Last night, I watched a 60 Minutes episode on CNBC which explored the danger foreign hackers pose to the US, especially to the banking industry, the government, and the power grid.  The story (which seemed to be pieced together from stories originally aired on 11/08/09 and 3/27/09) highlighted the rapid spread of the conficker worm, which even infected the station’s network during the production of the show.

They interviewed an exec from a popular security company who, not surprisingly, explained the need for his companies products.  The 60 Minutes crew completely fails to explain the best and cheapest way to avoid the danger: don’t use Microsoft Windows.  The media never seems to grasp there are alternatives, like Linux, that will protect you from 99% of the malware without the need for special security software.  Are these media outfits on the Microsoft and Symantec payroll or are they just not doing a thorough reporting job?  The answer is yes to both.

Media ignores Linux because Microsoft is a major advertiser and they don’t want to lose millions of dollars in ad revenue.  Another reason is most people producing these stories are ignorant of Linux and the technical issues involved.  The OS (operating system) is never even mentioned.  Wake up and smell the conspiracy, folks.  You can and should ditch Microsoft Windows and use Linux – it’s faster, more secure, and free.

Video links:
The Internet is Infected
Sabotaging the System

Related Stories:
The Conficker worm on 60 Minutes
60 Minutes Missed the Elephant in the Room

Today is Document Freedom Day. If you’re not one of the open source faithful, or even if you are, you might not be familiar with this digital independence day. According to the web site at http://documentfreedom.org, “Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global day for document liberation. It will be a day of grassroots effort to educate the public about the importance of Open Document Formats and Open Standards in general.”

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I’m a self-taught web designer that got his beginnings on a Windows machine using first Frontpage (gag) and then Dreamweaver. Now, I love my Dreamweaver. It rocks to no end with all it can do. Add in Fireworks and Photoshop to the mix and you have one sweet set of tools that will keep you designing for years to come.

Well with my venture into Linux a while back, I was struggling to find suitable replacements for my favorite apps that I grew to be so fond of as well as used to. It was hard finding what I can now call my new favorites although I do still reserve judgement on The GIMP a bit longer as it still hasn’t quite won me over just yet.

For the Linux version of Dreamweaver, I use Kompozer. It doesn’t have the finesse that Dreamweaver has but it works very well for my purposes. Also, a nifty app called SciTE is an awesome text editor that resembles PSPpad on my Windows machine.

I prefer to do my site work in Windows still but that’s pretty much because it’s a habit and I’m comfortable with them but, I’m getting more and more used to using the apps on my Linux hard drive (I dual boot Ubuntu and XP Pro) instead of the more familiar ones on my Windows hard drive.

My reasons are this:

I want to be as M/S free as I possibly can by year’s end with very few exceptions. I’ve grown to prefer open source apps and software to proprietary apps and software due to the nature of them being much more stable, less apt to be corrupt, less prone to malware or virus infections which helps to free my wallet from the anti- this and the anti- that companies who’ve sworn their devotion to wiping the ‘net’s infections out.

I like the freedom to do what I want with the OS (operating system) of my choosing and not having to dial home (M/S) anytime I reinstall it on my computer and asking their permission to install the OS I already paid for a long time ago.

Now with the exception of my wife’s work having to be on a Windows machine and my new laptop I bought for some work but mostly for some gaming I try to fit in in my spare time (chuckle), I’m slowly working my way to more freedom.

So, in closing I’d like to ask the readers here what their favorite web design programs are or what their favorite apps period are in their distro of Linux. I’m open to new ways of doing things unlike M/S who prefers us to keep our heads in the sand.

Burning Windows

‘To describe writing as ” Orwellian ” means that it expresses a pessimistic view of a dull, uniform world where every aspect of life is controlled and organized by the State.’1 This is certainly an accurate description of my writing on the subject of Microsoft (and corporate culture in general). I consider myself a desktop revolutionary, a guerilla sysadmin, a software freedom fighter. I’m one of a growing number of PC techs for whom the phrase “Format C:” (or, more likely, fdisk /dev/sda) is the answer to the many “How do I fix my Windows PC?” questions we get. Microsoft wants to control every aspect of your desktop, server and online experience. They have failed miserably with the latter two, but have completely dominated – through marketing and unfair business practices, rather than technical superiority – the desktop.Why don’t more people use Linux? It’s more powerful, more secure, infinitely customizable… and it’s free.  What’s the problem?

Slackware was my first Linux, back in 1995. It was the Linux distro in those days, largely because of an easier menu-driven installation process. I think installation is even easier than Windows now.  But there are two areas that are always an obstacle for less experienced users: partitioning and drivers. These areas are difficult not because of any inherent flaw in Linux, but because of the Microsoft stranglehold on the desktop.

If you are installing Linux on a box of it’s own, partitioning isn’t any different than a Windows installation: it happens without user intervention. It’s only because many users are installing on a Windows box and wish to dual-boot, that the Linux installer has to shrink the existing NTFS or VFAT partition and create other partitions for itself. This is usually done flawlessly, provided the user has some idea of what is going on. I would suggest that anyone who thinks this is a defect of Linux try to install Windows in a dual-boot config on a PC where Linux is already installed and see how well Microsoft handles that. ;-)

The second issue, driver availability, is due to the lack of response of hardware manufactures to demands from the Linux community for support. Let’s face it, it takes time and money to develop drivers and most companies can’t justify investing in a driver for less than two percent of the desktop market, especially if they will be pressured to release the code as open source. As Linux desktop usage grows, this will change. Indeed, it has already begun. Check out the rivalry between nVidia and ATI for producing the best driver support for Linux users (especially the hardcore gaming crowd).

Unfortunately, businesses are notoriously slow to adopt “new” technology, even when it will save them time, money and the hassle of the Microsoft malware machine. So, those of us who support Windows users must use Windows as well. That is why I no longer support Microsoft products. I will offer help in migrating to a superior platform, be it GNU/Linux, BSD, Mac OS/X, or Solaris. But I will no longer waste my time and effort supporting a system of the clueless, by the clueless, and for the clueless. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ;-)

1.  ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ – George Orwell, first published by Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd., 1949
This introduction by Gwyneth Roberts,  © Longman Group Limited, 1983

source: CNNMoney

You don’t think Google is making them nervous, do you? The problem with this deal is that Yahoo is now an old school company. They’re stale, trying to keep up rather than leading the way. And what is this deal going to do for Yahoo? You don’t find any company staler and more old school than Microsoft. But this is how The Beast from Redmond approaches every challenge: if you can’t beat them with technology, buy your way out of it. This is similar to their reasoning for “supporting” Linux. Picture this, if you will: Ford makes an offer to buy GM because those pesky Japanese are starting to make pretty good cars.  Clueless! It’s all about evolution, folks. Look around you and tell me where the 500 lb gorilla is? Hiding in the jungle eating grubs while the higher primates are dining in style and feeling sorry for the poor bastard.

source: InfoWorld

This is because the technologically-challenged twits that make the business calls at large companies feel safe and snuggly in the arms of the Evil Empire. It’s like the old saying, “No one ever got fired for choosing IBM.” Why can’t Novell just deal with this? Because the CXX-level twits at Renault insist on using WinDoze on the desktop. So, “interoperability” is important. Try this for a solution, twits: Use SLED on the desktop and SLES in the server room. Voilà, instant interoperability. And savings. And control. Using Windows is like letting crack dealers sell from your front door: soon it’s their house, not yours.

I think it’s ironic that Ms. Hauser, a mouthpiece for the Dark Side, ackowledges that “Customers have asked for solutions to make Microsoft products work better with other platforms” and, knowing that Microsoft can’t improve it’s own product, offers Linux as a solution.

Sign on Steve Ballmer’s desk: “If it weren’t for idiots, I wouldn’t have a job.”