While doing the first article on Kubuntu I had some readers give feedback, and one of those readers suggested in my Review of Kubuntu I should have mentioned how much better it was then windows in terms of security and stability. So I figured I would take some time here and type up what I have seen since using both operating systems.
The first thing I want to address is the stability of Windows XP and Linux/Kubuntu. In the time I have been using Kubuntu I have had it lockup on me twice and also had a program just out right crash, and I seen all these things happened within a month of using Kubuntu. With windows XP I have also seen things crash and also have seen it do total lock ups as well. My point being here is, I don’t think I can say for certain what operating system is more stable…
Keep in mind I had both Kubuntu and XP only running things they should be, all the unnecessary stuff was disabled and still I have seen both operating systems lock up. Now in terms of XP I don’t see it lock up all that often and I have been running XP since it came out. I’m sure Kubuntu for the most part to is fairly stable but I still think both operating systems need more work so they don’t lock up at all.
This situation may change though if your a new computer user to ether operating system and you have loads and loads of stuff running. The more stuff you have running in the background/services the more likely your are to end up with issues. I can only speak for myself here and what I have seen to date, is both operating systems do lockup from time to time.
One thing I should mention though is I’m talking about windows XP here and not other versions of windows such as windows 95 and windows 98. I also ran both of them operating systems when they came out and I thought they both sucked. They were VERY unstable and crashed all the time and that was regardless of how you had them configured. XP has come a long way since then and it really is a massive leap in terms of stability over previous versions of windows.
Now on the security end of things this is going to boil down to the level of computer awareness a user has. I have my windows XP machine setup rather well and have never had issues with spy-ware or virus’s. On the other hand I know computer users that are not as careful as I am and they have been infected with virus’s and the like.
I know with Linux/Kubuntu there are no known viruses in the wild for it yet so your pretty safe for the time being. I think though if you let your guard down while using something like Kubuntu and your not aware of whats out there then your no more safe then you would be on a windows machine. I think if Linux/Kubuntu ever get wildly popular you will in fact see more security holes being poked into Linux/Kubuntu. It may never be as bad as it is for windows right now but I’m sure there would be some head aches.
I remember when I first started using Firefox on windows XP, all my popups I was getting in Internet Explorer disappeared this was until Firefox started to get popular. Once the user share of Firefox started to get bigger then it become more important for the add makers to find ways around the built in protection in Firefox. Every now and then when I’m on a site I get popups now and thats despite having the latest version of Firefox.
I’m not saying Linux/Kubuntu will end up this way but I think its something that could happen. As soon as Linux starts to get more momentum behind it then its going to be a huge deal to find ways around its built in protections so the spy-ware and add-ware people can get on the system. Likewise if it has a bigger piece of the market it will also be more of a target for the script kiddies and virus authors as well. I personally want to see how it stacks up under these conditions..
When I think about security for ether Linux or Windows I often think about what a professor said to me one time in e-mail. I asked the professor of this security course that taught both Linux and Windows security what one of the two operating systems was more secure. I was expecting him to say Linux but instead he told me both operating systems can be made secure and if you knew what you were doing there was no difference between the two.
I think right now Linux/Kubuntu has the edge in security but only because no one is bothering with making viruses and the like for it. Linux also has the whole root password system as well and that makes a huge difference in security. Windows is more of a pain to keep an eye on because it has so many people out there trying to hack it.
At the end of the day all this boils down to the user. The more effort you put into keeping your system clean the better off you will be, and thats the bottom line.