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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Tale of Two Computers « Linux Canuck's Weblog

A Tale of Two Computers

Posted on 2010/11/02. Filed under: Apple, Computing General, Kubuntu, Linux General, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Ubuntu, Windows |

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times … (Sorry I could not resist. It has to be the best opening ever for a novel. Kudos to Mr. Dickens.)

My wife and I bought two computers at the same time. Hers was a laptop and mine was a desktop computer. Both came with Windows XP pre-installed. She uses Windows every day and I never use Windows, but instead have run a version of Kubuntu or Ubuntu since the day that I bought it, almost five years ago. Those are the facts.

In all of that time I have but one problem with my desktop computer; I had to replace the power supply and bumped up the RAM to run VMs. I have had no software issues. I have re-installed Ubuntu every six months or gone the upgrade route once or twice. I have run alpha versions to final releases of many distributions including the above mentioned.

My wife has had problems with several viruses, trojans and the like. She has used anti-virus software from all of the major distributors, Symantic, AVG, Panda, Avast, Kaspersky, and Trend. In addition, she runs anti-malware and anti-hijacking software that detects changes to the registry. She does not indulge in any risky practices. She uses lots of email and clicks on links that people send her. In short, she is a typical user with average skills.

Her computer slows down to a crawl much to her frustration every month or two and it needs to be defragmented, the system tray needs to be cleaned out, her desktop needs tidying, her menu need to be cleaned up, her temporary files need to be wiped, and her registry tidied up. I am not making that up. She cannot do these things herself, so I do it.

In comparison, my computer which runs Linux needs none of that. I run no anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-torjan, anti hijacking software in the background. My system tray has no applications running in memory that did not come with the OS. My desktop is clean of shortcuts. My menu does not need to be re-ordered. My computer runs as fast as it did when I got it almost five years ago.

When I have had to re-install Windows on my wife’s computer after say a virus infection which trashed the computer, I was able to back up all of the data (using a Linux Live CD, BTW) and get it back in running order. After dedicating a full day to do it.

Each time I had to re-install Windows. It takes at least three times as long to install Windows XP, as it takes Ubuntu and Ubuntu comes with much of the software that I use. I must add to my Windows installation time it takes to install drivers, install four years of Windows updates, download and install anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-trojan software, and re-boot countless times. Then I must install all of her applications and add updates to those. Yes, re-booting even more. Finally I have to put all of her data back in place.

When I re-install Kubuntu, I download the ISO, put it on a usb stick. I only back up my package list. I re-boot. I re-install Kubuntu to the same partition. I keep my home partition unchanged and re-use my user name and home folder. I re-boot. I do updates which are at best a few days old, so there are few of them. I do not have to play with any driver disks. Everything works out of the box. I open my package manager and point it to my text file of the software that I had installed before the re-installation. I hit Apply and it does its work. While it is doing that, I can use my computer with no problems and not once did I have to re-boot. The process is completed in an hour and a half or less. No fuss, no muss, no pain.

I could be accused of being a fanboy of Linux for mentioning the obvious differences. It could be just my imagination that Linux is better. Or it could be just my subjective opinion. But if anybody could choose to have Windows behave the same way, then my money would be on that they would choose to have Windows behave like Linux. They would love to have there computer run without anti this or anti that. They would love to have to not worry about viruses and the like. They would love it if their computer did not degrade in performance over time. They would love it if Microsoft actually improved things when they released an new version.

With all of the money that Microsoft has, they keep on doing things the same way. They churn out a product that is only marginally better and in some cases (Vista) worse than its predecessor. They do not fix the problem of lax security, but add glitz and add a few features to disguise it. Their code is bloated and still there exploits built in.

Once a security hole is discovered, it takes them days to admit it and weeks to plug it. Meanwhile it has traveled half way around the world and caused untold hardship. Yesterday, they discovered a security flaw in Firefox. It was fixed the same day. It is not Linux, but it is open source and follows the open source model which is collaborative. Things are shared. They are out in the open and fixed in a timely fashion.

In my opinion, this points to the glaring weakness in using proprietary software. You are paying for something that essentially belongs to someone else. They do not have to fix it. They can take their sweet time about it. And there is little that you can do about it.

Users have free choice and I would never deny them that. Use Windows if you want. Pay for the privilege. Just don’t cry and whine when you have problems. And don’t tell someone who makes a different choice that he is being a fanboy for telling people that it does not have to be this way.

The problem is that most users are prisoners. They do not know that there is such a thing a software freedom. They are denied that information. It is partly the fault of the software freedom community. We do not have an advertising budget. We tend to be quiet and just do our own thing for the most part. As a consequence people do not know of our existence.

It is also because those who sell proprietary solutions do not want the truth to get out. They launch FUD campaigns at great expense to counter anything that we might say. They pay bloggers and writers to deny the truth and to strengthen their own position. They use their muscle on hardware manufacturers to make sure that Linux does not come pre-installed.

Some people would say that desktop Linux is where it was several years ago. I say, no, it is much farther ahead. Its user base is much larger in absolute numbers, but it is proportionately the same. We have not grown in terms of percentage, but we are not going away either. But for me, progress isn't’t in the numbers, but in the experience.

There was a time when you needed to be a total geek to use Linux. Now anybody can try it by putting the disk in your computer with the advent of Live CDs, and now DVDs. You can run it from a usb stick. You can install it from inside Windows  without having to partition, through the wonder of WUBI. If you choose to install it, it can share a drive with another operating system. It takes care of shrinking and partitioning. But that does not tell the full story.

Linux is on par with any OS in terms of its features. It can be incredibly stable if you opt for something like Debian stable. It can be bleeding edge if you opt for Fedora or Ubuntu. It can be in between. It can be a rolling release that you never have to upgrade or one that you can make new every six months. It can be a very basic system that you build from ground up yourself or a complete working system that is easy to install and use. There is nothing to compare with it. If I was a company that produced anything less than this, then I would be scared, too. I would set in motion FUD like you could not believe since ignoring has not worked.

Some people want us to be quiet. They cry foul when we mention the problems with other OSes. It is rude of us to gloat about the superiority of Linux. They denounce us as fanboys. There are trolls who masquerade as one of us and say that we are letting the side down, or worse.

But if people are to know about Linux in the face of the all of the FUD that comes out of Redmond and Cupertino, then how do we get the word out? If we stay silent then we are playing into the hands of people who want us to do just that.

My wife is not about to use Linux, just because I say that it is better. She has heard all of what I have written here. Sadly, for her. Windows is all that she needs and she does not have the time to try anything else. She uses Windows because that is what she uses at work. One operating system is enough to handle for her and many others. I get that.  I am not speaking to users like her when I write these things. People who are happy with Windows should continue to use it.

I am wring to people who are unhappy with Windows and want to try something different. I am writing about not only a different operating system, but  a different way of doing things. Many people accept the Windows experience because they think that everything has to be that way. They know that Macs exist, but are too expensive. They don’t know that they can transform their own PCs and enjoy a totally different experience.

You do not have to accept the status quo as normal. You have real choice. Some people will investigate. Others will not. Each is fine. After all, I believe in freedom to choose. But I won’t be quiet. It is not in my nature.

Note: This posting was prompted by criticisms of a previous post that accused me of being a Linux fanboy and that there is no problem with Windows or that Linux has no advantage or some such thing. :)

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Notes from me, Don (Ok, well... this turned out to be an Article of my own on Viruses and Linux;) 

Great Article, Nice Story!:) And Common to my experiences in my last 5 years of running both Linux and Windows on my Computers. Two things, though... I don't really know what FUD stands for. Obviously something to do with people putting down Linux and Lying about it. But an explanation for those of us not in the "Inner Circle" would be nice here. And especially for the average Windows users. Yes, I will look it up.. but when I'm darn good and ready and in the mood to waste some time away from things that I really should be doing right now;) And... What the heck is a Fanboy!??? I'm really tired of these Trendy Terms that pop up from nowhere and give no definition or reason for their use all over the Web. Sometimes Fanboy is good and sometimes (here) it's bad...

I will say this... There are Viruses, Trojans, Worms and Rootkits, that can infect a Linux OS (Operating Systems) and I was hit by one once back when I was running Fedora 7 and that was a few years ago. So, needless to say, I think it would be very wise to Install and run a good Antivirus Program on your Linux OS. Especially on all Files you Download and your E-mails. It takes just a few minutes to Scan your home directory (the one with your personal System files and Apps). I Run Fedora and Debian (Not the Ubuntu Remix) with both the Gnome and KDE Desktops installed. because I like many Apps that need KDE to run. But I prefer Gnome for its layout, with your running apps at the bottom and app shortcuts and system menus at the top. I do all of my work in Gnome. I use ClamAV with the KlamAV GUI control App, because the KlamAV GUI is easier to use and has more features than the plain ClamAV GUI. The only draw back to ClamAV is that it is hard to setup the Automatic Scanning feature in Fedora. You have to manually install an app called 'dazuko' first. This module will allow KlamAV to gain real-time access to files. Dazuko has to run in the kernel and I haven't figured out how to install that one yet. See, ClamAV and it's GUI user interface KlamAV needs Dazuko to Run Auto Scans. I just ran a scan on my home directory with Klam - ClamAV and this reminded me to mention. ClamAV will almost always report some suspected infected files. So, you will have to be an informed user and be familiar with the types of files on your computer. It reports encrypted heuristics.broken.executable files as viruses/problems found. Allot of windows "install.exe" files. For instance I have Comodo Anti Virus in my Downloads Directory which is a very good and rated number one Anti Virus by many Reviewers this year. It has some pieces of Viruses in it's directory's as samples, just as all Antivirus Apps do. This is nothing to worry about. So you can ignore this, as long as you know that you downloaded your "install.exe" file from a safe and reputable site. Not that Reputable sites can't get infected by some Hacker somewhere. I happens every day. You will have to use your own judgment when reading the results from a ClamAV Virus Scan. This will happen with allot of Linux System files too and I have found that these can safely be ignored too. Unless you have some reason to believe that your Linux OS has been infected, that is. Also, I learned this the hard way. Set ClamAV to "Just Report" when you do a scan of your System Files and don't run it with "root (admin) privileges". I broke a band new Fedora 12 System beyond repair by running ClamAV with "root privileges" and by setting it to automatically "Quarantine files" that are suspected to have a virus/problem!:O You wont be able to scan many files outside of your home directory in regular user mode. But that's really ok most of the time because you can scan your e-mail and all of your own personal files and downloads folders. If you suspect that you really have an infected Linux OS. Then it will Probably be easier to just Reformat your OS and restore your Personal Files and Favorite Apps from a Backup. You Do Backup Right? 7 Best Free/Open-source Backup Software for Linux | TechSource The thing is, No Internet (Network) Connected Computer or one that is accessible to Removable Media (CD's DVD's USB, Storage Media of any type) is impervious to Infection. I use to use Avast Antivirus in both Windows and Linux. But since Fedora 12, Avast gets errors and doesn't work right in Fedora 12 or 13 so far. It worked great in Fedora 7 to 11 though. As, the Viruses, Worms, Trojans and Rootkits begin to be able to infect more OS's. Linux users will have to have Real Time Virus Scanning or we will be in the same Boat as the Windows users, Infected, Spreading Viruses and not even knowing it!:O

Here are some links to some info I have found on Viruses and Computer Security... 

New Kneber Botnet Tied To 75 000 Systems New Kneber Botnet Tied To 75,000 Systems. Doug Caverly Staff Writer 2010-02-18 Insider Reports RSS Feed This may turn into an unplug-your-computer-and-pay-for-everything-with-cash kind of day for some security experts. NetWitness announced this morning that it's discovered a new ZeuS botnet affecting 75,000 systems in 2,500 organizations. Social networks, financial systems, and government organizations are all thought to have been compromised. In a formal statement, NetWitness explained how it originally came across the problem, indicating that it "first discovered the Kneber botnet in January during a routine deployment of the NetWitness advanced monitoring solutions."

Probably the Best Free Security List in the World This is an update of the previous article from 10-09... Don

About ClamAV®Clam AntiVirus is an open source (GPL) anti-virus toolkit for UNIX, designed especially for e-mail scanning on mail gateways. It provides a number of utilities including a flexible and scalable multi-threaded daemon, a command line scanner and advanced tool for automatic database updates. The core of the package is an anti-virus engine available in a form of shared library.(Read more...)

About ClamWin Free Antivirus ClamWin is a Free Antivirus program for Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista / XP / Me / 2000 / 98 and Windows Server 2008 and 2003. ClamWin Free Antivirus is used by more than 600,000 users worldwide on a daily basis. It comes with an easy installer and open source code. You may download and use it absolutely free of charge. It features:
  • High detection rates for viruses and spyware;
  • Scanning Scheduler;
  • Automatic downloads of regularly updated Virus Database.
  • Standalone virus scanner and right-click menu integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer;
  • Addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.
Firewall & Antivirus Software Suite - Internet Security | Comodo Comodo Internet Security. I have tried this software out on a Win XP System and it is easy to use and has been rated tops in Security and Features by several On-line Reviewers... Don Complete protection against viruses and Internet attacks for Windows computers. Features: All-in-one Firewall & Antivirus, Defends your PC from Internet attacks, Detects and eliminates viruses, Prevents malware from being installed, Easy to install, configure and use, Free to both business and home users, Price: 100% Free, Free Download

Or Download Comodo System-Cleaner Download Comodo System-Cleaner. Download the Portable Version: Windows 7 / XP / Vista 32 bit (4.95 MB) Windows 7 / XP / Vista 64 bit (4.76 MB) Product Selection Wizard Find the Comodo product that best fits your needs or... For operating systems: Windows 7 / XP / Vista / Win 2003 System Requirements: Windows 7 / XP / Vista / 2003 Server, 32 MB RAM, 20 MB Disk Space

Avast! AntiVirus For Both Window and Linux Home Edition I have used Avast for several years on both Windows and Linux OS's. It was my favorite Anti Virus Software. But now it does Not have all the features it use to in the Free Addition. Still, it is highly rated and very good Antivirus Software... Don

Setting up Avast Antivirus to Protect your Windows PC... Setting up Avast Antivirus to Protect your Windows PC... Don

Best Free Rootkit Scanner/Remover

M86 Security Finds URL Filters Anti Virus Scanners Ineffective

Jotti's malware scan There are times when a file may come up showing as infected with a Virus
in your Virus Scanner, but you may have a reason to think that it really
is not infected. This is called a False Positive. - Free Multi-Engine Online Virus Scanner v1.02, Supports 37 AntiVirus Engines! Sometimes when you scan your computer for viruses, there can be a "false positive" reported on a file or files

The first Linux botnet? | ITworld The first Linux botnet?... In one word: "Nah."

Viruses now penetrating deeper | Tech News on ZDNet Well, with these new Viruses that get into your MBR (Master Boot Record). You probably wont even know when you get one.

PC Hell: Free RootKit Removal Tools and Software Rootkit Removal Tools and Help What are Rootkits?

Trinityhome : New TRK 3.4: easier than ever before New TRK 3.4 Free CD ISO Download: easier than ever before. Monday, August 16, 2010 Big news from the Trinity Rescue Kit camp: an all new version of the live distro has just been published after almost a year of (public) silence.

Free Agent: Linux Firewalls and Antivirus--Needed or Not? - PCWorld Free Agent: Linux Firewalls and Antivirus--Needed or Not? Linux has a reputation for being virus- and spyware-free, but you might want to add a little insurance.

Facebook Users Targeted By Fake Virus Alert Facebook Users Targeted By Fake Virus Aler. Mike Sachoff Staff Writer 2010-01-28 PandaLabs said today it has detected the massive spread of a fake virus alert that targets Facebook users. The company said it is another attempt by cybercriminals to infect users with fake antivirus programs. The fake warning is being distributed by email and users are forwarding it or publishing it on Facebook walls, further spreading the hoax. The text of the fake warning reads...

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click | BBC team exposes cyber crime risk BBC team exposes cyber crime risk Spencer Kelly looks at how hackers use hijacked home PCs to send out millions of spam e-mails. Software used to control thousands of home computers has been acquired online by the BBC as part of an investigation into global cyber crime.

Conficker Worm Called An Epidemic Conficker Worm Called An Epidemic. Jason Lee Miller, Staff Writer, 2009-01-22. SecurityProNews: Insider Reports Insider Reports

Virus strikes 15 million PCs - Virus strikes 15 million PCs. Published: Jan. 25, 2009 at 5:56 PM Order reprints  |  Feedback LONDON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A virulent computer virus has infected more than 15 million computers around the world so far, British experts say. The Independent on Sunday reported that the worm -- known as Downadup, Conficker or Kido -- had contaminated 6 million PCs in the past three days alone. (This was in 2009, so who knows how many Computers are Infected Now!)... Don

Updated Conficker Ropes Victims into Rogue Antivirus Scam Updated Conficker Ropes Victims into Rogue Antivirus Scam. By Brian Prince 2009-04-09.

Computer virus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Computer virus From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to: navigation, search Not to be confused with Malware. A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself[1] and infect a computer. The term "virus" is also commonly but erroneously used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spyware programs that do not have the reproductive ability. A true virus can spread from one computer to another (in some form of executable code) when its host is taken to the target computer; for instance because a user sent it over a network or the Internet, or carried it on a removable medium such as a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB drive. Viruses can increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is accessed by another computer. As stated above, the term "computer virus" is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to include all types of malware, even those that do not have the reproductive ability. Malware includes computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware and other malicious and unwanted software, including true viruses. Viruses are sometimes confused with worms and Trojan horses, which are technically different. A worm can exploit security vulnerabilities to spread itself automatically to other computers through networks, while a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless but hides malicious functions. Worms and Trojan horses, like viruses, may harm a computer system's data or performance. Some viruses and other malware have symptoms noticeable to the computer user, but many are surreptitious or simply do nothing to call attention to themselves. Some viruses do nothing beyond reproducing themselves.

Trojan horse (computing) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Beast, a Windows-based backdoor Trojan horse. A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is malware that appears to perform a desirable function for the user prior to run or install but instead facilitates unauthorized access of the user's computer system. "It is a harmful piece of software that looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems", as Cisco describes.[1] The term is derived from the Trojan Horse story in Greek mythology.

Computer worm From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Morris Worm source code disk at the Computer History Museum. A computer worm is a self-replicating malware computer program. It uses a computer network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. This is due to security shortcomings on the target computer. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.

Rootkit From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A rootkit is software that enables continued privileged access to a computer, while actively hiding its presence from administrators by subverting standard operating system functionality or other applications. Typically, an attacker installs a rootkit on a computer after first obtaining root-level access, either by exploiting a known vulnerability or cracking a password. Once a rootkit is installed, it allows an attacker to mask the active intrusion and to gain privileged access to a computer by circumventing normal authentication and authorization mechanisms. Although rootkits can serve a variety of ends, they have gained notoriety primarily as malware, appropriating computing resources or stealing passwords without the knowledge of administrators and users of affected systems. Rootkits can target firmware, a hypervisor, the kernel or, most commonly, user-mode applications. The term rootkit is a concatenation of the "root" user account in Unix operating systems and the word "kit", which refers to the software components that implement the tool. The term has negative connotations through its association with malware.

Here's the links from this Article and a few more....
Virus info Linux and Windows
A Tale of Two Computers « Linux Canuck's Weblog
Linux Today - Mass resignations from
Google Docs will soon have third party apps, cloud printing and sync
trinity - Google Search
DonsDeals: BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click | BBC team exposes cyber crime risk
DonsDeals: Updated Conficker Ropes Victims into Rogue Antivirus Scam
DonsDeals: Jotti's malware scan
DonsDeals: Free Agent: Linux Firewalls and Antivirus--Needed or Not? - PCWorld
DonsDeals: Immunet v2 update on the way: adds multi-engine malware and virus scanning to cloud-powered core
DonsDeals: The first Linux botnet? | ITworld
DonsDeals: PC Hell: Free RootKit Removal Tools and Software
DonsDeals: Trinityhome : New TRK 3.4: easier than ever before
DonsDeals: Conficker Worm Called An Epidemic
DonsDeals: Setting up Avast Antivirus to Protect your Windows PC...
DonsDeals: - Free Multi-Engine Online Virus Scanner v1.02, Supports 37 AntiVirus Engines!
DonsDeals: M86 Security Finds URL Filters Anti Virus Scanners Ineffective
DonsDeals: Probably the Best Free Security List in the World
DonsDeals: Re: Viruses now penetrating deeper | Tech News on ZDNet
DonsDeals: Avast! AntiVirus For Both Window and Linux Home Edition
DonsDeals: Best Free Rootkit Scanner/Remover
DonsDeals: New Kneber Botnet Tied To 75 000 Systems
DonsDeals: Facebook Users Targeted By Fake Virus Alert
Clam AntiVirus
avast! Linux Home Edition
avast! - Download Free Antivirus Software or Internet Security
ClamWin CD/USB - HowTo
Free Antivirus for Windows - Open source GPL virus scanner
WinPlanet Downloads for Windows Desktop Utilities
DonsDeals: Download Comodo System-Cleaner
DonsDeals: Firewall & Antivirus Software Suite - Internet Security | Comodo
DonsDeals: Free Desktop PC Security - Free Downloads Keep your PC Safe | Comodo
Trojans - Google Search
Trojan horse (computing) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
worms computer - Google Search
Computer worm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
rootkits computer - Google Search
How to Detect Rootkits on a Computer |
Rootkit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
trojans computer - Google Search
Trojan - Trojans and Viruses in Computer Networking
For more info on many things, Linux and Windows...  go to my Blog at and use the Big Search Window at the Top Middle to find what I have already found and put together on my Blog... Don

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