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[News] GNU/Linux Saves Users from Horrible Platforms & Companies

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Why I do not use Windows as my primary OS

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| There is a lot of background information in regard to Microsoft business 
| practices that encouraged me to not be dependent on Microsoft's latest 
| software ecosystem. I'd suggest looking at MS Litigation on Groklaw. The 
| point of my article here is to tell a story, so I won't go excessively in 
| depth if I can help it. I will try to provide as many links as I can for 
| those interested. Not to mention "hints", where one can just google it. Look 
| for MS vs Comes, "embrace, extend, extinguish", upgrade treadmill, ooxml, and 
| things like the death of BeOS.       
| Anyway, there was talk of something called TCPA (now TCG) and Microsoft 
| Palladium. The goal: closing a once open platform known as the PC. I'd like 
| to say all this fell through, but it has now showed itself in several forms. 
| It is commonly known today as DRM. The good news is it's generally 
| ineffective, the bad news is hardware that has support for limiting 
| functionality and software with additional points of failure built in.     
| Take a look at WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage), and when it went awry, and 
| this very detailed list of what is built into Windows Vista. If you want to 
| delve further, I'd recommend visiting DefectiveByDesign or BadVista.  


The top 5 Linux myths: Why you shouldn’t fear the penguin

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| Now, what to the do with the old computer, or even with the netbook?  Why not 
| give your old computer a new life by running Linux on it?  It may seem like a 
| scary thought, but chances are you have a few misconceptions about Linux and 
| that’s keeping you from making the jump.    
| Here is a list of five of the biggest Linux myths out there and how you can 
| make Linux your friend. 



9 Linux Myth Debunked

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| When it comes to Linux there are 3 kinds of people, those who never heard of
| it, those who are afraid of it, and those who hate it and spread falsities
| about it. I don’t really care about the first, they probably aren’t really
| technologically literate anyways, as long as they have E-mail they are
| content. While the second group is the result of the actions of the third.
| Let’s hit two birds with one stone shall we?
| 1-Linux is More Secure Because it Has A Smaller User Base
| It is widely argued that Linux is more secure than Windows just because
| Windows is more popular, so hackers and virus coders tend to focus on the
| more popular platform. Actually, this is just one side of the story There are
| so many other things running for Linux security-wise that totally dispels
| this myth.


Linux Myth #2 - Linux is more difficult to install than Windows or OS X

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| Before you are three discs - Leopard (OS X), Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 2008.4) and
| Windows XP each respectively in front of a whitebox desktop. For those not in
| the know, a “whitebox” computer is a clone, or generic computer; not a name
| brand model like Dell or HP. They are the systems you get a computer shows,
| have built by a local Mom and Pop shop, or build yourself. The task is to
| install each operating system onto each computer respectively. My point is to
| debunk the myth that Linux is harder to install than Windows or OS X. This is
| going to be a bit tough, because it presupposes a person who is going to
| perform the install already has some experience installing operating systems.
| Contrary to the first myth, that “Linux is not for the general user because
| it is too difficult for the general user to install;” we are now moving
| beyond the general user to a more technical person.


Top 10 Linux FUD Patterns, Part 5

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| FUDsters will argue that any security software for which the source code is
| freely available to the public is inherently not secure. This is based on the
| assumption that the source code will either reveal the secret functionality
| that makes the security software work or expose bugs in the security software
| itself that can be exploited as well.    
| First, if someone cannot open their source because they are afraid it may
| reveal secret functionality, then it wasn’t properly designed from the start.
| The worst-possible example of this is hardcoding passwords in programs,
| especially if they are scripts stored in clear text. Good security schemes,
| such as encryption, rely directly on information the user provides, and often
| make use of one-way functions.    
| Second, Open Source software is available for public scrutiny. If you cannot
| read and understand the code yourself, rest assured that there are many folks
| out there that can and do. Why? Because many businesses do actually use Open
| Source software and have everything to lose if they don’t test it out first.
| That being said, I consider many corporate “testimonials” sponsoring one OS
| or another based on security or other factors to be FUD, mainly because they
| often appear in paid advertisements and seldom reveal the details of tests
| performed to lead to such conclusions. Independent certification and research
| performed by government or other nonprofit entities are usually the most
| objective and reliable.        
| Aside from learning the code, another way to test an application’s security
| strength or to see if it transmits private data is to watch (or “sniff”) the
| port on which it communicates using a network monitoring tool. Such data may
| be encrypted, but the (data) size and timing of requests made by the client
| software should be consistent and reasonable. This is a technical task, but a  
| bit easier than learning how the code works. Just remember, sniffing outside
| of your own network may be considered illegal.    
| Finally, there are many Linux opponents that would jump at the chance to
| expose real security weaknesses in Linux and its applications. These are
| often vendors of competing software and have both the money and channels to
| make themselves heard. When such a claim appears on the Web, look for
| specific details about the vulnerability. If there are none, it may be FUD.
| Also, check the software website to see if the vulnerability has been
| acknowledged or refuted as well as any status on its repair. Never take such
| claims at face value.        


Why Use Linux?

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| The other day I got into a somewhat heated discussion about why Linux is a
| viable alternative desktop OS. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to move
| the other side past the rhetoric and myths that seem to surround Linux. It is
| because of this discussion that I am writing this…as a way to give accurate
| information. Let’s start by looking at some of the most common myths.
| Myth 1: “Linux is hard to install” - This could not be further from the
| truth. Many Linux distributions are as easy, if not easier. to install as
| Windows. Ubuntu, Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS are but three of the most popular.
| The install is nothing more than a few mouse clicks and basic options like
| timezone, language and name. All these are explained well and you need to
| provide the same information when installing ANY operating system.

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