Response to “101 reasons why Linux is better than Windows” – Part 5

This is a response (Part 5) to the web blog entitled “101 reasons why Linux is better than Windows”(http://cityblogger.com/archives/2007/01/24/101-reasons-why-linux-is-better-than-windows/)”. The author tries to discredit Windows by giving many reasons why Linux is “better”.

I will do my best to show how this is not the case. Operating systems are just tools. If you try to make one OS look “better” than another, you could possibly lead people into the wrong direction. Please note that the author has not written all 101 reasons on his blog. It appears he stopped writing it a while back. I will respond to everything he has currently written.

Direct quotes from the author are in red and my responses are in black.  Please note that I mean no disrespect to the author in anything I say.

Click here for Part 6!

Click here for Part 4!

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41) Linux gives you the Freedom: Linux follows the Free Software philosophy and hence gives its users the Freedom to modify, copy and share Linux.

This only is good news for people who can/need/want to “modify, copy, and share” the Linux kernel.

Average computer users for the most part will not care, and they probably would not even know how even if they did care.

42) One cick upgrade: Most distributions can easily be upgraded from one version to another in just a few clicks. And most importantly you don’t need to spend a fortune to buy the upgrade.

While upgrading to another Linux OS version (without doing a fresh re-install) seems like a nice feature, it has some risks such as:

  1. Software may break after the upgrade due to OS level changes (e.g. incompatibility with the upgraded Linux OS).
  2. Upgrade may not finish correctly and you are left with a broken OS.
  3. Certain hardware may malfunction, due to changes from the upgrade.

Nothing may ever happen, but I recommend to always re-install an OS when upgrading, not just “upgrade directly to the new version available”. Remember to make a backup of your files first before upgrading!

43) No Hidden APIs. Windows many hidden or undocumented APIs which is used for unfair advantage to Microsoft. In Linux all APIs are completely open and documented. For example Microsoft specifies that everyone writing Internet application should use the Winsock API while Microsoft Internet Explorer doesn’t use the Winsock API, it uses an undocumented API allowing Internet Explorer to run faster than other browsers.

How does this make Linux “better” than Windows?  I doubt that all Linux APIs are completely documented (even if this were true, how do you know that the documents are up to date?).

Microsoft has Windows API documentation as well.

44) Faster patches: Linux is more secure because its patches in hours not days. Microsoft took 200 days to provide a critical patch.

First off, patches themselves are not a guarantee that a security hole has been successfully plugged up.

Secondly, patches *can* have the potential to open up *new* security holes.

Lastly, Microsoft has a Patch Tuesday, where they regularly role-out Windows patches every month. So if you are concerned about Microsoft not regularly rolling-out patches, your concern is no longer valid.

45) No Execute by default: By default if you download any file, it doesn’t have the execute permission, making your system more secure. The app cannot execute unless you go and change the permissions.

Using Windows’ ACL permissions, you can disallow yourself (and other users) from being allowed to execute files on certain parts of the system (e.g. your downloads folder).

Also as an alternative, there is AppLocker which when setup correctly, can prevent any file that is not “whitelisted” from being able to execute on Windows.

46) No write access to applications: By default users cannot install applications unless they change their permission or login as a supervisor. This ensures that any virus or malicious code cannot go and write to your application folder.

When creating a user in Windows, you can make the user a limited account (no Administrator privileges). This is the equivalent of a normal Linux user without root privileges.

“This ensures that any virus or malicious code cannot go and write to your application folder.”

This is a myth. While having a limited user helps in preventing malware from writing to unauthorized areas of the computer, this is no guarantee that malware can never break out of your user’s “area” and infect other parts of the system.

47) No open ports: By default most Linux distributions have all their incoming ports blocked, thereby making their Operating more secure from network attacks.

Since Windows Vista, Windows has had a firewall (running by default on a fresh install) for incoming as well as outgoing connections.

Windows (Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10) with its own firewall out-of-the-box is the same as the Linux distributions that have a firewall enabled out-of-the-box by default. 

48) Centralised repository of applications ensures that you are downloading your applications/patches only from a known source only. The repository is digitally signed which ensures that only the right application and code can be downloaded and installed on your computer.

Windows uses an SSL certificate to verify that it is in fact connecting to Microsoft for updates. Of course, there is always room for a man-in-the-middle attack, but that is not Windows’ fault.

Also, how do you know that these “trusted” update servers for Linux are not compromised? Just because there is no one intercepting the connection to the update server, does not mean that the update server itself is not compromised.

49) Centralised patching of all applications: Since your applications are installed from a centralised source, they are also patched from a single application, so each application doesn’t patch on its own. This ensures that your system is always up to date.

You are assuming that the Linux user has not manually installed any software. If so, he will have to manually update those manually installed software programs, unless the software happens to have an automatic updater. Remember not everything will necessarily be installed from a package manager.

50) Faster release cycle: Many Linux distributions have a fixed release cycle of 6 months which makes it easy for them to incorporate all the latest applications, bug fixes, improvement and support for newer hardware. Windows release cycle is not predictable. takes a few years and is often delayed.

A faster release cycle just will create headaches for most people. A lot of users will not wish to update their computer every 6 months via a fresh re-install. I know that in different Linux distributions you can auto-update to the next latest OS update, but I recommend against that.

51) Finding the difference between 2 text files is easy! using commands such as diff

That is not a reason to choose Linux over Windows. There is software for Windows that will do the same thing.

52) Your hard disk drive will have a longer life by not having the heads travel all over the disk doing virtual memory swaps because Linux uses far less RAM than Windows.

This is a very bad example! Both Windows and Linux will use your hard drive(s) as virtual memory (a.k.a. SWAP) if there is not enough memory on the host machine. However for me, on Linux, it has used the virtual memory (using the hard drive) when there was plenty of RAM still available.

I don’t know if this happened to anyone else, but I had noticed Linux (CentOS 7) was using the virtual memory partition (swap partition) when I still had plenty of RAM available in the virtual machine.

You can adjust the virtual memory on both Windows and Linux.

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Well this is the end of Part 5!  Click here for Part 6!

Click here for Part 4!


Posted in Internet and Servers, Operating Systems