Chris Spencer: It's time for anyone running a Windows PC to switch to Linux.
OK, I'm off to switch. A few problems: does Outlook run on Linux? Reliably?
Does Linux have a ton of ink-enabled applications for my Tablet PC?
Does Photoshop run on it reliably? Does Microsoft Office? Sorry, I
am so used to Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Access/OneNote that I'm not going
to easily switch.
How about Halo? Can I run my favorite games on Linux? Does Onfolio
run? How about my new backup system, Mirra? Does Visual Studio run on
Shall I go on?
So, Chris, I won't change.
But, let's look further into his advice. He's a system
administrator. This was his wife's computer. Why wasn't this computer
setup without administrator rights? If he had done that one thing she
wouldn't have gotten spyware because it would have been impossible to
install new software on her PC.
Yes, this frustrates me too. It frustrates everyone around here. But
everytime I clean off a machine I turn off their administrator rights.
And, guess what, on all those machines I've never had to revisit their
homes to clean them off.
The real answer for most people isn't to switch to something else
where their software that they have already invested in may or may not
run (ever buy a copy of Adobe Illustrator? I have and it cost me more
than $500). The real answer is to spend an hour (I've done this dozens
of times, and despite the rumors it really only takes an hour to put in
place some very advanced security) and put in place 14 layers of security. If you do that, you won't need to spend five hours cleaning off your machine.
By the way, before I left, I backed up my entire machine using my new Mirra box.
A couple of other things: 1) If I were recommending to people
switching from the Windows platform, I'd go to Apple Macintosh. It's
far more complete and has a much better support system than Linux has.
2) Yes, Microsoft needs to do more, not arguing against that here. XP
SP2 doesn't solve all the problems by itself. Apple's approach of
running in non-administrator mode by default and then requiring a
password everytime you try to install software is far better than the
approach Windows takes. 3) You should never surf the Internet with
scripting turned on. I switch it off unless I'm on a site that I've
already visited and that requires scripting (my bank's site, for
instance). That alone would have kept Chris' wife from getting spyware.