Desktop Linux's Future

Larry Grover lgrover at
Tue Jul 19 18:21:46 UTC 2005

Alan Bourke wrote:
> Larry Grover wrote:
>>Linux is already mainstream, on servers anyway.
> But how much and how often are these servers interacted with via a GUI?
> You sort of just leave servers the hell alone as much as possible after
> setting them up, in my experience. But mainstream desktop Linux will
> have lots of people interacting with a GUI, which is a different thing.

You're absolutely right, the GUI adds another level of complexity, but 
it's possible to have a secure, networked, GUI-desktop.

First, look at existing examples of what *not* to do:  deeply 
integrate a web browser into the OS; by default open up all kinds of 
ports and services to the network; have a complex, confusing system 
for user privilege separation and then disable most of it by default; 
refuse to publicly acknowledge vulnerabilities, then delay releasing 
patches; discourage users from patching by releasing patches which 
sometimes break their systems.

Second, look at existing examples of how to do it right:  OS X is not 
bad, and neither is a default Ubuntu desktop.

Any system that interacts with the internet -- or any other network -- 
has increased vulnerability.  But if the system is designed 
thoughtfully and maintained properly it will be reasonable safe.


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