[opensource] Linux vs. Windows
Steven James Samuel Stapleton
stapleton at mps.ohio-state.edu
Wed Oct 25 21:11:30 EDT 2006
I'll just jump in on this, I've read most of the thread, and just have a few
comments to make.
The biggest concern to security is not your OS, but the popularity of your
OS, it's an inverse relation - the more popular your OS is, the less secure
it will be. About a year (or two?) ago, Linux surpassed Windows in
popularity for at least a while in the server market, and during that
quarter, had more reported break ins. I'm pretty sure about the surpassing
windows in that quarter, and I know I read from somewhere (possibly the
register) about Linux having more reported break ins than Windows.
Unfortunately I'm not finding the article in my searches.
That's not to say which OS actually had more security holes in it, but the
more popular an OS, the more interesting a target is, and the more people
will go after it. In the end, you'll get attacks no matter what OS you run.
The question is, how well can /you/ secure it, and how well do /you/ know
And the most important thing of all in any OS, but Windows especially given
it's pervasiveness in the market: The more paranoid you are about the
outside world, the better. That doesn't mean that you should avoid it, but
you should expect that things will attack, and you should tread carefully.
I've gotten one virus, and no spyware on my Windows machine(s) that I have
run at home, running them for about 10 years, for this very reason. Hardware
firewalls, antivirus, and antispyware are good, but I've gone without all
but the firewall and not had an issue (but one, in my first year of using
the computer at that) simply for the fact that I am extremely careful about
where I go (websites), in what I travel (browsers, mail clients and
settings), and what I run (downloaded apps/files). That being said, I do
like my Open Source *Nix box (actually running BSD, not Linux) for the
reason that I can move about with less worry than I would in Windows.
(2) Ease of use:
In a *Nix environment, you'll have to do some command line stuff, almost
certainly, that's just the way it works. It takes a bit to get used to it,
don't be afraid to ask for help, and remember: google plus the words "howto"
or "how-to" are your friends. Just add the appropriate term with them...
"Linux Security Howto" will probably have some nice results (no I didn't
Add to that, there are many good generalized books for Unix, O'reilly has
some nice stuff, and there is something along the lines of "The Lazy Man's
Guide to Unix", (not O'Reilly) which is also a very handy reference. In the
end, your best friend is good documentation. If you can find a wide-ranged,
and detail single source of documentation for your OS, that also contains
good and relevant examples, you have gained your most important asset.
As for the incompatability with the instructors computers, what troubles are
you having? For the most part, I've found software for my Open Source *nix
of choice (which has much slimmer pickings than Linux - in fact, if you can
find a compatability solution on BSD, you will certainly find it on Linux).
I can probably recommend a few applications to help with the
incompatabilities, as could anyone on this group. If worst comes to worst,
crossover office is probably a worthwhile investment.
Finally, I would join the others who suggested that you keep in Windows
during the weekdays, and use Linux on your off time (or when you know you
have enough time to try to do what you want, but can go back into Windows
and get it done if you fail) until you get familiar enough with Linux to do
what you need to do.
----- Original Message -----
From: "BRIAN SWANEY" <swaney.29 at osu.edu>
To: "Open Source mailing list" <opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:20 AM
Subject: [opensource] Linux vs. Windows
> I'm finding Linix to be very confusing, having only understood computers
> for a few months. The incompatibility with teachers' computers is adding
> to the frustration a little too. Microsoft's security, however, resembles
> that of already digested burritos, making it a risky choice. I value
> security, but I'm not sure if Linux is for me (at least not right now),
> but I'm not sure. What would you suggest for someone who has had a
> computer for only 4-5 months, to return to Windows for simplicity sake, or
> continue with Linux for security and tough it out by learning the harder
> one in the beginning (note that neither of the OS's content is deleted
> -Brian Swaney
> Opensource mailing list
> Opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu
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