Linked by David Adams on Mon 6th Oct 2003 19:34 UTC
Bugs & Viruses It's an oft-repeated maxim that one of the reasons that Windows operating systems are plagued by so many viruses, worms, and security exploits is because they are so popular. Extrapolating on this, many have remarked that if Linux, MacOS, or other OSes become more popular, they will attract the attention of virus writers. That may be true, but the increased attention will not necessarily yield the same quantity of viruses and other exploits, says a Register article. Update: Rebuttal article.
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author way off base
by Brad on Mon 6th Oct 2003 21:06 UTC

The author is rather off base on his direction.

First of, yes the main reason windows is most effected is marketshare, but it's not just because of market share. It's a compounding effect.

For starters, yes it's much easier to get a virus going in windows, part of the reason is people can build upon previous knowlegde. If MS released a completely new OS, the kind of change that would be like Apple shift from 0s9 to osx then most viruses would be stopped cold overnight. It would take a long time to rediscover all the common ways to get people.

The author goes off on how the way people use the computer makes a big differance, talking about email attachements. Yes the windows way is less secure. But people like the way it is. People don't want to have things like linux does it.

People say if linux got the same market share as windows it would get virus's just the same. This is very much true, and it's not do to linear growth that can be seen by scaling the numbers to such a market share. As some have shown linux wouldn't have the same number of virus. But in reality thats not the whole truth, since for one to even think of how linux would be at 90% market share, you have to think of how it will get there. As it current is, it's not going to get there. For linux to get to that kind of growth, it would have ot make many changes to be a way people would want it. And once that is done much the same issues would arrise. At some point there will be an email client that lets you click on an attachement in linux and it runs it. Person is happy now, and now the same flaw is in linux. This idea can now be carried through the OS. If linux doesn't make changes to be what people want then it's not going to grow, and then everything simple isn't going to matter. It will remain a "secure" OS with no market share. For it to be windows killer it will end up having the same flaws.

Now granted windows does have some simply boneheaded flaws at times. And for the most part MS does a good job fixing them.

Linux's biggest security flaw is thinking it's so secure. That will change in time. With all the effort going into linux to get it to do more things and do more for people, and so forth it will attract more flaws. The more complex you make something the more the odds for them go up, exponentialy.

Linux can remain more like openbsd, but then it's not going to be in the same market as windows. Once you make Linux a true alternative to windows, most all the same problems will be in it to.