[Techtalk] thanks for all the help!

caitlynmaire at earthlink.net caitlynmaire at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 2 14:06:33 EST 2002

Hi, Sam, and everyone else,

I'm joining this late because everyone else was doing a briliant job
answering your questions.  I didn't feel like I had much to add.
> I'm guessing its because there are a lot of services starting up by
> default when your machine starts up (you probably dont need a portion
> of them). Fixing this can possibly even be a "project" that we can
> work on at some point. 

This is an important project, though.  Every extra service you run not
only adds to the stuff running on your machine and consumes resources
slowing it down, but it also adds a point of attack for a cracker if a
vulnerability is discovered in that service.  Disabling unwanted
services is one of the first things you should consider when you are
ready to "harden" your machine.  Since you have legitimate security
concerns this probably should be done fairly soon.

Mandrake, RedHat, and most modern distributions have graphical tools
that make this fairly easy.  Red Hat's serviceconf is a nice example.  I
don't know what Mandrake is using nowadays.  I probably should pick up a
copy of 9.0 when it becomes available, and possibly download the beta in
the meanwhile.
> > 
> If youre just running a 'normal' desktop,
> then you dont need any server programmes (web server, ftp server, etc)
> on the machine so that offers even fewer opportunities to people with
> evil intent.

See... I'm not the only one thinking that way.
> > 3)I am now "feeling" that maybe I should buy Linux because it seems
> > that the manuals would help me (someone suggested this)
> RedHat and Mandrake and Debian and Slackware manuals are all available
> online. Suse might be, but I cant say for sure.
> > 4) Which Linux should I buy?? Should I rush out and buy Mandrake or
> > Red hat??
> My *personal opinion* is not to go out buying anything just yet. There
> are so many distros to choose from, that I feel you should try a few
> out first to see which one suites you best. Linux distros can be quite
> a personal thing.

I agree to a point, but...  a new arrival from the Windows world is
likely to start with GUI tools, not at the command line.  Each
distributor tends to build their own GUI tools, and they vary quite a
bit from distro to distro.  In some ways switching from Mandrake to
RedHat, for example, requires some relearning.  I would get comfortable
with one distribution first, and since you've started with Mandrake
that's where I'd recommend you stay.  Later on, once you feel you have
some basic confidence in your ability to function in a Linux
environment, by all means explore. 

> If bandwith is not a problem, then download redhat73,
> mandrake 82 and try them out. Later versions might fix some of your
> probs (especially hardware related) and you can get a basic feel for
> them before spending your money. 

I agree with this, but I would start with Mandrake 8.2 (says the woman
running Red Hat :).
> (the other secret reason I suggest to hold off is that I know both
> redhat and mandrake are currently beta testing new releases - in a few
> months both distros will have new versions out) 

Yep.  I also agree with David about supporting good Linux distributors,
at least your distro of choice.  I use Red Hat because that's what the
corporate world uses, especially in this area where they are a local
company.  Then again, I admin UNIX/Linux for a living.  I agree that
Mandrake is probably the easiest choice for the newcomers.  My advice
would be to download Mandrake 8.2 now and buy 9.0 if you like 8.2.

Personally I would avoid Debian, Slackware, and their derviative distros
(i.e.: Vector Linux) until you have a much higher degree of comfort with
Linux.  These distros have some great points, but they are not newbie
friendly.  The only exception I would make to this is if you really need
to run Linux on some older, slower hardware.  Starting with Vector is a
lot easier than slimming down Red Hat or Mandrake.
> > 5) In relation to the excellent suggestions of the hamster - I
> > decided to prioritize getting USB to work because I can't type or
> > move the mouse pointer around without getting the keyboard and mouse
> > to work. That probably sounds like a good plan!?! In that case would
> > a "newer" Mandrake version or other distribution take care of this
> > issue do you think?
> YES :-)

Almost certainly.  Start with 8.2 or even the 9.0 beta.  Warning,
though:  there will be annoying bugs in the beta code guaranteed.

Keep us posted on your progress.

All the best,

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