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Linux is just too open -

Linux is just too open
by Walter V. Koenning, for the Op/ed section.

Readers of this article also liked: Ubuntu sucks like a shopvac! 

The Problem with Linux is that it is forthright, open and honest. Now I know how much the editors here hate when I anthropomorphize an operating system, but it is fundamentally true.

Linux, in my view, remains almost too honest and too open.

The startup shares every detail of protocols and daemons being loaded, commands like du and top tell you the whole truth about how much system resources are being used, and the applications that run on Linux adhere to this same kind of honesty.

And the system processes can not simply change configuration details without adhering to pre-defined permissions.

Moreover, they must place configurations in nice readable files like apache.conf or dhcpd.conf, plain text readable with even simple commands like more (no pun intended). And they must remain totally submissive to the overall security and file system policies already in place.

Windows, on the other hand, is another story.

Windows sometimes reminds me of a loose whore who has recently picked up the clap. She is absolutely gorgeous on the outside, with the right curves, bells and whistles. Even on occasion appearing chaste and submissive, giving notices such as "You do not have permission to view the current permission settings for Properties, but you can make permissions changes."

But in reality, you never really know what is going on with her until you take a look under the skirt. Okay, figuratively of course.

Once you look, in my opinion, it then becomes clearer why Linux sometimes gets a bad rap from new users.

Let's look at one example, among many.

System processes, the things that start up when Windows and Linux start doing their thing.

With Linux we can quickly ascertain the processes and daemons using either command line (I know, not really useful for total newbies) or GUI tools like Gnome's Task Manager (Gpsui) or in KDE (using Ctrl and Esc). These tell you openly and honestly what is happening and allow you with a flick of the mouse button to stop what you wish.

Windows, on the other hand is not nearly as straight forward.

Firstly, you have the task manager process list. There are often processes here that you simply can not control, nor even understand for that matter.

Then we have the more comprehensive list such as those displayed when running services.msc, which is not very clear to new user or even most users. What this tool does is allow you to see the actual services being started with your system, so in case you were fool enough to look at the task manager list and find something is sucking almost 100% of cpu unintentionally, you can try to figure out how to stop it like using the services.msc. This happens on occasion with issues like: spoolsv.exe.

But as many have found, this is only for services at start up and things like the automatic balloon details that appear on the task bar, whether you want them to or not, can NOT be stopped, or even found to be part of this list.

In this conundrum of trying to figure out how you can actually affect such "messages" loosely termed, since they are actually more just "annoyances" or "methods to annoy you until you do something application wants." These can simply NOT ever be stopped until you enter that mysterious area called REGISTRY.

Inside registry you can use a few insertions, such as the following, to remove those pesky little balloon message you didn't want in the first place:


Right-click the right side, and choose to create a new DWORD value, and then name it EnableBalloonTips.

Give this new item a value of 0.

But remember, before you ever edit registry, you need to use common sense and safe guards (in this case backing up the entire registry if you know how to do that).

Now, for every person who complains about Linux being complex, and taking issue with all of the technical jargon such as daemons, processes, conf files, I have offered you some food for thought.

Linux users openly see how, what and where things such as configurations and services reside, impact, and function.

Windows users never see this complexity; never realize what is actually happening behind all the makeup. For example, the fact that svchost.exe has opened fifty OUTBOUND UDP connections for absolutely no reason.

These things are hidden, for if they were known, then very quickly the user would realize they were no longer looking at an attractive and useful thing envisioning long sensual nights spent in glee.

Instead, they would quickly become overwhelmed trying to figure out what in the world things are including s24evmon.exe and multiple active svchost.exe processes.

In which case they could go on to the internet and search and find incredibly long, complex, and overwhelming technical jargon-filled, fear-inducing answers that only those in geek land comprehend.

For instance when trying to deal with all those UDP connections I mentioned, they might try this information.

No, I propose to you that Linux is not more complex, nor a difficult operating system to understand and use.

Instead, Linux is an OS that is too forthright, too open about its functions and underlying components. It doesn't try to hide these under a lot of makeup.

As a result, new users who fear even such words as "operating system" may simply be shy of using Linux because the previous relationship they have had with Windows has fooled them into ignoring important truths about how computers function.

Thus, they return to their old love and never really find out why so many open networking connections occur mysteriously in the background, beneath attire that they will never probe. And thus they will routinely be exposed to vulnerabilities that they could have potentially avoided with Linux.

Sadly, perhaps Linux is just for those who can appreciate what's underneath.

Walter V. Koenning is a tech and trends writer for numerous online news and IT websites, and contributes occasionally to our Opinions section.

This brief opinion piece should not be construed as factual information, and only contains the opinions and personal experiences of the author at the time of publication. Microsoft, Microsoft Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.

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