This caught my attention today. It comes courtesy of AP with notes from 660 News in Calgary:

Scores of computers across North America were stuck rebooting endlessly after an antivirus program started identifying a normal Windows file as a virus.

McAfee Inc. confirmed a software update caused its antivirus program to misidentify a harmless file.

McAfee has posted a replacement update for download.

Online users say thousands of computers running Windows XP are affected.

The problem caused a “campus-wide disruption” at the University of Calgary, the school reported.

OK, what is it going to take for people to stop using Windows? This is yet another in a countless series of examples of needless grief caused by using a terrible operating system that requires anti-virus software.

It’s the digital equivalent of that elementary school trick where you ask your friend to make a fist and hold it in front of their face, then you hold it and tell them to pull as hard as they can, then you let go and they punch themselves in the face. People only fall for that trick once (Fist XP?), and yet they continue to get self-sucker-punched by Windows over and over and over again. It’s mystifying.

This doesn’t happen to Mac OSX or Linux users. It’s not because “there’s more Windows users so it’s a more attractive target”. It’s because Windows is junk. OSX is built on FreeBSD, which is a version of Unix. Linux is also a Unix derivative. Unix is the most stable operating system available. That’s why it’s so widely used on servers all over the world. It’s not possible for viruses and other malware to mess up a Unix/Linux/OSX machine because of the architecture of the OS. Even if Mac suddenly captures a 90% market share you will not see stories like the one above nearly as often. Of course PEBKAC (Google that) virus infection will always be an issue no matter what OS dominates the market.

Here’s a nice explanation if you’re interested. It’s written specifically about Linux, but the same basic logic applies to OSX. Please read it and take note of the following; “Permissions on Linux are universal. They cover three things you can do with files: read, write, and execute. Not only that, they come in three levels: for the root user, for the individual user who is signed in, and for the rest of the world. Typically, software that can impact the system as a whole requires root privileges to run.

Microsoft designed Windows to enable outsiders to execute software on your system. The company justifies that design by saying it enriches the user experience if a Web site can do “cool” things on your desktop.

Anyone who has ever set eyes on Ubuntu or OSX knows that their desktops are plenty cool.

One final thought regarding the McAfee story. It states “McAfee has posted a replacement update for download.“. That’s awesome. Thanks. BUT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DOWNLOAD IT IF MY COMPUTER KEEPS REBOOTING?!?


– BLig

with content by:
Associated Press