Yesterday, I installed Skype for Linux in Ubuntu. It was very easy. I just had to download a .deb package file and double-click it. I was prompted my password (my account is in sudoers file) and voilà. Some people might say this is okay, but I think this is WRONG!
If I were asked for my favorite Linux feature, it would be, of course, repositories. Repositories conform a trust relationship. When you install Ubuntu, you deposit your faith in Canonical repositories. The offer a catalog of available applications and you install whatever you like. Being Open Source let them assure you, they are not installing malware in your PC.
However, GNU/Linux is based in “user’s freedom”. So you, as a user, can install anything you find useful or proper. There are a some ways to install software under Linux; one of the is .deb software packages (in debian-based distros). Installing a .deb downloaded from the Internet is as easy as 123. That is what makes me so scared.
These days, you can find one of the netbooks with Linux pre-installed. Although Linux market share is still irrelevant compared with Windows, Linux is growing in the desktop. Could you imagine what is going to happen once lots of Windows average-Joe-like users move into Linux? They probably will try to download and install the software they know: Adobe Reader, Skype, … all of that closed source and they will download it from wherever place on the Internet. Average Joe doesn’t care about software freedom or security: they install whatever the find out there.
So what can we do? Nothing. Nothing is going to stop them from turning their computers into spam-bots. Once Linux becomes mainstream, there will exists every kind of malware ready to install and it will be installed. Ubuntu’s biggest threat is users!
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