[kwlug-disc] so ... what's your opinion on linux anti-virus software?

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Fri Feb 6 10:57:56 EST 2009

--- On Fri, 2/6/09, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:

> Chris, you are absolutely right, in a perfect world.
> Everybody would have the time, inclination, and energy, to
> learn everything about everything. It just ain't so. If
> you'd like, wherever you saw toaster, substitute digital
> camera or mp3 player. Which is, really, just a diskette in
> another form. How about a cell phone?

I don't agree. I don't necessarily need my users to know everything
about everything. I don't need them to be geeks, and as far as I am
concerned my employers handle the deadweight of my salary specifically
so that their computers work more like toasters. 

But here's the point: FLOSS has a tendency to give computer janitors
much more flexibility over how we configure systems for end users. As
a pragmatic example, consider the process of keeping computers up to
date. With FLOSS I can script updates to behave in pretty much any way
I want, and I can potentially push out the configuration to many
computers with tools like puppet or cfengine. With Windows I am
dependent on the facilities my vendors provide.

This has really been burning us with respect to Windows Updates. Windows
Updates are supposed to be silent and easy for users. But they are
proving to be a huge headache, because a certain vendor has decided
that their Windows Genuine Advantage notifications require end-users
to click "accept" in order for the updates to work. That has been a
huge headache for our users. 

In this case we may have found workarounds, but in general we were
limited by the design of the software vendor. If the vendor did not
give us the functionality we want, we either have to hope that there
is some third-party solution or we are stuck. There is no technical
reason which guarantees that Free Software solutions are any better (I
mean, you are supposed to be able to script everything in Powershell
these days), but in practice I have found that open source is much
more amenable to tweaking in ways that have the potential to make the
lives of my non-technical users much easier, so they can treat their
computers more like toasters and less like migranes. But to be able to
do this somebody (in this case presumably Rob's acquaintance) needs to
understand the different philosophies between operating system
cultures, which is why I think that Chris's response is pretty

- Paul

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