System crackers and malware malcontents prefer windows & apples to penguins

If your employer is selecting a desktop operating system for employee use, consider the security bonus of Linux’s relative obscurity.

Many people resist change. That is why there is an entire service industry dedicated to change management.

Change is still necessary, because healthy economies feature plenty of market-based competition among producers for consumer loyalty. Sometimes, competition leads to misguided attempts to differentiate. Sometimes, it transforms the industry itself. Business managers who can ignore the vaporware to focus on the business imperatives will always be in high employment demand.

IT security is, of course, one of those business imperatives. Not many enterprises can avoid having an IT infrastructure, even if it amounts to a single PC connected to the internet. As more things go online (to borrow a term from the emerging Internet of Things), there is a corollary increase in opportunities for cyberattack.

Linux is a mature kernel, and its various graphical desktops (e.g. Gnome, KDE, etc.) provide users with productive experiences which are as intuitive as any from Microsoft or Apple. As a security bonus, fewer crackers & malware distributors target Linux-based systems precisely because there are fewer Linux-based systems out there.

Still, switching is not a simple decision. Better security comes at a price of greater possibilities that your customers and supply chain vendors will be unable or unwilling to view some of the files that you create on your Linux boxes. Open Source projects try to maintain compatibility with other operating systems, but a key to their differentiation is their owners’ ongoing attempts to make it difficult to work with anything other than their product. Fair enough — the bottom line is that you as a competent manager of your employer’s tiny slice of the eternal infotinuum must evaluate the risks versus the rewards of business imperatives like security and productivity.

Alephnote: Some of the worst security out there, regardless of the operating system you might choose to run, happens within The Cloud (but is sure is convenient for business managers who emphasize such things).