[clug] Why MS Windows isn't ready for the Desktop

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at anu.edu.au
Mon Aug 2 06:49:52 GMT 2004


And I'll say another thing (and it's not entirely serious either):
  Windows is a distro.  They are comparing a DISTRO to a DISTRO.

On 2004 Aug 2, , at 2:30 PM, Andrew Roudenko wrote:

>> Kim Holburn <kim.holburn at anu.edu.au> wrote:
>> http://thelinuxbox.org/Desktop.php
>> -- 
>> linux mailing list
>> linux at lists.samba.org
>> http://lists.samba.org/mailman/listinfo/linux
> Interesting article
> *flame-proof asbestos suit on*
> The article seems to heavily blur the lines between OS and OS+ apps, 
> depending on
> when it suits.

No I think that'd be something in your view of things.


> I will say it out loud, I have run Win2k for a number of years on one 
> of my boxes and
> NEVER seen the blue screen of death.  Neither have I had problems with 
> my
> GNU/Linux boxes.

As a sysadmin I can pretty well guarantee I can crash almost any 
computer.  In my experience the only boxes that are really stable are 
Ciscos.   They are really hard to crash, but then they run a 
proprietary OS on proprietary hardware and the OS is almost irrelevant 
to what they do most of the time.

> From personal experience I would go as far as to say that from
> Win2k onwards stability has not been one of Windows' problems.  Most 
> people who
> make these statements have not touched Windows since Win98.
> "This causes a potential loss of system integrity whenever a core 
> application crashes"
> I have found Win2k to always handle application crashes gracefully, 
> allowing me to
> shut them down without affecting other running apps.

I'm happy for you.  It hasn't been my experience.

> "When it comes to security, Microsoft has made two fundamental flaws: 
> providing
> users with administrative privileges,..."
> I am unsure what the author is getting at here?  Users with 
> administrator priveleges are
> the ones who have granted themselves administrator priveleges.

Wrong.  The default in windows is to make the first user administrator. 
  If you don't run as administrator you can't install lots of things, 
burn CDs etc. etc.  There are quite a few applications in windows that 
you can't install without being an administrator (that's not so bad in 
itself although you should be able to install them just for you in your 
"home directory") but some applications you can't install as another 
user and you must be administrator, you have to install them as you 
with administrator priviledges.  See link below as well.

Also on linux there is root and there are users.  You can't make users 
have all the privileges of root or not easily.

> No different to a
> GNU/Linux user running as root all the time.  If a GNU/Linux user ran 
> as root and
> stuffed up their box, is that the fault of Linux or the user?  No 
> different to MS Windows.

Yeah but most people don't and most linux distros discourage it (except 
Lindows or whatever it's called now) that's the point.

If you want to understand the problem look here:

here's some quotes:
> We've all heard it many times when a new Microsoft virus comes out. In 
> fact, I've heard it a couple of times this week already. Someone on a 
> mailing list or discussion forum complains about the latest in a long 
> line of Microsoft email viruses or worms and recommends others 
> consider Mac OS X or Linux as a somewhat safer computing platform. In 
> response, another person named, oh, let's call him "Bill," says, 
> basically, "How ridiculous! The only reason Microsoft software is the 
> target of so many viruses is because it is so widely used! Why, if 
> Linux or Mac OS X was as popular as Windows, there would be just as 
> many viruses written for those platforms!"
> Of course, it's not just "regular folks" on mailing lists who share 
> this opinion. Businesspeople have expressed similar attitudes ... 
> including ones who work for anti-virus companies. Jack Clarke, 
> European product manager at McAfee, said, "So we will be seeing more 
> Linux viruses as the OS becomes more common and popular."
> Mr. Clarke is wrong.


> Unfortunately, running as root (or Administrator) is common in the 
> Windows world. In fact, Microsoft is still engaging in this risky 
> behavior. Windows XP, supposed Microsoft's most secure desktop 
> operating system, automatically makes the first named user of the 
> system an Administrator, with the power to do anything he wants to the 
> computer. The reasons for this decision boggle the mind. With all the 
> lost money and productivity over the last decade caused by countless 
> Microsoft-borne viruses and worms, you'd think the company could have 
> changed its procedures in this area, but no.
> Even if the OS has been set up correctly, with an Administrator 
> account and a non-privileged user account, things are still not 
> copasetic. On a Windows system, programs installed by a 
> non-Administrative user can still add DLLs and other system files that 
> can be run at a level of permission that damages the system itself. 
> Even worse, the collection of files on a Windows system - the 
> operating system, the applications, and the user data - can't be kept 
> apart from each other. Things are intermingled to a degree that makes 
> it unlikely that they will ever be satisfactorily sorted out in any 
> sensibly secure fashion.

Kim Holburn
IT Manager, Canberra Research Laboratory
National Information and Communication Technology Australia
Ph: +61 2 61258620 M: +61 417820641
Email: kim.holburn at anu.edu.au  - PGP Public Key on request
Cacert Root Cert: http://www.cacert.org/index.php?id=16 -> 
Aust. Spam Act: To stop receiving mail from me: reply and let me know.

Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny.
                           -- Lloyd Biggle, Jr. Analog, Apr 1961

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