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2012 May 28 09:01

Reasons to Avoid Microsoft

[Bug] [Education] [Government] [Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt] [Security Hole] [MSN Hotmail] [MS Internet Explorer] [MS IIS Webserver] [MSN Instant Messenger] [License] [Linux/Open Source] [Monopoly] [MS Outlook] [Piracy] [Privacy] [Virus/Worm] [MS XBox] [MS Windows XP] [WOW!]

These pages are a compilation of links and quotes to news articles and others sources that might help convince you to switch to Linux.

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  • How to Get Your Platform Accepted as a Standard - Microsoft Style (2008.02.17, In the section of an internal manual on effective evangelism, written in 1997 by James Plamondon, Technical Evangelist, he lays out an elaborate series of steps to get Microsoft's platforms accepted as de facto standards. Among the steps listed are working behind the scenes with supposedly independent but actually pliable and supportive analysts and consultants. There is a section on evangelism steps to take to build support, which he calls guerilla marketing, or "The Slog" and and that's the section that includes using supposedly "independent" analysts and consultants... "'Independent' analyst's report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). 'Independent' consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). 'Independent' academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). 'Independent' courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.")

  • True or False: E-Waste (CNN, 2007.12.03)
    [Linux/Open Source] True or False: Switching from a Windows-operated computer to a Linux-operated one could slash computer-generated e-waste levels by 50%. The answer is: TRUE

  • Security loophole found in Windows operating system (EurekAlert, 2007.11.12)
    [Security Hole] The significance of the loophole: emails, passwords, credit card numbers, if they were typed into the computer, and actually all correspondence that emanated from a computer using 'Windows 2000' is susceptible to tracking. ... The researchers found the security loophole in the random number generator of Windows. This is a program which is, among other things, a critical building block for file and email encryption, and for the SSL encryption protocol which is used by all Internet browsers. For example: in correspondence with a bank or any other website that requires typing in a password, or a credit card number, the random number generator creates a random encryption key, which is used to encrypt the communication so that only the relevant website can read the correspondence. The research team found a way to decipher how the random number generator works and thereby compute previous and future encryption keys used by the computer, and eavesdrop on private communication.

  • More gnashing of teeth after Microsoft update brings PCs to a standstill (The Register, 2007.10.25)
    [Privacy] Something seems to have gone horribly wrong in an untold number of IT departments on Wednesday after Microsoft installed a resource-hogging search application on machines company-wide, even though administrators had configured systems not to use the program. ... Critics cried foul on the principle that users should have absolute control over their machines. They also argued that the stealth update could hamper compliance requirements.

  • 13 reasons why Linux should be on your desktop (DesktopLinux.com, 2007.10.16)
    [Linux/Open Source] Vista is a Wagner Opera that is usually late to start, takes too long to finish, and is spoilt by floorboards creaking under the weight of the cast. Mac OS X Leopard, meanwhile, is the late show in an exclusive nightclub where the drinks are always too expensive. In contrast, the Linux desktop is the free show in the park across the street -- it imposes some discomforts on the audience, but provides plenty of entertainment.

  • The Next Leap for Linux (New York Times, 2007.10.04)
    [Linux/Open Source] Unlike Windows from Microsoft and OS X from Apple, Linux is not owned, updated or controlled by a single company. Thousands of developers around the world work on Linux, making improvements and issuing new versions several times a year. ... Because Dell does not have to pay a licensing fee for the operating system, the computers are $80 cheaper than PCs with Windows Vista Home Premium or $50 cheaper than the stripped-down Vista Basic edition. ... Thanks to open source developers, there are thousands more free programs. An Add/Remove function actually makes finding programs easier with Linux than it is for Mac and Windows. Without having to go to Web sites, it lets you browse through categories of software. It took me only seconds to find several additional music players, a PDF reader and other programs. ... with prices starting as low as free, you certainly cannot complain about the price.

  • One school district answers Microsoft's pricing with open source (CNET 'The Open Road' Blog, 2007.09.27)
    [Linux/Open Source] [Education] What if your local school district had to choose between Microsoft software licenses or education for your children? This isn't far off from the choice Windsor Unified School District in California recently faced... a $100,000 price tag from Microsoft (half the district's IT budget) and another $200,000 for security software from Trend Micro [... Faced with this,] the district's new IT administrator turned to open source...

  • Ignoring open source is costing us dear (The Guardian, Opinion Column, 2007.09.20)
    [Linux/Open Source] [Government] [Education] Schools are not much better, a double tragedy because they not only don't benefit from savings but also lose the opportunity to train children in the skills of the future. Equally serious is the indifference of small companies. This, we were told, was down to a suspicion that anything that is free can't be any good. This is not a view shared by Google or Amazon - both huge users of open source. It was strongly disputed by a representative from Malmaison, the very cool hotel group which has put most of its operations on to open source for one simple reason: 'high performance and low cost'.

  • Microsoft dispels rumors of stealth Windows updates (The Register, 2007.09.14)
    [Privacy] Reports of secret updates began circulating after at least two sites reported that Windows Update pushed patches on machines - even though the automatic update feature had been disabled. ... The issue has touched off concern among some that allowing Microsoft or any other company to install files without their prior knowledge and consent sets a dangerous precedent.

  • Hacker, Microsoft duke it out over Vista desin flaw (ZDNet 'Tracking the hackers' blog, 2007.02.13)
    [] [Security Hole] [WOW!] [A security hacker] stumbled upon a 'very severe hole' in the design of UAC (User Account Control) and found out -- from Microsoft officials -- that the default no-admin setting isn't even a security mechanism anymore. ... [UAC] assumes that all setup programs (application installers) should be run with administrator privileges. ... 'That means if you download some freeware Tetris game, you will have to run its installer as administrator, giving it not only full access to all your file system and registry, but also allowing it to load kernel drivers.'

  • EU Commission Study Finds You'll Save Money Switching to FOSS (Groklaw, 2007.01.12)
    [Education] [Linux/Open Source] The EU Commission's Final Report on its 'Study on the Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU' ... [concludes] a transition toward open source reports of savings on the long term cost of ownership... [and training] costs to migrate to [open source] are temporary...

  • UK schools at risk of Microsoft lock-in, says government report (Computer Business Review Online, 2007.01.11)
    [Monopoly] [Education] UK schools and colleges that have signed up to Microsoft Corp's academic licensing programs face the 'significant potential' of being locked in to the company's software, according to an interim review by the [British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, the] UK government agency responsible for technology in education. ... For a typical secondary school the cost of buy-out for desktop products alone would be the equivalent of a new teacher's annual salary, the report stated. Consequently most establishments surveyed did not believe that Microsoft's licensing agreements provide value for money.

  • A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection (Peter Gutmann, 2007.01.04)
    [] Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in order to provide content protection for so-called 'premium content', typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software cost.

  • Internet Explorer Unsafe for 284 Days in 2006 (Washington Post 'Security Fix' Blog, 2007.01.03)
    [Security Hole] [Privacy] [MS Internet Explorer] [WOW!] For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in [IE] was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users. ... In contrast, [the Open Source Mozilla Firefox browser] experienced a single period lasting just nine days last year in which exploit code for a serious security hole was posted online before Mozilla shipped a patch to remedy the problem.

  • Windows screwup forces Ubuntu shift (The Inquirer, 2006.12.31)
    [Linux/Open Source] [License] A match made in hell: You never quite wrap your head around how anti-consumer Microsoft's policies are until they bite you in the bum. Add in the customer antagonistic policies of its patsies, HP in this case, and vendors like Promise, and you have quite a recipe for pain.

  • Virus writers target web videos (BBC News, 2006.10.31)
    [Security Hole] [Virus/Worm] Security firms are reporting more and more instances of booby-trapped Windows codecs - file compressors - required to play some video formats. Some of the codecs let users play types of net-based video, but also have spyware and adware wrapped inside. Others, say experts, are outright fakes that just want to infect victims with data-stealing programs.

  • New Windows attack can kill firewall (Network World, 2006.10.30)
    [WOW!] [Security Hole] Hackers have published code that could let an attacker disable the Windows Firewall on certain Windows XP machines. The code, which was posted on the Internet early Sunday morning, could be used to disable the Windows Firewall on a fully patched Windows XP PC that was running Windows' Internet Connection Service... ypically used by home and small-business users.

  • Vista furor (CNET News, 2006.10.20)
    [] Under changes to Microsoft's licensing terms, buyers of retail copies of Vista will be able to transfer their software to a new machine only once. If they want to move their software a second time, they will have to buy a new copy of the operating system. In the past, those who bought a retail copy of Windows needed to uninstall it before moving it to another machine, but there was no limit to how many times this could be done.

  • IE7 flaw a canary in the coalmine? (iTWire, 2006.10.20)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] Internet Explorer 7 is supposed to be one of the big ones for Microsoft, a catchup browser five years in the making. Aside from the catchup features, it was the tighter security that was always going to be the clincher for many users, particularly in the business world. However, the perception of a more secure browsing experience with IE7 is already under strain with the discovery of a flaw just hours after release. ... one could question the entry of Microsoft into the security space on the eve of the release of Vista in the first place ... why [would] an operating system vendor in the process of releasing a supposedly rock solid secure system [...] believe there's money to be made out of security products for that system[?]

  • IE7 Vulnerability Discovered (Slashdot.org, 2006.10.19)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] Not 24 hours after the release of IE7, Secunia reports Internet Explorer Arbitrary Content Disclosure Vulnerability. So much for the 'you wanted it easier and more secure' slogan found on Microsoft's IE Website.

  • Onerous Vista Activation -- A Time Bomb? (PC Magazine, 2006.10.16)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] There has been a lot of chatter recently over some of the newer activation and validation schemes that Microsoft may or may not implement with its new Vista operating system. ... Microsoft wants to put yet another layer into the mix, and this layer -- Windows Genuine Advantage -- could become a problem if the layer itself is ever targeted by a virus or Trojan horse. ... I'm more worried about some joker creating a virus or exploit that turns the good cop [WGA] into a bad cop, and I can only imagine the destruction and hassle that will ensue. First of all, this policeman program is also a traffic cop. Aside from having the potential ability to turn your operating system off so that it cannot work at all, it is the program that allows your OS to be upgraded. There will be no patches for an exploit against the program that turns off upgrades. Once a virus that makes the cop refuse to authenticate Vista hits the Net, then how can the problem be fixed?

  • Vista & Longhorn Server.s .Improved. Security (The NeoSmart Files, 2006.10.12)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] [If] an operating system doesn't get more secure as it progresses and evolves, there is certainly something fishy going on. ... So what's the problem? Windows "Longhorn" Server is! While Windows Vista.s security has steadily improved build-by-build, and while Longhorn.s kernel and applications may be more secure, Windows Longhorn Server as a whole most certainly isn.t. Why? Because it never prompts you to set an Administrator password!

  • Tracking down hi-tech crime (BBC News, 2006.10.08)
    [MS Windows XP] [Security Hole] [WOW!] If every hour a burglar turned up at your house and rattled the locks on the doors and windows to see if he could get in, you might consider moving to a safer neighbourhood. And while that may not be happening to your home, it probably is happening to any PC you connect to the net. ... When we put this machine online it was, on average, hit by a potential security assault every 15 minutes. None of these attacks were solicited, merely putting the machine online was enough to attract them. The fastest an attack struck was mere seconds... Often once a machine has fallen under someone else's control, a keylogger will be installed to capture information about everything that the real owner does -- such as login to their online bank account.

  • The Vista budget vacuum (smallbusiness.itworld.com, 2006.10.05)
    [WOW!] If your company plans to play the Vista game, start cooking your books now. I estimate each Vista user will cost your company between $3,250 and $5,000. That's each and every Vista user. Money will go to Microsoft for Vista and Office 2007, to hardware vendors for new PCs and components, and possibly a few bucks to Apple for those users jumping to a Mac. After all, if Apple's higher cost has been the factor keeping your company from trying a Mac, that factor just washed away.

  • Was HP.s traceable 'PattyMail' spyware? You decide (ZDNet Blogs, 2006.09.29)
    [MS Outlook] [Privacy] If you've been following the HP privacy scandal at all, then you'd know that HP resorted to (or considered resorting to) several techniques in hopes of smoking out whoever it was that was leaking information from its boardroom to the press... [including] sending traceable email ... I also showed how the versions of Microsoft's Outlook that are currently in circulation ... make it impossible to successfully forward an HTML-based e-mail without re-activating its traceability.

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Collection originally created by, donated to LUGOD by, and maintained by Bill Kendrick.

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