Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
# 6:25:00 PM:

Does your mom's computer have properly configured firewall ports?

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Joe Average user is in trouble, says The Register. Alas, that's quite true.

Now, I've been a Mac guy for a long time, and I've long recommended them to anyone who asked me what kind of machine to buy. (Especially because I usually end up being on-call ad hoc tech support for people to whom I recommend computers, and it's a lot less work supporting a Mac.) Previously, however, I would not have resisted much if someone insisted on buying a Windows machine. As its 95%+ market share indicates, Windows is good enough for most people, and of course there is a lot more software and hardware (not to mention other people to do tech support) out there, more easily available, for Windows machines.

However, I think it's becoming increasingly unwise to buy a Windows box, not because the Mac's user interface is better and the Mac OS generally stays better out of the way of what you want to do (though that's still true), but because it's just getting too dangerous. The Register article explains why.

If you're technically inclined enough to get a machine that would normally run Windows, yet choose to run Linux or some other open-source operating system on it, great. Similarly, if you can learn enough about Windows security to set everything safely, use less vulnerable Windows applications, and update your software regularly, you can just as well continue to use Windows.

But if you're Joe or Jane Average and need a computer, a Mac is getting to be the safest way to go. That's no longer just a political statement. It's actually, and sadly, true.


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