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29 Reasons to Not Get Vista

Microsoft Windows Vista hits (assaults) consumers on 30 January 2007. Starting with New Years Day that gives you twenty nine days to think about the big mistake you're about to make.

Every day of January 2007 until Microsoft Windows Vista is released you can read yet another good reason why it's not a good idea to get it.

25 January 2007 Reason #25: It's proprietary.

Windows is proprietary in the sense only Microsoft have access to the code. Which might sound like the most reasonable thing in the world as after all they wrote it. But it's not. Proprietary or 'closed' source code is a major reason you suffer today running Windows.

There are different levels of code to any computer operating system. The 'device drivers' are at the lowest level - these are the code bits that actually run the 'hardware' ('devices') in your computer such as your hard drive, your screen, your keyboard, your mouse, and so forth. Above the drivers (and in direct communication with them) you find what's known as the 'kernel'.

The kernel acts - or should act - in a tight dance with your file system to keep things in order - to prevent mishaps and of course to keep the black hats out.

Above the kernel you have 'user interface' stuff - the kind of code that lets you move windows about on screen, minimise them, maximise them, transfer data from one window to another, and so forth.

And working with this highest layer you have application code: the software Microsoft and others provide - Notepad, MS Works, Firefox, Thunderbird, and the like.

None of the Microsoft code is 'open': it's all 'proprietary', meaning only Microsoft know how it works. And again, it seems reasonable but it's not - and in this 'Internetted' or 'connected' age proprietary code at the wrong levels has always spelled disaster.

It's not so important Microsoft open their high level code for others to see, although there might be secrets and programming tricks they'd like to keep to themselves; no: this is about the lowest level system code: the kernel.

Fact: every operating system in use today on desktops or in server pools anywhere worth its name has an 'open source' kernel - every one that is except Windows.

And the reason is obvious: with millions upon millions of lines of code it's going to take more than a meek 'peer review' to find the bugs, the security holes, the dangers before the 'bad people' find them.

The Linux kernel project websites kernel.org and lkml.org (the Linux kernel mailing list) exist to keep that operating system up to date and free of bugs and other dangers. Programmers from around the world contribute on a daily basis. The code is open and free to inspect - and free to change - and any security issues are taken care of in minutes, not in days weeks months and years.

But how does it work with Windows? Brian Krebs of the Washington Post reported that Microsoft Internet Explorer was officially dangerous to use 284 of the 365 days of the year 2006.

'There were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users', wrote Krebs.

Ninety eight days! Were you online at the time with Microsoft products? Are you still online with Microsoft products - heaven forbid? And you were seriously planning to purchase Vista? What would Dirty Harry tell you? You know, don't you?

'Do you feel lucky, punk?'

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