During the past twenty years that I have been involved with computers, there are always several articles a year about how bad Windows is for your computer health. The trash talk is always the same, blah,blah, blah. It seems that the trash talking writers never have anything new to add. They love to blab about how secure the Apple and Linux operating systems are or how insecure Windows is.
Here is what one recent article said:
1. It’s a Monoculture
If Steve is to be believed, 95 percent of the world’s desktop computers run Windows. That, in biological terms, is what we call a “monoculture,” meaning that there is an overwhelming predominance of one particular species.
Such a condition is generally toxic in biology–introduce a single pathogen known to affect the leading species, and you wipe out them all!–and so it is, too, in the world of computers. What could make life easier for a malicious hacker than knowing she’ll hit the majority of the world’s computers with a single worm?
Linux, by contrast, offers considerable strength in its diversity. Not only are there myriad distributions of Linux, but there are also multiple shells, packaging systems, mail clients and even underlying architectures in use, making it much harder for malware to hit more than a small proportion. Sorry, bad hackers!
If Linux was as good as some would have us believe, the world would flock to it immediately. Why would anyone pay for an operating system when Linux is basically free?
It’s inevitable that human computer users are going to forget what they should do, or maybe even deliberately ignore the “should” in favor of what they want right now–like porn, pictures of cute kittens, or whatever.
On Linux, that’s OK, because their computer accounts are looking out for them. Even if they slip and click on that malicious link, the most any malware can do is trash their individual computer and files.
Windows? Well, the picture’s not so rosy. In fact, Windows users are pretty much given administrator access by default. So, a momentary human weakness can lead to widespread devastation starting with a single computer.
I like this:
Windows users are pretty much given administrator access by default.
Here I thought I had to actually give administrative rights when I installed a program.
3. Closed Code
No one but Microsoft developers can see Windows code. Some may argue that makes it more secure–the bad guys can’t see it, right?
Wrong. It’s a proven fact that open code improves security by enabling the countless good guys around the globe to inspect it, test it, and fix it as necessary. There is no such thing as security by obscurity.
How many weeks go by without any unplanned downtime, Windows user? None, you say? And how about you, Linux user: What’s unplanned downtime, you ask?
That’s right. Whether it’s due to malware or something else, Windows computers involve a lot of downtime. Linux computers don’t. For business users, in particular, that’s plain and simple.
I haven’t had my computer down for 2 years. I must be doing something wrong.
Finally, Windows may not seem like it costs anything, since it comes bundled on most PCs for sale today. But honestly, do you think Microsoft is a not-for-profit organization? You’d better believe that price is factored in, and you’ve already paid it.
With Linux, not only do you not have to pay for your operating system–though you can, if you want extra support–but you also don’t have to keep upgrading your hardware to keep up with the exorbitant resources Windows demands. Free doesn’t mean worthless–it just means without cost.
None of this is to say that Linux, or any other operating system, is perfect. The difference, though, is that no other operating system has created a monoculture and then tried to lay the responsibility for security on the industry as a whole the way Windows has.
We have heard these same arguments over and over, year after year. My feeling is this. If you believe that an Apple computer or Linux computer is better, please use those operating systems. Please do not try to convince those who use Windows that we are dumb and should switch to another OS. It hasn’t happened in the past, currently nor will it happen anytime in the near future.
That is an indisputable fact.