August 23, 2003

Pushed Over the Edge

Pushed over the edge by the security vulnerabilities of Windows (and by other factors):

retroBlogs: Linux ahoy! I[ndian ]I[nstitute of ]T[echnology] Bombay is going Linux in two days time. This decision comes as a result of current situation of network which is suffering from one of the worst virus attacks ever. It's a forced migration from Windows to Linux for more than 4000 users, but I guess this is the only way. One of my Linux enthusiast friend claims that this would have happened in 6 months time anyways. SCOPE I say, because I dont see any scenario wherein my Window-lover friends would have willingly shifted to Linux. No-piracy is one, though. But in India one doesnt have to pay for any software, not as yet....

And there's more to this. When a technology institute of this stature takes such a decision, its bound to have far reaching effects. And I hope that folks at Redmond (or atl east Hyde) are watching. Today its IITB, tmrw we'll have more IITs and then whole of India (ahem!). I cant imagine how much foreign exchange we'll be saving. Its almost like oil!...

Posted by DeLong at August 23, 2003 07:54 PM | TrackBack


Alas, running Linux does not prevent one from RECEIVING hundreds upon hundreds of emails from infected Windows machines.

Posted by: trevelyan on August 23, 2003 09:39 PM

Well I run mainly Windows, and have never had a virus get in, though they're always trying. However given the fact that so many do infect other people's Windows machines, especially ones running Outlook, it does seem that a Bayesian system should award some small points to a mail from an unknown Outlook mailer.

Posted by: bryan on August 24, 2003 12:08 AM

We always keep virus protection up to date and have never had any problem with a virus. We also have no problem with spam on our e-mail service, but we will not mention which service because we wonder if such "luck" can hold.

Posted by: anne on August 24, 2003 07:39 AM

I mean to sound like a broken record. This SECURITY nightmare for MS has happened while they sit on $46 billion in cash. Another example of the CONTRADICTION of ACCUMULATION in the Late phase of Capitalism.

Posted by: greg on August 24, 2003 08:52 AM

Still is the fault with Microsoft, or with those of us who do not take new patches from them and keep virus protection quite recent? Have we simply been lucky about virus protection? Cough, cough cough [virus joke].

Posted by: anne on August 24, 2003 08:59 AM

Fault all over the place.
1. Virus writers
2. Users not knowing about security risks and how to fix them
3. Microsoft historical policy of making software automatic, not safe
4. Microsoft "patches" that can actually crash systems. (Happened here)

Would I want Microsoft to automatically update my computer? Not a chance in hell, given their historic inability to manage security risks.

Solution -> Heavy duty firewalls (in and outbound), IT staff on top of things, and no using Outlook and IE explorer is a risk. Period. Where does that leave home users? Apple? People want to use the same thing at home as at the office or at school. (Our boxes at home are fairly well secured, but most people don't have the paranoia or interest in security we have. Or the willingness to both use and spend the time to understand our computers.)

Posted by: wol on August 24, 2003 09:27 AM

We too do not take patches or updates automatically. We test. Right, Microsoft should treat the matter of patches more carefully. Also, we found the spam on Hotmail impossible, and use it only with maximum filter protection. Microsoft can become more protective.

Posted by: anne on August 24, 2003 10:09 AM

Linux is also about as buggy as Windows (not going to argue about this), so it's a short-term fix. You're mostly relying on the fact that not as many people try to crack Linux - because of the smaller userbase - as the solution.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on August 24, 2003 10:18 AM

Jason:Linux is also about as buggy as Windows (not going to argue about this), so it's a short-term fix.

You can refuse to argue about it as much as you want, but it is widely believed and has an abundance of technical data backing it up. Linux and its most popular services really are much less buggy than the Windows equivalents.

As for blaming folks who refuse to apply Microsoft's often buggy security patches, remember that software can and should be written without bugs in the first place. Microsoft promises to try harder someday to do that even while others have done it.

Meanwhile Microsoft has invested in deliberately buggy and non-standrad protocols in an attempt to maintain its monopoly position. Competitors find buggy and inconsistent protocols difficult to interoperate with and dangerous to emulate because of security concerns. Therefore anything short of a complete all-at-once transition away from Microsoft might make bring network incompatibility. And the monopoly is preserved.

So don't expect M'soft to make any sincere effort against buggy software. It would work against corporate interests. And if a few dens of priacy like IIT-B are the only losses, M'soft is doing well indeed with their strategy.

Posted by: Newt on August 24, 2003 10:35 AM
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