11 Myths About GNU/Linux Operating System

Linux is a good operating system to use for servers. I use it for a router and my smartphone. However, there are many misconceptions about Linux, especially over the Internet where a lot of people are given false information about Linux. Please note that I mean no disrespect toward anyone.

Myth #1: Linux is secure…more secure than Windows!

This is one of the most ridiculous myths out there about Linux. How is Linux specifically “more secure” than Windows? There are too many variables to consider to be able to make a blanket statement like that! No self-respecting IT guy would ever say this out in public.

Look at: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/critical-linux-vulnerability-imperils-users-even-after-silent-fix/

Conclusion: Both Windows and Linux can be secure, if you know what you are doing.

Myth #2: Linux is more stable than Windows!

Another ridiculous claim! How is Linux “more stable” than Windows? One guy on WebHostingTalk (an online forum for web hosting companies, clients, IT people, IT enthusiasts, etc.) switched from Windows to Linux to fix his problem(s) he was having with his machine not being stable. Later on, he admitted that switching to Linux did NOT solve his problem (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showpost.php?s=197e5f374bf0d33a54291ae1700e6f1a&p=4307417&postcount=21)!

In my opinion, 99% of crashes on Windows are due to faulty hardware and/or drivers. However, both Windows (NT family) and Linux are stable operating systems, when using good, stable hardware and good, stable drivers.

Conclusion: Both Windows and Linux depend upon stable hardware and drivers to be any use to the user using them.

Myth #3: Linux protects your computer from malware.

Uh…if you really believe this Linux myth, please read this: http://scalibq.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/hand-of-thief-commercial-linux-malware-kit/

Linux does not protect you from malware. It just has less malware, in my opinion, due to Linux not having a large desktop market share, and , in my opinion, due to so many Linux distributions out there (still an intelligent hacker would make a virus to infect the most popular Linux distributions, which could potentially effect, in my opinion, 60% or so of all Linux users).

However it is still not wise to use a Linux workstation/server without having an anti-virus scanner on it.

Conclusion: Both Windows and Linux can get infected with malware. However, Windows is the larger target, but this does not mean that Windows is easier to infect, nor does it mean that you are guaranteed to get malware when using Windows.

Myth #4: Linux is free!

Well…true…Linux itself is free.

However, consider that more than likely you will be spending a lot of time setting up your Linux computer (finding drivers, getting printers to work, getting your scanner to work, getting your Windows only program to work in Wine, etc.)

“Time is money” as they say.

Conclusion: While economically Linux is free, Linux is not totally free, if you end up burning time (more like wasting time) trying to get things to work in Linux that worked fine in Windows. In a business environment with a Windows setup, switching to Linux would be no easy task, that is for sure!

Myth #5: Linux let’s you do whatever you want to do via the GPL license!

Linux is only ‘freedom’ to people who know how to modify it and use it. If you are a casual computer user, Linux would not really give you any more freedom than Windows would.

Also, realistically only computer programmers and techy people will really be able to modify Linux to suit their needs.  Non-programmers and non-techy people will still be at the mercy of the Linux programmers not to make “drastic, unfriendly” changes to the operating system.

Conclusion: Saying Linux gives you freedom via the GPL license is a fallacy, since you are still restricted in what you are allowed to do with Linux.

Myth #6: Linux gives you everything you need out-of-the-box!

This is one of the more stupid myths.  If everything came out-of-the-box that I need, then why do I have to setup specific software (that is not installed by default) on a Linux box when I set on up?

Conclusion: Too many variables to account for to make a blanket statement that Linux gives everything the user needs out-of-the-box.

Myth #7: With Linux you do not need to get drivers for your devices!

I had one wireless card that would absolutely not work with Linux out of the box, and printers usually do not work for me out-of-the-box on Linux either. Also, I would recommend using the manufacturer’s Linux drivers (if they have any for your device) in place of the drivers that came with the Linux distribution and/or updates.

Conclusion: Devices do not always work out-of-the-box with Linux. Same goes for Windows.

Myth #8: You can update *all* your Linux software at once using the built-in Linux updater!

What if you installed something via RPM or DEB manually (compiled from source or not)? How would you get the package manager to automatically update the manually installed software?

Conclusion: Not everything necessarily will be able to be automatically updated in Linux via the package manager.

Myth #9: You can find any type of software you need when using Linux!

What if someone needs to use a specific piece of software that is Windows-only? Using WINE to run Windows software on Linux is not a solution for everyone. WINE on Linux successfully running Windows software is hit and miss at best.

Conclusion: Linux may not have all the software that every computer user needs or even wants to use.

Myth #10: Linux does not have hard drive fragmentation!

When you delete files (on any file-system, NTFS, ext4, ext3, UFS, FAT32, FAT, ZFS, etc.), you leave gaps in the file-system. These gaps will be filled with other files, but you will also have files before and after the new file. So when the computer goes to access the data, it has to sift though all of the data to find the bits and pieces it needs to complete the task.

Linux does not magically have a “no fragmentation” problem. If someone ever tells you that Linux does not have a fragmentation problem, that person does not know what he/she is talking about.

Conclusion: The file-systems for Linux can get fragmentation.

Myth #11: Many eyes on open-source projects keep the projects secure.

If anything, there would be so much code (like in the Linux kernel) that no one could constantly go through all of the code to make sure that no “monkey wrenches” have been thrown into the works. 🙂

Also, you are really trusting competent strangers to make sure the code you use is “secure”.  Can they be trusted?  Maybe yes…maybe no.

Conclusion: Not only is this idea a myth, but it is illogical.

Posted in Operating Systems