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Re: Email virus protection
From: JC Dill <nanog () vo cnchost com>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 20:39:00 -0700

Warning, this is an off-topic rant about client software and the state of the world WRT Windows and Linux. There is zero operational content in this post.

At 06:07 PM 8/20/2003, Lou Katz wrote:

On Wed, Aug 20, 2003 at 03:46:48PM -0700, JC Dill wrote:
> At 02:07 PM 8/20/2003, Karsten W. Rohrbach wrote:
> >There's quite a lot of usable stuff out there. Many Win32 users have
> >switched to Mozilla which seems to solve 100% of the Outlook-specific
> >attacks which account for... hmmm... 100% of the malicious email
> >messages of the last 6 months.
> Unfortunately, that's not true.  My father has to use Windoze because
> several software programs for his industry (Real Estate, specifically
> managing rentals) only come in Windoze flavors.  He stays away from M$
> client software whenever possible and was using Mozilla for email (until
> yesterday, I'm getting him started on Eudora).  His email software doesn't
> automatically open attachments for him.

For some (but not all folks), you can run such software on a Windows
virtual machine (I use Win4Lin) under a Unix or Linux OS. That might
be an attractive and not very expensive solution for the above.

He needs to be able to automatically and easily move data between all his programs. It's not at all unusual for him to scan a document with PaperPort, then export it to Acrobat, then attach it to email and send. Then he needs to automatically accept a fax and transfer it into PaperPort, so incoming faxes come in with WinFaxPro. Then he needs to transfer data from an email into Homeworks, or Promas. Then he needs to type up a document in WordPerfect (grabbing the address data from his Palm software), send attached to an email, also attaching a document just received via fax or just scanned. Typically he has 6 or more programs all open at once. We just upgraded the RAM so that his computer could handle all this in native Windows2k.

He (which means me, when he has problems) has enough trouble getting everything working nice/nice under Windows. It would be impossible to get it all working seamlessly with some of these applications in Windows inside Linux and others inside Linux itself. If we aren't running at least 1/2 of his applications under Linux itself, I don't see much purpose in running Linux at all.

Is there a Linux program that does what WinFaxPro does (booting at startup, automatically answering incoming faxes, saving in a format that can be exported to Acrobat or PaperPort, automatically forwarding a copy of the fax via email)? Is there a Linux program that does what PaperPort does (scanning and filing all paperwork, then saving the file thru Acrobat or Photoshop, transferring to email or fax or OCR and into WP)?

I'm quite sure that there aren't any Linux programs like Homeworks or ListTrak or Promas (all Real Estate speciality programs required for his business).

So at most, he can use Linux with the Palm software (maybe), a browser (he's already using Mozilla under Win2K, so this isn't a big gain) an email client (he's using Eudora now, and I don't believe they have a Linux version), and Star Office (maybe, if it doesn't crash) for a WordPerfect solution. Except that he really needs to migrate *off* WP and onto Word because he needs to send and receive docs in the format everyone else uses (Word, unfortunately). In many cases he'd have to pay to buy new Linux versions of software he has already purchased for Windows (like Acrobat, Word, Norton Antivirus or the equivalent, with update license) even though some equivalent applications can be had for free (Gimp for Photoshop). Then there's the learning curve, I'm sure that Gimp doesn't work *exactly* like Photoshop, he will have to learn to do things differently. And this assumes all his RE software will run in a Win4Lin environment. Can you say "the vendor doesn't support that" boys and girls? :-( Yeah, I thought you could. A support tech drove from San Jose to Monterey yesterday to install a ListTrak because they have problems installing it on Win2K systems with SP4. There's NFW they would support any of these programs if they were installed under Win4Lin or if we had problems with them running under Win4Lin but they run fine in Windows2k itself.

Oh, and he needs to be able to print from all programs to the HP 3330, which is directly connected to the desktop computer and accessed by the laptop as a Windows network printer. Due to program driver weirdness (particularly with Promas) he has two different instances of this printer installed with two different drivers, he uses one version for some programs, the other version for the others.

The there's the hardware. His desktop box is a el cheapo Compaq Presario desktop computer with 2 different CD drives (one reads, one reads and writes) with an internal zip drive and internal floppy. It also has a modem (months ago I replaced the crappy win-modem with a real one so that WinFaxPro would work) and NIC, has a palm cradle via a serial connection, the HP3300 via USB, a mouse via USB, monitor, keyboard, and speakers.

And it needs to all work simply and easily for his non-technical bookkeeper who comes in only 1 day a week to input the bills and payments. She scans documents into PaperPort, enters data into Promas, makes deposits, cuts checks, and then backsup all the day's data onto the Zip drive.

For some people, the applications needed simply dictate that they use Windoze. My dad has been using WordPerfect since the DR-DOS days (and before that it was Electric Pencil), so he's not a M$ fan by any stretch of the imagination. He can no longer use his favorite scanner (which works Win2k to use the latest versions of all his RE programs. He's pissed at M$ for their crappy software and at the vendors for the forced upgrades, but he can't do without it because the alternatives are much more expensive and less likely to work well together, if they actually work at all. And he needs this to work every day.

So he's stuck between a rock and a hard place, and we just try to secure his Windows system the best we can.


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