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Does a Microsoft "monoculture" endanger security?

By debate ·
Do you agree with Jonathan Yarden that a Microsoft "monoculture" exists? Do you think it poses a threat to global Internet security? Does your organization rely primarily on Microsoft products? Share your comments about considering alternatives to Microsoft software, as discussed in the March 15 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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You said it.

by DC_GUY In reply to Mix it up

I just tried to install Norton SystemWorks to diagnose and correct some performance problems on my laptop. Not only did the installation fail, but first it irretrievably uninstalled the copy of Norton Anti-Virus that I already had. It messed my hard drive up so bad that I had to have the tech guru at my office take a crack at it on his lunch break, and I still had to beg Symantec for help.

The consensus is that I'll have to wipe the hard drive and reinstall EVERYTHING!

But after manually deleting program fragments and cleaning up registries, my computer works almost as well as it did a week ago, with the exception of having no virus protection.

Thank the goddess that my firewall is a McAfee product, not Norton. So the SystemWorks installation process did not destroy it. As long as I don't open ANY e-mail attachment, I'll probably be safe for a couple of weeks.

That's when my wife gets her new Mac and I inherit her Mac laptop.

Happy happy joy joy!

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by tostes In reply to Does a Microsoft "monocul ...

People like to keep doing what they are already doing.
Microsoft has defined the art of desktop inertia.
It is easier to keep using what you are already using. Energy, and work is required to deviate from a standardized enterprise software platform.
As we all know, untill there is an actual unsolveable problem with windows, nothing will stop the inertia. It will be slowed, deflected, but I doubt people's habits will change.


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Look to the younger generation for our salvation.

by DC_GUY In reply to Inertia

Each year a greater number of kids comes out of school having been reared on Macs. They have no inertia favoring the use of PCs.

Apple already has formed a department dedicated to corporate marketing and a few corporations are listening. They can't help noticing the almost zenlike sense of peace that prevails in the Macintosh ghettoes of their advertising departments while the rest of their employees sit waiting for technical assistance.

VirtualPC is already on the market. Sure it's slow but we all know that is an extremely temporary condition when talking about computers.

A "life spiral" is beginning. The more Macs people buy, the more software will be created for them. My own is on the way. I'm looking for a soul-satisfying way to destroy my Windows machine after the fourteen years of agony Windows has caused me. Any suggestions?

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While change is good

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Look to the younger gener ...

A lot of places are leaving the Apple products and changing to the PC's for the very reasons that you've already mentioned. Currently the Qld Police force is dumping all their Apple products and replacing them with Windows based PC's {What a nasty thought} so for every one large customer that Apple gets they are losing at least 2 of their existing customers.

However it is a good idea to mix things up at least that way you are far less likely to suffer any problems.

As far as installing Norton's goes if you where installing System Works and failed to un-check the AV box that could account for you're problems as that is the way that Norton's is supposed to be installed you only get the updated AV product and have to remove everything then install the AV then System Works. A real pain in the rear end and very time consuming as well. Otherwise it should have proceeded OK.

Just a tip here if you download the "Trial" version of Iolo's System Mechanic I think you'll find it will cure you're current problems and you'll be able to reinstall the AV then Norton's but just don't chose the "Remove Copies Option" as you'll quite likely ruin the entire system.


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Hey, thanks for the tip!

by DC_GUY In reply to While change is good

I'll try the Iolo product.

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Cut the red wire... no, the blue one!

by gawiman In reply to While change is good

"...if you where installing System Works and failed to un-check the AV box that could account for you're problems..."

Col Luck, you are like a bomb-squad expert, with encyclopedic knowledge of the deadly devices. It is a credit to you, but hardly to the bomb designer. And in this case the "bomb" is Microsoft and Norton.

I've been in computer support for 9 years, and I have lost count of how many times I've heard someone say, "I installed Norton and now it doesn't work." Of course, the user can't tell you what version of Windows they're using, or what Norton product, or what version it is and so on. Or even what the meaning of "it" is.

There, I feel better. The main problem in security isn't the OS but the user! The weak link between the keyboard and the chair. Windows is pretty easy to mess up - for whatever reason - and letting the user have anything more than restricted rights is like putting power tools in the hands of kindergartners. Yet often apps don't work properly with restricted rights.

And what was MS thinking making an email client that runs code ... Oy, don't get me started!

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User-related security problems

by Quiet_Type In reply to Cut the red wire... no, t ...

I agree with your comment about users. Many of the users at my workplace simply refuse to become better educated about the OS they use, no matter which one it is, and we run have run a dual platform for years (Mac and Windows). I can issue a person a brand new Windows computer, but if I don't restrict their rights, I can go back two weeks later and find a dozen icons in the system tray, indicating every kind of spyware gizmo you can imagine, from weather bugs to wallpaper changers. And they wonder why the machine seems to be responding slower.

Frankly, I think that people have a responsibility to learn to use the tools required on their jobs. If required to use a computer everyday, then the person should learn to do so effectively. Imagine a carpenter who doesn't know how to use a hammer or saw! The employer has a responsibility to provide some training, but the user also has a responsibility to educate himself.

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I couldn't agree more

by keyguy13 In reply to User-related security pro ...

So true :) I also work tech support and I see the exact same problem every day. At least with windows XP we can lock down the workstation, and it seems to have helped tremendously so far. The users have complained that they can't install aol instant messenger and the like which makes me very happy :) My boss tends to be too nice and has let that crap be installed in the past, but after showing him and the other department heads how much time it saves us on support calls, they had to agree. So yes, it is usually the user that needs to educate himself but we now have tools to keep that from being an issue too.

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But it gets even better

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Cut the red wire... no, t ...

With Windows 2003 Enterprise Server Microsoft has put in place a one button external connection to the business network. This is something that the CEO's and their ilk have wanted for years and exactly what scares the hell out of the IT staff. Now you not only have to secure the network but every one of the users who have external access.

Interesting thought isn't it?


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First you follow the "White Rabit"

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Cut the red wire... no, t ...

And then you are given the choice of the Red or Blue Pill and if you take the red one you'll endup in a place where a Linux screensaver is susposed to impart information.

So take the Red Pill and get with a real OS instead of the constant Beta Versaions that business wants!


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