Sunday, November 30, 2008

Windows 7 and it's news

For some time, I have been working with computers. In my blog in portuguese, I have detailed some funny moments of this road, although many of them were not so funny.Here in Brazil Windows is the OS market leader, and there is nothing anyone can say to change this. It's just that. But we must face a fact, things are really changing.

Apple in Brazil
Unfortunatelly, Apple does not do a good marketing work here. And that is really a pity, if you know what an Apple can do for you, you do know what I am talking about. Prices are always hiting the ceiling, almost no official reseller, and the few are concentrated in RJ or SP. The brazilian site itself does not shows the same stuff you find in american version. For sure, there are reasons, and I just don't know anything about them. So, Windows has been the choice.

A better Windows
Guys from networking knows that just since last years, Windows has become a secure option. Windows 2003 is a shift, if you see the bad steps of MS, in security, resource comsunption and so on. It is astonishing to see how a so unperfect OS has been working for so long. And not only to end users, but for the network basements. After 2003 (IMHO) things started to change. Lighter, faster, less unsecure. Okay, nobody is perfect. You still MUST be afraid of tons of new aggressive codes that works through loads of MS Windows weakness. not only about virus, but worms & Co. Just to remember, Unix OS also may be affected by them. Hummm ... in second thought: mostly server softwares may be, and much more than the OS.

NNF Technology
Anyway, there is another thing we cannot deny: Vista was such a wrong shot. Oh, there is the Mojave Experiment. That made think about the NNF technology wich is the knowledge basis of most computers technicians I know. Most of "computer guys" are not really prepared. But they know that reading the screens wil help them to make the work. They acquire that "knowledge", but are really not prepared to different situations. Let's then suppose that a Martian Ideas Transmission device is to be installed. That's the best moment for applying the , such as: it is not working, it is not compatible, your computer is not ready for that, it may be spoiled.

In another hand, the "Mojave OS" was already there, and correctly installed. And that is okay! End user are not to install an OS. Or it is ready-to-use or you should have someone to install it. Ops!!! As far as I can remember, MS warriors complained about Linux complexicity. Touché!

"News" on Windows 7
Why this all? There are tons of noise about Windows 7 and its innovative-brand new-shiny desktop. In Brazilian version of PCWorld, some shots of it is shown, and I got some disappointed to see that it is not that all. As an user of Ubuntu Desktop, I see some characteristics I have been making full usage since 04/2007. They were fully disponible in Ubuntu 7.04 version. If the goal is to prepare an eye-candy desktop, there are a lot to go through. I know it is just a preview, a Beta version, and so on. But all these has been ready to be used, as I told before. Not to commom users to install, but it was (and is) there.
  • The Windows Gadgets are available through gdesklets.
  • The Jumplists were first shown in KDE through SuSE. Note that this page is from April 2007. Windows Media Player also makes use of Jumplists.
  • The Device stage is somehow innovative, and not. It depends on the manufacturers to make available hardware specifications, and he correct drivers will be done. Here a petition for compatibility from VIA to Linux states the following:
While VIA has been on the market for a lot of time and claims to support Linux, this is not actually true. VIA does not support Linux (any distribution), at least regarding Video Chipsets support, since it's Linux drivers do not allow users to use their hardware up to the chipset specifications. However, using the same hardware on Windows, the manufacturer specifications are met. This shows that current driver developing efforts by VIA consider only Windows users (again, Linux is *not* supported).
  • The Media Collections (is that supposed to be correct in English ?) seems to be an development of Images, Video and Music folders in My Documents. I really do not know if there is something referred native to system. Of course, we have softwares that can work like this, but not native to the desktop environment. Since I am an Gnome fan, I haven't watched KDE yet. But the KDE guys really work hard on media stuff.
  • The User Account Control is something that has no corresponding item since securitty issues are dealt in different manners.
  • The Windows Solution Center seems to group several warnings in one place allowing the user to see them all. Guess some advanced users asked for this, but it can be a problem to common users, who are just used to make use of the sytem, and almost never care about security levels, warnings, and on. Most of time, they just want to know where is the OK button. Again, I don't know wether there is or not such a feature in an Linux Desktop Environment.
  • The Federated Search is an useful network search tool. Probably it will search for data in different versions of MS OS, like XP, 2003, and so on. Probably, it will not search in Apple or Linux hosts.
  • Themes should be easier to work with. It was not difficult, but the screen shows a broader range of options. In Ubuntu, it is really easy to make detailed changes in theme configuration. Here, one of the many videos showing how to do so.
  • Zoom effect is a quite useful feature, specially in a presentation. In this screen a square shows an magnified square area. Zoom in linux, as shown in this video, works in the full screen area.
  • When the desktop is crowded with many windows, sometimes is necessary to see the desktop, or the gadgets. Hiding the winows is a solution.
  • I don't understand how useful could be the resource of streaming. If videos and musics must be licensed, what will be done in my system to control this ? Only my medias can be deployed, but many will spread forbidden media, and that may arouse legal issues. Is this feature an effort against P2P networks ?
  • A lighter Windows Media Player. Hopefully, it will be. Linux has Totem, but it is way too slow and somehow buggy. Installing VLC and making it the default media player is preferred. It can be installed directly by Synaptic.
  • The MSPaint now uses the "brand-new" and complicated substitute for old-fashioned Menu bar. I did not understand what is new about this. I hope Paint records in JPG format by default.
  • Some visual enhancing to the calculator.
  • The Battery Monitor now shows minutes remaining, as Gnome always did.
Don't forget that I am only comparing what an review states abou the new Windows version with a few things I know in Linux. I'd love to receive opinions about Windows 2007.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

AVG says Windows (only a file) is a big Virus.

I have just received an email from my ex-student Rubenaldo. This email points to some interesting links that show AVG and a very tiny mistake: at version 7.5 and 8.0, user32.dll is a virus. Check it out:Link
So, let's open our minds, and understand what can happen:
1 - User starts AVG
2 - AVG complains
3 - User erases the file, and the SO stops

Unfortunately, most of end users, or home users, believe that anti-virus software can let them protected. As we see above, this just does not happen.

Others OS

Not only this, but the most popular end-user operating system is way too vulnerable, if we compare to others, mostly MacOS and Linux.

As my first post, I want to show, as impartially as I can, that there are other ways to do the same job. Of course, I want to show that nothing is a whole solution in itself.

In an cnet Review in 2006, Natasha Lomas remembered the famous Apple campaign, and pointed some flaws. We should never forget that softwares will allways have failures. The point is: Some are worst.

To state this, when you can, take a look at Security Focus Bugtraq Vulnerabilities List. Today (11-21-2008), I found the following results:
Vendor = Apple : 30 pages of vulnerabilities
Vendor = Ubuntu: 31 pages of vulnerabilities
Vendor = Microsoft: 68 pages of vulnerabilities

Note that I choose no software. Only the vendor. Also, most of the vulnerabilities there are solved. So, numbers here will not reflect the security information we are searching.


Besides, we must consider the usability question: "Will I know how to deal with that ?" The other Operating System may seem really secure, or less insecure. But, will I know how to deal with it's stuffs ? The text editor has the same controls ? My spreadsheet will have suffcient collumns/rows to work ?

I will make things worst then: Okay, I don't have sufficient time to re-learn it all. I will keep it simple. But I wish I could work without worrying so much about malwares. So, the end is to invest in a anti-virus solution, somehow expensive. And, sometimes it really does not work, or work insufficiently.

The question??? it is "How to lift security levels to the user ?"