Spyware, Adware, Windows, GNU/Linux, and Software Culture .

This Article has been wrtten by Karsten M. Self and taken from here

Spyware, Adware, Windows, GNU/Linux, and Software Culture

For starters, I’ll note that I run GNU/Linux on my own personal
desktop, both at home
and at work, and that the problems delineated
in the article simply don’t exist for me there. While I strongly
favor Linux, I consider my bias grounded in experience and reality.
I’ve certainly had years of experience with both types of

I run herd over a small posse of legacy MS Windows systems at
work, a youth center in Napa, CA. I’m also called on periodically
to do maintenance on PCs used by adult staff in various businesses.
I have to say the the whole issue of spyware, adware, viruses,
worms, and other annoyances (generally: malware) really opened my
eyes to the problems MS Windows users face.

Among topics the article didn’t address for reasons of space and

  • Keeping things clean. I’ve found a few
    tricks that work, at least for the moment, with vigilance,
    paranoia, and a healthy dose of luck.
  • Experiences. Just how bad the problem is,
    with some quantified examples.
  • Some cultural observations.
  • Ironies.

There were also a few general observations I had on the spyware
/ adware / malware issue. Briefly (and there’s more at depth later
on most of these points):

  • Seeing both GNU/Linux and Windows systems running
    side-by-side, the magnitude of the problem is just unbelievably
    different. As in: nonexistent vs. a major constant concern.
  • It is possible to protect MS Windows systems against
    the problem. But it’s a lot of work, restricts a lot of the
    so-called useful functionality of the platform, and in my case
    involves no email, greatly limited downloads, rather effectively
    blocking use of MS Internet Explorer, and keeping virus and
    adware definition files up to date. I spend thirty minutes daily
    on this for ten systems and still don’t feel I’ve got things
    comfortably nailed down. For those interested in the “how”, I
    cover this in some detail below.
  • Typical small enterprise use of MS Windows is an absolute
    nightmare from an adware/spyware perspective, and (so far) you
    couldn’t pay me to go there. Home-usage is probably even
  • Most telling is the difference I see between the applications
    space in my preferred GNU/Linux distribution (or version),
    Debian, and MS Windows. Boiling it down: in a collaborative, open
    platform, programs have to obey rules to be included. In a
    fiercely competitive environment, there’s ferocious levels of
    backstabbing and low tricks to try to get applications in front
    of the user or on their system. Adware and its ilk are a logical
    extension of the existing proprietary software marketplace.
    There’s considerably more on this below.

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su — Run a shell with Substitute User

The Indian Patent Office has published a draft patent practice manual.
Read the draft and Email your suggestions to Mr Ramanraj K (ramanraj.k
at gmail dot com), before 15th of August 2005.
URL: http://gnowledge.org/pipermail/fsf-friends/2005-June/003381.html

One Day One Command

su — Run a shell with Substitute User


`su’ allows one user to temporarily become another user. ?It runs a
command with the Real & Effective user id, group id and supplemental
groups of a given user. If user not given, it will login as root.

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File System Structure – II

We have already discussed the directory structure in
Linux/Unix. You
are able to find files and directories that you need. But there is more
to the filesystem than just the directory structure.

Linux/Unix is a multiuser operating system. Every aspect
the system is
multiuser, even the filesystem. The system stores information like who
owns a file and who can read it. There are other unique parts about the
filesystems, such as links and NFS mounts. This section explains these,
as well as the multiuser aspects of the filesystem.

In Linux/Unix, all files are protected under some access
control mechanism, so
that the owner of a file can deny access of his files to other
users. The first column of the long directory list shows the access
characteristics of a file, in te form of 10 flags, e.g. drwxr-xr-x.

drwxr-xr-x? 18 gaurav
gaurav??? 784 2005-04-14 08:31 .

The meanings of the flags are shown below:

Position 1       file type: d (directory) 
- (ordinary file)
l (symbolic link)

Position 2-4 permissions for the owner: r (read)
w (write)
x (execute)

Position 5-7 permissions for other users in the same group

Position 8-10 permissions for all other users

Note that a hyphen (`-‘) denotes lack of the given permission type.
For example, r-x would mean that read and execute permission are
granted, but not write permission.

In order to remove a file, you must have write
permission for

In order to view the contents of a directory, i.e. see
are there, you need read permission for that directory. In order
to actually access a file (read from it, write to it, or execute
it) in the directory, you need execute permission for the directory.


The filesystem stores ownership information for each
file and
directory on the system. This includes what owner and group own a
particular file. The easiest way to see this information is with the ls command:

$ ls -l /usr/bin/wc

   -rwxr-xr-x   1 root     bin    7368 Jul 30  1999 /usr/bin/wc

We are interested in the third and fourth columns.
contain the username and group name that owns this file. We see that
the user “root” and the group “bin” own this file.

We can easily change the file owners with the chown(1) (which means “change owner”) and chgrp(1) (which means “change group”) commands. To
change the file owner to “daemon”, we would use chown:

# chown daemon /usr/bin/wc

To change the group owner to “root”, we would use chgrp:

# chgrp root /usr/bin/wc

We can also use chown to specify the user and group owners for
a file:

# chown daemon.root /usr/bin/wc

File ownership is a very important part of using a
system, even if you are the only user. You sometimes need to fix
ownerships on files and device nodes.




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Installing 2 gnu/linux Distros

I have to install Windows ME, Fedora Core 3 and SuSe 9.1. How do I proceed

Solution :

Before install take a deep breath on how to arrange spaces for installing three distors I have used as under…

I have a 40 GB Hard Disk and I have made the following partitions…

1) 5 GB FAT 32 (C:)
2) 5 GB FAT 32 (D:)
3) 10 GB EXT3 (For SuSe 9.1)
4) 10 GB EXT3 (For Fedora 3)
5) 512 MB SWAP (Thumbrule for setting up the size of SWAP = 2 * RAM present in your computer)
6) Rest kept free (to be used according to need)

In the above I used the first 5 GB FAT for installing Win ME. The second 5 GB FAT for storage of Win data files. The first 10 GB EXT3 for SuSe 9.1 and second 10 GB EXT3 for Fedora Core 3. The 512 MB swap is for common SWAP place.

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