On the future of Linux security

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I want to explore the future of GNU/Linux. You know, the time in the near future when “Once ‘Linux’ is (as|more) popular (as|than) ‘Windows’ it will start getting all those viruses too.”

irst off, the problem with that statement is that there is no single homogeneous ‘Linux’ to be attacked, meaning GNU/Linux of course, as there is a single ‘Windows’ to be attacked. There are several hundred distributions of GNU/Linux all with differing release versions of software and underlying software libraries. The very heterogeneous nature of the GNU/Linux ecosystem makes creating a far reaching automatic malware attack difficult to unlikely. While one may find a way to automatically attack a large user base of a single distribution, like that of Ubuntu, the attack will not likely work across all or even most other GNU/Linux distributions due to the diverse nature of the versions of included software.

Calls from people without and within the FLOSS community to create a “single Linux” or to standardise all distributions are a danger to the security that is inherent in the healthy heterogeneity of GNU/Linux.

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