Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 49, talks about the thorny issues of computer security and other issues with SPIEGEL magazine. In the interview, Gates espouses homogenous operating system use. An excerpt:
Gates: The truth is: the fewer operating systems there are within a company, the better it is from a security point of view.
SPIEGEL: I beg your pardon?
Gates: Simply because one must spend billions of dollars to ensure the security of each individual system. Our company has an unbelievable number of people who are solely responsible for this type of security around the clock.
SPIEGEL: The particular charm of Linux is that it is an adaptable system that users can shape themselves.
Gates: If everything runs under the same platform, however, you can better concentrate resources and more quickly repair errors. For instance, in a hospital where different systems are used, a single problem in one section cause the other systems to crash. Thus, from a security standpoint it is always better to focus on one system.
SPIEGEL: But your small competitor Apple, for example, is much less frequently a victim of virus attacks …
Gates: … put so sweepingly, that is not correct. Of course we are the largest target, simply because we have the most widely disseminated system. But it affects others in exactly the same way. Linux is, in many respects, even more significantly affected.
SPIEGEL: In a few hours a Windows virus can travel across the world like an epidemic…
Gates: … above all because of our global popularity. But we know that. And we must apply still more time and money to it. However, spam or data theft are not questions of the operating system. For this, you also need laws and global standards.
SPIEGEL: Once again: Windows is the most vulnerable.
Gates: You could look at that in many ways. The speed with which, for example, the Linux community reacts to problems is not especially high — that’s because this system, unlike ours, simply does not keep thousands of people on standby to deal with problems. In this respect, a commercially distributed operating system also has decisive benefits. Sweeping judgments don’t help because we all have to take the problems seriously. Even Linux developers know that there is no miracle cure in Linuxland. They, too, must continue to work and continue to make progress.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Note how Gates turns the conversation from Apple’s Mac platform to Linux and makes no mention of Mac OS X. That’s very telling, as are the related articles below. One can only hope that those wedded firmly to homogenous Microsoft Windows networks, will wake up and realize that diversity of platforms is the best course to chart for the future if security is really their goal.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Single Mac keeps company running while Windows machines fail due to Blaster worm – August 13, 2003
MSBlaster Windows worm cost: hundreds of millions of dollars – August 13, 2003
Congress members frustrated with computer viruses wonder how to protect public – September 11, 2003