With the entrance of Vista on the market, the consumer is left wondering: which way do I go? Shall I ride the wave of change, shell out the money and upgrade, or shall I just throw in the towel and stay stuck in the Jurassic XP era?
This might seem to be so either-or, so all-or-nothing, but the choices don’t have to seem so “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” at all. As I have forayed into the forums and wandered into the websites, I have increasingly become amazed at the fact that the trend today is not to feed the Microsoft machine by getting Vista, but rather, people are jumping ship and moving to different operating systems. Alternatives that, while they may not be supported by as many software developers out there, they have one trump card over any Microsoft system: security.
If there’s anything that amazes me, it’s the fact that we haven’t really seen any outbreak of non-Windows/Microsoft virus or malware. On one article, I read that with OS X, though there may be threats reported, they all turn out to be unexecutable. The irony is, they are executable only in Windows! That article was written in 2003. As for Linux, there are only 40 reported viruses as of 2006. And you actually need to run them yourself too. :p
According to Marius van Oers, one of McAfee’s virus research engineers, there are 236,000 malware programs loose “in the wild” as of 2007. Of these 236,000, only 700 are aimed at Unix/Linux distros, while there are 7 or less meant for Macintosh’s OS X. Would you believe that?! And even then, I haven’t really heard of a Linux or OS X outbreak! I mean, how could malware be virulent (pardon the pun), when you need to run it yourself in order to make it work?! If you need to read my source for the statistics, go here.
Here are some articles on why Linux and OS X are seemingly immune to malware:
I have come to notice that there is a pattern in my experience with Windows systems. In the first Windows system in the first PC I was able to call my own, I had Windows ME. Even from the start, it was already experiencing blue screen moments, due to a (widely-publicized) bug in the system itself. Not even three years later, it totally broke down. The next OS I used was Windows 98, installed in April 2004. It was relatively more stable. However, it started breaking down after September 2006. My final Microsoft OS was Windows XP, installed around November 2006. In the first week of April, it broke down on me.
My conclusion is: on me, Microsoft OS’s are definitely radioactive. I am one hell of a user: I like putting in new applications to try. I try my hand at modifying settings, and I rely on web FAQ’s to fix my computer messes. Maybe that’s the reason why these OS’s never last on me.
But you know what, I also did some dangerous things like installing background applications on my OS X (Tiger). They were pretty “dangerous” apps to me, as they were things I did not understand: compilers, plugins, etc. I also managed to download a couple of corrupt files from Frostwire’s P2P network. When I scanned my Macbook, several times… No outbreak. My Macbook hasn’t had a system-wide crash ever since I overloaded it by opening at least 5 programs then opening Front Row (heehee). My Sayuri (The Macbook. Yes, I named her. Blame it on Bianca Gonzales’ blog. :p) still works so briskly and beautifully.
My point is, there are other alternatives out there. OS X is one. Linux and its babies is another. So are BSDs and other Unix spawn. It’s up to you to explore and wrench that Microsoft dependency out of your system. Oh, and by the way, you can run MS applications on Wine in Linux and Crossover in OS X. :p