I have no clue about Linux so I have to stick with Windows.

 

 

Tux. The Linux mascotte.

 

I saw this a while ago:

“I have no clue about Linux so I have to stick with Windows.”

No, you don’t. Why not? The short version: get a clue about Linux. Of course, this is very short. Allow me to dispel a few myths about Linux.

Linux is difficult. You have to be a tech geek who can type in all those things like “ls -1 | grep *#@) | awk -F\ ‘{print $5}’ > /dev/null” and understand what it means.

Yes, absolutely true some 15 years ago. Back then you needed something like that. Today however you pop a CD or DVD in your computer (or a bootable USB stick), boot from it and you’re presented with something like:

(You can click the image for a larger version.) For ease of use I keep referring to Ubuntu as that is what I use, but the same thing happens for Fedora, Mint and a lot of other versions of Linux.

Yes, you can actually “Try” the system. Click Try Ubuntu (yes, really, just click, not type in some complicated command!) and a complete Linux system will load. And the best part: it won’t affect anything on your computer. Of course it will be slower than from a hard disk – it runs from CD/DVD.

After booting the disc, you can see something like this:

Can?” Yes. Linux offers you several interfaces, you can use whichever you like best. Up here is the new GNOME interface showing some of the applications that are installed. Have we typed in anything like “ls -1 | grep *#@) | awk -F\ ‘{print $5}’ > /dev/null” yet?

But nothing runs in Linux! I need my almost-official version of MS Office 2012 that someone else bought, and Firefox, and MS-outlook!

There is a HOST of software available for Linux. If you like Firefox, you can run Firefox in Linux. Or Google Chrome, or a few others. If you insist on Internet explorer… tough. That won’t run in Linux. But then, we already determined that nothing runs in Linux.

For MS Office, you can go to LibreOffice (also runs in Windows and on Mac OS). It’s free and works pretty well with MS Office documents. The same goes for OpenOffice. Or the AbiWord word processor and the Gnumeric spreadsheet.

To compete with Outlook we have Evolution, Kmail, Balsa, Aethera, Claws Mail or Sylpheed. And a bunch of others, but I won’t bore you with endless lists of software. Especially Evolution will feel a lot like your home on the Outlook range. On LINUXRSP you can find an extensive list of software with Linux equivalents for Microsoft products.

There are no games for Linux. Well, not everything for windows exists in Linux, indeed. But there is http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/ and the Linux Game DataBase, to start with.

But my anti virus software won’t run in Linux. True. I have to disappoint you there. The sad fact remains that for every 10,000 virusses in Windows there probably is 1 for Linux. I admit that Linux still has a long way to go here.

Here is another screenshot from a Linux machine. Still no ls, grep, awk or other gobbledigook in sight. Sorry.

If you want to know more about the core of Linux, have a look at http://www.linux.org. Otherwise you can just grab one of the many free CD- or DVD-images, boot from it and play around with it a little without (or before) installing it.

And so it happened.

I got a new laptop last year September. It contained windows 8. Not the easiest thing to get around in when you’re used to Linux and already managed moderate success with windows 7. Slightly annoying.

Then came windows 8.1. Same thing as above, only more annoying as I still had to look up via Google how to do certain things. Windows 8.1 is probably fabulous, but not very intuitive for me.

Well, I can always install a Linux virtual machine on it, so that is then easier. After installing Ubuntu 13.10 I noticed that it works. Almost reasonably. The network connect was quite unstable, and the VM wasn’t fast (uhm, on a 12GB RAM, quadcore 2.6 GHZ processor, running on an SSD). Annoying.

I set up Linux as dual boot with windows 8.1. The set up worked, getting to it didn’t. Something in Windows 8x prevented me from seeing a boot menu; even with EasyBCD there was no fun to be had. Annoying. Removed the Linux partition and set that to NTFS again. Still not happy with the wobblies of Windows 8 and lacking something decent in the Linux sphere. Alas, I need that windows thing to update my GPS and the programmable remote.

I tried to load an existing VM on VirtualBox on Windows 8. The VM contains Win XP. That somehow broke VirtualBox, it didn’t load well any more, I couldn’t run the Ubuntu VM either. Even a reinstall did not do the trick.

Went out on a limb and located iATKml. A nice MacOS image ready to install in VirtualBox. Works fine on my main Linux box. Downloaded and installed the software for the remote and the GPS. Works. Oh, wow. And I don’t need to look up via Google how to do things with it. I see why people like Mac OS.

I wiped windows 8.1 from the laptop, everything, the whole bit. Installed Gnome Ubuntu 13.10 on it, it runs super fast. Boots in 15 seconds. (Real boot, everything loaded and ready to log in, not like Windows 8x that shows you a login screen after 15 seconds and then continues to load everything which is obvious after logging in.)
I created a new virtual MacOS machine on the laptop through iATKml (ml stands for Mountain Lion, the latest). Works.
Hah, wait, let’s break Virtual Box and feed it the WinXP VM (which runs fine on the Linux machine). Works. Fast.

It took a fair number of months but now I have a laptop that is fast, that I can use with VMs and find my way in.

I’m convinced many people love Windows 8. Good for them.

Linux Trojan

ZDnet reported about a sort of successful Linux Trojan. It looks like a real threat, even Engadget mentioned it. It’s not a trojan that needs you to go into immediate lock-down; before it works you will need to click a link so a malicious website can do its job, but still the Linux Desktop must be gaining popularity when someone goes through the trouble to actually do this.

As ZDNet reports:

This appears to be a variation on a very common theme in contemporary Windows malware: A banking Trojan.

Here the name of the game is to grab your personal login and password data with a “Form grabber” as you enter it into your bank or other online system. This information consists of your stolen credentials, the timestamp of when you visited a site, which Web sites you visited, and possibly your Web browser’s cookies. Finally, all this is then passed on over the Internet to a command-and control server. From there the crooks can get to work selling your information to people who will start running up your credit-card bills.

So take care, people. This is real. Only click links that you can verify. Go to your banking system through your bookmarks and you should be safe.

Ubuntu 12.04 and Cinnamon

I switched window-managers. After setting up Ubuntu 12.04 I went with Unity for a while, did not feel okay with that and moved to Xubuntu. That was not the real deal either so I went back to Unity with which I made a kind of peace.

Then I read about Cinnamon on the blog of a techie friend of mine.

Cinnamon desktop – click image for a larger view.

Basic ingredients for setting up Cinnamon on Ubuntu (12.04, should also work for 12.10):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon

Enjoy!

If you want to see/read more about Cinnamon first, try Wikipedia or the Cinnamon pages over at Linuxmint.com.