Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Problems with Windows

The world’s most popular operating system is Windows, which is made by the Microsoft Corporation. Linux has no links with Windows at all. Microsoft doesn’t contribute anything to Linux and, in fact, is rather hostile toward it, because it threatens Microsoft’s market dominance. This means that installing Linux can give you an entirely Microsoft-free PC. How enticing does that sound?

Windows is used on 91 percent of the world’s desktop computers. In other words, it must be doing a good job for it to be so popular, right?

Let’s face facts. On many levels, Windows is a great operating system, and since the release of Windows XP in particular, Microsoft has cleaned up its act. Windows XP does a much better job compared to previous versions of Windows (and Vista makes even more improvements). But the situation is far from perfect. Windows XP is notoriously insecure and virtually every day a new security hole is uncovered. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team ( reported 812 security vulnerabilities for Microsoft Windows during 2005. That’s 15 vulnerabilities per week! In June 2005, the computer security company Sophos ( advertised that its Windows antivirus program defended against over 103,000 viruses!

This has led to an entire industry that creates antivirus programs, which are additional pieces of software you have to install once your computer is up and running for it to run without the risk of data loss or data theft.

There have been a couple of viruses for Linux, but they’re no longer “in the wild” (that is, they are no longer infecting PCs). This is because the security holes they exploited were quickly patched, causing the viruses to die out. This happened because the majority of Linux users update their systems regularly, so any security holes that viruses might exploit are patched promptly. Compare that to Windows, where most users aren’t even aware they can update their systems, even when Microsoft gets around to issuing a patch (which has been known to take months).

So is Linux the solution to these problems? Most would agree that it’s a step in the right direction, at the very least. Most Linux users don’t install antivirus programs, because there are virtually no Linux-specific viruses. As with all software, security holes are occasionally discovered in Linux, but the way it is built means exploiting those holes is much more difficult.

There’s also the fact that Linux encourages you to take control of your computer, as opposed to treating it like a magical box. As soon as you install Linux, you become a power user. Every aspect of your PC is under your control, unlike with Windows. This means fixing problems is a lot easier, and optimizing your system becomes part and parcel of the user experience.

Source of Information : Apress Beginning Ubuntu Linux 3rd Edition

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