stability and security

Shamus discusses why Linux sucks as a personal computing environment. I agree with everything he says, though in the course of his post he does mention that Linux is more stable and more secure than Windows. Now, the fact that Linux is stable and secure is obviously not a matter of contention. However, the implication that windows is neither is one I take issue with.

Consider stability. Anecdotes are not data, but who really gets routine BSOD nowadays? Windows XP does act wierd from time to time but I usually shut down my desk PC at work every night anyway so its not like I need to have rigorous uptime. And my notebook spends most of its time in standby mode, which seems to work flawlessly enough. I do have to reboot from time to time to “clear the gunk out” if things start slowing down, but thats rare (less than once a week) and not that big a burden – especially since I can do a hard reset and be back at my desktop ready to go within two minutes tops. All of this will improve with Vista since it will support hybrid hard drives that store state in flash memory rather than disk, something I will be bloggging more about shortly.

And then consider security. I use a wirelss router at home with a simple firewall, and use MAC addess filtering and WPA encryption. I have no machines in my DMZ. On my actual machines I use the windows firewall, AVG Free, and Spybot. For applications like BitTorrent I open a single port tied to only the machine that’s running the app. I surf the web from Firefox and even if I do use IE, I run it in locked down mode (though the new IE v7 runs like that in default). I practice good common sense for email, ie never open attachments labeled with wierd extensions or from unknown people – or even attachments forwarded to me by people I trust. I also use Yahoo and Gmail exclusively for email rather than POP my mail down – Yahoo even has built-in Norton Antivirus scanning for attachments, and Gmail also has some similar scanning (dunno if its google-homegrown or a 3rd party, but I trust google not to do a half-assed job here).

I am sure that I am still vulnerable in some way and invite comments as to how to even further minimize my profile but frankly security is not a concern for me anymore. I like the fact that all of the above is stuff I can explain to my dad as well – good practices dont require an MS in compsci. And to be honest the blase attitude that Mac owners have towards their security freaks me out. I could never blithely assume that I’m immune to viruses the way that most of my machead friends do.

Windows Just Works for me. That’s really all I ask.

(aside, I’d posted the above as a comment at Shamus’ but his spam filter has a vendetta against me…)