Preview of Coming Attractions: Leopard takes a kill up a tree

I was planning on putting up one of my patented mega-posts this evening, but unfortunately I just don't have it in me at the moment. It's based on a presentation I made today involving scavenging and early hominids, and while I'm sure some of you will be able to make the right connections (especially if you're familiar with the work of a certain Rutgers alum) here's a video of a certain behavior exhibited by one of my most favorite big cats, the Leopard (Panthera pardus), that'll prominently figure in tomorrow's discussion;

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Great vista from up there, I bet.

too bad that the only reason mac os appears to have superior hardware compatability is because the hardware *selection* is close to non-existant.
too bad the only reason mac os appears to be more secure is because it is not as prevalent a target for hackers and virius\spyware makers.
too bad software support for various mac os is absolutely abysmal.

other than that, yea, mac os is far superior to windows.

too bad the only reason mac os appears to be more secure is because it is not as prevalent a target for hackers and virius\spyware makers.

This will probably be the most uninformed thing I will read today.

The reason the MAC OS is now secure and free of viruses/spyware is Apple did something very smart: they based OSX on FreeBSD, an OS that for years has been one of the most secure and stable operating systems in the world.

*nix (Unix and Linux, including HP-UX and others) are superior and far more secure than the swiss cheese security of Windows for various reasons, including simply being better written on the code level, but one property makes them more secure right out of the box.

On a *nix system only the root or super user can run the most critical and important processes. On a Windows system any user can run them, meaning that if they are exploited by any virus executed by any user that virus can propagate all over the install and then spread to other Windows machines.

Security flaws in the Linux and FreeBSD are repaired much more quickly because they are open source, and literally anyone can fix the problem and forward that code to the maintainers of the core system.

With Windows, all those holes in the swiss cheese won't be patched until some bean counter decides the bad publicity is cutting into revenue, and then they'll assign some bleary eyed, unmotivated cubicle hermit who will "get to it one of these days."

Bottom line is the *nix OS systems blow Windows into the weeds, and Apple made a very smart move using FreeBSD.

1) posted that comment on the wrong blog, meant to post at at pharnygula, this was linked off of it, and I just woke up, so~ Not sure if this is really meant as a osx leopard thing here, directly, so, yea.

2) Yes, the windows security schema is distinctly flawed, but the level of penetration is tied to popularity. I'm sure there are just as many, or only slightly fewer, holes that a clever person could exploit in OSX (hell, if you have physical access to the machine, you can get an admin password in 5 minutes with no software, at least on the current version of osx), if it were a more visible target in comparison to windows.

So even if it is, on a technical level, more secure - if it were to swap places with windows tommorrow, in so far as popularity and (especially) enterprise deployment, it would be just as vulnerable, if not more so, due it it being based on an open source platform, yet not giving the end user the same kind of rapid updatability as an open-source application.

The bottom line is, for practical purposes, OSX is far inferior to windows (XP, not vista, which, at the moment, suffers many of the same problems), for the simple fact of poor software and hardware support, as well as a mostly untested 'in the wild' security system (sure, its out there, but, as I said, not a very visible target, so not nearly as frequently 'attacked').

OS X is far superior to Windows.

Any flavor of Windows.

It's around 10% of the computing population and its NOT targeted by hackers because... Because it's extemely hard to attack. Damned hard.

The level of penetration is tied to popularity? That's funny.

Ah, the old rhubarb about market share and security.

Most attacks are automated. I'd go so far as to say that 99.9999% of attacks are automated. Supporting machines on an open campus network our computers are constantly under attack by penetration scripts and Worms.
Given the number of Macintoshes in the world, especially the number that are on open, high speed University networks (the valuable targets).. it's asinine to assume that they are not being targeted in scripted attacks along with a half dozen other OSes. Hell, we see dictionary attacks against user XGRID. (yes there is an old open-source xgrid client but xgrid is fundamentally a Mac technology).

I also like to point out the Apache analogy when people bring up security by obscurity.
Apache has been the predominant web server, by a Wide margin, for as long as I can remember. IIS is the strong but still distant 2nd. Given market share you would expect that Apache would be the less secure web server over the past 10 years. Common sense would tell you that people try that much harder to crack Apache so it must get broken into all the time. This has not been the case when you look at both packages.

I have about as much understanding of the fine workings of computers as Homo habilis would if handed a MacBook, so I think I'll just smile and nod here.

Laelaps, I want to apologize again for derailing the comments in this post, as I said, I was tired and misposted :\

This is an example of security issues that would allow a malicious user to execute arbitrary code on OSX for about a 1 year time span. I hate to tell you this but if you think the current version of OSX is unhackable you're living in a fantasy world.

All operating systems have security vulnerabilites, if for no reason other than the hardware sitting between the keyboard and the chair.

No apologies are needed, fesh, I am just sorry that I don't have anything intelligent to contribute! I'm glad that you more technologically-inclined folks have found some fertile grounds for discussion, but for my own part I'm far more interested in actual leopards than the new operating system that bears its name. :)

Meh. It's just the same excuses. You could just as easily say:

OS X just works better because it is only installed on limited types of hardware.
OS X has better security because it has a smaller market share.

In each case these are just excuses for the first independent clause:
OS X just works.
OS X has better security.

And in both cases, even if you agree with what follows (and I certainly don't) you're left with the above. Even some who doesn't understand the technical details can at least see that.

By Citizen Z (not verified) on 25 Oct 2007 #permalink