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Fear And Loathing Fueling The Virus Revolt

It's a sad time when people are afraid of their own computers, but that's where Microsoft Windows users are at currently. It's reminiscent of Hal from Space Odyssey. Computer owners fear that if they launch the wrong program, visit a 'bad' website or simply view an email, they will trigger an unstoppable torrent of emails and virus spewing from their computer. Then comes public humiliation and chastising for not having performed the mandatory daily software and virus update routine (which often times wouldn't have prevented it anyway). If the PC were any other type of product, it would have been recalled by its manufacturer, and congress would have stepped in, demanding accountability.

Get integrated, proactive virus protection
Lets be clear where the blame lies - it is on Microsoft's shoulders for writing very low quality software and then even worse, not standing behind that software in spite of garnering unprecedented profits. Each new outbreak prompts the Microsoft PR machine to point fingers at users for not maintaining their computers, or at deviant hackers, when they should really be pointing the finger at their own wobbly software. I'm not excusing virus authors. In most countries, authoring software which intentionally harms computers is a criminal offense and it should be. I should point out also, that all software will have vulnerabilities since it is authored by fallible humans. What I'm challenging is the number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft's abandonment of their responsibility to invest a tiny sliver of their profits in proactively resolving the problem.

I was in the SIPphone offices the other day to test some new SIP software on a Microsoft Windows XP box. I spent half of my time closing unwanted popups, which bombarded the screen. All the while, this very new computer (less then a week old) was operating very slowly. Later on, we discovered that this computer had virus issues. I'm not sure how people running Microsoft computers get their work done, since they need to be constantly vigilant about installing software patches and updating virus software.

Every analysis I have seen that looks at the cost of maintaining Microsoft software has overlooked the enormous costs of virus protection, which has become absolutely mandatory. The poor quality of Microsoft's software has caused billions of dollars in lost time and outages for companies. Multi-billion dollar corporations like Symantec and McAfee have been built largely by taking money from consumers who are forced to pay to clean up Microsoft's mistakes. Some larger companies now even have employees with titles like "Patch Managers," whose full time job is to constantly update computers in an attempt to thwart virus attacks. What a sad state of affairs for the PC business! It's a shame that the public outcry hasn't forced Microsoft to take responsibility for the situation that they are largely responsible for creating.

Get Linspire and stop worrying about viruses and popups!
Fortunately there is something users can do - switch to a desktop Linux machine. By abandoning Microsoft Windows XP, you can get back to using your computer as a tool to get work done in your business or in your home. Many Lindows employees spend their weekends installing Linspire for their neighbors and friends who are desperate to be rid of the virus nightmare which seems to have no end. My message is that the world doesn't have to suffer through poor software which invites hackers, like Microsoft Outlook. Desktop Linux is a viable alternative. If you know someone who fears using their computer or is disgusted with viruses help them out, buy them a copy of Linspire.

-- Michael

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