Microsoft vs. Linux

Why doesn't Linux use Microsoft's security problems as a marketing opportunity? I think this article shows the tough position Linux holds in the operating system market.

Etiquette and na�vet� aside, however, perhaps the biggest reason Linux companies haven't touted their products' security advantages is that it's unclear right now how much of an advantage they really possess.

Consider this: The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) released data showing that 16 of the 29 security advisories it released last year involved Linux or open-source products.

"The level of a product's security is inversely proportionate to its position in the marketplace," says Charles Kolodgy, a research director at IDC. "If Linux had a 50 percent market share, you'd see more Linux vulnerabilities exposed."

That puts the Linux community in a bit of a pickle. It desperately needs to grow its desktop market share and continue its server-based gains. Even if Linux code isn't inherently more secure than Microsoft's, as some analysts I spoke with assert, it does hold key advantages over Windows — namely, that it can be fixed quickly and on the cheap, so a virus's damage can be contained more easily.

So is Linux really more secure, or just less targeted by hackers because it isn't as popular? How do you market the security features of your product when you don't know the answer to that question?

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