I've been running Linux for more than 20 years now, and have encountered only one malware. Some jerks called me on the telephone telling me that my computer was broken. I told them where to go, and somehow, they already knew my IP address, and did something to my hard drive that totally borked it.

Otherwise than that, seeing that Linux is free of cost, and comes quite complete with all applications needed to accomplish almost any tasks. Getting help is quite easy to obtain, and costs nothing. Updates are automatic, and don't need new versions to be installed once in a while. It's always up to date.

As far as my Windows, the latest episode, I had just turned on and started Windows, and got hit by ransomware. That was in spite of my using a proxy, and address masking. I just turned it off, and didn't bother to turn on Windows again.

Because of Windows so vulnerable because of it's popularity, it's always will be a target. Linux has much better protections, and not being as popular, it's not a favorite target for attacks. I never sweat as much as the Win users for being attacked. And my expenses to upkeep the Linux OS, are nil.

And I've been using Windows since 3.1 and have never been the victim of malware so it seems to me that you are just making the point that you don't know how to protect a Windows based system as opposed to "Linux is better than Windows, nyah nyah".

It may be true that Linux offers a smaller surface attack with the default configuration, but as RJ states, it depends a lot more on how you use the system. Lately I read about a user hit by a ransomware on Linux, he was running Mozilla Firefox as root, who knows why, and got infected through an extension of the browser (seemingly Adobe Flash).

Disclaimer: I use Linux since 2001 and abandoned Microsoft OS since 2004.

I don't understand why you didn't just turn off your machine and never bother booting Linux again after you got hit by malware. That seems to be what you did with the Windows machine following a single compromise after all.

To misquote Oscar Wilde "To be infected on one platform may be regarded as a misfortune; to get infected on both looks like carelessness..."

commented: Hah! +14

Over the years, I had been hit many times in Windows, and I fixed it. It's just that the last time was it! It was the last straw. I only kept Windows running because some applications needed to be upgraded once in a while, such as Tomtom gps, printers, and other gadgets, and those appliances only accept Windows for upgrading. But now for printers, Linux has their own drivers. It was no longer worth the Win maintenance effort. So I made a decision to stick with the OS with the best reliability score. I saved a lot of money not having to purchase Win applications. I saved a lot of frustration, not having to contend with being flooded with ads and popups in my browser, while simply trying to read some article in my browser. The Linux or BSD world is much gentler to cope with, and much easier on the pocketbook.

Having had to deal with both worlds, I've made my choice. I've followed both OS's paths from their inceptions, as they matured. It's been an interesting trip. But now, no more being an OS mechanic. Time to relax.

I don't get why you had "to purchase Win applications" if you were only using it to update a few printers and other devices, and had been happily using your Linux machine and free apps for 20 years.

I didn't usually have to purchase applications for some of the Win bound appliances, The drivers were either provided by the vendor, or downloadable, free, via the Internet. It's just that the appliances were designed to be run only using Windows, if updates or changes had to be made.

Considering that Linux is "generally" not a commercial product (Red Hat Linux is an exception), companies usually didn't want to produce and support free Linux drivers for their over the counter commercial products. There was no money in it for them. But now, Linux has acquired many worldwide developers with lots of knowledge, who know how to produce drivers for commercial appliances. Reliance on Windows drivers is no longer necessary. Linux coders are able to produce the same results as proprietary commercial drivers (without violating patents) by writing the application in a different manner. And of course, some companies were more generous than others, and decided to provide proprietary drivers for supporting their products. They realized that doing that would produce more sales for their products, whereas their competition was shunning the Linux market, and losing sales.

Over the years, I had been hit many times in Windows, and I fixed it. It's just that the last time was it!

And you never considered that perhaps the problem was with you? It seems to me that the fault lay with you not taking proper precautions, following unsafe practices, etc. I've set up many systems for friends & relatives and only one system ever got infected by malware. That one was because my father-in-law repeatedly downloads and installs every "free" game on the internet. In his case I have a pre-borking image saved so after each borking I just slap on the image, apply outstanding updates and take a new image. Installing Unchecky has really helped.

Reverend Jim, Windows is much more susceptible to malware and virus attacks than Linux. Yes, you can harden your MS system against them, but the design of Linux makes such attacks much more rare, unless you are an idiot and leave your system open to remote access. Usually, web services are the most accessible to outside stuff. I managed something like 5000 servers for Nokia Mobile Phones, and we had zero intrusions! And we had 100 million remote customers all over the world. There was work involved to accomplish that, but with proper system monitoring we were able to detect when some asshat would be trying to penetrate the system. Let's just say that their #######s were a bit puckered when we were done with them!

FWIW, we used CentOS 6.x for the servers.

commented: Hehe +16

From my viewpoint, I seem to perceive that the BSD OS's seem to be the least targeted for malware. Perhaps because of their even lower footprint spread than Linux, or they have a tendency to be much more hardened than the Linux's. I believe that they have a much tighter structure than the Linux OS's. But that also lends itself to less flexibility.

Yes. Windows is more susceptible to malware, etc. than Linux. Then again, Linux is much more difficult to use and maintain for the vast majority of computer users. The majority of people I know with computers use Windows. The only ones who use Linux are the hardcore techies. You know them. They are the ones who recompile the kernel every six months. At several points over the last couple of decades I had considered making the switch but I always came back to Windows because Linux was just too damn much trouble.

There is a (rude word)-ton of non-techie information and help available to everyone on using Windows. In my experience, the skill set required to set up, configure, use and maintain a Linux system is just beyond most users and the information that is available is usually incomplete, assuming knowledge that most people just don't have. What is easier for most users who want to install and use a program?

  1. Double click on the installer and follow the menus
  2. Figure out some complex and arcane command line with equally cryptic arguments and switches

The first time I tried I couldn't get the wireless to work. After browsing many forums I finally found one of those command line thingies to install a missing driver (that should have been included in the distro). Even then it didn't work because "everyone knows that to make it work you have to...".

I will likely get many replies about how everything is different now but even a mere five years ago I still found it just too much trouble to work with.

Face it. Linux is just not for the masses.

And as I said, if you install the proper tools (Defender is sufficient for Windows 10 and it comes already installed), and act prudently you will likely not have problems.

From my viewpoint, I seem to perceive that the BSD OS's seem to be the least targeted for malware.

And exactly how many distros are available? And how is the average user supposed to determine which one to use? Yes, there are multiple versions of Windows, but only one current version and it is available from only one source.

Because of Windows so vulnerable because of it's popularity

Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. He replied "that's where the money is". Windows is not "vulnerable" because of its popularity. It is "targeted" because of its popularity. It is vulnerable because of elements in its design just as Linux is (but to an admittedly lesser extent). It is also vulnerable due to the practices of its users, same as Linux.

commented: The last para, that. +16

True, Linux is not Windows. It's setup is totally different. Win is sitting on a database that must be refreshed when some things are changed. Thus, a reboot. Linux is different. When a change is made, exceptional cases may require a reboot. Otherwise, just make the change, and keep on trucking on what you were doing.

Anything is difficult when newly challenged by it. Be it learning to drive a car, fly a plane, learn a new subject in school... The thing is, the difficulty gets wiped away as the knowledge keeps on coming in. Once a topic is mastered, there is no difficulty. It's gone. The learning curve has been wiped away.

When Linux was first introduced, it was a large learning curve. No drivers for peripherals. Assembly required. And so on... But as time went on, people kept on learning. New innovations were introduced. Things got constantly improved. Now up to today. Linux, it's true, has grown into quite a sophisticated Operating System. It has also grown to the point, that most distros are self installing, and ready to run.
Many only have to be installed only once. And from that point, updates, error corrections, new innovations, come in automatically as they have been proofed, and ready to use. No periodical new installations need be done. For people who prefer a fresh new install once-in-a-while, that's also available.

Let's just say that with Linux, there is enough variety of choices to satisfy everyone's needs. The purists have choices. The Win newbies crossovers, can also pick a version to suit them. The scientists, some Linux's are designed to be their tool. Every day, these choices just keep on getting better. And improvements don't take years, like some commercial OS's must go through, because of bureaucratic red tape. Many developers don't do Linux for pay. They do it 'cause they simply love what they do. When errors are found, it may take only a few days to fix the problem. Not months. For the user, many forums are available with people ready and willing to share their knowledge, and help at no charge.

So at my age, I no longer have any interest in being a computer mechanic, or experimenter. I'm now satisfied to just turn on the machine, start the browser, and clean out my daily incoming pile of emails.
I also like to use a rock solid OS that can keep out malware that's haunting the world.

Happy Halloween!


most is still true, I read the same on forums for years, about people changing system every month like scarves, but I suspect it comes only from those which have time to waste. I have never had to put my hands on kernel, to be honest I don't even know from where to start. I use Ubuntu because it's different from other distros, which I agree are not friendly with new users, but Ubuntu is easy to install and configure, it's all graphical and supports a lot of hardware.

You can always open the terminal and compile a source if needed, most of the time it's easy, but not always because it happens that you have to find which library satisfies an obscure dependency but it's rare that an average user will ever need that software. I bought the laptop from which I'm writing in 2008, installed and never formatted. I do upgrades to follow the LTS (Long Time Support) versions which are supported for 5 years, now I'm on 16.04. Yes, I don't get the edgy versions of softwares but I gain in stability. I do reboots only because systemd, the new process manager, in practice an equivalent of your svchost.exe, sometimes requires to reboot the machine after an update (sigh), but otherwise I don't even need to do it for weeks.

The thing is, the difficulty gets wiped away as the knowledge keeps on coming in.

Most people who drive a car don't know the mechanics of how it works and most don't need, or care to know. That's most computer users. My point is that the knowledge/skills required to be an effective Linux user is beyond the capability of most users. For most people a computer is an appliance.

Anything is difficult when newly challenged by it.

Yeah. But Linux is the gift that keeps on giving. How many GUIs can you choose from now? Last I looked there was Unity, KDE and Gnome. Any more? Yes, I realize that with each new version of Windows they change where everything is located. It's my major complaint with MS. Hopefully things will settle down with the new paradigm.

Every day, these choices just keep on getting better.

And more varied, thus adding to the confusion. I think Emo Philips was a prophet.

Having said all that, you may get the impression that I really don't like Linux. On the contrary, I think it is a remarkable achievement. The value is outstanding for the cost and its capabilities and almost infinite configurability are remarkable. And for a certain small segment of the public it is far better than Windows. But for the rest, it is not.

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  • Dennis Miller

As a matter of fact, I don't want Linux to become as popular as Win. This way malware will remain at a low level. Being a low target goes to the benefit of the Linux users. Taking the effort to create malware is much more profitable with a large target like Win users. That also applies to the flooding of unwanted ads.

We welcome new users, especially the ones who are willing to put in the initial effort to learn to get around the the OS to get maximum benefits from it. These new users make it interesting for us to give them the boost to get up and running as soon as possible. All the learning tools and free help is available, on demand, by people who are willing to share their hard earned knowledge.

Also, there are versions of Linux that hide the background, sets itself up automatically, and can be run right out of the box.An example is Apple. It is a Posix Compliant Unix-Like OS. The GUI has been designed to hide that fact. Some are made to resemble Windows, for people who are Windows "bound". Really, there is something for everyone. It is not just a one version fits all people. Au contraire, different developers have tailored the OS to fit their idea of nice, then released it to the wild. There is no constricting boundaries. A user with enough knowledge, if he doesn't like the version that he/she is using, is not restricted to not being able to make any changes. Change is welcome. After all Linux is an open OS. It is not proprietary coding, and no one will come after the user for tailoring the OS to one's liking or needs.