Monday, June 1, 2009

Jaunty Review

I received my free 9.04 CD by mail today. I am excited about checking out the content, but due to unavailability of a proper working system, I am being forced to control my curiosity.

But in the mean time, here is a detailed review of Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope from Lifehacker.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cheat code: Short commands

We all use the same commands in quick succession very often. Right? For example, in UNIX lab, I can't tell you how irritating it is to keep compiling and executing the same file over and over again.
$gcc file.c

After typing this once, if we type
the shell executes the previously said set of command.

What happens is that if we write "!" followed by a letter, the shell searches your history and executes the last command starting with the letter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Secure Your Box

Security is a very important feature of Linux. Virus or worms can't install themselves on Linux. But are there any trojans for Linux? Here is a myth-buster for you: THERE ARE.

Trojan is a malware which rely totally on social engineering to work. Remember the trojan horse legend of the Greeks. It was trickery and social engineering. A trojan fools you into thinking that it is something useful and you end up installing it. Any 12 years old kid can create a trojan. It doesn't take much of programming mastery. Creating virus or worm is much more complex.

A virus affects other file or program and replicate itself without user intervention. A worm doesn't require another file. It exists as stand-alone file and can replicate itself, once again, without user intervention.

No software can install itself on Linux and hence there can be no virus or worm for it. But since trojans rely upon user intervention, there exists trojans for Linux. Following are some tips (and they are not limited to Linux users) to secure up your PC:

-> Don't login as root, unless it is absolutely necessary.
-> Don't install any package if you are not sure about its origin. Check if the packages are digitally signed.
-> Keep all network-related packages up-to-date and regularly update the OS.
-> Turn off any network feature you don't require. It is not necessary to connect your laptop to any network if you are not using the network.
-> Create backups. It protects you from your own mistakes. I learnt the lesson the hard way when I accidently deleted 20 GB of priceless pictures of family and friends.
-> Use firewall to enhance the security features provided by tcpd.
-> The most powerful antivirus software ever created is your common sense. Use it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

muLinux, a tiny distribution

I met a guy on IRC who wanted to install Xubuntu on his unusually obsolete system. In order to help him (keeping in tune with the Linux community's helpfulness), I began searching the net for an ultra-lightweight distribution. And I stumbled upon muLinux.

muLinux was created by Michele Andreoli, an Italian mathematics and physics professor, to run on old and obsolete computers. It can run from a floopy drive (Yups... a floopy drive). Based on Linux kernel version 2.0.36, the main drawback of the distribution is that it has very limited features and some of the codes and packages dates back to 1998. It can run with 8 MB RAM (4 MB, if installed on HDD), 20 MB HDD and an Intel 80386 (or later) processor. The last stable version was 14r0 and it was released on 2004-02-10.

I should warn you that it doesn't have a GUI (but you can install X11 in it). And you have to install packages like TCL, GCC, Perl, etc. in order to use them. Anyone who is new to Linux should stay away from it as it would be too complex and might give you a wrong impression about the user-friendliness and ease of using Linux.

Because of it being very small, I am thinking of downloading it's source code and modifying it to the extent that I can. I will keep updating about my progress of the project on this blog. Anyone interested in helping me should mail me.

"Linux is only free if your time has no value" - Jamie Zawinski.

Update: I downloaded the tgz files and browsed through the packages. I poked into the source code too, but didn't screw around too much.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 [Jaunty Jackalope] Alpha 5 - Download, use and report

The Alpha 5 version of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jauntu Jackalope) is up for download.

To upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10
1. Press Alt+F2
2. Type update-manager -d
3. Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.

Download it, test it and report any bug you encounter to

ISOs and torrents can be downloaded from

More information available on the Ubuntu website.

One of the incoming logo for the project

Go Live

What if you are scared of getting out of your comfort zone of using Windows, but still want to try Ubuntu? What if you don't have enough spare space in your HDD and don't want to lose valuable data by installing Ubuntu (or any other distro, for that matter)? In other words, what if you want to use Ubuntu without actually installing it?

Voila. Its possible. Use a live CD. Download the iso of the live CD from the Ubuntu website. A live CD loads the kernel into the computer's memory, without affecting the HDD, and runs itself by utilizing the memory and the CD drive.

I don't know much about how Linux live CDs (although I've used Ubuntu live CD on several occassions) work, but I am trying to gather info (thanks to the very large and helpful Linux community available online) about it and I'll post more on it as soon as possible.

"Software is like sex. It's better when it's free." - Linus Trovalds, creator of Linux.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Xubuntu? Part One.

KDE or GNOME? That's the question almost every Linux newbie asks. In Ubuntu lingo, that question translates into: Ubuntu or Kubuntu?

Ubuntu uses GNOME desktop while Kubuntu comes with KDE by default. And both of them are equally good, as both have their own areas of niche. So the choice is totally yours. You should use the environment in which you are comfortable.

The college in which I am studying uses Fedora with KDE. KDE's interface is lot more like Windows' than GNOME's. So anyone who has migrated recently from Windows would be at ease with KDE, but also remember that KDE uses more resources than GNOME and if your system has less than 256 MB of RAM, you should stick to the latter (or better still use Xfce. More on that later).

Each desktop environment comes with its own applications. GNOME has Nautilus (a file browser) and f-spot (a photo management software) among others, while KDE comes with Konquerer (a very good web browser) among others. But applications should not be a problem because GNOME applications can run on KDE and vice-versa.

If you use a really screwed up system with very poor resources, I'd suggest XFCE for you. It is small and lightweight (15 MB size as compared to GNOME's 180 MB or KDE's 250 MB). It doesn't come with bundled applications (which is actually a good thing as you can use any KDE or GNOME applications in it.)

So, should you use Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Xubuntu? That's really your call. Choose the one you like working in. I opt for GNOME because of its ease, look and stability.

All these nonsense about looks and beauty reminded me of an article I read somewhere which said that we should never get attracted to a girl only because of her looks. The whole point being that we should never judge a book by its covers. But the question is... Who wants to bang a book?