When someone asks me to “fix their PC”, and I see that the only possible solution is the format, I always end up proposing that they be switched to Free Software and therefore the latest version installed. of Ubuntu. Then they always ask me why and what they gain with Ubuntu. So, first I explain what Free Software is and then, as a practical and easy-to-understand advantage for the end user, I explain that in GNU / Linux there is no virus.
It is clear that any operating system will always be vulnerable, to a greater or lesser extent, to viruses. However, Linux is much less vulnerable than other operating systems such as Windows.
Therefore, in this post we will explain one of the main advantages of Ubuntu o GNU / Linux in general, and this is the little vulnerability it presents to viruses.
To begin with, we must understand, in general terms, what one is operating system. This is just a very complex program that makes intermediaries between the machine we are using and ourselves.
GNU / Linux is free software. This means that if someone were to develop a virus for Linux, someone in the Free Software community could fix this vulnerability in a matter of time.
One of the most important parts of an Operating System is the core of system o kernel in English. As you may know, when we talk about GNU / Linux, GNU refers to the Operating System itself and Linux to the kernel.
The kernel is a key part of implementing the Operating System. It is responsible, among other things, for the file system, the process planning o la memory management.
Another reason why Linux is less vulnerable to viruses is that it has a completely different implementation than other operating systems such as Windows. Below we see the main differences.
The File System is one of the implementation differences. A File System is nothing more than the way information is organized or structured within the Operating System. In the Windows File System, each file is accompanied by its own extension (For example, “.exe” for executable files), but in Linux, these extensions, so to speak, do not make sense.
One of the differences between the File Systems of both Operating Systems, is that in Windows, the whole system is integrated in a single folder; “/ Windows”. We just need to delete any file from the folder and the system will already crash. On the other hand, in Linux, files are classified according to whether they are binary, user, system-specific … Therefore, we do not find a single folder called “/ Linux”, but the system is mounted in several folders. such as “/ bin”, “/ usr”, “/ root”. In fact, we can check by looking at the folders that are in the root. To do this we can open a terminal and run:
cd ../ ..
Another big difference, perhaps the most important, is that both Operating Systems are responsible for running programs in very different ways. Therefore, according to the implementations of each operating system in terms of program execution is concerned, in Windows prevail executables with extension «.exe». In Linux, on the other hand, there are several ways to create an extension according to what the program wants to do. For this reason, mainly, it is why both Operating Systems are completely incompatible. So an “.exe” cannot run on Linux. That is why we can say that, in a way, Linux is immune to viruses that exist for Windows. Although this does not make Linux 100% vulnerable, as anyone could develop a virus that could run on Linux and then it would be vulnerable. The difference, as we said before, is the fact that GNU / Linux is Free Software and in the face of the slightest existence of any vulnerability, anyone in the Free Software community can fix it.
Another point to consider, which also refers to the File System, is the permit system. A file can run, It’s possible to read or you can write information inside. Linux has a system that allows you to regulate or control what can be done with a file / directory and what not, and who can do it. That is, it defines whether a file can be written to, read from, or executed. We have already talked about this topic in Ubunlog, in a series of posts in which we talk in more depth about how permissions work in Linux. In addition, the most delicate transactions in the most delicate directories, in Linux, are always restricted under a master password. In other words, Linux is programmed so that each user can use the PC without “disturbing” the others.
Also, another reason that makes a difference, is that Linux is still quite less widespread than Windows, which is one of the most widely used operating systems on end-user machines. Therefore, it is much more likely that someone is interested in infringing on a machine running Windows and not Linux.
For all these reasons is why, as we see, Linux has very few virus vulnerabilities. In fact, if we analyze it from an ethical or political point of view, the concept of “virus” in Linux does not make much sense. Because, from an ethical rather than an economic point of view, a virus can be understood as a form of protest against the functioning of a system. So, as we know, there is no ethical reason to try to violate the operation of Linux.