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Tip It's a CLI World
Command line tricks for users
by @admin, july 20, 2020, 02:47pm utc

For better or worse, if using Linux, you are likely to spend some time using the CLI (command line interface). However, once you start to do so, you might actually like it -- because the tools there are so powerful.

This post will be a collection spot for some simple, getting started, CLI tricks.

We'll try and organize these in a simplest to more advanced order.

Tip: Four ways to get to the command line:

1. Click the menu icon, Administration, then Terminal,
2. or press Ctrl+Alt+T,
3. or press Alt-F2 and type "Terminal",
4. or press the menu icon and type "Terminal" then enter.

getting to the command line
Clicking to the Terminal

First, off: Returning to home

While in the CLI prompt, you will be situated in a folder (aka a directory). From there, you manuever around to other folders using the cd (change directory) command.

By default, when you open the terminal to get the command prompt, you will be placed into your home folder/directory. So, it will be something like fred@WORK5:~$ (but instead it will show [your user name]@[your machine name]:~$ ).

What all of that just means is that you are placed in your home folder when you open the terminal, and your username is fred. As in:

/home/fred

The little tilde (~) character? That means "home" and is a shortcut for your home folder. When you see it in the prompt that signifies that you are in the home folder.

So, if you wanted to move to your documents folder, which is here (/home/fred/Documents) you would type $ cd Documents



Advanced folks! Just three more basics, please.
(We're also setting up the folder names to be discussed as well)
.


Lets assume that you are in this folder:

/home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/spreadsheets for 2020

There are two 'operators' for relative paths. '.' and '..'.

Here is how those work.

Tip: If at any time you become uncomfortable with cd and the folders; just type $ nemo . .

This will jump you right out into the GUI file manager. You can also press the "Window" key at any time, to pop-up the GUI menu, and to be able to escape that way.

Of course, typing $ exit to leave the terminal will work as well.

$ cd ../ moves you Up a folder.

In relative terms, this is to the 'parent' of where you started.
('.' is the folder that you started from).

So, BOTH of the following commands will move you up to the folder
/home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/

cd "/home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/"
and
cd ../


For the first one, you have to enclose the string in " " otherwise Linux (as well as Windows) does not know how to handle the spaces in the name.

We'll show you a trick for dealing with the spaces in a bit.


pwd

By default, you are shown the bottom-most folder in your path on the prompt.

So if you are in /home/fred/Downloads, your prompt will show fred@WORK:Downloads$

Something that we'll address in another blog post is how to configure the prompt the way that you like, including colors and how to show more, or less, path information.

But anyway, the pwd (print working directory) command shows you the full path to where you are at.

$ pwd returns /home/fred/Downloads


cd ~ and cd -

These are two special parameters to cd.

The first returns you to your home directory from wherever you are. Just cd ~ and you're home.

The second takes you to the folder that you were last at.

So, if you were in /home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/spreadsheets for 2020

and typed either

cd ../../ or cd /home/fred/Downloads

to get in to /home/fred/Downloads ...

...then cd - will pop you right back into
/home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/spreadsheets for 2020


Note: You will remember that '~' means the home folder.
"~" can also be used relatively.

So cd ~/Downloads will also put you into
/home/fred/Downloads



Secondly: Cutting down typing

Obviously, typing out

$ cd /home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/spreadsheets for 2020

is cumbersome.

But you can use the '*' wildcard character to ease the work.

So... cd "/home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/s*"

also gets you to:
/home/fred/Downloads/work to be done/spreadsheets for 2020


cd "/home/fred/Downloads/w*/s*" will also get you there.

So will cd "/home/fred/D*/w*/s*"

as will cd ~/D*/w*/s*

This is tremendously useful if you know right where you want to be.


One slight caution: If for example, there are two 'D' files in the Downloads folder you'll get a "bash: cd: too many arguments" error; because it does not know which of the D items to pick.

But, that's ok, just add another character or two until you have a unique name, and press enter again, to go right to where you want.

tags: Advanced users, Tips
News item Mostly Free Software
Describing what 'free' means to us.
by @admin, june 26, 2020, 01:16pm utc

So, we have told you about mostly free software; but what does that really mean?

"Free software" can mean different things (see the sidebar What is "free" software?).

For our customers we promote truly free-to-use software and applications.


So ... why does La Vojo show fees with some of the free software replacements?

What we are trying to do here is to provide back some support to the creators making the free software. These people live on contributions. The amount that they get determines how much and how frequently that their software will be updated.

We think that is is fair to help them, if we are using their tools to save our customers a lot of money.

These fees are admittedly arbitrary, so we would be pleased to work with you to jiggle them around -- with a goal of being fair to "the ones that brought us to the party" as well as to you, our customers.

What is "free" software?

In this context there are two types of "free".

1. The ability to see the source code of the tool or application. The vendor may charge for this software, with the main benefit being -- that you actually know what it is that you are getting. There are no hidden backdoors; malware; or other tricks buried within a lump of compiled binary software that you would get from, say, Microsoft.

2. Same as the above, but at no cost.

There are occasionally some other twists, like how the software is licensed to you (the user).

It can be licensed in a way that allows you to use the software, but if you make any improvements to the code of the software, you are supposed to offer those changes back to the originators, often for free.
This is actually a good deal, for two reasons.

First, you started with something that took a great deal of time, effort and money to create. Offering back your changes is a very fair return.

Secondly, it is likely that you will still use the bulk of the original each time it changes. If you DID NOT offer back your changes, you would have to reimplement the changes each time the base changed. If you DID offer your changes back and the originator uses them; then each new update of the original would already have your stuff in it.

For a real life example of this, the Linux Mint Debian operating system is a version of Linux Mint, built on top of the upstream, originator Debian.

Or, like the BSD operating system, it can be licensed in a way that you can do whatever you please with it -- changing it; bundling it with your own software; or whatever you would like.


Our goal is to save you money and to promote open source software.

So we will be finding the very best, while least expensive item for you in all cases.

tags: All users, News
Tip Dig Into the Kernel
Here is a Very detailed, interactive kernel map.
by @admin, june 25, 2020, 02:32pm utc

This one is for advanced users. It is a highly detailed, interactive map of the functionality in the Linux kernel, by subsystem. If you double-click on an area of interest, you are shown a page breaking down that subsystem.

This one should keep anyone interested in the kernel, busy for a while.

Click the image below to try it out.

Linux Kernel

tags: Advanced users, Tips
Tip Pasting Images Together
Stitching images together with ImageMagick's convert.
by @admin, june 24, 2020, 12:09am utc

The command-line convert command, which is part of the very powerful ImageMagick image manipulation package, provides a very simple way to stitch together images. This can be done either vertically, using the -append parameter, or horizontally, using the +append parameter.

This can even provide a way to stitch together landscape photographs, to make one panoramic shot.

convert also works on more than two images. The examples below show 3 images pasted together to create the result-sprite png file.

# Vertically # Example (vertical sprite): $ convert image1.png image2.png image3.png -append result/result-sprite.png # Horizontally # Example (horizontal sprite): $ convert image1.png image2.png image3.png +append result/result-sprite.png

So for example, these two images ...

      

... can be pasted together into the below one using:
$ convert blog-pieces1.png blog-pieces2.png +append blog-pieces.png

tags: All users, Tips
News item Lynchburg Area Python List
A list on python.org for area developers
by @admin, may 26, 2020, 03:31pm utc

This is a mailing list for Bedford County, VA and Lynchburg, VA area python developers!

The list is to share tips; for python news; to get help for projects; or to offer your help on projects ... both those that are paid and those that are not.
Lynchburg, VA

Python is a great language.
We all know that here.

To subscribe you can send an email with 'subscribe' in the subject to lynchburg-va-join@python.org.

tags: All users, News
Tip Little Stuff
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, november 03, 2019, 12:10am utc

These are just some small tips when you're first moving to Linux from Windows/Mac. These are things that you are likely to use; so it may be helpful to have them all in one place.

Item on Windows on Linux
Naming files. Names are case insensitive Case Counts!1
These are 3 different files:
xyz.txt, XYZ.txt, Xyz.txt
Make a folder in the command prompt. c:\>md $ mkdir
Start a program/.bat and return to the prompt. c:\>start [program] $ [program] & disown
This will continue to send status messages to calling window. To suppress these messages (which can be useful), wrap the previous command in parenthesis. e.g. ( [program] & disown )
List a text file out. c:\>type xyz.txt | more $ cat xyz.txt | less
(less allows you to move through the file with the up/dn arrow keys)
Copy a file. c:\ > copy $ cp
Remove a file. c:\ > delete $ rm
ASK before overwriting or deleting. $ cp -i
$ rm -i
(Here is how to do this "globally")
Check the version of most CLI2 commands. $ [program] --version
Get quick help on using most CLI commands. $ [program] --help
Get in-depth help on most programs. $ man [program]
rm'd files are potentially recoverable.
For greater security, see shred.
see $ shred -- help | less
If you want Hillary Clinton-level hiding, see Bleachbit. $ sudo apt-get install bleachbit


To find your current OS version use lsb_release:

$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Debian Description: Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 (stretch) Release: 9.9 Codename: stretch

To find your current kernel version, use uname:

$ uname -mrs Linux 4.9.0-8-amd64 x86_64

Some other notes.

Although there are others, the most common Linux version of a Windows DOS .BAT file is a #Bash shell script. Unlike .BAT files, it is not the file extension that makes a bash script a bash script. It is the fact that it is executable and contains #!/bin/bash as the first line. That said, it is a common practice to name bash scripts with a .sh extension; so that you know what they are. #debian-ish distributions will also try to execute a .sh file as a bash script by default, even without the starting line of #!/bin/bash.


1 Case in Linux most often counts.
  So for example, these "a"s are 2 different parameters:

   $ tree -a # All files are listed.
   $ tree -A # Print ANSI lines graphic indentation lines.

Comments in bash scripts (and python, and config files, and other places) are preceded with a "#" character.

2 CLI is Command Line Interface, which would be the command prompt/DOS on Windows.

tags: All users, Tips
Tip Getting Help: Podcasts, Forums, Mailing Lists
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, july 09, 2019, 12:09am utc

This is a group of mostly .mp3 podcasts on various aspects about Linux and open source. Several of the RSS feeds just list out the clickable .mp3s and that's great for something to play in the background while converting applications to their FOSS equivalents. :-)

Hacker Public Radio Hacker Public Radio Linux and other info
The LinuxLink TechShow Chatting about Linux and things tech.
https://linuxactionnews.com/ https://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/tag/linux-action-show/
https://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/show/linuxun/
TalkPython https://talkpython.fm/episodes/show/211/classic-cs-problems-in-python
List of Python Podcasts https://www.fullstackpython.com/best-python-podcasts.html
tags: Beginning users, Tips
News item Helping Lynchburg!
Now available for code ports and open source conversions in VA.
by @admin, july 09, 2019, 12:09am utc

We are now helping companies in Lynchburg and the Bedford County, Virginia area with

  • code ports (ASP/ASPX/.NET/VB→to→Python),
  • scripting ports: BAT→BASH scripts,
  • database ports (Access→MariaDB; SQL Server→PostgreSQL, SQLite3 work),
  • operating system ports (primarily Windows to Linux) and
  • package installs (for example, Office 365 to LibreOffice).

Please let us know if we can help to save you money!

Lynchburg, VA
Lynchburg, VA
tags: All users, News
Tip Have date show 12 hour, rather than 24 hour, clock times,
by @admin, june 22, 2019, 12:10am utc

By default, bash will show a date and time in this format:

Sat Jun 22 22:04:22 EDT 2019

To see the date in 12-hour format, like this:

Sat, Jun 22, 2019 10:04:36 PM

...follow the steps below.

~$ ~$ date Sat Jun 22 22:04:22 EDT 2019 ~$ ~$ # edit ~/.bashrc and add this alias to the bottom (without the '#') ~$ # alias date='date +"%a, %h %d, %Y %r"' ~$ ~$ source .bashrc # to immediately implement this. ~$ ~$ date Sat, Jun 22, 2019 10:04:36 PM ~$
tags: All users, Tips
Tip NOT-Replacing Familiar Tools: cd..
easing the move to Linux.
by @admin, june 22, 2019, 12:10am utc

OK, we are a little torn on this tip.

There are a number of CLI things such as ls not dir, cat not type, mkdir not md, that take some time to get used to when shifting over to Linux.

It is not unlike how you may mistakenly write the prior year's year on checks and documents, for 6 months a few days after the calendar changes to January 1st.


One of those tough to forget items is that on Windows, either cd .. or cd.. will move you up a level in the folder tree. If you're really used to cd.., well, that one doesn't work on Linux. Linux treats cd.. as a unique command and of course, you'll get a "command not found" when trying that on Linux.

The torn aspect is – that there is a way on Linux to create an alias for commands, so that by typing cd.. cd .. is executed instead.

BUT – is that the right thing to do? Given a little bit of time, you'll shift to doing it "the Linux way" – it is just that the first bit of time getting used to it can be annoying.

BUT BUT! – if you're switching to Linux long-term, you might as well learn to do things the right way. Plus it will be potentially embarrassing to go to a colleague's Linux computer and be trying to DIR, MD, CD..-ing your way around.

That's our quandary.

So -- we will show you how to create an alias and let you decide how to approach this. We do so next by using leafpad, a simple notepad-ish text editor to open the hidden file bashrc. bashrc contains properties for how your bash session looks and behaves. (A '.' in front of a file or folder makes it hidden, by default).

/home/lv/home-tree-structure ~$ cd music ~/music$ cd.. bash: cd..: command not found ~/music$ leafpad .bashrc ~/music$ leafpad /home/lv/.bashrc ~/music$ # add alias cd..='cd ..' to the end of .bashrc ~/music$ # ~/music$ source .bashrc bash: .bashrc: No such file or directory ~/music$ source /home/lv/.bashrc ~$ cd home-tree-structure bash: cd: home-tree-structure: No such file or directory ~$ cd home-tree-structure bash: cd: home-tree-structure: No such file or directory ~$ pwd /home/lv/home-tree-structure/music ~$ cd.. ~$ pwd /home/lv/home-tree-structure ~$
tags: All users, Tips
Security item Say 'No' to Chrome
or, when Free = Bad.
by @admin, june 22, 2019, 12:10am utc

2019-06-21 Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It's time to switch
https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/06/21/google-chrome-has-become-surveillance-software-its-time-to-switch/

spying

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20254051

A tech columnist's latest privacy experiment found Google Chrome ushered more than 11,000 tracker cookies into our browser — in a single week.




Google Has A Secret Page That Records All The Things You've Bought Online
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/katienotopoulos/gmail-google-tracks-online-shopping

spying

Gmail's "Purchases" page collects and sorts out all of your online shopping and in-app purchase receipts.

tags: All users, Security related
Tip xrandr: Changing screen resolution
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, june 11, 2019, 12:10am utc

Something that can be a pain on Windows is pragmatically altering the screen resolution. Not through GUI tools, but running a script or simple utility to do so.

On Linux, xrandr is the answer to this. xrandr allows for live (re)configuration of the X server without restarting it.


You can start off with what what your current setup is by running xrandr:

$ xrandr Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1680 x 1050, maximum 8192 x 8192 DP-1 connected primary 1680x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 531mm x 299mm 1920x1080 60.00 + 50.00 59.94 59.99 1920x1080i 60.00 50.00 59.94 1680x1050 59.88* 1280x1024 75.02 60.02 1440x900 59.90 1280x960 60.00 1366x768 59.79 1280x800 59.91 1152x864 75.00 1280x720 60.00 50.00 59.94 1024x768 75.03 70.07 60.00 832x624 74.55 800x600 72.19 75.00 60.32 56.25 720x576 50.00 720x480 60.00 59.94 640x480 75.00 66.67 60.00 59.94 720x400 70.08 HDMI-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) DP-2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) HDMI-2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) $ # To just list out your current monitor(s) $ # (in BASH, '#' on a line is a comment -- and will not execute what follows.) $ xrandr --listmonitors Monitors: 1 0: +*DP-1 1680/531x1050/299+0+0 DP-1

Then you can move on to make changes.

$ # IMPORTANT! --dryrun gives you a way out of your change. $ # dryrun will just list out what the changes *would* be. $ # $ # To TEST switching this monitor from 1680x1050 to 1440x900 $ # $ xrandr --output DP-1 --mode 1440x900 --dryrun crtc 0: disable screen 0: 1440x900 381x238 mm 95.94dpi crtc 0: 1440x900 59.90 +0+0 "DP-1" $ # ... and then, to actually go forth to make the change: $ # $ xrandr --output DP-1 --mode 1440x900 $ $ # Like most CLI commands, if it works, there will be no output.


Using other xrandr parameters, you can alter the screen's refresh rate, the orientation of the monitor, which of multiple monitors is the preferred one, and a number of other settings.

See xrandr --help for more options.

read more.

tags: All users, Tips
Tip Replacing Familiar Tools: Wine
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, may 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

Nearly all of the functionality of Windows (or Mac) applications can be found in similar applications on Linux today; with the added-plus that many on Linux are free! Everything from Office [Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Access]; to Skype; to Photoshop, to even Quickbooks has Linux open source equivalents.

https://www.winehq.org/

Our standard caution: When adding things outside of Linux to Linux, you are (vastly) increasing the chance of backdoors, viruses, etc. Running Windows programs within Linux is a good way to get these! (more on that here)

But there may be cases where you want to run a native Windows app on your Linux pc. That's where Wine comes in. Wine is an app that provides Windows APIs that your Windows programs use to run. There are a very large set of Windows apps that have been confirmed to run in Wine. The current list is available here.


winetricks is a helper script -- to help you with the proper settings for your Win app to run under Wine. A winetricks tutorial can be found here.

tags: Advanced users, Tips
News item Examples of Out-of-Control Vendors
(a collection of reasons to change things up.)
by @News, april 23, 2019, 12:09am utc

2019-04-03 Facebook Demanding Some New Users' Email Passwords
https://www.thedailybeast.com/beyond-sketchy-facebook-demanding-some-new-users-email-passwords

'Beyond Sketchy': Facebook Demands Users' Email Passwords

"Mark Zuckerberg admitted recently that Facebook doesn't have a 'strong reputation' for privacy. An odd new request for private data probably won't help with that rep.

Last year Facebook was caught allowing advertisers to target its users using phone numbers users provided for two-factor authentication; users handed over their numbers so Facebook could send a text message with a secret code when they log in. More recently the company drew the ire of privacy advocates when it began making those phone numbers searchable, so anyone can locate the matching user "in defiance of user expectations and security best practices," wrote the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group."


2019-04-29 Amazon Has Gone From Neutral Platform to Cutthroat Competitor
https://onezero.medium.com/open-source-betrayed-industry-leaders-accuse-amazon-of-playing-a-rigged-game-with-aws-67177bc748b7

...AWS is striking at the Achilles' heel of open source: "lifting" the work of others, ...These critics see Amazon's decision to recreate Elasticsearch as ...


2019-05-14 Adobe is now telling its users they can be sued for using old versions of photoshop
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3xk3p/adobe-tells-users-they-can-get-sued-for-using-old-versions-of-photoshop

If you are still using CC, it might be time to consider alternatives which let you actually own software instead of renting it:

https://www.diyphotography.net/using-older-adobe-cc-apps-could-get-you-sued-adobe-warns/


2019-05-10 Adobe is no longer allowing subscribers to download previous versions of Premiere and is even sending notices to people who still have them installed to say they're no longer allowed to use them. pic.twitter.com/8t0tx8FTeO -- ASHLEY LYNCH (@ashleylynch) May 10, 2019


2019-05-23

Snapchat Employees Abused Data Access to Spy on Users
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwnva7/snapchat-employees-abused-data-access-spy-on-users-snaplion

Snapchat

Multiple sources and emails also describe SnapLion, an internal tool used by various departments to access Snapchat user data.

tags: All users, News
Tip (How to Fix) 'lzma error: compressed data is corrupt'
by @admin, april 18, 2019, 12:10am utc

When packages are installed through apt they are brought in as archive files (usually .deb files) by default and (most often) stored in the /var/cache/apt/archives folder. .deb files are archives, not unlike .zip files. Once on your system they are unpacked and installed by the install process.

If these archive files become corrupt -- for example, by a network disconnect as they are being brought down -- you can end up with the files with the archive not being able to be extracted and installed.


Here is an occurrence of that and the messages you'll see, using an issue we encountered with the libqt5webkit5 archive. This is followed by the fix.

$ sudo apt install -f Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done Correcting dependencies... Done The following additional packages will be installed: libqt5webkit5 The following NEW packages will be installed: libqt5webkit5 0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 29 not upgraded. 5 not fully installed or removed. Need to get 0 B/9,176 kB of archives. After this operation, 39.0 MB of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Y (Reading database ... 161779 files and directories currently installed.) Preparing to unpack .../libqt5webkit5_5.7.1+dfsg-1_amd64.deb ... Unpacking libqt5webkit5:amd64 (5.7.1+dfsg-1) ... dpkg-deb (subprocess): decompressing archive member: lzma error: compressed data is corrupt dpkg-deb: error: subprocess returned error exit status 2 dpkg: error processing archive /var/cache/apt/archives/libqt5webkit5_5.7.1+dfsg-1_amd64.deb (--unpack): cannot copy extracted data for './usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libQt5WebKit.so.5.7.1' to '/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libQt5WebKit.so.5.7.1.dpkg-new': unexpected end of file or stream Errors were encountered while processing: /var/cache/apt/archives/libqt5webkit5_5.7.1+dfsg-1_amd64.deb E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)


You can first try install with the -f (fix) parm to attempt a fix.

$ sudo apt install -f

If that doesn't work, this will.
Remove the corrupt file from the archive cache.
The subsequent upgrade will determine the removed .deb file is needed for other things and then bring it down again fresh.

cd /var/cache/apt/archives $ sudo rm libqt5webkit5_5.7.1+dfsg-1_amd64.deb $ sudo apt-get update $ sudo apt-get upgrade

Although we do not recommend this, if you want to nuke ALL of the files in the archive cache -- then this command will do so.

$ sudo apt-get clean   However it is not a bad idea to keep those copies of the original install packages,

  • as a backup,
  • to know for sure what the source files were and
  • as a place to reinstall from if your internet connection is down.

Finally, to remove the unwanted software dependencies,

$ sudo apt-get autoremove

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Tip (How to Fix) 'The following packages will be kept back'
by @admin, april 04, 2019, 12:10am utc

"The following packages will be kept back"

If during a $ sudo apt-get upgrade you see a message that "The following packages will be kept back" followed by one or more package names, it means that the upgrade would require another package to be deleted, or a new package to be installed so that yours can be installed.

To actually complete the install, run:

sudo apt-get --with-new-pkgs upgrade

This will first alert you to what other packagers need to be deleted or installed to get your desired one installed.

See more here.

tags: All users, Tips
Tip Set up the File Manager (your way)
... tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, april 03, 2019, 12:10am utc

The default #debian GUI file manager is nemo.

$ nemo .

A couple of nemo tweaks that might be helpful are:

In nemo, click Edit ->
Preferences -> Behavior tab
[x] Click on file's name twice to rename it.

Preferences->Display tab
choose: [Permissions] rather than [None]
[x] Show the full path in the title bar and tab bars
[x] Show advanced permissions in the file properties

Preferences->Preview tab
Only for files smaller than: 2GB

Preferences->Toolbar tab
[x] Show refresh button
[x] Show new folder button

Other things:

There are many possible file managers that you can install to try out, but two in particular of interest are nautilus (which keeps us in that whole 20,000 leagues under the sea, thing) and the text-based CLI file manager ranger.

Ranger is fast and easy to move around in. Press enter over applications or files to run them. For example, you can easily move through .mp4 files this way; pressing "Q" to end the video and return to ranger. The left and right arrow keys quickly move you around the folder hierarchy. It's fun to use.


ranger
ranger
tags: All users, Tips
Tip Finding files
tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, march 26, 2019, 02:09am utc

find is a CLI1 way to locate files.
$ sudo find / -type f -mtime 0 -mtime +1

the -mtime 0 -mtime +1 parameters say to find only files created today. 1 day old.

-mtime +3 would say to return the last 3 days worth of files.

Running as sudo (root) allows you to prevent seeing a large swath of warning messages, such as the following:

$ sudo find / -type f -mtime 0 -mtime +1
find: '/proc/23237/task/23237/fdinfo': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23237/ns': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23245/fd': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23245/fdinfo': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23245/ns': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23246/fd': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23246/fdinfo': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/task/23246/ns': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/fd': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/map_files': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/fdinfo': Permission denied
find: '/proc/23237/ns': Permission denied
find: '/sys/kernel/debug': Permission denied
find: '/sys/fs/fuse/connections/8388626': Permission denied

  1. CLS = Command Line Interface

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Tip Replacing Familiar Tools: tree
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, march 25, 2019, 02:09am utc

If you are used to the Windows (DOS) tree command as a way to getting a complete, opened, list of folders and the folders & files they contain -- then good news.

tree exists on Linux as well.

$ tree

Tree Listing

As always, try --help to see the various parameters available for tree.

$ tree --help

Just a few examples are:

-q Print non-printable characters as '?'.
-N Print non-printable characters as is.
-Q Quote filenames with double quotes.
-p Print the protections for each file.
-u Displays file owner or UID number.
-g Displays file group owner or GID number.
-s Print the size in bytes of each file.
-h Print the size in a more human readable way

The last one there, -h, is pretty interesting as it includes a concise size of the file or folder on each line.

$ tree -h

Item Size

In just a bit of info to store for later ... tree also has a -X parameter, which returns an XML representation of your files. This XML list can then be pulled into other applications or reports.

$ tree doc -X

XML Tree


tags: Beginning users, Tips
Tip Trust but Verify: Researching Apps & Tools *before* Installing
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, march 14, 2019, 12:09am utc

Here are several steps that admins can take before agreeing to install user-requested applications. A good goal would be to have the users do these things before coming to you...

$ apt-cache search thetoolname will give you a list of related tools, that can be checked for the best fit.

$ apt-cache show thetoolname will give you a blurb about what this particular tool/app is for.

Check the application on Debian's popcon ("popularity contest") to compare how many reported installations there are of the requested tool.

https://popcon.debian.org/

or

https://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=thetoolname to directly search for your tool.


For example, for htop (which is a nice, clean-looking, command-line process viewer) popcon yields:

popcon

... along with the corresponding maintainer's page:
https://qa.debian.org/developer.php?package=htop


When installing -- always check over the dependencies. See if they would bring in something you may not want.

$ sudo apt-get install redshift Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done The following additional packages will be installed: geoclue-2.0 The following NEW packages will be installed: geoclue-2.0 redshift 0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. Need to get 168 kB of archives. After this operation, 801 kB of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n]


debsums is another tool for verification of installed package files against MD5 checksums

$ debsums -l *or* --list-missing # list packages which don't have an md5sums file. (It should really come back with nothing.)

$ debsums -c

All of this helps to give you a feel of the general acceptance of the tool in question.


One additional place to ask questions about packages is on the #debian user's email list.

Subscribe by sending an email to:
debian-user-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
with a subject of:
Subject: subscribe your@email.com

You can find past mailing list threads here:
https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/

And other #debian mailing lists here:
https://lists.debian.org/users.html

tags: All users, Tips
Security item Security: Matrix.org hacked
matrix.org compromised via hack
by @News, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

matrix.org was compromised via hack March 13, 2019...

Matrix

The normally fairly reliable Matrix that provides secure, encrypted chat and communication applications has been hacked. Be sure to check their status before downloading any packages from the site.

From the Matrix page linked below is this quote:

Here's what you need to know.



An attacker gained access to the servers hosting Matrix.org. The intruder had access to the production databases, potentially giving them access to unencrypted message data, password hashes and access tokens. As a precaution, if you're a matrix.org user you should change your password now.



The matrix.org homeserver has been rebuilt and is running securely; bridges and other ancillary services (e.g. this blog) will follow as soon as possible. Modular.im homeservers have not been affected by this outage.

The security breach is not a Matrix issue.

Uh-huh.

Anyway -- for more info, see:

https://matrix.org/blog/2019/04/11/we-have-discovered-and-addressed-a-security-breach-updated-2019-04-12/

and

https://matrix.org/blog/2019/04/18/security-update-sydent-1-0-2

The current status (at any time, not just for this event) of Matrix is here:
https://status.matrix.org/

tags: All users, Security related
Tip Old School: Amber & Green
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

Do you have a hankering for that nice mid-90s Green or Amber on black terminal look?

You can easily get there, along with a translucent background, using the Sakura terminal.

$ sudo apt-get install sakura

$ nano ~/.config/sakura/sakura.conf

There are up to 6 different color schemes that you can alter. You can cycle through these in Sakura by pressing shift-ctrl-F1 through shift-ctrl-F6.

Alter these simple scheme with the below RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colors.

# green

51,255,0 with 0, 0, 0, 0.9 back
which is black with an opacity of 90%.

# amber

255,176, 0 with 0, 0, 0, 0.9 back

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Tip meld: Comparing Files or Folders
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc
meld
meld provides a graphical alternative to the command line's diff utility; which is also covered below. meld is similar to the WinMerge application for Windows. If you'd like to compare folders on drives, text files, binary files or folders; then meld will provide side-by-side comparisons for up to three! choices at once.

http://meldmerge.org/


A meld compare can also be started right from the command line. Here two folders are compared from the CLI. his will kick off the meld GUI and auto-start the compare.

$ meld "/media/user/5TB (external)/home/user" /home/user

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Tip Finding Large Files
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

Finding the largest file using the command line:

Within a given folder
$ ls -rSl -h

In all folders, but only sorted BY biggest to smallest within each folder.
(that is, you can't sort a whole drive biggest to smallest with ls.)

$ ls -rSl -h -R

The following find command will recursively find all files (that's the type f parm) in all sub directories of ".". "." is your current folder &emdash; you can specify a different folder here. du -h is run. du shows disk usage and the -h parameter gives human readable results. So for example, 1.1G instead of 1138884 thousand bytes.

Finally the output piped ("|") through a filter to be sorted again.

$ find . -type f -exec du -h {} + | sort -r -h

tags: All users, Tips
Tip The f.lux for Linux is ... redshift
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

f.lux is an excellent time-of-day screen-brightness auto-correction tool for Windows, Mac and kinda for Linux. f.lux automatically adjusts the monitor's color and brightness so that you are not blinded with bright blue light at night. Or the first thing in the morning.

While a nice tool, the f.lux Linux setup is several fussy steps and the package itself IS NOT in the #debian repository. That itself is not death of course -- but it does remove all of those extra repository eyes that help to keep track of whether applications are broken, hacked, etc.

So.

We recommend redshift for reducing that bright blue glare at night.

redshift http://jonls.dk/redshift/

$ sudo apt-get install redshift

$ sudo apt-get install redshift-gtk # adds a taskbar monitor option.

To run it, you'll want to dissassociate the app from the terminal like this:

$ (redshift-gtk & disown) && exit

If you right click on the taskbar icon you can choose to [x] autostart redshift with the system.

tags: All users, Tips
Tip Tip: mkdir, et al
tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

So, if you have just landed in Linux, coming from the GUI of the Mac or Windows, we wanted to gather some immediate tips here.

It's mkdir, not md for command line folder creation. (This one will take some time to change to if you have spent a lot of time in DOS/Command prompt :-)

| more in DOS to control the flow of moving through a text file is | less (!) in Linux. And type is cat.

So for example, where you would do c:\>type help.txt | more in DOS it would be $ cat help.txt | less in Linux.

| less is a lot more powerful as you can scroll back and forth within the text file you are viewing.

Most linux commands come with a small-to-large reference available by typing man in front of the command. "man" for manual. Therefore man cat will help you with other parameters available for "cat".

$ man cat

CAT(1) User Commands CAT(1) NAME cat - concatenate files and print on the standard output SYNOPSIS cat [OPTION]... [FILE]... DESCRIPTION Concatenate FILE(s) to standard output. With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input. -A, --show-all equivalent to -vET -b, --number-nonblank number nonempty output lines, overrides -n -e equivalent to -vE -E, --show-ends display $ at end of each line Manual page cat(1) line 1 (press h for help or q to quit)
Tip
mkdir If you have been a command line person in the past, you'll know that md is the way to make a folder (directory) in the Windows command prompt (DOS). mkdir is the way to do it in Linux. mkdir brings with it options to make all folders in a given path, if needed. So, if you do Not have a /home/lavojo/files/places-to-keep/tips folder then entering mkdir -r /home/lavojo/files/places-to-keep/tips will create all of the folders necessary in one shot.
/home It is generally a ~good idea~ to separate out your data area from the system area, in Linux. Creating a separate partition for /home goes a long way towards accomplishing this. All of your own configuration files will be stored under /home and it makes it much easier to a. backup your data without clumping in the OS files each time and b. makes it easier to upgrade the OS.
cmp Much like fc on DOS, cmp is used to compare files on the command line.
dir use ls. ls -larth for the familiar DOS-type listing of files.
tags: Beginning users, Tips
Security item Reasons to *lose* Windows
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

. Cost-trap

Microsoft prefers to issue OEM Windows licensing, which binds the license to one particular machine. If you purchase a new machine, you can not re-use the existing OEM license that you paid for -- you must buy a brand new one.

In some cases you can not even upgrade hardware on an EXISTING Windows machine without having to purchase a new Windows license.

Given that many, many software applications exist now that are cross-platform, such as LibreOffice, you are no longer stuck with using just Windows -- especially for common business tasks. We can even show you how to get refunded for having to pay for a copy of Windows on most new machines (this is called "The Windows Tax").

. Sneakiness

When Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 -- they did a number of ~evil things. This included changing the meaning of the [x] on the close-dialog of the annoying, repeated, "Do you want to install Windows 10 now" dialog to mean -- "Yes, I want to install it". Something that [x] never meant in the past. And this was done without telling people and mid-stream; so after clicking [x] many times to STOP Windows from updating, [x] now did the reverse.

Windows 10 will also turn back on settings to share your data; even if you've switched them off. Typically, this has been happening during Windows 10 updates; which the user can no longer prevent from happening. This obliterates true 'User Choice'.

tags: Beginning users, Security related
Tip Why do we recommend #Debian?
by @admin, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc
Debian

As can be seen in the below images, there are literally hundreds (thousands?) of Linux distributions (distros).

Anyone who wants to -- and possessing the proper gumption -- can fork (clone) a copy of most open source software, so that they can make the changes that they feel are important. This can range from fixing one problematic bug all the way to coming up with something that looks and/or acts very differently from the original.

This is a strength in four ways:

  1. If you want to alter open software -- you can do so.

  2. distros exist that are specialized for many purposes. There are graphics ones; HAM radio ones; distros for Writers, for Doctors, for Firemen, etc!

  3. Changes made to forked distros often bubble back up to the original; strengthening ALL related distros.

  4. If someone falters; there are other choices.

Distributions

Distributions
Click for full image
Here is more summarized way to look at this:

Distributions
Click for full image

Distrowatch.com is a great place for news on distros, new releases, which are hot and more.

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Tip Portable Drives
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

If your office is moving from Windows (or Macs) to Linux -- existing portable drives raise some issues. Here are some of the things to be aware of; along with some ideas on managing drives going forward.

First, the good news is ... existing Windows NTFS drives will work with most #debian-based distros. Most everything works as expected: Thumbnails for media, file properties, etc.

However, there are some differences. NTFS and EXT4 (the most common #debian file system -- and the one that we recommend) handle some internal dates, like "date accessed" differently. File ownership, access rights and rights in general are handled a little differently. But by and large - you can copy a file from an EXT4 file partition to a NTFS one (and back) and it works as you expect.

Linux file and drive utilities will work on the NTFS drives.

BUT! drives actually formatted for EXT4 will not work on Windows machines without being reformatted for NTFS.

EXT4 is actually a superior file system to NTFS. NTFS has a number of bugs, and EXT4 is journaling file system; which verifies everything as files change and are moved around. Plus there is simply a multitude of Linux tools available to work with files and drives in any way that you can conceive of.


If you are going to have users mixing and matching external drives between Windows and Linux here are two ways to help to know what is what and where what is... cough ...

a. Set up two partitions on each drives. One NTFS and one EXT4. Have the Windows folks write to the NTFS partition only and do the same with the Linux users but on the EXT4 portion. Yes, they will occasionally write to the wrong place. Well, the Linux users may do so, but the Windows users will never be able to even get to the EXT4 areas. By by-and-large the right stuff will be in the right places and users will learn to check for the correct spot to write to.

portable drive

portable drive

b. A second, and an easy to figure out what-is-what way for both users and admins, is to choose a color drive for Linux and a DIFFERENT color for Windows. Perhaps even using a third color for MACs. Everyone will know what is on a drive by the color and then you can even format Linux drives with EXT4 without causing problems for non-Linux users.

A physically colored drive is better than having sticky-notes on them or trying to write on the drives with a sharpie.


#drive #health

Just to briefly note these two tools here, as we will cover these in more depth in the future.

Here are two drive monitoring tools; that can be used an early warning system for drive sector errors; excessive failed writes; or pending total drive failure.

smart-notifier - graphical hard disk health status notifier

smartmontools - control and monitor storage systems using S.M.A.R.T.

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Security item Clouds
...not the happy, fluffy things that they are cracked up to be
by @News, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

You won't know if you got hacked

"Everything gets hacked, whether it is by malicious actors using vulnerabilities in a system or through very basic phishing emails. Despite all your efforts to choose the right online storage solution, you could still get hacked. In that case it is essential for you to be aware of the hack as quickly as possible, as you probably want to be able to take action immediately and limit potential damage.

Big companies are not famous for warning their customers after a hack if they can avoid it. They will likely hope that the hack will stay unnoticed so they can keep their users' trust, as it has happened in the past. The only way to make sure you are aware of any incursion on the server where you store your files is to have control over your own infrastructure and be able to monitor what happens with your data."

https://nextcloud.com/blog/the-issue-with-public-cloud/


Bad Cloud examples:

2019-01-26 Make Sure to Download Your Flickr Photos This Weekend - Because this Cloud Service will be deleting everything over 1,000 of your Photos if you are on the Free Account

If you have over 1,000 photos uploaded to Flickr, then you should download them now or risk losing them forever.

Back in April of last year, Yahoo sold Flickr to the company SmugMug. In November SmugMug announced it planned to end the free unlimited image storage that Flickr offered users in January, and instead limit users to 1,000 photos worth of storage for free.

If you have more than 1,000 images on Flickr, then it's a really big deal. Starting February 5th those extra photos are going to be deleted, starting with your oldest ones.

See https://lifehacker.com/make-sure-to-download-your-flickr-photos-this-weekend-1832073708

I spent weeks deleting over 10,000 of my photos off Flickr and now host them on my own hosting at https://photos.gadgeteer.co.za...


2019-06-10 US Customs And Border Protection's Database Of Traveler Photos Was Stolen In A Data Breach

HN Discussion.

US Customs breach

"CBP learned that a subcontractor ... transferred copies of license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP to the subcontractor's company network. The subcontractor's network was subsequently compromised by a malicious cyber-attack."


We have never been a proponent of cloud computing; where "cloud" can simply be defined as someone elses' computer.

The reasons were:

  • Criminal hacking,

  • (even your own) state-sponsored criminal hacking,

  • #Idiot-moves — like the one below; which can happen if you do not control your data.

Database of Over 198 Million U.S. Voters Left Exposed On Unsecured Server link


We have dis-avowed the cloud since the first trumpeting of this marketing-oriented-name emerged.

Our clients are still on dedicated machines, or on VMs &emdash; and we Will NOT use:

  • AWS (with it's 600-million dollar CIA contract);
  • Azure (with Microsoft being the #1 entrant into the NSA's spying program);
  • or iCloud for any reason.

Files that are encrypted today, done in any manner, will be easy fodder for quantum computers soon enough; and grouping them all together in someone else's cloud where THEY control the access to the files is just … well … a disaster waiting to happen.

People (read that: Companies) who put things in the cloud damn well deserve what they will get.

But God bless 'em anyway.


2017-09-22 Verizon Wireless Internal Credentials, Infrastructure Details Exposed in Amazon S3 Bucket
https://threatpost.com/verizon-wireless-internal-credentials-infrastructure-details-exposed-in-amazon-s3-bucket/128108/

Verizon is the latest company to leak confidential data through an exposed Amazon S3 bucket.


2017-10-05 (update) Yahoo says all 3 billion accounts hacked in 2013 data theft
https://www.zdnet.com/article/yahoo-believes-3-billion-affected-by-2013-hack/

"Yahoo on Tuesday said that all three billion of its accounts were hacked in a 2013 data theft, tripling its earlier estimate of the size of the largest breach in history and sharply increasing the legal exposure of its new owner, Verizon."


2017-12-19 Every Single American Household Exposed in Massive Leak
https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/every-single-american-household/?utm_content=buffereb7a9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Yet another Amazon S3 cloud storage misconfiguration has affected 123 million Americans, across billions of data points.

Hacker News Comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15965060


2018-01-03 Degraded performance after forced reboot due to AWS instance maintenance
https://forums.aws.amazon.com/thread.jspa?threadID=269858

Hacker News Comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16064611


2018-01-09 Security flaw in CPU's breaks isolation between cloud containers
https://diasp.org/posts/0b6b25a88fe8fc1ca17821f669c2004d67df5841


2018-01-09 Hardcoded Backdoor Found In WD My Cloud NAS With Username "MyDlink"
https://fossbytes.com/hardcoded-backdoor-wd-mycloud-devices-username-mydlink/

"In yet another revelation of severe loopholes, a security researcher James Bercegay from Gulftech has discovered a backdoor in some models of the My Cloud NAS (Network-attached storage) drive family, manufactured by Western Digital. According to the blog post, the vulnerabilities, which include a hardcoded backdoor, can be used to access files even on a […]"


2018-01-12 "You trust the cloud?"
https://blog.jospoortvliet.com/

"What surprised me a little was how few journalists paid attention to the fact that Meltdown in particular breaks the isolation between containers and Virtual Machines - making it quite dangerous to run your code in places like Amazon S3. Meltdown means: anything you have ran on Amazon S3 or competing clouds from Google and Microsoft has been exposed to other code running on the same systems.

And storage isn't per-se safe, as the systems handling the storage just might also be used for running apps from other customers &emdash; who then could have gotten at that data. I wrote a bit more about this in an opinion post for Nextcloud.

We don't know if any breaches happened, of course. We also don't know that they didn't.

That's one of my main issues with the big public cloud providers: we KNOW they hide breaches from us. All the time. For YEARS. Yahoo did particularly nasty [things], but was it really such an outlier? Uber hid data stolen from 57 million users for a year, which came out just November last year."


2018-02-06 Leaky Amazon S3 Bucket Exposes Personal Data of 12,000 Social Media Influencers
https://threatpost.com/leaky-amazon-s3-bucket-exposes-personal-data-of-12000-social-media-influencers/129810


2018-02-08 Gojdue Variant Eludes Microsoft, Google Cloud Protection, Researchers Say
https://threatpost.com/gojdue-variant-eludes-microsoft-google-cloud-protection-researchers-say/129837


2018-03-30 Under Armour App Breach Exposes 150 Million Records
https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/privacy/under-armour-app-breach-exposes-150-million-records/d/d-id/1331411?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple

A breach in a database for MyFitnessPal exposes information on 150 million users.


2018-05 LA County Nonprofit Exposes 3.2M PII Files via Unsecured S3 Bucket
https://www.informationweek.com/whitepaper/cybersecurity/security/the-biggest-cybersecurity-breaches-of-2018-(so-far)/399463?gset=yes&cid=cybr&_mc=cybr

"A misconfiguration accidentally compromised credentials, email addresses, and 200,000 rows of notes describing abuse and suicidal distress."

(more) https://www.darkreading.com/cloud/la-county-nonprofit-exposes-32m-pii-files-via-unsecured-s3-bucket/d/d-id/1331875?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple


2018-05-30 Honda India Left Details of 50,000 Customers Exposed on an AWS S3 Server
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/honda-india-left-details-of-50-000-customers-exposed-on-an-aws-s3-server/

https://gbhackers.com/honda-leaked/

"Honda Car India has left the personal details of over 50,000 users exposed on two public Amazon S3 buckets, according to a report published today Kromtech Security. […]"

"Honda Car India leaked over 50,000 users Personal information of it's Honda Connect App which is stored in the publicly unsecured Amazon AWS S3 Buckets. Experts recently discovered two public unsecured Inside of the AWS Bucket contains an unprotected database which maintained by Honda Connect App. Honda-Connect is a smartphone app that boasts that it gives the user […]"


2018-06-04 Google Groups Are Leaking Your Sensitive Emails: Here's How To Fix It
https://fossbytes.com/how-to-fix-google-groups-misconfiguration/

"If you are using Google Groups, you need to check your privacy settings right now and make sure that the configuration doesn't leak any sensitive information. This message comes from Kenna Security which found that nearly one-third of 9,600 public Google Groups leaked sensitive information in emails sent through the platform. The security firm found such public […]"


2018-06-04 What is wrong with Microsoft buying GitHub
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17225599

"According to Bloomberg [1]Microsoft is said to have agreed to buy GitHub. [2]GitHub which reportedly has been losing money being acquired is a major development because of its central role in the development of many open and closed source projects.

For the uninitiated here is what GitHub does in a nutshell: GitHub allows computer programmers from around the world to conveniently collaborate on projects, share bug reports and fix those bugs and allows the administration of some project documentation. The company provides this service for free to entities that provide their code for free to the world and for 'closed source' projects there is a fee to be paid. GitHub is in essence a friendly wrapper around [3]Git, an open source version control system written by Linus Torvalds (of Linux fame) and many others. Git already does decentralized repository hosting out of the box but it does not support any kind of discovery method, bug tracking or documentation features, GitHub built a community of programmers around Git and many open source contributors consider GitHub too big to fail.

Companies that are too big to fail and that lose money are a dangerous combination, people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability. The model that GitHub has - sell their services to closed source companies but provide the service for free for open source groups - is only a good one if the closed source companies bring in enough funds to sustain the model. Some sort of solution should have been found - preferably in collaboration with the community -, not an 'exit' to one of the biggest sharks in the tank.

So, here is what is wrong with this deal and why anybody active in the open source community should be upset that Microsoft is going to be the steward of this large body of code. For starters, Microsoft has a very long history of abusing its position vis-a-vis open source and other companies. I'm sure you'll be able to tell I'm a cranky old guy by looking up the dates to some of these references, but 'new boss, same as the old boss' applies as far as I'm concerned. Yes, the new boss is a nicer guy but it's the same corporate entity. Some concrete examples of the things Microsoft have done:

  • Abuse of their de facto monopoly position to squash competition, including [4]abuse of the DD process to gain insight into a competitors software

  • Bankrolling the [5]SCO Lawsuit that ran for many years in order to harm Linux in the marketplace

  • Abuse of their monopoly position to unfairly compete with other browser vendors, including [6]Netscape

  • Subverting open standards with a policy of [7]Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

  • The recent [8]Windows 10 Telemetry abuse

  • The acquisition of Skype, after which all the peer-to-peer traffic was routed through Microsoft, essentially allowing them to snoop on the conversations. To pre-empt the technical counter argument that this was done to improve the service: It only improved the service for some edge cases, for everybody else the service got worse because of the extra round-trip latency. So if that was the real reason then you'd have expected to see the traffic routed to the central servers only if one of those edge cases was detected.

  • Unfair advantage over competitors by using internal APIs for applications unavailable for competing products

  • Tied-sales and bundling

  • Abuse of [9]Patents

The list is endless. So, this is the company that you want to trust with becoming the steward of a very large chunk of the open source world? Not me. And for all you closed source customers of GitHub, do you really want the company that abused a due-diligence process faking an acquisition interest to have the inside scoop on your code?

I've deleted my GitHub account, I'll find a way to replace it and if you're halfway clever so should you. Foxes may change their coats, they don't change their nature."

References

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-03/microsoft-is-said-to-have-agreed-to-acquire-coding-site-github
https://github.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stac_Electronics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCO-Linux_disputes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/windows-10-sends-personal-data-to-microsoft-even-if-users-tell-it-not-to-10453549.html
https://www.computerworld.com/article/2560825/enterprise-applications/microsoft-fat-patents-upheld.html


2018-06-05 MyHeritage Alerts Users to Data Breach
https://www.darkreading.com/myheritage-alerts-users-to-data-breach/d/d-id/1331966?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple

A researcher found email addresses and hashed passwords of nearly 92.3 million users stored on a server outside MyHeritage.

"MyHeritage, a platform designed to investigate family history, learned of a data breach on June 4, 2018. It reports the incident affected email addresses and hashed passwords of nearly 92.3 million users who signed up for the site before and including Oct. 26, 2017, the date of the incident.

A security researcher discovered a file named "myheritage containing email addresses and passwords on a private server outside the site. Further analysis found the file was legitimate, with the data originating from Myheritage. No other data was detected on the server, and there was no evidence of account compromise. MyHeritage handles billing through third parties and stores sensitive data such as DNA and family trees on segregated servers with added security."


2018-06-07 Ticketfly cyberattack exposed data belonging to 27 million accounts
https://www.zdnet.com/article/ticketfly-cyberattack-exposed-data-belonging-to-27-million-accounts/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

Financial information is thought to be safe.


2018-06-27 A little-known Florida company may have exposed the personal data of nearly every American adult, according to a new report.

"Wired reported Wednesday that Exactis, a Palm Coast, Fla.-based marketing and data-aggregation company, had exposed a database containing almost 2 terabytes of data, containing nearly 340 million individual records, on a public server. That included records of 230 million consumers and 110 million businesses.

"It seems like this is a database with pretty much every U.S. citizen in it," security researcher Vinny Troia, who discovered the breach earlier this month, told Wired. "I don't know where the data is coming from, but it's one of the most comprehensive collections I've ever seen", he said."

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-new-data-breach-may-have-exposed-personal-information-of-almost-every-american-adult-2018-06-27


2018-06-29 A massive cache of law enforcement personnel data has leaked
https://www.zdnet.com/article/a-massive-cache-of-law-enforcement-personnel-data-has-leaked/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

Exclusive: The data revealed that some police departments are unable to respond in an active shooter event.


2019-06-27

Open Marketing Database Exposes 5 Million Personal Records
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/open-marketing-database-exposes-5-million-personal-records/

Health Care breach

An unsecured MongoDB instance belonging to health insurance marketing website MedicareSupplement.com was discovered online last month containing as many as 5 million records. The data cache included personal information as well as health details.

tags: All users, Security related
Tip Replacing Familiar Tools: Baobab
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, march 13, 2019, 12:09am utc

A popular Windows tool is WinDirStat, which shows a graphical display of the files on a drive or folder. This is great for quickly finding large uses of disk space; largest files; etc.

Perhaps the Linux tool that looks the most like WinDirStat is gdmap.

But gdmap lacks a right-click menu or similar approach to be able to View a particular file; delete the file; or even to open a folder to the corresponding file -- for you to do so on your own. It looks pretty; but does not work pretty.

An interesting alternative to try is baobab.

baobab

baobab optionally shows a text list of the files off to the right; or you can choose just to deal with the graphical version on the right. You can drill into folders and open the folder holding a given file, right from the graphical presentation.

To install baobab

$ sudo apt-get install baobab

tags: Beginning users, Tips
Security item Adding Non-Free Software
Caution
by @admin, march 10, 2019, 12:09am utc

When adding things outside of Linux to Linux, you are (vastly) increasing the chance of backdoors, viruses, and a myriad of related problems. Running Windows programs within Linux is a good way to get there!

Proprietary software, like Windows, is most-often closed source, meaning that people outside of Microsoft do not get to review the actual code for bugs, errors, omissions or backdoors.

A backdoor is a portion, or many portions!, of the code left open to hackers; either intentionally or by error. A backdoor can be used in many ways, by known or unknown people. It can be used to compromise your system, your contacts, other data and even your hardware (see Stuxnet).


This issue is not isolated to operating systems though. Using any closed-source software carries the same risks.

With open source software -- anyone can review the code for errors and security holes such as backdoors. You have multiple sets of eyes looking for problems and this has been a tremendously successful way of improving software.

By default -- some Linux distributions default to including only free software. #Debian is an example of this.

tags: Advanced users, Security related
Tip Bash Script Guides
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @News, february 04, 2019, 12:10am utc

bash guide

The classic Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide:

http://tldp.org/guides.html#abs

Beginners might prefer the Bash Guide for Beginners:

http://tldp.org/guides.html#bbg

"The Bash manual page is concise because it is a Unix manual page. Unix manual pages are supposed to be concise, because they are meant to be reference documents, not tutorials. In the GNU project, this is what the Info documentation is for."

https://mywiki.wooledge.org/BashGuide

"This guide aims to aid people interested in learning to work with BASH. It aspires to teach good practice techniques for using BASH, and writing simple scripts.

This guide is targeted at beginning users. It assumes no advanced knowledge -- just the ability to login to a Unix-like system and open a command-line (terminal) interface. It will help if you know how to use a text editor; we will not be covering editors, nor do we endorse any particular editor choice. Familiarity with the fundamental Unix tool set, or with other programming languages or programming concepts, is not required, but those who have such knowledge may understand some of the examples more quickly."

https://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799.2018edition/utilities/V3_chap02.html

tags: All users, Tips
Tip Hardware!
open source-ish desktop, laptop and server options.
by @News, november 05, 2018, 12:10am utc

zareason logo

https://zareason.com/Desktops/


UbuntuShop

https://www.ubuntushop.be/index.php/en/opensource-notebooks/debian-notebooks.html

tags: All users, Tips
News item Microsoft's latest trick:
Clicking 'X' to dismiss Windows 10 upgrade doesn't stop install
by @admin, may 23, 2016, 12:10am utc
... Microsoft has steadily made it more difficult to opt out of Windows 10 upgrades. The company has reworked its installation messages to imply that consumers couldn't opt out of upgrading, but clicking on the red "X" at the top right of those messages still canceled the process. According to reports streaming in from multiple sources online, Microsoft has changed this behavior. Clicking the X does nothing to stop the upgrade process now.

(full article)

tags: All users, News
Tip watch: Watching Files or Folders
...tips to ease the move to Linux
by @admin, april 16, 2016, 12:10am utc

watch allows you to repeat a command, in place, every n-seconds.

For example, if you're waiting to see when a web server log file is hit, you can run this watch command, using ls. By default it will run every 2 seconds.

$ watch ls logs -lart

The screen will not roll up. The information is just updated in place. (very handy).

Every 2.0s: ls logs -lart  

total 12
drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 4096 May 23 20:45 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root    0 May 24 14:06 error.log
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 May 24 14:06 .
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  320 May 24 14:14 access.log

You can have the changes highlighted (-d),
alter the seconds to wait between updates (-n)
and more.

Press Ctrl-c to end the watch.

tags: Beginning users, Tips
News item Say 'No' to Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL!
or, when Free = Bad.
by @News, may 17, 2012, 12:10am utc

Gmail tracks the history of things you buy, and it's hard to delete https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/17/google-gmail-tracks-purchase-history-how-to-delete-it.html

Google collects the purchases you've made, including from other stores and sites such as Amazon, and saves them on a page called Purchases.

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19942219


Hacker News ( unofficial ) Gmail confidential mode is not secure or private

https://protonmail.com/blog/gmail-confidential-mode-security-privacy/

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20242637

tags: All users, News
News item Switchers!
Organizations/companies switching to open source
by @News, may 17, 2012, 12:10am utc

S. Korean government to switch to Linux: ministry
By Kim Arin, May 17, 2019

The government will switch the operating system of its computers from Windows to Linux, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said Thursday.

Ministry Switches

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190517000378

The Interior Ministry said the ministry will be test-running Linux on its PCs, and if no security issues arise, Linux systems will be introduced more widely within the government.

read more

tags: All users, News
News item Privacy Policy
by @admin, january 01, 2012, 12:10am utc

WE VALUE PRIVACY
Both yours and ours

The information that we collect:

  • If you sign-up online, we then store the information that you provide to sign-up with. If you provide an email address to receive newsletters, we then retain your email address to send the newsletters to you.

  • We store standard browser metrics to understand if our pages have problems and also to optimize for the types of systems (mobile vs desktop; Linux |Windows |Mac |mobile OS |etc) using our site. This includes IP and referrer data; which are useful to watch for hacking attempts.

  • We send|sell|give|share this information with NO OTHER company or organization. If we are forced to by court orders, then we must do so.

  • We do not use tools from other companies (who provide them mostly to track users everywhere).

    • That means, you will find no Google analytics here (or Google-anything),
    • no external site usage/tracking software,
    • no Facebook hooks, that Facebook then gleans your info from,
    • no other feeds of your data to outside spots.
  • We do not use Paypal and we will never email you to ask for credit card or related information.

  • (if you choose to do so) we store two cookies, which contain your preferences for browsing the blog. If you do not set these preferences, no cookie is ever stored. If you have a log in, these preferences are stored in a database rather than a cookie.

These cookies are only used to allow guest users to view the blog the way they wish to; and can be deleted at any time.

How information we store is protected

  • We use SSL/TSL connections to encrypt data between you and our servers.

  • We store user information in encrypted databases.

Privacy policy updates.

We do not anticipate many changes to the above text, as this has been our policy for 20+ years; but if changes are needed they will be made to this page.

We really try not to send out information by bulk email that is not 100% necessary to all users; but if you would like to have us email you with any privacy policy changes, we would be pleased to do so. contact us here for that.

Also -- if you have questions or constructive suggestions about our privacy policy, we welcome you sending them via our contact page.

tags: All users, News
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