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:
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
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.