A recent security analysis by Microsoft’s Jeffrey Jones shows that Ubuntu 6.06, in its first year, solved 92.6% of known security issues, leaving 7.4% unresolved.
The same analysis compares this to Windows Vista, showing that 45.5% of its known security issues have been left unresolved after one year, with only 54.5% patched thus far. This closely resembles the pattern from Windows XP, which resolved 54.6% of known security issues in its first year.
Windows Vista’s known and unresolved security issues also outnumber those of Ubuntu 6.06 in total: Vista has 30 unfixed after its first year, while Ubuntu had 18 still waiting to be fixed. Indeed, if we consider only the red bars in the chart, Microsoft’s analysis makes it clear that Ubuntu 6.06 is the best maintained and most secure operating system in this group, followed by Windows Vista and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
It is a testament to the power of open source that Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux have the highest rates for discovery of new issues, and that these issues are so quickly resolved with continual small updates. No doubt this efficiency can be attributed to the transparency of their development community, allowing anybody to find issues from the source rather than reverse engineering binaries.