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Africa distress

August 25, 2009 — BarryK
Zygo posted a response to my earlier post about the virus problems a relative of mine is having. Zygo posted this link:

The author of that article commented that Linux would also become just as virus-ridden if its popularity approached that of Windows. Some of the responses to the article shot that one down.



Puppy viruses
Username: prehistoric
"In reply to Ansu, I'm not going to detail an extensive Puppy security operation, I'm going to ask what would this accomplish, besides giving someone bragging rights? Puppy has a small, active community of users, many of whom read the code. You can download the source and recreate object code using a Puppy development system. If what you get doesn't match a distributed binary, you ask questions, bringing other people to look at the problem. The spread of such a virus would be limited by the size of the community, and the number of versions out there which are not binary compatible. The variety of Puplets available would quickly reveal which components carried the infection. All you have to do, once the offending behavior has been identified, is compare the makeup of versions exhibiting the behavior with those that do not. In a system where everything fits in 100 MB, and everything not actually necessary to functioning is ruthlessly eliminated, it is harder to hide malicious code than in a system which sprawls across GB of space and contains pieces no one quite understands. There are members of the Puppy community who enjoy solving puzzles and understand the most unlikely things. (Ask Tempestuous about bugs in wireless networking chips. Or, ask Lobster about the varieties of religious experience.) The bottom line in my argument is not that it is impossible, but that Puppy is a very poor prospect for accomplishing much in the distribution of malware, with a high probability of being caught doing it. And, don't blame me if a response team descends on you from our special black helicopters.

Username: arby
"I always wondered why people become so hopelessly addicted to Microsoft Windows. Oh they complain about virus this and malware that, but when you say 'Linux', they'll turn around and actually defend an OS that has just stabbed them in the back. I've told dozens of people about Linux, even demonstrating LiveCD's & Jumpdrive OS's over & over. How many actually use it now? 3 Three! What is in Windows that makes people stay??? Addictive drugs? Magnetism? Witchcraft?

Username: Pizzasgood
"I think it's that they don't think they should have to know anything about how a computer works, nor have to do any kind of maintenance. Either they just don't care, or they have it in their heads that computers are super-complex-magical devices that they could never understand. Windows doesn't work very well, but it usually eventually gets the job mostly done, and they know that. They already sort of know how to operate it. So, rather than make something that's already complicated more complicated, they just put up with what they have. But that is just my guess. And my mind is different enough from normal people that I have a lot of trouble understanding them. The closest I can come to relating them to me is if I consider that maybe computers to them are a bit like people are to me. And Linux to them is like a girl is to me. Then it mostly makes sense.

Username: Ansu
"Thank You all for this information. I'm using Puppy in my internet computer. I have another computer to play with my photos and movies etc. I have Windows XP in that one. My reasons to use Puppy-machine for internet are security reasons. I'm aware that there are much less viruses for Linux, even less, if any for Puppy. I would like to see it that way in the future too. I'm not very handy with Linux, but I manage to configure it for my purposes. Lucky me, there are excellent forums in Puppy world so I can get help if (and when) I need to. I respect all those forum members who are not tired to answer beginners questions.

Tags: general