Which System Is Safer
?"> Citing another reportfrom Forrester Research Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Ballmer said that "the four major Linux distributions have a higher incidence and severity of [security] vulnerabilities, and are slower than Microsoft to provide security updates." However, Novells Hogan said, Ballmer failed to mention that the Forrester study found Microsoft had the highest number of critical flaws. Some 67 percent of Windows flaws had been rated "critical" under the National Institute of Standards and Technologys ICAT project standard for high-severity vulnerabilities, Hogan said. This compared with 63 percent for (pre-Novell) SuSE Linux, 60 percent for Mandrakesoft, 57 percent for Debian and 56 percent for Red Hat Inc., he said.Some in the IT field say that the more Microsoft bad-mouths Linux while at the same time delaying the release of its own products, the more users will evaluate Linux and other open-source solutions. John Kretz, president of Enlightened Point Consulting Group LLC, in Phoenix, said that in SuSE Linux, Novell now has an open-source operating system with a "great grass-roots support effort in the open-source community. Novell has great directory and identity products, and SuSE is a great platform to help get Novells other products in the door at customer sites. They have a window of opportunity against Microsoft now that Longhorn is delayed until 2007." Novell should "strike now while the customer base is in flux," Kretz said.
Some Windows users said that Microsofts actionsor, rather, inactionspeak louder than words when it comes to promises to fix security vulnerabilities in the companys computing platform. "We run machines with XP and others running Linux," said an IT manager who requested anonymity, when asked if Windows is more secure than Linux. "The Windows machines cant be on the Internet 2 minutes before being infected by some computer virus or spyware. The Linux machines have no protection and no such infections. So which is safer?"