Professional Writers and Microsoft Windows

In my opinion no ‘professional’ writer uses Windows.

Before people start throwing stones, let me explain. I know a lot of writers. Not surprising, since I am one. If we are self-employed (and most of us are) we need solid, reliable equipment to work our trade.

Windows, the only operating system which is prone to infection by Viruses, and attack by Trojans, isn’t suitable for use by writers. It’s just not safe to use.

I know several writers who lost time last year (2010) due to a Windows Operating System failure. In once case the computer was unusable for close to two weeks! Just think. Two weeks during which the writer was literally on an enforced vacation…

That sort of thing doesn’t happen to computers which run Linux or OS X. By cutting Windows out of the loop, you cut your system problems down drastically. You can still have hardware issues (ask me about the time I poured chicken soup on the keyboard of my laptop), but with a good backup regime (you are backing up your data aren’t you) you limit your problems.

As long as you get rid of Windows. While there is a bit of a learning curve, you’ll save yourself a huge amount of time in the long run.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Sunday May 22, 2011

 

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25 thoughts on “Professional Writers and Microsoft Windows

  1. I haven’t had your problems with Windows, and I think a lot of it depends on the version. XP was excellent, Vista was said to be awful, my present Win7 isn’t as good as XP but I’ve never had a serious issue. Considered Linux,  but the learning curve is long… and I’ve never had a good experience with Macs. Which are, by the way, not completely invulnerable to viruses themselves.

    Virus protection – to me, that’s as necessary as looking both ways before you cross the road. Of course you run a good AV program, update it regularly and scan at the slightest excuse. And I learned the hard way a *long* time ago to compulsively back stuff up… again, routine precautions.

    I’ve been using Windows, though, for 15 years – not just for fiction, but also for freelance copywriting/editing/journalism/etc. Far from perfect, but I don’t think it’s nearly the shoddy mess you’ve called it.

    1. XP is the reason I finally gave up on Windows. It cost me too much time and effort to keep the damned thing running. The last good version of Windows was 3.1, which while limited, was at least fairly stable.

      Macs are invulnerable to viruses. Check SemiAccurate tomorrow for an article about the latest ‘virus scare’ on Macs, only problem is that when I checked into it (and yes, I have a copy of the supposed virus on my Mac) it’s not a virus, it’s a Trojan. You have to MANUALLY install it. Right…

      With Linux and Macs you don’t need virus protection. That’s a Windows only issue. And yes, it is the shoddy mess I say it is. As a professional journalist who covers computer software/hardware issues, I’ve the knowledge to make that call.

      Wayne
       

      1. In some respects I agree with you.  Windows 98 and Windows 2000 Pro were both pretty strong and flexible.  Between them and Windows 7 is a vast field of good intentions not completely worked through, the result of deadlines and contracts overshadowing prudence and quality.  So far my experiences with Windows 7 are 95% positive.

      2. Invulnerable?  Then why was there a trojan going around in a bittorrent version of iWork?

        http://www.macworld.com/article/138380/2009/01/iworktrojan.html

        What about the malware found in Ubuntu screensavers?

        http://www.winmatrix.com/forums/index.php?/topic/27364-ubuntu-malware-found-in-a-screensaver/

        In all cases, these exploits rely on the weakest point in any system; the user.  Naturally, when faced with the fact that you screwed up, you do what most AnythingButMicrosoft(TM) people do, they blame the OS rather than their own ineptitude.

        OSX and Linux are NOT invulnerable and claiming as such is negligent and dangerous.  You just wind up convincing more people they’re safe when they actually are not.  Did you ever consider the fact that they don’t get hit as often because they’re a much smaller target?  With the resurgence in popularity of the Mac (thanks to the iDevices, mind you) do you really think that viruses won’t start targeting them?

        Congratulations, you made the FUD Tracker on TM Repository:

        http://tmrepository.com/fudtracker/professional-writers-dont-use-microsoft-windows/

        1. Ah, but none of those operating systems ever suffer from Viruses, a point that I notice you oh so carefully avoided mentioning. And there is a good solid reason that only Microsoft Windows suffers from Viral Infections, and that’s because Windows has built in weaknesses that the other operating systems do not have.

          Instead with OSX for instance you end up with silly stuff like the recent “Mother May I” Trojan, which I wrote about for SemiAccurate under the title The Mac OS X Virus That Wasn’t: Click on me, really, just install me please…. Because that’s what it came down to. The damned thing begged you to install it. It had to beg, because it had no other way to get installed.

          Go read the article. I did a tear down on the Trojan, and it was pretty funny what I found.

          Let me see. So far we’ve found two trojans on Macs, one trojan on Linux. And then we have this wonderful history of Twenty Years of Innovative Windows Malware.

          And my not so very bright friend, you were the one who mentioned the word Invulnerable, not me.

          Wayne

          1. Obviously you didn’t search for “apple virus history”

            http://www.mad.co.uk/Main/News/Articlex/674f2f00ca434298bcd0fa1158e73b3e/A-short-history-of-Apple-Mac-viruses.html

            They DO suffer from them.  Sure, not to the same degree, but it’s security through obscurity.  Macs are less popular and therefore a smaller target.  If their popularity rises (say, people getting them thinking they’re more secure)An excellent example of this is Android.  It’s got over 60% of the smartphone market right now.  What’s happened?  “Invulnerable” Linux is suddenly inundated with malware.  So much so that AVG released an anti-virus for it.

            http://www.avg.com/us-en/antivirus-for-android

            It doesn’t matter what you call them; viruses, malware or trojans.  They’re bad news for users and claiming they don’t exist leaves them with a false sense of security.  Keeping people INFORMED, rather than complacent, is how you deal with this threat globally, rather than just claiming that buying a new computer is the solution.

            Guess how many viruses I’ve got on my mac?  None. Guess how many I’ve got in the 15 years I’ve been using Windows?  None as well.  Somehow, a professional like myself was able to figure it out while you couldn’t.

            1. You really don’t have a clue, do you?

              I’ve been working on computers since before Microsoft was a company. I got my start programming on an IBM Mainframe using the Fortran language. Punch Cards were still the main input method. Individual input terminals were just too expensive. In ten years everything changed, punch cards were dead, and dumb terminals had come, and were on the way out, and personal computers from a wide variety of manufacturers, running a wide variety of operating systems were all over the place. A small company called Microsoft provided programming languages for some of those computers. Some.

              The original Apple OS, and the original Mac OS did have some virus issues. That is true. However you show your total lack of understanding of Operating System architecture by trying to compare them to OS X, which is totally different. OS X is BSD Unix, with a Graphical User Interface stretched on top of it. Unlike with Windows, OS X is NOT an integrated operating system. Instead it’s a modular system. The components can be removed and replaced, in most cases quite easily. It it possible to replace most of OS X with the equivalent parts from a Linux, BSD, Solaris, or even Unixware Operating System, as long as it is for the same Microprocessor.

              Unix is designed for security from the ground up. There has to the best of my knowledge never been a Unix Virus which successfully self transmitted itself. That does not mean that Unix Viruses are impossible, I’ll refer you to this excellent article called A Taste of Security which you really should read. It’s a bit too deep for most readers, but if gives a fairly decent history of Unix Viruses, and also covers why they don’t spread, even though theoretically they could.

              Now as to what we call them, yes, it does matter. Does it matter whether you call an animal a eagle, and cougar, or a shark?

              Think before you answer.

              Because we are talking the same level of difference between a virus, a trojan, and a worm. Each has it’s own attack vector. Each has it’s own limits. Trying to compare one to the other isn’t easy, because they are so different. Each is designed for use in attacking a computer program. That’s the only thing they have in common.

              Just like each of the animals that I listed is carnivorous. And that’s the only thing they have in common.

              I’d suggest you spend some time learning something about operating systems. Go hang out at Groklaw where there are some real Operating System experts, and see what you can learn.

              Wayne

              1. You stun me with your willful ignorance.  Face it, OSX gets viruses.  To claim otherwise is foolish. It’s like you’ve taken the “planes are safer than cars” statistic and warped it into “planes are 100% safe”.  You then go on to back up your claims with 30 year old security models.  Thankfully, the airline industry doesn’t follow that same practice.

                Funny you mention attack vectors because a short while ago Firefox was released with a zero-day exploit which affected all users, including OSX users.  Those people, complacent of the fact that they are potentially at risk, believe there’s no danger in clicking on links at random.  It’s a mac, after all  and Unix must be InherentlySecure(TM).  Thankfully, several mac sites had more professional foresight than you and reported it, along with other windows news organizations.

                OSX is vulnerable, splitting hairs over virus/trojan/worm terminology only leads to confusion.  When most people see “invulnerable to viruses” they’re going to assume “invulnerable to malware”.  You’re a tech journalist, you have a duty to the community and the public to report this stuff honestly.  It’s unsettling to see your agenda get in the way of this.

                1. You stun me with your willful ignorance.  Face it, OSX gets viruses.  To
                  claim otherwise is foolish. It’s like you’ve taken the “planes are
                  safer than cars” statistic and warped it into “planes are 100% safe”.
                   You then go on to back up your claims with 30 year old security models.
                   Thankfully, the airline industry doesn’t follow that same practice.

                  You’ve made a statement. Back it up. Where is there evidence of OS X (the proper form of the name – it means OS 10) getting a virus that actually caused any damage? Not some proof of concept toy, a real world, self installing, self replicating, computer program that does not require operator intervention to install. Show us all proof. Educate us.

                  Funny you mention attack vectors because a short while ago Firefox was
                  released with a zero-day exploit which affected all users, including OSX
                  users.  Those people, complacent of the fact that they are potentially
                  at risk, believe there’s no danger in clicking on links at random.  It’s
                  a mac, after all  and Unix must be InherentlySecure(TM).  Thankfully,
                  several mac sites had more professional foresight than you and reported
                  it, along with other windows news organizations.

                  This Zero-Day Exploit – how many computers were infected through it? What would have happened if a Mac user had have clicked on a link. Would it have asked the user for permission to install software? Would it have asked permission to run software that was downloaded from the Internet for the first time? Yes to both questions – things that all Macs running Leopard and Snow Leopard do automatically, and which would warn that something strange was going on. All the user has to do is deny permission, something that the popup box urges you to do if you don’t recognize the software package. Yes, it was newsworthy. No, the sky wasn’t falling, as Ed Bot, and his ilk would have you believe.

                  OSX is vulnerable, splitting hairs over virus/trojan/worm terminology
                  only leads to confusion.  When most people see “invulnerable to viruses”
                  they’re going to assume “invulnerable to malware”.  You’re a tech
                  journalist, you have a duty to the community and the public to report
                  this stuff honestly.  It’s unsettling to see your agenda get in the way
                  of this.

                  Every operating system has vulnerabilities. You are probably too young to remember FORMAT.COM, but it was one of the biggest vulnerabilities that MS DOS had, and it was an official part of the operating system. I know of several Bulletin Board operators who lost their systems because of that program.

                  Your refusal to even try and understand the differences doesn’t help the situation. If the end user is expecting an attack that walks in and installs itself without his/her knowledge, and instead gets hit by a social engineering attack, they won’t be ready for it. We have to warn them of the different types of attack, and of the different attack vectors, or they can’t defend themselves.

                  And that is exactly what I did. I also took a shoot at the horrifically bad level of reporting that I was seeing from other reporters. People like Ed Bot do a terrible disservice to the technical reporting trade. There are other people whom I often don’t agree with, like John Dvorak and Mary Jane Foley, but whom I have a lot of respect for, because they do a damned good job, and they report the truth. Guys like Bot report the Microsoft party line, and nothing else.

                  Me, I report whatever I feel like. At various times I’ve been critical of every company in the industry. I’ve got an article coming shortly under Disruptive Technologies which will explain why Apple has hit it’s peak, and is about to start on a downward slide. I’m predicting that the company should stabilize at about 75-85% of it’s current sales. Which will still make it a damned valuable company, but not the tech giant it is today.

                  And as for Microsoft, I suggest you read up on the Microsoft Death Watch. My prediction has the company entering Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in the fall of 2014. This is based on Microsoft’s on financial numbers, as reported to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

                  In other words, if your company is depending upon Microsoft technologies, you’d better start working on an exit plan.

                  Wayne

                  1. I agree with 99% of what you said.

                    Why would anyone write a virus for OSX ?

                    Seriously , why ? 
                    So AV is the norm for mac users.
                    So then Trojans are easier to deploy with users running AV ?

                    Virus are toys for destruction. An indiscriminate blanket bomb.
                    The best WinDoze virus where made for fun by kids for no good reason or those targeting M$.
                    Citations not needed *** google

                    Serious scammers / criminals want OSX to be open to them for their usual methods of criminality. The false sense of security is what makes OSX vulnerable to them.

                    As for “”professional-writers-and-microsoft-windows”” = no never.

                    That’s just iSnobby. ( biased , understandably but still )  

                    Windows is a stable OS. Just like Linux and OSX.  Software is king.

                    If the software you need doesn’t run on OSX , then guess what ?

                     

                    1. I’ve never had any problems finding software that ran on OS X or Linux, and it’s usually better quality than Windows software, even when it’s free. Compare LibreOffice to Microsoft Office. LibreOffice is way nicer.

                      Wayne

                    2. Quote: “Compare LibreOffice to Microsoft Office. LibreOffice is way nicer”

                      This statement, sir, is enough to convince everyone out there that you have nothing to do with professional writing and document creation.

                    3. I prefer LibreOffice over Microsoft Office. With LibreOffice I don’t have to spend hours fighting with the formatting.

                      I’m not a masochist.

                      Wayne

      3. “With Linux and Macs you don’t need virus protection.”

        Then, why does Apple recommend on their Mac OS X security page that you install an anti-virus if you are using the Internet (more like WWW)?

  2. “Mary Jane Foley”
    “Ed Bot”
     
    You mean this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Jane_Watson ?
     
    “Would it have asked the user for permission to install software?”
    Latest Mac Defender doesn’t.
     
    “All the user has to do is deny permission, something that the popup box urges you to do if you don’t recognize the software package.”
     
    2006. Windows.
    See also SmartScreen Reputation for that, and tell me more about it.
     
    “This Zero-Day Exploit – how many computers were infected through it? What would have happened if a Mac user had have clicked on a link.”
     
    Due to the absence of features such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) or – since you also seem to love your Linux – even Data Execution Prevention (enjoy your VDSO randomization and your PaX-test blablub patches), exploiting such a hole is definitely _a lot_ easier on Mac. For browsers such as Chrome and IE, there’s even an operating system enforced sandbox, which Acrobat Reader for instance also makes usage of. What does your Mac do there, huh?
     
    “My prediction has the company entering Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in the fall of 2014.”
     
    No problem, if it doesn’t there’s always the possibility of doing this http://end-2012.com/featured/oops-preacher-admits-apocalypse-date-wrong !
     
    Let’s check that article of yours?
     
    “Ubuntu for ARM exists, why not start selling computers with it installed?”
    Because Ubuntu is jackshit and preloaded with either yummy yummy GNOME or Unity trash. But you can also just install Xubuntu or Kubuntu or myassofUbuntu. As Linux distro, Ubuntu is jumping the shark hard. See, if you want to talk about Linux use some ‘raw’ distro without a lot of batshit settings. I really love how one can boot Ubuntu’s maintainance mode _without_ password. Even Microsoft Xenix from 1992 asked you for a password in that. So basically, get the machine -> maintainance -> yummy yummy files. But don’t worry! There’s always LUKS to encrypt your whole partition with a TPM. It’s really just a 5 minute setup, believe me ( http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/lnxinfo/v3r0m0/topic/liaai/tpm/liaaitpm_pdf.pdf )… oh what’s this I need to compile from source and replace the bootloader for TPMs to work with LUKS? Sounds great, where do I sign up?
     
    “Microsoft doesn’t work the way that many Linux distributions do, with rolling releases.”
     
    a) There are only two major rolling release distros, Gentoo and Arch. I doubt you used either, as you recommend Ubuntu.
    b) That’s necessary because Linux was so smart to say “FSCK THE LAW, I AINT DOIN NO ABI!” so that for every driver update, a kernel update is necessary as well. Plus, software is tied to the OS. Got Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy and want Firefox 4.0 ? No problem, compile it from source, doh!

    Fact stands, you got no clue of what you’re talking about. 

    1. Always did like MJ – and yes, I was a Spiderman fan. I had a lot of the classics through the 60s. Didn’t ever realize that they would ever become valuable. My mom tossed them one day when I was in high school – she thought that I didn’t need them any more. ARGH!

      On the latest Mac Defender you are wrong. It doesn’t self install. It uses javascript to initiate a download. Then, if Safari’s “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” option is checked the installer opens. You still have to initiate the install. Read accurate information about it here. This is not a Windows virus.

      So it’s not a big deal. You get software that wants you to install it, that you didn’t initiate an install for, well, most people, myself anyway, I get kind of suspicious. Of course I’m a nasty old bastard. I don’t trust much of anyone.

      As to your comment, such a hole is much easier to exploit on a Mac, if so, why don’t we see evidence of this? Mac users tend to be financially better off than Windows users. They are better targets, because they have more money. So why aren’t the thieves targeting them?

      Could it be because it’s too damned hard to target them because of Mac OS X security?

      Of course you wouldn’t want to admit that, would you.

      Hey, as to my prediction, I’ve been the first to admit that I could be wrong. The prediction is based in a large part of Microsoft being too stupid to take any action against problems. As cynical as I am about Microsoft management, I’m not that cynical.

      As to Ubuntu – I can’t stand it, and I don’t use it. My main Linux machine runs Fedora 15 (used for Audio-Video production), the spare laptop runs Bodhi Linux, and the two servers are running Debian. I do recommend Ubuntu for new Linux users, but I may be changing that recommendation to Mageia. I’ve downloaded the first release, but haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. The only reason I don’t recommend Fedora for newbies is the package manager. It isn’t newbie friendly.

      I’ve used Gentoo and Arch. Both are good, solid, distributions. The reason that my main desktop is running Fedora is that I’m writing an article about long term Fedora use, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know several people involved at the project, including one of the ambassadors, and I know one of the people at Red Hat, so getting in depth background on what I see as the problems won’t be hard.

      As to who has a clue – I suspect that I’ve been around a lot longer than you have, and worked with a lot more hardware types and operating systems. To me x86 is one of the newer, and not necessarily better hardware options.

      Wayne

      1. My point about MD was that the password requirement was not gone. Windows viruses are the same nowadays. Read: Since IE7 on Vista got a sandbox 5 (!) years ago.

        “Mac users tend to be financially better off than Windows users.”
        Look, desktop OSX got a market share that is nothing compared to the Windows one. The only chance to write a successful Mac virus is what MD does: All install vector sites conditionally switch to WinWebSec ( MD for Windows, basically ), and only OSX users are attacked by MD.

        “The only reason I don’t recommend Fedora for newbies is the package manager. It isn’t newbie friendly.”
        I find Anaconda a bit messy, especially if you want to deselect a lot of packages, but personally don’t find it that ‘newbie’ unfriendly. Well, not using Fedora either, so I can’t really tell how ‘newbie’ friendly Lovelock is.

        “As to who has a clue – I suspect that I’ve been around a lot longer than
        you have, and worked with a lot more hardware types and operating
        systems. To me x86 is one of the newer, and not necessarily better
        hardware options.”
        So has my grandpa who is 91. Still he wouldn’t know.

        Also, why doesn’t it surprise me that you simply ignored the technical aspects I posted? Been wondering, NSA SELinux, would you prefer it over AppArmor? Also, what about grsecurity/PaX, yes or no? What about -fstack-protector-all, do you think I should compile my kernel with it even though it’s experimental? Or TOMOYO, what about that?

        btw, the people are spelled “Mary Jo Foley” and “Ed Bott”, but I guess Mary Jane is fine, too.

        1. OS X has 25% share in the home market. That’s significant. Very significant. Many of those people take their Macs into work. I know that I did, and I often took it on business trips. Here I am sitting in a Five Star hotel with representatives from several Fortune 500 companies. They are using the corporate Dells. I’m using my MacBook Pro. A lot of the people at that meeting were considering the MacBook option for future travel. When you are far enough up the food chain, IT dances to your tune.

          Fedora’s package manager is a pain. The one thing that Ubuntu excels at is it’s package manager. Unfortunately that’s about the only thing.

          Good for your Grandpa – hope he hangs in and is still telling you what to do another half century from now. But I’m serious about x86. It’s a hunk of junk. Both MIPS and ARM are better designed. ARM may have some performance issues at present, but those can, and will be addressed. It’s really too bad that we lost the Dec Alpha, that was one hot chip. Intel was never able to match it, not matter how hard they tried with Itanic.

          The technical issues mostly aren’t. SE Linux is pretty well standard with most distributions now. And it comes turned on. Yes, there are other options. Think of it as Evolution in Action.

          Did I mix up Mary Jo with Mary Jane? Opps.

          Oh well, it’s better than going Freudian on poor Ed. I said Ed Butt again, didn’t I? Can you tell that I really, really, don’t like the guy?

          Wayne

          1. Where did you get that 25% figure from? It’s less than 10%, sorry. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_desktop_operating_systems#Web_clients http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-ww-monthly-201005-201105 and more are linked on Wiki, all with similar figures )

            SELinux itself is pretty useless if you don’t have ASLR and software DEP for fallback. I like how Windows has stable SSP for years now, while everytime I build myself a kernel I see that awesome EXPERIMENTAL all caps warning behind it again.
            Plus, SELinux support on anything but Fedora is pretty much laughable. Helps a lot if you need to recompile from source a lot to enable it in every app.

            “not matter how hard they tried with Itanic.”
            I think you mean Itanium/IA-64, but (t)Itanic is fine too.

            “Both MIPS and ARM are better designed.”
            RISC vs CISC, anyone?

            “I said Ed Butt again, didn’t I? Can you tell that I really, really, don’t like the guy?”Yeah, I kind of can.

            So still, where’s that awesome OS X security technique that defeats all the malware? See, I’m not going to argue with you on percentages, the more for OS X the better! Just how does OS X achieve its security then? I mean is it magic pixie dust or actual technology?

            1. Steve Jobs. Last Apple earnings call he claimed that Apple had hit 20% of the consumer market. Based on physical observation of the local Apple stores, I’m guessing that they are probably approaching 25% now. A few years ago I knew no one who owned a Mac. I know a lot of people who own Macs now, and I know a lot of people who are considering making the move.

              Apple has gained a lot of mind share in the home market. Locally both Best Buy and Staples now carry Macs too. They wouldn’t be carrying them if they didn’t sell. Best Buy and Staples are very careful about shelf space. You don’t get shelf space in either store unless you’ve got a product that SELLS.

              Wayne

  3. You have to keep your number of links down, otherwise the moderation software assumes you are a spammer, and I don’t check the spam catcher every day.

    As to what I said, I said prove it. Any idiot can do a Google search. Hell, do a Google search on my name and you’ll get 83,000 hits. And yes, there really is only one of my. I happen to be really prolific.

    The point being that if you check all those Google hits, you’ll find that none of those supposed hits actually brings you to a real, honest to god, working OS X virus. Or rather, I’ll save you the time, and suggest you read this article – A Worm in the Apple: Why Are Pundits Promoting Terrorism? – which will probably enrage you further.

    But hey, maybe it will make you think. Because that article was written four years ago, and the same things that Daniel was talking about then, are the same things I’m talking about now!

    Nothing has changed, except the dates.

    With Windows Vista, Microsoft adopted part of the security model that Linux and Mac OS X use. With Windows 7, Microsoft moved further towards that model. If reports I’ve read of Windows 8 are correct, Microsoft will have moved totally TO THE FAILED MODEL YOU KEEP CLAIMING CANNOT PROTECT MAC OS X AND LINUX FROM MALWARE.

    Think about why Microsoft would bother to imitate such a lousy security model.

    Wayne

    1. Let me sum this up:

      One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why Windows didn’t work for you. However it can work for anybody else. Here’s an analogy (and it’s not real, mind you):

      I wanted a t-shirt that fits me. So I go for Size 20, and it fits. Now, what if I promote “Wear size 20 t-shirts!”? This is where the problem rolls in: not everybody fits on size 20.

      Same thing: If I start promoting Linux, not everybody will be capable of using it.

      If you want to do lengthy rants go to http://microsoftsucks.org/ and go rant there.

  4. I’m guessing that everyone has lose interest in the article since no one has posted anything new in the last few days. I’d like to close out with this rather odd note from Sophos titled Please update your anti-virus.. at least once every five years. According to Sophos the MyDoom worm, first seen in January 2004, is still spreading.

    I try to avoid Windows. I really do. But there are a couple of people who are family, and who I can’t avoid doing some work for. Even I’m not totally immune to being guilt tripped. Recently I’ve been installing Microsoft Security Essentials. From what I can tell it does a fairly decent job, and it’s gotten decent ratings in magazine testing.

    Is is the perfect answer? No, but combine it with Windows 7, and you are probably in fairly good shape. You’d still be better off running Linux or owning a Mac, but on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d rate Windows at:

    Windows 95 – 1
    Windows NT 4.0 – 1
    Windows 98 – 1
    Windows ME – 1

    Windows 2000 –  1
    Windows XP – 1
    Windows XP SP 2 – 3
    Windows Vista – 4
    Windows Vista with Security Essentials – 6
    Windows 7 – 6
    Windows 7 with Security Essentials – 7
    Windows 8 – according to rumor about the kernel and the construction of the OS it should be better than Windows 7. In fact it could put the scammers out of business, since both OS X and Linux are also very difficult crack, and this is after all a financial issue. If the costs exceed the profits, then the money boys drop out, leaving cracking to the hobbyists. Oh, and to the government spies.

    For comparison I’d rate Mac OS X at:

    Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah – 5
    Mac OS X 10.1 Puma – 5

    Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar – 5
    Mac OS X 10.3 Panther – 5

    Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger – 5
    Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard – 7
    Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – 8
    Mac OS X 10.7 Lion – ?

    Linux is harder to rate. The current kernel is about a 9, but the software around it (like x.org) isn’t always as solid. Due to the lack of integration, any attack against Linux will be difficult. And of course with Linux there aren’t specific releases. I could produces a Linux Distribution using a ten year old kernel if I wanted. I can’t think of any reason why I would want to, but I could. And people do use older components for specialized applications. Five years ago Linux was probably at about a 7 overall. Now it’s probably at about a 9 overall.

    Wayne

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