Earlier today, I wrote an article about why I feel that Linux is better with security than Windows. And when it was posted, I got a comment in reply from my cousin. That reply brought up a very valid point. He said this- “Lol…well Android is Linux and that market has had plenty of viruses”. I was quite impressed with what he said, and I had no choice but to agree with him on that one.
Yet, it got me thinking. I started really wondering that the differences between Android and Linux were. And why is one inherently less secure than the other? We’ll get to that in a moment. But before we get there understand that first of all Linux is not an operating system per se. It is a category of operating systems that are all are based on the same kernel. Think of it as if they all have the same common core, and from that core each operating system diverges into their own uniqueness.
Now a case in point would be Ubuntu. It is likely that if you know anything about Linux you will also know about Ubuntu. After all it is the most widely talked about flavor of Linux. It also is the one that got me started. And I tell the tale of that here. It is an operating system by its own right. And has been the inspiration for quite a few other Linux distributions or flavors, such as Linux Mint and Pinguy OS. Both are awesome projects that have there own take on how things should be done in certain respects.
This brings us back to Android, which is an OS that is based on Linux more specifically one built for mobile devices. While it does have that ancestry, it takes a different approach than, for example, the Ubuntu Software Center. The Ubuntu Software Center is much more secure as a whole than the Android Market which has recently been renamed “Play Store” Yes I know it sounds ridiculous but it is what it is.
The reason for that comparative lack of security is that anyone can write an app and submit it and get accepted quite easily, whereas with the Software Center, there is more to it. In fact, you have the option to have different levels of security depending on which repositories you choose.
There are literally thousands of Ubuntu programs available to meet the needs of Ubuntu users. Many of these programs are stored in software archives commonly referred to as repositories. Repositories make it very easy to install new software onto Ubuntu using an internet connection, while also providing a high level of security, as each program available in the repositories is thoroughly tested and built specifically for each version of Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu software repositories are organized into four separate areas or “components”, according to the level of support offered by Ubuntu and whether or not the program in question complies with Ubuntu’s Free Software Philosophy.
The repository components are:
- Main – Officially supported software.
- Restricted – Supported software that is not available under a completely free license.
- Universe – Community maintained software, i.e. not officially supported software.
- Multiverse – Software that is not free
As you can see there is much choice as to what a person can choose to do, and you are not left alone to walk around in the dark. There is much assistance available every step of the way. Also by now you see that you can decide just how much of a chance you are willing to take when it comes to installing new programs. You can stick to what is officially supported or not.
Now lets take a look at a couple pictures:
This picture below shows the Ubuntu Software Center
This picture shows Play Store
Both offer quite a bit of selection when it comes to what you want. Honestly, I look forward to Ubuntu being available natively on an Android device. I know there are plans to make such a thing happen. Until then, we will just have to wait, but I have no doubt that it will be totally worth it.
One thing I am curious about, though, that I may very well discuss in a future post is: Has security improved with the change from Android Market to Play Store or is it the same?