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Lindows Problems

Without a doubt, Lindows offers a unique service to computer users. However, some problems need to be addressed before this OS becomes a permanent part of my collection. This section hits on two of these main issues, and what they might mean for you.

Security? What Security!?

While the speed of the installation process put a huge grin on my face, there was one section that made me cringe. This was the option to secure the default account with a password. My initial cringe was turned into full-blown abhorrence when I later concluded that the default account was also the root account.

If there's one crime when using Linux, it's using the root account for everyday activities. This is basically because the root account is the "god" of the operating system. It has access to all files and program and can be used to adjust permissions and system settings. While this may not seem like a big deal to Windows users, who have basically always operated with such power, Linux should not be operated this way.

Linux was designed around the concept of user permissions and access restrictions. This is at the core of what makes Linux a secure system. If a user has root access, he or she can do anything. In addition, any program executed by the root user can borrow this access and perform its actions using this elevated level of permission. A typical Linux account won't have access to sensitive system files, which reduces the possible threat to corruption of system files. However, if a user is operating as root, any program he or she executes—whether that's a reliable program or one sent by a hacker—will also have root power. Obviously, this is a dream come true for anyone with malicious intent.

In addition, if the user doesn't set a strong password on the root password, any services provided by the Lindows PC will have no security. Since the root account is the default account, it may be attacked by hackers who have to guess the password to gain access to information. When the installer is given the option of not using a password, there's a much greater chance that a hacker can gain access to the system. After all, how many average users actually like to use passwords?

And if this isn't enough, Lindows won't let you log in using any account other than root. I attempted to add another user via the User Manager, hoping that Lindows would then allow me to log in with my new account, but it never asked. Bad Lindows!!

Lindows Is Still Linux

Lindows has gone a long way in attempting to break free of the reputation that Linux is not user-friendly. However, as I said earlier, Lindows is still basically Red Hat Linux with a facelift. While the Click-N-Run addition makes updating software simple and to the point, there will come a time that you need to manually update a configuration file or use vi at the command line because the X Windows system won't load correctly. Unfortunately, when this time comes, most people will be left without a computer.

In addition, Lindows' support is very limited. Although Lindows appears to be intertwined with the many programs offered via Click-N-Run, the truth is much different. For the most part, each of the third-party programs is supported by its own company—in some cases, that's just one person. In other words, if something goes wrong, you have to track down the creator and attempt to get his or her support.

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