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  1. #101
    SitePoint Enthusiast Silverhawk's Avatar
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    My original post was that Firefox was not a cure for viruses/adware/spyware. I stand by that position, having seen nothing in this thread that has provided proof to the contrary. What I believe I have seen, is that good habits make for good security, regardless of browser.
    It isn't a foolproof cure, NOTHING IS. You cannot cure human stupidity.
    What you can do is recommend a solution that reduces the chances of being exploited by some malware. In this case i'm sure you'll agree with me that Firefox is a better product than IE.

    And my original plea still stands. When someone comes to these forums to ask for help in solving a virus/adware/spyware problem, let's help them solve the problem. Telling them to get another browser simply does not fix the problem they have right now!
    I agree, people who just say "get firefox" aint helping. Help them fix the problem and then suggest firefox (or another browser) to prevent it from happening again.

    Sure we can educate users, but most users don't care or won't learn. So to minimise the damage and to make things easier for both sides.. we just end up saying "use firefox".

  2. #102
    SitePoint Wizard Keriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhawk
    What you can do is recommend a solution that reduces the chances of being exploited by some malware. In this case i'm sure you'll agree with me that Firefox is a better product than IE.
    Actually, no, I will not concede that. Since I have never had a problem with IE, I have no personal basis to assume that Firefox (or any other browser) is better from a security standpoint.


    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhawk
    I agree, people who just say "get firefox" aint helping. Help them fix the problem and then suggest firefox (or another browser) to prevent it from happening again.
    Exactly. Although there are other suggestions, aside from a browser change, that can be made to help them avoid a future incident.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhawk
    Sure we can educate users, but most users don't care or won't learn. So to minimise the damage and to make things easier for both sides.. we just end up saying "use firefox".
    Here we differ. My assumption is that the people that are posting to these (sitepoint) forums are already several steps above the "average" user or they would not have found this place. Therefore, to simply say 'use firefox" is an insult to their intelligence.
    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do
    the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

  3. #103
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by holmescreek
    You can run a killer app, however, under the hood is the OS that has flaws. In addition, after making the Mac switch, I think Firefox, and Opera are still below standard. They want to pack every conceivabale feature into the product that confuses the general user that just wants to search the internet. If the developers were smart, they would offer a Firefox standard and Firefox for power users.
    This is 100% false. Firefox is made to be small and not offer every "conveivable" feature on purpose. The extention system was designed just for this. There are many good extensions that people feel should be made available in the default install, but it is kept to a minimum on purpose! If you were to go back to the Pheonix days of Firefox (i.e. 0.4 beta days) you would get a better picture as the browser back then was skin and bones! The are slowly adding more features but no they are no where close to packing every conceivable feature in.

  4. #104
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keriam
    Actually, no, I will not concede that. Since I have never had a problem with IE, I have no personal basis to assume that Firefox (or any other browser) is better from a security standpoint.
    Since I have never had a problem in Iraq, I have no personal basis to assume that the United States (or any other country) is better from a security standpoint.

  5. #105
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Since I have never had a problem with IE, I have no personal basis to assume that Firefox (or any other browser) is better from a security standpoint.
    And just because you haven't had virus attacks does not mean you are a typical user. If this is the only site you visit and you never shop or search online then it is no wonder you don't have viruses. I don't get viruses either but recall countless ones when I used IE. I didn't only visit "trusted" sites such as Google, NY Times, MSN, etc. but some viruses came from trusted sites that themselves had virus attached temporarily.

    A simple google will find you many sites showing security risks for IE. I, myself, have three or four links to articles discussing problems with ActiveX and other things installing programs without our knowledge. These are not problems with Firefox or other browsers so, right there, is one major security breach discussed frequently in the news and on the web.

  6. #106
    SitePoint Wizard Keriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben
    Since I have never had a problem in Iraq, I have no personal basis to assume that the United States (or any other country) is better from a security standpoint.
    That's a stretch!


    Quote Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine
    And just because you haven't had virus attacks does not mean you are a typical user. If this is the only site you visit and you never shop or search online then it is no wonder you don't have viruses. I don't get viruses either but recall countless ones when I used IE. I didn't only visit "trusted" sites such as Google, NY Times, MSN, etc. but some viruses came from trusted sites that themselves had virus attached temporarily.
    I would agree, I am not a typical user, if being a typical user means blindly using the web with no security measures in place. On the other hand, I do have security measures in place, ones that I feel are rather basic (firewall, anti-virus program, anti-spyware program) and I have rather wide ranging interests and will follow links wherever they take me. If I have to provide an email address somewhere, I always use a web-based email for it (including here) so I am not concerned with email virus attacks.
    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do
    the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

  7. #107
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    And in 11 years you've never gotten an online virus? I find that very hard to believe.

  8. #108
    SitePoint Addict melchiorus's Avatar
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    The same argument can be made with Windows and Linux. Neither one is more secure then the other, just one is more popular and main stream and thus gets the front end and the most media attention when there is a problem.
    -Melchior (Stephen Craton)

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viflux
    No, I'm not.

    I'm saying that Mozilla isn't, because that's what we're discussing here. To my knowledge, they don't offer enterprise contracts, licensing, or support. I could be entirely wrong though.
    Mozilla is typically supported by companies like Red Hat, Novell, etc. (i.e. as a part of the operating system support package).

    Having worked at a company that was in bed with IBM (we leased 3 floors of office space to them), I never once ran into one who was an open source zealot. Sure, they could very well have used Firefox on their personal PC's, but I can guarantee that their work machines used Internet Explorer. I'd also be willing to bet that somewhere along the line all of the companies you listed are using at least one Microsoft product. Again, I'm not sure...but it seems highly improbable that they aren't.
    If you're not aware of IBM's support of open source, you must have been living in a cave. IBM puts billions into the OS community every year, especially in Linux, Apache, and PHP (the three technologies that would help them out as a company the most). Just because you're not aware of this fact doesn't make it less true.


    Again, speaking from experience (largest bank in Canada), we were using Windows 2003 Servers for all outward facing equipment. The backend is powered by a custom IBM mainframe with the data sitting in a DB2 database that is being transitioned to SQL Server. At the risk of breaching an NDA, I will no longer argue this point.
    So you worked at a company that made a poor technology decision. What's your point? That still doesn't change the fact that the majority of companies out there still don't run windows servers.

    You never asked to compare the severity of known vulnerabilities. You asked to compare the number. I did. Let us not forget that any such comparison is inherently skewed by the fact that the majority of would-be crackers fall squarely into the "Micro$oft" crowd.
    I said "vulnerabilities". Using a metric that skews what constitues a "vulnerability" to boost numbers is a pretty obvious example of ways to skew these kinds of numbers.

    To all those who say "I have half the virus's now that I switched to Firefox!", I question your ability to "safely compute" in the first place. In my 28 years of using computers, and 11 years online, I believe I've only had 1 virus. It was a CMOS virus that came courtesy of a floppy disk my brother brought home back in the mid-90's.

    Anyways, I think the original point has been made. Firefox is not the one-stop solution to all your problems. Lest the discussion go any further awry, I will now cease posting on this topic.
    Of course Firefox isn't going to stop viruses completely. That's not the point. What it does do is enable the average know-nothing joe sixpack to have fewer potential areas where he CAN be infected by a virus. Sure, if you know what you're doing it's easy to avoid ever getting a virus, but my grandma sure as hell doesn't know how to disable unsigned active x controls. And THAT's the entire point of the "use firefox, get less virus" crowd. No, it's not a pancea, but it's one step of several that is easy enough to do for the average user to do that helps quite a bit.

    Alrighty then! Your definition a tech company and mine are obviously quite different if Siemens, HP, Wyse Technology, Xerox, Samsung and GE are not in the tech company classification.
    - HP are vocal supporters of Linux, and that's why they're replacing their proprietary unix system with Linux now. Try doing a search for "HP linux" and tell me that they're not using linux. Their online shopping site is powered by Apache.

    - The rest of the companies listed are hardware vendors. Their choice of software platform is no different than that of any other non-technical industry, because it doesn't really affect them one way or another. The software that they run tends to be their website (which are typically outsourced anyway), desktop operating systems (which are pretty much always going to be Windows, even at MS competitors), and embedded software (which will rarely, if ever, be MS products)?

    Do you? But I will grant you that apache installs outnumber IIS installs, probably by at least 2 to 1. What I can find no stats for, and what would be the most telling would be the revenue associated with the installs.
    Why would that be "most telling"? If you're trying to sell a product and can't make it superior enough to the free alternatives that people are already using, you're not doing a very good job of creating your product. Revenue associated with the installation is a completely meaningless metric. Installing apache on most systems is a simple matter of:

    1.) Downloading, untarring, ./configure, make, make install (done)

    2.) apt-get (or whatever package installer your system uses) install apache

    I'd venture to say that the average cost of an apache installation is pretty close to whatever you pay the sys admin x how much time it takes them to install it (typically less than 30 minutes, even less if you use a package mangement utility like apt). That's the reason why people use Apache. It does exactly what you need it to do, and it's extremely inexpensive to do it. IIS, on the other hand, is clunky, has an unnecessarily large footprint, REQUIRES that you run it on a Windows server, and is extremely difficult to develop for (writing apache handlers is very simple, which is why most companies do it, if they're not simply using java, php, python, ruby, etc.)

    But, again, you miss the point. The argument was that Firefox would have "just as many" security vulnerabilities if it were as popular as IE. I used Apache (vs. IIS), PHP or Java (vs. .Net), and mySQL (vs. SQL server) to illustrate the point. All of these products are MUCH more popular than the MS equivilents, and yet the relative security records of the products are all equal to or better than the competition. I submit that if FF was as popular as IE, IE would still have more serious vulnerabilites. Microsoft, as a company, has a poor track record on security, and I firmly believe that's a direct result of their lack of code scrutiny.

  10. #110
    SitePoint Zealot mpdesigns's Avatar
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    microsoft is a farse company with great marketing and an oversized foothold in the computer industry. So there have been little companies and organizations using open source to fight the oversized giant and by any standard is proving very successul on a small scale.
    Keep it Symple!

  11. #111
    SitePoint Zealot _theworks's Avatar
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    I stand by that position, having seen nothing in this thread that has provided proof to the contrary. What I believe I have seen, is that good habits make for good security, regardless of browser.
    Ok so if you were browsing with ie4-5 a year or three ago before 'pop-up blockers' had even been conceived. and you also happend to have your work open lets say you had somthing like MSVisualStudio or somthing open. then you went to a website which sprung 50 popup windows open? what would happen. your entire operating system would crash. your work would be lost. hell would break loose.
    this is a problem with having your web browser so heavily intergrated into the OS, its not the only problem but a fairly obvious one if you asked me.

    though yelling at a user "Get firefox" as if it was a silver bullet isnt the answer
    the truth is people need to to educated on good browsing habits.
    thats all.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keriam
    There are a large number of threads here addressing adware, spyware and viruses. It seems that not a single one of them ever gets along with someone saying "Use Firefox". Personally, I find this annoying, because Firefox is not a Silver Bullet that will prevent these things.
    It may not prevent ALL "these things," but it's certainly better than Internet Explorer.

    While I respect the opinion and judgement of most who post here, I think the constant "Use Firefox" stems more from ideology (anti-Microsoft) than actual fact.
    I think it stems from both, and I think both are very important - and more interrelated than most people realize.

    So why do people continue to give Firefox this mystical power that it obviously does not have? I think Mr. Thayer has hit the nail on the head, however, it goes further. The people that create viruses and spyware, among other things, want to hit the broadest possible target. Therefore, you go after IE as it is the dominant browser. As Firefox gains in usage, I firmly believe we will see more and more malware targetted against it (bigger target, more reason to create something). I am not alone in this opinion.
    I think that's true to a point, but I think it's largely propaganda. The "Microsoft is victimized because it's so big" argument deflects attention from the fact that Micrsoft is also widely hated - and for very good reasons, some related to high-tech issues, others not.

    I would just like to see a thread concerning adware/spyware/viruses focus on fixing the issue instead of automatically jump on the "Use Firefox" bandwagon.
    Well, the world is waiting for Microsoft to fix its "issues."

    Like it or not, IE still has 90% + of the browser share, and that is not likely to change much until Windows is no longer the primary operating system out there.
    Be careful what you wish for. Open source software and Google are shaking things up.

    Yes, I am venting. I do not use Firefox, and likely won't since my job requires IE and I am too lazy to switch back and forth.
    You're too lazy to install Firefox, yet you found time to research and write this post, along with several responses on this thread?

    FROM THE ARTICLE YOU CITED...

    IE's vulnerability to attack might in part be because it's rich in features and thereby presents a larger "attack surface."
    From a practical perspective, who cares WHY IE is more vulnerable? Are you going to continue driving a car that's prone to crashing and bursting into flames simply because you understand WHY it's so dangerous (because it has a lot of extra features, most of which you don't even need or use)?

    On the other hand, Firefox's perceived edge in security comes with a price: fewer features and a possible inability to access some Windows-based Web applications.
    Those nifty extensions give Firefox all the features I need. I find it far more useful than IE.

    And maybe Firefox will encourage people to STOP clogging the Internet with applications that work only with Windows, it itself a dangerous trend. In fact, I've read a number of articles about Microsoft playing various games (like under-cutting the competition) by putting resources on M$-only websites. Frankly, I'd like to see people start creating web pages that work with Firefox but not IE.

    (Actually, that's easy to do if you just follow the standards most web designers code by. Unfortunately, most web designers feel compelled to tweak and hack their designs until they work with IE.)

    Also, the open-source nature of the code sometimes, but not in a guaranteed manner, provides more peer review of the code and faster turnaround for fixes to vulnerabilities.
    The author appears to be saying, "Firefox's vaunted security is merely an illusion enhanced by the fact that its flaws are so easy to fix."

    Well, isn't that an advantage right there? Why wait three years for Microsoft to release Longhorn-Vista with the latest bug-ridden version of IE when you can use a browser that's constantly being upgraded?

    It makes sense to compare the cost of securing IE with add-on client security products or intrusion-prevention devices with the cost of simplifying/standardizing your browser-based infrastructure.
    In other words, it makes sense to consider shelling out more money for Microsoft features rather than consider the alternative - free open source software that's secure to begin with. Hmmmmm... Am I the only one who's wondering if Microsoft commissioned this article? And please don't call me a conspiracy kook. Bill Gates' wife sits on the Washington Post's board of directors, and feel free to PM me regarding Gates' big adventure with 60 Minutes.

    The risk of a browser-based attack against an enterprise network is significant. From a risk management point of view, it is definitely a good idea to look at alternatives to IE purely based on the sheer number of clients running that browser. But the environment might not let you remove it, as your organization may have built up access to necessary internal resources using Microsoft's technology based on IE.
    That's precisely why I constantly advise people to STEER CLEAR OF MICROSOFT. Even its freeware is designed to suck you into a system that will eventually extort more money from you.

    Security measures external to the browser, such as application firewalls, intrusion-detection and prevention systems, and the use of policy enforcement systems to ensure that clients access only trusted Web sites, are also considerations for addressing the browser risk.
    Ah, and who's the pioneer in the "trusted website" arena? Is it not Bill Gates? And which websites are Mr. Gates going to encourage us to trust, those carrying the M$ logo or the competition?

    In summary, I'd take this article with a couple grains of salt. I think people who go to the trouble of downloading and installing Firefox are generally a bit savvier than people who are "too lazy" to part with Internet Explorer and are therefore smart enough to realize if they've adopted a lemon. If Firefox doesn't work for them, they'll probably return to Internet Explorer. But don't hold your breath waiting for the media to report on this reverse migration - at least not until Microsoft releases Longhorn Vista, complete with all its aborted features, sometime this decade.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viflux
    To play Devil's Advocate...

    The downside to the quick-bug-fixing of open source is that the software is not thoroughly tested before you upgrade.

    At Microsoft, it is.

    The difference?

    If the Firefox fix stops {insert your favorite program} from working, it's not a big deal. You don't care because you don't pay, thus you are unsure where the accountability lies.

    If the Microsoft fix stops {insert your favorite program} from working, it's a huge deal. Microsoft support will be slammed with calls, and a breakage drastic enough would be a major PR nightmare.
    HUH??? Sheez, keep tabs on GoogleNews; every day's a PR nightmare for Microsoft.

    I assure you, Microsoft puts all their products through rigorous and thorough testing procedures. I shudder to think what would happen if they didn't.
    No kidding. Even with its "rigorous and thorough testing procedures," M$ products leave a trail of destruction in their wake, somewhat reminiscent of Sherman's march to the sea.

    Actually, speaking from personal experience, I can assure you that cost has very little to do with it in large corporate environments.

    The MUCH larger issue at play in corporate environments is that of accountability. If something goes wrong with Internet Explorer, Microsoft is accountable as they are licensing the use of that product to said corporation.
    Actually, speaking from personal experience, I can assure you that Bill Gates doesn't know the meaning of the word accountability.

    Does the use of Micro$oft attempt to convey that their goal is to make money? Why does nobody use $un, or $print, or $itepoint?
    Good question; why DO so many people subconsciously associate M$ with money??? Is it because the dollar sign ($) itself is sometimes used as a symbol for greed, a quality that is so widely associated with Bill Gates? Is it because M$ has found more ways to screw people out of money than $un, $print or $itepoint combined? (In all fairness, Sitepoint hasn't screwed me once, that I'm aware of. I'm checking my bank statements, though!)

    Link : http://secunia.com/product/1438/
    IIS 6.0, affected by 2 vulnerabilities. 0 of which are unpatched.

    Link : http://secunia.com/product/39/
    IIS 5.x, affected by 13 vulnerabilities. 2 of which are unpatched.

    Link : http://secunia.com/product/73/
    Apache 2, affected by 30 vulnerabilities. 2 of which are unpatched.

    Link : http://secunia.com/product/72/
    Apache 1.3, affected by 17 vulnerabilities. 1 of which is unpatched.

    Granted, that information may not be completely accurate, but it sure shoots down your claim in a hurry.
    Hmmmm... Could this reflect the fact that Apache is a bigger target than IIS? Or does it have more features? And let's remember that Apache didn't become number 1 with the backing of a monopolistic gorilla.

    To all those who say "I have half the virus's now that I switched to Firefox!", I question your ability to "safely compute" in the first place. In my 28 years of using computers, and 11 years online, I believe I've only had 1 virus. It was a CMOS virus that came courtesy of a floppy disk my brother brought home back in the mid-90's.
    Frankly, I don't believe you. But if what you say is true, then not only do you not represent the average netsurfer, you don't even represent most of the geeks who hang out on Sitepoint.

    In my 15 years using computers, including about a dozen years online, I've probably had a few dozen viruses. I think moving to open source software - including Firefox - explains an apparent decrease in viruses, along with a variety of other "bugs," like getting money sucked out of my bank account through a join Microsoft/Earthlink scam, but that's another story.

    1Lit_com wrote...

    I'm glad for this thread. Like the first post says, the pro-Firefox stance takes place not because it is vastly superior to IE but because of an anti-Microsoft stance. That IMHO originates from jealousy - Bill Gates' billions (these envious types forget that he has given away billions to charity). I for one will never use Firefox.
    Ah, the jealousy card. Anyone who criticizes a M$ product must simply be jealous. As for forgetting the billions Gates has given away to charity, please do - it's all a political stunt that, on balance, does more harm than good.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keriam
    On this you will find no arguement from me.
    But using the rest of your argument, if we all go to a 100% standards compliant browser, we all abandon IE, would that not be the same as MS fixing IE and "break the web" because of all the sites out there that would require having the hacks undone?
    That's like saying we should continue sewing up patients with dental floss because writing standards that call for proper sutures would require helping patients that were victimized by earlier procedures. For crying out loud, the Internet is going to be around for a long, long time. Will webmasters still be knocking out IE hacks in the year 2025???

    The W3C, on the other hand has taken the view of "my way or the highway" with no allowance for variation.
    Hmmmm... I think you've just hit on a cool marketing slogan for Microsoft: My way or the highway. (Ironically, that translates Microsoft or the road ahead to the future.)

    Since Google and Yahoo! see Microsoft as competition, it is not surprising at all that they would not be using MS products. Funny thing is though that Yahoo! uses MS for its streaming media. Intel's move away (which was actually rather recently in overall corporate history) was likely a move to distance itself from the anti-Microsoft fervor since the two companies were often viewed as "twin children from different mothers".
    What do you mean by "anti-Microsoft fervor? And is it really powerful enough to influence a big, powerful corporation like Intel? If so, does this suggest that some people hack M$ software because they HATE MICROSOFT, not just because - as so many people here continue to suggest - Microsoft is bigger?

    And my original plea still stands. When someone comes to these forums to ask for help in solving a virus/adware/spyware problem, let's help them solve the problem. Telling them to get another browser simply does not fix the problem they have right now!
    The way I see it, we have two options: We can spend time fixing one problem at a time, or we can just steer people towards Firefox, which will fix multiple current and future problems, saving everyone a lot of time and trouble!

  15. #115
    Artist* :) gunther_'s Avatar
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    of course, Firefox is not perfect or secure. It's just that it's another way of saying "I'm leet because I don't use Microsoft".
    or else it's because it's finer. you chose
    "Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration." - Thomas Edison
    Créer son site avec GeneeWeb.com

  16. #116
    SitePoint Wizard Keriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geosite
    You're too lazy to install Firefox, yet you found time to research and write this post, along with several responses on this thread?
    I never said I was too lazy to install Firefox. I said -

    Quote Originally Posted by Keriam
    I do not use Firefox, and likely won't since my job requires IE and I am too lazy to switch back and forth.
    And had you read the thread in its entirety, you would find that I did download and install Firefox. It would not do what I needed it to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by geosite
    Be careful what you wish for. Open source software and Google are shaking things up.
    I was not aware that I was wishing for anything. I merely stated a fact and a supposition founded on fact. I am all for open source software, when it works the way I want it to. I am not sure how Google enters the picture, but the open source community has years and thousands of hours of work before they will make a dent in Microsoft. In the meantime, Microsoft, despite some peoples feeling to the contrary, is not just sitting around waiting for their own downfall. In the last year or so, they have aggresively attacked security issues.

    But don't take my word for that, do some research on your own. Read some of the white papers from places like the Yankee Group. They do an annual survey and comparison of the cost of ownership of Linux vs. Windows. There is some pretty interesting stuff in their 2005 edition.

    - The 2005 survey reveals that users found "a 100 percent improvement in Microsoft’s security in the past 12 months."

    - It takes network administrators 30 percent longer—or approximately 4 hours—to bring their Linux servers back online following a security attack, compared to a Windows server. In the majority of the cases, the fault lies not with the underlying Linux operating system but with poor documentation and support.

    - Survey respondents have reduced the time spent on applying and distributing Windows updates and patches by 50 to 80 percent since Microsoft went to a monthly schedule of patch management releases in the fall of 2004. Whereas Linux IT administrators report they spend on average 15 to 23 percent longer—approximately 2 to 5 hours more per week—on patch management distribution compared to the same period in 2004.

    - The survey found that from 2004 to 2005, Linux maintained—but did not expand—its healthy 15% market share—compared to 73% market share for various versions of Windows servers.
    Quote Originally Posted by geosite
    What do you mean by "anti-Microsoft fervor? And is it really powerful enough to influence a big, powerful corporation like Intel?
    Absolutely! Intel was looking into a crystal ball and saw themselves as the next target for anti-trust litigation through their efforts to totally squash AMD and Cyrix.

    Quote Originally Posted by geosite
    Is it because the dollar sign ($) itself is sometimes used as a symbol for greed, a quality that is so widely associated with Bill Gates?
    I always thought $ was a monetary symbol, shared as is with Argentina and Liberia, or with letter combinations, such as HK$ (Hong Kong). And what makes Bill Gates any different than any other CEO knocking down 7, 8 or 9-digit salaries? At the time of his death J.Paul Getty was the richest man in the world, just as Bill Gates is now. Getty gave a billions to charities and museums and the like. You can bet it was not all altruistic on his part either. So what? Personally, I always thought the purpose of a business was to make money, as much as you possibly can. But just because you make a product does not mean you are going to sell it. It has to be something people want or need and it has to be affordably priced. Microsoft came along at the right time with a product that simplifed computer usage and agressively marketed it. No one else at the time was entrepreneurial enough to give them any competition. If Microsoft really made such a bad product, the market would react and people would be flocking to open source. And, please, do not insult the intelligence of the common user by saying they do not know any better. They know what they like, and don't like, and you can bet that Microsoft gets lots of feedback each and every day. You can also bet that they are paying attention.

    And you know what's funny? I read a study somewhere (can't track it down at the moment) that showed that people would rather buy something than get it given to them for free. Something to do with leaving a person beholden to the gift giver which leaves most people feeling uncomfortable.

    Anyhow all this a long ways off topic.
    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do
    the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keriam
    I am not sure how Google enters the picture, but the open source community has years and thousands of hours of work before they will make a dent in Microsoft.
    Open source has already made a dent in Microsoft. Most servers are Apache (open source). A growing number of corporations and governments are switching to Linux operating systems. Open source office suites are taking some money away from Microsoft's office programs, and non-M$ browsers currently have about 10% market share, I believe.

    In the meantime, Microsoft, despite some peoples feeling to the contrary, is not just sitting around waiting for their own downfall. In the last year or so, they have aggresively attacked security issues.

    But don't take my word for that, do some research on your own. Read some of the white papers from places like the Yankee Group. They do an annual survey and comparison of the cost of ownership of Linux vs. Windows.
    LOL...the Yankee Group IS Microsoft! In other words, it's working for Microsoft. I researched them about a year ago.

    I always thought $ was a monetary symbol, shared as is with Argentina and Liberia, or with letter combinations, such as HK$ (Hong Kong). And what makes Bill Gates any different than any other CEO knocking down 7, 8 or 9-digit salaries? At the time of his death J.Paul Getty was the richest man in the world<snip>
    $ is indeed a monetary symbol, and many people equate money with greed, which is one of the things that distinguishes Microsoft. Most people don't hate Microsoft because it's successful; they hate it because it doesn't play fair. Microsoft crushes opponents, snubs standards and cheats consumers. That's one reason for the popularity of open source; people see it as "non-corporate" and therefore relatively clean.

    And you know what's funny? I read a study somewhere (can't track it down at the moment) that showed that people would rather buy something than get it given to them for free. Something to do with leaving a person beholden to the gift giver which leaves most people feeling uncomfortable.
    Yes, institutions that receive "philanthropy" from Microsoft are indeed beholden. That's what worries me. But if you ever visit Seattle, we can drop in at the Seattle Public Library and discuss this in Microsoft Auditorium. Or we could try the University of Washington's Gates Hall.

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    So the IE vs. FF debate rears it's ugly head again... This isn't going to continue to regress into one of those useless I love/hate Microsoft debates is it? Or one of those closed/open source debates

    All joking aside, here's a little history as I recall and my strong opinion that Firefox is ahead of IE for function, standards and security. I'll qualify this first by declaring that I'm open to pretty much any technology, open, closed, MS, etc... as long as it gets the job done.

    Off Topic:


    BTW: I found the argument that because IE is so well entrenched that the W3C along with the rest of the world should follow IE 's lead frightening. Not the idea so much, but that someone would actually subscribe to it or seriously endorse it. It's a bit like a I'm bigger than you, so you better give me your lunch money mentality.


    Competition drives innovation. I expect that the good folks at Microsoft had a look at Firefox, Netscape, Safari and decided to include some of the features they found useful in these popular products in their next version. Some time ago when the latest C# tools were in beta one of the most entertaining tutorials was one on how to build and IE with tabbed browsing.

    Ok, here's my experience with web browsers and how it shapes my opinion:
    My first GUI browser was Netscape 2. Netscape 2 was amazing in comparison to anything I had used in the past as they had been text only on BBS. Somehow in Win95 I managed to install IE which of course was not bundled with the OS at that time. As I recall IE was a step up from Netscape for me, mainly because of it's consistency with other MS apps.

    * I was writing VB3/4 desktop apps at the time and was very familiar with MS menus and tools so anything similar was easier to use.

    From that point on I used IE fairly consistently on PC and only used Netscape on Linux or Mac and when testing web sites. At the time I referred to Netscape as 'Netscrape' as it was my opinion that Netscape was breaking all of the sites I could veiw with IE. Later on I learned that Netscape was actually showing the site with pinpoint accuracy and that it was poor the web development that was shining through in that pinpoint accuracy.

    [rant]
    Take note anyone who thinks FF sucks because it makes their site look bad. It's not the browser... It's your site. It's very easy to build sites that display well in all current browsers across Win/Mac/Linux. If you're a professional don't blame the browser do your job
    [/rant]

    At the IE5.5 release, the browser became much more exciting to use on Intranets where you could tie users to a platform and browser. Then you could really exploit ActiveX. Outside the Intranet zone there hasn't been anything exciting to report on IE since about version 5 but the competition just keeps getting better. For me it's not that IE sucks. It doesn't but it hasn't improved over the last 5 or 6 years whereas the competition really has some sweet offerings.

    * Anyone using transparent PNGs in your sites? I feel your pain.

    Here's what makes FF the silver bullet for me when compared to IE:

    1) It's fast. It's damned fast compared to IE and if it's not, then don't complain about it. Check your system because you might have too many services running in the background on your machine or perhaps a trojan or two .

    I run a very lean WinXP Pro on my main workstation which includes several DB servers, IIS, FTP and SMTP for building and testing. All told there are generally 40 services running and it usually idles somewhere around 200M of Ram commited.

    FF uses 20Mb of Ram
    IE uses 27Mb of Ram

    I run it on all of my machines and it alsways starts, loads and renders faster than IE. So it should though. It's new and improved at version 1.5. IE hasn't been improved upon for years.

    2) Standards. No argument here. IE has never been one to adhere to standards so it's a moot point.

    3) Tabbed browsing. If your a casual user of the internet, this probably won't interest you but if you are a developer or researcher you may just find it indespensable once you figure it out. FF 1.5 allows you to tab and then reorder the tabs to however you choose. Very handy when you have a half dozen pages loaded and need to arrange them in some sense of order.

    4) Update alerts. When a patch or update is issued, an icon in the right most edge of the toolbar alerts you and the update is as seamless as anything else I've used IE incuded.

    5) Extensions. These are like plugins. There are hundreds available. Yhe ones I use are:
    • IE tab. Already covered in this thread.
      As far as I can figure, the reason some things might not work in IE tab is because IE tab is locked inside a somewhat secure FF and it won't pass any calls to the OS or spawn pop-ups etc...
    • Developers toolbar. An amazingly helpful tool for disabling styles, showing cookies/sessons, validating html/css, loading info and dozens of other uses. Again this is handy for developers.
    • Flash. Doesn't come stock with flash but it's simply a click away.
    The bonus point) It's a little safer because it runs on top of the OS. That being said, I have never taken on a virus/trojan because of a browser but better safe than sorry.
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  19. #119
    SitePoint Wizard Keriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geosite
    LOL...the Yankee Group IS Microsoft! In other words, it's working for Microsoft. I researched them about a year ago.
    Well, if they are (which I highly doubt - love to see your proof on this) they have a funny way of showing it. From another one of their reports:

    Microsoft Corp.'s Windows desktop operating systems are and will remain the dominant client desktop standard for the foreseeable future, but don't count Linux and Apple's Mac OS/X out. That is the conclusion of a newly released Yankee Group Report, "The Desktop OS: Are There Real Alternatives to Microsoft?," which finds that interest in alternatives to Microsoft's client operating system is at the highest level in over a decade.
    Apple's Macintosh has found a comfortable and committed niche among enterprise customers with sophisticated graphics and production departments. Linux, meanwhile, has gained a groundswell of support in the last three to four years due to its appeal as the "un-Windows" solution, according to Yankee Group senior analyst and Report author Laura DiDio.
    "Corporate user resentment and dissatisfaction with Microsoft and some of its practices are at an all-time high," DiDio said. A myriad of issues ranging from Microsoft's perceived monopolistic practices, hyperbolic marketing, ongoing security woes, and habitually slipping ship dates of major new product releases as well as confusion surrounding the overall .NET strategy have undermined corporate customer confidence. A recent joint survey of 1,500 corporations by Sunbelt Software, Inc. and the Yankee Group found that nearly 40% of the respondents were so outraged by Microsoft's new licensing scheme that they are actively seeking alternative products.
    "This cumulative dissatisfaction will not necessarily translate into corporate defections to rival operating systems. But it does open the door a crack and raises the possibility that Linux and Macintosh OS X can gain new footholds in an overwhelmingly Windows world," DiDio said.
    Yes, indeed. They have to be Microsoft! Sheesh!
    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do
    the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

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    The open source community has years and thousands of hours of work before they will make a dent in Microsoft
    Not as much work as you think. Web Apps are quickly destroying more and more desktop services every day. Microsoft is a VERY distant 3rd in the web apps business (behind google & yahoo). When the apps are browser based, the OS no longer matters, the desktop software no longer matters. Gmail works the same for me regardless of whether I'm on Safari, IE, Firefox, or Konquerer. MS is most definitely NOT the leader in the server software industry, either. There's a reason why people keep saying that Microsoft's current business model is doomed: because it is. And, guess what? It's open source tools that are ultimately doing it. Yahoo & Google would probably not be anywhere near as well off as they are right now if it weren't for open source tools, that have enabled them to dramatically reduce costs and increase productivity (if the software doesn't do what you want it to, simply change it to suit your needs).

    In addition, Microsoft's business model doesn't fly well in the developing (BRIC) nations, where Linux installations make Windows look insignificant.

    Linux is well-liked by IT professionals for the same reasons why we like all Unix variants. It has common tools that are easy to master, intelligent & secure file permissions, extremely convenient tools like symbolic links (windows actually can support symbolic links, but not natively in the shell! you have to use the windows APIs to create them, and even then they're buggy...go figure), never having to reboot the server to install software,etc. Linux (and the OS BSD variants) are even more popular due to the fact that:

    1.) They're free
    2.) You have full access to the source and can change it in any way you see fit. Compile it to be more optimized for your particular platform, strip out unnecessary functionality, and anything else.
    3.) Virtually every tool you could possibly ever need is available.
    - Development tools (text editors, compilers, IDEs, debuggers, profilers)
    - Server software (HTTP, FTP, databases, etc.)
    - office suites
    - email applications
    - web browsers
    - image editing software
    - media playback software
    - games

    The list goes on and on. What's more, with WINE you can run the majority of windows apps, too (well, mostly you can run games, and that's really all you need WINE for anyway).

    But don't take my word for that, do some research on your own. Read some of the white papers from places like the Yankee Group. They do an annual survey and comparison of the cost of ownership of Linux vs. Windows. There is some pretty interesting stuff in their 2005 edition.
    Ahh, the infamous Microsoft-funded "Get the facts" TCO campaign? Too bad the IT industry still knows better. You can fool idiots who don't know a damn thing about technology, but you can't fool people that do. The Yankee group's the only company out there that tries to make these claims, and they go far out of their way to try to claim that they're unbiased (even occasionally releasing a midly negative comment about some MS product).

    Linux has a 15% market share and MS a 73% share in the server world? Where in the hell did you find that? Oh, wait, you're probably using the Yankee groups' metric for market share which is based on revenue associated with setting up the servers (which is, of course, ridiculous since most linux installations are free). Even the most conservative MICROSOFT estimates don't try to claim that they have a 73% market share.

    This fact is further compounded by the fact that shipments of Linux servers vastly outpace those of Windows servers, by a rate -- and that doesn't even take into consideration all those people who are buying servers that are forced to pay for windows anyway. I know that at the last 3 companies I worked for, for example, every machine came with a windows license, which was promptly thrown away since we were installing our own software, anyway (usually from ghost images). Considering that Apache still runs over 70% of websites (http://news.netcraft.com/archives/we...er_survey.html), and very few hosts bother running Apache on Windows, I'd go so far as to call the BS here. Microsoft's share of the server market has been declining every year since the turn of the millenium, and that's not going to change. Licensing costs, resource utilization, and lack of standard unix tools make windows a sub-par platform for servers. This isn't going to change. The only real reason to use Windows servers is when you're trying to deploy windows-only products (.net stuff, exchange servers, etc.).

    All that aside, everyone knows that the BSDs are the best server OS out there, anyway (especially OSX).

    I always thought the purpose of a business was to make money, as much as you possibly can.
    No, the purpose of business is to make the best use of our resources for the greater good of society. We decided many years ago (in the U.S., anyway) that Capitalism was the best way to go about that. If Communism (or some other economic system) were superior for the common good, we'd be running under that system instead. That being said, typing "M$" is juvenile and quite silly.

    If Microsoft really made such a bad product, the market would react and people would be flocking to open source.
    They're not? What was the percentage of people using IE in 2000? What percentage today? IE has dwindled down to less than 85% market share, from it's peak of around 97% just 5 short years ago. This isn't merely from people leaving Windows behind (Windows still remains as strong as ever on the desktop, only losing about 2% of it's installed base -- mostly to OSX -- over the last 5 years), but mostly from them just using Opera, Firefox, and Mozilla Suite.

  21. #121
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    Actually, no, I will not concede that. Since I have never had a problem with IE, I have no personal basis to assume that Firefox (or any other browser) is better from a security standpoint.
    But i thought we're supposed to evaluate solutions objectively?
    Personally IE has never given me virus/malware problems either but i've seen it affect others.

    Here we differ. My assumption is that the people that are posting to these (sitepoint) forums are already several steps above the "average" user or they would not have found this place. Therefore, to simply say 'use firefox" is an insult to their intelligence.
    Well that depends... if the user is "above average" surely they wouldn't have gotten malware so easily :P
    Either way, its often best to give the simplest answer for a solution. If the user likes that fine, but if they want to know more.. let them know more. Do not load tons of information on them when they do not want to know that much... it just scares them.

    * Anyone using transparent PNGs in your sites? I feel your pain.
    I hear you brother

  22. #122
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    Since this thread has moved so far off topic (and I must share part of the blame for that) and has entered the realm of linux vs. Microsoft, I will simply sit back now and observe.

    The best answer to my original post was given in the very next post, and not much has changed since.

    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    I agree with the rest of your post though; "don't be stupid" is the silver bullet, not "use Firefox", but some people can't wrap their heads around that concept.
    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do
    the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

  23. #123
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    I think everyone in this debate falls into a few categories that we can all identify and classify:

    1.) I've been infected with spyware and it was IE's fault, thus I like Firefox.
    2.) I'm a security expert and I know that IE is less secure so I use Firefox even though nothing bad has happened to me.
    3.) I use IE because I have never had any problems with it.
    4.) I'm a security expert and I know to use good browsing habits thus I am safe with IE.
    5.) I'm an open source evangelist and I use Firefox simply for that reason.
    6.) I hate Microsoft and I use Firefox.

    Now that we have attempted to classify where we fit in, we must ask ourselves, what makes the other groups so different from mine. Why do their views differ from mine? If I had an experience like the others, would I still fall in my group, or would I switch? When we do this we begin to understand that its simply a matter of preference. The issues surrounding each browser go away and we begin to see that people don't really care about this and that, they just want to use the web. To argue to one category of people about this issue simply won't work because we have all come to use our browser for different reasons. Its a matter of actually experiencing the problems or issues that the person has had in order to understand where they are coming from.

    I believe that its not an issue of my browser is better than yours, but simply a matter of preference. A preference that may have been formulated by a browser issue, but might not have. I use Firefox because I want to, not because I feel strongly for any other reason.

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    I can honestly say that people are piling on the bs when they that FF renders everything correctly. I just finished a CSS layout - IE did it right without me having to break it, and I had to spend hours on workarounds for For Firefox not understanding incredibly obscure, proprietary attributes like, say, PADDING. Yeah, way to go, Firefox. For the record, it worked fine in Opera without Firefox workarounds, so it wasn't IE rendering incorrectly.

    By the way, if I remember correctly, those three critical vulnerabilities were kept quiet by Mozilla until a they were forced to go public by a security firm.

    It's a fact that IE-based browsers with all or most of the features of Firefox have been around since before Mozilla decided to crap out another piece of code. The only reason people didn't switch is that their makers didn't overhype them as much as Mozilla has. Fact: Firefox is marketed towards stupid and/or computer-unskilled people, using big words that anyone who knows what is actually being said will find funny. It's the rhetoric that gets people to switch, not the browser.

    Fact: Firefox is butt-slow to start up.
    Fact: Firefox has rendering issues just like everything else.
    Fact: Firefox is becoming more and more 'bloated' with each release. The 'upgrades' in 1.5 were a crappier interface for tools -> options and a bunch of useless features that probably about 10% of people will actually use.
    Fact: Firefox doesn't understand the concept of nesting tags.

  25. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdn
    I can honestly say that people are piling on the bs when they that FF renders everything correctly. I just finished a CSS layout - IE did it right without me having to break it, and I had to spend hours on workarounds for For Firefox not understand incredibly obscure, proprietary attributes like, say, PADDING. Yeah, way to, Firefox. For the record, it worked fine in Opera without Firefox workarounds, so it wasn't IE rendering incorrectly.

    By the way, if I remember correctly, those three critical vulnerabilities were kept quiet by Mozilla until a they were forced to go public by a security firm.
    Nope... No BS here. Padding is not obscure. It was part of the 1996 CSS1 spec and is fully supported in CSS2 (recommeded in 1998). Have a look at some of the SitePoint CSS forum example snips and I'll bet Padding will appear in the first couple of lines of the body{} definition.

    Heres' a little follow up:
    http://www.w3schools.com/css/css_padding.asp
    http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS1#padding
    http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/box.html#mpb-examples

    Come to think of it... I can't imagine putting together a stylesheet without padding

    Again here's where FF can help out with the addition of Developer's toolbar. A click of a button and you can validate your CSS or HTML. I recommend it. Give it a try.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development


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