Recently some guys from my flying club were circulating an email filled with FUD about the latest incoming Microsoft virus. Here is the response I sent them:

Why not just use an operating system that doesn't require participation in the Microsoft/Norton/McAfee virus racket to start with?

I've made a career out of replacing virus ridden Microsoft software with free open source Linux software. I don't have a "high up" Microsoft status like "Dave's brother", nor would I ever want one. In fact I'd imagine Microsoft thinks of me and my kind as enemies of the state. And that's fine.. meanwhile I never have virus infestations because I simply don't use broken M$ software that is vulnerable to virus attacks.

Don't get me wrong, I do use some Windoze-only software.. RealFlight for example. But I only do this using Wine, a free open source Windoze emulator that runs on Linux. As a result I've never purchased or ran any Norton or McAfee products or participated in the virus protection racket at all.

Understand it's Microsoft who has allowed virus proliferation. If they could only be bothered to spend a few dollars ensuring their code was secure, companies like Norton and McAfee wouldn't need to exist in the first place. The main problem with M$ is they are a publicly traded company and the bottom line is more important to their share holders than producing a secure product.

Virus writers and black-hat hackers love M$. They've made careers out of poking holes in M$ products. You can choose to assist them by continuing to send your hard-earned dollars to Redmond, WA, or you can run free open source software and help put them out of business. I choose to not help them. I run Linux and other Unix derivatives on all my computers (and I have a lot of computers).

I see from this email from jrrcflyer@charter.net that the email itself was sent from a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. Did you know that phone runs Android that sits atop a Linux operating system? Did you have to install virus protection on it? No, you didn't, and that's because it's not a M$ product and doesn't require your participation in the virus protection racket. Companies like Samsung and Motorola have limited their non-Linux offerings simply because they know any virus issues will ultimately lead back to them, not M$.

Do you have a Cisco or LinkSys wireless router at your house?

It runs Linux.

Do you have a Sprint/Verizon AirRave signal booster at your house?

It runs Linux.

Do you have a cable box or a DVD/blueray player?

It too probably runs Linux.

Seeing a pattern yet?

When you say "computer virus" you're doing Microsoft a huge favor. You should instead call it what it actually is, a "Microsoft virus". Linux doesn't get virus infestations, nor does Mac OS. These operating systems aren't Microsoft based, they are both Unix based and are very much free from virus attacks.

Microsoft and Norton and McAfee don't want you to know about the world of free, open source software. They want you to think Windoze is your only choice. But you do have a choice. You can pay $200 per copy of Windoze and then another $75/year on Norton/McAfee to protect yourself from it, or you can use free open source software and pay $0. Yeah, that's right, $0.

I run Ubuntu Linux on my desktop machines. I run Debian Linux on my application/database servers. I run FreeBSD on my firewall servers. None of these operating systems cost me a single penny to download and use. No EULAs to agree to, no contracts to sign, just a dvdrom image to download, burn and install.

Why is using a closed source product like M$ Windoze bad?

Windoze is built and maintained in a closed environment with a small number of software engineers. No one is allowed to see the original source code to audit it for security issues except for the same guys who wrote it. No one but M$ employees can know if it's actually secure, and history has show it is not.

In the open source world we operate with the opposite mindset. We actually want other software engineers to audit our code to assist us with closing up any security issues before releasing the code to the public. Open source software has a 30+ year track record of being virus free.

Ask yourself, what's better?

a) 50 Microsoft engineers in a single office in Redmond auditing closed source code for security issues
b) Millions of open source software engineers all over the planet auditing open source code for security issues

The answer is clear:

"Given enough eyeballs, all software bugs are shallow." ~Eric S. Raymond.

Microsoft zealots would have you believe software has to be closed source to maintain intellectual property rights for higher profits and so forth. That's simply not true. Last time I looked Google (who only uses Linux on it's servers) was trading at over $1100/share, meanwhile M$ was only trading down around $30/share. And there are plenty more open source software companies making a profit these days. Have a look at RedHat Linux for example.

Software is just the vehicle, service is the actual product. Working together to make great software is more fun with friends. Buying into the Microsoft/McAfee/Norton virus racket just means less airplanes.

Further reading:

http://www.fsf.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Bazaar

Where I get my free open source desktop software:

http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop
https://www.libreoffice.org/
http://www.winehq.org/

And good luck fighting the new Microsoft virus. Even if you win today there will be 10 new ones tomorrow:

http://www.securityfocus.com/

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