Better than Windows

I just ran across a blog entry that I found very amusing, in a “my gods, some people are clueless idiots” sort of way. Alan Pope thoroughly lambastes a “security podcast” in which Peter Woods tries to make Linux sound worse than Windows, but really only demonstrates that he either knows nothing, or is quite willing to mislead people.

One part of the blog post points out something I often take for granted as a Linux user, but which is really an excellent selling point for Linux over Windows, or Mac:

“So surely under a Linux environment because the vulnerabilities are coming from so many different bits of software it’s harder to patch”


And the derisive laughter is well deserved, because the exact opposite is true. If you have a Windows computer, you are more likely than not running some non-Windows software on it. You may have Windows updates turned on (or not, because sometimes Windows updates break things), but those updates don’t provide patches to non-Microsoft programs, like Autocad, Lotus Notes, AIM, Firefox, etc., and occasionally a Microsoft update has been known to actually break some 3rd-party software.

In a Linux distribution, by comparison contrast, it’s rather unlikely that you’ll be installing software that isn’t supported directly by your Linux distribution. Microsoft will only patch your browser if you are using Internet Explorer, but Ubuntu will patch your browser if you are using Amaya, Chimera2, Dillo, Elinks, Elinks-Lite, Firefox, Kazehakase, Konqueror, Links, Lynx, or Netrik… and that’s just “out of the box” support. You can add outside repositories to get update support for other software that Ubuntu doesn’t directly take responsibility for (such as Opera, another web browser), and all repositories are managed from a single update application. So when I say that Linux offers updates for virtually everything, I mean it. “Harder to patch”, my ass!

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