Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Dec 2006 20:35 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Privacy, Security, Encryption "All too often people talk about the disadvantages of the Windows operating system: it has too many security flaws, it is not properly patched, it is not security oriented… Until the much talked about Vista system finally reaches our computers, there will still be plenty of time to protest. However, with the new malware dynamic, the idea that malware is restricted to specific operating systems is becoming anachronistic. It no longer matters whether the victim is a home-user or a company employee. It is now irrelevant whether the system administrator is just someone who lives round the corner or a highly qualified IT manager."
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by looncraz on Sat 16th Dec 2006 05:08 UTC
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Not sure how to say this... hmmm...

Okay, maybe this'll do:

I have a dual-boot Fedora Core 6 / Windows XP Pro SP2 machine sitting about five feet left of me.

Both machines run Firefox. Windows has been secured by every means I have discovered ( including a network firewall with active virus scanning ). Fedora Core 6 has had no security modifications, but ( worse ) is set to provide several servers ( ftp, http, loonNet ).

The two systems don't get equal playtime, Fedora is used about 90% of the time 'cuz my girl-friend *LOVES* 3dDesktop ( and all the supporting goodness ).

Now, of the two operating systems, only one of those has been afflicted with ailments, Windows ( of course ).

The ailments were drive-by downloads due to the banner networks that are on nearly every site these days. Then, to make things worse, removing the gunk made the system drop into c000021a stop error. Safe Mode inaccessible, replacing winlogon, restoring the registry, nothing at all would fix it without becoming drastic. A repair-install run from the XP CD, re-application of the service packs, and the system was finally running again ( mostly ).

But, before you could count to ten, about five hundred internet explorer windows opened ( damn nice performance, actually ). Of course, that overloads the system now everytime, making it unusable.

I had to introduce my girl friend to a few alternatives to office already, so she was able to easily continue working with most of her files from Windows inside Fedora. At that point, my girl friend's computer became Windows-free, with Fedora gaining a separate hard disk for swap ( if it ever even will (hasn't yet needed to hit the swap, it seems, according to a few little utils in the system )). They ( my girl and her computer ) are much happier without the annoyances Windows gave them.

The machine works perfect ( for once ), and my girl can do everything she WANTS. She really has almost no requests.. and she is pretty demanding! Well, she does want me to matrix her computer with my computer and the media grid my computer controls. "The media grid" is just a computer-controlled router for A/V. The system provides full operational capabilities without the computer, but the computer can coordinate displays and inputs.

I hope to add some more robustness to that, such as split-screening, display spanning+matrix, and the like, but that is a lot of work I really don't have time for :-(

Hmm, back on topic: Windows Vista has a lot to make up for. So far, I see a good 30% make-up as far as in the system usability area... a doubling or so in the security area, a little bit less obtrusive alerts, twice the confusion level, ten times or so hardware usage ( not same as requirements ) and that is about it.

I have no doubt, though, that if Microsoft were to start from the ground-up, with a small team ( say 50 devs, 5 managers, 5 or so GUI artists, and the best of each that MSoft has to offer ), build a non-Windows compatible operating system, using the latest and greatest of technical knowhow and wisdom, could in fact manage to release something almost everyone would want to buy. It would take something very drastic for that to occur, and then you still have to worry about all the file formats, etc., to become truly viable, so a corporation such as Microsoft, will never EVER do such a thing in an honest effort to replace the Windows paradigm ( at least in regards to the whole anyone-can-get-in thing, which they can't get rid of, otherwise they would lose the ability to have control over the United States government ).

Control? Yes, what else do you call making them buy your products en-mass every time you have a new version?

If you can attack Windows well enough, you can take down the U.S. government, lickety-split.

I advocate diversity with common-source. A unique binary format for every app on the system. A common neutral binary will require pre-parsing prior to being able to run on the system. A one-time check on the actions to be performed by that executable to determine whether sand-boxing needs to be deployed.

Read up on sand boxes if you don't know what they are. Hint: they don't have any sand in them.

--The loon

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