Once again we’re seeing a security panic and much hustle-bustle over the latest round of Internet worms and viruses. The way you hear TV and corporate IT people talk, the problem is inescapable for Internet users everywhere, part of the human (computing) condition.
In fact, worms and viruses are quite easily escapable, as is supporting the neverending antivirus software racket. Just step outside the Microsoft box. Computing — to say nothing of thinking — outside the box is fine advice indeed.
I’m a big fan of Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and NetBSD. In part it’s because I’m lazy — if I can opt out of unnecessary security headaches, I do. If I can fix things and have them stay fixed, I’m there. No Microsoft software, no major security or reliability problems. Works for me, makes me happy. YMMV.
John Gruber at Daring Fireball has some pointed and well-considered observations himself on corporate IT, email, viruses/worms, computers and reliability — in general, on the shortcomings of an “all Microsoft all the time” computing policy.
Basic theme: CIOs can and should expect their computing infrastructure to be as reliable as their facilities’ plumbing. Implied recommendation: Don’t put up with crap.
In the follow-up, John mentions —
It’s my experience that your typical IT [person] knows next to nothing about Linux.
I wouldn’t have thought this possible if I hadn’t seen an example of it with my own eyes — an IT support guy at work told me with pride that he knows “nothing about Linux and never will. All I know is Windows!”
Especially in these days of tight corporate budgets and shrinking support staffs, shouldn’t a working knowledge of free, reliable, secure open-source software be a requirement for computing professionals? I certainly think so.
Good thing the support guy doesn’t report to me — I’d have fired his butt. :-)
2003-09-18 update: See also today’s related articles —