Having acquired PC-BSD Software in October 2006, the enterprise-class hardware solution provider iXsystems has now announced the Apollo, a workstation featuring the preinstalled PC-BSD OS.
This new offer reminds me of Zareason, who offers a broad range of hardware with any flavor of Ubuntu GNU/Linux preinstalled: desktops, laptops and servers. I did purchased a workstation from Zareason in Autumn 2008 and found it to run smoothly.
PC-BSD has already been mentionned on this blog. Capitalising on the KDE desctop environment, it is probably one of the most user-friendly UNIXes after Apple Inc. OSX. PD-BSD relies upon Free-BSD, but it also uses its own package management system (PBI) to install applications. There is already quite a broad choice and the list keeps getting longer.
It is nice to see it an OS as promising as PC-BSD running on fully supported hardware.
Google is making the source code of Android available, opening the road for tweaks and collaborative development. There were already cases of developers succesfully retro-fitting the operating system on the HTC Touch and the Nokia N810; but this new step will make it easier to adapt the software to other hardware.
Update:Apple has pulled off the page officially encouraging Mac users to run multiple antivirus software. The Cupertino company prefers to stick to the OS invulnerability sales pitch.
Microsoft Windows may be highly vulnerable to viruses and malware, but other OS’s are not immune to similar plagues.
With its amount of proprietary code and close to 90,000 employees, Microsoft is usually unaware of security flaws until those get identified and exploited by crackers. With its monolithic structure, the Redmond company is generally slow to respond: their record worst delay in fixing a bug is 7 years and the latest OS overhaul took 5 years.
In contrast, Apple releases a fresh OS every year in average and is swift in responding to security flaws alerts. Still, as virus attacks have become more frequent, Apple has chosen to officially encourage users to run more than one antivirus software on their Mac. With about 32,000 employees, the Cupertino company uses its own proprietary code which is believe to drawn 50% of its code from UNIX Berkeley Software Distribution.
Operating systems like GNU/Linux draw inspiration from UNIX, while BSD or IBM’s AIX are directly based on it. All have a narrower developer base than Windows or OSX, but they are used by highly computer-literate users who know better than to open email executable attachments or keep the administrator priviledges constantly activated. There have been attempts from crackers at the early stage of GNU/Linux to insert backdoors in the source code, but the collaborative method enabled developers to quickly identify the ill code and as early as 2001 measures have been taken to cross-examin source code before releasing it.
That being said, crackers will eventually get interested in other operating systems besides Windows. As they say “prevention is better than cure”, so Apple has chosen to discredit the ad where they once implied that OSX was virus-prone, to encourage customers to take precautions.