How Secure is Linux

January 25th, 2008

The facilitation of the spread of malware is made more possible when a software is widely used thus maximizing the number of those that can be infected. Slowly patched software also maximizes the time the malware remains effective while maximizing development effort for new ones. Monolithic software or that which has no compartmentalization of components likewise maximizes the damage a malware can do.

Linux has a small user base that discourages malware development, rapid updates that neutralize new threats and a compartmentalized structure that isolates damaged sections. There have been file viruses that were written specifically for Linux but none have yet been propagated successfully. Proponents of Linux believe that they have a more secure platform because all the codes are reviewed by so many people that a bug easily becomes visible. Such is the principle behind the so-called Linus’ Law.

The Language Advantage

January 19th, 2008

In terms of languages and writing systems supported out of the box, Linux has the advantage over Windows. Linux distributions support writing systems for most modern national languages and various minority languages except Mongolian. However, this is being worked on by the Soyombo Linux project. Windows, for its part still lack support for Ethiopic, Gurmukhi, Oriya, Tibetan, Mongolian, Burmese and Lao.

The localization and globalization aspects of a computer’s operating system should be taken into consideration by system developers. Being responsive to the individual intricacies of each and every language holds the key to continuous widening of user support. With language barriers down, users can concentrate on integrating the system with their own requirements.

The System Design of Linux

January 18th, 2008

The Linux operating system derives much of its basic design from principles established during the 70s and the 80s. Its monolithic kernel handles process control, networking, peripheral and file system access. Integrated directly with the kernel are the device drivers. Essentially, the Linux system is a modular UNIX-like operating system.

A big percentage of the system’s higher-level functionality is provided by separate projects that interface with the kernel. An important part of a majority of Linux systems is the GNU userland which provides the skill and UNIX tools that enable it to carry out many basic operating system tasks. Graphical user interfaces can be placed on these tools which usually run through the X window system.

Linux Stability

January 17th, 2008

The instability of an operating system can be traced to poorly written programs aside from its intrinsic stability. The Linux kernel inherits the stability of UNIX whose modular architecture is acknowledged to be stable. Badly behaving applications can be terminated by mechanisms existing at multiple levels.

Sometimes, device drivers are reversed engineered to specifically work for Linux. Free drivers can be contributed and proprietary drivers provided by vendors. The system only needs to restart for kernel updates although a special utility can be used to load the new kernel. The stability of an operating system depends on numerous components that need to operate synchronously and is tested by its ability to thwart bad behavior consequences of third party installation.