Patchy software
Posted by aogWednesday, 17 March 2010 at 18:13 TrackBack Ping URL

I am starting some contracting work which involves Unix development, so I fired up a virtual machine and installed Fedora Core 12 on it. What I learned is that I don’t want to hear any more Unichs tell me how lousy Dark Empire software is because you have to download so many patches. For FC12, it was 647 patches out of the box. Better yet, the graphical user interface in the base operating system release has a bug where it can get wedged and never download another patch.

Yes, everything has its little problems, but I think that the differences between various operating systems are a lot smaller than many like to admit.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
cjm Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 20:46

and yet, somehow, the mac o/s doesn’t suffer from viruses and malware like windows does :)

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 23:12


Is it just me be extra-usually obtuse, or have you been gone for awhile?

Bret Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 00:18

Ahhh. You’re finally using a decent operating system. Congrats!

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 07:48

I might use one more often if it had decent programming tools. Working there is like going back to the Old Country, where they still use bone knive and bear skins.

cjm Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 17:14

skipper: ola amigo :) I check in here regularly, but don’t comment as often as I used to. How are you doing these days?

David Cohen Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 22:51

Mac o/s has a very expensive anti-virus strategy. It requires only having 10% of the market.

In other words, if hackers are going to go through all the trouble of writing code for a virus, they figure they might as well get the biggest bang for their buck.

cjm Friday, 19 March 2010 at 13:44

a nice theory, but not consistent with the facts. Chicago Boys has gone over this issue several times, if you care to educate yourself on the matter.

Andrea Harris Friday, 19 March 2010 at 16:43

I must say that even though I’ve never used a mac, I haven’t had a computer virus in years. I’m just careful — I use webmail instead of Outlook or something like that for email, I don’t download suspicious files, I keep tabs on what I do, I have AVG antivirus installed on my Windows computer and on my laptop that runs Ubuntu that machine has whatever it has. (I’m no Linux expert.) I also don’t play online games like World of Warcraft and things like that, or use BitTorrent regularly (I used a torrent program once on the Ubuntu machine to download something a few months ago, but that was the only time. Otherwise I don’t do any of that file-sharing stuff.) Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but sometimes I wonder if viruses are really that big of a deal to home computer users who take some basic precautions. Businesses I can understand are a problem because you can’t guarantee that everyone in the business isn’t an idiot who will open up cuteprogram.exe that someone emailed to them during lunch hour. But most businesses aren’t going to switch to macs unless they are graphics firms or something similar. Macs just don’t have a reputation as a business-oriented computer, and they certainly don’t sell themselves that way. I’m not saying that’s good or bad — many businesses might benefit from having something simple to use for most employees (like, an iPad connected to a keyboard and printer — “Miss Smith, just press that big button to write a memo”). The perception that macs are for artists and other airy-fairy folk like that is part of their appeal. If The Man started using macs half the coffee-house crowd would have a fit.

David Cohen Friday, 19 March 2010 at 16:58

cjm: You really need to look up the definition of “educate.”

cjm Friday, 19 March 2010 at 21:46

right after you look up the defintion of “blowhard”

ah: it’s my kids that mostly were bringing viruses onto the computer they were using.

David Cohen Monday, 22 March 2010 at 08:35


Because you can point to some webpage that says something you agree with?

If only it were that easy.

cjm Monday, 22 March 2010 at 12:55

did you even go read what they had to say about the absence of Mac o/s viruses? If you don’t care about the subject then why are you even commenting about it here, and if you do care about the subject, then why aren’t you inclined to read a useful and compelling discussion on the topic? the difference between the two systems, with regard to viruses is striking.

David Cohen Monday, 22 March 2010 at 14:06

Because there are plenty of Mac viruses, though not anywhere near as many as for Windows, a fact that is generally attributed to the fact that the installed base of Windows is 10 times the installed base of MAC o/s.

cjm Monday, 22 March 2010 at 17:35

if by plenty you mean zero, then yes, i agree.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 09:15

Then why does Apple Computer recommend the use of anti-virus software on Apple computers?

What’s sad is that SWIPAIW has looked at the security architecture of both UNIX and Windows and the latter has better a better security implementation. The problems are almost entirely in the applications that run on top of the operating system.

erp Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 11:47

When setting up my new notebook running Windows 7 Home version, the support tech told me that I didn’t need a virus program like Norton’s because the Linksys router has the best virus protection and that along with Windows own built in system is all I need. A trial version of Trend Micro is installed, but I don’t know if I should extend it, go back to Norton’s, try another virus program or just leave well enough alone.

What say you all?

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 12:24

Native Windows 7 anti-virus is sufficient if you’re careful with your web activity and email. However, defense in depth is good and I personally use additional anti-virus software (AVG and ESET / Nod-32).

Stephen Judd Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 14:36

Microsoft also now has their own free anti-virus software called Security Essentials. I don’t think it is installed by default, so check and see if you have it, and if not, search the Microsoft site and install it.

In the end, it’s just a matter of good hygiene (much like medicine). Don’t open attachments, don’t use Internet Explorer (Chrome or Firefox are better), and be suspicious of everything.

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 01:26

cjm: I was doing fine until I made the mistake of debating a truther here a few posts ago.

My son has a PC, and has had a couple viruses. He now runs AVG, and is more careful. No problems over the last year.

I have read that there are no viruses afflicting the Mac, which has been my experience.

I also read an article by some economists somewhere (how is that for specific), that the Mac users won’t have to worry about viruses until market share reaches around 13%.

That doesn’t seem right to me. If Macs have a reputation for not suffering from viruses, then very few people will take any precautions, which would make them disproportionately vulnerable.

90% of 10% of all computers isn’t very far off from 10% of 90%.

cjm Thursday, 25 March 2010 at 16:32

this is the article i was referring to earlier.

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