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What are the security implications of Operating Systems being reduced to container commodities that live to give applications life support?


Read my article on Virtual Box--neat tool. 

What does it mean when a single computer can host so many operating environments?  Historically, operating systems flourished only when there was a 'killer app' that made that OS special.  Remember Gem OS?  How about Next?  Both were interesting operating systems that lacked killer, must-have apps.  OS/2's greatest strength and failing was its compatibility to DOS and Windows.  That was nice; but the lack of killer, must-have native apps were a sword of Damocles, hanging over us all.  After all, if Windows was so worthy of emulation, why not just use Windows? 

And now, on my MacBooks, I can run any number of operating systems and apps.  Have a great Windows game?  Follow Microsoft's stipulations for virtualized versions and run it.  On your Mac.  Like Linux as a shell os?  Sure, now run the special OS-App combo's you want.  Do your own Sandboxing thing, one app at a time, just like the iPad.

But with so many technologies running on a single computer, how does one patch and maintain them all?  Is your Virtual 9000 laptop a row of nicely aligned dominos, just waiting for a hacker to give one a good shove?

Is there a reason to select one OS over another?

Where is all this heading?

Virtualization goes back decades.  As the laptop computer grows in power and abilities, we can adopt once complex and power-hungry IT technologies to life on a PC.  That's nice, but the management challenges for base user and IT pro alike are making big hacks possible, often, now across platforms.

Let me know what you think, your own virtualization experiments, and you take on the things to come.

jt

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