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Really Impressed with Linux


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#1 of 12 Al.Anderson

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Posted April 30 2010 - 12:18 AM

I’m a Computer Science guy, so I played around with Linux years ago. It was fun, but definitely a hobbyist’s OS. Other interests took over, mostly computer gaming and HT, and I stopped keeping up.
Well, this week my daughter's laptop got a malware infestation that was trying to blackmail her into purchasing their “virus protection” software – until you pay them, they keep popping up warnings every 5 seconds. Basically it prevents you from using your computer.  Really, really, ticked me off. I had more problems than usual trying to get rid of it, so I finally gave up and decided to reinstall the operating system. Of course MS, in its #^&*! infinite wisdom, wouldn’t let me re-install, because “Your current OS is newer than the one you are attempting to install.”
So I downloaded an ISO of Ubuntu (free), burnt a disk and popped it in. Twenty minutes later the OS was up and running, including all the usual applications (word processing, mail, web browser, DVD player, image editors, and more). Everything worked perfectly right out of the box. Okay, I did have to enter the wireless key; but wired worked fine. Oh, and I had to install a flash add-in. (“But dad, without Flash I can’t do *anything*!” Sigh.)
I really just wanted to use Linux to reformat the disk. But the desktop layout is very windows-like. Everything works and is very intuitive. And it seems faster to me. All free.  And everything works, did I mention that? So I think I’m going to let my daughter play with it for a few weeks before I go back to Windows.
That’s it, the gushing is over and the post didn’t really go anywhere, but I’m so damn pleased I had to post my experience somewhere.  Any others with newbie experience with Linux, and advice on what to look for or do next?


#2 of 12 Sam Posten

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Posted April 30 2010 - 02:53 AM

Agreed, Linux has come far as a user experience lately.  I keep hoping that more and more focus will be given to creating NEW apps and user experiences rather than cloning what works commercially, but that just comes with the territory.  Putting Flash on Linux is chilling tho =)

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#3 of 12 mattCR

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Posted April 30 2010 - 03:18 AM

Hah ;)  Samn, now other platforms can make flash work, the issue with flash is resources, and products that can compartmentalize it can do it well.  It just sucks that the Mac only got a version that allows for this (Gala) now, but for those on other platforms, it's been around for a bit.  All about process management.

the Newest Ubuntu is very sharp, runs quick, and the base shell continues to improve.  I will admit, because I prefer KDE to GNOME, I tend to play with Kubuntu variant.  But 10.04 is a solid release.  I think almost everyone should have a chance to play with a linux platform.

Linux for a home user works if browsing the web/email are their primary functions.  For software application services, the same problems with remain, but I think it's a valid experience for the user.  Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse have continued to put out viable desktop platforms for those wanting to try their hand at it.  :)

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#4 of 12 Keith Plucker

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Posted April 30 2010 - 05:03 AM

 I am guessing if you wiped the drive before using your Windows install disc that error message would go away.

You may want to look at using Virtual Box from Sun (free) to create a Ubuntu virtual machine for your daughter to do her web browsing/email on when using Windows. As long as she uses it for all her net access, she should be safe.

http://www.virtualbo...br type="_moz"> 
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#5 of 12 Fredster

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Posted April 30 2010 - 11:09 PM

I boot persistent Ubuntu and linux Mint from USB flash drives now and then just to play around. Nice in that you don't need to mess with your existing setup and can use these memory sticks on multiple computers (sort of). Some resources here: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/


#6 of 12 don monteith

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Posted May 01 2010 - 02:06 AM

 I fight that malware almost everyday in my business.  It is actually very easy to remove.  Here is what you do.
1. Boot into safe mode with networking.  Just hit f8 repeatedly as the computer starts to boot. 
2. Once you are in safe mode log in as administrator if available.
3. Get on the internet and go to malwarebytes.com and download it.  It's FREE.
4. Run the update until it says you have the most recent definitions.
5. Now run a FULL scan.  It will take about an hour depending on drive size and computer speed.
6. When it's finished just follow the onscreen prompts to remove the infections.
7. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT...... Do it all over again until it says there are no infections!!!!!!  A lot of these viruses will be hidden below each other. So if you only run it once you may still have infections.

That's it.

Don


#7 of 12 mattCR

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Posted May 01 2010 - 02:58 AM

A second recommend for Virtualbox.  Very solid product that gives you a good chance to give something a try.  :)

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#8 of 12 Al.Anderson

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Posted May 02 2010 - 11:19 PM


Quote:
I am guessing if you wiped the drive before using your Windows install disc that error message would go away.
 

Sure, but I needed the application to do the wiping.  Why would MS force you out of the install before asking if you wanted to wipe the drive? 

Thanks for the pointers to Virtual Box.  My daughter has been fine browsing and emailing, but the acid test will come when she has to use the laptop for school and has to work with others who are using Office.  If Sun's Openoffice doesn't import/export, VB will be very useful.

Quote:
 I boot persistent Ubuntu and linux Mint from USB flash drives now and then just to play around.
 

That sounds interesting.  I'll be looking at that for my own use.  Thanks.



Quote:
... malwarebytes.com  ...
 

I'll definitely keep this in mind for the next time.  Much appreciated. 


#9 of 12 Sam Posten

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Posted May 03 2010 - 01:07 AM

I got to see Richard Stallman's Keynote at the Trenton Computer Festival a few weeks ago, should have pictures up of that soon.  He created the Free Software movement which included GNU and which influenced the development of Linux, Linux was created as a kernel for GNU.  There's quite a bit of friction between Gnu and Linux these days because of Linux's acceptance of non free (as in freedom, not beer) software.... 

But the really interesting part was seeing a real live zealot in the flesh.  Stallman walks the talk.  I applaud his commitment but I don't think it's sustainable for most people, and I believe that there has to be a happy middle ground out there somewhere....  I believe projects like Ubuntu have the chance to make a go of it with Desktop Linux for normal people, but it still has a long way to go and so far it's taken the inclusion of non free software to get where it is.

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#10 of 12 Ken Chan

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Posted May 03 2010 - 12:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten View Post

Linux was created as a kernel for GNU.
Depends on what you mean by "for". My read is that Torvalds created Linux "for fun", but a kernel by itself is practically useless, so he suggested that people use the already existing GNU programs. GNU's own kernel, the Hurd, was still (is still) in development, so people decided to adopt Linux in a big way as the basis for a free OS. Then GNU got pissy because people were calling this combo "Linux", and said, "Hey, without GNU it would be nothing: call it GNU/Linux." And many people responded, "What are you, nuts?" and continue to call it just Linux.

#11 of 12 Sam Posten

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Posted May 04 2010 - 02:45 AM

Sounds about right to me, Ken.   Its both interesting how much idealism and politics have gone into how that has all played out.  Count me in with those who applaud the free ideals espoused by the GNU populace but believe that there is a place for both in the world.  I liked this part of what Fraser Speirs had to say when choosing to develop for the iPad:

Quote:
When I first wrote  about my feelings towards the App Store, it was in the  arrogant and vain hope that it might have changed something. The direction of the iPhone OS ecosystem is now clear. To stick to an opinion regardless is to see the world as you would like it to be, not as it actually is.

Down that road lies the Free Software Foundation, and I have zero interest in finding myself in 2020 a bitter forty-something man fighting the battles of a decade ago.


http://speirs.org/blog/2010/5/3/back-in.html


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#12 of 12 soitjes

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Posted June 03 2010 - 08:46 PM

I am a computer scientist, hobby programmer but also Security Manager in a large Insurance/Bank.  Let me give you first my "hobby" view of things :


I've built my own mediaplayer, and I actuallly started with Ubuntu.  Installation is seamless, and as long as you stay in the GUI part most tools are easy to use, and most of the time more powerful that the windows equivalent.  But once you go a bit more advanced (which I absolutely needed) it becomes a nightmare.  If you need to open a shell command prompt you enter the real Linux world, and if you're not an expert you're immediately lost.  Obscure messages, libraries missing, compilation errors for things you never wrote, ...


I tried to install the Free Pascal/Lazarus development environment, and the best I could do was to follow exactly the descriptions I found on the Internet, but I didn't really know what I was doing.  On top of that, it turned out not to be very stable.


In the end, I gave up and returned to XP with Delphi.  I recently upgraded to WIndows 7 And I'm very satisfied with it.  It's actually a very good operating system.  (I think Windows 7 is just Windows Vista WITH bugs fixed  /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif).


Now the "Security Manager" view :


If you activate a personal firewall and decent anti-virus and you use a non-admin account you're windows system will do fine.  I prefer a well-managed Windows system then a badly managed linux machine.  I now have everything in Virtual Machines, and my development VM will never get infected by my "leisure" VM.  Security people call it "separation of duties".


I addition to Keith Plucker's suggestion, you also have VMWare Player and Windows Virtual PC, all free.  Unfortunately, the windows licensing is not so VM-friendly. /img/vbsmilies/htf/frown.gif


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