Flexibility Could Be a

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-11-17 Print this article Print

Benefit or Drawback for Linux"> In the report, Security Innovation said one of the most heavily touted benefits of Linux was its high modularity and the granularity of control that administrators have over a system. "In the experiment, we found that such flexibility also leads to ambiguity for administrators in terms of paths to follow when resolving conflicts. … On the Linux side, each administrator pursued vastly different paths to resolve dependency conflicts that arose when new components were installed. The result was solutions that grew in complexity and heterogeneity rapidly over time," Thompson said in the report.
Multiple pathways could be both an asset and a weakness, allowing on the one hand highly skilled administrators to solve problems using greatly varied approaches, but, on the other, leading to the "personalization" of systems which could make issues like administrator substitution problematic, the report said.
"The Linux solutions also quickly went out of support from the both the distribution vendor and third-party solution vendors as individual components (such as MySQL) were upgraded to meet third-party solution needs," Thompson said. In contrast, Microsoft has pursued a philosophy it calls "integrated innovation" where much of the core system functionality is incorporated with the operating system itself. During the experiment, all Windows administrators followed a fairly homogeneous route to both install patches and apply component upgrades for the simulated changing business requirements, Thompson said in the report. Novells Barney countered that Microsofts "integrated innovation" philosophy is "widely regarded as the primary reason Windows is an inherently insecure operating system allowing intruders to attack Windows through applications such as Internet Explorer, IIS, etc." This integration with strong dependencies makes it possible for an intruder or worm to bring down an entire system. Integrated innovation was also generally cited as the primary reason for Microsofts schedule slips for Windows Vista and Windows Longhorn Server, he said. To read more about Windows Vistas history of delays, click here. "The lack of modularity meant all developers have to be concerned with all dependencies in each part of the system. Those are just a few initial observations. SUSE Linux has achieved the highest level of security of any Linux distribution, and Novells additional Linux application security and identity management offerings give customers a powerful, comprehensive security framework for Linux and mixed environments," Barney said. Next Page: Microsoft plans to work with Novell in future.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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