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Dell Back-Tracks on Linux Being Safer Than Windows
on Tue 22nd Jun 2010 16:14 UTC, submitted by
takes note of some interesting changes Dell made to the Linux page we
linked to last week
. They watered down some of their pro-Linux claims, but not as far as you might think.
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on Wed 23rd Jun 2010 16:04 UTC in reply to "
This is not correct. "Windows" (1.0-3.11, 9x, me) was a natively single user product. NT (3.1-4, 2000, XP, Vista, Win7) remains natively multi user, and was always built for networks. The design of NT always included multiple users, multiple groups per user, flexible ACLs, fine grained privilege, and other concepts which Linux has been retrofitting.
Maybe somewhat under the covers, but Windows until recently seemed targeted at only one *interactive* user. It took Citrix to show Microsoft how to do multiple interactive users in the first place, and many Windows apps today don't function well in a Citrix/WTS environment. The irony to me is that Microsoft knew this (and couldn't justify the higher cost of this approach to their desktop-only customers), so they promoted NT and its progeny as server OSes -- where the GUI is often not needed and is unnecessary fluff. Yet on Windows you cannot get rid of said GUI.
Windows has been harmed by setup insisting that a user account must be created in the administrators group, which has led to people to run as an admin all the time. Running as root all the time is much more rare on UNIX/Linux.
I still feel Microsoft has no one to blame but themselves for this. They should have made that clean break, enforced least-privilege policies, when they brought out NT. Those "fine-grained privileges" you mention above have been largely wasted for many years, and would still be if Windows had not become the poster child for malware.
All that said, (potentialy controversial statement coming right up
I think security- and capability-wise, Linux and Windows each have advantages over the other, but on balance they are pretty much equals. The biggest practical area where Linux/BSD trump Windows today IMHO is flexibility. You can make those OSes just about anything you want. With Windows, you pretty much get what MS gives you.
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