Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Scoble Wants a Vista v Mac Debate

Scoble has thrown down the gauntlet, and wants to set up The Great OS Debate between Vista and OS X. It's make a hell of a podcast, but I'm not sure what the point is beyond that. What would that kind of "meeting of the minds" accomplish? Would it actually bring people from one camp or the other? Or would it just be a pointless waste of breath and time?

The simple truth of the matter is, the masses use Windows. Sure, there are a small percentage of people that use Macs, but most people use whatever is put in front of them.

Given the option, would people use Macs? Well, Mac hardware is better than Mac software IMO, and I think the recent boost in Mac sales is more due to the fact that you can now dual-boot to Windows than anything else. If Dell offered OS X on their computers as an option, would people choose it? Maybe. But that's the Catch-22 for OS X... the only reason you can tout it as being resistant to attacks is because it's not a big enough target. If they gain too much market share, the attacks will go up.

Having said all that, I'd gladly accept any opportunity to evangelize the Vista platform to people that haven't experienced it yet.

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Comments

  • aThought said:

    This is just a sad. In a way it’s like throwing a big enough stone in a pond so the ripples will attract the attention of everybody.

    Scoble got used to the reach that his words had when he worked for Microsoft, but he made the huge misassumption of thinking that it was his voice that people was interested in. While all along it was the combination of Scoble at Microsoft that people wanted. And I admit that this combination was good, but it was not in any way irreplaceable.

    December 20, 2006 2:47 AM
  • John Topley said:

    "...the only reason you can tout it as being resistant to attacks is because it's not a big enough target."

    Not really. There's a whole list of technical reasons here: http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisemac/archives/2006/08/is_windows_inhe.html

    December 20, 2006 4:18 AM
  • Glenn Timchishen said:

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as this IS a windows/Microsoft forum but Robert, I think you never do, nor never will give macs the respect they deserve.  I too think that comparing mac os to vista is pointless, but not because "the masses use windows so who cares, I'm right", but because vista is the latest version of windows... leopard is the latest version of mac os, and its not out yet.  So any comparison your going to do right now, would have to be against tiger and vista, and thats like like saying  whats better windows 2000 or XP?  Its not a fair comparison.  I do think it would a fair discussion in 6 months from now.

    December 20, 2006 9:01 AM
  • Doug said:

    John:

    There is some truth to the linked infoworld article, but there are also some incorrect assertions and invalid comparisons.

    For example, in Windows, there are ways to run a service securely (run as Local Service or as a specific user), and there are ways to run a service insecurely (run as SYSTEM). In OS X, the same applies -- if you run your daemon as root, and your daemon is compromised, your system is compromised. There is no fundamental difference between Windows and OS X. Of course, it is easier (on both systems) to write a service that runs as SYSTEM/root, but much more dangerous.

    I read about exploitable vulnerabilities in Windows nearly every month. But I also read about exploitable vulnerabilities in OS X. Neither one is invulnerable.

    Now, if I'm going to write an exploit to take over some boxes, I want the most bang for my buck. Windows has greater market share. And most hackers have spent more time on Windows hacks. So if there are exploitable vulnerabilities for both platforms, the logical choice is to write a Windows hack. As long as the fish are biting, the fisherman will stay with his favorite fishing hole.

    In the meantime, it seems that Microsoft is taking security very seriously and doing a good job of locking down the system. Of course, it will take a lot of time for Vista to get enough market penetration to make a difference, and new holes will be found even in Vista, but if Apple and/or Apple's customers become complacent, I think over time the ecosystem will change. If Apple keeps up with the vulnerabilities, and keeps improving the security features of OS X (there are a lot of things that still need improvement, BTW, for example, the default OS X firewall has significant problems), things will probably stay as they are, with the majority of attackers focusing on Windows. But if Apple falls behind and becomes the easier target, things will quickly change.

    December 20, 2006 10:02 PM
  • Graham Fluet said:

    "Glenn Timchishen said:

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as this IS a windows/Microsoft forum but Robert, I think you never do, nor never will give macs the respect they deserve.  I too think that comparing mac os to vista is pointless, but not because "the masses use windows so who cares, I'm right", but because vista is the latest version of windows... leopard is the latest version of mac os, and its not out yet.  So any comparison your going to do right now, would have to be against tiger and vista, and thats like like saying  whats better windows 2000 or XP?  Its not a fair comparison.  I do think it would a fair discussion in 6 months from now."

    the Tiger vs. Vista debate is fairly fair, security and ease-of-use wise.

    January 10, 2007 2:35 PM
  • Anton said:

    Vista seems uncomparable to mac. Its TOO MUCH BETTER!!

    January 30, 2007 10:51 PM
  • Anton said:

    Correction, VISTA is too much better than mac

    January 30, 2007 10:52 PM