Thursday, June 3, 2010

Linux On The Top

Praveen Dalal

Linux is synonymous with open source and free software movement. The name "Linux" comes from the Linux kernel, originally written in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux being technical in nature, users were shying away from using the same. The proprietary software also played a major role in the limited growth of Linux as these proprietary software are more easy to use than command based Linux environments.

Realising this hurdle many committed Linux enthusiastic dedicated their time and energy to simplify the usage of Linux distributions. Today Linux is available for a wide range of products. Linux has become increasingly popular in recent years, partly owing to the popular Mandriva Linux, Fedora, Debian or Ubuntu distributions. In fact these distributions now come with user friendly GUI that gives a look and feeling of other proprietary operating systems that user are currently using.

The user friendly GUI coupled with command based options gives a user the ultimate control over a machine. Realising this aspect many hardware and other information technology service providers are not only switching to Linux but are also pre installing it in their hardware and products. Even the smart phones are using many Linux features and distributions.

However, with the numerous benefits of Linux we also have some cyber security issues as well. It would be wrong to presume that Linux, in itself and without further efforts, is a safe option from cyber security perspective. This is a myth as now the crackers would start exploring the vulnerabilities of Linux instead of other operating systems. The cyber security community of Linux must make some additional efforts to make Linux safer from the increased and unexpected vulnerabilities and cyber attacks.

The cyber security problem is common to both open source and proprietary software and this should not bother the potential and future Linux users from switching from traditional operating systems to the Linux environment.