Amsterdammack's Blog

April 7, 2010

Linux in the coffeeshop (Part I)

Filed under: Coffeeshops,Linux — Marc @ 11:08
Tags: , ,

As you might have been reading in my blog before Yuki and Tetsuro are pro free culture. They do understand that sharing knowledge and distributing it freely brings lots of advantages. If you have been to the shop, you may have noticed that moving windows on the Bar-PC looks wobbly?

Or this strange music player called Amarok that is playing all the music every day. It’s Linux!

When Yuki and Tetsuro took over Betty Too, they had a Windows XP machine

playing music from I-tunes.

All thee shops  Cd’s had been ripped with I-tunes, after realizing that changing them a lot makes them unplayable due to scratches.  The machine had no Internet connection and was not fast, but efficient for the job. When Yuki asked for Internet connection at the bar, I volunteered and connected it to the LAN via a 30 meter networking cable.

After booting I installed all updates and service packs anti-spyware software and of course a anti-virus software. The anti-virus program told me that it found some Trojans and the anti-spyware program told me that I had several critical things on that pc. They all seemed old and the programs reported the pc to be free of bugs, but I was not sure how much I could trust this machine anymore.

How to prevent this in the future? The plan was to have a web-cam in the local-network, to monitor the first floor of the shop. I was really worried about privacy problems if somebody would hack that web cam and put pictures on the web without people knowing about it.

The real problem was – the very friendly guys behind the bar would (traditionally) except all other people to bring music via USB-sticks or Cd’s and copy it on the machine. They just wanted to be friendly, but had no idea about security or legal consequences. Windows seemed to me too accessible to be used for this kind of machine. A second PC for surfing was no option for space reasons, so I recommended the use of Ubuntu to prevent people  from storing data on that machine.

February 26, 2010

My journey to Linux

Filed under: Linux — Marc @ 15:00
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Around three years back, I had my first working Ubuntu machine up and running. Like many other users I got in trouble with my Windows-XP installation, due to a virus. The virus did not only infect my hard-disk, but also affected my back-up. I kept my machine up to date, had anti virus software installed and all of my software was legal, but still some virus was smart enough to hide longer than my two back-up cycles. All was lost! I was very angry…

Why would I trust Microsoft again and provide them my precious data, if a virus can hide in their OS for more than 2 months? Should I really continue to pay my yearly fee to renew a virus protection that failed on me? How much time would it take to reinstall my system to a state that allows me to be productive?

While thinking about it, I realised that one of my favourite computer magazines contained a “Live CD” of Ubuntu. Having to install from scratch anyway, I decided to give Ubuntu a try thinking that I could fall back to Windows if needed.

I had read some articles about Linux in several computer related publications and websites in the past, but it always looked geeky to me. Not that I don’t like geek stuff, but I really couldn’t imagine that this can be mastered without classes. The articles were praising the GPL and Open Source and the (user-)options seemed to be enormous. My understanding though, was that this was mainly from It-experts for It-experts.

This Live-CD was working impressively fine. The magazine was not wrong – it looked a bit unfamiliar brownish, but I was able to try the whole system in less than 10 minutes time! After booting I realised, that there was not only a full operating system, but also a huge bunch of applications already loaded with the CD. A Office Suite, Browser, Audio Player and so on. All of that on one CD? Actually the magazine was showing a step by step tutorial how to install multimedia codecs, so I was happy to see that all my hardware was recognised and I would be able to listen to music.

I decided to install on my hard-disk and was done after not much longer than 60 minutes. (I have to admit that the machine was waiting a lot for ME reading, the install would have been done much quicker otherwise.) I repeated the codec tutorial and started exploring…

(to be continued!)

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