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Old 09-26-2009, 02:03 AM   #16
Mikech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farna View Post
Because all of us Linux newbies aren't technologically mindless. I don't want to struggle just getting an OS to do basic things -- I came up with DOS and working on a mini-mainframe (Wang), but I'm not going to tolerate a lot of command line work with a MODERN OS. That's not acceptable. I like the capability of manipulating and tweaking from the bottom (kernel) up IF I so desire/have the capabilities.
WOW! Couldn't agree more about the command line. Those of us who started our computer work using command lines (actually I started with teletype tape in 1972) really appreciate a good GUI. I have had arguments with newer people who seem to think that if you aren't using a command line you aren't really using the computer the way you should, and you are clearly deficient for not learning all those arcane commands. Thats because they didn't grow up having to use the command line for EVERYTHING! You had to keep a book of commands next to the keyboard. Or you had to use "debug" and assembly language to fix problems or format a hardisk.

There was a reason why Windoze 3.1 was so successful. It wasn't by accident. It wasn't because of the technologically mindless!! They didn't even exist yet. It was because all of us computer experts using the command line were GRATEFUL for some respite from the @#$@#ing command line!!

After more than 40 years using computers, I have learned that learning arcane commands on the command line is a HUGE inefficient waste of time and effort. Doing something with a well-written, user-oriented and intuitive GUI takes a small fraction of the time it takes to do it using the command line. If that were not true, then no business would use GUI-based software.

But like computer games, some people are addicted to fiddling with their systems and feel superior and smarter than other people if they know some special arcane thing few other people know. One problem is that all those arcane commands are going to be obsolete in about 5 years and all that effort to learn and memorize will have been wasted.

I now never learn more about using any software than I absolutely have to, to do my work, and I feel the same way about the operating system. Because anything I learn today will be obsolete in about 5 years or maybe sooner! I was once considered a computer guru. Nothing I knew then is the least bit useful today (except assembly language). Younger guys will learn that the hard way themselves or they could listen to an old guy with 40 years experience.

LINUX gurus need to embrace the GUI. It is their friend and will save them a great deal of time.

Last edited by Mikech; 09-26-2009 at 10:16 AM.
 
Old 09-26-2009, 11:03 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by lleb View Post
3.FireFox 3.5 browser installed with adblock+, NoScript, and all-in-one gestures add-ons installed and updated.
4.Thunderbird installed and configured to connect to my e-mail server.
5.DVD playback.
Thank you for the fine job you did evaluating installation of distributions! I wish I had read this earlier. It would have saved me many hours of wasted effort. I would thank you in the forum but I can't see any obvious way to thank people. If there is, it does not seem to display on my screen.

I do want to take exception to the Firefox thing. The fact that Firefox didn't load with ad-ons should be a non-issue. The people your refer to, with limited computer skills, typically don't have a clue what those add-ons you mention will do for them or why they would need them. They use Firefox out of the box. Noscript would be beyond their skill level. Trust me; I know this from experience!

Also I have begun having reservations about using Firefox at all because of their very close association with Google. I think most people are unaware of how evil Google is and I have stopped using their search engine myself. To illustrate the insidious nature of Firefox; did you know that FF buries special cookies in files (open in Windoze and hidden in LINUX) that most people are unaware of?

Perhaps having distributions review the FF source code and remove back-doors isn't such a bad thing (assuming they actually do that).
 
Old 09-26-2009, 02:05 PM   #18
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Well said!! I've run across that sentiment (users should have to learn more about the inner workings of computers) way too many times. It's not a good one. Sort of like small towns a few decades ago fighting to keep chain stores out. Those towns have dried up or come around. Linux will have to do the same -- come around or it will always be a niche programmer's toy. The thing is as it stands now IT CAN BE BOTH!!

chochons, What kind of problems did you have with Mint? I've installed Mint 7 (Gloria) on two machines, one an old Athlon and another a not as old Athlon XP. Both went without a hitch at all, I haven't had to tweak a thing! Maybe there's a lag with the newer hardware? That's a bit understandable -- nothing I have is less than a year old, and none of it is (or was!) cutting edge hardware. My newest machine is a Socket 939 Athlon x2 machine. I bought the 939 MB right before the Socket AM2 came out, thinking I was getting something that I could upgrade for several years before having to get another motherboard... then within a couple months of me buying AMD intro's a new socket!! My next MB will be AM2+ or AM3... not sure which yet. Planning on another within six months, a year at most. If I buy an AM3 they'll probably intro an AM4...

Last edited by farna; 09-26-2009 at 02:06 PM. Reason: spelling
 
Old 09-26-2009, 06:22 PM   #19
Mikech
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Originally Posted by farna View Post
chochons, What kind of problems did you have with Mint? .
Gloria installed without a problem and I was really really excited about it because that had never happened before with any distribution. It recognized all my hardware, my wireless, even my Epson 600 wireless printer, and established an internet conncetion and updated itself without my having to waste one precious second of what remains of my life. I couldn't get SUSE, Fedora or Mandriva to even print (to a parallel HP722c) let alone talk to the Epson (OK well I could but it took about 40 hours of work). I was so excited that I completely removed Windoze and formatted my entire harddrive for LINUX. I even wrote a a large check for the Mint organization (but the guy said not to send it because he was in Europe!)

But then when I tried to actually do some work the troubles began. First I had difficulty loading software. I need some escoteric software for creating training materials. All sorts of specialty stuff most people don't need. And all available as open source! If I loaded software from source it simply would not work (not always but often enough to be annoying). It compiled OK and everything was as it should be and where it should be, but if you clicked on the icon to run the software, nothing happened. Then slowly, Gloria began to decay. First the menu disappeared one day. I switched to the default Gnome menu which worked fine except for anything with the word 'Mint" in it. Then the update stopped working and the icon disappeared. I tried reinstalling it with apt-get and package manager and even though I received no errors, it would not run. Then the e-mail program stopped working and I had to use web-mail. Over the course of a month, one application after another failed. Nothing worked the way it was supposed to even in terminal.

I summoned all of my OS knowledge from the last 4 decades and tried to guess where and what could be the problem. My guess was that: when I removed thunderbird and other applications I don't need or want, critical libraries went also, even though other packages were dependent on them as well. But reinstallation made no difference. I tried all the obvious things but no matter what I did, those icons would not run the program (at least where you could see it.) I used a process manager to see if the programs were running but not talking to xwindows and the processes were not running. I checked for disk errors. There were none. I was able to get a virus program to work and checked for viruses. None were reported. I checked for rootkits. None were reported. I tried to use root to reconfigure. That turned out to be beyond my skill level. I never received a single error message as Gloria decayed away into unusability!

So I created a new partition on a separate harddrive, reinstalled Gloria and then copied my user files and overwrote the new user files and everything works just fine now. But I am afraid to load any new programs or use this as a production machine (this is bad because it is my fastest and most expensive machine). It is only an Internet access point now.

Please don't tell me how to fix this even if you know. I have neither the time nor the interest. I just want a LINUX distribution that works, lets me install new programs and doesn't self-destruct without my having to do any "maintenance." Like Windoze of MAC OS X.

My Windoze XP machine has been running continuously since 2007 (except for two power outages) and I have never had to do anything to the OS. Yet I have loaded and removed MANY video, graphics, sound and other production applications. But I hate Mircosoft for their greed, their cavalier disregard for customers and their pure evilness.

I look forward to the day I can use LINUX. The number one problem with LINUX today is software installation and removal.
 
Old 09-27-2009, 09:12 AM   #20
farna
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"I need some escoteric software for creating training materials. All sorts of specialty stuff most people don't need. And all available as open source!"

Sorry, but I'd say the problem is with the "esoteric software", not the distribution, or Linux in general. Other distros may have the same problem. I'm not an expert on Mint, but there is an installer program that should be used for software... though maybe it's just a front-end. Can't recall exactly how to get to it now, I've only been playing with Mint a little, and don't have it running in front of me. Have a small HD (30GB) in the machine I'm building, waiting to install a larger one (120GB just came in, now to find the time!) before playing with it any more. My main interest at this point is using WINE (Wine Doors, specifically) to see how well that works with some relatively simple games. This is to be my wife's new machine and see likes those graphic "seek and find" games. Might be some for Linux, but want to see if I can't get some of the Windows versions running. Most have light needs compared to some of the Windows games people have running, so it should be easy.

Open source just means the code is available for modifying if you can, doesn't mean it will work as written on every Linux platform. Not being a Linux expert, I'd suggest you find out what distro the software was written on and is known to work with and spend a little effort getting it to work with your hardware. That shouldn't be too much trouble. One problem with open source is spotty support. You might need to find different tools, and maybe try Wine with some of the Windows tools, assuming they are available. Or a dual boot system might be more stable. Oh, there's Virtual Box also -- I think that's going to be my fall-back if I have too much trouble with Wine. Should be simpler than a dual boot system.
 
Old 09-27-2009, 09:25 PM   #21
lleb
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Originally Posted by chochoms View Post
Thank you for the fine job you did evaluating installation of distributions! I wish I had read this earlier. It would have saved me many hours of wasted effort. I would thank you in the forum but I can't see any obvious way to thank people. If there is, it does not seem to display on my screen.
Just posting here is plenty thanks.
Quote:

I do want to take exception to the Firefox thing. The fact that Firefox didn't load with ad-ons should be a non-issue. The people your refer to, with limited computer skills, typically don't have a clue what those add-ons you mention will do for them or why they would need them. They use Firefox out of the box. Noscript would be beyond their skill level. Trust me; I know this from experience!
yes sadly far to many people do not know about extensions, but once shown, much like FF, they tend to love the 1st two hands down and for heavy net browsers they also start to really love the 3rd. adblock+ and noscript are IMHO a MUST have today as they protect you from more then 98% of potential security issues that might arise in FF and more and more will still cover you until their is a patch for those security issues. as for all-in-one gestures, that is just something i fell in love with from Opera. Opera has the mouse navigation gestures as part of the browser. right click and drag up you get a new tab, right click and drag left you go back 1 page, right you go forward 1 page, etc... very handy.
Quote:

Also I have begun having reservations about using Firefox at all because of their very close association with Google. I think most people are unaware of how evil Google is and I have stopped using their search engine myself. To illustrate the insidious nature of Firefox; did you know that FF buries special cookies in files (open in Windoze and hidden in LINUX) that most people are unaware of?

Perhaps having distributions review the FF source code and remove back-doors isn't such a bad thing (assuming they actually do that).
as far as back-doors in FF there can not be any or the FOSS community would be all over those security issues. think about it, FF is still GNU/GPL thus it is 100% open and there are plenty of people out there reading that code daily looking for bugs and security issues for both good and bad reasons. If google was having Mozilla put bad things into FF it would be caught sooner then later.

I just wish Google would port Chrome to Linux as fast as it ports it to Windows.
 
Old 09-27-2009, 10:33 PM   #22
Mikech
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Originally Posted by farna View Post
Sorry, but I'd say the problem is with the "esoteric software", not the distribution, or Linux in general. Other distros may have the same problem. I'm not an expert on Mint, but there is an installer program that should be used for software... though maybe it's just a front-end.
Thanks for the tips, Farna. Almost all the programs I downloaded were obtained through "Synaptic package manager" which is a GUI or "apt-get" which is a command line installer. Some programs I needed were not available through those means but I have loaded them on other LINUX machines (using Mandriva) and on Windows XP without a problem and while they are specialized, they are mainstream from legitimate companies or organizations and have been reviewed in computer magazines. For instance my storybord program is Celtx and that has to be loaded from source. My render program is Blender, and so forth.

A properly programmed operating system should be able to insulate itself from miss-behaving software. The problem is in MINT. I know this because the new installation has started to act flakey even though I have installed and removed no software. For instance, today I suddenly had two "Tomboy" icons in the panel. I have proven hardware and nothing "state of the art," but all known to work with LINUX. I like Mint but it is not stable on my computer.

Last edited by Mikech; 09-29-2009 at 10:32 AM.
 
Old 09-27-2009, 10:53 PM   #23
Mikech
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Originally Posted by lleb View Post
FF is still GNU/GPL thus it is 100% open and there are plenty of people out there reading that code daily looking for bugs and security issues for both good and bad reasons. If google was having Mozilla put bad things into FF it would be caught sooner then later.
In my opinion hiding things from users is a bad thing. If you check every privacy box and the program still retains information in a hidden file, thats a bad thing. I am sorry all those people checking the source code don't see it that way. But I do know that Amazon knew exactly who I was and what I had left off doing even after I shut down Firefox and my computer, the next time I started up. Despite the fact that I always delete all the cookies. After I got rid of a Firefox hidden file (can't remember the name of it off top of my head), Amazon no longer knew who I was. I do remember the file name gave no clue that it might contain personal information.

This is also the Goggle business model: to gather information about people, and their searches and then sell that information. The information is traceable to a specific computer. They do this in a sneaky way without the user's knowledge or permission. I know this because I presently have a list of over a dozen IP addresses, that are all in Google's domain that I have to block. Blocking them does not affect the searches at all except to delay them as Firefox tries to send your information to the blocked IPs. Look at your security logs and you will see.

Last edited by Mikech; 09-27-2009 at 11:02 PM.
 
Old 09-28-2009, 12:14 PM   #24
farna
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chochoms, have you brought this to the attention of the Mint team? I haven't been running it long enough to experience any problems because I'm waiting to install this new hard drive. Then I need to actually USE the machine for a while -- especially after your experience. I hope it's something the Mint team has fixed or fixes soon, as like you I really like the distro. But if it proves to be flaky on my rather basic machine I'll be forced to switch to something that's more stable. MEPIS was my first choice for "easy to install/use", but I like the "look and feel" of Mint so much better, especially the menu. Time will tell!
 
Old 09-28-2009, 03:15 PM   #25
Mikech
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Originally Posted by farna View Post
chochoms, have you brought this to the attention of the Mint team?
No I didn't. I normally don't ask for support but when I did on the Mint forum I was rudely treated. The majority of the people are very nice but many tend to be condescending and patronizing. They all appear to be of the "users OUGHT to learn the command line" school of thought. So I don't login there anymore. I've decided I only want software that works out of the box even though I can usually figure out what the problem is and fix it. I can fix my own cars too. But now I only buy new cars and have the dealer work on them. Life is too short to fix cars or software!!

Don't let my experience deter you. Check the internet and the Gloria forum before you make up your mind. Try loading the software you use and run it for a few weeks. My problems always started within a week of the install (now that I think of it; always after the periodic updates!!). Mint is by far the best installation I have seen for working right out of the box (except for the self-destruct thing). If I was willing to spend more time troubleshooting this I would keep Mint. Give it a chance. Also, you can buy support from Mint at a very reasonable rate ($180 a year - that's less than 50 cents a day). If I were going to keep Mint that would be what I would do. I may still do that because Mint may prove to be the best of the whole pathetic lot.

I tried Mepis after my Gloria experience and I couldn't get my parallel printer (HP 722C)to work (same with SUSE, Fedora and Mandriva). The printer installation GUI wants you to find and install a driver without offering one, even though it recognizes which printer you have and how it is connected!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Only Mint installed my printer.)
Fixable? Sure but not worth my time. Mepis is the installation required by UNM if you want to take any of their LINUX courses so it must be fairly decent once it is working.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 07:00 AM   #26
farna
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I understand, but you're going to find nearly ALL Linux development groups that way. That fact is what started this thread! You just have to ignore the ones with swelled egos and thank the ones that politely explain things. The egos don't want linux to be mainstream, or don't care if it is or not. They're like people in a small town that really like their small town the way it is and want to keep big stores out, and the town from growing more than to their liking... right up until it's almost dead.

All the distros will require some small amount of tweaking to get 100% of all the unique hardware combinations out there working. Parallel printers are pretty obsolete, that's most likely why Mepis didn't recognize it without tweaking. A post to the forum should have got some help on that rather simple item. I bet a USB printer would have worked right away. I haven't tried printing anything yet, so I don't know for sure.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 10:20 AM   #27
Mikech
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All the distros will require some small amount of tweaking to get 100% of all the unique hardware combinations out there working.
But that is the problem. There is nothing unique about my system. I purposely use older equipment so LINUX will recognize it. The problem with the printer was not that it was parallel but that the distribution wanted me to go get the driver even though it knew which driver I needed. I was already connected so it could have done that. Instead the "get driver" button simply takes you to your home directory instead of to a repository, the HP website or someplace on the computer where the drivers are kept. Considering that HP drivers for both parallel and usb are well known, readily available and HP is a LINUX company made no difference. There is absolutely no excuse for this. By the way, when I finally found the driver, it was already loaded on my hard drive and it just needed to be configured. Talk about SLOPPY GUI programming! Mint found and setup both the HP and the Epson wireless printer automatically. So obviously it can be done.

Looks like the "egos" are winning the design decisions for most LINUX distributions to the detriment of winning the OS wars. Apparently they have decided to remain a niche product.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 01:24 PM   #28
lleb
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In my opinion hiding things from users is a bad thing. If you check every privacy box and the program still retains information in a hidden file, thats a bad thing. I am sorry all those people checking the source code don't see it that way. But I do know that Amazon knew exactly who I was and what I had left off doing even after I shut down Firefox and my computer, the next time I started up. Despite the fact that I always delete all the cookies. After I got rid of a Firefox hidden file (can't remember the name of it off top of my head), Amazon no longer knew who I was. I do remember the file name gave no clue that it might contain personal information.

This is also the Goggle business model: to gather information about people, and their searches and then sell that information. The information is traceable to a specific computer. They do this in a sneaky way without the user's knowledge or permission. I know this because I presently have a list of over a dozen IP addresses, that are all in Google's domain that I have to block. Blocking them does not affect the searches at all except to delay them as Firefox tries to send your information to the blocked IPs. Look at your security logs and you will see.
and you are saying that IE does not do this too? from the sounds of what you are talking about it has nothing to do with FF, or any browser for that matter, but the URL you visited. FF it self does not send any information back to mozilla or google that a URL does not tell it to do. as for retaining privacy information, there are plenty of ways to prevent that many of them built into FF it self.

Again, what you are talking about is 100% to do with the URL and 0% to do with FireFox or any other browser out there.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 10:52 PM   #29
Mikech
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Again, what you are talking about is 100% to do with the URL and 0% to do with FireFox or any other browser out there.
I don't want to drag this off-topic item out so this is the last I will say about this. But I do want set the record straight because I did a poor job explaining.

Websites send packets that contain information about you and your preferences to your browser to store on your computer and then be read the next time you visit that website. An example is Google preferences. Thats not stored on a Google server. Its stored on your computer. Its the only way they know who is connecting and what your preferences are. The information has to be stored on your computer and the browser is the software that reads and writes that infromation. How and where the information is written and read is a function of the browser programming. The sending Website has no control over that.

These packets of personal information are called "cookies." They generally are kept in a file called "cookies." Cookie files are almost always text files that you and I can read (except in Explorer as you noted). All browsers set cookies as a service to websites. And for some people, cookies are very useful because they don't have to reenter information at their favorite websites.

When you set up privacy in FF one of the several privacy settings allows you to erase all cookies and the cookie file is reset to zero bytes. Once cookies are erased, no website should be able to access your name, or preferences, or your last shopping cart or any other information about you without hacking your computer. You setup your privacy settings and low and behold the cookies file is empty after you leave FF. So you are a happy camper right? But Mozilla has in fact deceived you into a false sense of security.

FF has another file which is hidden and has a obscure file name where it keeps cookies that you cannot erase no matter what your privacy settings are (just like Explorer!). Nor can you view the content of that file because the file is in binary or at least can't be read by any program I could find (just like Explorer). We can only guess at its purpose, but I believe that certain large donors to Mozilla, like Amazon and Google, know how to set cookies in that file and then read them no matter what your privacy settings are. Like I said, Amazon knew who I was even though I had erased all the cookies in the normal cookies file. The only way it could do that is if the information was saved on my computer by the browser and Amazon had infromation on how to read that file. It might be able to read my IP but it can't know my name except from a cookie. But I had erased the cookies so how could it? Because of the special hidden FF file. Once I got rid of that hidden FF file, Amazon didn't know who I was anymore even during the same session. I did this several times to confirm that FF was really hiding cookies from me (just like Explorer).

The problem is that FF is even more insidious than Explorer because at least Microsoft is up front about being evil. FF tricks you into thinking you have privacy settings when you really don't, and that you have erased your cookies when it is really keeping them in a hidden file that only certain customers can access. This strategy has Google written all over it. Now I doubt that its harmful, but it is sneaky, dishonest and I deeply resent it. If I had the time to read the source code I guess I could confirm my suspicions but I haven't got the time.

By the way, all of the above happened on a Windows machine, so I don't know if the LINUX version has this problem or if the problem would exist if you compiled from source on a Windows machine. My guess is that it is only in the executable for Windows which is what the vast majority of the world uses.

I hope this long-winded explanation has helped you understand the problem (assuming you even had time to read it).
 
Old 09-30-2009, 01:23 AM   #30
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FF has another file which is hidden and has a obscure file name where it keeps cookies that you cannot erase no matter what your privacy settings are (just like Explorer!). Nor can you view the content of that file because the file is in binary or at least can't be read by any program I could find (just like Explorer). We can only guess at its purpose, but I believe that certain large donors to Mozilla, like Amazon and Google, know how to set cookies in that file and then read them no matter what your privacy settings are. Like I said, Amazon knew who I was even though I had erased all the cookies in the normal cookies file. The only way it could do that is if the information was saved on my computer by the browser and Amazon had infromation on how to read that file. It might be able to read my IP but it can't know my name except from a cookie. But I had erased the cookies so how could it? Because of the special hidden FF file. Once I got rid of that hidden FF file, Amazon didn't know who I was anymore even during the same session. I did this several times to confirm that FF was really hiding cookies from me (just like Explorer).

The problem is that FF is even more insidious than Explorer because at least Microsoft is up front about being evil. FF tricks you into thinking you have privacy settings when you really don't, and that you have erased your cookies when it is really keeping them in a hidden file that only certain customers can access. This strategy has Google written all over it. Now I doubt that its harmful, but it is sneaky, dishonest and I deeply resent it. If I had the time to read the source code I guess I could confirm my suspicions but I haven't got the time.
What file was that?

You are right not to trust Google; they are aggregating far, far too much information about individuals. That is inherently dangerous, even if Google has no nefarious intent.

You also might want to investigate the flash player. It is collecting info unless you explicitly stop it from doing so.
 
  


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