Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows, Office and more… Please disable your ad blocker – our (polite!) ads help keep AskWoody going!
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Win 7 to Linux transition

    This topic contains 79 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  MrJimPhelps 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #83872 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      Greetings to all,

      My question today, pertains to the process of potentially migrating towards Linux, or running it in dual boot with Win 7.

      With the agenda that MS is following. Trying to steal people’s data and infringe on privacy. I imagine everyone who has come across Win 10, and felt that dreadful feeling. May at some point have considered Linux.

      On this note. I would like to ask for input from experienced Windows and Linux users. Who perhaps either use both, or have migrated to Linux. To possibly share the benefits of using Linux.

      If we go by what Linux claims, it seems like an attractive offer. But I wonder how much they provide in the way of security and privacy. Most importantly, my main area of inquiry, relates to how Linux distros handle telemetry or any logging of user activity.

      In other words, does Linux practice any of the methods that Win 10 has adopted. And is trying to slowly introduce into Win 7 and Win 8? Do Linux OS’s log user activity, and send it to their servers? Do they in any way monitor what the user does, which parallels what MS is doing with Win 10? Or are they truly transparent and do not monitor or spy on their users?

      The claim by the Linux community, is that that they take privacy very seriously. How real is this claim?

      If a Linux OS such as Debian or Fedora are in fact, very secure and do not employ any of the methods of snooping used by MS. I would then consider running a dual boot system, where I would do most online related things through a Linux OS. And then boot out into Win 7 for proprietary apps.

      The distros I am curious about, are Debian, Fedora. I have heard bad things about Ubuntu, and their scandal with selling people’s search results to Amazon. They were caught using this underhanded method. And have since corrected the matter. But people have lost faith in Ubuntu.

      Some recommend not to use any Ubuntu derivatives, such as Linux Mint. Which is a really impressive OS. In some ways, the KDE desktop is superior to the Windows dekstop. But the warning, not to use Ubuntu derivatives, is still present. And Linux Mint is a Ubuntu derivative and uses their repository. Which many advise to avoid.

      I am posting this question in the Win 7 section. As that is the OS I am currently on. I feel the topic is relevant, given that people will be faced with a tough decision when support ends for Win 7. And if Linux is a viable alternative, at least in terms of not spying on its users. I would be willing to dual boot and run a Win/Linux setup.

      I thought I would ask this question here. As there are very experienced and highly intelligent members. Could not think of a better place, to ask a question which perhaps so many of us may wind up considering, as an alternative to being forced or strong armed into the MS money making scheme.

      If possible. Those with first hand experience. Please points out which distros are the most reliable or secure. And perhaps which are easiest to use. From my own research. I found that Ubuntu and Linux Mint are really easy to use. But are potentially un-safe, given that they are Ubuntu and its derivative. Debian and Fedora rank very high, but are perhaps harder for new users to install or configure.

      Debian(Is the most dedicated distro committed to FOSS)
      Fedora(owned by Red Hat. Some concern that this is funded by the govenrment)
      Ubuntu(had the Amazon scandal)
      Linux Mint(Great OS, and from my own testing of it, through the Live USB, it is the closet thing to Win 7 or Win 10. In some ways, even better, in terms of the GUI).
      OpenSuse(seems like a good distro. Software manager is not as easy to operate as Ubuntu and Linux Mint)

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #83901 Score: 0 | Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP
      14 pts

      iawake:

      Great question. Very thorough and well thought out.

      I’ll tell you my experience with Linux. I hope it is helpful for you.

      I run Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, with a new Dell computer (purchased around May of 2016).

      Several months ago I decided to take the Linux plunge. I decided on Ubuntu, because it appeared to be very well supported; also, I have since learned that there are a lot of resources available for Ubuntu (software, etc), more so than for other varieties of Linux. On the negative side, Microsoft has expressed an interest in getting involved with Ubuntu; and there is also the concern you mentioned. All in all, I took the plunge.

      The first thing I did was to install Oracle VirtualBox, and then install Linux in the VB. That allowed me to instantly jump to Linux. This is a good way to start with Linux, if you aren’t sure whether to take the plunge.

      I then decided to install it as the primary OS on the hard drive. But I didn’t want to wipe out my Windows 7 install. So here’s what I did:

      * I purchased two additional hard drives, giving me a total of 3.

      * I got a SATA power switch, allowing me to power my hard drives off and on as desired.

      (https://www.amazon.com/PW4101-Aluminum-Floppy-Control-Protection/dp/B009XPCL6Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1486066571&sr=1-1&keywords=sata+power+switch)

      * I connected two of the hard drives to the switch (one for Linux, and the other for Windows).

      * I plugged the 3rd one directly into the computer so that it would always be on (I use this one for data — since it is always on, my data is always available, no matter which OS I am using.)

      Now, whenever I want to switch to the other OS, I power down the computer, turn one drive on and the other off, then power up the computer. Like magic, I am in the other OS, and all my data is available on the 3rd hard drive!

      Almost everything works with no problem. For example, I didn’t have to install anything to get my wireless Canon printer to work. Ditto for my wifi network adapter.

      But there are a few things which I haven’t been able to accomplish:

      * I can’t get my scanner to work, whether the scanner is connected via USB or wifi.

      * I can’t get my Firefox YouTube downloader to work in Firefox for Linux. (It works perfectly in Firefox for Windows.)

      * Microsoft Office doesn’t work in Linux. I haven’t been able to find a replacement for Microsoft Publisher for Linux. There is Libre Office; but it doesn’t include a Publisher program, nor an email program. (I use Thunderbird for my email.)

      Some things are extremely easy in Linux. But some things are extremely complicated, because there is no one who is paid to produce wonderful software like you have in the Windows world. Still, there is a lot of help out there.

      I suggest that you get started in the way I have, with three hard drives and a SATA switch. And spend as much time as you can in Linux. And try to get everything working. In this way, when Windows 7 is no longer supported, you will have long since been ready to make the jump from Windows to Linux.

      Good luck.

      Jim

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  MrJimPhelps.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Kirsty.
      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #84946 Score: 0 | Reply

        lizzytish
        AskWoody Lounger
        2 pts

        Well this is just the sort of debate I have been waiting/hoping for. When Woody kindly asked those interested in kicking the tyres on the beta version of the lounge I was able to open a topic for Linux, inviting those who knew something about the OS to help those who were interested in learning and knowing about it. In my mind there are so many little questions to ask and find out about so that we can make an educated decision on which way we would like to go. I have actually saved the comments from the beta version and when the Lounge expands and a Forum is generated if Woody thinks it’s a good idea I can then include them.

        On a personal note I have trialled Mint on a Virtual Box on a separate drive and although one is told that some windows programmes can be replicated/transferred with Wine for one, I found my particular programmes couldn’t/wouldn’t. And the corresponding ones on Linux don’t really cut it for me unfortunately. So the idea of running a dual OS set up………. is attractive.

        But the importance of knowing about the security and privacy issues with Linux are also important.

        Looking forward to catching up and learning about all this! LT

        “What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.” – Pearl Bailey

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #84904 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      Hi Jim,

      Those are really good suggestions about how to configure the drives. I will keep a copy in a notepad file, for reference.

      I wonder what your experience with Ubuntu has been, in light of their scandal reporting to Amazon?

      I would find it very difficult to trust an OS after it is discovered to have been used in such a way.

      I have the same feeling towards Win/MS. Have lost all trust in a platform that for most of my life, I have had a strong trust and loyalty towards.

      It seems that MS does not share this loyalty which its consumer based extended to them, over the many years. Have sold us out.

      So to be honest, I am finding it very difficult to trust any OS at the moment.

      How do I know what it is doing under the hood? Or quietly in the background?

      How do I know what it is relaying, and to what degree and to whom?

      I’ve read many articles and posts by people, who have made the switch, and no longer feel walled in, by MS or Apple. And express great relief and literal joy for having made the jump. “No more spying!” is the consensus.

      Pragmatically, my question then arises in the form of. “Ok, great. Sounds really good. But where is the proof?” This is what has been on my mind for the last few weeks now. Since having heard about the Linux world, and that it offers the privacy that MS users do not get, especially with Win 10.

      But, where is the proof of this? Who can tangibly confirm that Linux OS does not engage in exactly the same practices that MS is currently all too comfortably doing?

      Jim, thank you for your insights and relaying your first hand knowledge. I’m at the end of my rope, with regards to Linux. Can only learn so much from articles. Now, I am trying to put my questions out there, to the more experienced users, such as yourself. To get some reliable feedback.

      Great to hear that you made the jump, and that most things worked out. I fully understand the limits in terms of proprietary software not running on Linux. Outside of virtualization. So the dual boot, or as in your case, setting up an entire drive for the Linux OS, definitely is the way to go.

      If I found a Linux distro that I trusted. And that criteria, is not exactly easy to confirm in the landscape we exist in today. I would dedicate an entire drive to a trust worthy OS. That would be a great way to go.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #85036 Score: 0 | Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP
        14 pts

        iawake:

        I don’t know if you will ever find perfect security with any OS that is connected to the internet. But I believe that you can minimize the risks.

        Yes, Ubuntu betrayed the trust of its users once. But I believe that they realized the error of their ways and got back on track, because with something like Linux, being public domain so as to be freely available to all, and open-source, if you don’t stay trustworthy, EVERYONE will abandon you fast. On the other hand, Windows is a commercial product. They are sharks competing with other sharks. So you kind of expect that sort of things; at least, you aren’t as surprised at it when it happens.

        That said, I believe that Ubuntu has changed their ways and are once again trustworthy. I could be wrong; but I don’t think I am. And you have to take some risks in life; otherwise you won’t be able to do anything.

        Have you ever thought about the fact that you put your life in the hands of all of the other drivers on the road whenever you go anywhere in your car? Yet you’re willing to take that risk, because you know that it is highly unlikely that anyone will purposely run you off the road.

        Go for it.

        Jim

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #85103 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      In my mind there are so many little questions to ask and find out about so that we can make an educated decision on which way we would like to go.

      And the corresponding ones on Linux don’t really cut it for me unfortunately. So the idea of running a dual OS set up………. is attractive.

      But the importance of knowing about the security and privacy issues with Linux are also important.

      I share the same curiosity in looking to discuss this matter with many here. In the hopes of finding a reasonably safe alternative to Win/MS. (Quoting from Qubes OS, which claims it is reasonably secure OS).

      If you get permission to post the quotes you saved, that would be very helpful. As this issue is not so easy to wade through.

      The Linux Community makes very strong claims. Citing their Open Source model, and very large development staff and community, as being safeguards.

      But I have found many instances where very serious bugs, went undetected for a couple of years, leaving SSL/SSH keys vulnerable. As in the case with Debian, a few years ago.

      https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2013/09/20/software-transparency-debian-openssl-bug/

      The Heartbleed vulnerability, from what I have read, does not sound good. It clearly shows how vulnerable their systems can be.

      https://arstechnica.com/security/2014/03/critical-crypto-bug-leaves-linux-hundreds-of-apps-open-to-eavesdropping/

      The idea behind the Open Source model, is that anyone can inspect the code and anything questionable will be detected and removed. Problem so far, is that while everyone can look, in reality, very few have the time or skill level to do that sort of checking. And so things are overlooked. And perhaps discovered much later.

      I am actively seeking an alternative to Win/Ms. Even if it means dual booting. If a Linux distro is trust worthy and does not snoop as Windows does. That would be reason enough for me, to use that OS, for daily tasks, online browsing, etc.

      I am hopeful, and am trying to find a reliable distro.

      But what they cite as their greatest asset, being Open Source. Is also their greatest weakness, as in reality, things do and have been overlooked. And serious consequences arose from those oversights.

      These are not to be taken lightly.

      I am trying to explore the matter, to find a reliable distro. In terms of ease of use and functionality. Mint OS is a great one. Having tried it. It is in some ways, leagues ahead in aesthetics and desktop customization.

      But their own site was hacked recently, and someone created mirrors to compromised versions of their OS. They had responded quickly. Made the fix.

      But these kinds of slip ups, do point to the understanding that perhaps Linux, from a purely security based perspective. Is just not there yet.

      With all the problems we have with MS. They seem to provide more secure and reliable updates. I am not referring to their Roll Up releases, which serve a different purpose altogether. But their security only updates, seem to make Windows more secure. Than a Linux distro, where a handful of volunteers, or developers, try their best, but sometimes make very grave errors that can have severe consequences.

      I trust Linux more, in terms of transparency. At least they do not hide their errors. The mistakes made with SSL, were brought forward openly. This is commendable.

      But it does not remove or mitigate the 2 years where those issues were vulnerable.

      Linux has my vote for trust in terms of not visibly being motivated to spy on the users, as MS does. That bodes well.

      But Windows has the advantage of resources, and man power. Much larger staff, working to find and fix bugs. Problem is of course, that they have been accused of first reporting those bugs to certain 3 letter agencies. So their trust level is naturally questionable.

      But within the scope of what we are discussing. The question of whether there are reliable Linux distros that offer privacy and security. I would say that privacy is more to be found on the Linux side, but perhaps at the expense of security. As their Open Source model, does not function in practice, nearly as well as it should.

      So to summarize.

      Windows snoops on us. Relays telemetry. Is compromised. But at least tries to safeguard the user from outside threats. While totally selling us out, in the process, and making significant money from this model. One used by Google, FB, Yahoo, etc.

      Linux does not seem to engage in this snooping. Provides more privacy and trust in that sense. But precisely because they are Open Source. Detecting bugs, fixing them. Is not as efficient or reliable as Windows. They have fewer security issues. But the ones that do arise, can be very serious and take a long time to be discovered. Leaving the Open Source model, up for serious scrutiny and consideration.

      Does one choose to accept Windows snooping, with the boon of having stronger security in the OS itself against outside threats?

      Or do we jump ship to Linux, which should be commended for their ethical stance on privacy and transparency. But who are more prone to serious vulnerabilities, precisely because they are Free and Open Source. Meaning there is not the same amount of money backing them, or pushing them to keep to the standards that a huge corp like MS can adhere to. At least in technical terms. Not Ethical of course.

      These are things to be weighed and evaluated.

      I have not formulated a conclusion as of yet. But thus far, these are my observations. If I can find something that merges Linux privacy with MS security efficiency. That would be the clear winner. But does such a platform exist? Not entirely certain. And couple that with my distrust towards MS. I now need solid proof that an alternative OS is trustworthy. More than just claims made, like we are Open Source. Everything is visible. Yes, everything is visible if you have enough eyes looking. But clearly with the breaches in Linux security over the years, there are not enough eyes looking. So where does that leave us?

      Ubuntu released an article, stating that Linux Mint is not secure. And that they would not recommend doing online banking with Linux Mint. As Linux Mint advise against regular security updates, due to it potentially breaking the system. Ubuntu had its own scandal with Amazon. So them making accusations, is somewhat ironic. But to an extent, the claims are valid. Again pointing to vulnerabilities.

      http://www.howtogeek.com/176495/ubuntu-developers-say-linux-mint-is-insecure-are-they-right/

      Linux Mint responded in turn.

      http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/11/linux-mint-responds-ubuntu-developers-security-claims

      So where does this leave Windows users. Between the proverbial rock, and a hard place.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #85157 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      iawake:

      I don’t know if you will ever find perfect security with any OS that is connected to the internet. But I believe that you can minimize the risks.

      Yes, Ubuntu betrayed the trust of its users once. But I believe that they realized the error of their ways and got back on track, because with something like Linux, being public domain so as to be freely available to all, and open-source, if you don’t stay trustworthy, EVERYONE will abandon you fast. On the other hand, Windows is a commercial product. They are sharks competing with other sharks. So you kind of expect that sort of things; at least, you aren’t as surprised at it when it happens.

      That said, I believe that Ubuntu has changed their ways and are once again trustworthy. I could be wrong; but I don’t think I am. And you have to take some risks in life; otherwise you won’t be able to do anything.

      Have you ever thought about the fact that you put your life in the hands of all of the other drivers on the road whenever you go anywhere in your car? Yet you’re willing to take that risk, because you know that it is highly unlikely that anyone will purposely run you off the road.

      Go for it.

      Jim

      Jim, those are great points, which I agree with.

      I have understood that every time I am on the road, I am taking a certain risk. This is definitely true, purely from a statistical/probability standpoint.

      With Ubuntu, you are also correct. They made the fix, where now the OS by default has the Amazon search feature disabled.

      But my concern and that of others in the Linux community, is that it is no different in practice, than what Win 10 offers. By allowing the user to opt out of security related snooping. Where in practice, many used apps to monitor telemetry after having disabled these snooping features, and found Win 10 was still very much engaged in reporting to the mother ship.

      So this proves to us, that those who take the step to breach and violate privacy. But then offer features to disable the breaches. Only do so, to provide a sense of false peace of mind. In reality, as proven by those who tested Win 10 systems, after disabling all security snooping. Found that the OS was very active in transmitting data. Despite being turned off in the settings.

      Ubuntu has corrected this issue. But how can we trust their claim, or trust that they are not sending data in a more subtle and covert way?

      Canonical has taken the MS route. They tried, and got caught. Made changes. But as the adage states, one a thief, always a thief.

      You’re right. Open Source can be inspected. And often things are brought to light. But there just as many instances, where things are not found, because Open Source lack the man power and eyes required to check everything thoroughly.

      Ubuntu keeps repositories of non-free apps, which it did not check in any way whatsoever. Other than for compatibility. So what that code does, once it is installed? Is anyone’s guess.

      But I am with you, in terms of being hopeful, and at least looking in the direction of Linux distros.

      Canonical is a great example of how easily an Open Source distro can take the MS road, and sell out.

      How secure are other distros? How reliable are they? Based on what merit?

      These are the things I am trying to formulate, in a tangible way.

      You trust Ubuntu. I found many articles, which debate the matter. Some, such as yourself, point out that they corrected their ways, and that it is still much more reliable. Compared to Win 10.

      Others, feel that they breached user trust, in a severe way. And that what they can do once, from an ethical standpoint. They can just as easily repeat down the road. Or use more subtle code, which would not be so easy to detect.

      Either way, I am glad to be discussing this matter with you, and others here. And appreciate your thoughts. As this is something that bears scrutiny from all angles. So that we as Win users, can make an informed decision.

      Many in light of Ubuntu’s scandal, are weary of leaving one force fed system, in place of another.

      So we must watch for these things, and bring them forward in discussion, to see if something stands true.

      I am hopeful. Linux is very promising. But I am not convinced that they are as secure as an OS needs to be, just yet.

      Looking for alternatives, to the Windows spying. That is most certainly a driving force.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #85156 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      @ lawake

      U said, ” I have heard bad things about Ubuntu, and their scandal with selling people’s search results to Amazon. They were caught using this underhanded method. And have since corrected the matter. But people have lost faith in Ubuntu.”

      .
      According to this link
      http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2230826/canonical-will-turn-ubuntu-1304-into-an-amazon-shopping-trolley
      Canonical-Ubuntu was doing just what Google Inc hv been doing with Google Search, Maps, Chrome browser, Youtube, ChromeOS, Android OS, etc, ie offering free cptr services n products to consumers/customers, in return for them giving Google the ability to earn some ad n marketing revenue, n also revenue from app sales at Android Play Store.
      Linux users protesting against this commercial move by Canonical was very foolish n self-defeating, like committing suicide. Imagine consumers/customers protesting against ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX for putting ads in their free TV programs. Without ads, these TV companies will go bankrupt.

      There r too many Linux distros available to users. This makes spying on Linux users practically impossible to implement, ie no centralization.
      In comparison, M$-Windows is centralized, eg only one Windows Update service. So, M$ spying on Win 10/8.1/7 users is a very likelihood, esp for the NSA = M$ acquire legal immunity from being prosecuted for anti-trust or abusive business practices.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #85214 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      A Linux distro can also be run off an external USB hard-drive from an OEM Win 7 cptr. This configuration is better/safer than a dual-boot system bc M$(= anti-Linux) may intentionally brick such a dual-boot system thru Windows Update, which has happened b4.

      The Boot Menu/Order will hv to be changed in the BIOS, in order to boot the cptr first from the external USB hard-drive that contains Linux, instead of the internal hard-drive which contains Win 7.
      Bear in mind that the Linux-installed external USB hard-drive can only be used for that particular Win 7 cptr, n not on other cptrs.

      A cheaper alternative is to run a Linux Live OS with persistent storage via an 8GB USB Flash-drive, eg on an OEM Win 7 cptr. The cptr will need to boot first from USB HDD or USB Device by changing the Boot Menu/Order in BIOS.
      This USB Flash-drive Linux system can used on any cptr but boot time is longer(= more than 1 minute).

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #86158 Score: 0 | Reply

        iawake
        AskWoody Lounger

        The Boot Menu/Order will hv to be changed in the BIOS, in order to boot the cptr first from the external USB hard-drive that contains Linux, instead of the internal hard-drive which contains Win 7.
        Bear in mind that the Linux-installed external USB hard-drive can only be used for that particular Win 7 cptr, n not on other cptrs.

        A cheaper alternative is to run a Linux Live OS with persistent storage via an 8GB USB Flash-drive, eg on an OEM Win 7 cptr. The cptr will need to boot first from USB HDD or USB Device by changing the Boot Menu/Order in BIOS.
        This USB Flash-drive Linux system can used on any cptr but boot time is longer(= more than 1 minute).

        Wow, I had never heard of MS bricking a dual boot system. Not exactly what I would call subtle.

        Nice bit of info to tuck under my hat. Thank you.

        The 2 options you described. They seem very similar. 1) A person uses the usb and loads from that. 2) Usb is used and OS is loaded from that. I re-read the passage a few times. I can’t spot how they are different.

        I am currently booting via USB, and installing live versions of the distros. But some distros don’t have a live version, and it is the install version, running off of the usb. So in that case, would that mean I am using option 1 or 2 within the description you gave?

        I would like to clarify one point.

        The primary concern that I have. Is that my OS is owned. I do not like that MS would have so much access to things that do not belong to them. My information, does not belong to them. Regardless of what EULA they use. Or how they spin it. All of these, are attempts to bypass a person’s fundamental right to privacy. And encroach upon that.

        My interest with Linux OS. Is that I had hoped maybe I could find a platform, that does not engage in the practices that MS does. Meaning more specifically. That they do not log what you do.
        Snoop on you, or invade your privacy in the ways that Win 10 does.

        Going out on the web. That is a whole other matter. One which I understand requires compromises.

        My question is whether or not Linux distros. Especially the larger ones. Like Fedora, owned by Red Hat. Partnered with MS. Or Debian. If any of those engage or use the spying methods used by Win 10? This is my central concern.

        They claim they are Free and Open Source. But if you visit Fedora’s page. They have a tonne of stuff pertaining to how they use your data, just from interacting with their site. Or contacting them.

        It does then make me wonder, how much do they collect, if you would then use their Fedora Linux OS?

        Same thing with Debian. Does anyone know, for certain if these distros gather any info when you use their OS? How much info they gather, and to what extent. In comparison to Win 10. That is the main point. As the entire purpose of jumping ship, would be to jump off a rotten corrupt vessel, and land on safer ground. Not simply trade owners.

        Now going back to your recommendation to boot from a usb. Forgive me if this question sounds silly. But what is the benefit or difference of booting from USB over a hd install, with regards to privacy? I can certainly see the benefit in terms of saving HD space, and not having to write to your hd. That is clear to me. But from the privacy standpoint, why or how does booting let’s say Linux Mint, or Debian, using a usb, any more secure or private? That I am curious about.

    • #85490 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      Linux users protesting against this commercial move by Canonical was very foolish n self-defeating, like committing suicide. Imagine consumers/customers protesting against ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX for putting ads in their free TV programs. Without ads, these TV companies will go bankrupt.

      I have come across this argument in my search as well. Many claim it is innocuous, what Ubuntu was doing. But the difference between the corps you cited, and Linux, is that it is supposed to support the Open Source/FOSS ethics. What Canonical did instead, was they hid these functions. And were discovered later on.

      A corporation trying to make money. And a Free and Open Source Distro, hiding a money making scheme under the guise of being Free and Open Source. These are not the same. What Canonical did was a clear violation of trust.

      I’ll cite this article by Richard Stalhman. Co-founder of GNU/Linux. And Free Software proponent. His point of view on what Canonical did, is more clear and certain in terms the ramifications.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/07/stallman_on_ubuntu_spyware/

      https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/12/richard-stallman-calls-ubuntu-spyware-because-it-tracks-searches/

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP8CNp-vksc

      There r too many Linux distros available to users. This makes spying on Linux users practically impossible to implement, ie no centralization.
      In comparison, M$-Windows is centralized, eg only one Windows Update service. So, M$ spying on Win 10/8.1/7 users is a very likelihood, esp for the NSA = M$ acquire legal immunity from being prosecuted for anti-trust or abusive business practices.

      I would like to ask you what your thoughts are, on possible claims made, that Red Hat in fact is in charge of centralizing and organizing the Linux initiatives. And that Red Hat is in fact a government run operation.

      This article makes the following claim – “how GNU/Linux is almost entirely engineered by the government/military-affiliated Red Hat corporation.”

      https://igurublog.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/julian-assange-debian-is-owned-by-the-nsa/

      So the matter of centralization, is certainly plausible.

      Add to that, the billions of dollars that are spent in compromising these systems, making sure that agencies have access. It makes me wonder, how Linux can stay immune to such things.

      I looked into OpenSuse recently. After Win10, I learned to read EULA’s with much more patience. OpenSuse EULA made mention of not using their software to manufacture nuclear weapons. When I read that, I was confused for days. I thought to myself, I can barely get VLC player to install onto OpenSuse, how in the world would someone use it to make nuclear weapons? But when I heard about Red Hat, and that all of these Linux initiatives may be under government control. I then understood why OpenSuse EULA, would mention nuclear weapons. As only a military product would cite something like that. I’ve never opened any OS, and seen terms where it mentions nuclear weapons. OpenSuse EULA does. That to me, indicates military.

      To be fair, I did a search and found Apple using terms. But either way, it is somewhat fishy.

      https://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:License

      You acknowledge that openSUSE 42.2 is subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (the “EAR”) and you agree to comply with the EAR. You will not export or re-export openSUSE 42.2 directly or indirectly, to: (1) any countries that are subject to US export restrictions; (2) any end user who you know or have reason to know will utilize openSUSE 42.2 in the design, development or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or rocket systems, space launch vehicles, and sounding rockets, or unmanned air vehicle systems, except as authorized by the relevant government agency by regulation or specific license; or (3) any end user who has been prohibited from participating in the US export transactions by any federal agency of the US government. By downloading or using openSUSE 42.2, you are agreeing to the foregoing and you are representing and warranting that You are not located in,under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list. In addition, you are responsible for complying with any local laws in Your jurisdiction which may impact Your right to import, export or use openSUSE 42.2. Please consult the Bureau of Industry and Security web page http://www.bis.doc.gov before exporting items subject to the EAR. It is your responsibility to obtain any necessary export approvals.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #85685 Score: 0 | Reply

        anonymous

        @ lawake

        Fyi, Google Inc’s ChromeOS n Android OS r derived from Open Source Linux = not very different from Canonical’s Ubuntu OS. Isn’t it unfair for consumers to allow/tolerate ads on Google’s free Linux OS but not on Canonical’s free Linux OS.?
        https://2buntu.com/articles/1213/ubuntu-ads-lets-set-the-record-straight/
        .
        http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/us-government-infiltrated-debian-project-no/

        About security, no OS can be 100% secure on the Internet or 100% immune to Internet hackers, scammers, malware, etc. Similarly, no social or political system can 100% guarantee that an individual won’t be murdered, robbed, kidnapped, assaulted, defrauded, etc. But there r ways for an individual to minimize such risks to criminal activities. IOW, caveat emptor.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #86229 Score: 0 | Reply

          iawake
          AskWoody Lounger

          @ lawake

          Fyi, Google Inc’s ChromeOS n Android OS r derived from Open Source Linux = not very different from Canonical’s Ubuntu OS. Isn’t it unfair for consumers to allow/tolerate ads on Google’s free Linux OS but not on Canonical’s free Linux OS.?
          https://2buntu.com/articles/1213/ubuntu-ads-lets-set-the-record-straight/

          http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/us-government-infiltrated-debian-project-no/

          I’m going to quote what these people have written, in this article, as they are more succinct and exact in pointing out why the search lens, is spy ware by definition.

          “The issue is not addressed by this post – most users will search for applications and files by content through the dash. This information is sent to Canonical. It is sent over SSL, but the data arrives at Canonical’s servers and is then relayed to its partners in anonymized form.

          This means Canonical maintains, for however short a period of time, a word list of searches through a user’s personal files as well as their internet searches – any intruder, be it a hacker with malicious intent or law enforcement, can forcibly obtain this information.

          This takes place without a user’s informed consent. No one is going to read the privacy policy, and the intended audience, one that is completely non-technical, will not consider the implications of their searches automatically taking place online. Not even OS X does this.”

          “The crux of this feature is to scope data of users searches, ie Spy. It does not matter what the intent is, whether its greed, sustainability or “progressing technology” , no OS has the right to “by default” effectively “steal” users data in any form or method , it is not a should be informed at installation, it is a “must” inform!

          There is no excuse not to.
          Either that or hell shove the whole OS just because of a lousy implementation of a interesting feature? Some companies and individuals have security issues regarding their data for personal and professional purposes, as such this means by the book and by the law(s) imposed on them that Ubuntu is not viable for their use…

          But then again since it’s inception Canonical has not really been financially viable and seems this is just another grasp at straw helms, although Mark would most likely pump extra cash in if needed. Ubuntu is a toy to be tinkered with after all, a very interesting toy.

          Someday the might realize that they Canonical’s Ubuntu are becoming more and more like Microsoft’s Windows than they would like to admit, yes fanboys i said that.

          Here is the full article. Quotes are taken from the comments section at the bottom.

          http://blog.davidedmundson.co.uk/blog/ubuntu-search

          A lens that forces local search to go out over the web, is exactly what Win 10 does. They are using identical tech. Which to me, makes me wonder how many other practices Canonical has adopted from MS?

          Again, my main objective. Is to find an OS, that does not spy on me. I am not looking for some miracle OS, or one that will hide me from all of the dangers you mentioned.

          I just want an OS, that doesn’t steal my info, in the dark. And then sell it to 3rd parties, making money from this deliberate theft.

          This is what I am trying to ascertain. Whether there are any distros out there, who rigidly adhere to protecting and preserving a person’s privacy, by not snooping on their users.

          Do you know of any distros, that adhere to such standards?

          MS has sold out. Apple – sold. Yahoo. Google. FB. The list is quite endless, because there is centralization in place, weaving all of these services together.

          I do not consent or condone the practices of the aforementioned corporate entities. They are criminals, hiding behind EULA’s, bending rules and claiming the use of such practices are for the benefit of enriching the customer’s experience. These are lies. And they are engaged in criminal activity. Mainly theft, invasion of privacy. A very famous whistle blower pointed all of this out.

          What I have been contemplating, is whether these agencies, who are relentless and keep creating more and more invasive technology. In an attempt to harbor more data. If they somehow, mysteriously overlooked the Linux platform?

          If I use logic, and correlate their relentless drive for control. It stands to reason that they would not lose sight of the Linux distros. Enter Red Hat.

          We live in a world, where corruption has reached an all time high. Your point about whether it is fair for GoogleOS and AndroidOS to run ads, but not Ubuntu, misses the larger issue, which is that all of them are engaging in a legalized form of data theft. They aggregate data. This metadata is then sold. And they earn big $. M$ dollars.

          All of them are engaging in a legalized form of theft. Perhaps the greatest concern, is that people tolerate this. That is a definite problem.

          Canonical taking the MS route. This is not entirely a shocker. All corporations exist to make money. Canonical did no different. Their main error, was in trying to conceal themselves as Free and Open Software. Which it technically ceased to be, the moment they put this scheme into place with their search tech, that Win 10 uses. That is worlds away from what Free and Open Source stands for.

          So Canonical sold out. Add one more name, to a long list of names who have done the same. That’s fine. In today’s climate, I suspect many more companies will do the same, in order to have a chunk of that profit.

          Again, I come back to my main question, which is within this current corrupt and money grubbing climate, is there a Linux distro, that will not spy on the user? Will not engage in the methods used by Ubuntu, Win 10?

          Debian claims to adhere to a very strict social code. But one thing is what a company states. And another is what it does in practice.

          I am trying to figure out, if anyone knows with any degree of certainty, of any Linux distros that protect the user’s privacy?

          As the rest of them, have completely sold out.

          • #86694 Score: 0 | Reply

            anonymous

            @ lawake ……. Like I said b4, Canonical-Ubuntu was doing just what Google Inc hv been doing with Google Search, Maps, Chrome browser, Youtube, ChromeOS, Android OS, etc, ie offering free cptr services n products to consumers/customers, in return for them giving Google the ability to earn some ad n marketing revenue, n also revenue from app sales at Android Play Store.
            Google hv to “spy” on their users’ web-surfing habits in order to dish out targeted n relevant ads to them = more ad revenue for Google. Similarly, M$ hv to “spy” on their users’ cptr operating habits in order to improve Cortana’s Artificial Intelligence as the users’ digital personal assistant.
            In comparison, the NSA r more interested in spying on Muslim terrorists’ web-surfing n cptr operating activities, eg by monitoring web activities out of Iraq n Syria or web searches for the making of bombs/IEDs.

            IOW, there r good n bad/evil intentions in cptr spying powers, ie it may be open to power abuse, eg the NSA may abuse their spying powers to target the President’s political opponents ala Watergate, M$ may abuse their Windows spying powers to target business rivals or steal trade secrets, M$’s horny male employees may spy on pretty blonde girls undressing, etc.
            Win 10/8.1/7 controls about 90% of the cptr market. With Windows’ spying powers, there is a high possibility of power abuse by the NSA n M$. Less so for the OS of Google, Apple n Linux.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #86922 Score: 0 | Reply

              iawake
              AskWoody Lounger

              I think the reasons you cited for improving services, are like a front end, for more sinister things. I wouldn’t disagree, that in order to tailor those apps towards the preferences of a given user, collection of data would have to be used. That is quite true. But I am more inclined to believe that the real reasons for it, which you basically listed in your 2nd paragraph. To be the true purpose of those tools.

              By this definition. Win 10 is malware. I think this is why so many are very suspect of Ubuntu, and Ubuntu derivatives. As it employed nearly an identical piece of software.

              With Windows’ spying powers, there is a high possibility of power abuse by the NSA n M$. Less so for the OS of Google, Apple n Linux.

              Could you elaborate on the last sentence? I mean in tangible terms. What makes Linux less prone to snooping?

              I can’t seem to get an answer on this question.

              Everyone acknowledges that Win10 is a spy tool. And there is agreement that Linux is safer. But my question, is how? In which way is it safer than windows? Do the developers put anything into the code, that does anything similar to what Win 10 does?

              If I use Debian as an example. Is there somewhere where they state explicitly, that their OS does not track or log what the user does?

              I created this thread, in an attempt to solve that one very important question. The reason being, that if I’m on Win7, and only 3 years left of support. That only leaves Win 10 on the horizon. And I would not want to go in that direction. So the next logical question, is what are the alternatives? Linux came up, recommended by many. But when I ask how or why they are any better or safer in terms of securing user privacy. I can’t seem to get a response to that. Which is odd, because if Linux does not use the spying tools that Win/M$ does. Then why aren’t people voicing this in a tangible way? Am I not asking the question in the proper context?

              Backtracking a bit to an excellent suggestion you made, regarding booting from USB. I found info on persistent USB. I believe Debian can be configured to run off of a USB stick. Which would allow me to install security updates.

              Is my understanding of this correct? And if so. Is there an article or resource that is good for beginners like myself. To set up booting the OS from USB, persistent option. So as to allow system updates?

              This was an excellent suggestion. And in many ways better than having it be in dual boot, eating up disk space. And also the bricking aspect you brought to light. That’s not something I’d want to go through.

              M$ may abuse their Windows spying powers to target business rivals or steal trade secrets, M$’s horny male employees may spy on pretty blonde girls undressing, etc.

              I think that last one, deserves some slack. Life in a cubicle, can be hard. One of the rare times I empathize with the M$ male employee needs list. 🙂

              By the way, thank you Anon, for your help, and in sharing your knowledge in this exchange.

            • #87040 Score: 0 | Reply

              anonymous

              @ lawake ……. Like I said b4, Win 10/8.1/7 control about 90% of the cptr market. If the NSA wanna implant spyware on a cptr OS, they would pick Windows n not ChromeOS, MacOSX or Linux. And M$ would obliged. Similarly, most malware n ransomware target M$-Windows.
              “Safety thru obscurity”.

              Bear in mind that any OS or program/software can be made to include spyware. If Linux one day controls 90% of the cptr market, it too may be changed to include spyware, eg Google’s Android Mobile OS.

              http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/14912/create-a-persistent-bootable-ubuntu-usb-flash-drive/

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #87259 Score: 0 | Reply

              iawake
              AskWoody Lounger

              @ lawake ……. Like I said b4, Win 10/8.1/7 control about 90% of the cptr market. If the NSA wanna implant spyware on a cptr OS, they would pick Windows n not ChromeOS, MacOSX or Linux. And M$ would obliged. Similarly, most malware n ransomware target M$-Windows.
              “Safety thru obscurity”.

              Bear in mind that any OS or program/software can be made to include spyware. If Linux one day controls 90% of the cptr market, it too may be changed to include spyware, eg Google’s Android Mobile OS.

              Hey Anon, thanks again for the info and the links. I was able to install Mint 18.2 using Linux Live Usb Creator. It makes things very easy, without having to use the terminal.

              I have to say, that running the OS through usb, is visibly slow. Some have suggested not loading Mint or Ubuntu for persistent usb. I can see why. As it does take quite a while to load, and moves more slowly.

              I installed VM, and Debian onto it. Seems to be terminal heavy. Not sure that my skill level is up to par with this.

              I can see why Mint and Ubuntu are recommended for new users. That much is clear. Debian may very well avoid any pressures put on the Linux side, to conform to Win type methods.

              As a new user, trying to figure out Debian is like trying to speed learn Chinese.

              No wonder Debian gets a pass from securitytools.io and prismbreak.org. Most Win users, would not find it very easy to use.”Safety through obscurity” is dead on with Debian.

              Wish there was some way to know just how secure Mint or Ubuntu are in comparison to Win 10? As those seem to be the most user friendly for new users. Things just go. With Debian, there is a significant learning curve.

              I can’t even get synaptic installed. But that may be due to my using it in VM.

            • #87355 Score: 0 | Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody MVP
              14 pts

              This discussion is getting pretty “thin”! Each post is narrower than the one before it!

            • #88330 Score: 0 | Reply

              lizzytish
              AskWoody Lounger
              2 pts

              Guess I’m stating the obvious here, and that’s one of the points the beta testers have been checking……… it’s because most of the “comments” are, in this instance, a reply to a particular comment…… LT

            • #88267 Score: 0 | Reply

              anonymous

              @ lawake

              Personally, since Aug 2016, I hv been running Linux Mint 17.3 from an external USB hard-drive on my budget Win 7 SP1/4GB RAM cptr. Booting LM 17.3 takes about 1 minute n it runs quite fast.
              I bought a used 160GB 2.5″ SATA hard-drive n put it into a new external USB 2.0 enclosure/casing – cost me about US$25 in total. Then I installed LM 17.3 on the external USB hard-drive. But first, I had to repartition the external USB hard-drive with GParted, in order to realign the disk b4 doing the install. GParted is included in the LM 17.3 Install media(= DVD+R or USB-stick). If a SATA disk has not been realigned, the install cannot proceed. No need to realign the disk for older PATA/IDE hard-drives that usually come in 80GB or less. Seems Linux Mint Install media is still stuck in the early 2000s. Not sure whether this SATA disk realignment problem affects Ubuntu n LM 18.

              http://linuxbsdos.com/2013/10/23/how-to-install-ubuntu-13-10-on-an-external-hard-drive/

              1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #87661 Score: 0 | Reply

            Dioxygen Difluoride
            AskWoody Lounger

            iawake:

            …”Again, my main objective. Is to find an OS, that does not spy on me. I am not looking for some miracle OS, or one that will hide me from all of the dangers you mentioned.

            I just want an OS, that doesn’t steal my info, in the dark. And then sell it to 3rd parties, making money from this deliberate theft.”…

            Ditto.

            Spying seems to have become the prevalent business model in just about all software production/distribution, these days. Google and Apple seem to be leading the pack in this (with Microsoft lumbering clumsily behind.)

            I’ve been eyeing privacy and it’s effects on security with a wary eye for a number of years now. They do go hand in hand. Backdoors in encryption diminish both privacy and security. Excessive browser tracking and javascript exploits do, too.

            I’ve been trying to drill down from the top of the OSI cake to implement some form of makeshift (albeit bubble gum and baling wire) privacy/security.

            In service of that goal, I’ve been trying to:
            — Implement strong firewall solutions and lock out everything that doesn’t need network access (Zone Alarm gives very granular access to application and process control.)
            — Limit end-to-end inter-network access. IPv6 makes me nervous, so I force IPv4 wherever possible. I know I’m being a luddite, but I still like the concept of breaking/diverting data streams via NAT.
            — Not use end-to-end solutions from just one vendor, if only to hobble/segment the flow of collected information outward and/or probing, inward. IOTW, IMO, Windows+Defender+Outlook+IE= Bad, whereas Windows+ZA+Thunderbird+Firefox/Opera= Marginally better.

            A lot of this is just basic operational practice/security through obscurity (although a squeakily tight firewall does generate a lot of real blocking and alerts.)

            It would be interesting to do some deep packet inspection to really see how effective a “good” firewall solution is at actually choking off wayward communications to the myriad data slurpers at large. Has anyone done any research on this? Is there a product like Zone Alarm available for a Linux variant(s) that prevents applications/services from constantly phoning home?

            If we can’t fix OS privacy weaknesses, maybe we can break or diminish them in a way that doesn’t diminish functionality too severely.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #88156 Score: 0 | Reply

            Bill C.
            AskWoody Lounger
            3 pts

            Good comments all. I to use Ubuntu 16.04, and Windows 7 on separate devices.

            There issue here for me – is data collection and aggregation. In a simplified form, since there can be overlap, here is my take.

            The first is whether your online activity is aggregated and allegedly anonymized and then sold to the highest bidder. This can happen with or without your knowledge and unfortunately, voluntary acceptance of the highly complex legalese language of a EULA applies (although it is for courts to debate if it is really knowledge in the real world of PCs as appliances). Only selected languages used in insurance policies or contracts is more obtuse. In addition, much of this takes place out of sight of the user with no disclosure of the CONTENT of what is sent, and is many cases (Win10) cannot be truly turned off. That is the Google/Win10/Facebook approach.

            (The Ubuntu/Canonical controversy for many was that the collection of the search data was enable by default and not disclosed. Others here have explained this in much better detail so I will not attempt to duplicate their better knowledge).

            I do know that when the Windows 7 Action Center requests to send data of a crash you are offered the choice of reviewing what is sent, and even in the old days of Dr.Watson in Windows 3.1, you could also review of the contents of the data. I did in both and discovered it did reveal the contents of what was happening. By that I mean large segments of readable text from MS Word documents, or the website you were on at the time of the crash were in the data packages to be sent. Both of these are precipitated by an event. If I were a doctor reviewing a confidential file of a patient, or a person with company proprietary info, parts of it too could be sent. Now with Windows 10 (and other software applications) collecting activities while using their software and who knows what else, I can see problems with Windows 10. Poetic justice would be for a Win10 machine at MS to leak the proprietary contents of the contents of their telemetry capture.

            A subset is the use of common logons using social media accounts. Using a common logon directly provides the linkage to conduct data aggregation. This is insidious and pervasive and the carrot for the user is convenience. Many of these logins connect to a profile and a profile can sometimes contain a listing of recent postings. Just look how celebrities (including those famous for being famous) and politicians have been hoisted on their own petards by reporters and the public searching their posts and tweets. Now add in sophisticated analytical software and a profile can be built.

            This is why I am wary of using the WordPress avatar tool offered here. Since it says it can be a common avatar for multiple sites, it too may be possible to use it as a data aggregation tool. I do not know if it is, but by nature I am leery of ‘free’ items.

            I covered how users and people are often their own largest privacy threat in my post on January 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm at https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/reality-check-how-windows-10s-proposed-new-privacy-controls-work-in-the-real-world/.

            There is also the type of targeted collection used in law enforcement and intelligence operations. Like it or not that is a necessary tactic governed by various oversight and legal processes in this country, but in some countries around the world is often less controlled, or more accurately is a tool for control of the population. The products of aggregated data analysis can also serve as the tip, lead, or vulnerability to legally target individuals or networks – if the data can be accessed, and that access is justified and subject to review under the law. Then again, in some cases where the criminals are so foolish as to post in social media about criminal acts or post videos, well, Darwinism is proved right.

            To summarize, what is necessary to consider is anything which is retained or stored, is subject to being accessed. The question for the user is do you want to allow your OS to collect your activities or not, and do you want to have what is collected shared with 3rd parties. That would be an easy question to answer IF you knew WHAT was being collected, but it is not in the context of Win10.

            I personally do not want my OS to collect for some arcane concept of ‘convenience’, or to turn my OS into the wasteland that is commercial TV. Having the ability to control this from the OS, NOT a cloud based log-in (the better to collect on you) is critical.

            4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #86371 Score: 0 | Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody Lounger
      20 pts

      After distro hopping from 2012 and still doing so today, we
      settled for a debian hybrid linux which encompasses the majority of the best bits from other linux distros.

      It’s all a matter of personal choice and what YOU feel comfortable with. This is not to be taken lightly though, as it may take a long time to get what you want.

      You’ve got to ask yourself a couple of questions:
      What type of linux you want/need? research required..arch, debian, ubuntu derivatives

      What programs can be replaced with Open Source programs (this is the challenging part which I enjoyed and I don’t use ‘Wine’ within linux)

      Pop over to https://distrowatch.com/ and download your preferred distro.

      IMPORTANT: Make sure you check the integrity of the iso after download using MD5 / SHA checksums.

      Then create a live USB flash drive using Rufus (my favorite), unetbootin or similar.

      Once done, enter the bios of you PC and change the boot sequence to USB first, HD/SSD second then save to bios and restart the PC with your live USB flash in a port.

      Try it in live mode, if you like it, then I recommend putting it in a VM (VMware or Oracle Virtualbox) within your windows OS to try it out properly before a full install or dual boot system.

      Make sure one of the first things you do is activate the firewall, update the system and your ready to go.

      The debate is continuous with whether linux needs an antivirus, I’ve never used one although to prevent malware I use CHRootkit/ RKHunter at command line level.

      An excellent resource I found and have used for my own reference is:

      https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

      Well worth a bookmark, have fun!

      | x64 Group B: W7 Pro & W8.1 Pro | | x64 Group W: 3 x Linux Hybrids |
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #86887 Score: 0 | Reply

        iawake
        AskWoody Lounger

        Then create a live USB flash drive using Rufus (my favorite), unetbootin or similar.

        Once done, enter the bios of you PC and change the boot sequence to USB first, HD/SSD second then save to bios and restart the PC with your live USB flash in a port.

        Try it in live mode, if you like it, then I recommend putting it in a VM (VMware or Oracle Virtualbox) within your windows OS to try it out properly before a full install or dual boot system.

        Hi Rob,

        Thank you for this really great bit of advice and steps to follow.

        I am now installing Debian on VM.

        I think the persistent usb option, as suggested by anon, is what I am looking for. I would like to have the ability to boot the full OS from usb, and install security updates when they are available.

        Any articles that you can recommend, which show a simplified way of doing this?

        Excellent link that you shared by the way, for beginners like myself. Linux is not Windows. And this page that you suggested, points out very critical things to do right away.

        I think given that I know what I am looking to do with Linux. It makes things easier now, to plot a path. Although setting up persistent usb may be somewhat more daunting.

    • #87117 Score: 0 | Reply

      woody
      Da Boss
      83 pts

      I moved this Topic over to the new “Linux for Windows wonks” forum. Carry on!

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #87207 Score: 0 | Reply

        anonymous

        Thanks Woody… you have my great respect 🙂
        I didnt think … well I thought its more like for windows info site
        and group W is just ‘side dish’ rant

        The REAL KEY and most important benefit of Linux (and non-ms OS) is…
        no longer the user is threaten by the (potential annulment/failure/retraction of) activation key
        that is real degree of freedom 🙂

        Anything else and all techinical aspect…
        somebody somewhere knows how to fix it…
        its just a matter of time searching and asking the right helper community
        not to mention linux based OS prob has less backdoors and dialbacks and unauthorise self-initated upgrade/updates
        thats even more freedom of user’s control – respect of the user’s humanity (as oppose to unethical and immoral ‘herding and milking’ business)

        Be safe

        Back to fishing for better dreams

        • #87398 Score: 0 | Reply

          woody
          Da Boss
          83 pts

          I think Windows people should know more about all of their alternatives.

          I, personally, use Win10. But I know (some of) its limitations and its creepiness – and I certainly DON’T recommend it to everyone.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #87352 Score: 0 | Reply

        iawake
        AskWoody Lounger

        Just wanted to give thanks, for all the hard work yourself and staff have put into creating this forum.

        I have not been here long. But so far, when I post something. Really great people step forward, and try to shed light on the issue.

        I must say, that the response and over all etiquette of the users here, is really impressive.

        So glad to have found this community and for the new forum/lounge. Even in discussing Linux, there were such great posts from so many. That I have options now. Where before, without some input from more experienced users, Linux can seem somewhat like a labyrinth.

        Great job everyone. My sincere thanks to all who have helped me with the issues I have brought forward.

    • #87170 Score: 0 | Reply

      driftless
      AskWoody Lounger
      6 pts

      Greetings, all!

      My $.02:

      First, let’s distinguish between the underlying OS and the desktop environment. The Ubuntu OS is a Debian variant. You can run any of a number of desktops on the Ubuntu OS, including current Ubuntu (“Unity”), KDE, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Mint, Mate etc.

      I’ve been running Linux on my primary home system for over a decade. I lost interest in the Ubuntu DT when it went from 2.x (Gnome) to 3.x (Unity). I think Unity is well designed, but for me it is lacking in customization. Then, I said goodbye to KDE when it went from 3.x to 4.x; 4.x ran slowly with too much graphical overhead and complex preference settings whose outcomes were unpredictable.

      I settled on Xubuntu, because it is lightweight yet elegant and not at all primitive, customizes easily and runs perfectly well on older hardware. It is a solid platform for the applications I run, and otherwise stays out of the way. That’s what we want from an OS, yes? I have seen nothing of the privacy concerns that affected Unity or other desktops, though I’d be curious to hear if anyone else has.

      I keep it simple, using only FOSS applications and utilities from the official repositories. LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Audacious, Audacity, Gparted and K3b are all old friends by now. I run the LTS (long term support) releases, which are issued every two years (even-numbered major version, .04 minor, currently 16.04). When a new LTS version is released, I test it on a spare machine, then run a clean install on the “real” PC because I have a longstanding aversion to in-place upgrades.

      I set security updates to install automatically, and for other updates, I get a weekly notification. For those of us who have spent too much of our lives trying to get Windows Updates to behave, firing up a terminal with “sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude safe-upgrade” is a breath of fresh air.

      Some potential complications for those who wish to slam the door on MS: PDF handling is weak; although print-to-PDF is baked in, I haven’t found a FOSS application that will fill in PDF forms reliably. Also, scanning software is not yet sufficiently mature to understand my scanner’s film holders. For scanning purposes, I run a secondary machine with XP running in VirtualBox, with networking turned off. Also, if your printer is not natively supported, you may lose some exquisite controls.

      I have a friend who endured two surgeries last year, and because she didn’t wish to bring her fabulously expensive Mac laptop to the rehab facility, I set up a nearly-decade-old ThinkPad for her running Xubuntu. It did everything she needed, but for her it was not much more than a browser appliance.

      If you have spare hardware lying around, I’d suggest installing Linux to that rather than futzing with dual boot or VirtualBox, until you determine that you wish to go live.

      Have fun!

      7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #87350 Score: 0 | Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP
        14 pts

        Driftless:

        I have an old machine (2 GB RAM max) that I installed Ubuntu on. It is slow. I also tried Lubuntu, but it was not as polished as Ubuntu, and no faster. I’m back to Ubuntu. But I am intrigued by your discussion about Xubuntu. I will try it on my old computer, to see if things speed up.

        One thing I like about having Ubuntu on my old and new computers is, I have an identical OS on both machines. Keeps my life simple.

        Jim

        • #93508 Score: 0 | Reply

          Renee
          AskWoody Lounger

          If you have an older machine and want to run linux look at mint xfce. it is not loaded with all sorts of stuff like ubuntu….at least that is what I have found. I have 3 machines, one that was an xp machine (hd crashed, put new 100gb hd ) with 2gb runs fine on manjaro xfce .
          try running the different distros from a cd or stick to see if it works well with the existing hardware. you will be amazed what and does not work. there is a learning curve so have fun!
          Renée

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #96922 Score: 0 | Reply

            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody MVP
            14 pts

            I installed Xubuntu, and I really like it. It is more polished than Lubuntu, and it is lighter (and faster) than Ubuntu. It has a lot of software pre-installed. And being a variant of Ubuntu, there will be a lot of software and support for it.

            And I believe I’m getting automatic updates.

      • #87414 Score: 0 | Reply

        Dioxygen Difluoride
        AskWoody Lounger

        G

        If you have spare hardware lying around, I’d suggest installing Linux to that rather than futzing with dual boot or VirtualBox, until you determine that you wish to go live.

        I like your idea of running “Linux Variant X” on spare hardware. Running an OS virtualized has both the advantage and the disadvantage of not being able to fully access the underlying hardware (graphics cards, etc.,) If your selected version of Linux supports all of the hardware you’ve got installed in a box, running it in a VM may hamstring/limit performance. If said Linux variant doesn’t support all your hardware, virtualization may allow you to still run it via driver emulation.

        IMO, if performance matters, the optimal solution would be to run your OS directly over the hardware.

        Referring to previous posters, running an OS from a thumb drive for a test drive should be perfectly acceptable. However, AFAIK, thumb drives weren’t intended to be used as SSDs, and using them as such may result in premature failure (and possible data loss.) There are some thumb drive based SSDs. Not sure how well they work, though.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  PKCano.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Dioxygen Difluoride.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #91759 Score: 0 | Reply

        Bill C.
        AskWoody Lounger
        3 pts

        Everyone should bookmark and save the post by Driftless. While general, it successfully covered lots of issues and many hours of reading Linux forums and magazines to give you a gist of what considerations need to be made – especially about the scanning and PDF handling as well as other peripherals.

        Installs on older equipment is a great idea, especially since so many “trashed” computers are not trashed, but have broken OS’s, and we are a disposable consumer goods society. I have gotten 4 core Intel machines for free just because Windows was broken.

        Just read the Linux distro system requirements and keep in mind the graphics on the equipment you have available. Personally I have found older ATI branded graphics are often difficult with out of the box installs with many distros due to discontinued support for the GPU or graphics chipset, but going to a lightweight XFCE and LXLE desktop versions of a distro will mitigate it at times, and if you get to the command line there may be solutions. Besides nothing makes you learn quicker than fixing.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Bill C..
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #87968 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      I’m technically replying to the original post, although responding to concerns mentioned in posts by both iawake and lizzytish. Following all of the GWX shenanigans, I set up my Windows 7 desktop to dual boot 7 and Linux Mint and have been very pleased with it.

      Regarding the concern that Linux Mint is less secure or doesn’t receive all of the updates that are doled out to Ubuntu, those updates ARE available on Mint, they just aren’t enabled by default. Updates in Mint are rated on a scale of 1-5 and you’re able to set which updates you want to receive. If you tick the setting to only get stable updates, you’ll only see those rated 1-2. But you can specify any portion or all of the range. I have mine set up to show me everything, but any update that is rated at 5 is not enabled by default. And the update manager clearly informs you that those updates may not be stable. But it is entirely within the users’ control which updates to see and install.

      Regarding the concern of certain programs only working on Windows, undoubtedly there will always be some of those. My work computer is a Mac Book and there is one piece of software that I need that only works on Windows. My solution a few years ago was to install Virtual Box on my Mac, buy a separate version of Windows 7, and install it in VB on my Mac. That sandboxed program is the ONLY thing I run from that de-telemetried version of 7 and updates were turned off as of October, 2016. Virtual Box runs very well on Linux, as well, so you could accomplish the same thing with one of those distributions.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #88214 Score: 0 | Reply

      Bill C.
      AskWoody Lounger
      3 pts

      Pop over to https://distrowatch.com/ and download your preferred distro.

      An excellent resource I found and have used for my own reference is:

      https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

      Well worth a bookmark, have fun!

      @Rob: Good post. Coincidently I just found the second link in the above edited quote of your article today when I was researching Linux compatibility for certain hardware in a Linux PC build I am planning. It is OUTSTANDING and a great resource for newbie and experienced alike. It had a lot on SSD optimization after a Linux install.

      I have found the USB stick live images very useful as well as the old Live DVD (much SLOWER!).

      One of the tactics I have used with spinning 3.5 inch HDDs is an easy to swap HDD enclosure that does not require a tray. For Linux you insert one HDD and Windows 7 another HDD. My data files are all on a 3rd HDD. As long as you keep that drive formatted in NFTS, you can use it for Windows and Linux.

      The Linux HDD still has a Home partition, but it is not used for my files, but is used for emails. To ensure that both emails are synchronized, I manually delete email from the server after both Thunderbirds (Win and Linux) and Outlook have downloaded.

      It is mainly for testing as the swap is a little cumbersome as it requires a complete shutdown, swap the HDDs and then reboot. But even a dual boot needs this. I do this mainly since updating either Linux and Windows “may” create boot sector issues with one or the other failing to boot (ask me how I know).

      In this thread above, there is a SATA switch which I intend to buy as this may be the easier answer, especially since I would like to go to SSDs for both OS drives. That works with SATA interfaces, but with the new box, I was hoping to go with an M.2 SSD.

      Lastly, I would encourage anyone contemplating a change to do an audit of all their software and peripherals and see if there is driver support and if Linux program equivalent that will do what the Windows application generally does. (Drivers and hardware support should be tested during the live USB or Live DVD test drive. HP Laserjet printers have great Linux support). If you have a lot of Windows only programs, you will have to keep a Windows capability with either a dual boot or a full machine.

      I have not tried VMs, or personally tried Wine, but my readings on Wine show it can be temperamental due to version/hardware/other considerations, especially if you want to use it for gaming. If that is one option you are considering, the larger Linux distro forums are a good resource to check.

      I have used Ubuntu and Mint, but right now prefer the Ubuntu feature set. Both are well supported. I also like LXLE (Ubuntu-based), but have found it sometimes feels a bit rough compared to Ubuntu and Mint.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Bill C..
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #88368 Score: 0 | Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody Lounger
      38 pts

      Oops: I inadvertently just entered this post as anonymous. Mods, please delete the anon version of this!

      I use Windows 7 and Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon (both x64) in a dual-boot setup on both of my main PCs (Desktop is an I5-2500k setup, UEFI/GPT; laptop is a Core 2 Duo BIOS/MBR setup). I like Mint a lot, and Cinnamon especially.

      Being based on Ubuntu isn’t a bad thing, IMO. There’s a lot of tech info and help available out there for Ubuntu, and much of it applies as-is to Mint as well. The same applies to the many repositories for Ubuntu software out there.

      Canonical did try an ill-advised marketing tie-in with Amazon. It was always possible to turn it off (completely), and after the community rightly called Canonical out for it, they turned it off by default from that point forward. While that offends the purists, it’s still a long way from what Microsoft is doing with 10.

      With 10, the telemetry is much deeper than the simple marketing tie-in with Amazon ever was. It comes fully ON by default, and you can’t turn it off completely. Even if you turn it off as much as you can, you have no way of knowing that one or the other forced update won’t reset it to give the store away to MS once again. After being called on it, Microsoft gives us… excuses why they need it on and assurances that it’s really okay and that our concerns don’t matter. It remains ON by default with no option to turn it more than partially OFF.

      There’s no reason to avoid Ubuntu derivatives based only on that. Mint never had the marketing tie-in; it was and is telemetry-free (unless you consider checking for updates to be telemetry– but that’s infinitely configurable with way more granularity than Microsoft offered even before the rollup system was, erm, rolled out.

      A lot of people have the idea that Linux is an impregnable fortress in terms of security. It’s not. Still, with 2.something% desktop market share, it’s not a major target of malware authors. It’s not security by obscurity so much as obscurity by irrelevance– just like with the Mac. There has to be a certain level of market share before malware can get a toe-hold– like a version of herd immunity. Writing for Linux desktops or MacOS is just not going to provide the return on the time investment the malware authors make.

      That doesn’t mean that Linux is inherently UNsafe either. It’s probably about like fully-patched Windows– but Windows is a million times more likely to be attacked. The Linux devs usually fix security holes that are actually seen in the wild or for which there is proof of concept pretty quickly– and now that we get our Windows updates once a month, Linux patches are generally far, far faster in getting out when needed. I’ve seen the reports of the long standing security bugs that have long gone unfixed, but I haven’t heard of any that have ever been exploited. Windows, on the other hand, gets exploited all the time.

      Of course, Linux is not one single product like Windows is. A distro is a combination of dozens of individual projects that are developed by different groups of people. Some may be better than others at fixing bugs and security issues quickly… but when they are ready, you’ll get them through your distro’s distribution system just the same, as soon as your distro makes them available.

      Setting up dual-boot an an existing Windows PC is easy; the Linux installers I have used guide you through it. I’ve always done it as the references suggest, which is to say having the Windows installation completed first, then install Linux (not because I was being smart about it… I had Windows on my ‘puters first anyway). Apparently, the Windows installer assumes it’s the only game in town, cheerfully obliterating the ability to boot into Linux. I’d assume that fixing it (if you didn’t let Windows format and use the Linux partitions) would involve booting into Linux via USB and reinstalling GRUB (the bootloader program that gives you the menu of Linux and Windows options at boot time) and the bootloader itself from there, but since I haven’t actually done it, I don’t know if that is all there is to it.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #89185 Score: 0 | Reply

        AlanH
        AskWoody Lounger
        4 pts

        I’d assume that fixing it (if you didn’t let Windows format and use the Linux partitions) would involve booting into Linux via USB and reinstalling GRUB (the bootloader program that gives you the menu of Linux and Windows options at boot time) and the bootloader itself from there, but since I haven’t actually done it, I don’t know if that is all there is to it.

        Speaking from an end-user perspective (i.e., using linux just to Get Things Done), the few times I’ve managed to gum up a dual-boot setup, a Boot-Repair live cd has put things right again, without requiring much (any?) expertise on my part.

      • #96923 Score: 0 | Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP
        14 pts

        A lot of people have the idea that Linux is an impregnable fortress in terms of security. It’s not. Still, with 2.something% desktop market share, it’s not a major target of malware authors. It’s not security by obscurity so much as obscurity by irrelevance– just like with the Mac. There has to be a certain level of market share before malware can get a toe-hold– like a version of herd immunity. Writing for Linux desktops or MacOS is just not going to provide the return on the time investment the malware authors make.

        Actually, Linux is a lot more widespread than you may think. Although Linux doesn’t have much of the desktop/laptop market, it is very widespread on servers, which leads me to conclude that malware authors do aim for Linux.

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by  MrJimPhelps.
    • #88369 Score: 0 | Reply

      lizzytish
      AskWoody Lounger
      2 pts

      There has been some great discussions in this forum/fora and personally I would like to give you all a great vote of thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts in great detail and forethought!
      All this is beginning to settle ideas and plans for the future. Before it was just an unknown…. now it’s becoming something to really get one’s teeth into!

      As I mentioned in the beta version……… we need ‘dummy speak’. Some of the instructions and advice given on some of the linux forums seem to be in a different language……. and you sort of feel you need to start off with a language course so that you can understand what is being said.

      Guess too we have become sooooooo used to windows and let’s face it most of us have been using windows for ever……. so to transition to Linux and expect to be able to pick everything up
      quickly is something that will not happen for most of us……… but at least the learning has started!

      To digress a moment…….. @iawake mentioned how impressed he was with the tone of the forum.
      This is something we owe to Woody for his philosophy of inclusion. We are all allowed to give voice (so long as we don’t overstep the mark so to speak!) and no one is made to feel stupid for having asked a question or posed an idea. This allows for openness from all and thus benefits
      all of us in the end!! LT

      a-snoopy-thanks

      Attachments:
      You must be logged in to view attached files.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #88367 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      I use Windows 7 and Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon (both x64) in a dual-boot setup on both of my main PCs (Desktop is an I5-2500k setup, UEFI/GPT; laptop is a Core 2 Duo BIOS/MBR setup). I like Mint a lot, and Cinnamon especially.

      Being based on Ubuntu isn’t a bad thing, IMO. There’s a lot of tech info and help available out there for Ubuntu, and much of it applies as-is to Mint as well. The same applies to the many repositories for Ubuntu software out there.

      Canonical did try an ill-advised marketing tie-in with Amazon. It was always possible to turn it off (completely), and after the community rightly called Canonical out for it, they turned it off by default from that point forward. While that offends the purists, it’s still a long way from what Microsoft is doing with 10.

      With 10, the telemetry is much deeper than the simple marketing tie-in with Amazon ever was. It comes fully ON by default, and you can’t turn it off completely. Even if you turn it off as much as you can, you have no way of knowing that one or the other forced update won’t reset it to give the store away to MS once again. After being called on it, Microsoft gives us… excuses why they need it on and assurances that it’s really okay and that our concerns don’t matter. It remains ON by default with no option to turn it more than partially OFF.

      There’s no reason to avoid Ubuntu derivatives based only on that. Mint never had the marketing tie-in; it was and is telemetry-free (unless you consider checking for updates to be telemetry– but that’s infinitely configurable with way more granularity than Microsoft offered even before the rollup system was, erm, rolled out.

      A lot of people have the idea that Linux is an impregnable fortress in terms of security. It’s not. Still, with 2.something% desktop market share, it’s not a major target of malware authors. It’s not security by obscurity so much as obscurity by irrelevance– just like with the Mac. There has to be a certain level of market share before malware can get a toe-hold– like a version of herd immunity. Writing for Linux desktops or MacOS is just not going to provide the return on the time investment the malware authors make.

      That doesn’t mean that Linux is inherently UNsafe either. It’s probably about like fully-patched Windows– but Windows is a million times more likely to be attacked. The Linux devs usually fix security holes that are actually seen in the wild or for which there is proof of concept pretty quickly– and now that we get our Windows updates once a month, Linux patches are generally far, far faster in getting out when needed. I’ve seen the reports of the long standing security bugs that have long gone unfixed, but I haven’t heard of any that have ever been exploited. Windows, on the other hand, gets exploited all the time.

      Of course, Linux is not one single product like Windows is. A distro is a combination of dozens of individual projects that are developed by different groups of people. Some may be better than others at fixing bugs and security issues quickly… but when they are ready, you’ll get them through your distro’s distribution system just the same, as soon as your distro makes them available.

      Setting up dual-boot an an existing Windows PC is easy; the Linux installers I have used guide you through it. I’ve always done it as the references suggest, which is to say having the Windows installation completed first, then install Linux (not because I was being smart about it… I had Windows on my ‘puters first anyway). Apparently, the Windows installer assumes it’s the only game in town, cheerfully obliterating the ability to boot into Linux. I’d assume that fixing it (if you didn’t let Windows format and use the Linux partitions) would involve booting into Linux via USB and reinstalling GRUB (the bootloader program that gives you the menu of Linux and Windows options at boot time) and the bootloader itself from there, but since I haven’t actually done it, I don’t know if that is all there is to it.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #88645 Score: 0 | Reply

        lizzytish
        AskWoody Lounger
        2 pts

        Thank you for your input ……… you explained a lot that was so easy to understand and relate to.
        I too have Mint/Cinnamon on a Virtual Box on ext. harddrive which I’ve been playing with for sometime. I had originally tried to see if some of my favourite windows programmes would work, but alas they did not. An older version of PSP (X) I had tried to convert with wine but although it came across and appeared in Mint it wouldn’t open…….. spoke about a .dll file missing!
        So not knowing what to do next I stopped that one. There was another programme that you had to buy which was like wine, but not part of the Linux stable so to speak……. it also worked with crossing over from Win to Mac………… I tried the ‘trial/free version’ but I just could not get it to work period. So I figure sometime in the future, hopefully soon, someone will come up with something that we can use to make some of our favourite programmes work in Linux. And if that doesn’t happen by the time I make that transition I too will have both Win7 (locked down) and a Linux distro to go on line with. Wondering if anyone has tried banking on line using Linux and what their thoughts are about it. LT

        PS I meant to also add……….. sometime ago someone mentioned their website where they had
        a lot of information regarding Linux and for the life of me I can’t remember or find their comments on askwoody. And I’m hoping they will come forward again with their oh! so useful link and comments! LT

        Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we can get. — Spanish Proverb

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  lizzytish.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  lizzytish.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #89222 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      I woud like to begin by thanking each and every one of you.

      What started as a simple query into Linux, centered around a couple of specific themes. Has now blossomed into an impressive array of first hand experiences and excellent pointers with advice.

      I do not have the time to respond to each and every one of you. As so many had responded, and with such great points within their respective posts. That it would take me a few hours to respond in that way.

      Instead, please know that I truly appreciate what has been put forward. For the time spent sharing your experiences. You have my sincere thanks. Each and everyone here.

      I will respond to a few quotes, and then give a brief update on my own ongoing struggles with Linux.

      After using various distros of Linux for a little under 2 months, IMHO, Linux will never be a suitable replacement for windows for a lot of users.

      This is the conclusion I have reached, and it began to formulate early in my experiments with Linux. I think the potential for Linux is there, to take a huge chunk out of the MS market, if they somehow got their stuff together. Things are too disjointed.

      What I find impressive is their KDE desktop. Although I like many others. I also like that at least my machine, most things work right out of the box. Linux has tremendous potential. I mean on a global scale, to perhaps even dominate the market share, or split it with MS. But it its current form, I must admit, that despite really liking a few distros. Linux Mint. Fedora. Debian. OpenSuse. They are not where they need to be.

      Despite my aversion to what Canonical has done with Ubuntu’s Amazon scam, and search lens. Others say, that Ubuntu has done more for Linux, to bring it to the mainstream, and make it accessible to those who would otherwise feel totally overwhelmed. I found this point very true.

      Credit should be given where it is due.

      And from what I can see, with Richard Stallman’s Free Software purist/idealogical stance. To Debian, trying to keep everything FOSS. These are commendable ideals. But based on my trials. Again, have to concede that proprietary, commercial software, just completely destroys the alternatives. And rightly so, as those who are being paid to do specific work, vs volunteer developers. The quality gap is far too great at this time. Although showing signs of potential

      I admire the philosophy behind FOSS. And what R.S is doing with his organization. But despite a truly valiant effort. Windows OS, and Windows apps, are at a professional grade level. Linux, at the desktop end, is not. But this can change. I think the tech they are using now, despite the bugs. Is very impressive. If they stick to this model, and keep evolving, there can be a great shift in the landscape. Which even if FOSS OS’s don’t quite keep up with Windows. It can act as a counterpoint, one that will force the monopoly that MS has, to perhaps start listening to its users once again.

      Canonical did try an ill-advised marketing tie-in with Amazon. It was always possible to turn it off (completely), and after the community rightly called Canonical out for it, they turned it off by default from that point forward. While that offends the purists, it’s still a long way from what Microsoft is doing with 10.

      I am starting to agree with this point of view. And in part, that was one of the questions I was trying to get an answer to. How bad is the Canonical thing, which they admitted. And then disabled by default. Is this exactly what MS is doing with Win 10?

      Based on your response, and what I have been reading. That does seem to be the case. MS is doing far worse. And your point about having no ability to turn it off. This is downright criminal.

      All this is beginning to settle ideas and plans for the future. Before it was just an unknown…. now it’s becoming something to really get one’s teeth into!

      My sentiments exactly. Before I began down this path. For most of my life, Linux, was this distant, nebulous thing. That I had idea about, nor any real incentive to even look that way. Until of course, MS decided to emulate the conditions painted in the film 1984.

      I knew then, that we are all owned. And that this was just the beginning. So I had tremendous incentive to look towards Linux. But what I have found, is not all daisies.

      As I mentioned in the beta version……… we need ‘dummy speak’. Some of the instructions and advice given on some of the linux forums seem to be in a different language……. and you sort of feel you need to start off with a language course so that you can understand what is being said.

      Dumme speak! 🙂 At long last, someone who shares my own frustration with how difficult all of this technical stuff is. Just try reading a few articles, where programmers start to argue. Their lingo and knowledge level, makes it very hard to follow.

      Yes, in every way, I support the push for Dummy Talk. I’m not a programmer. Nor am I am hobbyist. I just want to work with an OS, that does not tell me flat out in the EULA, that it will steal, spy and snoop, thus forfeiting every right that I have.

      That is completely unacceptable.

      mentioned how impressed he was with the tone of the forum.
      This is something we owe to Woody for his philosophy of inclusion. We are all allowed to give voice (so long as we don’t overstep the mark so to speak!) and no one is made to feel stupid for having asked a question or posed an idea. This allows for openness from all and thus benefits
      all of us in the end!! LT

      I agree wholeheartedly. I like the mood and tone of this forum. I have been to others, where people are not nearly as polite, helpful, willing to render aid.

      I know where I stand, in relation to most of the people here in terms of skill level. I am a non-programmer. Some repair background. But that’s it.

      Despite this. And having very little knowledge in these matters. The more experienced users, did not in any way belittle or make me feel stupid. That too I really appreciate.

      Being smarter is a kind of gift an privilege. To be used for the benefit and help of others. Not as a badge, to put others down.

      So far, my experience here, has been superb. Great collection of minds. Helpful. Responsive. And courteous towards one another. That is a remarkable thing.

      Wondering if anyone has tried banking on line using Linux and what their thoughts are about it. LT

      I have been reading about this. Canonical claims, that based on the way that Linux Mint puts out their updates, where they recommend not to install those which may break the system. As very dangerous, and advise not to do online banking with Mint. Here is the article.

      http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/11/canonical-dev-dont-use-linux-mint-online-banking-unsecure

      http://www.howtogeek.com/176495/ubuntu-developers-say-linux-mint-is-insecure-are-they-right/

      Regarding the concern that Linux Mint is less secure or doesn’t receive all of the updates that are doled out to Ubuntu, those updates ARE available on Mint, they just aren’t enabled by default. Updates in Mint are rated on a scale of 1-5 and you’re able to set which updates you want to receive. If you tick the setting to only get stable updates, you’ll only see those rated 1-2. But you can specify any portion or all of the range. I have mine set up to show me everything, but any update that is rated at 5 is not enabled by default. And the update manager clearly informs you that those updates may not be stable. But it is entirely within the users’ control which updates to see and install.

      The way Mint updates, is causing a lot of concern and the Ubuntu camp have voiced this very strongly. (please see the 2 links just above this quote.

      The way that Mint words or sets up the options for how to install updates, is very confusing. As one would naturally want all the security updates. But when the OS itself presents them to you, but then gives a high score and red box for risk. That gets very confusing, and I am not at all clear as to what the best method of applying and choosing the right updates is, using Mint.

      Ditto.

      Spying seems to have become the prevalent business model in just about all software production/distribution, these days. Google and Apple seem to be leading the pack in this (with Microsoft lumbering clumsily behind.)

      It is in many ways a reflection of the global corruption which has taken place. What you have described, are criminal level offense. And yet they are not brought to light or penalized by the Law. I hope this changes with time. Especially when more and more users realize what it taking place with Win 10.

      In service of that goal, I’ve been trying to:
      — Implement strong firewall solutions and lock out everything that doesn’t need network access (Zone Alarm gives very granular access to application and process control.)
      — Limit end-to-end inter-network access. IPv6 makes me nervous, so I force IPv4 wherever possible. I know I’m being a luddite, but I still like the concept of breaking/diverting data streams via NAT.
      — Not use end-to-end solutions from just one vendor, if only to hobble/segment the flow of collected information outward and/or probing, inward. IOTW, IMO, Windows+Defender+Outlook+IE= Bad, whereas Windows+ZA+Thunderbird+Firefox/Opera= Marginally better.

      I’m not sure what is more ironic. That what you wrote, flew right over my head? 🙂 Or that because I’ve been researching this, going on 3 weeks. A lot of what you said, while not understanding it. I actually recognized. I find that ironic. There are things I never thought I would have to familiarize myself with. But, what choice do we really have?

      There issue here for me – is data collection and aggregation. In a simplified form, since there can be overlap, here is my take.

      The first is whether your online activity is aggregated and allegedly anonymized and then sold to the highest bidder. This can happen with or without your knowledge and unfortunately,

      That is also a very serious concern for me as well. I do not buy into their claims, that all of this data, is collected, in order to enhance user activity. That to me, sounds like a wrapping, around something far more dangerous.

      Small update from me.

      For anyone who has concluded that Debian is the OS of choice. I would urge some caution with regards to browsing. I really respect what Debian.org is dong. They are keeping everything very open and transparent

      So much so, that they outlined the security issues with their current release, and acknowledge that there are problems with their OS. And recommended not to visit any questionable sites.

      Debian claims it is the safest group, who adhere to FOSS and thier Ethical code. And yet their stable release, because they take so long, before they release it as stable. The version is always older than other distros at anyg given time.

      And where I thought they were at least safer. Which gave me incentive to learn Debain.

      Having spent the last 2-3 days with various distros. Security is a very real concern with the Linux world. Debian is in some ways worse of, because it starts out with a stable release, outdated. And while this is how they ensure stability. By running things slowly. Taking their time to really test very thing. Before it is released. This right out of the box, there are very serious security holes.

      All in all. I would not trust any of these distos with online banking. They are to underdeveloped, have not reached full maturity. Which kind of set me off track, and looking back to Window7 for now, and then Win 10. But with the hope, that there will be others other who could publish and point out how to strip Wnin10 of all harmful practices.

      I don’t rust MS. I started down this path. Have spent over 3 weeks, looking, reading. Trying to understand it. Seems to me now, like an act of futility.

      Linux, the kind that programmers and system developers use, is beyond my skill set. Which makes me gravitate towards Ubunt or Mint. But I not know how to trust them, given the practices all other companies are engaged it.

      In truth, I never wanted to be well versed with Linux. Only a way is to use a distro that actually offer a greater deree of privacy.

      Not to set out to learn something so complicated as Linux.

      Thank again, who contributed their fist hands experieces. It provides far more real life ingight into a world where one realy needs to kwow how to use thes OS’s.

      Well, that’s it for now. Given all of this, I am left to forced to choose Ubuntu or Mint.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  iawake.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #89239 Score: 0 | Reply

        Bill C.
        AskWoody Lounger
        3 pts

        I have tried live-DVDs and USB sticks of Debian Jessie. I was always able to get a decent boot, but the video gave me the fits. I credited that to being an older AMD on-CPU graphics and the fact that is was a live CD. I did like that it was a rolling update in place design, but now feel I prefer the LTS versions. As long as you make your Home a separate partition, new installs go OK (so far), but I back it all up the same. I did try an install to the HDD but still had graphics issues and could not get decent widescreen resolutions due to the old graphics stack. I had similar issues with Mint Debian.

        A comment earlier in this thread mentioned software not supported or not up to par and I have to agree. What is in most distros is usually pretty good, but some of the repositories and applications are clunky. Fortunately they have all uninstalled easily.

        I like Linux, but I still need to live day-to-day with it exclusively for a bit, just to see.

        My one big plus for Ubuntu and Mint Linux, is a total reinstall is under one hour, less with a SSD. Then again, I find the distros are pretty complete for my use and do not really customize, compile or install many new programs. BUT, as I still have Windows 7-Pro-64 SP1 as a backup, I really need to try a few weeks of primarily Linux. That will come once I start the new Linux-only PC.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #89243 Score: 0 | Reply

      iawake
      AskWoody Lounger

      I almost forgot.

      Found a really nice passage in Fedora’s Security pages. I will quote it, and give the link.

      Fedora is the first mainstream operating system to provide MAC (Mandatory Access Control) based security using SELinux enabled by default. SELinux was developed in partnership with the NSA (National Security Agency) – A US based goverment security organisation and Red Hat with developers from projects such as Gentoo and Debian.

      https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Security_Features

      Found directly under the SELinux description.

      This of course, brings that extra level of comfort that we are all looking for. It is great to know, that Fedora, who is owned by Red Hat. Is openly listing their affiliation with said agency. I guess this means that we are in good hands.

      The concern everyone has, is that agencies are abusing the privacy rights of people. Diminishing our freedom.

      We find that MS, Apple, Google and countless others, are partnered up with said agency.

      I find it interesting, that Fedora is classed as Free and Open Source. When the NSA had helped in the development of its security. That puts the Free aspect, under serious consideration.

      Which ties in with my earlier concerns. These distros are offering all of this for free. But in life, as most of us have learned, there is no such thing as a free lunch. So with that in mind, if they are going to such great lengths to offer so much for free. Who then is paying their bills? Who picks up the tab? The users do. By using their software, and getting our data mined an sold.

      I would like to state, that one of the most powerful FOSS programs, ever created. Is VLC player. It plays every single format I have ever thrown at it. It goes through the trouble of getting codecs. Not like how we used to do it back in the Win95/98 and early XP days. That is a shining example of the potential power behind FOSS.

      Unfortunately, the Linux alternatives to what Windows offers, is no where close. And that is a shame. As the Linux OS, the look of it. Is in many ways beginning to surpass what Windows and Mac are doing. Now if they can somehow collaborate, or pool their efforts. Something could be made that truly rivals Windows. And then the MS monopoly would have something to fear. Which is the only time a corp of that size and scope, would bother to listen. Is when their profits are diminished. That is all they care about. And getting any kind of leverage over such coprs, will require strong competition from something like what is starting to happen in with GNU/Linux distros present day.

      As a final thought. I really like some of what Richard Stallman has to say. I agree with him on so many points. Save for one. That commercial, proprietary software, given that there is money backing that product. It will almost always be superior in quality, to a FOSS product. VLC is a great exception. But without certain professional grade apps. Many of us, could not engage in the work that we do.

      What is hurting the Linux community right now, is a lack of commercialization. And what I saw as a violation of trust by Canonical. In proper context, it is in fact the only thing that can help Linux catch up to Windows, if there is some level of commercialization.

      I was at first against it, and liked the ideals of FOSS. But having read the security breaches within Debian’s page, regarding simple browser issues. It shows, that a project like Debian is suffering from a lack of commercial level infrastructure and organization.

      SO the very thing that distinguishes them from all of the other money hoarding corps. From my point of view, their very ideal stance on the matter, has blocked them and the rest of the Linux world from really taking off.

      I think if they are to compete, they must find ways to do what Ubuntu has done. Which was quite genius. They streamlined and simplified an otherwise almost unreachable resource found within Linux, given how terminal dependent it has been. Where the average user. Or even a user such as myself, who has some competency with computers, just hits a wall with it. And wants to give up.

      Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Fedora. Seem to me, the most streamlined and user friendly. I include Fedora, just due to sheer functionality. It does work very well. And while there are concerns regarding who is running and funding them. Hence, who is gaining and modifying their code. The security levels that Fedora employs, are far better than Debian 8.7.1 Jesse. Debian themselves admit to this.

      Which for someone like myself, where I am trying to leave Win, and find a Linux distro I can a) trust. b) is as secure as my windwos is.

      Debian, openly admits to their vulnerabilities.

      https://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/amd64/release-notes/ch-information.html

      5.1.1. Security status of web browsers

      Debian 8 includes several browser engines which are affected by a steady stream of security vulnerabilities. The high rate of vulnerabilities and partial lack of upstream support in the form of long term branches make it very difficult to support these browsers with backported security fixes. Additionally, library interdependencies make it impossible to update to newer upstream releases. Therefore, browsers built upon the webkit, qtwebkit and khtml engines are included in Jessie, but not covered by security support. These browsers should not be used against untrusted websites.

      For general web browser use we recommend Iceweasel or Chromium.

      Chromium – while built upon the Webkit codebase – is a leaf package, which will be kept up-to-date by rebuilding the current Chromium releases for stable. Iceweasel and Icedove will also be kept up-to-date by rebuilding the current ESR releases for stable.

      The options seem to me, to be as follows:

      Debian – has many developers. Volunteer. Have avoided commercialization. But as a result, their OS while looking and being dated by the time it is released as stable. Also has security issues. Very high learning curve and difficulty configuring.

      Ubuntu – has helped to bring Linux into a much larger sphere of exposure. Is changing the way Linux works. Cutting out very terminal heavy procedures, in place for a more GUI approach. Which for new users, is a huge relief. When compared to what is required to configure Debian. Draw back – this may come at a much larger cost to privacy of the user. Given the undisclosed move with Amazon.

      Fedora – In all likelihood. This is a military initiative. So for those who are looking to get away from what MS does, Fedora may not be the safe haven we are all looking for. But it has much better security right out of the box. Easy to install, and runs extremely wel.

      OpenSure – I did not get very far with this.

      I am sharing this, in the same spirit and intent, as those who have written in this thread. So that we can all pool our knowledge, and perhaps help people who want to experiment with Linux down the road. Especially given MS’s EULA. It is a good indicator of where our personal freedom and privacy rights are headed.

      Best to start researching, looking and trying now. Before things may a turn.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #89289 Score: 0 | Reply

        Dioxygen Difluoride
        AskWoody Lounger

        I took a few Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) classes years ago to do some Linux administration work. At that time, the stable version was RHEL 5 (it’s now RHEL 7.) The classes were excellent, as was the knowledge level and professionalism of the Red Hat instructors teaching the class.

        RHEL was (and AFAIK, is) one of the most secure, stable versions of Linux available (at least as far as a command line OS is concerned.) Does adding a GUI via Fedora diminish that stability/security? I doubt it. As far as I can remember, RHEL is one version behind Fedora to ensure that the Enterprise version is optimally stable.

        As I recall, Red Hat monetized it’s OS by charging companies for support/updates. That may not be such a bad thing if it marries licensees and Red Hat together in a fashion that protects both, with an eye on privacy. I’m not sure if Red Hat offers it’s services to end users, or even what it costs. It might be interesting for users to try to do what we did back in the ’80’s, which was to form user groups, and then try to leverage said group’s clout with software providers. It’s seems like we’re already doing something along those lines here, at least for the purposes of discussion. By definition, a sort of “No Spyware In My Operating System” (NSIMOS) user group.

        Microsoft/Apple/Google are certain not to care. However, if a group of 100/1000/10000 users presented themselves as an (at least semi-organized) enterprise, an organization like Red Hat might take notice.

        I’m tired of OS vendors welding the hood shut on my OS. Apple was the first. Google followed suit. Microsoft wants to, but Windows just stalls too often or needs too many jump starts (via update failures, critical exploits, etc.,.)

        Nevertheless, the “Delusion of Windows Infallibility” Kool-Aid appears to be strong in Redmond. As we see today on the main Ask Woody site, the next version of Windows to be GWX-ed down to us by Microsoft will likely be “Windows over IP/as a service” (which, is just a play on the 1990’s Larry Ellison schtick of “thin client” computing.) In simplest terms, this means “ALL of your cloud data R belong 2 Microsoft and it’s partners”. Thin client wouldn’t fly then, and it won’t fly now (so we can be reasonably certain that Microsoft will fast-track it into production.)

        As anyone who has ever worked in even a marginally loaded Citrix environment (even on a fast local network) can attest, cloud computing is not going to be a performance/features upgrade. Running any MS OS, ever, on the internet, over slow broadband, is not remotely feasible (especially if little Johnny and Susie happen to be sharing your connection with concurrent OS+Steam and Netflix sessions.) I can’t see Intel/AMD supporting this effort, either. It obviates the need for all but the most basic local processing capabilities.

        IMO, whether we like it or not, we will need an alternative to current and future Microsoft OSes, and soon (and it had better run locally, since a secure internet/OS connection (even over FIOS) will be much, much slower than even vanilla fast ethernet.)

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #91765 Score: 0 | Reply

          Bill C.
          AskWoody Lounger
          3 pts

          @Dioxygen Diflouride:

          “I’m tired of OS vendors welding the hood shut on my OS. Apple was the first. Google followed suit. Microsoft wants to, but Windows just stalls too often or needs too many jump starts (via update failures, critical exploits, etc.,.)”

          Windows quote of the year!!!

          Here I was reading the post and I just burst out laughing. Reminds me of the old “If OSs were cars” pieces.

        • #96929 Score: 0 | Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP
          14 pts

          As I recall, Red Hat monetized it’s OS by charging companies for support/updates. That may not be such a bad thing if it marries licensees and Red Hat together in a fashion that protects both, with an eye on privacy. I’m not sure if Red Hat offers it’s services to end users, or even what it costs.

          I believe that Red Hat charges for everything, even for a desktop install of Red Hat. (I may be mistaken.) Canonical gives you a free download of the desktop if you install it yourself, or they will set up the machine for you for a fee. And they charge you for support.

          But regardless of how these two organizations do it, I believe there will have to be some sort of payment for the time they put into it, if we want Linux to seriously compete with Windows and other commercial platforms.

          The kind of payment I believe that would be acceptable to all Linux people would be payment for service. In other words, if you download, install, setup, and maintain it yourself, it is free. If you want them to do any of that, you pay for whatever they do.

          If I had my own business, I would very seriously consider going all Ubuntu, paying Canonical for support, so that we could stay up and running. I would do what I could; and I would pay Canonical for the rest.

      • #97013 Score: 0 | Reply

        anonymous

        Let us look into the history of the mass consumer computer market to see the problem with Linux OS.

        The pioneers of the mass consumer cptr market were Apple Mac and M$ Windows cptrs during the 1980s. Both MacOS and Win OS cptrs were very user-friendly and well-supported by device manufacturers, in terms of device drivers. Even cptr dummies could easily use them.
        During the 1990s, M$ gained the upper hand over Apple by cheaply Volume Licensing their Win 3.0/95/98 to OEMs = much cheaper OEM Windows cptrs, while Apple did not license out their MacOS bc of excessive greed.

        Linux OS and its inventor/developer Linus Torvald, a cptr hobbyists or tech-geek, came on the mass consumer cptr market scene during the 1990s as another alternative OS or competitor. Linux OS was very unuser-friendly and not well-supported by device manufacturers. Only tech-geeks could use Linux OS. Hence, Linux OS did not gain any market traction.
        It was only from Canonical’s Ubuntu 12.04(= in 2012) onward that Linux OS got a bit more user-friendly and better-supported by device manufacturers, but still not user-friendly and well-supported enough to attract the mass consumers, esp cptr dummies.

        In comparison, let us look at the history of the mass consumer smartphone market during the 2000s. Google’s Android OS, a Linux derivative, was able to gain majority market share over Apple iOS by being Volume Licensed to OEMs and consumers for free in return for revenue from ads, marketing and app sales. Android OS was very user-friendly and well-supported by device manufacturers, even though it was tightly controlled by Google and the OEM(= a walled garden or ecosystem).

        So, for an OS to be viable in the mass consumer market, it has to return a profit(whether offered to consumers for free or not-free) and be developed by a resourceful tech company.
        Linux OS, developed by mostly hobbyists, just does not cut it in the mass consumer cptr market.
        But keep a look-out for Google’s coming Fuchsia OS, which will likely merge ChromeOS and Android OS.

    • #89287 Score: 0 | Reply

      Dave
      AskWoody Lounger

      Debian user here. I tried Linux 10 years ago and found it clunky and annoying. Now it’s smooth and dependable. I am dual booting Debian Jesse Stable with Gnome (now 8.7, 64 bit) with Windows 10. After about a year and a half I rarely use Windows at all. What I like: updates take a minute, even seconds compared to the long ordeal on the Windows side. The system never feels ‘preoccupied’ as it often does when Windows has some internal priority other than me! A little different mindset: no installing anything from random sources, only the package manager, which has a surprising number of available programs equivalent, or even better than the Windows version. I finally ran ‘RKHunter’ to check for malware and it found nothing. Debian generally provides patches before the vulnerability is even announced. The only problem I’ve had is with the ‘Evolution’ email client, which would crash inexplicably while composing. I installed IceDove (Debian version of Mozilla Thunderbird) and have had zero issues…a lot like Windows 7 in it’s early years. At this point dealing with Windows is just too much trouble. My tech skills are minimal, not worried so much about privacy but I appreciate a simpler OS that works with so little maintenance or drama. Thanks for a great forum Woody!

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #89408 Score: 0 | Reply

        Bill C.
        AskWoody Lounger
        3 pts

        Interesting about Evolution. I too had that problem when it was part of Ubuntu (around version 10(?) – suffice to say years ago. We called it CoC or Crash on Compose. As I was just exploring this thing called Linux, and not converting over, it was not a big deal. However, even then, I was impressed with the Office program and how fast it booted and lively it felt on an old machine.

        I like this thread!

        I have to try Fedora and will look again at Debian. I liked Open Suse while I had it, but it was a large download. What was interesting is that when you looded the Live-DVD, you got to select which desktop you wanted to use for the testing, I remember it had Gnome, KDE and 2 others, but I do not remember which. Some were much more stable than others. KDE was beautiful, but tended to crash on my hardware.

        There was another Italian-based distro, Sabayon, that started nice, but I had problems with later versions and when it got toasted when I screwed up creating a multi-Linux boot, I did not go back. At that time a lot of the forum comments were in Italian. Fixing it was terminal heavy, and I had books and magazines open for tips and terminal commands, while on the Linux website forum. It was frustrating, but fun learning about the variety of distros.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #89521 Score: 0 | Reply

      Dave
      AskWoody Lounger

      Good to see everybody’s thoughts. Have to agree that Debian looks a little dated out of the box but it’s amazing how much better it looks after changing the fonts. Microsoft fonts are available as well (ttf-mscorefonts).

      iawake, regarding your privacy concerns: the Linux telemetry package is ceilometer, which is not installed at all on Debian Stable. I am curious to try Fedora since it uses SELinux by default. Enjoy that SELinux was designed by the NSA! It looks like a handful to make everything work. My sense is that Fedora is the more cutting edge of the two. Have not tried Debian testing…probably a little over my head. As you said, like learning Chinese, good comparison!

      The thing about security: you’ll notice most of the Windows vulnerabilities involve code execution. Existing Debian vulnerabilities are mainly denial of service and there are no known exploits (at the moment) http://www.cvedetails.com/vendor/23/Debian.html. Brian Krebs recommends using a non-windows machine for banking. In a year and half I’ve had no problems using Linux for that. I also use no-script on Firefox…retired so I have a little more time to fiddle with it. Not sure that absolute security is even possible on a public network…I keep my most valuable files on an external drive. One of Kreb’s laws of online security: if you have something valuable bad guys will try to steal it!

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #90372 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      I wouldn’t personally worry about using any flavor of Linux for online banking (especially if your baseline is Windows of any variety). Security is a very complex thing, and it’s easy to begin to think in terms of it as some kind of monolithic quality that a piece of software either has or does not have, but in reality, it’s far more complex than that.

      The risk that your bank faces having the internet-facing servers accepting incoming connections all the time is a lot greater than the risk you face as a user. Banks are much more likely to be subjected to a targeted attack… that’s a lot more difficult to defend against than the kinds of attacks that ordinary users are likely to face. A targeted attack will consist of fingerprinting the system being attacked to find out as much as possible about it so that any attacks can be tailored to fit the hardware and software in question. If it’s a skilled attacker, it’s going to be quite difficult to keep them out.

      That’s in addition to malware, but even then, the attack vectors for malware on a server are different than those directed toward users like us.

      The biggest problem for regular users is not targeted attacks… it’s malware, spread by the typical shotgun approach of targeting the largest number of people possible. Nearly all of the malware for traditional desktops (as opposed to mobile devices) is for Windows, since it’s by far the biggest target. That gives you a huge advantage right off the bat with Linux (or MacOS, or FreeBSD). It’s true that a malware author could target Linux or MacOS, but why would they do that when 90% of desktop users are using Windows, vs. 2 or 3 percent for Linux (and not much more for Mac)? With non-targeted attacks, it’s a numbers game, and Windows is where the numbers are.

      It doesn’t mean you’re ok if you stop thinking about what you do if you run Linux, but it’s a real and pretty massive benefit to Linux– even older releases. They won’t run Windows malware either!

      Older kernels and other major pieces of a stable Linux distro don’t necessarily lack security updates, btw. The security updates are backported to older kernels. They won’t contain all the new features that the newer kernels will, but that doesn’t mean they’re not secure.

      Now… about online banking.

      I would not have a problem using my 2005-made Windows XP laptop for online banking right now if I had a reason to– with some caveats. It’s not connected to the internet normally, and it hasn’t been since it was last updated, and even then I was as careful with my actions (the most important thing in security for users!) as I am now, so I’d be reasonably sure it would be free of malware. It uses a limited account, not an administrator one, and if I were to do browsing of any kind with it, I’d make sure Firefox was up to date and had NoScript enabled. My entire home LAN is behind my router’s up to date DD-WRT firewall, so there should not be any incoming port scans or other probes out there finding any open ports over here.

      I’d avoid going to other sites and just do my banking, if I were doing that on XP, then close the browser and disconnect from the net. It’s not the trusted sites like your bank that you really should fear (although any site can be hacked… but if it is, that’s the bank’s failure, not yours, and those communications are suspect no matter what browser and OS you’re using, since the server end is compromised)… while online banking may be the target of malware once it gets on the system, it’s not usually the source of the malware. That’s where you have to exercise the greatest amount of caution!

      Probably the biggest vector for malware for regular people is social engineering. Rather than trying to breach all of your security by means of a really crafty unknown zero-day exploit (a security hole that has not been fixed yet, and may not even be known to the good guys) that will allow them to run arbitrary code (anything they want), they just trick you into giving full permissions for the malware to run (or into disclosing your credentials directly with no malware at all). While a more secure OS can limit the damage if a user messes up in that way, you still have to remember that the OS IS designed to do what you say and run the programs you say to run… so if you tell it to run malware, it runs the malware. That malware could then quietly observe what you do, sending your keystrokes and perhaps screenshots to someone somewhere. It could be doing this for some time before you decide to use your online banking site.

      That could happen in any OS, but it’s a lot more likely to happen in Windows.

      If Linux did ever catch on in a major way, it would face a bunch of issues it currently does not, like all of the malware stuff. We’d have to wait and see how Linux comports itself compared to Windows then… but you know, that would be an awesome problem to have, wouldn’t it? To have Linux be a big enough factor to warrant serious malware targeting would mean MS has some real competition.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #90601 Score: 0 | Reply

        anonymous

        Acaris, thank you for saving me a lot of typing lol. I was going to respond to the concern regarding online banking by pointing out that the biggest risks with it are largely OS independent. And linux distributions are less risk-prone from the malware vectors.

        Frankly, my primary defense is to NOT do online banking. The weakest link is the bank side, imo. When, not if, the banks get hacked, hackers can’t access my account credentials if they don’t exist. I realize that I may be a dinosaur in this regard, but the once or twice a month when I walk into my bank to deposit something or get cash, they greet me by name. Most investment-type of accounts can be set up so that only via verbal verifications can any transactions be conducted. Yes, it’s less convenient than using your phone or computer, but no one can hack me 🙂

        • #90874 Score: 0 | Reply

          anonymous

          correction: *less convenient than using your phone app or computer

    • #90388 Score: 0 | Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody Lounger
      38 pts

      “I wouldn’t personally worry about using any flavor of Linux for…”

      That was me again. I am going to have to develop an all new set of habits for this site… I usually write the reply, usually while logged out (cookies are cleared constantly), then hit Submit and let the system tell me if I am logged in or not. I am so long-winded that most sites end up logging me out for “inactivity” by the time I am done typing the post anyway…

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #91186 Score: 0 | Reply

        lizzytish
        AskWoody Lounger
        2 pts

        Further to my comment (below), thought to add that in Woodys Lounge you can comment as Anonymous or
        with your User ID (if you’ve registered) so when you hit submit your comment would have automatically been accepted as Anon. Also I’ve found when logging in that you don’t get logged out
        quickly, in fact you can stay logged in as long as you don’t close that page on your browser. At least that is what I have found. So if you haven’t figured that out already, maybe it might help
        you when writing again……… which I hope will be soon! LT

        “If we don’t get lost, we’ll never find a new route.” – Joan Littlewood

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  lizzytish.
    • #90509 Score: 0 | Reply

      lizzytish
      AskWoody Lounger
      2 pts

      Well……. Ascaris you’ve made my day!!! It’s so nice to see the sort of things I seem to do
      being done by others……. Please keep it up!!! LT

      ha-ha

      Attachments:
      You must be logged in to view attached files.
    • #90547 Score: 0 | Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody Lounger
      20 pts

      Been there Ascaris on many fora.

      Try using notepad or equivalent to generate a long post reply, then copy and paste when logged in.

      Just remember, Linux isn’t a straight drop in substitute for a Windows OS..
      You only get out of it, what you put into it..time and research.

      | x64 Group B: W7 Pro & W8.1 Pro | | x64 Group W: 3 x Linux Hybrids |
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • #90805 Score: 0 | Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody Lounger
        14 pts

        If using Ubuntu or related Linux, gEdit is the default Notepad application. With extensions and plugins, it’s also a decent code editor.

        -- rc primak

      • #92367 Score: 0 | Reply

        Dioxygen Difluoride
        AskWoody Lounger

        Just remember, Linux isn’t a straight drop in substitute for a Windows OS..

        Neither are the latest versions of Windows (as compared with previous ones.)

        Due to various Windows 7/Vista burps, hiccups, and/or flatulence –on over a dozen different different machines, with multiple users– I’ve had to:
        –wipe and reinstall Office 360,
        –completely reinstall Windows 7,
        –repeatedly reset various Windows update variables,
        –do a lot of research and manually perform updates,
        –SUS and batch install updates,
        –etc.,

        All of this was accomplished with assistance from various web sources (and almost no useful assistance from Microsoft.)

        Given, Linux offers up it’s own kinds of hairballs. However, right now, it seems to me that the difference between Linux at large and MS is that Microsoft seems committed to pursuing courses of design/action that are divergent with my wants and needs. I want a stable, reliable desktop/laptop OS that respects my privacy and doesn’t force me to use a tablet/touchscreen user interface.

        Microsoft appears to be committed to showing me it doesn’t care about me, all while telling me that it does. IMO, that’s gas-lighting, and it’s getting old, quickly.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #91403 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      ?
      nice offshoot to askwoody
      thank everyone for all the info.
      my brother had been after me to try linux for years. i resisted because i didn’t want to learn another way to compute. when windows 7 updating became untenable i was blessed to find askwoody and find a way through the winx débâcle with hardly a scratch thank you woody and company.
      as a workaround to the microsoft problem last year i downloaded ubuntu 14.04 lts (persistent) to a 32gb thumb drive set the firewall and went live. i am now using 16.04 lts and i love it. 16.04.2 with the 4.8 kernel is scheduled to be released on the 9th so i’ll give it a try. i don’t like snooping/spying without my consent, who does? the tradeoff to having the universe at our fingertips is that our isp’s collect everything (unless you spoof\cloak.) So, i’m glad to have an alternative to being forced to comply with microsoft’s idea of how things should be and as a bonus linux is free!

    • #91665 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      Try the Debian based Netrunner distribution
      http://www.netrunner.com/

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #92681 Score: 0 | Reply

        Bill C.
        AskWoody Lounger
        3 pts

        Just downloaded it and got a few more USB 3.0 sticks for making Live_USB boot images.

        • #92845 Score: 0 | Reply

          anonymous

          Once you get a Debian-based distro installed check out MultiSystem LiveUSB (site in French)
          http://liveusb.info/dotclear/index.php?pages/install

          The GUI for it is a bit clumsy to use but the final result works great. It lets you put multiple supported distributions and even a Windows installation or PE (Bart PE, UBCD etc.) on one large enough USB stick with a menu to select what to boot at boot time.

    • #92643 Score: 0 | Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody Lounger
      20 pts

      This is what can be done as a GUI in Linux…fooled a few!

      @ Dioxygen Difluoride
      Yup getting wind a few years ago that the next incarnation of Windows was ‘as a service’ and not a traditional Microsoft OS accelerated the pursuit of a Linux distro for us.

      | x64 Group B: W7 Pro & W8.1 Pro | | x64 Group W: 3 x Linux Hybrids |
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Microfix.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Microfix.
      Attachments:
      You must be logged in to view attached files.
      • #92682 Score: 0 | Reply

        Bill C.
        AskWoody Lounger
        3 pts

        I downloaded a few Theme desktops that would make Ubuntu Linux look like Win 10 (light and dark menu forms and MacOS, both El Capitan and Snow Leopard.

        Unfortunately I cannot remember where I downloaded them, but I found the link in the Ubuntu forums.

        One is the versions of Tails Linux I was playing with had what was called Windows Stealth Mode desktop that resembled a plain Win7 desktop.

        • #94450 Score: 0 | Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP
          14 pts

          Do these Theme desktops make Ubuntu look and operate like Windows 10? In other words, the same kind of start button, icons, control buttons in the upper right rather than the upper left, etc?

          Same question about the Tails Linux Windows Stealth Mode.

          For Windows 8.1, there is Classic Shell, StartIsBack, etc. These “theme desktops” make Windows 8.1 look and feel just like Windows 7.

          Something like that might shorten the learning curve for Linux.

          • #94726 Score: 0 | Reply

            anonymous

            This distribution includes in the free “Core” version a Windows “layout”. It is based on Ubuntu.

            https://zorinos.com/download/

            • #95156 Score: 0 | Reply

              Microfix
              AskWoody Lounger
              20 pts

              Has it been that long!
              Zorin OS 6 was the last time I tried it..still have the DVD..may download and try it again in a VM.
              At the time, I did quite like the familiar choice of GUI (Windows 7 or Windows 2000 IIRC) but, found it quite heavy on resources compared to other distro’s.
              Nevertheless, a good learning curve OS for those unfamiliar with Linux.

              | x64 Group B: W7 Pro & W8.1 Pro | | x64 Group W: 3 x Linux Hybrids |
                No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
          • #94800 Score: 0 | Reply

            Bill C.
            AskWoody Lounger
            3 pts

            I have not installed the Ubuntu Themes as of yet, but I believe it is more a look that actual changes in the desktop.

            I just found a how-to document that I had downloaded with the themes from the B00merang Project. http://b00merang.weebly.com/

            This above link has more information. They have all types of themes including Windows “Longhorn RC2”, Mac, Google, and others.

            For Tails, it is merely a look, or camouflage for when you boot the live USB in a Windows location. I believe for Internet cafes, etc.

          • #94980 Score: 0 | Reply

            Dioxygen Difluoride
            AskWoody Lounger

            Just found this on Amazon (they’re having a software sale, and there’s an OS section.)

            It’s Tails pre-loaded on a thumb drive. There are other Linux distros available, pre-loaded, as well.

            Tails Linux 2.10 “NEW RELEASE” On a Fast 8GB USB Drive
            https://www.amazon.com/Tails-Linux-2-10-RELEASE-Drive/dp/B01N56L6SW/ref=sr_1_2?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1487346196&sr=1-2&keywords=software

            I don’t know how it’s configured, security wise. For a test drive? Doesn’t get much quicker and dirtier than that.

            Here’s the main Linux OS link, as well.
            https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_4?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A229534%2Cn%3A229653%2Cn%3A229654%2Ck%3Asoftware&keywords=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1487346437&rnid=491286

            • #96308 Score: 0 | Reply

              Bill C.
              AskWoody Lounger
              3 pts

              Why pay Amazon? The download is free and that USB is cheap.

              Besides that SanDisk thumb drive pictured is a USB 2.0 and using a USB 3.0 stick makes it feel more like a HDD install.

              Best to use Firefox and download Tails at https://tails.boum.org/install/index.en.html. It will walk you though the download and creating the bootable media process for Windows and Linux environments. You learn a bit with the DIY process. Make sure you read the help sections to ensure you do remain anonymous since you do have to change some habits and lose some conveniences.

              8GB USB 3.0 thumbdrives are $4.99 at Microcenter.com. We have one local so I buy them in 5s. Just remember if you make your USB stick with “persistance,” a local, encrypted on the thumbdrive storage partition, do NOT forget the password. The drive will be toast if you do and connot be recovered – but it is only $5. Additionally, I have found that even if you know the password and want to re-use the drive for another distro, it will be sometimes be impossible.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #98151 Score: 0 | Reply

              Dioxygen Difluoride
              AskWoody Lounger

              I find if I’m going go to the trouble of downloading and installing an OS, it’s just as easy to do on an HDD/SSD as it is on a thumb drive.  I’ve always got an empty partition on a box somewhere, and I get the best idea of how something will perform if it’s actually on the internal (usually spinning) hardware.

              🙂

          • #95116 Score: 0 | Reply

            rc primak
            AskWoody Lounger
            14 pts

            @Mr.Jim Phelps —

            In answer to how Linux Themes operate, no they cannot make Linux behave the same way as Windows 7.

            The reasons are many, but the two OSes are and always will be, different. So the buttons, even if they were made to look and be placed identically, would not necessarily do the same actions in the same ways as Windows. And even if they did, even the act of finding or moving files would have to be different. That’s because the File System and Directory locations are so different in Linux vs. Windows.

            The System Files and Directories are completely different in Linux vs. Windows, so this will always leave a lot of differences between Linux and Windows. The two OSes don’t even install software the same way. I’m still learning how to “de-TAR” Linux tarballs, after three or four years of using Ubuntu.

            -- rc primak

            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  rc primak.
            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  rc primak.
            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Kirsty.
            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Kirsty.
            • #96313 Score: 0 | Reply

              Bill C.
              AskWoody Lounger
              3 pts

              Good post.

              I have found that having a bootable Linux distro is a great way to retrieve files from a broken Windows system as long as it is not using encryption. Linux can read NFTS, but Windows cannot read the major Linux file systems.

              When I had a corrupted DLL that made my Windows XP unbootable, I was able to use the BSOD info to identify the faulting file, boot with a Live CD of Ubuntu, delete the bad file and replace it with a good file copied from another system.

              That saved a re-install of Windows.

              It was also how I retrieved all my wife’s data when her Vista laptop went south (actually vista went south leaving the laptop with a dead CDR drive, and USB and mouse ports.) I suspected it was the laptop dying, but when I was able to boot the Live CD of Linux, I knew it was the Vista OS.

              That Laptop became our first Linux machine and converted my wife to Linux. For her Linux was a good fit.

    • #95549 Score: 0 | Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger
      9 pts

      My thoughts on migrating from Windows 7 to Linux… (not going to address security or privacy here, plenty of comments already).

      Linux is not a drop-in replacement for a Windows desktop, especially if you have invested in Windows only applications. If you can live life in a Chrome browser, then a Chromebook, or Chromebox is your best bet, as Woody says 🙂

      But Linux in general is an excellent OS. It is the most popular server OS, with roots going back to the UNIX mainframe computing era. Desktop use is still a developing area, and is excellent if you can live without Windows apps. I have tried Wine, and find that a few Windows apps work, but most do not. IMHO running Windows as a VM in a Linux host using VMWare or Virtualbox is the best alternative to running a dual-boot configuration, to keep using your Windows apps.

      Back in 2001 when Apple migrated from the classic MacOS on the Power-PC processor, to MacOSX with Intel, their new OS was based on a UNIX compatible OS. But they obviously went to a lot of effort to transition their desktop and apps to the new OS.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacOS
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XNU

      Anyway, my first experience with Linux was when I ran across a Dummies book in the local computer shop… Red Hat Linux 9 for Dummies, copyright 2003. I said what the heck, it was on sale, and I had a spare PC and hard drive sitting at home 🙂

      This was back when the first editions of Fedora Core were appearing. I worked through the book, then dabbled with Fedora. Good stuff! Continued following the upcoming Linux distros with live CD’s for years.

      Then a few years ago I began an online class that used a Linux VM appliance for the courseware, but my Windows system did not support hardware virtualization. So for about $300 I built a new bare bones PC, and installed Ubuntu. Wow! This stuff ran great on modern hardware!

      But I was troubled by the Ubuntu Unity desktop. I did not like the Unity design and launcher approach. Basically the same way I felt about Windows 8. It just got in the way.

      So I began trying Debian, Fedora, Mint, and others. Looking for the best desktop experience.

      I have arrived at Linux Mint being my go to Linux. It is the easiest to install, configure, and use. Most of the needed components are there from the get go, unlike Debian and Fedora where you have to search out components and install them. That might be fine if you like to dig and use the package manager and command line, which I am cool with, but it’s not easy especially for a first timer.

      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  JohnW.
      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Kirsty.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #97368 Score: 0 | Reply

      anonymous

      Google stopped supporting Chrome for 32bit Linux in March 2016. Chrome 48 for 32bit Linux can still be downloaded and installed,
      http://mirror.ufs.ac.za/google-chrome/deb/pool/main/g/google-chrome-stable/

      Update Manager will throw an error bc of nil update support from Google and the error will eventually be ignored after clicking “Refresh Update”. The frequency of this error being displayed can be minimized by setting Refresh Update to once a day or 2 days, and not the default every 10 minutes.

      Alternatively, 32bit Linux users can install the 32bit Flashpeak Slimjet browser, a Chrome derivative. But I found Slimjet gave very slow web-surfing when downloading stuffs at the same time.
      Firefox and Opera still supports 32bit Linux.

    • #97371 Score: 0 | Reply

      M. Patterson
      AskWoody Lounger
      2 pts

      3. * I got a SATA power switch, allowing me to power my hard drives off and on as desired.

      I found this bit of information immensely useful.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing until you mentioned it.  I found one on Amazon and installed it.  Works great.  I don’t use a third drive as a common drive, though, in order to keep the two systems completely independent of each other.  I don’t trust the interaction, just in case something unexpected comes up.

      Make sure one of the first things you do is activate the firewall, update the system and your ready to go.

      This is another piece of advice I followed just recently, when installing Linux for the first time.  I might add that figuring out how to do it was quite intuitive, more so than with Windows 7.  By that, I mean that finding the correct application was easy.  Updating correctly was a little rocky.  I had read that updating the kernel came with certain risks, so I did the “safe” thing and updated everything but the kernel.  I had to do it using a wireless connection, because the computer did not recognize the Ethernet connection (I don’t know why.  The live disk had no problem at all).  As a result, the next time I tried to boot the computer, it did not recognize my hard drive as a bootable disk.  So I reinstalled, which was much faster than installing Windows, and I did a full update, kernel and all.  After reboot, I got my Ethernet connection, and all has been good ever since.

      I am actually having a lot of fun with this.  The available programs are very comparable or identical to what I was already using on Windows, except for a few installed games, and the interface is quite a bit more flexible.  System resource usage is way down.  I decided to spend some money on a new solid state drive for the installation, and now I feel like I’m driving a new luxury car down the internet highway.  I’ve got some learning left to do, but I’m feeling like this is going to be an easier learning curve than I expected.  The hardest part will be getting my wife to switch over, eventually.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #98232 Score: 0 | Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP
        14 pts

        The hardest part will be getting my wife to switch over, eventually.

        Hopefully once you perfect your own Linux install (and by that, I mean make it do everything your wife needs for it to do), she will be open to at least trying it out.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Win 7 to Linux transition

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information:


    Comments are closed.