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TOPIC: Need a geek
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All I know? Mike will be screwed. I hate changing anything significant. Wintel are masters of fuck up. I spent 24 hours putting in plug and pray consoles at work one day.

Let's give him 48 hours. That's wishful thinking.

Glen Burnie MD
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We're upgrading our OS today, may be offline for awhile if it don't go smooth, so don't woory bout us, we will be back.

Mike & Jackie

Bedford PA
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(caveat -- Linux fanboy)

I think Linux would be safer than current versions of Windows even if the usage percentages were reversed. The biggest reason - installing any software requires a conscious effort. System-wide installs require the user to enter the root password. So if I receive an email attachment, and let's assume it has a slick installer (one can only wish), I'll still have to enter the root password for the install to happen. Compare this to IE or Outlook which will install software without user input coupled with the tendency for people run windows under the admin account for backwards compatibility. The separation of the user from the system in a *nix environment is a major safety feature. Admittedly though, one can probably avoid this problem in Windows by using programs which won't auto-install and using admin to administer the computer rather than use it. Anyway, as anyone who uses Linux knows, you are 100% aware of the fact you are installing software when you do that. ;-)

Also, the fact that most software for Linux is open source means that if there is something bad written into it, it will be discovered and everyone will know about it. I recently discovered that I have developed a sense of paranoia about closed software -- I bought an Apple Powerbook and when looking around for various programs to play with, I got a profound sense of fear about downloading and installing closed "freeware". Maybe that's a bit over the top on my part, but by the same token, there's no kazaa, bonzai buddy, or what have you on my system (presuming it would even function on my OS). I feel a nice warm fuzzy feeling when I see software released under the GPL (even though I'm at best a rank amateur at programing - I know lots of really smart people look at the code).

Probably the biggest threat is plain old social engineering - tricking someone to intentionally install your spyware/trojan whatever. That's the biggest threat of all - people willingly installing the junk -- that factor is completely independent of the users OS and an unwise user could make the most secure OS full of holes, backdoors and spywares.

Bellingham WA
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Penny, By hittin control, alt, delete, brings up a window where I click end task, go thru 'em 1 by 1. I got it cleaned up pretty good, I think I jus got an old HD that I'm fillin beyond it's britches. Thank you much, I learned what I need to spend without spendin to do so, thankyou all again.

Mike

Bedford PA
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Microsoft actually has it's own spyware written into the core program that accesses the net to check in with home base. Supposedly it is not malicious but who knows with Microsoft.

Fort Worth TX
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Dragon, do some programs still access the net without bein connected to an ISP?

Mike

Bedford PA
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We might be on to sumthin here, HD either too full or wearin out. The comp is a Gateway, P-3 processer, WinMe os, 12 gig HD. I recently started downloading music, and that is about when the troubles started. Iv'e had the comp over a year, and it worked up until then. I have about 9.5 gigs filled, about 7.5 gigs of that bein music files. Penny, that is the message I get when I try to scandisc or defrag, that another program is writin data to the HD. I tried closin all programs by hittin ctrl, alt, and delete, and then "end task". Still no difference. I still can't get the thing switched into safe mode, but I got a friend comin over Sun who can walk me through that. You said trojans and viruses overwrite Nortons programmin, can I jus take them off the exclude list or do they permantly corrupt the program? NJC, I'm gonna run those diagnostics you reccomended, see what I can learn from that. Is it possible that a failin HD would work ok when it's relatively empty and act up as it gets fuller? Thanks again guys, Ya'll bein a great help.

Mike

Bedford PA
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Thanks NJC, Penny, & Zo. I got Norton, Ad Aware, & Spybot with tea timer, but I still can't defrag or scan disc. That's what got me thinkin my comp had viruses in the first place, both those programs failed to run. The error message says a program is writin data to the hard drive. I did the control, alt, delete thing and shut down everything except explorer, still get the same thing. Any suggestions??

Mike

Bedford PA
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NJCoast - I agree that using two drives is the way to go when dual booting. It just felt safer when I was still dual booting. I've never had issues with the Linux boot loaders though so i wouldn't put a motherboard with the ability to asign boot drives as a critical requirement.

As for whether or not linux is ready for the Desktop, I'd have to disagree with Wired if these user characteristics are true: 1) moderately tech savy, 2) willingness and desire to learn. If either of these requirements is false, Linux is a bad fit. If both are true, a 6 month investment in learning a few new tricks will pay off exponentially.

Bellingham WA
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NoFun - The type of thing you want to do is very sophisticated and sadly, I'm not a networking guru -- I get by not using windows so I've never learned how to protect it.

Perhaps you might want to look at some the linux firewall distributions, google for "linux firewall on cd". I'd bet, but don't know, that the SuSE link would be one of the easier ones to use. You could also look into the NSA's work on "Security Enhanced Linux" (google "NSA SElinux"), although I can't say whether this would meet your needs.

Your best bet is to find a "LUG" (Linux User's Group) in your area, google "ohio lug linux". I belong to a local LUG choc full of old-time wizards who've never failed to help me out.

Bellingham WA
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TOPIC: Need a geek