Running head: WINDOWS XP VS APPLE OS X Windows XP vs Macintosh OS X: Comparison and Analysis Completed by: YOUR NAME University of Outline 1. Management Overview 2. Introduction 3. Windows XP Analysis 4. Advantages and disadvantages of Windows XP 5. Macintosh OS X Analysis 6. Advantages and disadvantages of Macintosh OS X 7. Conclusion 8. References Management Overview This paper analyzes two operating systems: Windows XP and Macintosh OS Z. We analyze these systems based a number of factors, such as security, compatibility, Internet protocols, and design issues. The block comparison method is used whereby we focus on each system separately using the same standards or applications of comparison. The conclusion that is drawn in the end, seeks not so much to distinguish the leader of these two systems, but to make a reasonable assumption as to which system is more reliable and efficient. Introduction Windows XP, the latest Microsoft operating system (OS), was released in late September 2001 and distinguishes itself from its predecessors—Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000—in several ways. First, Windows XP will no longer worry about being compatible with pre-Windows 95 versions of Microsoft’s operating systems. Maintaining this long-term backward compatibility has prevented Microsoft from making certain advances. XP boasts an updated desktop with fewer icons. It is also faster and less prone to crashes. Microsoft has paid more attention to security issues and user privacy concerns. Microsoft reported record sales of XP, with 7 million copies sold from September 24 through the first full week of November 2001. In Bill Gates’ annual Comdex computer trade show speech, he said that XP’s retail sales were more than double that of any Windows version to date (Russel 2005). Despite reported record sales, Microsoft filed what some analysts called a nuisance trademark infringement lawsuit against Lindows.com, a new alternative operating system created by MP3.com founder Michael Robertson. As has been the case throughout the 1990s, Microsoft Windows continues to dominate the desktop personal computer operating system market. Depending on which source is cited, Microsoft is currently found on between 80 and 90 percent of all personal computers. Linux, with about 4 percent, is the next most popular operating system. Unix, Mac OS, and other operating systems run on the rest (Russel 2005). Windows XP Analysis The main addition Microsoft has made in Windows XP is the Internet Connection Firewall. Activated by default when you use the networking wizard, the firewall blocks all inbound traffic to the system. You can easily tell if the firewall is active by looking at your network connections. A network connection protected by the Internet Connection Firewall will be red (Young and Aitel 2003). Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) is a powerful, stateful I-packet firewall, but it does not have all the features and functionality of an enterprise solution. Its main purpose is to protect home users with broadband Internet connections and is ideal protection for telecommuters and corporate remote-access solutions. ICF is either on or off; you cannot selectively protect specific ports or protocols. You do have the ability to allow a few protocols to pass, such as HTTP, FTP, and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP).
Additionally, ICF includes logging capabilities that allow you to record unsuccessful inbound traffic and successful outbound traffic. Recording all successful outbound traffic will generate some large, unwieldy log files, but monitoring unsuccessful inbound attempts will give you a good picture of what attacks are being attempted against the system (Young and Aitel 2003). In an enterprise environment, system administrators would like to limit the control individual users have over the ICF settings. You do not want users to have the ability to disable the firewall or open ports without proper authorization and approval. If they do have this ability, you might be lured into a false sense of security, thinking all users are protecting their systems from inbound connections when in reality they have disabled its functionality (Young and Aitel 2003). To prevent this from happening, ICF settings for Windows XP Professional can be controlled through Group Policy settings. For example, Group Policy can force users to enable the firewall when they are not connected to the corporate network. Advantage and Disadvantages of the Windows XP Microsoft includes its MSN Instant Messaging client in Windows XP. The following paragraphs illustrate the deficiencies of the MSN, thus, the whole Windows XP. First, authentication to use the IM application relies on only a user-id and password. Because most people also use IM for personal conversations, they often choose short, easy-to-remember passwords that are, consequently, easy to guess or crack. The user-id is usually the profile name, so it is especially easy to figure out half of the required login information. If a malicious user guesses the password, he or she can pose as an employee or trusted partner (Bott and Stinson 2004). Second, communications travel over the network in plain text. Because corporate use of IM applications generally include the discussion of information that might be proprietary or confidential, encryption is crucial. Without encryption, I would be wary of sending any important information, such as passwords, through the IM application. Another problem with IM is that the applications are not interoperable. For example, Yahoo! Messenger users cannot communicate with ICQ users, and using multiple IM applications is not feasible for a user. To alleviate this problem, the IMUnified group is trying to establish IM standards and common protocols to enable interoperability, and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is working to develop a worldwide IM standard (Bott and Stinson 2004). Developments are under way in IM. Ray Ozzie, creator of Lotus Notes, has developed Groove, a peer-to-peer application that includes messaging. Designed for the enterprise, this application contains stronger security measures than its competitors. The security firm @Stake discovered a buffer overflow in AOL Instant Messenger that allows a malicious attacker to execute arbitrary code on the client's system. Although this is the only IM exploit many are aware of, the growing use of IM applications makes them a target for attackers (Bott and Stinson 2004). One may fully expect many more vulnerabilities in these applications to be reported in the future. In the meantime, your biggest risk is having your account hijacked or having confidential information picked up by a sniffer.
However, Windows XP has many advantages as well. The Windows XP Update function is a quick and easy way to see what patches should be installed on your system. Microsoft provides a site that contains a detailed list of all Microsoft security bulletins and their corresponding patches http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security. Information about how to subscribe to the Microsoft mailing list so that you can receive new security bulletins automatically is available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/bulletin/notify.asp. Additionally, product sites, such as Internet Explorer (IE) and Office, provide patches and updates for their respective applications. Microsoft also is beginning to develop tools to help you identify the patches missing from your system. Currently, it has a tool to help IIS users. This program, the IIS lockdown tool, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/bulletin/notify.asp. HFNetChk, available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/tools/tools/hfnetchk.asp, analyzes Windows NT, 2000, XP, IIS, SQL Server, and IE installations for missing hotfixes. In April 2002, Microsoft released the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA), available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/tools/msbahome.asp and shown in Exhibit 2. MBSA is a graphical user interface (GUI) analysis tool that utilizes HFNetChk to provide information on missing hotfixes and system configurations not following recommended security best practices. To make this entire process even easier, Windows XP and Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 includes automatic update support. In Windows XP, Microsoft has added a feature it calls SAFER, which allows system administrators to control executable code through software restriction policies. Administrators define rules in Group Policy that control when software is allowed to execute. These rules can be defined based on the file's extension, hash, path, signed certificate, or zone (Young and Aitel 2003). For example, execution of VBS scripts can be denied unless digitally signed by a specified organization or group. Macintosh OS X Analysis Apple is stating that its new operating system OS X makes any Mac computer into a "digital hub" for all appliances from cameras to music to the Web to office collaboration to producing DVD films. In the last decade pc’s have splendidly earned our personal mistrust. Once one got a system halfway reliable, and learned an essential minimum of crafty workarounds for the inevitable spate of problems, people went conventional – reluctant to be adding new programs or even new versions of old programs because they could lead to disaster. Macintosh OS X, based on the highly evolved Unix operating system, wins because it is truly stable. Individual processes and functions can fail, and do, but they don't disrupt the whole system. One just commences them again and continues with his or her tasks. There's no concern about conflicting extensions; they are virtually not present in OS X. What is more, memory management is done by the system instead of the user--every function in the box can be open with no fighting over scarce memory because only those programs what are considered to be under application’s use require memory.
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IN other words, multi-tasking becomes the standard instead of a privilege. A good investment along with Macintosh OS X is Version Tracker Pro. For fifty dollars it compares all the versions of programs in one’s computer to what's accessible in the world, and directs one straight to where a person may download the new version. Also one receives daily email about new programs and versions for Macintosh OS X, twenty or more a day, many of them shareware and freeware. When a person proceeds to the download site for each at Version Tracker, there he or she finds complex discussion by professionals about how good or bad the program is and whether it's really worth the money. The Mac is in huge innovation mode these days, and is likely to remain this way. Therefore their "Switch from your PC" campaign is bringing results. Macintosh OS X is quite different from what was before. Actually grasping its capabilities is significant for keeping up with dazzling new stuff coming along every month (Bott and Stinson 2004). Advantages and Disadvantages of Macintosh OS X With its "Aqua" client interface, Apple's Mac OS X represents a cleaner, more colorful interface, and illustrates some glitzy multimedia features. For instance, click on the thumbnail of a picture file in Macintosh OS X, and the picture seems to blow up from the icon onto the screen. If a person desires to put a file aside for a moment, he or she may drag it to the Dock, a toolbar that offers quick access to often-used files and applications. The Dock has been modified in later version in order to allow one position it at the bottom, right, or left side of the screen (Ray and Ray 2001). The Macintosh OS X has been preferred over Windows XP for graphics and video editing for a long time. What is more, Macintosh OS X provides support for applications such as iDVD2, which lets users view and create DVD videos. Macintosh OS X can record data to a CD without any additional software, Apple's QuickTime software offers the support in Macintosh OS X for viewing streaming videos from the Web (Levitus 2004). Mac OS X version 10.1 ($129) needs 128MB of RAM and will work on Apple iMac, iBook, Power Macintosh G3, Power Mac G4, and Power Mac G4 Cube systems, as well as PowerBook notebooks produced after May 1998 (Levitus 2004). Those who have earlier versions of Macintosh OS X can upgrade to version 10.1 by purchasing Apple's Upgrade program for $19.95 (Ray and Ray 2001). Speaking about a roaming remote-access VPN is much different from a site-to-site VPN. With remote access, one must consider ease of use for the end user, the number of users, deployment, configuration, and management. Users want to launch the VPN with a click of the mouse at most. This does not always provide the best security, so you need to find a good trade-off between ease of use and connection security. Ideally, you want the VPN client to be completely transparent and to launch at startup without user intervention (Mac OS X 2005). If you one uses Macintosh or Linux systems, he or she might encounter difficulties finding a solution that provides clients for all platforms. Many prefer the Cisco VPN client and its VPN Concentrators, especially because it supports a wide range of operating systems, including all versions of Windows, Red Hat Linux, and Macintosh OS X.
InfoExpress also provides client support for these platforms, but its VPN solution is software based (Mac OS X 2005). Macintosh users don't have many choices, but Linux users have a nice alternative with FreeS/WAN (http://www.freeswan.org). This is an IPSec-compatible kernel option for Linux that provides VPN functionality interoperable with other IPSec VPN gateways. You can find numerous documents online to help you configure FreeS/WAN for use with various VPN gateways. Conclusion It is really difficult to conclude, which of the two systems has more advantages because they operate for different type of users. While all of the new code allocated for Macintosh OS X will improve the Apple’s user experience, the alterations that will be most noticeable to Mac’s user is OS X's appearance. As compared to the dull, low-resolution icons and windows that are standard on most GUI's, Macintosh OS X's desktop features vividly colorful controls that have the appearance of polished gems. Apple clients that have the latest version of Internet Explorer will have a good idea of OS X's overall exterior (Ray and Ray 2001). Working in cooperation with the Aqua interface is their new 2D graphics system, titled Quartz. It provides on the fly rendering, anti-aliasing and compositing of high-resolution pictures and photos. Built into Quartz is complete Adobe PDF support. PDF is the model for electronic document distribution. It protects all of the fonts, formatting, colors and graphics of any source document regardless of the type of platform it was created on. One can observe a screenshot of OS X below. While Macintosh OS X holds a lot of assure, Apple faces a chicken or the egg type of situation in building the new operating system. Until a large number of Macintosh users adopt OS X there is not going to be much incentive for publishers and manufacturers to invest in building products for the new OS. At the same time, if windows XP is adopted by large number of users it will be great for Microsoft's bottom line. Nevertheless their good fortune could profit the average user as well. Having only one version of Windows to work on, software and hardware producers can concentrate on improving performance rather than supporting the mixture that currently exists on the market. A more constant and simplified computing environment should be the end product of such cooperation. Similarly to Windows 2000, the windows XP product line is tailored for dissimilar markets: Windows XP Professional for business and power users and Windows XP Home Edition for consumers. Universal to both is an enhanced user interface that makes using a computer easier and simplifies working with photo, video, and music files.
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