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Old 05-23-2007, 05:58 AM   #1
Bill Murmann
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Or switch to a Mac!
Hmm--I think I read something on CNET about Macs. The author said that Macs have less security problems than PCs simply because there aren't enough Macs in service to make it worthwhile for the bad guys to bother much with them...<s>

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Old 05-23-2007, 06:03 AM   #2
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Hmm--I think I read something on CNET about Macs. The author said that Macs have less security problems than PCs simply because there aren't enough Macs in service to make it worthwhile for the bad guys to bother much with them...<s>
Actually, that is at least in part an error. The Mac OS is based on Unix, and it has more safeguards built in. But it also helps that the Mac is not a useful target for mass worm or virus spreaders (but there are Mac malefactors as well).

Doesn’t mean a Mac cannot be broken into, but it is much more difficult than in Windows (old Windows — have no idea about Vista).

   
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Old 05-23-2007, 02:44 PM   #3
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The Mac OS is based on Unix, and it has more safeguards built in.
Makes me wonder why Microsoft didn't do that...

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Old 05-23-2007, 06:32 PM   #4
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The Mac OS is based on Unix, and it has more safeguards built in. But it also helps that the Mac is not a useful target for mass worm or virus spreaders (but there are Mac malefactors as well).
The same is true for Linux. The design of the system makes it much harder to do mischief unless someone is running as root when they shouldn't be.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:46 PM   #5
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Makes me wonder why Microsoft didn't do that...
Windows has always placed a high priority on backward compatibility. That makes it difficult to change the underpinnings of the system because things stop working and that makes Windows users angry.

Also, there is a tradeoff between convenience and security. The higher the level of security, the less convenient it is for users. Now that Vista is reserving more powers to the administrator and is putting up a warning when someone tries to do things that affect the whole system like installing or removing fonts, installing software, changing the system clock, etc., I'm hearing howls from Windows users who don't like being bothered. I'm a Linux user; we don't howl, we're glad that any old user can't do any old thing, even if it means giving passwords before we can do system-level things.

I haven't personally used Vista, so maybe UAC is badly implemented. But the idea is sound.
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:19 AM   #6
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...I'm hearing howls from Windows users who don't like being bothered...
Wow! That would certainly bother me. Even though my new system is "Vista Premium Ready," I'm glad I decided to go with the last of the XP Pro systems being offered just after Christmas.

In hindsight, you have to wonder again--what was Microsoft thinking?

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Old 05-24-2007, 06:34 AM   #7
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Makes me wonder why Microsoft didn't do that...
Not for lack of opportunity, that’s for sure. It developed Xenix, around 1980, then sold it for a song after making the historic DOS deal with IBM. After that, the 386 chip wouldn’t run Unix, which after several years of what was essentially shared development got caught up in proprietary wars.

When Steve Jobs ran NeXt, he based the OS on Unix. Then he went back to Apple and rewrote its OS on Unix, and here we are. I hated the NeXt OS (can’t remember why, but I had a chance to play with it and test some apps — maybe it was just different), so was not happy when I heard that Apple was basically adopting the NeXt OS for the Mac, but OS X is great — I really like it.

You might say that Bill Gates made an error in judgment — but if so, it was understandable, because Unix needed more power than the computers Microsoft was programming for and I don’t think anyone foresaw how quickly the high-end workstations would be supplanted by mass-market desktop computers. Jobs did see this (probably had to, as he inherited a company that had developed both little Macs and high-end Lisas and could see it up close).

But I think Judy also has a point: Gates believes computers should “just run” without a lot of fuss and bother. The structure of Unix forces users to take some responsibility for — or at least to acknowledge — the way the OS works. It was difficult to make the switch at first — OS X is an interfering busybody compared to mellow old Mac software.

   
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:46 AM   #8
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The same is true for Linux. The design of the system makes it much harder to do mischief unless someone is running as root when they shouldn't be.
Making the transition was difficult — I tried to do things the way I had always done them, and spent the first couple of months arm-wrestling with OS X. Then Tiger came out and I started out fresh and let the OS work the way it wants to. At that point I really began to appreciate what is a much more logical way of operating.

It would never occur to me to expose root that way. But I have also never seen a need to have more control than the OS gives me as it. But I am not an adventurer, either.

   
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:39 AM   #9
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That said, the Mac has 5% or less of the overall computer market share. If I were a virus writer with too much time on his hands, I surely want my "work" to spread as far and wide as possible.

The Mac's built in safeguards notwuthstanding, I am more likley to achieve my goals with Windows which has a 90%+ market share.

P.S. I use Vista 32bit and although the warnings via the UAC (User Account Controls) can be a little irritating, you get used to them.

P.P.S. Adobe CS3 Design Prem works great on Vista!!!
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:54 AM   #10
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That said, the Mac has 5% or less of the overall computer market share. If I were a virus writer with too much time on his hands, I surely want my "work" to spread as far and wide as possible.

The Mac's built in safeguards notwuthstanding, I am more likley to achieve my goals with Windows which has a 90%+ market share.
Then you surely should stick with it.

This discussion often gets heated, but it really shouldn’t. I don’t think Macs and PCs aspire to the same market, and blanket measurement of sales of Macs (below 5% of the U.S. total) and Windows (most of the rest) makes little sense.

Here is an interesting discussion on Roughly Drafted (scroll down about a third to get to the PC/Mac discussion), which compares the markets for Mac vs PC and iPod vs Zune.

If I were doing CAD work, or needed to build huge data base systems, a PC would make sense. Software in those categories and others are severely limited — even unavailable altogether — for the Mac.

But as a writer and graphic designer, I have never had occasion to consider switching to the PC. I also drive a BMW and never feel like trading it in on some more popular brand of car, either — even though if I did I would have more choice of dealer, could get service all over, and so on.

   
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