January 25, 2009

Open Source vs Pirated Operating System

Hi there,

I am back again preaching some advantages of using Open Source software and operating systems like Linux.

Have you ever faced the problems of installing a pirated version of operating system on you computer? Well, I have and most of my friends have. Windows is neither a free nor Open Source operating system, due to which people come across many problems. I don't say that problems are caused only by pirated software. You do face trouble at other times as well, for example, the system gets hanged, or the hardware like USB ports, mouse and camera stop functioning, which might require you to restart the system, and when you have done this, you notice that everything is working fine. These things are most expected when you use electronics. But the thing is, these problems double up when your system has a pirated version of operating system or software.

DISADVANTAGES OF USING PIRATED SOFTWARE

As already mentioned above, Windows is not a free operating system, and so when you have a pirated version of it, you must first look at its disadvantages. Most pirated operating systems, as I have heard, are more vulnerable and prone to virus attacks. Many a time, viruses are present in the Program files and Windows folder at the time of installation itself. It may so happen that your antivirus software do not detect such viruses, and as such you face a lot of trouble at a later stage. Sometimes, in an attempt to remove all the viruses, your antivirus software deletes the much required and highly essential Windows files. When such a thing happens, you could quite picturize what impacts it would have on your system. It once happened to my friend. Most of the viruses were present in the Windows folder and so the antivirus deleted many of the system files. Viruses such as gphone and win32 are mainly found, as per my experience, in the system-files folder which are dangerous to your system. Then there are viruses such as autorun.exe which do not allow users to open a harddisk drive. They do not even show up when you open the drive using the Explore option uopn right-clicking, or even the antivirus software are sometimes not able to detect the autorun.exe virus. Strange it is, but true!

I'll tell you about one of my friends who had a pirated Windows installed on her laptop. After a few days, she found that her laptop wasn't working well and constantly a warning message saying that her operating system is pirated was displayed on the monitor. The frightening part is that, a part of the message also said that she might have to undergo legal procedings for purchasing a pirated operating system, which might lead her to pay a fine of upto two lakhs, that too when it wasn't her fault. Of course, she should have had the knowlegde that the operating system on her computer was pirated.

Then, let us come to the drivers that are very much required in order to be able to use your pheripherals. When you start installing a driver, say for your webcam, you have to run the Add Hardware Wizard, that will take you through a stepwise procedure of istalling a hardware device. If successfully installed, then congrats. Otherwise, it may happen that a message shows up that the driver you are trying to install is not digitally signed, plus a warning is displayed asking you to stop the installation. So, go ahead if you are very confident of what you are doing. In my case, I had to cancel the installation procedure as I did not want to face major troubles later, as if the problems with Windows and hardware devices that I am facing now are less.

I'll tell you what all problems I had to deal with, in Windows. My webcam was giving me trouble from the very first day I bought my laptop. Thinking that it was only a minor problem, I ignored it. For a few days, all went well. Later on I installed OpenSUSE 11 on my system. As I was completely new to the Open Source operating system, I had difficulties in learning how to use it. One day, my computer did not start at all, neither in Windows nor in Linux. After booting, it returned to the starting screen, and this process went on and on until I opted to press the power buuton on the computer. When I booted the computer in Linux, it showed that the harddisk has crashed. This is a different issue that the hardisk hadn't crashed at all, but wasn't being detected. I had to take it to a service center quite far from my college, and when they returned it, I found that they had overwritten the old Windows and Linux. I had to install the drivers for webcam and bluetooth once again. Later on, I installed Ubuntu 8.1, as everyone kept telling me it is easy to use, and the repositories for all the software for Ubuntu are in India itself.

For a few days, I did not realize that the driver for webcam had also been removed while formatting and reinstalling Windows. I came to know that bluetooth driver had been removed because there was no icon in the system tray. Anyways, I did not have problems installing it. The trouble I faced was with the webcam. I had to install and reinstall the driver a number of times, but the webcam never worked properly. I followed the procedure given in the driver CD, for installation, and had to repeat this for several days, until one day, I found the webcam to be working quite reluctantly. I was satisfied that at least it was working.

Most of the time, I boot my system in Linux, trying to install new software and using the terminal for the purpose, as this would help me understand and use Linux better. Then one day, I decided to boot using Windows. To my most unpleasant surprise, I found that there was problem with the default audio device, webcam, and CD drive, all together. I really have no idea why this has happened, but what I deeply feel is that this is due to the pirated version of Windows intalled on my system, although there might have been some other reason behind this.

After Windows reinstallation, I found that there was no antivirus on my computer, and no good web browser either. So, I had to download these things, and without an antivirus in your system this is quite risky, as you never know when and which file that you have downloaded contains virus. There is no guarantee that the antivirus programs themselves do not give way to dangerous viruses such as trojans. I don't intend to blame anybody on this front, but I advise you not to simply download any software, be it antivirus or any other, unless you completely trust the publisher and the company. As for me, I don't have any idea whom to trust and whom not to. Or you can say I trust everybody. :P

Most of the people have difficulties in saying that their operating system is original or pirated. Well, there is a way to find out. If you are given the CD of your operating system, at the time of purchase of your computer, then it is original, else pirated. Simple. Then make sure you don't use someone else's CD to install or reinstall Windows. I'll tell you why. A friend of mine was having trouble with Windows XP due to viruses. Her antivirus deleted many of the Windows files from her system. So she decided to install Vista, thinking that she could borrow it from her classmate. But after installation, she found that the key used was blacklisted, as it was meant for a single system. :(
She was presented a horrible message that her Windows required activation (God knows what type of activation for an opertaing system), and would expire in a few days. Wonder what that is!

ADVANTAGES OF USING LINUX AS OS

As already mentioned, Linux is a free and Open Source operating system. Trust me, you would only face difficulties in learning how to use it as it has a slightly different GUI, and you would need some time to get accustomed to it. The only problem seems to pop up when you don't know the commands, and knowing the commands is recognized to be of high priority because you have to use the terminal for one thing or the other. This, in fact, helps you to install various software, start firewall and do a lot of necessary stuff on your computer, which you might find to be a bit time-consuming otherwise, the only prerequisite being knowing all the commands correctly (correctly so that you do not type in wrong commands that might lead you elsewhere, for example, removing something important ;))

Then, as you might have already read in my previous post, there is no need to install an antivirus if you are using Linux. How strange! Isn't it? But yes, no antivirus in Linux. It is not required, because most of the viruses are recognized by the extension .exe. These otherwise executable files (or viruses should I say) are not executed in Linux under ordinary conditions. Well, now don't ask me about the extraordinary conditions under which the viruses might be executed, as I am only a beginner, and do not have much knowledge. But I promise to post again whenever I get any information.

I have found out only one drawback by far, and that is, you find some of your hardware devices not working because the drivers required for these devices to function properly are not available for Linux. But please don't take this opportunity to blame Linux, as this is solely the fault of the manufacturers, who do not make hardware drivers for use on Linux distributions, the chief reason being that Windows is more popular in India and is used more often. So, it is the manufacturers to be blamed and not Linux. ;)

Again, as Linux is a free operating system, you can make copies, reuse and distribute it to as many friends as you like (until the CD can withstand the rough use :P). You are also given the option of requesting free CD's, on the website. You can request as many CD's as you like. Now be ready to hear the pleasant news. All this you can do free of cost, that is, you don't have to pay a single penny, even for the shipment. :)
Everything is 100% free. I do not know about all the distributions of Linux. But you can request free CD's on Ubuntu, Kubuntu or some other distribution, from the URL given below:

https://shipit.ubuntu.com/

You can also opt to download the CD image and burn it youself to make a CD of Ubuntu youself.

I am not trying to throw allegations against anyone here. But I am just trying to tell you about the advantages of Open Source.

Now, do you see why I am so eager to spread the word of the Almighty Open Source software. It is not just because I am a LUG (Linux Users' Group) member.

I certainly have pleasant motives in telling you about Linux. I am not asking you to stop using Windows, but at least, give Linux a try. Moreover, you should always be trying out new ideas, in order to enhance your skills at software, operating systems or electronics. So, go for it.

Thank you Open Source!



January 24, 2009

Antivirus On Linux

Hi all,

I am hereby narrating my experience with antivirus in Linux. I would also like to share with you that antivirus, in the first place, in not required in Linux.

But even then, for the sake of experimentation, if you intend to install an antivirus in Linux, it is of no harm, but only your disk space would be consumed for something that is not required.

There are many antivirus software available for Linux, but I don't know much about all of them. Some give you only a trial period of a few days after the expiry of which, you would have to purchase them. Some of them are free software and you can easily download them from the website.

AVAST

Installing Avast

You can download Avast antivirus from here.

1. Go to the website and click Download avast! Linux Home edition (DEB package).

2. Click Save File.

3. You also have to fill up a registration form, the link to which is given in the same web-page, in order to get the full version, without which you would be left with a software that would expire in a matter of few days. The registration form requires you to fill up your email address correctly, which is mandatory to download a full and free version of the antivirus software.

4. After you have filled up your form correctly and submitted, the registration key would be sent to your inbox.

5. Double-click the .deb package and when you are asked for the registration key copy-paste the key from your inbox into the space provided. Then click Install Package. The installation process may take some time.

6. If any updates are available for the installed software, it would be indicated in the top-panel of your desktop. Double-click the indicator, and click Install Updates. You would require internet connection for this.

7. Then in order to run your installed Avast antivirus, go to Applications->Accessories->Avast.

8. You are given the option of scanning the home folder, the entire system or any selected folders. Choose any option and start scanning. If you already have Windows installed on your system, the scanning is done for all the files and folders of Windows as well.

9. After scanning is complete, the results are shown.

Removing Avast

But afterall, antivirus is not required for Linux, because Linux is a free and Open Source Operating System, that does not allow the excution of viruses which are generally recognized by the extension .exe. After installation of the antivirus, if you change your mind and decide to uninstall the package, you have two ways of uninstalling it.

1. Go to System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager. Search for the software avast and if you are given any option of uninstalling it, click Uninstall.

2. But many a time, this method does not work, and you may not even find the option of removing the software.

i) Open the terminal from Applications->Accessories->Terminal. Then you would have to type in the command for uninstallation.


ii) Type this command for finding where your antivirus is installed.

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ dpkg --get-selections | grep avast

iii) Type this command for uninstalling.

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ sudo apt-get remove avast4workstation

iii) This may ask for your user password. When you have correctly typed in your password, the process begins, and after sometime, the software will be completely removed from your system.