Linux and Security

When it comes to installing software, security is something we should talk about. I've already said that you should know where your software is coming from, but that is only part of the consideration. That's why I'm going to clear up some bad press Linux gets when it comes to installing software.

In the Windows world, it is frighteningly easy to infect your PC with a virus or a worm. All you have to do is click on an email attachment, and you could be in trouble. With some email packages under Windows, it "helps" you by automatically opening your email attachments, or connecting you to Internet links, which can cause trouble. You won't find many Linux packages provided as simple executables (.EXE files and so on). Security is the reason. To install most packages, you also need root privileges. Again, for security reasons, Linux demands that you be conscious of the fact that you might be doing something that could hurt your system. If an email attachment wants to install itself into the system, it must consult the root user first.

Package managers, such as rpm (the RPM Package Manager) or Ubuntu and Debian's dpkg/apt-get, perform checks to make sure that certain dependencies are met or that software doesn't accidentally overwrite other software. Those dependency checks take many things into consideration, such as what software already exists and how the new package will coexist. Many of you are probably familiar with what has been called DLL hell, where one piece of software just goes ahead and overwrites some other piece of code. It may even have happened to you. Blindly installing without these checks can be disastrous. At best, the result can be an unstable machineat worst, it can be unusable.

Installing software under Linux may take a step or two, but it is for your own good.

Moving to Ubuntu Linux
Moving to Ubuntu Linux
ISBN: 032142722X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 201

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