≡ Menu

desktop linux

nixCraft FAQ PDF Collection Now Available To All

Update: Aug/1/2010 - Due to excessive bandwidth usage issue this is no longer available for download.

The nixCraft FAQ collection is now available to anyone who wants to browse it off-line in a PDF format. This tar ball contains 1600+ Linux, *BSD, UNIX, Perl, Bash and scripting related faqs, mini-howtos, and tutorials compiled and written by Vivek Gite.
[click to continue…]

Good news for all holiday buyers and open source software supporters.

HP today announced its plans to introduce Linux as an operating system choice for business desktop customers. After Dell, HP the leader in worldwide Linux server shipments and revenue, has introduced a new desktop offering with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from Novell on the HP Compaq dc5850. The offerings are designed to help small businesses enhance their productivity and ease their management of technology. You will get productivity software like:
[click to continue…]

Jim Zemlin is executive director of the Linux Foundation has posted some interesting information and very bold prediction about Linux desktop:

For those that decry the constant prediction of the "year of the Linux desktop". I am happy to say that next year Linux may actually ship on more desktops than Windows or the Mac. That is right, I said next year. What is driving this? Two words: fast boot.

=> Linux to Ship on More Desktops than Windows

This is a philosophical post on why Linux hasn't grown to challenge Windows as the most popular operating system. From the blog post:

Linux isn't very popular on the desktop. It's a far third behind OS X, which is a very far second behind Windows. Most people cite pre-installed operating systems as the reason. But as a student of psychology, I see something most people don't. There's one big factor in why Linux isn't popular on the desktop. Linux is free. I know this sounds like complete dog's bollocks, but hear me out before judging my sanity.

My personal experience suggests that people don't use GNU/Linux on desktop because :

  1. Steep learning curve
  2. Software incompatibility or doesn't run the software they want
  3. Installing and obtaining drivers may be issue for average joe
  4. Finally, human psyche is complex subject. There are people who buy expensive apple hardware and install Linux on it. You just can't predicate human behavior.

I use Linux on desktop because I work with a Linux / UNIX server all day and I find that using it on the desktop as well actually makes my life easier. You know one-size-fits-all approach may be unrealistic in a real life. I see my workplace desktops fully loaded with mix of Linux, OS X and dominated by Windows XP pro.

=> Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free (via slashdot)

A typical question asked by many new Linux users. The answer is pretty simple:

Your partitions are not being unmounted properly when you last shutdown the Linux desktop. Linux needs to shutdown properly (I’m sure this applies to Windows and Mac OS too) before powered off. If you skip this step there could be data loss.

If you are using text based session (CLI), type following command as privileged user:
shutdown -h now
OR
halt

If you are using GUI (KDE / Gnome or any other Windows Manager) click on System > Quit button. Look out for shutdown button.

Do not unplug the power supply. Also use UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) to protect data and to avoid other problems. I recommend APC ups for continuous supply of electric power.

Updated for accuracy.

If you're new to Linux, here's a simple firewall that can be setup in minutes. Especially those coming from a Windows background, often lost themselves while creating linux firewall.
This is the most common question asked by Linux newbies (noobs). How do I install a personal firewall on a standalone Desktop Linux computer. In other words "I wanna a simple firewall that allows or permits me to visit anything from my computer but it should block everything from outside world".
Well that is pretty easy first remember INPUT means incoming and OUTPUT means outgoing connection/access. With following little script and discussion you should able to setup your own firewall.

Step # 1: Default Firewall policy

Set up default access policy to drop all incoming traffic but allow all outgoing traffic. This will allow you to make unlimited outgoing connections from any port but not incoming traffic/ports are allowed.
iptables -p INPUT DROP
iptables -p OUTPUT ACCEPT

Step # 2: Allow unlimited traffic from loopback (lo) device

iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT

Step # 3: Setup connection oriented access

Some protocol such as a FTP, DNS queries and UDP traffic needs an established connection access. In other words you need to allow all related connection using iptables state modules.
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

Step # 4: Drop everything else and log it

iptables -A INPUT -j LOG
iptables -A INPUT -j REJECT

But wait you cannot type all above commands at a shell command prompt. It is a good idea to create a script called fw.start as follows (copy and paste following script in fw.start file):

#!/bin/sh
# A simple
iptables -F
iptables -X
iptables -t nat -F
iptables -t nat -X
iptables -t mangle -F
iptables -t mangle -X
modprobe ip_conntrack
modprobe ip_conntrack_ftp
# Setting default filter policy
iptables -P INPUT DROP
iptables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT
# Unlimited access to loop back
iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -o lo -j ACCEPT
# Allow UDP, DNS and Passive FTP
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
# DROP everything and Log it
iptables -A INPUT -j LOG
iptables -A INPUT -j DROP

You can enhance your tiny firewall with

  • Create a script to stop a firewall
  • This is optional, if you wish to start a firewall automatically as soon as Debian Linux boots up use the instruction outlined here
  • Finally if you wanna open incoming ssh (port 22) or http (port 80) then insert following two rules before #DROP everything and Log it line in above script:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 80 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT

Easy to use Linux firewall programs/tools

  • GUI tools - firestarter :: A graphical interfaced Open Source firewall for Linux. (highly recommended for Linux desktop users)
  • IPCop Firewall and SmoothWall :: Setup a dedicated firewall box. (highly recommended for Linux server and LAN/WAN users)