virus warnings(off topic)

Chris Covington malth at
Wed Jul 10 00:56:31 EDT 2002


I appreciate your strong opinions on the subject and I do agree that by
and large, most Mac systems, especially OS X are more resilient to virii.
However, I wouldn't suggest that the systems themselves are so inherently
better than PC systems, which to a certain degree they are, but rather
that it's just that they're less mainstream, and therefore fewer virus
authors / spammers target these systems.

In other words, If OS X were top dog, there'd be just as many virii as on
a Windows system, but it's not, so nobody cares and therefore they do
not write virii / spamware for it.

Unix has historically had plenty of virus/worm problems as well, but
the issue is just not as mainstream.  And you could say the same thing
about running a CP/M system right now, or OS/2, VAX, etc. - no virii.

I myself have a hard time encouraging people to adopt a system, OS X,
which was designed as open-source freeware but resold as closed-source
proprietary software.  If you *really* want a resilient system, don't
bother with the closed-source proprietary OS X, get Free BSD, or Net BSD,
(which OS X is based on) or any flavor of Linux.  Or if you are going to
get a proprietary system, get something with more than a 1 year track
record (aka OS X) like Solaris.

Obfuscation as a means of security through proprietary operating systems
has never really worked - Apple is basically following Microsoft's path.
And Apple just doesn't have the track record that Sun has to be able to
get away with it.


On Mon, 8 Jul 2002, Brett Dikeman wrote:

> Folks, I'm gonna get a little preachy here, since I'm sick of seeing
> people complain about viruses :-)
> You've been warned.  There's some parallels here, but for the most
> Audi content.  Consider it a small tradeoff for my running
> this list for so long :-)
> Viruses are a fact of life for those using Windows systems and a
> problem inherent in the design of Microsoft products, has been for
> years, so I'd appreciate people not 'warning' everyone every time a
> new one comes out("Oh, a new Windows virus? <yawn>.  Anything new?")
> Tired of the crashes, the viruses, etc?
> Do something about it.
> I've been running MacOS X for almost a year now.
> Guess how many times the OS has locked up and required a reboot, so far.  ONCE.
> Guess how many times I've had an application crash.  Three times.
> Total.  Two of them were in non-Apple beta software I was testing.
> None of the crashes have affected other programs or the OS.
> So far, I'm doing better over a year than most PC users do in a week.
> Guess how many viruses I've been infected with, despite receiving
> dozens, and having NO antivirus software installed.  Zero(further, I
> have NEVER been infected with a virus on any of the half dozen Macs
> I've owned, for at least the last 6 years.)
> Guess how many times I've lost data, in all my years of using Macs,
> other than hard drive crashes(physical media problems) or directly
> from my own stupidity.  Zero.
> Guess how many security updates my operating system has had in the
> last year, not including security updates for the Mac version of
> Internet Explorer.  Two.
> (Each only applied to those with remote access and web serving
> enabled, respectively; neither is by default.  Both were released
> within a week of the vulnerability being announced.  Oh, by the way,
> the Mac version of IE has had something like 3-4 security updates so
> far I think.)
> Want to guess how many spyware/adware programs I've had to remove?  Zero.
> (my win2k box...8)
> I strongly encourage any PC user on this list to check out Apple's
> 'switch' site, which by now you've probably seen the TV commercials
> for.  If you've never used a Mac for more than a few hours, I
> guarantee almost everything you think you know about Macs is wrong.
> If you're still not convinced after looking over the Switch site,
> checking out the various systems available etc...stop by one of the
> Apple stores and check out the systems in person and talk with the
> staff.  If anything, all the systems are pretty damn cool looking(any
> mobile user who doesn't start salivating at the sight of the G4
> powerbook needs his/her pulse checked, and I have yet to meet someone
> who doesn't like the new iMac design) you get to play with
> stuff like the iPod(mp3 player the size of a deck of cards that
> stores about 1000-2000 songs.)
> Here's some food for thought, and the parallels I promised.
>    If PCs are so much better because they're the most popular...
> 		...why aren't you driving a Ford or GM vehicle?
> Food for thought item #2.
> Are you an Audi "evangelist"?  You know what I mean...telling
> friends, family, coworkers...anybody with a much you love
> your car and how great Audis are?  Have coworkers, family, friends,
> who have told you they're looking for a new car, found Audi sales
> brochures magically appear in their mailbox or on their desk?  Think
> about what motivates you to do that.
> Mac users love their systems so much and are so hard-core, some of
> them actually used to hang around Sears and CompUSA stores and answer
> people's questions because they'd see sales staff lying to customers
> about Macs etc.(sales staff in both chains got commissions&training
> for PCs, no commissions or training for Macs.  Which do you think
> they pushed?)
> I've owned 7 Macintoshes(2 currently), and I'm almost ready to
> upgrade to a new Powerbook or iBook.  Despite a 1.5Ghz Athlon with 2x
> the ram and a killer video card sitting next to my 3-year-old
> Powerbook, guess which gets used more, and guess which one has been
> turned off for the last 2 days?
> I'd be happy to discuss any of the points above with interested
> listmembers...just in private, please, since, well, this is off-topic
> :-)
> Brett
> --
> ----
> "They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary
> safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
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