Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Nov 2007 21:22 UTC, submitted by irbis
Window Managers "Linux has proven amazingly flexible: after nearly 10 years of use, I'm still impressed by how the Linux operating system does exactly what I want on any type of hardware. Desktop customization is no exception; from the ultra-modern KDE and GNOME window managers to with the likes of Fluxbox and AfterStep, there's a Linux desktop to suit everyone."
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RE[7]: wm for a server?
by lemur2 on Wed 21st Nov 2007 04:09 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: wm for a server?"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

I have mine too - Linux is secure (or unsecure) as every other OS. Its lack of desktop userbase gives false sense of security to overconfident people like you. See the steadily growing number of exploits in OS X and compare it with steadily growing number of OS X boxes being connected to the Internet.


There are a few things wrong with this thinking, IMO.

Firstly, OSX and Windows both have a large layer of "inscrutable" software. Because it is not able to be seen by large numbers of programmers, it necessarily has limited testing and limited code review. This alone would place OSX and Microsoft both in a different case to Linux, where the whole of the codebase is visible to, and testable by, a huge number of people.

The other aspect of this stems from the same fact: "the whole of the Linux codebase is visible to a huge number of people" ... this includes being visible to blackhats. The other factor to consider in conjunction with this is the kudos that would be associated with writing the first successful mass virus to infect Linux systems. You would think that if there are any exploitable vulnerabilities in Linux, then blackhats seeking kudos would have a go at it, despite the low numbers of Linux desktops.

Another point, Linux has low numbers on the desktops ... but Linux has a significant share of the server market. The servers are where many of the goodies are actually stored, so the "low numbers of Linux machines" is not really a valid arguement at all. Linux still represents a tempting and sizeable target despite low numbers of Linux desktops.

Finally, Linux is not a monoculture. This is especially true when you look at Linux compared with Windows or even with OSX. What might work on one Linux machine won't necessarily work on another. This would put a serious dent into any virus propogation vector on Linux.

So, taking these points into account, and considering the "coolnes factor" that would be gained by any blackhat making a successful attack on Linux, not to mention the fact that a lot of people would like to see Linux fail, one would think that if Linux were indeed as insecure as Windows then by now it would be just as buried in malware as Windows is.

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