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Re: should debian comment about the recent 'ransomware' malware.


On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 09:51:12AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:
> > If these systems were running Debian, big organisations like the British
> > government could hire people to provide security support for their
> > users, even for versions which we no longer support.  When the obsolete
> > operating system is Windows, they can only hire Microsoft, who can set
> > the price at whatever they think the market will bear.
> > As it happens this particular vulnerability was indeed fixed by
> > Microsoft, and that the UK NHS suffered so much is because of government
> > and management failures[1].  But in general, users who for any reason
> > are stuck on very old systems are in a much better position if those
> > systems are free software.
> That's a very good point that I neglected.  Thank you for adding that!
> > Also, Debian's engineering approaches mean it's easier to support
> > obsolete environments, eg via chroots and/or mixed systems and/or
> > selective backporting.
> Also a good point.

I might like to add an additional point which is also not brought up. It
is not even directly connected to security issues:  In German railway
stations there are information panels which basically display schedules
as anybody might know from airports.  These were affected as well.  So
who on earth considers building such simple text displays based on a
windows (probably XP or before) system.

If people decide for a desktop system where users are expecting certain
applications and user experience I have some understanding for a
decision for a Windows system.  But to simply display a set of text
lines is just a matter what kind of programmer you hire.

Paying licenses (even if they probably cost close to nothing in those
cases) is pretty stupid, but even from an environment saving point some
arm based linux system would be way more sensible.  So there are way
more reasons than security to avoid Windows systems for this kind of
dedicated devices and somebody should explain this to decision makers.

Kind regards



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