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So I want to break the mold at my house. Sick and tired of the Xp viruses and malwares and would like to run Linux as I "here" its more secure? and less prone to the hack world out there.
So, being new to the world of Linux, and hearing it's a "safer" OS I'd appreciate some tips, feedback regarding security, viruses and malware protection, as well as which would be the GUI of choice....as I see there are several options....
Where can I download from , although I do see a "download link"....can I download my Linux OS and gui right from this site??
I would recommend Ubuntu (also). Using a stable version, such as 10.04 (since they provide support for that release for two years) will work with older equipment, newer builds, desktops, laptops, and netbooks. They have pretty much any flavor you like, and it comes in Gnome or Kde (GUI's, I'm currently using Gnome but have used Kde in the past). I have been using Ubuntu LTS exclusively for a while now, and haven't had any problems that couldn't be solved by using these forums (or others).
True, there may be less virus' and trojans that attack Linux, but it's because of the the percentages (far less people use Linux on their personal machines) and one can use ClamAV just to be sure they aren't downloading something that might upset their system.
You can always use a duel boot system (Windows & Linux on the same machine) until you feel comfortable enough with the Linux you finally pick (you can download the .iso's of many of the Linux brands and run the Live CD version before installing it, that way you try a variety). Which every you choose, enjoy your cost savings, and if you have any problems come on back, because someone here will have experienced it and will be able to help you out.
I recommend ubuntu or fedora. Both seem pretty newbie-friendly to me, but ubuntu most so. Just download the iso from ubuntu.com, burn it to a cd, and you can run it right off of the cd to see if you like it (with no changes made to your hard drive).
Ubuntu's first release was on 20 October 2004. Since then, Canonical has released new versions of Ubuntu every six months with commitment to support each release for eighteen months by providing security fixes, patches to critical bugs and minor updates to programs. It was decided that every fourth release, issued on a two-year basis, would receive long-term support (LTS). LTS releases are supported for three years on the desktop and five years on the server. [emphasis added]
I too would recommend Ubuntu, or one of its derivative variants like Mint. I set my near 70 year old mother up with Mint at the beginning of the year and she really likes it. Ubuntu is very easy to use, has good hardware support and is actively maintained so bugs get resolved rapidly.
As far as security goes, running a desktop / laptop out of the box, Linux is fairly secure. The biggest risk with Linux comes from running server applications, which you are free to do by the way, in that they accept connections from the rest of the world. While Linux viruses and trojans do exit, they are not as much of a problem. This is not because Linux is a small market share as a previous poster said. In fact, the majority of the high value servers run Linux and or Unix. Linux has a much better security philosophy starting with proper implementation of a user permissions model. Generally speaking, it is not necessary to run anti-virus applications on Linux. Similarly, a firewall serves as a protection against unintended action, rather than being a necessary barrier to keep intruders out.
Here is a link to an Ubuntu security thread. I would suggest that the part on the "windows mindset" will answer a lot of the questions you undoubtedly have. There is a lot of information in that thread, much of it won't be of interest to you at first.
You are right when you quoted from Ubuntu that "LTS releases are supported for three years on the desktop," my bad. I've gotten so use to no problems with the LTS releases it's rare I'm at their forums anymore.
I just switched recently, and I find it to be funner. You get more interaction with your system, and get a better understanding of how it runs. LINUX.COM (Distros list- these are the options) has tons of distros for download, With summary and comments so you know what you are getting into. They have different options (Download to desktop, liveCD,Security, etc). I don't know too much about the security of linux, But I know it runs smoother, boots quicker, gives me less error messages, is more flexible as to how it is controlled, and has better support (Various IRC rooms for specific distros and forums) ... If your tired of windows, I say give it a shot, You might just find that you like it alot.
(By the way, I switched to linux because my XP crashed, and I couldn't re-install with-out paying microsoft to re-install remotely, of course for a fee. If my linux does such a thing, I can just run my disk, or USB drive or SD card - free)
If you are new to Linux (GNU/Linux) then Mint 9 is a good option, it has the needed codecs to run the usual media and its layout is easy to use. Should you want to fiddle the command line is still there.
When considering dual booting with WindoZe consider which bootloader the Linux system uses (grub legacy or the new one); easier to boot from a USB loaded hard drive with linux that you have put on it.