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Author Topic: the threat of popularity  (Read 2337 times)
glas
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« on: July 06, 2007, 12:30:19 PM »

I've read lots of posts from Linux/open source advocates that look forward to Great Revolution (i.e the mass conversion to open source software throughout the world once its benefits are realised).

Of course it's human nature to desire popularity. There's strength and security in numbers - right?

But does this apply to computer operating systems that are increasingly intergrated into the Internet?

Or would mass coversion to Linux OSs spell the end of the relatively secure and uncluttered internet experience?

I think it would.

When the majority of surfers / consumers are running Linux - how long before all the advertising cookies, spyware, malicious viruses, etc. would also switch to target Linux? It wouldn't take too long I figure.

The great feature about Linux at present is that it tramples all through this Internet garbage largely unfettered. If Linux were to become the main operating system of the planet (like MS is now) our holiday would soon be over.

So I'm not looking towards the Great Software Revolution - I dread it.

How about you?
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roverrat
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2007, 19:54:30 PM »

I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon... Despite the progress Linux has made on the desktop in recent years it is still considered an operating system for geeks and computer experts by most users. Linux and open source on the server is an entirely different matter. An increasingly growing number of companies are discovering the benefits of open source.

The great thing about Linux is that is not *owned" by anyone, like Windows is. Everyone can try it out without worrying about licence fees and with the right skills you can adapt an open source programm to your own needs. But now I'm preachin' to the choir  Wink


« Last Edit: July 07, 2007, 19:56:41 PM by roverrat » Logged
Willem
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2007, 00:37:13 AM »

Because Linux is not an OS but more or less a standard, I think mass conversion to Pardus wouldnt be so much as a thread to the system.
As long as there are 300+ distro's all with a slightly different configuration we will be safe!
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Mhmrcs
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2008, 20:19:18 PM »

I fear the day of the mass revolution... No offense to the general public, but the idea of a GUI-driven project where developers have to cater to the simplest of needs is simply degrading to the users of said operating system. Microsoft is the most mass-driven OS in current history, its a disaster despite the fact the people have written more code for the Windows platform than any other. Linux available to the masses means that people with malicious intent will try to create virii and hack other people's computers at a rate that cannot be controlled by even the most advanced of security software.

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PhiX
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2008, 21:49:41 PM »

When the majority of surfers / consumers are running Linux - how long before all the advertising cookies, spyware, malicious viruses, etc. would also switch to target Linux? It wouldn't take too long I figure.

Spyware cannot exist in free software, because anyone can see it and remove it from the source code.
Cookies are in use on Firefox. You can erase them if you want.
Virus. Although the first virus was written for UNIX in the seventies, UNIX-like operating systems don't fear them. A virus needs to be able to penetrate an OS, replicate in it, and spread through the network to infect other computers. These three things are really difficult on UNIX. The probability that a virus survive on a 100% UNIX network is near zero.
So, I think Linux can rule the world without any fear of the virii.

The great feature about Linux at present is that it tramples all through this Internet garbage largely unfettered. If Linux were to become the main operating system of the planet (like MS is now) our holiday would soon be over.

I don't think so. Free software means freedom, and freedom leads inevitably to diversity. I think a high market share for Linux on the Desktop can only bring good things (out-of-the-box hardware support, commercial software, etc.), due to the very nature of Free software.
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Mhmrcs
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2008, 22:11:26 PM »

We will always be at the mercy of distributors, for exmaple, that EULA Firefox shipped out, Firefox patented logo, Canonical proprietary nature, Google claims to be open source and produces open source work such as Chrome but the user is at the mercy of its cookie-handling. Whilst you may be able to edit programs which contain spyware etc, most people are in no position to convince others to install it on their computers, i.e. brand. Furthermore, everyone having access to the source code means everyone can edit the program, for better or worse, its like Wikipedia, while its generally a good thing, there is the occcasionally mishap that would not occur under a proprietary regime. The diversity of programs and distros in Linux leaves distros with poor community at the mercy of hackers as they are not likely to respond as quickly to virii.

"Linux however is not completely immune. With enough help from the user and access to an administrator's password, viruses can do damage to your system. Let's take for example Bliss, a concept virus developed for POSIX-compatible systems. It was first sighted at the beginning of 1997 and lacks the stealth characteristics we see in modern viruses. It tries to infect and attach itself to binary files that are writable and copy itself on other machines through rsh. Being a concept virus, it even keeps a log of all infected files in /tmp/.bliss. Running the virus as root results in an attempt to patch the kernel source, if present. The fun part is that Bliss can be removed from the system by simply using the --bliss-uninfect-files-please option."
> Source: http://www.mylro.org/content/view/1088/52/

You may only delete cookies manually or automatically >after< you've browsed the internet and the cookies pile up. Google (Google, might I add, uses OpenBSD mainly so it is UNIX) still catalogues all of these cookies despite claiming to want to be the model for open source through such projects as Google Code etc.

I think the only reason Linux has no virii is simply because there are few number of people that use Linux, whilst I admit virii can be patched faster (given there is a community), Linux is as succeptible as any OS to malware - which explains the md5sum and sha1sum checksums > they exist to protect against malware which Linux is succeptible to.

"I think a high market share for Linux on the Desktop can only bring good things (out-of-the-box hardware support, commercial software, etc.), due to the very nature of Free software."
I don't understand, you're implying "commercial software" is a good thing due to the nature of free software?
Linux already has ootb support (for a wide range of hardware), in order for Linux to have a large market share the drivers must already exist for the users to use their computers i.e. not be brought about by a market share.

While I think Linux is the best thing since sliced bread, I don't think we should think ourselves immune to the problems that affect other OSs, this will lead to complacency
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 22:13:19 PM by Mhmrcs » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2008, 22:39:45 PM »

Linux already has a big market share on servers (20% I reckon). Still, there is no virus threat. Apache has more than 60% market share of web servers. Still it has a better security record than Microsoft's webserver that has less market share.
Some hackers, or more precisely crakers (the evil ones) have tried to produce Linux virus. It just don't work, even on a pure Linux computer network.

Cookies. You can tell Firefox not to accept them in the first place (Edition>Preferences>Privacy).

By commercial software, I was thinking of high quality games and appications that exist on the Windows or MacOS platforms.
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Mhmrcs
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2008, 22:54:53 PM »

Lol, "Microsoft" and "security" are two words that should not even be used in the same sentence...

I don't mean to argue with you, but virii do exist on Linux:
Trojans
    * Kaiten - Linux.Backdoor.Kaiten trojan horse[6]
    * Rexob - Linux.Backdoor.Rexob trojan[7]
[edit] Viruses
    * Alaeda - Virus.Linux.Alaeda[8]
    * Bad Bunny - Perl.Badbunny[5][9]
    * Binom - Linux/Binom[10]
    * Bliss
    * Brundle[11]
    * Bukowski[12]
    * Diesel - Virus.Linux.Diesel.962[13]
    * Kagob a - Virus.Linux.Kagob.a[14]
    * Kagob b - Virus.Linux.Kagob.b[15]
    * MetaPHOR (also known as Simile)[16]
    * Nuxbee - Virus.Linux.Nuxbee.1403[17]
    * OSF.8759
    * Podloso - Linux.Podloso (The iPod virus)[18][19]
    * Rike - Virus.Linux.Rike.1627[20]
    * RST - Virus.Linux.RST.a[21]
    * Satyr - Virus.Linux.Satyr.a[22]
    * Staog
    * Vit - Virus.Linux.Vit.4096[23]
    * Winter - Virus.Linux.Winter.341[24]
    * Winux (also known as Lindose and PEElf[25]
    * ZipWorm - Virus.Linux.ZipWorm[26]
[edit] Worms
    * Adm - Net-Worm.Linux.Adm[27]
    * Adore[28]
    * Cheese - Net-Worm.Linux.Cheese[29]
    * Devnull
    * Kork[30]
    * Linux/Lion (also known as Ramen)
    * Mighty - Net-Worm.Linux.Mighty[31]
    * Millen - Linux.Millen.Worm[32]
    * Slapper[33]
    * SSH Bruteforce[34]
> Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_computer_viruses

Also, the number of virii on Linux rose from 422 to 863 just in 2006. (Source: http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3601946)

Tor proxy keeps your privacy also, but it makes web browsing very difficult, and impossible on many pages.

I'm not arguing against Linux security which I think is better than other OS', but denying the existence of vulernabilities that can be exploited in free software (even in the Linux kernel) will not help us.

PRDS4LYF Tongue
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PhiX
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2008, 23:11:45 PM »

I know that there are Linux virii, but there are more like technical demo and don't work in the real world. That's why I wrote "no virus threat".
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2008, 23:18:37 PM »

Linux proof-of-concept virii, if worked upon can be made into reality... I personally don't have any experience of a Linux virus despite downloading heavily using P2P links (I could be downloading Windows virii for I know though lol). But if you say so, so be it, I'm sure you have more experience with Linux than I.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2008, 08:00:02 AM by Mhmrcs » Logged

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