made the thumbnailing program, same program also creates the webpage and sorts the images. How the heck can IT people survive without knowing how to code programs? :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That image is going strait into my my collection.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The Devil's advocate. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Also, I gotta be honest, after the discussion post, I was looking forward to a more official jwallen rebuttal. It would have been interesting to see how that one read. He has a much better grasp of the social structure, product relationships and use in production environments than I do. This based on my enjoying the few times TR writers have gone back and forth with security related articles. It's a different level of information and courtesy than one gets in the resulting forums with the free for all from any registered reader.

Slayer_
Slayer_

[b]"And this is why Linux sucks and will never have the market share of OS X or Windows"[/b] No lies told here :D

dcolbert
dcolbert

The high volume traffic is a happy accident. It is something I always welcome - but the idea that I write a blog solely with the intention of generating high volumes of traffic in the forum just doesn't pan out... See: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tr-out-loud/?p=1987&tag=content;leftCol http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tr-out-loud/?p=1903&tag=content;leftCol http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tr-out-loud/?p=1743&tag=content;leftCol http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/datacenter/?p=2279&tag=content;leftCol http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tr-out-loud/?p=1711&tag=content;leftCol http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/window-on-windows/?p=2602&tag=content;leftCol For examples of blogs where I should have summarized the article with, "And this is why Linux sucks and will never have the market share of OS X or Windows", if I had really wanted to generate high volume responses in the forum. :)

Slayer_
Slayer_

Just think of how many ad's I should be looking at.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The *nix threads have generally burnt out or balanced somewhere in the middle. We're commiserating over Microsoft culture and the resulting products now. (my fault, just got a Win7 machine issued so I'm going through the honeymoon period everyone else had months ago during the media hype) Now.. do I Truecrypt this bad boy or go win7 native encryption. *nix boot is sweet; encrypted partition for root, /boot on bootable SD nice and clear of the HDD MBR.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I would expect them to have enough warchest to coast a while for lack of profits anyhow. I've heard about he internal issues before. Every department is competing against each other; Office won't let UI do the interface because it's "Office" and they'd loose face and so on. For the frothing anti-Microsoft, it's probably a saving grace that they don't clean up there culture and focus everybody on the same goals. Windows Mobile 7 going badly may knock them out of the mobile market. We'll see how Windows8 turns out now that initial specs are leaking out.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think it is pretty well documented that Microsoft's biggest enemy right now is itself, as it fights within departments over departmental interests that aren't necessarily in the best interest of the entire company. This is a pretty typical point of strategic inflection encountered by companies in a transition from a mature company to, for lack of a better word, a senior company. In English, Microsoft *is* IBM, or AT&T or any other very well established company that has been dominant in their field for 3 + decades - and that becomes a big ship to maneuver. They're actually surprisingly agile, innovative and risk taking for a firm their size, and I think the tech community gives Microsoft far less respect than it deserves. I think the next 18 months are a critical period for Microsoft, and a lot of their future depends on if they are able to get Windows Mobile 7 out, and if it is able to leverage the excitement of some of their other products (in particular, XBox Live) to create forward momentum that allows it to compete with Android and iOS. Of course, Microsoft has enough money to lose for awhile, so maybe they have 36 months. It wouldn't be the first time they came from behind to dominate an emerging market. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

After there history, they'll have to demonstrate the change but here's hoping for the future. They definitely have the resources to do it right if they can manage to keep there corporate culture out of it.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Microsoft has a traditional culture of accomodating the lower common denominators among users *and* admins. Least restrictive security models and other examples of erring on the side of ease of administration or usability at the sacrafice of best security practices. They've turned a corner, but I bet culturally there are still old habits that die hard.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That is definitely a sticking point for them though they have repeatedly earned that level of scrutiny. It just sucks when that's used to squash something that truly benefits the market like the hardened framework that AV should have been forced to adapt to. Symantec and co called "monopoly" unjustly. With Apple, they seem to be playing it pretty hard on the business strategy side rather than relying on making "insanely great(tm)" products. When the strategies clearly benefit the company more than the consumer; I take issue. Apple's xenophobic technology and litigation against consumers is a big turnoff. Pushing there software, PCs and services through required pairing and activation is outrageous for a mobile device in my mind. Not that the systems all work so well together but that they do so much to make one impose the decision to use the other. Apple should be developing quality product without the need to rely on dirty business. With UAC, I have two gripes. First; it's Microsoft. They can and do afford the best developers in the world. UAC could have been implemented far better from the start. They could also have implemented it better without reducing it's effectiveness as a real security mechanism. Second; I hear the NT kernel is actually quite nice with full privileged separation and the rest of the modern security mechanisms available but the userland developers choose not to fully implement those features. If that is the case, userland team lead needs to be slapped and give his head a shake. I'm not a kernel dev though so someone more knowledgeable would have to correct or confirm that. For my own use, I cross pollinate a lot. Good *nix habits are replicated on Win systems including having my own su.cmd and preferences for the .msi package format over .exe installs. Going the other way, I was doing "MyDocuments", "MyWorkbench" for my own file management under my home directory long before I started using KDE which creates similar directories. I find a good habit or function in one OS; I replicated on the others.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Yeah, I can tell you, there is a big push, along with powershell... and that is another thing that we can thank Linux for - keeping the platforms competitive. Competition *is* good. Doubt we'll ever see a modular build for "workstation" Windows, though. The majority of workstation Windows users just aren't interested enough - and those who are will likely just use Win2k8 in that capacity - probably in a VM. Microsoft is beholden to the users, beholden to the industry, and beholden to strict Government oversight. It actually sometimes limits their ability to execute in the best interests of their own interests and those of their consumers. The AV hook issue is an example of that. When you're the top dog, you're always disappointing someone, and usually being held accountable for not being able to please everyone. Apple is entering this territory now - and I think we'll see them suffering more and more Microsoft-esque frustrations in the ways they are *forced* to do business. Good point on the UAC. I kind of saw that as petty and bitter - a "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it". Having a bit of that in my own personality, though, I could emphathize with them.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Upgrading between lesser and greater sku on Win7 is apparently very smooth. We'll see how upgrading from win7 to win8 goes though. After so many years of whipe/fullinstall "upgrades" I need to see a lot to regain confidence in not having the full install disk. I do really like the built in system image backup though. two DVD and recovery tools CD and I'm good to go break whatever I can knowing that I'll just reflash the base image after. In contrast, migrating a Debian 4 system to Debian 5 took "aptitude update && aptitude upgrade && aptitude dist-upgrade" with the new Stable laying itself overtop of old Stable without more than answering a few yes/no questions with the default. I don't see any reason why Microsoft could not deliver this kind of smooth upgrade if not a true rolling distribution approach. We'll see how the Win7 to Win8 upgrade process works though. The big thing with UAC was first, that it's implementation was still bolted on top and could be gotten around (I think some installs still disable then re-enable it after). The other issue was that Microsoft admitted that they had implemented UAC in a way designed to annoy users believing that this would motivate them to put pressure on third party developers where software did not follow the new framework in Vista. That is F'd up business right there. It also sucked that MS finally how to bow to third party AV and open up the kernel hooks that they have previously hardened for the new framework. Third party AV developers should have been told to shutup and write compliant code rather than MS reducing the overall security posture of the OS to enable non-compliant AV. My personal grief remains the lack of a modular build. I'd like to see Windows Workstation fully modular in the same way that the next Server is rumored to be. I'm a sucker for a minimum install plus desired addons though versus a full install and prune out undesirables. how knows.. oh.. partitioning done.. gotta go

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm with you on almost all of it... But I'm still going to call any OS out when I see an interesting article about a short-coming (or success) to be attributed to that platform. People will accuse me of targeting Linux and OS X. But how much is there to say about a Microsoft platform that hasn't already been said? Besides, I work and deal with those issues all day. Writing about my Windows experiences generally isn't exciting to me - I don't have a lot of passion for it - it is a platform I mostly use to do my job. Just a tool. The Linux and OS X communities should be happy to see I am picking on them - at least it means I find their platforms interesting. :)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Reminds me of a Pravda article back in the 60s or 70s, after a boxing match between an American and a Russian. The American won the match with a KO. Pravda's take was that the Russian was the runner-up, while the American finished next-to-last. Didn't fool anybody and demonstrated the saying in Soviet Russia that there's pravda (true), then there's Pravda. :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Tonight was going to be all kinds of hitting things in the face with axes; aka, Dragon Age. Then my new notebook order arrived. Between the posts this evening and hands on the Win7 production release; ain't no face-axing happening tonight. yeah, I primarily use Debian but I'm still an OS geek and a hands on a new OS is hands on a new OS. :D Now that I have a clean backup image.. let's go poke the black box and see what happens..

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I am following along and agree that give the topic of desktop platforms, the string of "OWNS the" lines doesn't really apply. It also doesn't help you find viable options for consideration.

umer
umer

Please read carefully, I said..."I would like to quote what a blogger said ..." They were quoted from someone else. I didn't claim a thing! ;) And there is no point arguing with you... clearly you have joined the dark side and are on MS payroll! ;) Just kidding dcolbert. No hard feelings. Let's just enjoy what ever OS we prefer and stop bashing the other OS.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Buying Dragon Age expansion.

dcolbert
dcolbert

"Taiwan 3rd in microprocessors" That always made me chuckle. Nice spin on, "we're effectively in DEAD LAST!" Third place, the Bronze... is that the WORST of the BEST or the BEST of the WORST? I dunno, but it still isn't *winning*, either way. Did you really just claim that Linux owns the third world as a good thing? Listen, I always give Linux props for being big in Europe. Just like David Hasslehoff and Jerry Lewis. You keep on keepin' on with that mad Linux optimism, umer. :) (Got a feeling Neon is beating his head on his desk at this point).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

osX has a built in malware scanner that Apple sneaks out signature updates for but there are definitely also third party osX native AV available. Even if there is less malware still targeting osX, every Apple user should practice responsible computing and run AV; if only to catch anything they may pass on as an immune carrier.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Yep they most certainly do about 5 years ago a Apple dealer here sold my Brother in Law a copy of Norton's to keep his Mac clean and uninfected. He couldn't get it to install and when he next came to town he asked me what he was doing wrong. Unfortunately by then it was way too late to return the copy of Norton's for the refund that he deserved. ;) Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Getting a malware infection because you download unlicensed copies of software; that is the fault of the user's bad habits. It doesn't matter what platform. If one installs a cracked Adobe Photoshop on there Windows box and finds out it includes viral code or backdoors; are you seriously not going to consider the user responsible? "I just got MS Office from this site I stumbled across and now my antivirus thingy keeps showing me popups about some 'win32.dropper' thing." In this case, osX users downloaded a cracked copy of Iphoto only to find out that it included malware. Is it unreasonable to conclude that they may have delivered that malware to themselves through the intended unpaid use the copyright infringing version? On the other hand, if the malware delivery is enabled by or through fault in the underlying osX or Windows distribution rather than a user downloading cracked software; is that not a fault in the underlying system? From the *nix side, Windows allowing any old .exe to run by default is a Windows introduced vulnerability. If the malware can escalate privaledge out of the user's account and modifying settings or install with admin or system privileged, that appears to be very much a architectural vulnerability. If MS Office suite's default settings permit macro virus propigation; is that not the fault of Microsoft? Don't paint all us *nix users as irrationally biased and shallowly out to blindly place blame on Microsoft when not our preferred platform and "the user" when it is. You can't judge a platform's total usership by it's irrational fanatics.

dcolbert
dcolbert

http://antivirus.about.com/b/2010/06/21/apple-updates-antivirus-much-ado-about-nothing.htm Ah, *nix community, I can always count on you... "The HellRTS trojan is distributed via pirated iPhoto software. It requires root acess to install. This pretty much precludes the possibility of any meaningful infection levels and those who were infected have only their own bad habits to blame." When a Mac gets infected, it is the bad habits of the user that is to blame, when a MS machine gets infected, it is Microsoft's fault. :) Death, taxes, and *nix distros blaming the users.

Slayer_
Slayer_

You got any good links?

dcolbert
dcolbert

That "outted" the inclusion of background AV into the latest updates of OS X. :)

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