New to Linux

  alternator 10:31 06 Dec 07

I have just spent the morning reading the posts on this forum re: Linux. I have been meaning to try it for years.The consensus seems to be to try a liveCD. I have a laptop which is coming to the end of its useful life (Pentium III 1200Mhz 352MbRAM - Physical Mem 351Mb available at present 11Mb- has DVD reader CDwriter)nothing against the specs but the battery is as good a useless. I was wondering is it worth just formatting the HD and doing a full install and forget the live CD.If so would PCLinuxOS 2007 work okay on my old laptop.
A few queries about linux if someone would care to comment:
1) is it practical to move completely to linux, as it seems there are a lot of postings with drivers not being available for peripherals.Scanners printers,cameras etc.
2) I have read that there is no real security problem with linux, hence no need for anti virus. Is this because it has a relatively small circulation compared to MS win. As it is open source does this not make it easier for a virus writer to discover weaknesses in the system, especially if it becomes more widely used
3) I don't intend to use my computers for games but do do a lot of photography, hence the need for printers scanners cameras etc.
I just need the reassurance that I am not going to have a battle on my hands if I get started on Linux,

  BioBob 11:13 06 Dec 07

I am new to Linux too - son having bought an EEE PC which is amazing, but thats another story! - I found this site really interesting and it seems like you'll be fine:-

click here

  octal 11:37 06 Dec 07

I've been using Linux for a few years now, at the present time I'm using PCLinuxOS, so I'll try and answer your questions in order:

1) That's the reason why you should run the Live CD to see if there are any issues. PCLCOS is one of the better systems form scanners and the camera will be picked up by one of the native programs, I tend to treat the camera as an external drive and just drag and drop the pictures into the hard drive.

2) There are no security problems with Linux, it's nothing at all to do with the size of the market size, this was posted in another forum regarding Linux security:

In Linux EVERYTHING is a FILE. Even devices are expressed as FILES. To exist in Linux an app (such as a virus) or a device must be present on the storage device as a FILE. A USB device file is distinguished from a JOYSTICK device file by two magic numbers, the Major number and the Minor number. Enough about them. To exist on Linux, applications must be FILES too. To be executable the FILE must be either an ELF binary FILE or a special shell script FILE. AND, they must have their execute permission bit set. In order to execute the ELF binary or the shell script FILE the user must have permission to do so.

1st, attachments to emails must first be saved by THE USER. There is no email feature that automatically does that. That makes them a FILE.

2nd, now saved as a file, the attachment must be marked as an executable BY THE USER. There is no email feature that can do that.

3rd, to run THE USER must specially execute the FILE. There is no email feature that can do that.

Notice a trend? It takes the USER'S COMPLETE COOPERATION to infect a Linux box!

Even then, the executable only has the permission THE USER has. The only damage that can be done is to the user's home account. Neither root nor other users are bothered. (That's why you NEVER want to run Linux as root.)

However, be advised that some viruses and Trojans come with password crackers and a dictionary of common passwords. If you use weak passwords the malware can break into root, AFTER you do the 3 steps listed above. IF you don't actively help the virus or Trojan you have nothing to worry about.

Some people claim that the Linux footprint is too small to entice crackers to write viruses for it. Such is not the case. FOSS accounts for 70% of all Internet traffic, yet essentially ALL of the problems arise from that 30% that is run on Windows based PCs. The only way a Linux box can be hijacked is MANUALLY, one box at a time. Even then it is too difficult for the average script kiddie to do, and it is too risky for most crackers to do, since detection is more than likely. Crackers that run massive bot farms are finding that an insecure Linux box makes an excellent controller for 10,000 or so Windows zombies because the Linux box, even the one they break into, are immune from the viruses that so easily infect a Windows box. The cracker usually enhances the Linux box against other manual break-in attempts to protect "their investment". Since Linux handles loads very well, the Linux newbie rarely knows they've been hacked.

A quick way to check is to run
netstat -p
or some variation of that command. (Check the man pages)
It will list ALL connections to ALL ports connected to the outside. You should be able to account for all apps listed. IF you suspect that ls, netstat and other utilities have been compromised you can reinstall them from the repository and re-run the command above. However, being manually hijacked by crackers is less common than being hit by lightening, IMO.

But, just to be sure, you can boot from a LiveCD and then run chkrootkit or rkhunter against your unmounted Linux partition, while you are off line, of course.
From the above is don't run as root and you won't have any problem at all.

3) If you are using PCLinuxOS if you have problems there is a very good forum click here Having said that I don't think you'll have any problem at all, the key is to run the Live CD for a while to make sure everything fits together properly before you commit the install to your hard drive.

If you have problems either myself or skidzy will probably be able to help or maybe the forum.

  alternator 11:46 06 Dec 07

Thanks for your info, I think I am up for it now, appreciate your help

  LastChip 12:42 06 Dec 07

you may find this helpful. click here

  alternator 13:16 06 Dec 07

Thanks for that just read through it, very helpful

  skidzy 15:37 06 Dec 07

Another interesting Linux thread.

However alternator,i do recommend you run from the live cd first ( as mentioned above )and have a play is a new learning curve and something that you must enjoy and not expect to be able run it like windows.

Treat it as a bit of fun and you will enjoy the learning curve. :-)))

Here is a thread i currently have running click here certainly worth bookmarking.

Hope you enjoy Linux.

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