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i want to install linux on my computer, but worried about viruses


 
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Operating Systems Linux i want to install linux on my computer, but worried about viruses
# 1  
Old 10-27-2009
i want to install linux on my computer, but worried about viruses

hi guys,

I am new to linux. I want to install it on my home computer. I have a few questions.

1) if an exploit is found on linux, how long is it before it gets patched up? My worry is that because there are not many linux users, if a big is found, then it will be a long time before others become aware, leaving my machine vulnerable for a long time

2) what is the recommended free linux for a newbie

3) windows automatically recognises all my hardware. Will linux recognise it too? How about my printer - the CD is for Mac and Windows, what would I do for linux?

thanks
# 2  
Old 10-27-2009
Let's see if I can answer some of your questions:
  1. Depends. Since Linux isn't made by a company, but a whole load of volunteers, there isn't a fixed response time. Generally, you'll have to differ between project/upstream response time (those who write/wrote the software where a bug is found) and distribution response time (time between a fix and it's availability in the repository).

    So far, the most horror stories about break-ins on Linux systems wasn't because there was no fix available, but because the administrator forgot to apply the fix. Notable exception: the Debian OpenSSL/OpenSSH bug, which went unnoticed for quite some time.
  2. For someone used to MS desktops: probably Mint, maybe Kubuntu or Fedora.
    If you aren't afraid of the command line, Ubuntu and a gradual switch to Debian.
    If you want to delve right in, Gentoo, Slackware, or LFS.

    Others might have different suggestions, as it's pretty subjective.
  3. Again, depends. Most hardware should work fine, others might not. You might find "exotic" hardware working out-of-the-box, while "regular" won't. Example: a friend of mine tried to install Ubuntu on an Eeee PC. Wireless didn't work because the Windows driver screwed around with the firmware. Only remedy was to remove the battery, let it sit for a few minutes, re-insert the battery, which reset the wireless controller. After that it worked like a charm.

    The best way to check this is, if available, to download a live-CD of your distribution of choice and start that. If you notice some hardware missing a bit of tweaking might be needed. If it's only your printer you're worried about: any modern Linux spooler (mostly CUPS these days) should have no problems with any printer. If it does, there's always OpenPrinting for drivers.
# 3  
Old 10-27-2009
many thanks for your detailed reply - it is most helpful.

i do have one more quick question - my printer comes with its own software, which lets you do fancy stuff. If I was to use linux, I will not be able to use this software. The same is true of my digital camera. I am just curious, are companies going to start writing software that will be able to run on all the different flavours of linux?

thanks
# 4  
Old 10-29-2009
Probably not. Some of your software may work in WINE, which is "not an emulator" but can run some native windows software in Linux, with some success.
Companies, right now, do not often have the resources or inclination to hit the single % market that desktop Linux users have.

The one thing to consider is the mindset of "Windows, but free" Which linux is not.

There are plenty of programs to do the things that you can do with the software that came with your printer and digital cameras. However, they may not be the exact same thing you are familiar with.


Also, there are really no "viruses" for Linux. Linux CAN get a virus from a wine install, but it will only screw up the wine install and applications inside that. The designs of a secure system prevent a properly managed one from being compromised. It would be best to not run scripts you are not familiar with and not run as the root administrative user unless absolutely necessary and if you are familiar with how to do so.

I would suggest you try OpenSUSE. It is relatively easy, and has enough familiarity with a good community as well. You can, if you like, use a virtual machine (creates a virtual computer that is really a program on your current computer) to try it out if you choose.
# 5  
Old 10-29-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesByars
hi guys,

I am new to linux. I want to install it on my home computer. I have a few questions.

1) if an exploit is found on linux, how long is it before it gets patched up? My worry is that because there are not many linux users, if a big is found, then it will be a long time before others become aware, leaving my machine vulnerable for a long time
By and large, competently managing your system is far more important than getting the latest greatest updates for everything every five minutes or-else-you'll-die. Security is not first-one-through-the-door wins, Linux has layers of it, many of them.

It's not often I have cause to quote bash.org on this forum. Thanks for the opportunity. Smilie
Quote:
andrewy: linux exploits are like IF THE MOON IS IN FRONT OF VENUS AND YOU ARE LEFT HANDED AND SOMEONE ALREADY HAS LOCAL ACCESS AND YOU HAVE YAEWS (YET ANOTHER EMACS WEB SERVER) INSTALLED IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS TO BECOME ROOT
I have been hacked precisely once, and that only because I was idiotic enough to have a user "testuser" with the password "testuser". The testuser account didn't have su or sudo access, meaning they couldn't get out of the highly limited testuser account, so the damage was almost nonexistent, and all fixed within three commands:
Code:
killall -9 --user testuser
find / -user testuser -exec rm '{}' ';'
userdel testuser

Linux doesn't have malware or spyware or viruses as you know them. Getting exploited to the point where root access is compromised is extremely rare on a properly managed system; more likely to happen is someone finding an exploit in one of your PHP scripts on your webserver and using it to get at files or databases you don't want them to, or breaking into a limited account, downloading a kit, and trying to bruteforce not just your own passwords but those of any other computers it can find over ssh, or copy-pasting an innocent-looking piece of shell code from a "helpful friend" who wants to take the snotty linux user down a peg, or having your computer crash down to a raw command prompt after another "helpful friend" tries to hotrod your system for you. Both those last two happened to a friend of mine... I still shake my head at what some people will do to others, at least it taught her caution real fast.
Quote:
2) what is the recommended free linux for a newbie

3) windows automatically recognises all my hardware. Will linux recognise it too?
Depends on what you want. There's so many kinds because there's so many different ways people want to use it. Ubuntu is the best imitation of Windows you'll find in a linux distro, and among the best hardware detection too, but it's a resource pig, and you won't learn much using it.
Quote:
How about my printer - the CD is for Mac and Windows, what would I do for linux?
linuxprinting.org

Quote:
The one thing to consider is the mindset of "Windows, but free" Which linux is not.
Well said. Linux is horrible at being Windows, but very good at being Linux. Expect to relearn everything -- or, rather, relearn some things, and explore lots of brand-new things.

Last edited by Corona688; 10-29-2009 at 11:55 PM..

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