Windows vs Linux: Architecture, part I

[ Wednesday, 5 September 2007, Keyto ]


Linux is not a free version of Windows. The two systems differ not only visually, in the graphical user interface the user sees, but also functionally, as is frequently discussed, and legally to boot, which is constantly emphasized by the Free software community. The differences between them are so fundamental that drawing a comparison between them is nearly impossible. There are so many moot points that they could make up a very long list.

This part of my article concerns the architectures of Windows systems. The systems themselves are baffling ones, to put it mildly, but to know them is more than a necessity. (And a forced necessity sometimes…) When I say Windows, I mean the whole family of operating systems – NT/2k/XP/Vista – but mainly XP Professional. Many a time I’ve read anti-Microsoft rants, where the authors complained about lack of command line functionality (poor in Windows and very advanced in Linux), or installation processes, which create some problems and erratic application upgrades (just at the point the comparisons to Linux programs like apt-get, emerge and rpm show up). A lot of grumbles pertaining to wrongly set-up default user and root accounts could be found there. And so on.

These inconveniences are grievous ones in my opinion, more, they should be branded as top-level ones. But the fact remains that something can be done with them – more or less. For example, any Windows system I’m talking about here allows to create a user account after all. Linux as well makes it possible to unlock root account to work with. No problem. I must emphasize one thing — it can be done. Regardless whether someone will do it or not. I can’t contradict as well the sentence that Windows’ default configuration is “politically incorrect”. But this very text concerns architectural solutions which cannot be changed one iota, mainly due to project’s “derailed” design philosophy.

I admit to a certain simplifications in comments, even drastic ones, with premeditation. I want the article to be understood by everyone who has a basic knowledge of operating systems, so I ask those who know the subject well to remember this and do not show the signs of the ROTFL syndrome :)
This is a collection of random thoughts rather than a scientific article about Windows architecture so keep this in mind when reading and commenting.

Ground Zero or Collective Governing

As we all know, operating systems make use of a “user” notion. We can log in to the user account and then run amok within the “computer space” the account is defined by. With the exception of a group of system functions which are restricted for a unique user called the “system administrator”. This fact is common knowledge. It can be a Unix’s “root”, a NetWare’s “supervisor”, or another “admin”. The distinctive feature of this peculiarity is the fact that the user is a real Master of his system as Zeus was for the ancient Greeks.

Provided that we do not talk about Microsoft Windows systems, otherwise the matter would become more complex. Namely, the Microsoft’s flagship product has at least two distinct administrators, as some of you know (and some of you don’t). One of them is called ADMINISTRATOR user, the other is named SYSTEM user. The standard SYSTEM account is like an “agent” from the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix trilogy. If we look at the process list in Task Manager we’ll see that most of them belong to SYSTEM user. It is also the owner of the technical files like the System Volume Information (SVI) directory and its files. Our electronic friend, the SYSTEM user, is the only default owner of the file, so if we want to check the space it takes we will have to add the ADMINISTRATOR user to the list of permissible users. (Other users can be added too, but I do not recommend this option.)

I will try to explain in the next chapters why I think that “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it”, and that the SYSTEM user is indispensable for the Windows system’s functionality. But now, a short afterthought on its existence taken as a whole. It is common knowledge that every problem in the IT world can be resolved in many ways. Are all of them equally simple? Decidedly no. But the Kiss, “Keep It Simple, Stupid”, rule has proved to work in real life. As I have written above, all operating systems have only one administrator in principle, and that’s a simple solution. That’s for sure, that the existence of another administrator would automatically create certain complications, to put it mildly. A trivial example: nearly all common Windows users do not know how to get into SVI directory (so they don’t need the “advanced users” at all).

If I wanted to write a dirty trick which gathers a Windows user’s passwords, projects and everyday agenda, I’d put the data just there. First of all, the SVI directory is not visited at all. What’s more, most of the users do not know about its existence. Secondly, the directory evinces a magic feature of changing size in flushes by up to several hundreds of MB – both up and down. (Failover information is stored there). The ideal place. What is important, a computer virus is more efficient if it is able to infect executable files with the highest permissions. Once more, the SYSTEM user is the best for these types of tasks. For sure, the SYSTEM user will not make a hue and cry, as it isn’t Artificially Intelligent.

Making an analysis of a Windows architecture, it might appear that the implementation of the “agent” was vital to the system… Really? I’ll answer in a while.

And the Life is an Illusion

…or system start.

Let’s vote, which system – Windows or Linux – starts faster. Most IT users would vote for the Windows systems. It is a solid proof for a thesis that one should deal with a democracy with utmost care. I suggest to run a test. Let’s measure the starting times of the two systems with the help of a stopwatch. Let’s start with Windows first. We switch on the computer, we observe POST messages or a BIOS manufacturer’s logo, and at last we face a boot manager (GRUB, LILO, etc.) or we see a system’s loading process. Here we turn on the stopwatch. Boring moments pass. Boredom filling our limbs… The system crunches and minces some data, but we are still lazily yawning… One more time and the login window appears. Most of the users would stop the stopwatch now. Unrecoverable error! The system loading is still going on! We type in a password and we see how the graphical environment emerges. Beg your pardon. The graphical environment and the system. Windows system finishes loading – depending on configuration – after several dozens of seconds after user actually logs in!

Bootchart, Linux loading
Picture 1. Linux loading (sources: Bootchart.org)

To examine the reasons that the system booting process was solved in a particular way, we must start from the ground up, or see to the notion of the system’s kernel. It’s funny – but everyone uses Operating Systems’ names, but only a few know what it really is. If a precise definition cannot be delivered, it is advisable to create a list of features which will describe the idea. However, even the operating systems’ specialist cannot agree how to define operating systems. Nearly all features are the same, but there is always a small “but”. Even the operating system’s bible – Silberschatz’s book (A. Silberschatz, P. Galvin “Operating System Concepts”) names two definitions. Generally, it is considered that the operating system is a program, which runs incessantly in the computer from the beginning (when the operating system has been started, not the computer!) until the computer is turned off (or restarted). All other programs are called “applications”.

As Silberschatz writes:

An operating system resembles a government. It provides means to proper usage of computer resources. And similar to the government it doesn’t make use of any useful functions. It simply creates an environment in which other programs might facilitate the useful functions.

In this view the operating system’s definition is tantamount to a kernel definition. In other words, one could place an equality sign between the word “kernel” and the technical concept of an operating system. Generally, the phrase “operating system” is used to denote all those programs which are provided by a manufacturer to satisfy the demand for such a working environment. That’s why the Linux name is often used to define the whole system, although the name denotes the kernel only. Let’s assume that when I write about kernel I will use a full name – operating system. However, I say “system” when I want to describe all the programs as a whole, together with the kernel.

Now, the difficulties appear. The kernel tasks are defined very loosely. No one knows if management refers to blocking access to system resources or to allowing them to be accessible (e.g. a network card), or it has to deliver a handler (even if a partial one). In practice, the solution is not a simple one, as to master the resources, their specifications must be known. In other words, the problem boils down to one question: whether the kernel should be a program containing complete solutions, however basic, or the program should be focused on only one thing – administration, leaving all the works to do to “external” (to kernel) applications?

With the first example we get a really big program called a monolithic kernel. The second example defines a small and fast microkernel, which looks like an “underdeveloped” version of fully fledged kernel. Monolithic kernels are used by Linux systems (sometimes called Linux distros). Microkernels, for example the Mach microkernel, are foundations to Mac OS X operating systems (attached to Apple computers) and GNU/Hurd operating system which is still in its infancy (which is the case for almost two decades).

And another important matter. An operating system, or every operating system, is build like a cake (or gâteau). As we know the bottom part consists of a layer of biscuit, then it’s covered with sweet fudge, then another biscuit disk, let it be a coffee-flavored one, and once more a fudge layer covered with jelly. As far as programming is concerned, such a layered structure is also used but it’s called abstraction layers. And so as we have the first biscuit level (layer) in a cake which “lies on a hardware” (on a table), so we have a kernel in operating systems which manage the hardware (all operations depend on the layer). Next levels are then build on top of the kernel. For example – first we have X Window System, then on top of it a graphical environment (e.g. KDE), then window manager (e.g. kWin), and only then, on top of all the “layers”, a Firefox web browser. It does matter that every layer sends messages only to its direct neighbors. When a jelly dribbles down onto a table it is high time to lay off the cook.

Operating System Architecture
Picture 2. Operating System Architecture (sources: Wikimedia Commons)

Keeping in mind the layered model we will come back to Windows systems’ booting. First of all we have to emphasize that the Windows system’s kernel is similar to a microkernel. (To be more precise, the kernel is called a hybrid kernel – it can be placed between monolithic and microkernels. None the less, it needs many “helpers”).

After starting the computer, the first thing which is loaded is a kernel indeed (ntoskrnl.exe). Next comes its best “friend”, namely HAL module – Hardware Abstraction Layer which manages drivers needed for system loading. When the environment is ready, a Session Manager is put into motion (smss.exe – Session Manager Subsystem) which starts identification and authentication programs – or using simple terms – which shows the login screen. A user satisfied that his Windows “is ready” to use, may enter a password, which makes the system load system permission data (Group Policy) and then have up and running the tasks defined in Runonce and Run keys placed in Windows Registry (e.g. HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\CurrentVersion\Runonce). At the end, Autostart (from Start Menu) applications are loaded.

Linux systems present a different approach towards this problem. After the monolithic kernel has been loaded, the init process is started, which in turn invokes other processes (I suggest to issue a pstree command in a console while this happens). Practically, all the necessary system processes are started during the system start. So when a user sees login window (or screen) the only thing left to do is to attend to the KDE or GNOME graphical environments. Anything beyond that is ready to use. (Ubuntu team works at present to replace the init script with an upstartscript. But it doesn’t affect our reasoning.)

The question – which solution is better – must be left without an answer. However, a short digression must be added to the end. Microsoft uses the trick notoriously. As psychology teaches, the most frustrating is a man’s inability to act and his lack of influence on any processes, so moving the login phase into the middle of starting sequence of events, will give the user psychological comfort and it will be received better. And even though the monitor has displayed the famous task bar and icons, no one will be able to load an advanced spreadsheet application or a game. Most of the users are aware they must wait a while yet. Such solution is a better one than previous ones in terms of marketing but it backlashes in lesser stability or the system’s safety and leads sometimes to the frustration of inexperienced users.

Taking into consideration the whole start sequence – Linux doesn’t load slower than Windows systems. The foundation of operating systems, that is, all what is hidden behind the name is known for years. There’s no wizardry in this world.

II Where the Hell is the Security?

Operating System as a cake.
Picture 3. Operating System as a cake.
(sources: Wikimedia Commons)

Why the opinion that Linux systems are safer than the Windows systems is so prevalent? Perhaps due to the fact that it is true. But why? Let’s go back to the previous point. As I wrote, an operating system resembles a cake. You’ll find its kernel at the bottom, and its applications placed on top. According to the cake, picture the kernel together with associated programs creating a so called kernel layer. The rest of the running tasks make up a user layer. In other words – the kernel layer creates an environment in which the user layer is ran. The system is divided into two – upper and lower parts.

We can simplify the matter if we are to write about the Linux, Mach (Mac OS X kernel), Solaris or BSD systems. Safety tasks are run within the kernel layer. Basically, in the kernel alone. The Mach microkernel has additional safety modules which run in the kernel layer as auxiliary programs. Protection in Unix systems is always on, moreover, it is simple in terms of design and due to that statistically tougher to crack.

The same cannot be said about Windows systems. The protection subsystems are more complex and they run within the user layer. The logic lying behind is screwed up. The operating system is deaf and blind. It creates an environment. The programs which can “talk” to the environment are started in the user layer, so the protection which works on the same level should be efficient. Read from a paper, it is true, but life is not so rosy. First of all, any program running in the user layer (protection is implemented as another program) is more vulnerable or prone to “disarmament” than protection implemented in the kernel layer. For second, one of the most popular computer protection systems, not playing with details, is a firewall. As it works in the user layer, it must be designed in such a way that it shouldn’t find itself not starting in the system’s loading process. At last, it is a program, and contrary to the kernel itself, it doesn’t have to work.

A small digression. I have written earlier about the “SYSTEM user”. This SYSTEM is needed by the Windows systems to start programs in the user layer, among others. After all, we mustn’t wait to launch a firewall until John Smith is logged-in (after several hours in which his computer has been up and running). So the SYSTEM user is used. But it suffices, like in the Mach example, to place the protection subsystem in lower layer and have the problem off of a head.

“Keep it simple”, old Rabbi used to say. Well, Windows’ architects seemed deaf for this thoughtful advice…

III Mapping problems

Let’s assume something like this. I have logged in to a Windows system as a common user. Let’s check what disks have been attached to my system or speaking precisely – what disks have been mapped to my system. I have found, as a “normal” user, a few network disks from two servers. My computer runs several programs. You’ll find among them local ones, one from the first server, and another one from the second server. All the applications make use of several dozen files at once, some of them placed on the two servers.

Let’s assume now that at one time I have decided to read the data from a file owned by a server administrator (and it has just happened to be me). Oh, Lord! How I did yearn to work with any Unix system in such conditions! Any attempt to attach admin resources will end up with the message: “Multiple links to server or to shared resources by the same user, making use of the user’s name more than once, is not allowed. Disconnect all previous server connections and try to reconnect.” Marvelous!

If I was working under Linux or OS X I’d be able to mount the needed device and to make use of a file, using a nice and simple program called smbmount. The program treats every connection as a unique one and “pays no attention” to such conditions where another copy of itself has just made a connection to the same device under the name of another user. This is the direct result of conceptually complex design of the user layer, which I described earlier in this article. It can be commented only one way: another proof for superiority of simplicity over complexity.

if there is interest in the subject… it will be continued… in a due time…

What the author has in mind?

It is not the author’s intention to rekindle another flame war between Windows and Linux users. The author asks both sides interested in this topic to refrain from darting names onto each other. If one feels necessity to comment the article, please write “it is bad or not”, or point where it should be rewritten in a broader perspective – what doesn’t mean it should show superiority of one of the systems over the other. Such a statement would be highly subjective. And when I reckon Windows’ architecture inferior to Linux one, it doesn’t mean it is inferior. They differ. Writing operating system is a complex matter and too many times the chosen solution is so called “a solution of lesser evil”. One is able to write a similar “list” of architectural items pertaining to Linux systems, but it would have nothing to do with Photoshop running or not on every of the two systems.


Translated by P2O2

Proof-read by trashcat, chaddy, michuk

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44 Comments

fold this thread abhin4v  Wednesday, 5 September 2007 o godz. 12:21 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

Very nice and informative article. Looking forward for the next part.

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fold this thread Jesse Jarzynka  Wednesday, 5 September 2007 o godz. 3:14 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

You may want to check out the comments on Digg since some people feel you have innacuracies in this article – http://www.digg.com/linux_unix/Windows_vs_Linux_Architecture_part_I . Also, get your server ready!

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fold this thread Brian  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:25 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Beautiful Hamlet reference.

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fold this thread Serge  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:38 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Too much bias in your tought. I use many OS (Windows, Linux, HPUX, Netware, OS/400, Wang OS). Like many other, me first, we I first use an OS, it’s not better than my old one until I work couple of months day to day with it. Then I can realy compare feature and deep difference. Your happy earing yourself that Windows is bad… bla, bla, bla. But not all the good things in life get the place they should. For a file server I say Netware is the best, but few people will agree, but also few people know Netware and NDS, by far Netware is a good server, but marketing made it’s way and it didn’t stay the #1. HP-UX is like linux and it’s pretty good but you cannot but how come I cannot add a printer without shutting down the print spooler and all the other currently printing job. OS/400 is pretty good once you get to know but it’s a close system so it’s more stable. Can a free software run mission critical application? Will it be stable? Many OS for many uses. For linux to get mainly adopted we need to make it simplier for the average user. Only one distribution would help hardware and software company support linux. Like other I find Windows not perfect, but it’s getting better and better by chance. In all the people I know (friend, relative, wifes, children, …) do all these people would be running a linux or evolution of Netware and still getting work done? Windows is their because it was adopted, like Office. The web is a good example. Everybody agreed to use HTML and their we have the Internet, that can be access by any OS. Finally, yes I hope that Red Hat, Novell Suse, HP-UX will get to something to average user could really adopted as an alternative to expensive, hardware hungry Windows. That all other things but of lobbying.

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fold this thread Marko Kettunen  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 3:59 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

Sorry, but Windows isn’t really “getting better and better by chance”, as Vista is one of the few things in this world that could lead me into a suicide, if I was forced to use it 24/7. Most of the OS sales come from OEM market, which means that people buy a new computer and what you get? A Vista. Now, as Dell and HP are having a big success with their computers with pre-installed Linux, consumers don’t have to put their money for something as horrible as Vista, when they just want a working computer for less money than they used to pay. What really gets me in Vista is that it’s all “Big Brother” and asking me for my permission for everything and not just once, but all the time. After you shut down the service responsible for being such a whiney-ass, you’d expect to be able to use the system efficiently, but things like totally fucked up NETBIOS, that makes your network folders act just as sane as your regular hamster-molesting serial killer and spreading the whole administration into a zillion menus, which makes doing simple tasks so much harder than it used to be in XP, just make you wonder if there’s any point in using Vista for anyone. Especially since my 64-bit Arch with Beryl looks much better than Vista and is much easier to use.

 
fold this thread airdrik  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 8:10 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

You didn’t read his last paragraph, did you. The intent of the article is to talk about and compare the technical details of the OSs, in particular their Kernels and architectures. It is not to talk about which one is better.

Yes he does have some opinions in there about why he thinks that one design is better. but mostly it is outlining their differences.

 
 
fold this thread npandya  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:39 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Informative and good comparision from ground up.

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fold this thread Phil Dufault  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:53 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Nice article, looking forward to part 2.

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fold this thread Yevgeniy  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:54 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I must agree this is a well written article. (Didn’t notice any inaccuracies, although my experience with Linux is somewhat limited)
I too am looking forward to the next part.

As far as topics I really would love for you to also expand the firewall area. I really like the firewall situation in Windows that allows you control over individual programs rather than ports. Linux it seems is limited to ports (and doesn’t care which program (process) is going through.

As far as Windows VS. Linux,
Linux is great, but still not user friendly enough. A common user will generate millions of ID10T errors. (Current work on projects like Xorg, KDE, Gnome and Compiz-Fusion are focused on usability which is definitely huge progress.)

Windows is good (except VISTA — till at least SP2), it works and is much more user friendly. (Namely you can’t be dropped from the Graphical user interface and have to fix it with the command line.)
As far as the command line being more advanced for Linux: yeah its a good thing, but not for new users (learning commands is rather annoying, although sys-admins love it.)

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fold this thread Joshua  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 7:26 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

thanks Keyto. very informative and easy to read. exactly what i was looking for my class. looking forward for the following parts.

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fold this thread jb  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 8:05 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

The article is hard to read in my opinion. Starting with the first section, no attention was given to why so many processes run as SYSTEM.

Did you know, even screen savers run as SYSTEM? If someone sends you a screen saver in an email and you install it, that screen saver will run with the highest privileges possible and can do whatever it wants to your machine.

Also, you cannot kill SYSTEM processes without doing some Windows API calls (e.g. C coding) and changing the local security policy. Contrast this with Unix-based operating systems where you can get to ‘root’ and know that you have full control of the system.

Your second section was the best, contrasting layers of security and the different mindset that Unix vs. Windows programs take. This should have been the first section to use the same layering in your article. This is a huge underlying weakness that wasn’t elaborated on, and a great foundation for all other material that you may want to write about. It seems so common that Windows programmers take the easy way out in the security department, and when you multiply this by how many applications are out there, you have a huge risk.

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fold this thread Tom  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 2:54 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Picture 2. Operating System Architecture imported from Wikimedia Commons is incorrect. The User Mode should be on top, and Kernel Mode on the bottom. User application, Shell, and GUI execute in User Mode, and everything below the System Call Interface executes in Kernel Mode.

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fold this thread Mike McGrath  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 3:46 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

How did you generate the bootstart.png image?

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fold this thread Roscoe Casita  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 4:13 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I took operating systems my Junior year. Computers are fascinating and interesting, but that was the class that I became amazed that computers are even able to function. We wrote an preemptive multitasking os for the 68hcl12 and that was one of the most complex systems I’ve ever worked on (Other then a compiler…New article?)

Anyways I love the technical details of these two systems and not the flame war!

(P.S. I’m not so sure about the monolithic kernel definition of linux… isn’t that referring to preemptive multi-tasking? Could be wrong and gotta run. Thanks for the brain candy!)

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fold this thread Linville  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 4:23 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Geez, I’ve made it down to picture 2 so far. I’m struggling to get through this article. It does have some interesting points written in it, but the grammar is absolutely horrid. There are comma splices all over the place. There are sentence fragments and run-on sentences found, at least, in every other paragraph. There is also a seemingly uncountable number of instances where words are left out of sentences; and you should almost never begin a sentence with the words “But” or “And” in well-written articles.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

“These inconveniences are grievous ones in my opinion, more, they should be branded as top-level ones. But the fact remains that something can be done with them – more or less. For example, any Windows system I’m talking about here allows to create a user account after all. Linux as well makes it possible to unlock root account to work with. No problem. I must emphasize one thing — it can be done. Regardless whether someone will do it or not. I can’t contradict as well the sentence that Windows’ default configuration is “politically incorrect”. But this very text concerns architectural solutions which cannot be changed one iota, mainly due to project’s “derailed” design philosophy.”

“Provided that we do not talk about Microsoft Windows systems, otherwise the matter would become more complex. Namely, the Microsoft’s flagship product has at least two distinct administrators, as some of you know (and some of you don’t).”

“That’s for sure, that the existence of another administrator would automatically create certain complications, to put it mildly.”

“In practice, the solution is not a simple one, as to master the resources, their specifications must be known. In other words, the problem boils down to one question: whether the kernel should be a program containing complete solutions, however basic, or the program should be focused on only one thing – administration, leaving all the works to do to “external” (to kernel) applications?”

“And another important matter.”

That last one is in no way, shape, or form, a complete sentence.

I don’t expect perfection in anything I read, especially technical articles. I’m far from an English grammar teacher, but the number of grammatical problems in this article, no matter how good the topic, make it almost unreadable.

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fold this thread michuk  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:24 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

The author of this article is not English native-speaker.
If you want to help proof-reading articles, you are welcome to join the team: http://www.nuxified.org/topic/help_needed_in_proof_reading_articles

 
fold this thread Ken Holmes  Friday, 7 September 2007 o godz. 10:17 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Perhaps you would understand the article better reading it in the authors native language. I confess that I know only a few words in languages other than English. I appreciate and respect that this author and others makes an effort to communicate in a language that is second or third for him. And like other who have responded, I have found the article understandable and informative. As IBM used to post: THINK

 
 
fold this thread TomB  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 4:26 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Very interesting and informative article. It gave me some insight into a few of the deficiencies I’d noticed in Windows (specifically, that the “can’t we all get along and share everything” attitude stems from security being based in the user layer and not the kernel).

However, if I’m reading it correctly, the article appears to have been translated from a foreign language (I’m not familiar with the author), because the English is oftentimes awkward at best and unintelligible at worst.

For example: “But it suffices, like in the Mach example, to place the protection subsystem in lower layer and have the problem off of a head.”

And have the problem off of a head? Passages like that make the article harder to follow than it should be, and the technical nature of the subject makes it difficult enough. Not all of the article is like that, of course, but there’s enough awkward phrasing to make it unpleasant.

Like many others here, I’m looking forward to part two.

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fold this thread FireXtol  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 4:59 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Wow….

Windows have advanced command control. Anything you can do in an MMC, you can probably do from a command prompt.

People buy machines with Linux on them so they can put a pirated copy of [flavor of Windows] on it, and save some cash.

There’s no reason for any common user to get into SVI -ever. Though it’s fairly easy to add Admin access to it.

Even my Windows 2000 box boots faster (just under 1 minute, and that’s including the POST) than your linux machine, in this article, and it’s on a 1.4 Ghz processor with 512 MB of PC2100 RAM. You seem to just compare Windows XP boot. When Win2k loads, it’s ready to load a game within seconds of log-in. As are previous versions of Windows. Especially if you know how to configure your start-up apps and services. Then again you’re speaking to, what, the average user? That has more apps load on start-up than I have installed! This is not a Windows issue. It’s the user. Stop blaming Windows for what the users makes happen. Praise Windows for still working!

I couldn’t make it through your entire article (I scanned most of it), you bored the crap out of me. Sorry, no ROTFLs for you.

Your bias and ignorance spoke loud and clear.

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fold this thread shirish  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 9:14 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --2

http://polishlinux.org/linux/windows-vs-linux-architecture-part-i/div-comment-54489

I know this one is a flame-bait but will still take it up. This is in reference to the comment there.

[quote]
Wow….

Windows have advanced command control. Anything you can do in an MMC, you can probably do from a command prompt.
[/quote]

I don’t really understand what you mean by that. I have worked & seen the MMC & it doesn’t even come close to what stuff I can do in GNU/Linux. I’m using Ubuntu & can use the same OS either for gaming,for doing mail/chat etc. or as a file-server or whatever.

[quote]
People buy machines with Linux on them so they can put a pirated copy of [flavor of Windows] on it, and save some cash.
[/quote]

That’s your perspective & you’re entitled to it. From where I come from you can have an unauthorized version of windows running as it is. In fact MS stands to gain from unauthorised use.

[quote]
There’s no reason for any common user to get into SVI -ever. Though it’s fairly easy to add Admin access to it.
[/quote]

My oh my,the problem is its not the user but viruses who do attack it. I have known of quite a few use-cases where viruses have gone & infected there. A messy affair to say the least.

[quote]
Even my Windows 2000 box boots faster (just under 1 minute, and that’s including the POST) than your linux machine, in this article, and it’s on a 1.4 Ghz processor with 512 MB of PC2100 RAM. You seem to just compare Windows XP boot. When Win2k loads, it’s ready to load a game within seconds of log-in. As are previous versions of Windows. Especially if you know how to configure your start-up apps and services. Then again you’re speaking to, what, the average user? That has more apps load on start-up than I have installed! This is not a Windows issue. It’s the user. Stop blaming Windows for what the users makes happen. Praise Windows for still working!
[/quote]

Ok let’s say your windows box does, but then if as a user I want to, I can just recompile the kernel & have just the drivers I need. Also I can give also sorts of architecture flags & what not so it does. This is apart from session management what you are driving at actually.

[quote]
I couldn’t make it through your entire article (I scanned most of it), you bored the crap out of me. Sorry, no ROTFLs for you.

Your bias and ignorance spoke loud and clear.
[/quote]

The only thing I can say grow up. If you want to learn there is much in the world besides windows but that’s entirely upto you.

 
fold this thread Ken Holmes  Friday, 7 September 2007 o godz. 10:10 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

You, sir, need to learn the difference between FOSS and FOS. And you need to get treatment for the latter.

 
fold this thread Toby  Monday, 15 February 2010 o godz. 3:21 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I got an old computer (1.6 ghz, 64 mb ram) with a personally build version of linux, this boots up in 36 seconds.. But you are right, its not the OS, but the user mainly..

Anyways, you are very ignorant yourself, since you dont believe that there is any reason why regular people should use linux. I myself had never tried Windows untill 2 years ago (windows xp), i dual booted the thing, and i got so confused trying to install Windows, i mean, the format tool is very confusing in Windows, not very good design, and i hated that i had to go to the internet to find all the apps that i needed, instead of going into the synaptic GUI.

Also, whats up with the bluetooth assistant? I couldnt make any of my stuff work, even with the support of our local IT consultant at school, my wireless music (Sony MBR-100), and my cellphone (sony w580i) wouldnt work with xp nor windows 7..

I also caught a virus trying to download some driver for my soundcard under xp, but thats probably just me not knowing the right pages to visit to find drivers.. Never had to under linux..

Anyways, even though you bored the crap out of me, i still had the courtesy to read all of your post, to be able to make a fully informed comment to respond you..

I dont hate windows at all, i like that there are many games for it, but for working, i like my Linux computer, it just makes accessibility way better with compiz (no, not for the eye candy, but for the good overview)

 
 
fold this thread Ray  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 5:06 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Nice and informative this article is not! I just read through it, it surely needs some professional touch. “Screwed up and complex” is not words you want to use to define two products you are comparing! I am for Linux but I am also tired of black nail polish wearing wanabe nerds who have little or no background except in Microsoft Bashing! We ought to take position on merits!

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fold this thread James H  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 5:11 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Yes, Windows has its share of problems, and yes, Linux/Unix/other operating systems do have great advantages, but you would be surprised how large a percentage of the computer using population doesn’t even know what a driver is. The vast majority of computer users just want to go to the store and pick up a computer with which they can access a web browser, use e-mail, type up a document and store/print their pictures. With Linux I have to deal with far more complicated issues in the general setup and use of the system.

Windows, despite what fanboys of many other operating systems say, is extremely easy to use (and my biggest complaint is that it is often too easy to use.) This is not saying I don’t like Linux. I need Linux, I enjoy its advantages, and I will always have Grub with that Linux option there for when I need more power.

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fold this thread Lynnette Westheimer  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 5:15 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

I must disagree that the Windows practice of bringing up the UI long before it is usable is “comforting” to the user. In Win98, most if not all functions were available when the basic user screen was first presented. That defined when I could start. Now, I have to wait some vaguely-defined time after my system is “up” till it is really up. It’s the uncertainty of when the system will work that’s a step back in usability. Extremely annoying.

Also disagree that the very latest Linux systems still rely heavily on the CLI. I use it a lot, but only for functions that I cannot perform in Windows, or else for which I must invoke Cmd (a CLI) in Windows. Otherwise, I use the Linux GUI for my particular distro exclusively, primarily so I can be sure it will work for my beginner students.

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fold this thread RandomDude  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 5:26 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Dude smss does not shows the login screen, you need to study how windows really boots.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT_startup_process
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista_startup_process
Also firewalls in windows run in kernel layer, try jetico personal firewall.

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fold this thread Jake  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 6:05 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

First, very nice article. I’m a semi-technical guy whose been in IT for over 10 years…and this is a very readable explanation for those of us who ‘manage’ in IT vs. those of us who hammer the keyboard ‘doing’ IT.

My recommendation for clean-up would come with the diagrams you choose to accompany your text. Picture 2 and Picture 3 in particular. I love graphics that enhance the read, however I found myself reading a sentence or two…looking over to the graphic…back to the text trying to map the two together. Mainly the graphic didn’t cover the detail of what you sentences were about…then I tried to visualize where your sentences fit in the graphic…and while I could figure it out…it wasn’t as intuitive as your overall message.

I would recommend studying a bit of Edward Tufte to maximize the effectiveness of delivering your message when you choose to add graphics to enhance your points.

Thanks and looking forward to part 2.
-Jake

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fold this thread deviateX  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 7:09 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I find it hard to take this article seriously, why is this author a credible source of information about Windows architecture?

The security problems of windows xp was simply one of configuration of user accounts with very high privileges.

A question: If the separation of Kernel from User is better on OSX/Linux than Window as implied by the article in part II then why are privilege escalation vectors so prevalent on say OSX/Linux based systems.

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fold this thread warner  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 9:58 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I thought this was a great _concrete_ visual example of _both_ the differences in architecture, and why that translates into more maintainable (i.e. more secure) code.

Why Windows is less secure than Linux

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fold this thread omg  Friday, 7 September 2007 o godz. 1:19 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

While this article is mildly amusing at times, the author is so clearly biased that any analysis or conclusion must be viewed suspiciously. Since that effectively defeats the purpose of the article itself, it is simply not worth reading.

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fold this thread Ken Holmes  Friday, 7 September 2007 o godz. 10:05 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

You can make sense of the article. You just have to want to.

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fold this thread Rajagopal  Tuesday, 16 October 2007 o godz. 2:16 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

After waging a nuclear war against m$win for about … years with users and after a cold war , I have somewhat managed to get the users to know what stable computing means with (of course) linux in FC3 and Centos5 incarnations in one small speck of the GPS in the +0530 timezone. quite a few of them have indeed installed at least openoffice and some even Linux. though it required a bit of extra effort from my side, they feel safe and comfortable now.

Actually m$ just needs exist for free software and linux and open source to thrive…

I don’t care about flames.. but what the heck any thing that leads to uptake of GPL2 GPL3 licence and opensource and anything best is always welcome….

Rajagopal
Rhane, Maharshtra, India

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fold this thread Rajagopal  Tuesday, 16 October 2007 o godz. 2:19 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

oops iot should read
Thane, Maharshtra, India

ps. incidently maharshtra means great nation and its power (electrical energy) situation is pathetic to say the least and to think that it housed the Financial capital of Bombay (now Mumbai) thanks to its wonderful governance

 
 
fold this thread Linux vs. Windows  Friday, 11 January 2008 o godz. 8:34 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Great read. A lot of people do think Linux is in direct competition with Windows, but the reality is they are two different beasts that solve two different problems.

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About the Author

Keyto

Keyto is a computer engineer living in Poland. In free time he likes to write longish stories about GNU, Linux and its users :)

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