It is quite common to hear that virus doesn't affect Ubuntu. I have a laptop running on Ubuntu and other running on Windows XP. And the laptop with XP is affected by viruses.

I am thinking of migrating from XP to Ubuntu. But I have some programs that will require use of Wine.

So, I want to compare a Ubuntu Machine with Wine (and a lot of softwares installed using wine) and a machine on XP with respect to viruses. Is it worth shifting to Ubuntu ?

  • Comparing an OS from that far ago with an up-to-date Ubuntu release doesn't seem very fair at all ^^ – Oskar Duveborn Sep 11 '10 at 20:17
  • This seems like it would be better to have this question on super user, and it could even be closed for being subjective – Dan McClain Sep 11 '10 at 20:27
  • Wine on Linux got so good that it is capable of running Windows viruses/virii too. Beware. – Dummy00001 Sep 16 '10 at 12:30

Going through the trouble of getting all your applications to run under WINE just doesn't sound like a good solution to me.

My suggestions would be either:

  • Use Ubuntu by itself and try to find alternatives for the software you use. For more popular applications you can almost always find a suitable counterpart!

  • Depending on how badly the XP machine is infected, you can try running a virus scan and see what it picks up. This could potentially save you a lot of time reinstalling the OS, drivers, and all of your applications. If the machine is truly FUBAR, I'd back up all the data and go for a reinstall of XP. Depending on how many applications you have installed, this might even be a faster option than fiddling with antivirus software. This time don't neglect the antivirus! Microsoft provides decent, free antivirus software called Security Essentials.

Keep in mind that you are not exempt from viruses just because you run Linux. There are still viruses out there for the OS, and more and more are being developed as it gains popularity. Windows, being used more heavily by end users and enterprise environments, naturally has more malicious software made for it.

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  • +1 I think the same way, there is no point in migrating if you will be tied to WINE! – Prix Sep 12 '10 at 1:01

It's not that a computer virus cannot affect Ubuntu - it's still a piece of software which means it can be hijacked. However, since the majority of the world's computers run Windows - especially businesses - then from the point of view of the virus developer, it makes sense to target the largest audience: Windows.

Migrating to Ubuntu might be a big change in how you view your desktop Operating System. Ubuntu, while similar on the desktop to Windows, is quite different in general. Aside from that, not every application that works on Windows is going to work on Ubuntu with just Wine. Applications that require .NET will require you to use Mono, and even then, there will still be applications that you cannot run natively in Ubuntu.

However, there is always VirtualBox...

That being said, you may want to take John's advice and make sure your Windows system is more secure. For a home user, you can use Microsoft's Security Essentials for free to help keep your computer from being infected. You'll also want to make sure you area applying Windows Updates on a regular basis. Microsoft releases a new malware scanner every month through Windows Update called the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool that automatically runs and cleans your system out during the update process.

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So, I want to compare a Ubuntu Machine with Wine (and a lot of softwares installed using wine) and a machine on XP with respect to viruses. Is it worth shifting to Ubuntu ?

If you really feel like migrating the first thing you should learn is how to NOT use any windows softwares and look for a linux alternative software to do what you desire, for each software you may use on windows you could find at least 1 or 2 similar for linux.

Alternative list of windows softwares for linux.

If you are planning to migrate and will be tied to WINE then you should not, instead take the proper messures on the WINDOWS system you have to secure it and the right steps not to infect it.

Other lists:




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