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