Sing, ye gods, the anger of us all, for countless spams that fill our in-boxes. Many a brave soul has attempted to filter them to a junk folder, only to have filters fail in the face of bogus text. And who is it who must bear the blame? It is the nephews, the brothers-in-law, the co-workers, the ones known as “good with Windows” who support clueless Windows users, for in so doing they also support the pestilence that plagues the people, because Windows was not born to be a networked operating system.
Or so Homer would have written had spam existed in his day. The Trojan War is nothing compared to the War on Spam, with its perpetual escalation of measure and countermeasure. When users attempted to use spam filters that worked by analyzing content, spammers added content to messages to make them appear more like non-spam to the filters. When blacklists threatened to block spam from spam sites, the spammers joined in league with the virus and trojan writers to subvert that most easily subvertible of operating systems, Windows, and turn compromised machines into spam servers.
There is plenty of blame to go around. We could go back to the early days of the design of the email protocols and blame their designers for not having enough foresight to build in spam resistance to the protocols themselves.
We could blame Microsoft for creating crappy operating systems, but if people wanted to pay us billions for our shit, which of us would not rejoice in every bowel movement?
We could blame the clueless users who buy and use the shit. But they are, by definition, clueless. Seeking to eradicate cluelessness could prove to be a thankless task.
No, the blame for the current situation must surely rest with those bright individuals who should know better, those nephews and brothers-in-law who aid and abet the clueless. Windows is not the only easy to use operating system anymore. Apple’s OS/X and Linux are both easy to use. Indeed, for some things, they are easier than Windows.
But no operating system is perfect. There will always be the occasional snag which will cause the clueless user to reach for the phone. Which operating system, then, from the clueless user’s perspective, is the best to use, given that they have absolutely no interest in learning for themselves how things work and how to fix them when they don’t work as they should? It is the operating system of the person they can call on the phone (or email — if the problem hasn’t precluded that option).
So it is you, you nephews and brothers-in-law and husbands of co-workers, who are facilitating the creation of massive bot-nets of compromised Windows machines, you who are not clueless yet commit the sin of settling for shit. Do everyone a favour and switch to a superior operating system, OS/X or Linux, it doesn’t matter, and then, when a clueless Windows user calls for help, be firm and say, “Wouldn’t know anything about that, I use Linux [or OS/X]. If you want to switch, I’d be happy to help you out.”
But if everyone stopped using Windows, wouldn’t the bad guys just focus more attention on Linux and OS/X thus continuing the problem? They could try, but there are technical reasons why Linux and OS/X are harder to subvert. Witness the popularity of the Apache web server which runs on many Linux machines — it outnumbers Microsoft’s web server, because it is much more secure by design.
Nine days long did they bring in great heaps wood, and on the morning of the tenth day with great rejoicing they laid their Windows CDs on the pile, and set the fire thereto. Then when the child of morning rosy-fingered dawn appeared on the eleventh day, the people again assembled, round the pyre of Windows. When they were got together, they first quenched the fire with wine wherever it was burning, and then gathered the ashes, loaded them in dump trucks, dumped them in a vast hole, which they covered over with large stones set close together. When they had heaped up a barrow they went back again into the city, and being well assembled they held high feast celebrating UNIX-like operating systems of all kinds from Apple, the BSDs, and the many blessed Linux distributions.
Thus, then, did they celebrate the funeral of Windows and all the evils it had spawned.
Sigh. One can dream.