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Internet Explorer security breaches are just one reason to leave the proprietary world behind.

As I write this, I’m downloading a Microsoft security fix for Internet Explorer on Windows XP, and I’ve found that just a simple cascading style sheet can cause memory corruption in Internet Explorer.

The fix I’m getting was supposed to cure that. Virtually every Web site uses one or more CSS files, and browsers load these files invisibly to the user, making this an even scarier bug. The spate of security problems, especially with Internet Explorer, disgusts many users. I know I’m almost at the breaking point.

Last week, I installed a security fix that allows a specially-formatted JPEG image to potentially take control of a Windows computer. I am appalled at this; Internet Explorer is far too vulnerable. Yes, it is the most-used browser, at least for now. And yes, more malicious programmers target Windows than they do other systems. But the same type of problem keeps appearing again and again. My system bogs down already with the firewall software that must examine all network communications. Similar software on Linux doesn’t hurt performance at anywhere near the level it does on Windows.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) maintains a database of computer vulnerabilities >www.kb.cert.org/vuls

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