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Old 03-02-2005, 08:24 PM   #1
timswim78
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Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Baltimore, Maryland (USA)
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
Posts: 70

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Questions about viruses, compiling, customizing/building distros, etc.


OK, I have a few questions that I have searched for and have sort of found answers for but would really like some clarity.

1. What's the deal with viruses for a linux desktop, will I be safe without an AV program? Lots of sites, such as mandrakelinux.com say that linux is almost immune to viruses. Also, it seems as though most linux users don't care about having an antivirus program on their desktop machine.

2. How about source code? I am running Fedora 3, and I noticed that most software comes as source RPMS and as binary RPMS. Are there any performance benefits to compiling the source myself?

3. Distro's. As I have gathered from reading there are "out of the box" distro's such as ubuntu, fedora, mandrake, and etc. that should install rather quickly and get up and running with minimal installation. There are also the distro's that require you to hand build them and edit lots of configuration scripts and stuff. I am guessing that the "hand built" distro's perform better. Is that true? Also, are the performance benefits based on:
- the fact that the packages are compiled from source
- the fact that there will not be as much unneeded stuff running
- or both?

Thanks a lot for your help. So far, the users at this stite have been very patient and friendly and have really made me want to switch over to Linux as much as possible.

I have been having a ball with my Fedora install. here is a screenshot:
http://www.bmore.us/screen2.png
 
Old 03-02-2005, 08:33 PM   #2
amosf
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Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Australia
Distribution: Mandriva/Slack - KDE
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1) They just don't make an AV app for linux that finds linux virii as they don't really exist. Linux AV apps are for servers to keep windows clients clean. Set up a firewall and that is about it at this stage.

2) not really. Compiling the kernel for you CPU type can help a little...

3) Ready to run distros can be just as quick. Some are built for speed, some for features. You need to decide what you want. I use mandrake, which can be slower, but is feature packed by default.

performance benefit comes from the ability to customize EVERYTHING. you run what you want - a heavy KDE desktop, or light wm, the services you need, and so forth...
 
Old 03-02-2005, 08:47 PM   #3
slakmagik
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Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

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Re: Questions about viruses, compiling, customizing/building distros, etc.

Quote:
Originally posted by timswim78 OK, I have a few questions
that I have searched for and have sort of found answers for but would really
like some clarity.

1. What's the deal with viruses for a linux desktop, will I be safe without an
AV program? Lots of sites, such as mandrakelinux.com say that linux is almost
immune to viruses. Also, it seems as though most linux users don't care about
having an antivirus program on their desktop machine.

2. How about source code? I am running Fedora 3, and I noticed that most
software comes as source RPMS and as binary RPMS. Are there any performance
benefits to compiling the source myself?

3. Distro's. As I have gathered from reading there are "out of the box"
distro's such as ubuntu, fedora, mandrake, and etc. that should install rather
quickly and get up and running with minimal installation. There are also the
distro's that require you to hand build them and edit lots of configuration
scripts and stuff. I am guessing that the "hand built" distro's perform
better. Is that true? Also, are the performance benefits based on:
- the fact that the packages are compiled from source
- the fact that there will not be as much unneeded stuff running
- or both?

Thanks a lot for your help. So far, the users at this stite have been very
patient and friendly and have really made me want to switch over to Linux as
much as possible.

I have been having a ball with my Fedora install. here is a screenshot:
http://www.bmore.us/screen2.png
1. It's my understanding that viruses are technically possible but practically
useless and aren't an issue. clamav is an open source av that runs on Linux
(and Windows, I think) but, as indicated, it's mostly for cleaning
Windows-based mail.

2. Performance improvements on a per app basis are minimal but present. The
main benefit of compiling a given app is customization and just knowing more
about it. For instance, your distro may believe bluefish is a Gnome app and
build in a truckload of dependencies. If you build it yourself, you can free
it from a lot of that. There are many other examples.

3. As a rule, yes, source-based distros perform better. One reason people may
confuse Slackware with source-based distros is that it performs nearly on par
with them. The reason is both - specific optimzations and cleaner systems.
Slackware primarily takes advantage of the second, since it's mostly '-O2
-march=i486 -mcpu=i686'. But that also prevents over-optimizing. It's not like
compiling from source just automatically makes stuff faster. If you do '-O99
-funroll-loops -optimize-like-a-loon' you'll probably end up with slower and
buggier and more crash-prone apps.

So compiling a given app basically gives you better control and some
performance; carefully compiling the whole system gives you much more control
and noticeable performance. But all distros are built from source, obviously -
it's just who's doing the building and with what motivations - you or the
distro. Most 'binary' distros are slower because they try to be all things to
all people on all hardware, or at least a significant subset of that.

Disclaimer: all this is just my opinion, obviously.
 
Old 03-03-2005, 05:06 PM   #4
timswim78
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Baltimore, Maryland (USA)
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
Posts: 70

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Re: Re: Questions about viruses, compiling, customizing/building distros, etc.

Quote:
Originally posted by digiot
1. It's my understanding that viruses are technically possible but practically
useless and aren't an issue. clamav is an open source av that runs on Linux
(and Windows, I think) but, as indicated, it's mostly for cleaning
Windows-based mail.

2. Performance improvements on a per app basis are minimal but present. The
main benefit of compiling a given app is customization and just knowing more
about it. For instance, your distro may believe bluefish is a Gnome app and
build in a truckload of dependencies. If you build it yourself, you can free
it from a lot of that. There are many other examples.

3. As a rule, yes, source-based distros perform better. One reason people may
confuse Slackware with source-based distros is that it performs nearly on par
with them. The reason is both - specific optimzations and cleaner systems.
Slackware primarily takes advantage of the second, since it's mostly '-O2
-march=i486 -mcpu=i686'. But that also prevents over-optimizing. It's not like
compiling from source just automatically makes stuff faster. If you do '-O99
-funroll-loops -optimize-like-a-loon' you'll probably end up with slower and
buggier and more crash-prone apps.

So compiling a given app basically gives you better control and some
performance; carefully compiling the whole system gives you much more control
and noticeable performance. But all distros are built from source, obviously -
it's just who's doing the building and with what motivations - you or the
distro. Most 'binary' distros are slower because they try to be all things to
all people on all hardware, or at least a significant subset of that.

Disclaimer: all this is just my opinion, obviously.
Thanks to both of you for great advice. This helps me understand things a little better. As I get more comfortable, I will try compiling some more stuff on my own. Can you suggest any good linux books? I saw one that looked pretty good. It was called, 'The Linux Bible' or something like that.
 
Old 03-03-2005, 08:55 PM   #5
slakmagik
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Re: Re: Re: Questions about viruses, compiling, customizing/building distros, etc.

Quote:
Originally posted by timswim78
Thanks to both of you for great advice. This helps me understand things a little better. As I get more comfortable, I will try compiling some more stuff on my own. Can you suggest any good linux books? I saw one that looked pretty good. It was called, 'The Linux Bible' or something like that.
Mm, I have an ancient Linux Bible. If it's the same, it's basically a hardcopy of TLDP - a bunch of FAQs and HOWTOs. So it's not anything you can't get off the net but it is nice to have. However, TLDP contains a lot of severely outdated information, as well. You have to be conscious of what's current and what's not or it can be confusing or misleading. Another good hardcopy is Welsh and Kaufman (I think) with 'Running Linux'. Also specific areas of interest - if you like shell or awk or C there are specifics for that, of course. And if you get a book focused on your distribution, that can be helpful. Really, though, any good general guide will give you some context and then you can dive into your own box - the man pages, /usr/doc, /usr/src/linux/Documentation, and so on.

Sorry if that's not much help, but few things specific stick out - basically just dive into anything and everything you can find.
 
  


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