| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 778, 27 August 2018
Welcome to this year's 35th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This week we are going to take a step away from the mainstream Linux distributions and focus our attention on lesser known open source operating systems and niche GNU/Linux projects. We begin with a quick look at two projects: Guix System Distribution, a project that combines a completely libre operating system with advanced package management ideas, and ReactOS, an open source operating system that strives for binary compatibility with Microsoft Windows. In our News section we discuss Valve making it easier for Linux users to transparently run Windows games and Haiku preparing for the project's first beta release. We also discuss Parabola replacing their archive manager and NetBSD 6 reaching the end of its supported life. We cover multiple queries in our Questions and Answers column this week, exploring how to merge hard drive partitions, finding an alternative distribution to Tails for secure web browsing and talk about the various tools for running programs as another user. Plus we are happy to share the new releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are pleased to welcome Hamara, a Debian-based distribution, to our database. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: Guix System Distribution 0.15.0 and ReactOS 0.4.9
- News: Steam supports Windows games running on Linux, Haiku plans first beta, Parabola replaces archive manager, NetBSD 6 reaches end of life
- Questions and answers: Merging partitions, an alternative to Tails, the differences between su, su - and sudo
- Released last week: deepin 15.7, Bodhi 5.0.0, GParted Live 0.32.0-1
- Torrent corner: Bluestar, Bodhi, deepin, GParted, NST, Omarine, Voyager
- Opinion poll: sudo versus su
- New additions: Hamara
- New distributions: Norcux OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (16MB) and MP3 (13MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Guix System Distribution 0.15.0 and ReactOS 0.4.9
A few readers have asked me this month to talk about some less commonly discussed open source operating systems. With that in mind, I decided to review the latest versions of Guix System Distribution (a Linux distro with an unusual package manager), and ReactOS (an open source project that tries to be binary compatible with Microsoft Windows).
* * * * *
Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) is a Linux-based operating system that is built around the GNU Guix package manager. The operating system provides advanced package management features such as transactional upgrades and roll-backs, reproducible build environments, unprivileged package management, and per-user profiles.
This description may seem familiar as GuixSD shares several features with NixOS, which is a platform built using the Nix package manager that offers the same feature set. GuixSD is developed by the GNU organization and strives to respect users' software freedoms. Naturally, it is one of the few Linux-based operating systems on the GNU project's list of completely free operating systems.
GuixSD is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The compressed ISO file we download is 186MB in size and, when it has been expanded, it grows to 986MB. Booting from this media brings up a text console where we are automatically logged into the root account. A message on the console lets us know we can access local documentation by pressing ALT-F2. The welcome message also tells us GuixSD is still in development and concludes by stating: "Thanks for being so brave."
The documentation provided explains some limitations of GuixSD, such as not having non-free firmware for wi-fi devices. The documentation Includes networking instructions, a guide explaining how to partition the disk and set up file systems prior to attempting to install the distribution. These instructions are also on-line in the Guix manual.
To install GuixSD we first need to partition the hard drive, probably by using the cfdisk command line partition manager. We then format the root partition and mount it under the /mnt directory. We then run the command "herd start cow-store /mnt".
The next series of steps gets us to copy the standard configuration file to the /mnt/etc directory and edit the file to customize the system. This includes selecting the location of the boot device, changing our username, selecting which desktop environment to use and any necessary encryption mappings.
Once the configuration file has been adjusted to our satisfaction we then run the command "guix system init /mnt/etc/config.scm /mnt" to set up the operating system. Here is where I ran into a wall with GuixSD. I tried five different attempts at setting up the template file to match my settings (plus one attempt where I just accepted all the defaults to see what would happen) and the process failed each time. Typically the guix command would exit with a cryptic message indicating a syntax error in the file. Unfortunately the errors were not helpful and I found no relevant trouble-shooting steps in the documentation.
I was a bit disappointed with running into this barrier. I've installed NixOS a few times and like the idea of a central configuration file that can manage users, services and installed packages. The concept is one that appeals as it makes it easy to for an administrator to re-create the same operating system procedurally across multiple machines. I am sorry to say I did not have the same success setting up GuixSD as I have had with installing NixOS in the past.
* * * * *
It has been about two years since I last reviewed ReactOS. Since then, the ReactOS team has been putting work into making their operating system self hosting (it is possible to develop and build ReactOS on ReactOS). Windows application support has gradually improved and the latest version of the operating system supports opening Zip files as folders, the way Windows XP and later versions of Microsoft's platform do.
ReactOS is available in two editions: a Live edition for testing the operating system and its compatibility with our hardware, and an installation disc. Both editions are compressed with the Live edition starting at 74MB and expanding to 235MB, and the install disc is a 104MB download which expands to 124MB.
I got off to a rocky start as the Live edition would not boot in VirtualBox, with or without debug options enabled. I also could not get the Live edition to boot on my laptop. A boot screen would appear and ask me to press a key to boot from the ReactOS media, but pressing a key produced an error indicating no boot media could be found. It is an odd error since the prompt itself was coming from the boot media.
I then changed gears and tried the install disc in VirtualBox. The installer should look familiar to people who have installed earlier versions of Windows, such as versions 2000 and XP. We are shown a blue text screen with a series of simple menus. The installer asks us to select our language and screen resolution from lists. We are then guided through partitioning our hard drive. The partitioning options are fairly limited as ReactOS only wants one partition and it should be formatted with the FAT file system. We are then asked if we would like to install a boot loader. The whole setup process only took me about two minutes.
ReactOS 0.4.9 -- Application menu and settings
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The first time we boot into the new copy of ReactOS a graphical wizard appears and asks for our location information. We are also asked to provide a password for the administrator account and select our time zone from a drop-down list. We can choose between two themes, one which resembles Windows 2000 and the other which has a similar style but with darker elements. We can then optionally join a Windows domain.
There is, by default, no login page. When the operating system boots we are brought straight to the desktop and given the ability to perform administrator tasks. The desktop closely resembles that of Windows 2000 or 98, with a similar file manager, application menu, control panel and driver management. The faithfulness of the recreation is impressive.
The desktop was generally responsive, though the interface tended to lock up temporarily whenever the disk was being heavily accessed. My main issue though was not waiting for disk input, but dealing with instability. When running in VirtualBox, ReactOS tended to crash whenever I was running more than two or three programs at a time. Sometimes this manifested in the desktop no longer responding to mouse or keyboard input and, in one case, ReactOS showed me the familiar blue screen of death.
ReactOS 0.4.9 -- Running Firefox, Notepad++ and LibreOffice
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A problem I ran into early on was ReactOS could not work with my virtual machine's network card. Searching through the project's documentation I found instructions for setting up an adaptor the operating system would work with. I switched out the network interface and rebooted, but ReactOS still did not recognize the virtual card. Since installing ReactOS takes just a few minutes and trouble-shooting would take longer, I simply re-installed the system with the new network card and it was properly detected after the fresh install was finished.
One of the key highlights of ReactOS, in my opinion, is its package manager. The system ships with a third-party application manager which can be accessed from a desktop icon. Programs are divided into categories we can browse through and we can check boxes to queue programs for installation. The package manager worked well and provided me with quick and easy access to a range of popular open source programs and drivers, including LibreOffice, Firefox, VLC, Notepad++ and a handful of games. A software centre that can run batch jobs to install multiple items at once is something I feel was notably missing from older versions of Windows and I really like that ReactOS makes downloading third-party software so straight forward.
ReactOS 0.4.9 -- The software manager
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A big question people have when it comes to using ReactOS is whether the operating system really can deliver on the idea of running Windows applications. During my brief trial I found that it could. Each of the programs I tried ran and I typically found performance was better under ReactOS than I have experienced with recent versions of Microsoft's product.
While both of the projects I experimented with this week are driven by very interesting concepts (GuixSD offers a purely free system with advanced package management and ReactOS attempts to be an open source replacement for Windows) there are limiting aspects to both projects which would keep me from running them on a regular basis.
GuixSD has a package manager that I like. I've used related technology through NixOS in the past and loved how easy it was to rollback problems, manage accounts and skip forward or backward instantly through installed package versions. Where I feel GuixSD let me down was in its limited hardware support (there are no non-free drivers or firmware) and its limited documentation. There are instructions for using GuixSD when all is going well, but nothing I felt was helpful when the package manager was not operating the way I expected.
ReactOS, while a completely different operating system with its own kernel, installer and programs, ultimately had a similar problem: limited hardware support. The operating system's Live edition did not work in either of my environments and I had to work around having a limited set of drivers. Another issue with ReactOS was the stability. The system tended to lock up if more than a few programs were running, or if I tried to cancel an intensive task like installing a new application.
Both of these projects present interesting ideas, however both are still (as their documentation pages point out) in an unstable stage of development. They should be used with caution and probably not as a main, day-to-day operating system.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Steam supports Windows games running on Linux, Haiku plans first beta, Parabola replaces archive manager, NetBSD 6 reaches end of life
People who would want to play games, including more mainstream titles, on Linux received good news this week. Valve, the company which develops SteamOS and the Steam gaming portal, has published a new beta of Steam which will allow Linux users to run some Windows games through a compatibility layer. The beta supports running 27 Windows games on Linux as though they were native applications with support for more titles expected to be added over time. Valve's announcement reads: "So, two years ago, we started an effort to improve the quality and performance of Windows compatibility solutions for Steam games. A lot of our work has been in the form of supporting WINE and other existing compatibility projects. We have also been integrating these tools into the Steam client to provide the same simple plug-and-play experience offered by regular Linux games. Our goal for this work is to let Linux Steam users enjoy easy access to a larger back catalog. We think it will also allow future developers to easily leverage their work from other platforms to target Linux."
* * * * *
The Haiku project has been working on an open source continuation of BeOS for several years. The project is nearing a new milestone: the operating system's first beta release. A blog post on the Haiku website reports: "At last, R1/beta1 is nearly upon us. As I've already explained on the mailing list, only two non-'task' issues remain in the beta1 milestone, and I have prototype solutions for both. The buildbot and other major services have been rehabilitated and will need only minor tweaking to handle the new branch, and mmlr has been massaging the HaikuPorter buildmaster so that it, too, can handle the new branch, though that work is not quite finished yet. So essentially all that stands between us and the release itself is a lot of testing, and more testing, and polishing all the little bits and pieces we've neglected along the way. I've already begun drafting the release notes, and the i18n translation tools have been synchronized with master, so even though the string freeze hasn't happened yet, the bulk of the translation work can begin." The beta release is expected to be publicly available around the middle of September 2018.
* * * * *
The Parabola GNU/Linux-libre developers have announced that they are replacing the unar archive manager with an alternative utility called unarchiver. "The unar package has been dropped in favor of Arch Linux's unarchiver. This was discussed in the mailing list some months ago. If you are using unar, just install unarchiver. You'll be asked if you want to replace it, just accept and continue as any normal package installation."
* * * * *
The NetBSD project has announced support for the NetBSD 6.x series of releases has been discontinued. NetBSD users are advised to upgrade to either version 7 or 8 of the operating system. "In keeping with NetBSD's policy of supporting only the latest (8.x) and next most recent (7.x) major branches, the recent release of NetBSD 8.0 marks the end of life for NetBSD 6.x. As in the past, a month of overlapping support has been provided in order to ease the migration to newer releases."
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Merging partitions, an alternative to Tails, the differences between su, su - and sudo
Coming-together asks: Is it possible to merge two partitions into one big partition?
DistroWatch answers: I cannot think of any disk partition managers which will merge two (or more) partitions in one operation. What I would typically do if you want to add the space of one partition to another is to perform the following three steps:
At this point you will have one big partition where you once had two small ones. At that point you can copy your data files back onto the one large partition from your backup.
- Back up all your files on the disk you are changing. Partition management can be destructive.
- Remove one of the partitions you want to merge.
- Expand the second partition so it takes up all of the space freed by removing the first partition.
* * * * *
Avoiding-systemd-and-desiring-privacy asks: Has anyone made a systemd-free version of Tails?
DistroWatch answers: People have made something which is similar to Tails that does not include systemd. The project is called heads and is based on Devuan. Like Tails, the heads project ships with Tor included by default. The heads distro ships with free software only, which makes it possible to audit all of the operating system's parts, but reduces the number of hardware devices heads can use compared to Tails.
* * * * *
su-su-sudo asks: What is the difference between using su, su - and sudo?
DistroWatch answers: The su command lets one user become another user. By default the su command will attempt to switch from the current user to the root user, though we can try to become any user if we have their password. When using plain su the current environment variables are maintained. Basically, when we use su the shell's variables stay the same as they were before we ran su.
When we use su - the su command sets up the shell environment as though we had originally logged in as the specified user. It would be just like we had logged out and then signed in as a different user.
The sudo command is a bit different. While su is typically used to switch our current command line user to a different user and remain logged in as that user, the sudo command is usually used to run just one command as another user. The sudo command typically is used to run one program as the root user without us signing into to the root account.
The sudo approach has some advantages. It is flexible and can be tweaked to easily allow certain users or groups to perform specific tasks. The sudo command can provide logging, making it possible to audit a user's actions. When using sudo we do not switch to another user and so we avoid accidentally running future commands as the wrong user, which can happen if we use su and then forget which user we are signed in as.
* * * * *
Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
The deepin project has published a new release of its Debian-based distribution featuring the Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE). The project's latest release, deepin 15.7, focuses on optimizations and reduces the size of the distribution's ISO, and lowers memory consumption and power consumption. "To reduce power consumption of laptop, 'power saving mode' is added in deepin 15.7. Your laptop can enter power saving mode automatically when using battery. In this way, laptop standby and working time is increased. Preliminary tests show that in our test environment, standby time is extended 20%. deepin 15.7 has made a series of adjustments and optimizations in memory usage. In the standard configuration, the boot memory has decreased from 1.1GB to 830MB, and reduced to less than 800MB on a discrete graphics card." Further information, along with screen shots, can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0
Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 5.0.0. Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Ubuntu-based distribution featuring Moksha, an Enlightenment 17-based desktop environment. The project takes a decidedly minimalist approach by offering modularity, high levels of customisation, and choice of themes. "Today I am very pleased to share the hard work of the Bodhi Team which has resulted in our fifth major release. It has been quite the journey since our first stable release a little over seven years ago and I am happy with the progress this projected has made in that time. For those looking for a lengthy change log between the 4.5.0 release and 5.0.0, you will not find one. We have been happy with what the Moksha desktop has provided for some time now. This new major release simply serves to bring a modern look and updated Ubuntu core (18.04) to the lightning fast desktop you have come to expect from Bodhi Linux." Information on the new version can be found in the project's release announcement. The distribution is available in three editions: Standard, Legacy (for older, 32-bit computers), and AppPack which includes more software on the installation media.
Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 -- The Moksha desktop
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GParted Live 0.32.0-1
GParted Live is a minimal Linux distribution which runs a light desktop environment to provide access to disk partitioning tools, in particular the GParted disk management software. The project's latest version, GParted Live 0.32.0-1, is based on Debian's Unstable branch and includes fixes for shrinking LVM volumes and respecting minimal file system sizes. The release announcement states: "This release includes GParted 0.32.0, updated packages, and other improvements. Items of note include: Includes GParted 0.32.0 which adds the following enhancements: Implement opening and closing of LUKS mappings. Fix can't shrink LVM partition due to pvresize prompt. Recognise additional GRUB2 core.img signatures. Honour resize2fs minimum FS sizes. Based on the Debian Sid repository (as of 2018/Aug/23). Linux kernel updated to 4.17.17-1. This release of GParted Live has been successfully tested on VirtualBox, VMware, BIOS, UEFI, and physical computers with AMD/ATI, NVIDIA, and Intel graphics."
The UBports project maintains a community-developed continuation of Canonical's Ubuntu Touch operating system for mobile devices. The UBports team has published a new major release, based on Ubuntu 16.04. The new release, UBports 16.04 (also known as UBports OTA-4), includes new power saving features, new keyboard layouts for Turkish, Bulgarian, and Swiss-French languages, and performance improvements. "After eight months of work, the UBports Foundation is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-4. This release features Ubuntu 16.04 as its base (previously 15.04), bringing security fixes and greater stability to unseen corners of the operating system. We've also upgraded from Qt 5.4 to 5.9, bringing a number of improvements. Check out the What's New section below for more information on what's been changed or updated in this release! Users who have Ubuntu Touch OTA-3 will not be receiving this update automatically. See 'How do I get it?' below for more information. Why does OTA-4 matter? We believe that this is the 'official' starting point of the UBports project. From the point when Canonical dropped the project until today, the community has been playing 'catch up' in development, infrastructure, and community building. This release shows that the community is soundly based and capable of delivering." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement. A list of supported devices and installation instructions can be found on the project's Devices page.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 990
- Total data uploaded: 21.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
sudo versus su
When it comes to performing administrative tasks on Linux, there are a few different common approaches. One is to use the sudo command to temporarily gain access to run a single command. Another is to use the su command to switch to a privileged user account and run commands interactively. When it comes to managing your computer system, which approach do you use?
You can see the results of our previous poll on limiting process resource usage in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
sudo versus su
|I use sudo to run admin commands: ||1433 (67%)|
| I use su to become a privileged user: ||581 (27%)|
| I use another tool such as doas: ||16 (1%)|
| I logout and start a new session as root: ||34 (2%)|
| Other: ||81 (4%)|
| I do not have admin access: ||5 (0%)|
New projects added to database
Hamara is a Debian-based desktop distribution featuring the MATE desktop. Hamara is developed in India and the team works to provide improved translations for the more popular spoken languages in India. Downloading and using Hamara can be done free of charge though the company behind Hamara also provides commercial technical support.
Hamara 2.1 -- The welcome screen
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* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Norcux OS. Norcux OS is a Linux distribution with two main branches: a fixed release based on Debian and a rolling release based on Arch Linux. Both branches feature the KDE Plasma desktop.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 3 September 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • su and/or login as root from tty (by LiuYan on 2018-08-27 01:30:59 GMT from China) |
For my PC or laptop, I'm the owner and the only user of them, so I use su, and/or login as root from tty ( No need to logout GUI and login as root to start new session).
For servers, I usually use ssh and login as root directly, sounds dangerous, but yes, I like it.
2 • su vs sudo (by TuxRaider on 2018-08-27 01:33:25 GMT from United States)
i kind of dont trust sudo, it seems to be sort of a convenience that sacrifices security in that can be leave a system open for abuse, it can remember admin rights so if the user uses sudo then has to walk away from their keyboard for a while some malicious character can get on there and open a terminal and get sudo without the password and do bad things, not sure if that includes ssh or not because i rarely use sudo and then its only if su has been locked making sudo the only way for root access
so my preferred method is su in a terminal because once i exit out it does not remember the password
3 • Heads and su (by cykodrone on 2018-08-27 01:49:05 GMT from Canada)
Love heads, it works on my machine, wifi and all, but (isn't there always a but, lol) I wish they would update it a little more often, or at least enable TB to update itself once you are up and running. I seriously do not trust TAILS, not the distro or the folks behind it, but the under the hood spyware bloat written by a (shall remain nameless) corporation who has contracts with many law enforcement and government agencies.
Totally hate sudo, was Canonical's answer to making MS refugees feel more at home (hand holding simplicity), but introduced many possible security holes at the same time. I use gksu for custom made launchers requiring root privileges. I still begrudgingly service a few MS machines, I hate them, they are just as annoying and fiddly as they were years ago. MS is actually getting less intuitive and more complicated, if it aint broke, don't fix it.
4 • Norcux OS (by Hearmesleep on 2018-08-27 02:25:30 GMT from United States)
At the bottom of the page for the Norcux distro, it asks for votes to brigade distrowatch rankings. I thought this was frowned upon.
5 • sudo (by Jesse on 2018-08-27 02:30:42 GMT from Canada)
@2: If you don't want sudo to remember your password you can make an alias for the command to "sudo -k" then it always forgets your password/prompts again.
Or you can use doas which does not cache credentials.
6 • su - vs sudo (by M.Z. on 2018-08-27 02:41:08 GMT from United States)
One of the main reasons I prefer su - is that I can easily run a few admin tasks in a row without more password use. I think I had an issue with than in sudo in the past so I tend to avoid it. Using su - just feels more flexible & useful to me.
7 • su - vs sudo (by pengxiun on 2018-08-27 03:19:15 GMT from New Zealand)
su - for me every time.
(4 keystrokes + password vs 4 keystrokes + password)
I have the terminal open and perform many admin tasks consecutively while I am at the system. exit the terminal when I leave the system (physically) or have finished with admin for the time being.
sudo for me just does not feel secure. If your user password is discovered, say goodby to system security.
Likewise if you use the same password for user and root (heaven forbid).
8 • Unauthorized access (by DaveW on 2018-08-27 03:22:22 GMT from United States)
@2: If I was working in an environment where some malicious person could physically access my computer, I would put it to sleep when walking away from it. Then require my password to regain access. Don't care whether or not sudo/su was being used. You can even define a hotkey to make the sleep command a single key stroke.
9 • su - vs sudo (by Gordon on 2018-08-27 03:23:24 GMT from Australia)
They gave me sudo access at work. I'm not sure they are aware of "sudo su";-)
10 • ReactOS review (by RJA on 2018-08-27 03:40:39 GMT from United States)
"though the interface tended to lock up temporarily whenever the disk was being heavily accessed." -> Jesse, sounds like it's in PIO mode. In PIO mode, expect 100 percent CPU priority (or near there) with heavy disk access. The Windows NT architecture, has a feature where if there's multiple ATA I/O errors, it drops to PIO mode! That usually means a bad ATA cable connection. Maybe an extremely buggy ATA driver.
11 • Norcux OS (by Angel on 2018-08-27 03:56:30 GMT from Philippines)
@4, Seems like a young kid with a new passion. Maybe doesn't know better.
I've been trying KDE distros, so I installed it. He says it's Alpha , but its' quite good. Probably should be, it like Arch for the lazy (like me). Runs lighter than Netrunner, (4.6 vs. 7.8 GB memory at idle,) about the same as KDE Neon. Easier install (my experience only) than Antergos, Manjaro and other Arch-based distros. One problem I found: Fails to install due to failure to access AUR. It needs AUR but he forgot to enable it. After enabling AUR and updating, it installs cleanly.
I would give him feedback on the install problem as well as your comment, but I don't sign up for Reddit or other social sites just so I can comment.
12 • sudo bash (by Gorhi on 2018-08-27 04:34:43 GMT from Romania)
I know that "sudo bash" or "sudo sh" or other shell can achieve a similar result as su but I don't know the difference.
I used it sometimes when I can't make some longer more complicated command to work directly with sudo which I have been using since I switched to kubuntu.
13 • su -, su, sudo, sudo su (by mmphosis on 2018-08-27 05:22:58 GMT from Canada)
I've only recently, as in the past few years, learned about su. I didn't know about su -
> When we use su - the su command sets up the shell environment as though we had originally logged in as the specified user. It would be just like we had logged out and then signed in as a different user.
I learned something new today -- thank you. I am going to use su - from now on.
> When it comes to performing administrative tasks on Linux, there are a few different common approaches. One is to use the sudo command to temporarily gain access to run a single command. Another is to use the su command to switch to a privileged user account and run commands interactively. When it comes to managing your computer system, which approach do you use?
Maybe I am confused. Are most people always logged in with an admin account? -- I wouldn't do that. For the mostpart, I am logged in as a regular user without sudo privileges. If I want to use sudo to run say apt-get, I login in to an admin account that has sudo privilege using "su - admin" and then do "sudo apt-get ...". If I want to run a bunch of commands interactively as root, I've been using "sudo bash" which seems similar to "sudo su" (reading the man page, su lets you become superuser unless you specify a username.) If I am feeling really paranoid, I'll setup sudo to always ask for a password, everytime.
user$ sudo su
[sudo] password for user:
user is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.
user$ su - admin
admin$ su -
su: Authentication failure
admin$ sudo su -
I am here to learn. Anyone other than me feel like they don't know what they're doing? And if you do know what you're doing, I am open to criticism, advice, or any piece of helpful knowledge. :)
14 • Logout is a noun. (by Big Browse on 2018-08-27 05:29:39 GMT from United States)
One of the options listed is "I logout and start a new session as root". According to the Oxford dictionary, "logout" is a noun. A verb should have been used instead. You guys talk over my head about Linux every day, so it is only fitting that I say something over your heads every once and a while.
15 • i am root (by Edgy McDangerman on 2018-08-27 06:30:19 GMT from Australia)
I don't use a regular account, I just use root for everything. Less typing and more productivity. I also use Suicide Linux, no time for safety in this day and age.
Does anyone else turn off their firewall?
16 • sudo is good just for systems with multiple users (by Farhad Mohammadi Majd on 2018-08-27 07:02:32 GMT from Iran)
I am the only one that touch this system, I use Debian and always log-in as root in TTY for managing system, like running 'aptitude', I always add 'nomodeset' to grub to increase font size.
17 • su, su- sudo & re. 14 (by Sondar on 2018-08-27 08:58:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hardly ever use 'su' but often use ' su -' or sudo depending on whether single or multiple manipulations are envisaged, ie exactly as Jesse suggests.
As for BB, No.14, have tended to use the hyphenated form, viz, log-in, although a straw poll of the more trustworthy media sources is still showing the two-word 'log in' form. Contrarily, most trusted literary sources show 'log-out/log out', as 'logout'. Nice to see concern for the language from across the pond; all we need to do now is teach folks to use the correct form of the verb! I say this as I was sat at my k/b...!
18 • Don’t care, but please use one of them (by Tim on 2018-08-27 09:35:37 GMT from United States)
As to the basic question of su - vs sudo, I have never really cared that much. I guess I like su - a little better, but not enough that I’ve ever bothered changing a distro’s default behavior.
What I can’t understand is the number of people who bypass basic security principles because they can’t be bothered to type a password. That’s crazy to me, and I hope for the best for you.
19 • Basic security is to REMOVE "features". (by OS2_user on 2018-08-27 10:36:52 GMT from United States)
@ 18 "... bypass basic security principles because they can't be bothered to type a password. That's crazy to me, and I hope for the best for you."
NOT typing passwords has been the best way for 40 years now, ever since PERSONAL computers were out, instead of time-sharing on mainframes. And it works for about a billion people every day.
Now, try to keep the word "PERSONAL" in mind: if you're tending servers, that's different.
By the way, just look at all the "apps" on Google Play recently which do massive spying.
Good security practices are not simply typing in a password, but dodging all the modern "cool" features that are the major risks.
You guys must prove for Linux that my typing in a password is cost-effective use of time given low risk. To do that, you must ignore that I and anyone can safely use Windows without by removing its many "features" that simply invite compromise besides nuisance, starting with "Messenger".
20 • Clarifying #19: (by OS2_user on 2018-08-27 11:03:31 GMT from United States)
I now see a couple places in my text sure to be attacked -- writing is kind of like an OS, there's always holes left no matter how careful!
> "install malicious software as root" -- X out "as root", only gives you a place to quibble; the below also applies:
> "then it too would be totally compromised" -- change that to: "then ways would be found for it too to be totally compromised even from the most minimal userland"
You can doubtless still find other points to quibble, but please skip those two.
21 • The sudo approach has some disadvantages? (by some random user on 2018-08-27 11:54:40 GMT from United States)
While the sudo approach has some advantages, what are its disadvantages?
22 • @14: (by dragonmouth on 2018-08-27 12:45:08 GMT from United States)
Oxford Doctionary may define "logout" as a noun. However, like all dictionaries, it is at least slightly behind times. "to login" and "to logout" have been used as verbs in the IT community for at least 20 years, if not longer.
BTW - does the Oxford Dictionary still list "Google" as a proper noun? As of couple of years ago, "to google" entered the vernacular as a synonym for "search".
23 • The NixOS model (by teresaejunior on 2018-08-27 13:04:44 GMT from Denmark)
I wanted to manage my system the NixOS way, but I hate the idea of compiling everything, when there are stable distros with so many binaries available. My solution? Provision Ubuntu/Debian with Ansible! You create YAML files containing the users, packages, services, etc. you want in your system, and just run the playbook!
24 • @21 (by OstroL on 2018-08-27 13:54:32 GMT from Poland)
Even though the computer is yours, the system in it is not yours, but someone called root, and to manipulate that system, you have to become by using an app/command (su, sudo...) and give a password you yourself had created. You the user-owner becomes someone else to install/uninstall an app you own.
25 • sudo and NixOS (by Jesse on 2018-08-27 14:38:49 GMT from Canada)
@21: There are virtually no disadvantages to using sudo, assuming it is used properly. The sudo config syntax is complicated and for multi-user systems it is more likely you'll make a mistake setting it up, compared to using su or doas. As others have pointed out here, sudo remembers your credentials by default, so you need to tell it to forget you or lock your terminal if you walk away from the computer. But the same applies to su as well.
The main advantages are fine grained controls and logging, making it ideal for systems where multiple users should be able to perform admin actions (or a subset of admin actions) while su is all or nothing.
@23: You don't need to compile software when using NixOS. The Nix package manager installs binary packages.
26 • @15 Jesse - DistroWatch Bias (by tman on 2018-08-27 15:14:18 GMT from United States)
Hey Jesse, how come Suicide Linux isn't in your rankings? Shouldn't it be #1? ;-)
27 • Root & good security (by M.Z. on 2018-08-27 15:32:31 GMT from United States)
"...WHY shouldn't I run as root all the time in Linux?"
Well for that matter, why doesn't everyone leave every door they have unlocked all the time? I mean what are the chances that someone will steal your car or come into your house/apartment & take your TV or whatever?
The answer obviously depends a fair amount on the context. If you park your car unlocked in New York City, Chicago, or LA you'll get hit by your dumb security thinking, especially at night. It's very risky to ignore security of that sort in a major city where there are more chances to run into a bad apple.
Are you telling us all that you think your OS is in a tiny village that has no known theft? Fine. Do whatever you want & feel comfortable with.
It's your Personal Computer, but the fact remains that folks with a lot more security expertise than you put those locks on the door for a reason. Those folks with actual security expertise consider privilege escalation to be a big & important class of security vulnerabilities/bugs.
Do as you please with your personal system, just try to show enough class not to wander around telling everyone that your "know the real truth about vaccination that experts won't tell you" or some other tin foil hat nonsense. It's a bad practice to run as root, & it's an epic act of ignorance not to get your family vaccinated or to intentionally leave your doors unlocked in the big city.
28 • disadvantages (pitfalls) to using sudo (by tim on 2018-08-27 15:47:51 GMT from United States)
@25 sudo vim
opens the door to possibility of non-logged shell escapes, yes?
29 • sudo (by Jesse on 2018-08-27 16:05:55 GMT from Canada)
@28: What you're describing is not a disadvantage to using sudo over su because the exact same limitation is shared by su. You get zero logging or restrictions with su, so you're in the same boat.
30 • GuixSD (by Pascual on 2018-08-27 16:43:35 GMT from United Kingdom)
The first ever GuixSD review and it didn't even get past the installation.
No GNU for you. Sad.
31 • I only use sudo to run systemctl (by CS on 2018-08-27 17:10:51 GMT from United States)
sudo vim? Meh.
sudo bash? Who cares?
sudo systemctl restart apache2? Now we've got a flame war started.
32 • Norcux OS (by GB_2 on 2018-08-27 17:11:43 GMT from Germany)
@11 You can visit the IRC or Discord Server (no need to sign up).
33 • sudo vs su... (by BSDuser on 2018-08-27 17:59:42 GMT from United States)
I always ssh into my servers and only use sudo for all my admin needs. After which, if I have several commands that solely require 'root' access for any length of time, I'll execute "sudo -i", and after I'm finished with all my admin tasks, I'll "exit" out of both 'root' and 'user' accounts (consecutively) in order to return back to my 'regularly scheduled programming'.
34 • Who owns your computer? (by OstroL on 2018-08-27 18:30:04 GMT from Poland)
Who owns your computer? Of course, it is yours. It is your "personal" computer. Is it really? The system you use is owned by root, not you.
You may own the contents of your username folder, but that folder is also owned by root.
35 • @32, GB_2 Norcux OS feedback (by Angel on 2018-08-27 18:35:10 GMT from Philippines)
I guess there's no need, since you are here. Your distro runs very nicely. I added kdeplasma-addons for the dashboard menu, and latte dock. Other than themes and wallpaper, nothing else.
36 • Norcux OS (by GB_2 on 2018-08-27 18:43:24 GMT from Germany)
@35 What exactly didn't work?
37 • sudo /su (by Ricky on 2018-08-27 19:55:46 GMT from Netherlands)
I tend to run sudo alone for one off commands, eg; `sudo poweroff` is where it's mostly used. I never run `su` directly though. If i want to elevate to a root shell, i only use `sudo su -`.
But that's for my personal desktop machine. If i'm setting up a server, i will NEVER even install the sudo package for many reasons.
38 • Circular Reasoning (by M.Z. on 2018-08-27 20:52:58 GMT from United States)
@34 - OstroL
That's called 'Circular reasoning' & it indicates a weak argument. Who owns root? The one with the root password of course. On all my PCs that would be me. On the Windows PCs I run GIS on, it's someone else that has equivalent admin access. All is as it should be & system permissions are in place for a reason & not having instant system access because of system permissions doesn't invalidate ownership. In fact having solid system permissions make the system more mine, because the 'locks on the door' make sure no simple bug exploit allows others access to my system.
39 • ...or root 'Masked-man fallacy' (by M.Z. on 2018-08-27 21:38:18 GMT from United States)
Even better answer to @34
" Premise 1: Lois Lane believes that Superman can fly.
Premise 2: Lois Lane does not believe that Clark Kent can fly.
Conclusion: Therefore Superman and Clark Kent are not the same person."
Then we substitute:
Premise 1: User doesn't have instant system wide access.
Premise 2: Root does have instant system wide access.
Conclusion: Therefore user has no control of the system.
Still a really stupid conclusion if you don't ask who does have root access.
40 • Voted other because there’s no All of the Above (by TheTKS on 2018-08-27 22:57:47 GMT from Canada)
Depends on which distro I’m in, which user I am (and what priveleges they have), and what I’m trying to do. I’ve used sudo, su, su -, sudo su, doas, log out and then log in as root, and I might have even done sudo su-. I don’t deeply understand the permission differences between and capabilities of each, though. That’s something I’m still learning, and suspect I will be learning for a long time.
Nouns vs verbs vs adjectives: “log in” and “log out” are verbs. “Login” is not a verb and not even a noun: “What’s your login?” is really short for “What’s your login name?” or similar, in which case “login” is an adjective. Just because “login” has been used as a verb in IT for years, doesn’t make it correct; it means IT is happy to live with sloppy usage. I sometimes write it that way, too (by mistake), but I don’t get worked up about it, but nor do I try to convince anyone that it is correct.
Feel free to correct any of the usage or grammar mistakes I undoubtedly made here, and let the arguing continue. I’ll enjoy reading it.
41 • Su and sudo (by Antony on 2018-08-27 23:21:04 GMT from Australia)
Unfortunately for unix su is a bit of a sledgehammer to crack nuts and doesn't have the granularity of more sophisticated systems like openvms or even solaris with rbac (now copied by linux).
Sudo is an attempt to limit su access but in my experience it's more often implemented as a mimic of su because administrators can't be bothered to lock it down by specifying which commands a sudo user can perform.i do security auditing.
Personally using sudo on your private machines is just a waste if time. Put yourself in the wheel group (bsd) and su when you need to.
Beware of 'su -' because it picks up the full path & environment of the target user and any malicious aliases or such are then available to you. '"alias ls='rm -fr'" lol
42 • Making "su -" Terminal Session Obvious (by Bruce Fowler on 2018-08-28 00:42:01 GMT from United States)
I often have two or more terminal windows open. If I need admin action, I "su -" in one of them and do whatever is necessary, then exit. But for root, I have a very distinctive prompt (red!) in root's .bashrc, so it is hard to forget which user is live in that terminal session. vis> PS1="\[\e[1;37;41m\]\u\[\e[0m\]\\$\w: "
43 • Making "su -" Terminal Session Obvious (by Bruce Fowler on 2018-08-28 00:42:01 GMT from United States)
I often have two or more terminal windows open. If I need admin action, I "su -" in one of them and do whatever is necessary, then exit. But for root, I have a very distinctive prompt (red!) in root's .bashrc, so it is hard to forget which user is live in that terminal session.
44 • @36, Norcux OS (by Angel on 2018-08-28 02:31:27 GMT from Philippines)
I think I made a premature, and wrong, assumption. The installer failed with a message about no access to the AUR. I quit the installer, ran pacman -Sy and got the same message. After enabling the AUR repo in Pamac, pacman updated fine and the installation finished. But since you asked about exactly what, I installed again on a VM and didn't get the error. Installation was smooth. So I believe it was just a temporary failure to connect. My bad.
System is running fine. Couldn't mount shared folder on virtualbox, but reinstalling guest additions fixed that. Also, it's not asking for a sudo password before performing root actions. Going by this week's discussion here on this site, I don't know whether that's a bug or a feature. :-)
45 • Non-Free Drivers (by penguinx64 on 2018-08-28 03:24:11 GMT from Bahrain)
I want my Linux Distro to work Out of the Box, every time, first try after I install it. For me, no Wifi is a dealbreker for Linux Distros. One example is WattOS. I really like the idea of an OS that isn't a resource hog and improves the battery life in my laptop. But my house is Wifi connected and it's the ONLY way I can connect to the internet. Not to pick on WattOS in particular. There are many other distros with this problem. Crux is another example. In the past, I've had to connect my laptop to the router with a Cat5 cable and start a long journey in search of drivers, then it's hit or miss when I find some that might or might not work. Sound familiar to Windows users? It's easier to try different distros until I find one that just works. This is why I use Linux Mint. it always works first try with no hassles. To stress the importance of this, my Kindle Fire tablet gets it right. When I click on Settings, "Wireless" is the first item that appears at the top of the list. While many Linux distros strive to be free Open Source, there should at least be the OPTION to install Non-Free Drivers during installation. Debian gets this right, by asking if you want to install Non-Free drivers at the beginning of the install process. Somthing developers should consider if you ever want YOUR distro to appear in the DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking Top Ten.
46 • Non-Free Drivers @45 (by pengxiun on 2018-08-28 04:05:09 GMT from New Zealand)
"I want my Linux Distro to work Out of the Box"
All well and good if that can happen.
To get your Linux OOTB experience, you really should do your homework and be sure that your hardware is Linux supported, before laying the blame at developers, whose hands are tied by proprietary hardware / software license requirements, because if the developers are reputable, they do honour license requirements.
I have a laptop with a particularly stubborn Broadcom BCM4311 wifi that will only work with the proprietary driver.
My preferred distro ships with the required proprietary driver in the .iso, but due to licensing, are unable to to invoke it in the live session automatically, but it can be installed by the user in the live session and is available for use after install.
47 • Compatability Layer Problems (by dave on 2018-08-28 04:32:20 GMT from United States)
Is it not perfect compatibility with a competing platform that led to the demise of IBM's OS/2? At least I can remember reading something of this nature. I am not saying a perfect Wine would kill Linux, but it might have unforseen, long-term consequences. I have backed so far away from Wine these days that I rarely have it installed. I suppose if you are a hardcore gamer and you just want to get off Windows and don't care about anything else, it's good news. Wine proponents can call it 'esoteric worry' or whatever they want but there is definitely historical evidence that this kind of compatability layer ripple effect can occur. The better the compatibilty, the more likely it will occur.
48 • Norcux OS (by GB_2 on 2018-08-28 04:55:00 GMT from Germany)
@36 Ok.That it's not asking for a password when using sudo (in the installed system) is indeed a bug, thanks for reporting it :-)
49 • Puppy Linux knew its better to be root... (by OstroL on 2018-08-28 08:05:04 GMT from Poland)
The system is owned by root, so the real user is root. Puppy Linux creator knew this and didn't create pseudo user. Lot of people (who use other distros) cried of the "lack" of security, how vulnerable it would be and so on. Puppy Linux and its community lives and prospers, somewhat away from here. (They don't have to come here, as the knowledgeable users are in their forum.)
Puppy Linux's existence without any crusis all this time is the proof that the being the root, rather than a pseudo user is not a security problem. Root is root, and only you know the pasword.
50 • @47 Wine paranoia? (by curious on 2018-08-28 13:06:45 GMT from Germany)
I don't understand this. Please explain more clearly. Why should it be a problem that an easy way exists to run certain (definitely not all!) Windows software in Linux?
And what are the ominous "unforseen, long-term consequences"? Or the "compatability layer ripple effect"?
Causes for OS/2's demise were more likely the high price, hefty hardware requirements (compared to plain DOS), and MS's market domination. And while OS/2 was technically superior to the DOS/Windows 3 combination, the "improved" file system HPFS was incompatible.
51 • Diffetent OSs and apps (by OstroL on 2018-08-28 14:29:32 GMT from Poland)
It'd kill the petrol engine, if you put diesel in it.
If you want (very badly) use Windows apps, you should use a machine with that OS, not wine or any emulator. If you are using such an emulator, you are just cheating yourself.
Any such emulator is actually glorifying Windows.
52 • Out of box (by Friar Tux on 2018-08-28 18:11:34 GMT from Canada)
#45 & 46... I heartily agree with comment 45. I also use Linux Mint for its out-of-box usability. I tried about a dozen distros before adopt Mint and found Mint to be consistently the best. No after install fiddling and messing with drivers and such. Most of the other distros either couldn't find the wifi (even though they correctly ID'ed the driver), or has other glitches that hampered my work.
As for su, su -, and sudo... well, sometimes and job needs a Robertson screwdriver, sometime a Philips screwdriver, and sometimes a plain flat/straight screwdriver... use what you need to.
Oh, and about root and user... I really like that root owns the system. I don't know how many times I have suffered from the "fat finger syndrome" and hit the wrong button/key, only to be told that, hey, that's root's job, not your's, leave that file/directory alone!
53 • @51, root ownership (by Angel on 2018-08-29 01:47:01 GMT from Philippines)
Here I was happily goofing off at my PC when there's a knock at the door. It was this guy Root, flanked by two burly Linux cops. He wanted his system back, or else. So here I am on Windows, hoping this Administrator guy doesn't get pissed-off at me and want his system back too.
54 • @53 Root and so on... (by OstroL on 2018-08-29 05:30:30 GMT from Poland)
You might own the computer, for you sort of paid for it. In most Linux distros, what you install from a live iso is an unsquashed squashed root system. You are allowed to create a user, as root doesn't trust you enough to be a responsible person, who can take care of yourself.
Puppy Linux, for example, trusts you and consider you to be responsible. There you are the root. Puppy Linux users have a vibrant forum, and doesn't need to come here.
Btw, you don't own the copy of Windows, as it is distributed as a service. You pay for the beginning of the service. You cannot stop the upgrades -- the service is looking after itself. You can schedule the rebooting. It repairs itself, if something goes wrong. I haven't found a Linux distro that repairs itself (since 2004).
55 • @54 Root (by Angel on 2018-08-29 06:17:57 GMT from Philippines)
Yep. I sympathize, especially after my traumatic experience. This tall, tree-like guy planted himself in front of my desk and deleted all my Linuxes. Seemed to have a limited vocabulary, responding to any questions with three words: "I am Root."
56 • So, should you be just root? (by OstroL on 2018-08-29 10:22:34 GMT from Poland)
So, should you be the "sort of" user and then become the real owner, root by using su, sudo or sudo su or just be root and own your system, together with the computer?
57 • Being Root (by TheTKS on 2018-08-29 11:32:12 GMT from Canada)
Being Root and conversation between Angel and OstroL
@OstroL To the statement about Windows updating and repairing itself, I would add that Windows sometimes also breaks itself and the drives it’s on, sometimes irreparably. About Puppy, thanks for the reminder about Puppy running as root by default.
Another reason Other was the right choice. Using Puppy its default way could sometimes fit under “I logout and start a new session as root”, but since I almost always shut down my computers when done sessions, I usually start a new session of Puppy with intent to use Puppy, not shut down another distro I’m in (or Windows) and start Puppy just to start running as root. And a computer with no HDD, the only way I can run it at the moment is running a live or portable OS, like Puppy.
Since I’m usually the only *human* user of my home computers, at those times running root should be safe, especially when disconnected from the internet, except from my own stupid mistakes. But stupid mistakes are also possible when temporarily running sudo, su, su -...
Since other people are sometimes in the vicinity of my home computers, I always lock when I leave the computer, including Puppy.
@ Angel Great and entertaining ways to describe how root behaves, thank you!
58 • Running as an Administrator (by dragonmouth on 2018-08-29 12:13:52 GMT from United States)
I just read an article entitled "How to Always Run Apps as Administrator on Windows". The article was posted on an otherwise reputable tech site.
59 • @57, @58 (by Angel on 2018-08-29 16:07:18 GMT from Philippines)
I guess my sarcasm failed to take root.
Come on, guys! There is no such entity as "root" that exhibits any particular behavior. I am root when I want to be, just as you are when you want to be on your own systems. I suppose what you resent is not being able, by default, to always run a GUI as root. If you want it presented to you on a platter, then use Puppy and be done. You want to do it on another distro, no one is stopping you. Don't know how? Google it, for God's sake, and make a little effort.
@58 Enabling the Administrator account in Windows is trivial and perfectly legit and reputable. MS and Windows, rather than Linux, were my bread and butter for many years, and I still dabble as I please.
60 • @59 Angel: (by dragonmouth on 2018-08-29 17:26:28 GMT from United States)
I posted about the article because, IMO, it is pertinent to the discussion of running as root vs running as user. I gave the exact title so posters can search for and read the article and form their own opinions.
Enabling the Administrator account may be perfectly legit and reputable. But because it is trivial, it makes things much easier for malware and hackers. That is the difference between Windows and Linux. In Linux, no user apps can change system files and access folders that are usually restricted. Admin privileges have to be specifically asked for and granted. Any damage from malware picked up by the user is localized to that user's partition. In Windows, OTOH, user apps are designed to access system files and restricted folders and/or change the registry. Any malware the user(s) pick up affects not only their space but also can bring down and/or wipe out the system.
I'm sure that you are going to tell us that in all the years of buttering the MS/Windows bread your system was never compromised. Mazeltov! You were either lucky or well versed in system security. However, how many Windows users have the necessary knowledge to prevent the compromising of their system? Based on the reported number of PCs affected by malware/ransomware, I would say not many.
"I guess my sarcasm failed to take root. "
Sarcasm does not register well in print. As far as your attempt at a pun..................
61 • @60 Root or "open as Administrator" on Linux? (by OstroL on 2018-08-29 19:24:03 GMT from Poland)
So you use "open as Administrator" in Linux to become root?
Open as Administrator in that "service" doesn't ask for a password. You can do whatever you want, even try to delete some system files, damage the system. Then you can troubleshoot and get it to repair itself, and if that won't help, you can restore it or reinstall it from that broken system. It might take some time, but it'd bring your system back to life. I've tried this on one of my laptops. That "service" brought my system back.
I won't do that experiment with a Linux distro, for example delete some files from /bin or /etc or /sbin or some other root folder, of course with sudo for the Linux distro would not repair itself.
You never lose your "system as a service" as far as you don't change a major hardware part, such as the motherboard. Even then there are ways to keep the same system.
Manipulating the Linux distros has become bit boring nowadays. Nothing much changes these days, except some taking out features as in Gnome. All those nice apps of bygone days (Cairo dock, AWN...) don't work any more in the "developed" distros. No backward compatibility at all.
62 • @60 (by Angel on 2018-08-29 20:06:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
"The number of malicious programs created for Windows, Linux and Mac OS closely correlates to the market share that each of these operating systems has achieved." -Kaspersky
OS percentage of malware
Desktop OS market share:
Most malware originators are after profits. Desktop Linux is a tiny percentage. Windows is a much bigger target. They are not really after your home PC. In Linux, it's more profitable to attack enterprise servers. If state-sponsored malware is involved, all bets are off, but unless you have something
Notice that as systems, including Windows, have become more hardened, firmware is now being targeted. Yes, I've had adware on my Windows systems once in a while. Usually because I neglected to uncheck something or other when installing applications. Once, the resident AV caught a trojan being downloaded. No, I don't use any special AVs. I've used MS's own since WIndows 7. The removal of malware from other people's PCs has been profitable for me, though. Along with Linux distros, I run Windows 10 now, when I'm not on Linux. Not really worried about either OS.
Actually, the equivalent to root in Windows is not the Administrator, it is "System." Since Windows is proprietary, access is limited even to the Administrator account. I've had to grapple with that little problem a few times. On the security front, Microsoft introduced UAC years ago, but had to weaken it due to users' complaints abut entering passwords, much like these guys here complaining about not being able to run as root all the time, which is what prompted my misunderstood attempt at sarcasm.
Is Linux safer? Sure. I've used it for quite a few years, lots of times to help diagnosing and fixing Windows PCs. But it's really not such a minefield out there.
63 • @62 Kaspersky, AV? Come on! (by OstroL on 2018-08-29 20:49:42 GMT from Poland)
Those companies has to make a living, so they'd say anything to get customers. These days, the "system as a service" users are not prompted at all to look for an outside antivirus app. They are no longer needed.
Just put a zipped malicious rootkit in a usb stick and plug it to a computer with that "system as a service" and see for yourself.
Not those eol stuff that you've been helping your friends with, but the completely different system as a service.
(You are jumping from Philippines to UK in minutes, so can't exactly trust you.)
64 • @63 (by Angel on 2018-08-29 21:30:58 GMT from Philippines)
I don't care one whit whether you trust me or not. I run several systems and several browsers, some with VPNs. Even Tor and I2p might be found somewhere around here. Or perhaps Distrowatch is just wrong about my location. Who cares? In any case, I have no idea what you are talking about. Let's see: I'm going to go wandering about town, where I find a USB stick dropped on the sidewalk. "What could this be?," I say. And I can't wait to stick it in my PC, which of course has autorun enabled. Is that it? Do I add a third party AV because Kaspersky or some other hypnotizes me, or do I not because my SaaS says no? (I don't run SaaS, BTW, but that's beside the point.)
In reality, I do keep VMs and such into which I may inject suspected malware sometimes, and I submit samples to VirusTotal once in a while. Now if I were running Linux as root, as you advocate, wouldn't the same danger apply? Of course, it may be just a 2% chance, because that is about the market share of Linux desktops. You follow?
65 • More masked root user nonsense (by M.Z. on 2018-08-29 22:58:32 GMT from United States)
"...You are allowed to create a user, as root doesn't trust you enough to be a responsible person, who can take care of yourself."
How is that not exactly identical to the previously mentioned fallacy:
Premise 1: User doesn't have instant system wide access.
Premise 2: Root does have instant system wide access.
Conclusion: Therefore user can’t be root and has no control of the system.
Where is superman in all this nonsense you keep going on about L. Lane? Have you never squinted at that guy next to you & asked 'could he be doing all that stuff'? What's so special about the difference between su - as user & root?
I'd like to know why it isn't total nonsense.
Me I like su - fine & feel like some kind of superuser whenever I want. I don't log in that way, but you can if you want in plenty of distros.
66 • @62 Angel: (by dragonmouth on 2018-08-29 23:10:03 GMT from United States)
When applications are written to be able to change the registry and system files whenever they want to, the O/S can have 0.00001% market share and it still will be a very large target for hackers and malware. It is disingenuous to blame market share for the number of attacks while conveniently overlooking the user applications with system file upgrade permissions that make those attacks possible and easier. From Day 1, Windows was not a secure O/S. Microsoft could make it at least as secure as Linux and/or BSD but for reasons known only to Mr. Bill and God, they have not, do not and probably will not choose to do so.
67 • Security (by Ron on 2018-08-30 03:27:36 GMT from United States)
A personal computer is not secure if not under full observation if it has a USB port! Details left for your mental exercise.
68 • @66 someone else's security... (by OstroL on 2018-08-30 04:58:03 GMT from Poland)
" From Day 1, Windows was not a secure O/S. Microsoft could make it at least as secure as Linux and/or BSD but for reasons known only to Mr. Bill and God, they have not, do not and probably will not choose to do so."
We, the Linux "users" don't have to worry this much on some other OS's security or any other problems. All we have to worry is how we do anything in root's shoes. Never heard of any user of Windows camp worrying about us using root's privileges or even how we use Linux. Our worry about how they use their (insecure) Windows is just simply funny!
69 • @68 (by Angel on 2018-08-30 05:13:11 GMT from Philippines)
Read much? I've run Linux on all my PCs for around 12 years. I've installed Linux systems for clients, friends and others many times. At one time or another I have tried most of the major distros, and some small and obscure ones. Matter of fact, I am writing this on the newest addition to DW's waiting list: Norcux OS Alpha, and I've tried to provide some useful feedback to the developer. Used to do a bit of that years ago, not so much anymore, not because I like Linux any less, but because I've grown tired of Linux users like you. Yes, my main line of work has been dealing with Windows, etc. Linux, like Windows, is just an OS, not a religion.
70 • Real world distribution popularity and "DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking" (by ioannis on 2018-08-30 06:06:58 GMT from Greece)
Could someone explain? I can see that MXLinux and Elementary are very popular here, even more popular than Debian and Fedora. Is anyone using these distros in the real world? Every linux user i know prefer ubuntu, fedora, centos, mint, debian, even Puppy. But none is using MX Elementary after trying it. Not for everyday use.
71 • @ 69 (by OstroL on 2018-08-30 06:38:55 GMT from Poland)
"Yes, my main line of work has been dealing with Windows, etc. Linux, like Windows, is just an OS, not a religion."
Nowadays, Windows had grown from an OS you can buy to a "service" provided to you for one time payment. Sure, you can earn some money by repairing the EOL windows systems in your country.
72 • Su vs Sudo (by Alexandru on 2018-08-30 07:28:06 GMT from Romania)
I personally always use su, and disable any non-privileged user to be sudoer.
However, there are simple translation of su -> sudo and sodu -> su, just if you work on someone's computer / laptop:
1. su = sudo su # Gain the root privileges for several actions when only sudo is available.
2. sudo = su -c "" # run just a single command as root when only su is available
73 • @72 Su vs Sudo (formatting correction) (by Alexandru on 2018-08-30 07:30:56 GMT from Romania)
I personally always use su, and disable any non-privileged user to be sudoer.
However, there are simple translation of su -> sudo and sodu -> su, just if you work on someone's computer / laptop:
1. su = sudo su # Gain the root privileges for several actions when only sudo is available.
2. sudo some-command = su -c "some-command" # run just a single command as root when only su is available
74 • "service" religion (by curious on 2018-08-30 09:47:59 GMT from Germany)
Please stop insinuating that Windows is no longer an operating system.
This "service" is just a business trick to try to prevent people from doing things that MS might not like. Some time in the future, they may start charging continuously for that "service", but that just means that the customer no longer buys a license, but rents(!) it instead.
Oh, and there are still Windows systems (7, 8.1) that are NOT "EOL" and don't pretend to be some mythical "more than an OS" service.
75 • @70 ioannis: (by dragonmouth on 2018-08-30 12:05:31 GMT from United States)
DistroWatch's Page Hit Ranking numbers show how many times a particular distro's home page was accessed within a given period of times. They do not show the actual usage numbers for distros.
BTW - Mint and Ubuntu are #2 and #3 in the current Page Hit Rankings.
76 • @68 OstroL: (by dragonmouth on 2018-08-30 12:34:57 GMT from United States)
"We, the Linux "users" don't have to worry this much on some other OS's security"
That's where you are wrong, my dear OstroL. Ever hear about bot nets or zombie PCs? Because Windows has such a large market share and because Windows is so vulnerable, many more Windows computers can and will become zombie PCs and/or part of bot nets. The bigger the bot nets and the more zombie computers, the bigger the danger they present to the uninfected/unaffected machines, including those running Linux and BSD.
BTW - running Linux as root is like having unprotected sex. You may be lucky for a while but sooner or later, you'll catch an STD.
77 • Post # 52 (by Winchester on 2018-08-30 12:57:42 GMT from France)
That has to be related to your specific hardware.
I have 5 GNU / Linux distributions on my laptop which is my secondary computer. Only one of those distributions is from the Debian family.
WiFi and everything else works fine out of the box on all 5 distributions. Nothing hampering any work with my hardware. No systemd on three of them.
Actually the one from the Debian family ( MX-Linux ,not the most recent one though) has problems with the cursor / touchpad. None of the other four distributions suffer from that problem.
Of course there were a few distributions that I tried in live mode which I did not install because of problems before I settled on the 5 of them that I have installed to the hard drive.
On my main desktop with ethernet,I have about 12 distributions with only one of them from the Debian family and no glitches hampering my work ..... If there were,they would not be permanently installed.
78 • DW Ranking (by Morton on 2018-08-30 14:01:43 GMT from Ukraine)
There are several comments above on the DistroWatch Rankings.
Here just another one: probably there is a need to analyze the HTTP referer.
For eg., on the deepin.org download page there is a link:
... as simple as that !
79 • @68 (by OstroL on 2018-08-30 15:27:23 GMT from Poland)
" Ever hear about bot nets or zombie PCs? Because Windows has such a large market share and because Windows is so vulnerable, many more Windows computers can and will become zombie PCs and/or part of bot nets."
Sure, sure, they are all out to attack the poor Linux desktop users. Would anyone want attack insignificant amount of desktop users, who cannot even overtake long eol XP?!
By the way, why are you so worried about Windows vulnerability, every single week?
80 • Edit the config (by Sudoer on 2018-08-30 15:40:45 GMT from Sweden)
Sudo is a great tool if used properly. On most distros these days it comes configured as a substitute for root, so of course you can "sudo su -" etc. because there would be no other way to administer your system. Read the docs, set a root password, then run "visudo" if you want security.
81 • Nothing wrong with su (by penguinx64 on 2018-08-31 00:50:54 GMT from Bahrain)
I've been using su for years. I don't like sudo. Why are so many distros taking away su now? At least give me the option whether to use su or not. Sort of reminds me of Microsoft trying to take away XP and replace it with Vista.
82 • page hit rankings (by mis interpretation on 2018-08-31 05:09:37 GMT from Australia)
On the page hit rankings alpha-grade ReactOS is number 14 - higher than many Linux distros. It shows a lot of interest but surely it is not being regularly used by ppl?
83 • @ 70 - Real world distribution popularity (by ioannis from Greece) (by frisbee on 2018-08-31 09:16:10 GMT from Switzerland)
70 • Real world distribution popularity and "DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking" (by ioannis on 2018-08-30 06:06:58 GMT from Greece)
"Is anyone using these distros in the real world?"
I do. I have 5 different Linux distributions in productive setups.
Antix 17.1, Mint 17.3, MX-17.1, Salix 14.2 and Springdale 7.5.
Springdale - Great choice if someone has a need for RHEL certified SW (RedHat/CentOS). Obviously, not for general usage.
Mint 17 - "The best Linux ever". As long as it's still supported. Great for general usage.
Salix - the best choice when one doesn't need a lot and newest and greatest SW. Quickest and most stable Linux ever, without all the usual Slackware hassle. And by quickest, I don't think only in sheer numbers like for example, default Salix XFCE uses a half of the RAM of default MX setup, I mean, it's really quick. Just compare the responsiveness by yourself and you'll understand what I mean. It's Slackware goodness underneath. Amen.
MX 17 - "finished" Debian. Extremely stable and reliable. Currently the best general usage OS. The best battery life of all Linuxes. Will replace Mint 17 next spring.
Antix - great for old HW and for new in certain use cases (like mine). Default installation runs on 80 MB RAM. So, what does it matter when one has 64 GB on desktop or 32 GB RAM on laptop? Well, if those machines serve only one purpose -- to run VM's, then I don't care about the OS looks. I don't see the desktop most of the time anyway. But, I care for 1.5 GB of RAM savings (compared to GNOME3) because it means one more VM can run simultaneously.
"Every linux user i know prefer ubuntu, fedora, centos, mint, debian, even Puppy. But none is using MX Elementary after trying it."
Most people do not understand anything about their OS, don't wanna know anything and don't wanna learn anything new and also have no need for something special. They just look if it runs on their HW and how does it look (design) and if they can also run a couple of their favorite applications on it, they are happy. That's perfectly legit and applies to 90+ percent of all use cases.
On the other side:
Mint - as already explained. Mostly works out of the box and it has the most applications average user might want.
CentOS - as already explained. It's like with Adobe Suite or MS Office. If you need it, you need Windows. You've got no choice. Plus 10 years of support. It never changes. You buy a new machine, you install it, you use it. A couple of years later, you buy a new machine, you install it, you use it... Most people don't want to work on their computers but with their computers. Nobody cares for OS.
Fedora - test bed of RHEL. All the time newest experiments and never really working. Wayland is currently a no go ... If you're missing work, great choice - since it will always keep you busy.
Debian - extremely stable, unfinished, raw product. Great base to make a usable OS but, one has to make himself a finished one - or one just takes MX instead.
Ubuntu - once a leader. It was the only company that could have make Linux an alternative to Apple and Microsoft. Unique and great Unity got dropped, LTS support got worse (just check: ubuntu-support-status --show-unsupported) ... Cannonical gave up on Desktop Linux and concentrates on business. Ubuntu got an abandoned, unloved child.
Elementary OS - like Mint and many others, basically Ubuntu. Great looks for those who prefer Mac-Look. Most people come from Windows ...
Also, it looks great but, it's usability is very questionable - everything gray-in-gray is very eyes unfriendly, many small (bad) design flows like mini-/maximizing of windows and son are not for everybody. And looks ... as soon as you install a dozen of SW, not explicitly made for Elementary, it will not look good anymore.
84 • @83 (by OstroL on 2018-08-31 10:08:13 GMT from Poland)
"Unique and great Unity got dropped, LTS support got worse (just check: ubuntu-support-status --show-unsupported) ... Cannonical gave up on Desktop Linux and concentrates on business. Ubuntu got an abandoned, unloved child."
And that's the story of desktop Linux for the non-enterprise users.
"Debian - extremely stable, unfinished, raw product. Great base to make a usable OS but, one has to make himself a finished one "
And, you'd have your own desktop Linux.
85 • @ 84 (by frisbee on 2018-08-31 10:20:27 GMT from Switzerland)
by OstroL or OStroll? ^^
"... - or one just takes MX instead."
One has to be fair.
86 • @85 (by OstroL on 2018-08-31 12:22:01 GMT from Poland)
Not exactly. You create your own, just as MX guys had done or even better. Install the base, add Openbox and configure it anyway you want. Debian is practically, the only comminity based Linux OS out there - the Universal OS.
87 • The Linux Desktop (by Garon on 2018-08-31 13:36:34 GMT from United States)
@83 & 84,
Canonical did drop Unity and more or less dropped major desktop support for the general consumer. One of the reasons was they received no great love or support from the Linux community. Anything that was based on Ubuntu was always the "Ubuntu done right" nonsense. The group that should have supported Ubuntu and their innovations were always the ones that wanted to see them fail. They didn't want the general population in their little boy's club. Canonical is doing very well now but not because of the desktop. Everyone should be happy now. Ubuntu will be to Canonical what Fedora is to RHEL. It's sad to think what could have been. I will be reuniting with the Mepis community now and will be using MX.
88 • Salix OS (by gplcoder on 2018-08-31 17:41:55 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
@83 - Thanks for the Salix recommendation. I just posted a review. In short, not bad but missing LAMP packages (even from SBo). Apache, Php, MariaDB all present as binaries but no database drivers. No PDO SQLite3 and no PDO MySQL. I realize that Salix is not a server OS but it is multi-purpose and I was hoping that it would make a good development system. I have an MX 17 Precision laptop beside me no problems setting up a LAMP stack on it.
89 • Ubuntu done right (by penguinx64 on 2018-09-01 03:43:29 GMT from Bahrain)
Everybody was 'doing Ubuntu right', except Canonical. That's why there are so many Ubuntu based distros that fix stuff Canonical got wrong. Take Mint for example. it just works, with no hassles, out of the box. I've been using Mint ever since Ubuntu screwed up the desktop interface with Ubuntu 12.04. Ubuntu went from #1 in Distrowatch's page hit ranking a few years ago to #3 today, behind Manjaro and Mint.
But I really wanted to see Ubuntu Touch succeed. It would be great to have a tablet or smartphone that doesn's spy on me like Android. But during the development of Ubuntu Touch, it was more like Ubuntu Don't Touch! There was never a version I could install on any of my devices. Then, the few Ubuntu Touch phones were not rated very well. Too slow and not enough apps. I think it's great Canonical put so much time and effort into this project.
I guess the problem with Ubuntu was attempting to merge desktops and mobile devices into a single user interface. Microsoft tried that with Windows 8 Metro tiles, but it didn't work for them either.
90 • @88 (by frisbee on 2018-09-01 14:26:42 GMT from Switzerland)
I use Salix for webdevelopement.
Download, make executable, install and run the panel.
91 • OS's (by brOK on 2018-09-02 05:59:26 GMT from Australia)
@83 good elucidation of OS usage. For example, using an OS for a selection of apps will be useful when ReactOS matures.
92 • death of ubuntu is greatly exaggerated (by Tim on 2018-09-02 10:48:58 GMT from United States)
The weekly bemoaning of how terrible Ubuntu has gotten has reached somewhat of a fever pitch this week, so I feel the need to point out that it's not nearly dead and not terrible at all.
What makes Ubuntu awesome is not that it developed its own desktop or that they were trying to converge computers and smartphones... it's that for more than a decade now they've frozen snapshots of Debian unstable every six months and given a remarkably stable compromise between a rolling and stable distro.
How much you like each individual release is honestly more about you than Ubuntu. It depends on what hardware you're running and what software you select, and what issues happen to have percolated up at that time. I've used most releases since 14.04 and here's my list of preference
Your results will absolutely vary, and that's fine. But stop saying it's dead. It's a fantastic base system and some flavors like Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu deliver fairly perfect desktop OSs. Every other major desktop is in the repos. I currently use Ubuntu MATE and sometimes switch to IceWM and twm.
93 • LMDE vs Ubuntu-based Mint? (by Ben Myers on 2018-09-02 21:05:34 GMT from United States)
Now that the latest LMDE is available, what are the advantages and disadvantages of it compared to the Ubuntu-based versions?
Number of Comments: 93
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