Now, as a Linux advocate, I might still view this as a big step forward. This is the view taken by Bruce Perens with his UserLinux initiative. Perens has taken a lot of guff from KDE snobs over his decision to use GNOME. Debates like KDE vs. GNOME arent as common or vicious as they used to be, but theyre still a big part of Linux culture and administrative issues. Imagine having to deal with training or support for Linux and having multiple distributions, KDE and GNOME to deal with. Likewise, when dealing with your friends, relatives, school, whatever. If Linux on the desktop is going to go big time it has to mean one consistent thing. So the ironic result could be that for Linux to be successful on the desktop, it needs to develop a monoculture all its own. Popularity of Linux on the desktop will also mean popularity of Mozilla, OpenOffice and a few other things that will become more popular targets for attackers as their prominence grows. Randomly broadcast e-mails with social engineering attacks on this Linux desktop platform will stand a better chance of success; imagine the genuine-looking e-mail from email@example.com with a "security patch" attached to it and instructions for installation.Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. Be sure to check out at http://security.eweek.com for the latest security news, views and analysis.
More from Larry Seltzer
Linux on the desktop has a catch-22: Either it consolidates around a more consistent platform that can be thought of as "Linux" in the same way as Windows (or major versions of Windows), or the PC industry will have plenty of reasons to resist it. Not a happy set of facts.