General discussion


Member says ZDNet 'Fails to Understand' Linux

By Beth Blakely ·


In a blog entry titled, "Failing to understand how it works," APOTHEON
has taken on ZDNet's DANA BLANKENHORN who wrote, "I strongly believe
that Linux users badly need the kind of automated anti-viral patch
management service that Windows users now take for granted."

Apotheon begins his argument with, "Clearly, he hasn't been paying
attention. I'll break it down a bit for you." He goes on to explain that
Blankenhorn has failed to understand how Linux provides automated patch
management, and is less vulnerable to attack than Windows. He also said that he
suspects Blankenhorn is "using Windows more than Linux."

Who's right? Read Blankenhorn's entry, "Automating Linux security
should be a higher priority," and Apotheon's blog post. Then, post your
opinions about who's got it right in this discussion.

* "Automating Linux security should be a higher priority"

* Apotheon's post

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Do you believe, as Blankenhorn said, that Linux users need an automated
anti-viral patch management service like Windows," or are you more on
the side of Apotheon's theory? Read their blog entries and weigh in
with your opinion in this discussion.

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All Comments

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SuSE Linux has automatic software update

by stress junkie In reply to Member says ZDNet 'Fails ...

I use SuSE Linux. This distribution has an application that will monitor the availability of software patches and it will automatically install them if you want that to happen. Novell puts in a good effort to create patches for software soon after problems are found. I don't use the automatic update software that comes with SuSE Linux. Instead, I manually check for patches twice a week but that's just my preference.

I believe that some other distributions either have an automatic software update application or they have a manual software update package that can be run automatically by a cron job.

Lastly some distributions stay away from the newest applications and kernels. The software that they include are mature and rarely have vulnerabilities found in them. Patches are still created when required but the requirements are far less frequent in these mature and stable distributions than they are in the leading edge distributions.

It appears that either Mr. Blanhenhorn hasn't said what he means or that he is ignorant of Linux.

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who is right?

by Jaqui In reply to Member says ZDNet 'Fails ...

Apotheon is.
why automate updating a listing of virus definitions when we can, using cron or at automate patching the exploitable bug out of existance, and not have a virus listing needed.

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CRON job automatic but not default

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Member says ZDNet 'Fails ...

a & j, a cron job is fine but it must be set up. The Automatic Update in Windows XP is turned on by default during installation. The average end user transitioning from XP is going to assume a similar configuration, won't know he has to set up a scheduled batch job, and won't know how to do it.

This is the only point in apotheon's rebuttal that I have issues with.

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Yes. Different distros vary widely.

by stress junkie In reply to CRON job automatic but no ...

I just spent last night installing Debian Linux for the first time. That was after a Slackware installation failed. In both cases you had better know Unix or Linux if you want to use these distros. They are definitely NOT for non-techies. Using either of these distros is very like purchasing a kit car. You get the parts but you have to know how they go together. I expected that with the Slackware but I had no idea that Debian was also so primitive. I eventually got a nice GUI environment going but it was a lot of work. Setting up a cron job to perform automatic software updates is something that a newbie would probably not think of doing. The nice thing is that the Debian does have a tool that you can use via cron.

Bottom line: newbies need a distro that incorporates a highly developed environment that includes automatic software update capabilities. Novell SuSE has the resources to do this. Most other distros don't have the resources or their engineering philosphy doesn't include that kind of thinking. Nothing wrong with that; it's just that they're not for newbies.

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I would say

by Jaqui In reply to Yes. Different distros va ...

that their thinking doesn't include the concept of doing for the user what the user should do, rather than no capabilities to do it.

since basic cron and rpm / apt* can do the updates and are included. ( slak, and lfs excepting as they are not "package" systems. )

the distros definately not for newbies are slak, and the from scratch distros. building from sources requires a basic knowledge of linux that a newbie ain't gonna have.

*majority of distros will have one of the two big package management systems as distro default.

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Why should the user have to do it?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to I would say

"...their thinking doesn't include the concept of doing for the user what the user should do..."

If it -should- be done, why not set it up at the time of installation and bypass the user entirely? At least include a prompt to set it up.

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I agree with you Palmetto

by stress junkie In reply to Why should the user have ...

I think that all that a user should do is use the computer. The user friendly Linux distros that add a lot of automatic functionality are the way of the future. I don't believe in Unix purism. Plain 'meat and potatos' Unix isn't that great. Unix and Linux need to have applets added to the system to reduce the need for system administration and make running the system easier for nontechnical people.

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Remember how MS got into trouble in the first place

by jdclyde In reply to Why should the user have ...

Remember how MS got into trouble in the first place. Turn everything on by default, and do for the users so they don't have to know anything.

This over automation is WHY windows is constantly getting over run with viruses and why we NEED AV software to protect the system instead of holding MS accountable for fixing the system as a very wise man has already pointed out.

The less you expect out of someone, the less you will get. That is why you get so little from todays users.

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I really can't agree with this approach

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Remember how MS got into ...

By this theory, we should still start our cars with a crank in the front and use only manual transmissions. Just because MS didn't properly implement some features doesn't mean someone else can't do it right.

Yes, MS deserves some of the blame for marketing an unsecure system. A larger share of the blame should be placed on the @$$h0l3s who write viruses. THEY are the reason we need AV software. Blaming MS is like blaming GM for a car with no airbags. Your injuries aren't GM's fault, or your own for purchasing the car. Responsibility lies with the driver who hit you.

This theory says GM will install the safety features, but the buyer has to learn how to hook them up.

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You don't seem to be listening

by jdclyde In reply to Remember how MS got into ...

A common problem in comunication, people don't step away from what they already know to try to understand something new.

When there is a "feature" in windows that is regularly exploited by viruses, why isn't this "feature" fixed so a virus can't use that ever again?

If there is a DEFECT in a car that causes crashes, THEY do what is called a "recall" and FIX the problem. IF they DON'T do this, they end up in court and get sued for selling a flawed system that they could have fixed. Why can't we sue MS for selling a flawed system that THEY could have fixed?

Your looking too narrow at this strictly from a "windows is doing it right" point of view instead of looking at the big picture.

Anther thing about patches and updates. As a RULE, I never go with them as soon as available, just like I never buy the point 0 version of software. The point one version will have let other people test and find the bugs.

Have you ever heard of a MS patch crashing a server? The only solution is to boot to safemode, uninstall and reboot. How about patches that break applications?

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