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Red Hat and Firefox more buggy than Microsoft?

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Security

Secunia has found that the number of security bugs in the open source Red Hat Linux operating system and Firefox browsers far outstripped comparable products from Microsoft last year.

Out of the operating systems monitored by Secunia - Windows (98 and onwards), Mac OS X, HP-UX 10.x and 11.x, Solaris 8, 9, and 10 and Red Hat (excluding Fedora) - Red Hat was found to have by far the most vulnerabilities, at 633, with 99 percent found in third-party components. (Linux distributions are generally composed mostly of third-party software, which is integrated by the distributor.)

Red Hat has taken issue with the figures, claiming the accurate number should be 404 vulnerabilities for last year.

Windows had only 123 bugs reported, but 96 percent of those were found in the operating system itself.

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Red Hat bugs - another open source PR hit?

Red Hat and Firefox are reported to have more bugs in them than their Microsoft equivalents. But the truth is, as always, more complex. And once again, security is shown as a key point where rival approaches are bidding to distinguish themselves.

Secunia reported the discrpancy, stating in its 2007 Report that Red Hat had 633 flaws, compared with Windows' 123. However, Red Hat's Mark Cox quickly pointed out in a blog that a) the number was wrong, Cool it counted flaws in all the third party products associated with Red Hat's OS, and worst of all c) it counted several bugs six times, since it added up fixes made for the same bug, on multiple Red Hat products.

The interesting thing is why Secunia would push this story at all.

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Firefox is fixed faster

Counting security vulnerabilities to compare the security of different software projects is flawed. It is only a useful metric if you are comparing a project to itself over time. I’ve discussed this topic here and here. It’s even more ridiculous to try and compare an open source bug count to a closed source project because you can see all the bugs in an open source project. You can only see the publicly found security issues for a closed source product, like Internet Explorer.

So what is interesting in the Techworld article is the measures of real risk to users:

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Good additions there

When I saw the headline I was going to post these rebuttal articles too, but you beat me to it. Nice review of MEPIS BTW...

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