Once again. Why do we want windows users?

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keersarge

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Nov 2, 2007, 12:38:42 AM11/2/07
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Why is the entire pro-Linux news media so concerned about getting more
desktop users from that other bloatware to switch? That is, what
advantage is there to the Linux community if they do? Anybody who wants
Linux is running it now. Future users who want to have a secure and
stable OS will find it.

Assume for a moment that Bloatware Inc goes out of business (fat chance,
but this is just a what-if?) and all the millions of users in the world
eventually switch. Then we will have a world full of icon clickers who
surf as root, download neat screen savers that they are offered by email,
demand that everything be made simpler (about 4th grade level) and fill up
the 'Net' with zombied Linux machines.

So what advantages do these millions of technology deficient users bring
to the Linux community? The only thing I can think of is driver support
from manufacturers who then would have to support it. They have NOTHING
else to donate.

Linux is like living in a gated community. The technical requirements
keep the great unwashed masses from walking across our lawn. Why remove
the guards from the gatehouse?

keersarge

Roy Schestowitz

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Nov 2, 2007, 2:13:09 AM11/2/07
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____/ keersarge on Friday 02 November 2007 04:38 : \____

> So what advantages do these millions of technology deficient users bring
> to the Linux community?

In case you have not noticed, a certain large company wants to make it
impossible for us to use the Internet, the key applications, and many other
things. Its tools for achieving this goal are many and they include a hijack
of the World Wide Web and the server room. It's done through exclusion.

Another thing that large company tries to do is ensure you can no longer get
Linux for free.

There are many other reasons to list here, but that escapes the main point.

The tools for fighing the big company is ensuring that our presence is seen by
Webmasters and developers. This way, we'll be treated as though we're a
component that can never be ignored. The insiders in the BBC, for example, are
already talking on behalf on a big company, which they used to work for. They
spit out bogus figures that strive to imply that Linux users do not exist. I
saw this in the news 2 days ago.

To sum up, Linux users must be vocal in order for Linux to grow. Quiet
existence leaves you behind.

--
~~ Best of wishes

Ribbon-type shortcuts in Palm handhelds leads to SMS talk. We must we
abbreviate?
http://Schestowitz.com | RHAT Linux | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
06:05:01 up 2 days, 10:16, 3 users, load average: 1.35, 0.87, 1.33
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Sinister Midget

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Nov 2, 2007, 2:28:25 AM11/2/07
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On 2007-11-02, keersarge <keere...@nowhere.com> claimed:

Indeed. Make sure the guards are armed. And have killer dogs.

--
Change is inevitable. Except from vending machines.

[H]omer

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Nov 2, 2007, 2:47:59 AM11/2/07
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Verily I say unto thee, that keersarge spake thusly:

> Why is the entire pro-Linux news media so concerned about getting
> more desktop users from that other bloatware to switch?

[...]


> So what advantages do these millions of technology deficient users
> bring to the Linux community? The only thing I can think of is
> driver support from manufacturers who then would have to support it.
> They have NOTHING else to donate.

Well I think you just answered your own question.

I also have no interest in GNU/Linux becoming the "dominant" OS. Unlike
Microsoft, I am not interested in "taking over the world", and therefore
I really don't care what OS other people use, provided their activities
do not /interfere/ with mine. However, both Microsoft and their products
/do/ in fact cause severe problems for non-Windows users, such as:

. Bot-nets of zombie Windows machines spewing spam and DDoS attacks
. Broken standards in networking, the Web, documents, and media
. Windows-only DRM systems
. Windows-only drivers
. Windows-only hardware (Win-modems, BIOSes, DirectX extensions, etc.)
. Windows-only software and services
. Patents held by mainly proprietary software vendors
. Sabotage of FOSS companies and projects, and their activities
. Anti-Linux FUD and lies spread by Microsoft and their proxies
. Deceit, corruption and bribery by Microsoft, to ensure "dominance"
. Microsoft's perversion of the standards process and related bodies
. Microsoft's perversion of public utilities with proprietary standards
. Coercive OEM deals designed to inhibit GNU/Linux adoption
. Government "lobbying" to implement Microsoft's agenda as law

So I do not think it has ever really been a case of wanting GNU/Linux to
"dominate", but rather a question of simply getting rid of the threat to
society posed by Microsoft. Where Windows users would go in the event of
such a happy outcome, I really don't care.

The fact is, that Microsoft and its proxies are violent, aggressive, and
grossly reprehensible goons with a criminal mentality, who have embarked
on a quest to essentially "take over", (pretty much everything they can
get their grubby hands on), all in the name of greed. They simply do not
care how contemptuous their behaviour is, as long as it results in great
big wads of cash - that's all that matters to them.

I don't want GNU/Linux to win, I just want Microsoft to lose, then crawl
into a hole somewhere and die (like SCO), to leave the world in peace.

--
K.
http://slated.org

.----
| "[Microsoft] are willing to lose money for years and years just to
| make sure that you don't make any money, either." - Bob Cringely.
| - http://blog.businessofsoftware.org/2007/07/cringely-the-un.html
`----

Fedora release 7 (Moonshine) on sky, running kernel 2.6.22.1-41.fc7
06:46:23 up 85 days, 6:41, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00

Kelsey Bjarnason

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Nov 2, 2007, 5:55:09 AM11/2/07
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[snips]

On Fri, 02 Nov 2007 04:38:42 +0000, keersarge wrote:

> Assume for a moment that Bloatware Inc goes out of business (fat chance,
> but this is just a what-if?) and all the millions of users in the world
> eventually switch. Then we will have a world full of icon clickers who
> surf as root, download neat screen savers that they are offered by email,
> demand that everything be made simpler (about 4th grade level) and fill up
> the 'Net' with zombied Linux machines.

Depends how it's all done.

Take KUbuntu as an example. Makes it barking easy for the user to install
"real" applications - run the package manager, enter your password, pick
your app and go.

It also makes it easy for him to do "system" level things, such as adding
a printer. Try to do it, enter your password, do it, done.

He never runs as root; he can't, root has no password, thus cannot log on.
He can certainly execute tasks as root, via sudo, but recall we're
assuming he's a turnip, the notion of using the CLI (or figuring out how
to get the GUI to do the job, other than where it's designed to) is
presumably beyond him, or at least his interest.

In short, he can do the stuff he needs to, pretty easily, but not the
stuff he probably shouldn't do. This alone would make it somewhat less
likely he's going to run as root or do equally asinine things.

> So what advantages do these millions of technology deficient users bring
> to the Linux community?

Possibly none at all. However, if we can eliminate a significant portion
of the zombies, botnets and other crap out there, we _all_ win as a
result. Let's look at a simple example. I fired up IE and headed over to
www.tucows.com. Front page, there's something called "stopzilla". Click
the link, up comes a dialog - "Run, Save, Cancel".

Run? *RUN*? Excuse me? This is an unknown file from a remote source,
something which should not ever be run except in the most trusted cases,
yet here's this mindless little dialog allowing me to run this file with a
single freaking mouse click!

Fine, click run. Up comes another dialog - do you want to run this
software? Run or don't run.

Where's the "scan for exploits"? Where's the "This did not come from our
trusted repository, so it should be considered an EXTREME risk and only
run if you are ABSOLUTELY certain you can trust that it is free from
dangerous code"?

Three mouse clicks: one to download, one to select run, one to confirm,
and my system is - potentially, at least - *owned*. Outright.

Now try that in Linux.

Download. Okay, well, depending on the browser and settings, it either
downloads to my desktop (or other default folder), or asks me where to save
it to. Browse if necessary. Save.

Ho hum, okay, download is complete. Dialog says "open" (among other
things). Open? Okay, it's a .bin file. Open means... ah, it opens in my
text editor, because the system hasn't got a clue what a "bin" file is or
what to do with it.

Close the editor. Now, where'd the file go? Ah, yes, I put it in a
downloads folder. Open up the file manager. Find the downloads folder.
There's the file. Click on it. Hmm... text editor again.

I know I can make it executable. How do you do that again? Oh, right.
Go to the file. Right-click. Select "Properties". Select "permissions".
Click "is executable". Click "ok". Click on the file again, it executes.

Let's compare that, shall we?

Windows Linux

Download file Download File
Click "run" Browse to a folder
Click "run" Click save
System compromised Open file manager
Browse to folder
Right-click file
Click "properties"
Click "permissions"
Click "is executable"
Click "okay"
Click file

That's three steps to infection, every single one of them prompted, versus
eleven steps, only two of which - browsing to the folder and saving - are
prompted. The other nine the user has to figure out for himself.

Of the two, which is vastly more likely to end up with compromised systems
more or less _by accident_?

Yes, the user _can_ do the steps necessary to infect themselves in Linux,
no doubt, but it's a tad less likely he's going to do so without thinking
about the process, and it is sufficiently complex that in many cases he
simply won't bother.

Which brings us to another point. Even if he does do this, he is still
executing _as a user_. Not as root (at least, generally, and using our
KUbuntu example, pretty much guaranteed). Which means an exploit which in
Windows would have full access to most machines, now has very limited
access to the one machine.

Yes, such exploits can include escalation code, but that means the things
are more complex to write, which in and of itself may slow the propagation
down a little.

Meanwhile we're overlooking other aspects. We're overlooking that it's
not just Ubuntu, but other systems as well. We're overlooking the growing
use of tools such as AppArmour, SELinux and the like. We're also
overlooking the disparity of Linux systems: an exploit for a 32-bit
machine is not going to work as intended on a 64-bit box as a rule, and
vice-versa. Nor is an exploit for the PC going to work on a PPC machine,
and so on. Which means that an exploit in the wild is a hell of a lot
more visible in Linux, than in Windows where to all intents and purposes,
every running machine is effectively the same.

Even if the exploit can't work - the user actually _is_ a user and the
exploit has no escalation code, or some such - it is somewhat less likely
to spew errors about incompatible system libraries and suchlike, meaning
that where it can work, it does, but where it can't, it is effectively
silent, whereas in Linux, when it can't, it is *not* silent at all.

So. Linux makes it harder to get infected, it makes it harder for an
infection to do any real damage to a given box, it makes it harder for the
exploit to propagate and it makes it a damned sight easier to spot the
little bastard out there in the wild - and it virtually eliminates the
_trivial_ infection of a machine with as few as three mouse clicks.

This won't eliminate all threats, but it is vastly better than how Windows
handles such things. Even if we do end up with an endless stream of
boneheads who actually figure out how to run the latest "icon theme" and
thus get infected, we make it sufficiently difficult _on average_ for this
to occur that we would rather expect the 50-million-strong botnets and
similar threats to be largely a thing of the past.

Which means we _all_ benefit. Lessened spam from zombies. Lessened
bandwidth consumption from garbage. Lessened attacks on our own machines,
which may not be successful now, but do suck bandwidth. Lessened costs to
business and the like in lost work. Lessened cost to credit companies and
the like from stolen credit card numbers. Lessened costs on a wide number
of fronts, actually.

And not just _slightly_ lessened costs. Message Labs reported that at its
peak, 1 in 12 emails internet-wide were copies of MyDoom, and they were
seeing up to 60,000 copies *per hour*.

Trend Micro suggests that in 2003, the total cost of virus-borne damages
was on the order of $55 billion, and doubling each year for the years
2001-2003.

Anything which makes life more difficult for exploits and their authors
is a net win, and Windows has done, to be blunt, fuck all in 15 years to
even pretend to slow the problem. Linux won't solve every aspect of every
problem, let's not kid ourselves, but it *does* present a much harsher and
more resistant environment for such beasts. Maybe we can't eliminate
them, but we can certainly slow them down a lot.

And that, frankly, is sufficient. If we can reduce a $55 billion a year
problem to a $5 billion a year problem, that's $50 billion not be wasted,
not being tossed in the fireplace to accomplish nothing.

This, to me, is a very big win - and it's a win we can achieve even *with*
an endless stream of turnips at the keyboard.

> Linux is like living in a gated community. The technical requirements
> keep the great unwashed masses from walking across our lawn.

What technical requirements? It is *easier* to install than Windows. It
can be purchased pre-installed, like Windows. Its is *easier* to install
and update software. It is *easier* to get much hardware working. With
systems such as Ubuntu, even "restricted" hardware is easier to get
working than with Windows.

In use, it is no more difficult than Windows. A word processor still
processes words, a mail client still handles email. Media players still
play media.

And it *doesn't* require all the anti-spyware, anti-virus and other crud
that you need to install, update, care for and feed.

And you can use your 64-bit machine and actually expect your hardware to
work. And your applications. And your data.

Oh, yes, it *is* more difficult in one area: if you really want to
download those cool little icon themes, it is, in fact, more difficult to
compromise your system in the process.

This, IMO, is not such a bad thing.

Rick

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Nov 2, 2007, 7:26:40 AM11/2/07
to
On Fri, 02 Nov 2007 04:38:42 +0000, keersarge wrote:

> Why is the entire pro-Linux news media so concerned about getting more
> desktop users from that other bloatware to switch? That is, what
> advantage is there to the Linux community if they do? Anybody who wants
> Linux is running it now. Future users who want to have a secure and
> stable OS will find it.

People don't know if they want to run Linux. The overwhelming number of
personal computer users have never see it.

>
> Assume for a moment that Bloatware Inc goes out of business (fat chance,
> but this is just a what-if?) and all the millions of users in the world
> eventually switch. Then we will have a world full of icon clickers who
> surf as root, download neat screen savers that they are offered by
> email, demand that everything be made simpler (about 4th grade level)
> and fill up the 'Net' with zombied Linux machines.


No, we won't. Ubuntu doesn't have a root account by default. Other
popular distros have you create a user account.

>
> So what advantages do these millions of technology deficient users bring
> to the Linux community? The only thing I can think of is driver support
> from manufacturers who then would have to support it. They have NOTHING
> else to donate.

That is a great donation.

>
> Linux is like living in a gated community.

No, it isn't.

> The technical requirements
> keep the great unwashed masses from walking across our lawn. Why remove
> the guards from the gatehouse?
>

What technical requirements? What gatehouse?

--
Rick

chrisv

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Nov 2, 2007, 10:34:19 AM11/2/07
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keersarge wrote:

>So what advantages do these millions of technology deficient users bring
>to the Linux community? The only thing I can think of is driver support
>from manufacturers who then would have to support it. They have NOTHING
>else to donate.

Nice troll.

The world in general benefits from things like open standards and
robust competition. Lower costs and higher quality result.

>Linux is like living in a gated community. The technical requirements
>keep the great unwashed masses from walking across our lawn.

What "technical requirements" would those be? The fact that thre's
not many places that sell Linux machines with the OS pre-installed?

>Why remove the guards from the gatehouse?

See above. There's no reason to fear "the great unwashed masses".

Linonut

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Nov 2, 2007, 11:08:53 AM11/2/07
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After takin' a swig o' grog, [H]omer belched out this bit o' wisdom:

Microsoft is a cancer!

--
Tux rox!

keersarge

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Nov 2, 2007, 12:57:24 PM11/2/07
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Wow. Real answers on the advocacy group and not a single troll in sight
so far - very unusual.

Ok I can agree with most of what everyone has said. It is just that all
the points that were made are almost never discussed in the untechnical
technical media - just the fact that Vista is outselling Linux ten million
to one, or that there are more 98 machines than Linux, blah blah.

My take is that stupidity is its own punishment - if you are using
Bloatware OS with all the zombie, virus and suchnot problems, AND KNOW
about an alternative and DON'T at least look into it, then you get what
you deserve.

On a non-advocacy note...
The surprising thing that I got from a couple of posts is that
Ubuntu/Kbuntu (I use raw Debian) doesn't let you log in as root? Doesn't
it get somewhat difficult to change things? Like runlevels or IP
addresses?

Joking, of course. If someone even knows the existance of something like
runlevels or MYSQL-server, obviously there is a way for them to bypass
what is apparently idiot proofing and get to a commandline as root. I
didn't realise that there was a distro aimed at the people I was ranting
about in my original post. Interesting...

keersarge

c...@example.net

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Nov 2, 2007, 8:12:11 PM11/2/07
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The above may be quite true, but in Windows one doesn't *have* to run
the program downloaded - just save and then scan with anti-virus

Roy Schestowitz

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Nov 2, 2007, 8:50:48 PM11/2/07
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____/ Linonut on Friday 02 November 2007 15:08 : \____

Consider Robert X cringely's advice.

http://weblog.infoworld.com/robertxcringely/archives/2007/10/microsoft_the_f.html

Microsoft needs to be eliminated, he'd say. No criminal organisation has ever
offered any good to humanity. And yes, I put my
name/credibility/reputation/whatever the trolls will want to laugh at when I
call them "criminals" because I know quite a lot about the Microsoft that
people do not just read about in the daily papers.

Microsoft was created with, sheltered by, thrived in, and continues to find
some prosperity in crime. Business crimes.

--
~~ Best of wishes

Roy S. Schestowitz | #FFFFFFF4 ADD &R1, "9999999", &BankAccount
http://Schestowitz.com | RHAT GNU/Linux | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
run-level 2 2007-10-30 19:49 last=
http://iuron.com - help build a non-profit search engine

Kelsey Bjarnason

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Nov 4, 2007, 2:37:40 PM11/4/07
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[snips]

On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 00:12:11 +0000, cj wrote:

> The above may be quite true, but in Windows one doesn't *have* to run
> the program downloaded - just save and then scan with anti-virus

No, one doesn't - but the context was if all the millions of boneheads who
*do* just that sort of thing converted to Linux, would there be a benefit,
or just another round of the same sort of crap, just Linux-based?

In response I point out that while one certainly _can_ apply best
practices, the boneheads as a rule do not, and Windows goes out of its way
to make it _easy_, even _trivial_ to avoid those best practices, where
Linux, while leaving "proper" things easy to do, does not go out of its
way to enable that sort of practice.

If you _prompt_ a user into the worst possible options, you can expect
that a significant number of users will actually take those options. If
you don't prompt them, if on top of not prompting them you make the
process of achieving the same end somewhat arcane and lengthy, you can be
assured a hell of a lot fewer people will figure it out, or take the
effort to do it.

It won't eliminate the problem, but it may just reduce it, and that is
sufficient for a net win, for all of us, in reduced spams, zombies and the
rest.

Kelsey Bjarnason

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Nov 4, 2007, 3:00:18 PM11/4/07
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[snips]

On Fri, 02 Nov 2007 16:57:24 +0000, keersarge wrote:

> My take is that stupidity is its own punishment - if you are using
> Bloatware OS with all the zombie, virus and suchnot problems, AND KNOW
> about an alternative and DON'T at least look into it, then you get what
> you deserve.

Pretty much. Worse, though, are the ones who do, but persist in doing so
*as if Linux is Windows*. It isn't Windows, don't expect it to work like
Windows - if you want something that works that way, there's this other
thing that works that way, it's called... er... lemme think... Windows.

> On a non-advocacy note...
> The surprising thing that I got from a couple of posts is that
> Ubuntu/Kbuntu (I use raw Debian) doesn't let you log in as root? Doesn't
> it get somewhat difficult to change things? Like runlevels or IP
> addresses?

Nope. You do it via sudo, or the GUI management tools. No need to log in
as root.

Another point about Ubuntu which is often overlooked is how it works on
multiple-user setups. The first created user is automatically added to
the admin groups, so he can do administrative tasks via sudo; subsequent
users are _not_ added to the group and _cannot_ do these things by default.

The logic is pretty simple, I think: the one setting up the box is
presumably also the one smart enough to administer it. :)

> Joking, of course. If someone even knows the existance of something
> like runlevels or MYSQL-server, obviously there is a way for them to
> bypass what is apparently idiot proofing and get to a commandline as
> root. I didn't realise that there was a distro aimed at the people I was
> ranting about in my original post. Interesting...

Ubuntu is simultaneously quite good at protecting the user from
inadvertent boneheaded accidents, and allowing the user to still do the
things he needs to.

The same should be doable on most any distro; Ubuntu just does it this way
by default.

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