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D.O.D. CIO says "Unix is the Betamax of software".

http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2003/0,4814,86597,00.html

and...

"Most Linux systems are fairly complex -- lots of security parameters and things like that."

Oh, he doesn't like complexity? Maybe he should go play with some Lego blocks then.

Why doesn't he just switch to Windows? That's a hell of a lot more secure... NOT!

beware.clueless.cios
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

trying the link again:

http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/os/unix/story/0,10801,86597,00.html

beware.clueless.cios
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Actually, Windows is no less secure than *nix if you know what you're doing.  You could also say that *nix is no more secure than Windows if you *don't* know what you're doing.

BTW, there WAY less security vulnerabilities reported to BugTraq for Microsoft than there are *nix vendors.

See for yourself: http://www.securityfocus.com/bid/vendor/

Wayne
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I believe, that Joel doesn't want us to post links:
1. It breaks the flow of conversation (some people never go to the link and keep talking, without knowing the point). If instead of linking people were posting the essence of the text it would have kept the conversation more lively.
2. Linked resources tend to disappear in time - makes discussion unreadable.
3. Joel wants us to discuss things here not swap links. He wants us to try to say what we want to say in own words. When we chat face to face we do not say: "...and my point is perfectly proved by www.hellnextdoor.com/burningfire/left-pot/24565.htm."

4. If I'm right this post will disappear soon due to the well known rules, which we do not discuss here.

The WebSpeed Man
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Unix is the betamax of operating systems; along with every other OS that isn't Windows.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"BTW, there WAY less security vulnerabilities reported to BugTraq for Microsoft than there are *nix vendors."

I completely agree that Windows offers tremendous functionality to secure the operation system (though unfortunately there is little knowledge out there of how to do it). Having said that I will definitely disagree with the point of your statement above:

-If I run a Unix variant, I am only vulnerable to the exploits of that variant - it is irrelevant if Solaris has an exploit. Summing "Unix" exploits is flawed.

-If you sum by specific platform, note that often the anti-Unix camp makes a dubious habit of summing every exploit for every application on Linux, for instance, and just base exploits for Windows (the "operating system"). This is a flawed comparison.

Microsoft needs to make some massive strides forward in the security of their applications at the binary level - How many bloody buffer overflow patches have there been in the past year? (And no, re-writing it all in .NET is not the solution when the problem is as prolific as buffer overflows -- buffer overflows should be an impossible scenario in all but the most amateur of software).

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Unix is the 35mm of the film world; it's been gooing nearly as long.

And the annoying basics of security, user permissions, passwords profiles and so on will exist with every conceivable operating system. They are a function of how fine tuned you want your security to be, not OS dependent.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The problem is, this article's not making sense.  Is this bare system security or app security?

anonymous
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Having read the article I am even more amused. The CIO at the Department of Defense complaining security is too difficult.

The other thing I really like is the finite number of *nix programmers. Do they have a special machine that turns out MS programmers to demand like sticks of chewing gum? Hidden at Guatanamo Bay perhaps.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

This is off topic, but just to let it rest, most of the bugs reported in bugtraq are software that run on *nix, it doesn't make *nix less secure. Imagine if people could see the strcpy()'s taking input in windows software.

Most problems reported are third party software, not for the kernel for example. Linux is a kernel, nothing userland is LINUX.

fw
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

He's not talking about Windows, though the tenor in this discussion group tends to interpret it that way.  He's arguing for an API layer so it doesn't require humans to secure machines. 

He's also interested in open systems, though that is a loaded phrase.

Since he seems to use heterogenous systems, the complexity of security must be pretty onerous.  He's not making large claims, and he knows the difference between Unix and Linux; though perhaps not between the free and commercial Unices.

anonymous
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Read the Unix Hater's Handbook. http://research.microsoft.com/~daniel/uhh-download.html

So much of it is relative today.  It was written in 1994.  Unix was a quick and dirty portable system that has endured because it was cheap relative to mainframes and mini's.  Thanks to some guy from Finland, were going to be stuck with it a lot longer.  Sad really as for all it's power it sucks compared to other systems.  VMS beats 6 ways from Sunday, and Windows is finally starting to knock on the door for the datacenter.

The funniest thing about *nix is that all its followers worship at the shrine of "standards" and yet there is not one standard Unix.  Each one does things diffently.  That is the very same thing that will keep Linux off the desktop and without the wide variety of commercial apps that Windows enjoys.  For two reasons.  1.  Why would a company writing commercial Linux software want to make products for several different distributions?  2.  The Linux users don't exactly like paying for software so as a vendor you say to hell with them.

And the zealots being blind to all this, continue thinking that rm * .c is a good powerful thing.

Mike
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Mike,
Companies do not need to create different versions for different distributions.  In fact, you need not be on a forced upgrade path for most software.  With few exceptions, packages for RedHat, work on SUSE, Debian, yellow dog, and a load of other distros. 

As for paying for Linux, again this is a mistake.  While the FSF has its opinon, most people who use Linux commercially do pay as they want the extra support.  This is especially true when starting out.  However, they pay less, get more and their overall TCO for startup is less, as they can decide "if" they want Linux for next to nothing. 

Vendors are not saying "the hell with them" as most major vendors have a port of their software that runs on Linux.  For those that decided it was not economical yet, there is still  windows available with cross-over and wine or other such products. 

MSHack
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Let me know when I can run Photoshop, Quicken, Turbo Tax, AutoCad or others on Linux.

Mike
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I think the story with Unix is more complicated than simple zealotry.

There is a constant tension between the needs of users and the needs of developers. People who grow up on Windows are trained to believe that the users needs are all-important, indeed The Only Important Thing, *because you are selling to them*. This Iron Law can't be broken, because after all the company that sells to users most effectively (ie, Microsoft, AOL, etc) will win.

(Parenthetically, let me be absolutely clear that the users needs *are* important, but they are not the whole story).

Open Source changes the rules. Microsoft can't drive Linux out of business, because there is no business.

Also, viewed in a different light, many of the alleged weaknesses can be seen as strengths:

* "There are many Linuxes, fragmentation" --> "it's ridiculously easy to make a new Linux distribution".

As far as I can see, most people who needs an OS that you don't see are moving to Linux in droves.

* "Linux is moving too fast to be stable" --> "Linux is evolving much faster than Windows"

The *last* thing Linux should do is slow down and be like Windows.

> continue thinking that rm * .c is a good powerful thing.

I think there are plenty of folks thinking  *very* seriously about Linux and business. Don't be misled by focusing on the wrong things.

Portabella
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

That guy is a thickheaded military dullard who has no clue.

y2k 'killed off' unix installations? Somebody tell that  dude that there are more computers running variants of unix in 2003 than in any year before.

People with Unix knowledge are a dying breed and there is not enough of them to service installations? Shit, there are more people with unix experience now than any time in history.

Nothing that guy said is related to reality. He is totally living in a fantasy land. He has no business being the CIO of anything, much less the DOD. What a freaking retard. His stupidity will probably cost the DoD billions, but that's just a drop in the bucket compared to their normal waste.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I run photoshop in unix myself. i don't use the other programs you mention.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

> Let me know when I can run Photoshop, Quicken, Turbo Tax, AutoCad or others on Linux.

In the short term, I agree with you -- that's why I still have Windows around.

However, I find Quicken -- to name one -- incredibly bloated. I usually upgrade every 2nd or 3rd version, and inevitably it has more stupid, glitzy shit that I just don't need.

The idea of Linux with a stripped down, just-what-you-need money management program is IMO not far-fetched at all.

Portabella
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The reference is towards Unix (Solaris, AIX, HPUX, SCO Unix etc.) NOT Linux! It is true that Y2K created a need for system revision, and provided an extra incentive for people to rewrite some systems instead of churning another turn out of the old codebase. as I have said some times before in "portability" treads: inhouse apps are almost never "ported" between different systems. New apps that make older apps obsolete often target new platforms. So, Y2K, as a sideeffect, moved apps off of Unix because the apps where being put to sleep and the successors were developed for other platforms.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"Let me know when I can run Photoshop, Quicken, Turbo Tax, AutoCad or others on Linux. "

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,1210083,00.asp

Takes care of Photoshop.  Don't know about the others.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

he doesn't like unix, but does like linux....<g> im not sure about the logic there.

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Betamax was technologically superior to VHS, wasn't it?  Sony won the marketing war.  Was that supposed to be part of the anology?

Brian
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

<shrug> there is little doubt in my mind that unix is at _least_ as good as windows. its a mature, stable OS with a lot of available software.
<g> and its _definitely_ more secure.

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I think the whole point of Linux and many Unix variants is that it can be stripped down to the bare essentials.  This is often a requirement on edge of network devices. 

If you are security conscious, you can even compile a static Linux kernel and disable loadable device drivers.  You end up with a kernel that is custom tailored to your hardware.  That might not be practical on the desktop, but it often is in the datacenter.

Windows is difficult to simplify.  At very least you have a windowing system that you probably don't need on a edge of network.  My opinion is that the local window system is a liability in a large cluster (VNC, terminal server hell anyone?).

What made me think that Microsoft just doesn't get it on the Server is the fact that Outlook Express and IE are installed by default on their server products. Now it has become almost impossible to  remove IE.  Why do I need these on a server?  Microsoft has failed to understand is that less IS MORE on the server.   

For those who feel VMS is superior to Unix, in many ways you are correct.  But having used both VMS system and Unix systems, I can say that VMS was just a strange and sometimes uncomfortable environment.  The fact that it wasn't an open system pretty much killed it. 

Most computer science students of my time felt comfortable at a Unix terminal, and completely lost in VMS.  I was one of the few who took it upon myself to try to figure the beast out, and infact I received my first internet email via VMS. 

Also VMS's poor interoperation with TCP/IP and windows workstations was its death.  Pathworks anyone?  How about some DECNet with that new Cisco router? 

Complaining that Quicken doesn't run on Linux is moot.  Linux, while making strides on the desktop, really shines at the edge of network.  Ask google...

christopher baus (www.summitsage.com)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Linux 2003 == Windows 3.1


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

> Linux 2003 == Windows 3.1

That's an ignorant comment.

christopher baus (www.summitsage.com)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Hold on, the DOD CIO wants a robust, homogenous security API layer that can secure itself without human intervention?

I saw that movie. Didn't end well for humans.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"-If you sum by specific platform, note that often the anti-Unix camp makes a dubious habit of summing every exploit for every application on Linux, for instance, and just base exploits for Windows (the "operating system"). This is a flawed comparison.

Microsoft needs to make some massive strides forward in the security of their applications at the binary level - How many bloody buffer overflow patches have there been in the past year?"

Pick a point of argument and stick with it. Most of those buffer overflow patches were for applications outside Windows (the "operating system"). And before you argue about applications that are installed by default with Windows, ditto on Linux. (In fact I believe MORE applications are installed by default on Linux than on Windows)

As for Betamax vs VHS, VHS won because their tapes were longer. Note to the potential entrepreneur: Understand your market.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Come to think of I prefer DVDs to VHS anyway....  I'm not sure I wan't the VHS of software.

christopher baus (www.summitsage.com)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

portabella, moneydance is a decent replacement for quicken on linux.  can pay bills and download statements for most banks, i believe.  i couldn't find any other program that could though.

Scot
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Betamax was not superior to VHS in any way.  Beta_cam_ is superior to VHS, but it's a completely different system that isn't compatable.

I'd say that Windows is the Betamax of software.  Only Sony made Betamax, but everybody made VHS.  Betamax lost because Sony likes proprietary formats a smidge too much and because it was too short.  It's only good attribute was that it was portable.  Except that 8mm/Hi8 ended up coming along later with a longer tape length and they ended up taking over the camcorder market.

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, October 30, 2003

All major OS's may have permissions and admin users and security concepts like that, but that does not make them equal.  It is quite difficult to do anything complex on windows without at least "power user" access.  Even then, an app can open an SMTP port and forward porn without the user being aware.  On OSX that app would have to ask the keychain, which in turn would ask the user (application X would like to do Y) EVEN IF THE USER IS THE ADMIN.  So trojans are less of an issue.  Even if they share the concepts, not all OSs are equal. 

Zealot
Friday, October 31, 2003

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