Step back. I feel a Linux evangelism rant coming on. You have been warned.
I’m a member of a forum where one guy started a thread complaining that it had taken him the whole weekend to get rid of the VirusBurst virus off his machine, including having to run hours of virus checks, etc. No surprises there, then. The thread then continues with people suggesting anti-virus software that has worked for them.
I chip in suggesting Linux as an alternative:
- Use Linux!
- No viruses, no adware, no spyware, so no problems. And it’s stablerer too. And better looking. And faster. And free.
- Is stablerer a word? If it isn’t, it should be.
To which he replied that it was just down to numbers, that there are viruses running wild on Linux and it’s just got a “miniscule market share”.
Now, that’s interesting because I’d guess that his response is in line with what a lot of non-techies would think too. Viruses can affect anything, right, and hardly anyone uses Linux anyway.
So, I answered back:
- Wrong on several counts, my friend.
- Linux’s market share is closing on Microsoft and exceeds it on the webserver platform by a comfortable margin. Even Microsoft themselves see is as their biggest threat.
- And while Linux viruses maybe exist, possibly, as theoretical creations in someone’s lab, there are none documented in the wild, and unlikely to be too because of Linux’s much more stringent access control system. It doesn’t automatically asume everyone is an administrator who can change and delete files and registry entries at will. It’s Windows’ broken architecture that permits viruses to exist at all.
- In terms of numbers, there’s around 60,000 different Windows viruses out there, and just 40 Linux viruses that only exist in researcher’s lab as proof-of-concept – and even those are difficult to spread as they need root (admin) access to infect the system. No contest, really.
The point is that Linux is architecturally superior to Windows when it comes to security and stability. I fully expect there to be more Linux attacks in the not-too-distant future as it’s market share continues to grow; anarchy and destruction has to have a target, after all. But Linux has already proved itself more than capable of responding to security leaks in applications, and will be able to react to any threat quicker than Microsoft or the countless yapping hyena anti-virus companies can do.