Linux Users' Group of Davis - "Reasons to avoid Microsoft"
Reasons to Avoid Microsoft
These pages are a compilation of links and quotes to news articles and
others sources that might help convince you to switch to Linux.
Next 50 Articles
- Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash
When you're stuck in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR)
trying to protect the wildlife from armed poachers and the Lord's
Resistance Army, then life's pretty tough. And now Microsoft has made
it tougher with Windows 10 upgrades. ... the staff was more than a
little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began
upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data
over a radio link. ... "If a forced upgrade happened and crashed our
PCs while in the middle of coordinating rangers under fire from armed
militarized poachers, blood could literally be on Microsoft's hands"
- Flame: 'Most complex' cyber-attack ever discovered
A new 'data-vacuuming' piece of malware, which has targeted a number of
Middle Eastern countries including Israel and Iran, has been discovered,
which could mark the trilogy in advanced cyber-weapons after Stuxnet
and Duqu. Kaspersky researchers said they believe 'Flame' is greater in
scale than its apparent infamous counterparts Stuxnet and Duqu, and has
been described as the 'most complex threat' ever discovered. ... Flame
has the components a Trojan, a backdoor, and a worm, and is designed
to attack Windows machines. It is also self-replication over local area
networks though the entry point is currently unknown. Researchers are
unaware as to how Flame enters networks, but have identified a Windows
zero-day vulnerability which allows the remote code execuition of a
core system file. ... Flame sniffs network traffic and has the ability
to take screenshots, record conversations by microphone-enabled PCs,
and intercepts all input data and so forth.
- Microsoft: Conficker still the top corporate network threat
Companies are still plagued by the Conficker worm, used to create
botnets and spread other forms of malware, according to the latest
Microsoft Security Intelligence Report.
- NSW ambulance computers coming back online
Computers which co-ordinate NSW's ambulances are back online in
three of the state's regions after a major virus forced staff to shut
them down for more than 24 hours. The virus crept into the Ambulance
Service of NSW's dispatch system at 1pm (AEDT) on Saturday, prompting
staff to co-ordinate paramedics by telephone and handwritten notes.
- Netflix: Why we use and contribute to open source software
(Netflix Tech Blog,
Our budget, measured in dollars, time, people, and energy, is limited
and we must therefore focus our technology development efforts on
that streaming video software that clearly differentiates Netflix and
creates delight for our customers. These limits require that we stand
on the shoulders of giants who have solved technology challenges shared
in common by all companies that operate at Internet scale. ... We do
utilize some commercial software but there is often the alternative
choice of utilizing open source software, preferably open source
software that implements an open standard. ... he great thing about
a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that
it develops it's own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by
a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement. At Netflix we jumped on
for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from
the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects. We
benefit from the continuous improvements provided by the community
of contributors outside of Netflix. We also benefit by contributing
back the changes we make to the projects. By sharing our bug fixes and
new features back out into the community, the community then in turn
continues to improve upon bug fixes and new features that originated
at Netflix and then we complete the cycle by bring those improvements
back into Netflix.
- Microsoft IE Flaw Exploited by Hackers to Steal Info From Google
In this case the flaw wasn't overly severe, but the attackers were
unusually sophisticated and struck out at businesses, looking to steal
their data. Writes Dmitri Alperovitch, a vice president of research
with McAfee, 'We have never seen attacks of this sophistication in the
commercial space. We have previously only seen them in the government
- Office of the State [of California] CIO IT Policy Letter: Open Source Software Policy
(California Office of the State Chief Information Officer,
The purpose of this Information Technology Policy Letter (ITPL) is to: Formally establish the
use of Open Source Software (OSS) in California state government as an acceptable practice ...
This policy provides guidance on the use of Open Source Software (OSS) ... The OCIO permits
the use of OSS.
- Office 2003 Rights Management Bug Locks up Files
It's a nightmare scenario: Imagine coming into the office and not
being able to access any of your organization's vital documents. That
scenario became reality today for an untold number of Microsoft Office
2003 customers who use Microsoft's Rights Management Service (RMS),
a technology for controlling access to documents.
- French army sides with Mozilla in Microsoft email war
A new email client unveiled by Mozilla this week contains code from an
unusual source -- the French military, which decided the open source
product was more secure than Microsoft's rival Outlook. ... France's
military chose open source software after an internal government debate
[...] culminated in a [...] directive requiring state agencies 'Seek
maximum technological and commercial independence.' ... The French
government is beginning to move to other open source software, including
Linux instead of Windows and OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office.
- New Attack Fells Internet Explorer
A hacker has posted attack code that could be used to break into a
PC running older versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.
... Security consultancy Vupen Security has also confirmed that the
attack works, saying it worked on a Windows XP Service Pack 3 system
running IE 6 or IE7. Neither company was able to confirm that the
attack worked on Microsoft's latest browser, IE 8. ... Together,
IE 6 and IE 7 command close to 40 percent of the browser market.
- Major IE8 flaw makes 'safe' sites unsafe
The latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser contains
a bug that can enable serious security attacks against websites that
are otherwise safe. The flaw in IE 8 can be exploited to introduce
XSS, or cross-site scripting, errors on webpages that are otherwise
safe... Ironically, the flaw resides in a protection added by Microsoft
developers to IE 8 that's designed to prevent XSS attacks against
- After one year, Conficker infects 7 million computers
Conficker first caught the attention of security experts in November
2008 and received widespread media attention in early 2009. It has
proved remarkably resilient and adept at re-infecting systems even
after being removed.
- New [US Department of Defense] Memo on Open Source Software
'Misconceptions and misinterpretations... have hampered effective
DoD use and development of OSS.' The new memo tries to counter those
misconceptions and misinterpretations, and is very positive about
OSS. In particular, it lists a number of potential advantages of OSS,
and recommends that in certain cases the DoD release software as OSS.
- IBM and Ubuntu roll Linux for U.S desktops vs Windows 7
IBM and Canonical are now announcing the launch of Linux and
cloud-based desktop software in the U.S. The effort was originally
announced more than a year ago, in August of 2008 as the Microsoft-Free
PC effort. The basic idea is to have an Linux OS, with IBM smart
client applications called Open Collaboration Client Solution software
(OCCS) (Lotus Symphony and Notes) for enterprise apps.
- EvriChart: A Linux Success Story
Tony Maro, CIO of EvriChart, a hospital records management and
archiving business, successfully migrated his company's Windows-based
line of business document management extranet application and his
employees' 40-odd Windows-based desktops to a 100 percent Linux-based
server and desktop infrastructure.
- Sneaky Microsoft Add-On Put Firefox Users At Risk
[T]he 'Windows Presentation Foundation' plugin that Microsoft slipped
into Firefox last February apparently left the popular browser open to
attack. ... once installed, the .NET add-on was virtually impossible
to remove from Firefox. The usual 'Disable' and 'Uninstall' buttons
in Firefox's add-on list were grayed out on all versions of Windows
except Windows 7... Several sites posted complicated directions on
how to scrub the .NET add-on...
- [Ontario] researchers tout cheap eHealth alternative
Researchers at Hamilton's McMaster University say they have devised an
electronic medical records system that can be implemented by physicians
across Ontario for two per cent of the money the provincial government
has spent on eHealth Ontario. [...] Around 600 doctors across the
country -- including 450 family physicians in Ontario -- currently
use the software. The software is open-source, which means users are
allowed access to its basic code. Users are free to add to or modify
the software without fear of legal repercussions... Because it's
open-source, OSCAR is free. The costs to set it up come in the form
of servers, hardware and support staff. [...] [In] a report released
Wednesday, Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter said the province had
wasted [a $1 billion investment] and eHealth had little to show for
- Hidden Fees Discovered for "Free" Windows 7 Upgrades
Since June 26, retailers and computer manufacturers have urged
shoppers to buy computers already on store shelves loaded with the
much-maligned Windows Vista operating system because they would qualify
for a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it was released in October. As it
turns out... some computer purchasers will be asked to pay shipping,
handling and other junk fees that total between $11 and $17 to receive
their "free" upgrade [discs].
- IBM Throws Out Microsoft Office
360,000 IBM workers have been told to stop using Microsoft Office and
switch to the Open Office-based software Symphony. ... IBM's management
have obviously decided to practice what they preach. 330,000 IBM
workers already use Symphony...
- Microsoft Acknowledges Linux threat to Windows client
The move is an acknowledgment of the first viable competition from
Linux to Microsoft's Windows client business, due mainly to the use
of Linux on netbooks, which are rising in prominence as alternatives
to full-sized notebooks.
- Attacks Against Unpatched Microsoft Bug Multiply
Attacks exploiting the latest Microsoft vulnerability are quickly
ramping up in quantity and intensity, several security companies warned
today as they rang alarms about the developing threat.
- Most Companies Won't Deploy Windows 7 -- Survey
Nearly six in 10 companies have no current plans to deploy Windows
7 by the end of next year, according to a new survey.
- U.S. Postal Service Gives Stamp of Approval To FOSS [Free and Open Source Software]
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has switched 1,300 of the servers
that manage its package tracking system to a Linux environment. The
move has taken the better part of a year since all the original system
code was written in Cobol and had to be converted for Linux -- a less
expensive option than rewriting it altogether.
- Federal Web sites knocked out by cyber attack
A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July
4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including
some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime [...] Denial of service
attacks against Web sites are not uncommon, and are usually caused
when sites are deluged with Internet traffic so as to effectively
take them off-line. Mounting such an attack can be relatively easy
using widely available hacking programs, and they can be made far more
serious if hackers infect and use thousands of computers tied together
- PC Invader Costs Kentucky County $415,000
(The Washington Post,
Cyber criminals based in Ukraine stole $415,000 from the coffers of
Bullitt County, Kentucky this week. The crooks were aided by more than
two dozen co-conspirators in the United States, as well as a strain of
malicious software capable of defeating online security measures put
in place by many banks. [...] the unauthorized transfers appear to have
been driven by "some kind computer virus." ... the criminals stole
the money using a custom variant of a keystroke logging Trojan [...]
[An] interesting feature of this malware... is that it creates a
direct connection between the infected Microsoft Windows system and
the attackers, allowing the bad guys to log in to the victim's bank
account using the victim's own Internet connection.
- Microsoft warns of serious computer security hole
The vulnerability disclosed Monday affects Internet Explorer users
whose computers run the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating
software. It can allow hackers to remotely take control of victims'
machines. The victims don't need to do anything to get infected except
visit a Web site that's been hacked. Security experts say criminals
have been attacking the vulnerability for nearly a week. Thousands of
sites have been hacked to serve up malicious software that exploits
- The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software
Detractors of free software like to point out it's not really 'free,'
and claim that its Total Cost of Ownership is often comparable with
closed-source solutions... [yet] they never include a very real
extra that users of Microsoft's products frequently have to pay:
the cost of cleaning up malware infections. For example, the UK city
of Manchester has just paid out nearly $2.5 million to clean up the
- One Year Later, "Dead" XP Still Going Strong
Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP a year ago today, no longer
selling new copies in most venues. Yet according to a report from
InfoWorld, various downgrade paths to XP are keeping the operating
system very much alive, particularly among businesses. In fact, despite
Microsoft trumpeting Vista as the most successful version of Windows
ever sold, more than half of business PCs have subsequently downgraded
Vista-based machines to XP...
- Windows 7 Licensing a "Disaster" For XP Shops
PCs bought after April 22, 2010, however, can only be downgraded
to Vista — no help for XP-based organizations, which would be
wise to wait 12 to 18 months before adopting Windows 7, so that they
can test hardware and software compatibility and ensure their vendors'
Windows 7 support meets their needs. XP shops that chose not to install
Vista will have to either rush their migration process or spend extra
to enroll in Microsoft's Software Assurance program...
- The Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign
Groklaw is examining the possibility of an anti-ODF [OpenDocument Format]
whisper campaign and the effects it has had on the ODF and OOXML
[Microsoft's Office Open XML] Wikipedia articles. In the ODF article, Alex
Brown [convenor of the OOXML BRM] bends the truth to make it seem like no
one is supporting ODF, and that it is a flawed and incomplete standard.
- Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension
(The Washington Post,
A routine security update for a Microsoft Windows component installed
on tens of millions of computers has quietly installed an extra
add-on for an untold number of users surfing the Web with Mozilla's
Firefox Web browser. ...'this update adds to Firefox one of the most
dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer:
the ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on
your PC.' ... Microsoft tells us that the only way to get rid of this
thing is to modify the Windows registry, an exercise that -- if done
imprecisely -- can cause Windows systems to fail to boot up.
- City of Vancouver embraces open data, standards and source
Vancouver city council has endorsed the principles of making its
data open and accessible to everyone where possible, adopting open
standards for that data and considering open source software when
replacing existing applications. ... About 15 members of the public
signed up to speak about the motion. All who spoke were in favour,
Reimer said. "The only sort of negative [comment] was 'Can't you go
further? Can't you do more?'"
- ECIS Provides A History of Microsoft's AntiCompetitive Behavior
'Once Microsoft had achieved wide distribution for its own browser
through these tactics, it then moved to "extend" (in effect,
customize) industry standards for HyperText Markup Language ("HTML")
and Cascading StyleSheets ("CSS") to ensure that users would become
reliant on Microsoft's own web browser. Microsoft also introduced its
ActiveX technology extensions, which allowed software written much
like traditional computer programs to run in the Internet Explorer
browser, but that only worked on Microsoft's monopoly operating
system.' ... 'Even when Microsoft claims to be implementing a standard,
the reality is that Microsoft's implementations routinely either only
partially conform or else somehow extend the standard, so that software
developed to work with Microsoft's version of the standard will not work
with other vendors' implementations of the same standard.' ... '"We
need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger....If you're going to
kill someone, there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and
angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste
of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger."'
- Dvorak Likes Linux
'I'm tired of dealing with Windows malware, patch Tuesday, and the
never-ending deterioration of the OS as it clogs up like a drain
in a greasy-spoon restaurant. I can't take it anymore.' ... 'the
biggest differences between Ubuntu and Windows are the cost and the
subsequent headaches, because Microsoft is constantly fretting over
bootleg copies. The company monitors machines to make sure they are
running legal copies of software. There have already been instances
of computers shut down by Microsoft HQ because of some glitch in the
cloud. This is simply unacceptable. I don't want to rely on a system
like that.' ... 'If I had a small or mid-size company, I'd probably
use only Linux and open-source software, just to stay out of the way
of the software police and their onerous "audits" — another
abhorrent situation that, to me, is intolerable.'
- Draconian DRM Revealed In Windows 7
The days of capturing an audio program on your PC seem to be over...
Win7 allows programs like Photoshop to insert themselves stealthily
into your firewall exception list. Further, that the OS allows large
software vendors to penetrate your machine.
- Microsoft's advice on Downadup leaves users open to attack, says US-CERT
Microsoft Corp.'s advice on disabling Windows' "Autorun" feature is
flawed, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) said today,
and it leaves users who rely on its guidelines to protect their PCs
against the fast-spreading Downadup worm open to attack. ... The problem
is that Downadup, which as of last week had infected nearly 9 million
PCs worldwide, tries to spread using USB-based devices, typically flash
drives. ... One security researcher said he was surprised that Microsoft
didn't catch its recommendation errors, particularly in light of the
ongoing Downadup attacks. "Seems unbecoming of Microsoft not to have
been the one posting this information on a blog of theirs,"... He also
bemoaned the need to edit the registry to disable Autorun. "Not only
[is] editing the registry outside the [reach] of most people, but now we
have learned that the information from the source is not complete."
- Windows worm trickery for Vista
The worm is unusually clever in the way that it determines what server
to contact... 'This makes it impossible and/or impractical for us good
guys to shut them all down'... [The virus] has spread to an estimated
9m computers globally.
- 1 in 3 Windows PCs Still Vulnerable To Worm Attack
The worm that has infected several million Windows PCs, Downadup or
'Conficker,' is having a field day because nearly a third of all systems
remain unpatched 80 days after Microsoft rolled out an emergency fix.
- Microsoft confirms that all versions of IE have critical new bug
[Microsoft] adds IE6 and IE8 Beta 2 to the list, recommends disabling
.dll to stay safe. The unpatched bug in Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)
that hackers are now exploiting also exists in older versions of the
browser, including the still-widely-used IE6, Microsoft Corp. said
- HP Opens Up Open Source for Small Businesses
HP is approaching this market with both fists flying. Wednesday,
it announced two new open source products, geared to small businesses
and educational institutions.
- Worm Transcodes MP3s To Infect PCs
Kaspersky Labs has discovered malware that inserts links to malicious
Web pages within ASF media files, posing a danger to Windows users who
download music files from P2P networks. Infected files launch IE and
load a page that asks the user to download a codec. The download, a
Trojan horse, installs a proxy program to route other traffic through
the PC. The malware also has worm-like qualities, according to Secure
Computing. It searches for MP3s, transcodes them to WMA format,
wraps them in an ASF container, and adds links to further copies of
the malware, all without modifying the .MP3 extension.
- Move Your Business from Windows to Linux
Windows XP is available only as a costly 'downgrade' from Windows Vista...
If that feels like a waste of your small business's precious IT budget,
and you're still looking for an alternative to Windows Vista, look no
further than Linux. The latest distributions are free, easy to install,
and highly customizable; they harness your existing hardware without
overtaxing it; and they include a wealth of productivity applications
and utilities. ... Linux is different from Windows, but it isn't
an alien life form. The human investment you make in transitioning
away from expensive Windows and Office licenses may pay for itself
quickly. More important, you'll be free to run the desktop and server
software of your choice, on hardware you can afford.
- Linux captures the 'green' flag, beats Windows 2008 power-saving measures
Independent tests show that Red Hat Linux pulls as much as 12%
less power than Windows 2008 on identical hardware. For this test,
we examined power consumption as a way to judge whether Windows Server
2008 or Linux is, in fact, the 'greener' operating system. As the price
of power hits record heights, power reduction mechanisms shipping within
an operating system should play a key role in you energy conservation
plan. Our tests point to Linux as the winner of the green flag by
margins that topped out at 12%.
- Sneaky Blackmailing Virus That Encrypts [Your] Data [and holds it
... the criminal tells the victims that the file has been encrypted
and offers to sell them a decryptor. Is this a look into the future
where the majority of malware will function based on extortion?
- Windows XP SP3 Sows Havoc, Users Complain
Within hours of its release, Microsoft's Service Pack 3 for Windows XP
began drawing hundreds of complaints from users who claim the update
is wreaking havoc on their PCs. The problems with XP SP3, according to
posters on Microsoft's Windows XP message board, range from spontaneous
reboots to outright system crashes.
- KDE on Linux now de facto platform for Brazil primary school education system
(SMB Tech Advice.com,
Brazil has made KDE on Linux the official computing platform of the
primary education system. [...] [I'm] elated to see that 52 million
young people will grow up in a free (as in freedom) environment where
they will learn and flourish without the trappings of proprietary
- Geneva schools completely switch to Open Source
((IDABC) Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens),
About 70,000 students and their 7,000 teachers in the Geneva school district will gradually be moving to Open Source.
- Ubuntu breathes new life into school's abandoned hardware
Implementing a kiosk mode Kubuntu setup allowed Westall Secondary
School, located in eastern Melbourne, to save money, exact greater
control over security measures, and extend the life of older and
discarded hardware without sacrificing performance. But according to
[the school's IT support magager], the 'huge amount of flexibility'
offered by the Linux operating system was the primary motive behind
- Canadian school district serves up lessons on the power of Linux
For two large school districts -- in Canada and the U.S. -- Linux
and other open source software is the plat du jour on the education
menu. ... The largest Linux implementation is running close to 200
diskless clients in a single school. ... 'We get better support with
open source software: online wikis, forums, mailing lists etc are
much faster and better to get support than phoning up Microsoft and
listening to someone read off answers from flash cards.' ... 'We give
everyone FreeNX access to their Linux desktop from home so they can
get all the same programs without having to install Linux at home.'
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2016 Jun 05 09:57