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Old 02-15-2006, 03:01 AM   #1
Ingla
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Getting Serious about Linux


Hello.

I'm a realtive newbie, running Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy).

I realize that a lot of people use Linux mostly for non-business purposes. Therefore, it's sometimes hard to get knowledgeable answers about some kinds of programs. However, I really want to be able to function totally under Linux... if it can be done.

I use the computer heavily for work and have very nice programs for everything I need under Windows. I don't mind the fact that Linux programs work differently and, sometimes, have less cute GUI's, but I need to get all the functions I require under Linux...even if that sometimes requires a couple of extra clicks or commands.

The problem is software.

One of the main issues is e-mail.

1. As I run a couple of Web sites, I tend to get a lot of spam. Under Windows, I have a couple of POP3 e-mail checkers which show me everything on the server and allow me to delete e-mails directly from there, without ever downloading them to my machine. One even allows me to bounce messages back to the sender.

I'm having real difficulty finding software like this for Ubuntu. I located one popchecker, but it works from the command line. I was unable to get it to work properly and, anyway, command line is not the way to go with this job... it takes to long to do all this even with a simple click. Using commands for this daily clean up would take hours.

Apparently, kshowmail will do what I want and some people seem to be running it. I can't get a working version. As a newbie (and even if I weren't), I don't want to get involved with poorly documented tar.gz installations.

I have not found a deb for kshowmail. There are several rpm's available. However, I tried three of them (using alien). The first wouldn't work at all...the system couldn't even find the program. The other two installed it but it wouldn't work. When I tired to check a mail account it returned an error notice "Unknown protocol...POP3. It's a POP3 checker for Heaven's sake. Could be a dependency problem, but apt-get didn't mention it.

If anyone has any advice or, better yet, a deb they've used successfully under Breezy, I 'd certainly appreciate it.

2. I create and send HTML e-mails. I've found no program to do this. Under Windows, I use special software (Groupmail), which not only manages and keeps mailing lists, but allows you to write a plain text message and attach an HTML page. It then creates a multipart message and sends the messages to a separate mail server on my machine for dispatch to the recipients.

Outlook Express is the only e-mail client I know which can take an HTML page and send it as an e-mail. Internet Explorer has a "Send Page" function, but it doesn't produce a nice mail.

I have Evolution and Thunderbird, neither of which seems to be able to do this. Also, Firefox doesn't appear to have such a function.

Does anyone know how I can create HTML e-mails and send them to a list under Ubuntu?

3. It is also a must to be able to run Internet Explorer well. Some sites are written for IE only. This is very bad practice on the part of the developers, but I can't change the world. I haven't tried this yet, but would appreciate some advice. I'm aware of Wine, but hear people have a lot of trouble with it. I haven't checked out Wine or Crossover Office. Advice, please?

3. Antivirus: I realize folks don't feel as threatened under Linux, but I'm sure that, as Linux gains in popularity, this is going to change. I've tried Clam and a couple of others. However, without realtime scanning, they're not good for much. It often is too late to do a virus scan when a machine is already infected. The only things I've found are commercial applications which, for some reason, cost many times what the same company's Windows version sells for.

Is there a real time virus scanner that can run in the background on Ubuntu?

If anyone can address any or all of these issues, it would be a great help.

Thanks very much.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 04:38 AM   #2
Agrouf
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Lotus Notes is the best email client ever created on earth. My $2000000000.
What do you call real time scanning? Is that about firewalling or scanning incoming emails? Ubuntu Breezy is safer as is than (windows+antivirus) and that has nothing to do with popularity but design. If you want to be even safer, try SELinux and tripwire or AIDE.

Last edited by Agrouf; 02-15-2006 at 06:57 AM.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 09:17 AM   #3
Ingla
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Thanks for the reply.

I googled for Lotus Notes (had seen the name, but never checked it out). From what I can tell, it's a Windows program and won't run on Linux. I didn't check the pricing, but that might be a factor.

By "realtime", I mean the kind of thing you get with Windows antivirus programs. This includes automatic scanning of incoming messages and some background activity which has notified me on many occasions of an infected file which suddenly appeared in the system (often in System or System32) even when I wasn't downloading e-mail.

Some of these known programs, such as AVG, say they have a version for Linux servers. I don't know what that means exactly. I'm not currently using Ubuntu as a server...just a desktop PC with e-mail and Internet browsing.

I was saving the server questions for some future post. I don't need to run a Web site from my machine but, as mentioned, would like some sort of e-mail server to send occasional messages to a list, preferably without turning the whole Linux box into a server. I just need a mail server program which I can turn on and off when I want.

Any help on all this will be appreciated.

Thanks.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 09:42 AM   #4
RedShirt
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1: Why can't you just use Thunderbird and delete the mail? This way you can set up spam filters which smart adaptation, after a week or two, with a little help and direction in terms of setting junk, it is trained well enough you don't even need to check the trash for mail you are missing. If you set the filter to run upon program launch, you never directly download the messages. Also with IMAP, if that is available, you NEVER download the messages unless you want to, which is the major drawback of POP.

2: Firefox is a browser, not a "complete" web client, it has no e-mail. Opera has an e-mail client and web browser, but the e-mail client is terrible. Thunderbird can and will do mailing lists and html e-mail. But kmail or qmail may be more to your liking in terms of how they build said e-mails. Try those.

3: Try running Opera with "Identify as IE" set. I do online banking and updates and many other things in just FF with no issue. I haven't seen a site in over a year which I needed non FF. But I know I have heard some people say they have still(why is anybody's guess, upon checking those same sites, I have never found they needed IE). But for those people, Opera as IE tends to do the job.

4: CLAM, and there are a few other virus scanners out there which will run under linux.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 01:59 PM   #5
Electrified
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Alwil have a antivirus for linux. I have never tried it though. But the windows version is great so I think the linux one is good to.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 02:33 PM   #6
Ingla
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Hi.

Thanks very much for the reply.

1. Basically,you're probably right about using Thunderbird and deleting messages (which is what I've been doing). Until viruses become a serious threat on this OS, I guess there's no harm done. Under Windows, I don't dare, as many of these unwanted mails do contain viruses, scripts and who knows what.

Filters can be a problem as the spammers have work-arounds. You get mails like this:

From: To: Subject:
John you@your.com News HIUGHUYiu
Paul him@your.com News1 osdjfke
Shelly fun@your.com .News ajdyfkll

All of them are the same mails with different "From" names, "To" addresses and subjects with random strings to prevent setting up effective filters. (I'll never figure out why some fool would think that if he sends me his junk 15 times a day, in a way which prevents me from blocking him, that I'm going to have to buy his product!)

At least in Linux, it's not too dangerous to download things.

2. I don't know how to do mailing lists in Thunderbird (can check that out, but the program has no help files).

HTML e-mails are a different matter. In principle, I can send a mail as plain text or HTML, but the latter only means formatting, such as fonts, text colors and the like.

I'm talking about real HTML, where I write a file (a small Web page, actually), complete with images, tables, whatever...and send that. Most e-mail clients can't do that, and just pasting the file into the message window will just result in the recipient seeing raw HTML code.

So, I need to find a program that can send those...even if it's just to an outgoing server on my machine.

I did install kmail, but couldn't get it to work at all...wouldn't even download my POP3 messages. I'm running Ubuntu with Gnome, so maybe some kde stuff is missing from the system, but I didn't get any messages about dependencies on installation (though it might not be a matter of dependencies in the strict sense). I've configured all kinds of clients and accounts before with no difficulty. I don't know what the problem is.

Maybe I should give qmail a try.

3. I used to run Opera, mostly for testing Web pages. It's a nice program. I've just gotten used to using Firefox...even on Windows...except for those IE only sites.

I'll install Opera. If it really can fool those sites, that'll be that. Might be it can't work with some of Microsoft's proprietory HTML and scripts. It's worth a try.

4. I've used Clam before, as I mentioned. However, it can only do a system scan on demand...no realtime. I saw a post somwhere saying that someone had succeeded in getting it to do a realtime scan with Evolution. It was done by having Evolution run a script. Thunderbird doesn't allow that option. I like Thunderbird better than Evolution, but maybe I could use the latter anyway.

Still, I've tried a couple of Linux anitvirus programs, but none had realtime scanning. Does anyone know of one that does?

Any further ideas on creating HTML e-mails and antiviruses most welcome.

Thanks very much.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 03:20 PM   #7
Agrouf
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About the real time scanning stuff, you don't need that on linux and I dont think it exists. It is needed on windows because any program run by any user can modify the system32 thing. On linux, it doesn't happen because the kernel doesn't allow it. In other words, the kernel is the real time scanner you are looking for I believe. It is already more secure than any system32 with "realtime antivirus". SELinux is even more secure but you probably dont need it unless you are running a server containing military data and are specifically targeted.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 04:12 PM   #8
Ingla
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Thanks.

I can accept that unless the virus situation changes. I understand there can be a problem with rootkits. Haven't checked into that much, but there are scanners available. As you say, I'm not likely to be specially targeted...but who knows...hackers will hack.

Still looking for a way to create HTML e-mails. Any ideas?

Thanks very much.
 
Old 02-15-2006, 04:38 PM   #9
vidski
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for IExplorer, use CXOffice or crossover or whatever you want to call it. CXoffice and Sedega are like supported extensions of WINE and are not free like wine. (at least not since I got them) Segega is made for games where as CXoffice is made to support many windows business apps like MS office and visio and all that.

I installed CXoffice and had no trouble with Internet explorer.

GL
 
Old 02-15-2006, 05:33 PM   #10
chrism01
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If you are really paranoid, check out this list: http://www.insecure.org/tools.html , although it's overkill for most people.
For a relative beginner I'd look at:

1. Tripwire : http://www.tripwire.com/products/enterprise/ost/ - lok at the open source/free version. Should be avail from your distro.

2. Bastille : http://www.bastille-linux.org/

3. www.chkrootkit.org/

4. http://www.rootkit.nl/projects/rootkit_hunter.html

The usual warning applies: don't run as root unless you absolutely have to.
Luckily in Linux, that's true for most progs, even if you have to install as root.
Don't worry about server vs desktop. Linus was desgined from the ground up (lke Unix) to be a multi-tasking multi-user system, so running a 'server' prog eg sendmail is perfectly reasonable on a 'desktop' box.
In fact a lot of developers do just that ie have their 'desktop' dev tools and a complete set of reqd servers eg mysql/sendmail/apache etc on the same box ... I know I do
 
Old 02-15-2006, 06:19 PM   #11
jschiwal
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There is a system called AppArmour for linux that you might want to look into. It monitors applications and system files for changes. It may be easier use then SELinux. The SuSE Linux website will have the User Manuals and white papers available for downloading (pdf files).

Reading E-Mails and deleting them on the remote server is what IMAP is designed to do. With IMAP, the handling of messages is done on the server unless you decide to move the messages to a local folder. The POP based program you are using is faking it if it claims it doesn't download the e-mail messages. Any e-mail service (ISP), and MTA client program will allow you to use IMAP.

What is dangerous about how windows e-mail and Internet clients work, is the ability of running native binary code on the client machine. Any web-sites utilizing this should be avoided. Even running Firefox on a windows machine is a lot safer. In linux you can have the /var and /tmp directories mounted in a partition which is mounted with the 'noexec' option. A file residing there can not be run. Other partitions like /usr may be mounted in separate partitions read only. (These are more likely in a corporate environment then a default home installation) The biggest obstacle to virus/worm replication is that Linux and Unix strictly enforces a User/Group permission system. You can do this in XP, but this will cause a number of applications to fail.

Preventing malware and hacking in Linux is mostly a matter of not making mistakes in how your system and programs are configured, and in monitoring the system for anomalies such as if the md5 sums of a program in /sbin has changed.

We used to have some NTs at work. They had live virus scanners running. And the virus definitions were updated from a central server. This company had a Unix/Linux based product that would do the same thing. It is designed to protect infection of client computers on the network. While it scans for Windows viruses, to prevent windows machines from being infected on the LAN, it could easily include definitions for Linux based viruses if and when they appear.
 
Old 04-07-2006, 12:30 PM   #12
motin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vidski
for IExplorer, use CXOffice or crossover or whatever you want to call it. CXoffice and Sedega are like supported extensions of WINE and are not free like wine. (at least not since I got them) Segega is made for games where as CXoffice is made to support many windows business apps like MS office and visio and all that.

I installed CXoffice and had no trouble with Internet explorer.

GL
Why pay for CrossOver Office when WINE is free? I use WINE 0.9.11 to efficiently run Ie5, Ie5.5 and Ie6 at the same time.

Download and install wine at www DOT winehq DIT com

Then go to www DOT tatanka DOT com DOT br / ies4linux /, where you'll find instructions of how to automatically install the three above mentioned browsers, or just one of them.

(Sorry for the spaces in the links but there is a silly rule about not allowing to post urls before having made 3 posts...)
 
  


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