Reasons to Switch to Linux

The Linux Information Project has a great write up on 25 Reasons to Switch to Linux.

Businesses, educational institutions, governmental agencies and other organizations around the world are converting1 their computer operating systems from Microsoft Windows to Linux at an increasing pace. They are likewise converting their application programs from commercial software to free software (also referred to as open source software). There are at least 25 reasons for this situation..

Here are a few excerpts from the article :

  • Because it is licensed under a free software license, Linux (as well as other free software) is available at no cost. It can be downloaded from the Internet for free, and it can be purchased in disk or box form at trivial cost. One copy can be used on as many computers as desired with no restrictions. This is in sharp contrast to Microsoft Windows, which can easily cost US$100 or more per computer.
  • Linux features superior security, including a very low rate of infection by viruses, trojans, worms, spyware and other malware. This is because UNIX and all of its descendants (including Linux) been designed from the ground up with security in mind, rather than having attempts at security tacked on as an afterthought. For example, users do not routinely use the system as the root (i.e., administrative) user, thereby protecting key system files even in the event of a break-in by a malicious intruder. Also, a robust firewall is included in major distributions and it is enabled by default. Another important factor is the free availability of the source code, which allows thousands of people around the globe to search for security vulnerabilities in it.

Read the entire article here..

First let me start off by thanking everyone who participated in the Linux quiz contest.  I had fun coming up with the questions and I like giving things away to people who participate in the website, so it was a perfect marriage.

The winners of week 4 were apokalyptik, Anirudh, and Ben P. You can head over to the week 4 page to view the answers.  Most of you forgot to add an -e flag to your sed statements.

The winner of the free $25 Amazon Gift Card is Ben P. who answered 3 weeks of questions correctly.  He should be receiving an e-mail from me shortly.  Congratulations Ben!

Also a big congratulations to Apokalyptik for answering correctly two weeks in a row!  You almost tied Ben!

Again, thanks to all of you who participated.

It’s again time for the fourth and final question in the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway. apokalyptik, Ben P., Mahmoud, and Olivers won week 3 by answering our question most accurately.  To recap, every week we are asking a Linux question.  We want readers to post their answer in the comments section at the bottom of the post.  At the end of this week the person who has answered the most questions correctly will win a $25 Amazon Gift card.  If there are four different winners each week, a winner within the winners will be chosen at random.  If there is a tie, the winner will be determined based on who posted their answers the fastest.  Go here for the complete rules.

Question 4 : Week 4

From the command line, how do you remove all the blank lines from example_file1 and output the results into example_file2?  Note, you want to preserve example_file1.

The most complete and straightforward answer will win!

Post your answers at the bottom of this post in the comments!

Remember, subscribe to the RSS feed to get notified of the answer.  To prevent copying of answers, you will not see any comments until the end of the week.

It’s time for the third question in the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway. Chaoslica won week 2 by answering our question most accurately.  To recap, every week we are asking a Linux question.  We want readers to post their answer in the comments section at the bottom of the post.  At the end of week four the person who answers the most questions correctly will win a $25 Amazon Gift card.  If there are four different winners each week, a winner within the winners will be chosen at random.  If there is a tie, the winner will be determined based on who posted their answers the fastest.  Go here for the complete rules.

Question 3 : Week 3

From the command line, how would you get the size of all files and directories and output them from highest to lowest size?

The most complete and straightforward answer will win!

Post your answers at the bottom of this post in the comments!

Remember, subscribe to the RSS feed to get notified of the answer as well as the next question!  I will update this post every few days with the progress of the contest.  To prevent copying of answers, you will not see any comments until the end of the week.

* Update *

Congratulations to week 3 winners: apokalyptik, Ben P., Mahmoud, and Olivers.  Each answer was a bit different, but all of them are acceptable.  See the comments for the answers. Also, please note, Ben is the only contestant to have won twice thus far, putting him in the lead to win the gift card.

Check the home page soon to see the final week 4 question.

So you want to do something nice for your mother on the glorified Mothers Day holiday?  Flowers are always an easy, unthoughtful gift.  Why not step outside the box and create mom something really cool?  Theres an awesome guide on creating a digital picture frame from an old laptop computer running Linux.

The author of the guide explains how he bought a 500Mhz PIII processor, with 128MB of ram, a 4GB hard drive and a wireless card for $75.  He then installed Damn Small Linux and went to work configuring some scripts to automatically perform some tasks.  Finally, he shows how he reconstructed the laptop to fit the look of an actual picture frame by taking away pieces of it.

What’s really neat about this idea is if you can set up an internet connection on it, you could essentially configure it so you can remotely update it via SCP or RSYNC with pictures from anywhere so your Mom can always be up to date with pictures from you.

It’s time for the second question in the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway.  Ben P. and John Stevens won week 1 by answering our question most accurately.  To recap, every week we are asking a Linux question.  We want readers to post their answer in the comments section at the bottom of the post.  At the end of week four the person who answers the most questions correctly will win a $25 Amazon Gift card.  If there are four different winners each week, a winner within the winners will be chosen at random.  If there is a tie, the winner will be determined based on who posted their answers the fastest.  Go here for the complete rules.

Question 2 : Week 2

How would you set up a recurring task of “task.sh” to run every day at 8:00am?

The most complete and straightforward answer will win!

Post your answers at the bottom of this post in the comments!

Remember, subscribe to the RSS feed to get notified of the answer as well as the next question!  I will update this post every few days with the progress of the contest.  To prevent copying of answers, you will not see any comments until the end of the week.

* Friday Update *

We’re still looking for people to submit answers!  You have until Sunday afternoon.

* Sunday Update *

I’ve approved all of the comments so you can see everyones answers.  The best, and most complete answer goes to chaoslica for remembering to make sure the task.sh file was excutable.

Congratulations to chaoslica for winning week 2.

Check back this week, or subscribe to the rss feed to get the week 3 question!

If you’re looking to get rid of the annoying system beep in Ubuntu, here is how to do it from both the command line, and from the Gnome desktop.

Disable the System Beep from the Command Line

#sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

And then add:

#pc speaker beep

blacklist pcspkr

Save and quit the file:

:wq

Now, remove the pcspkr module:

sudo rmmod pcspkr

Disable the System Beep in Ubuntu from the Gnome Desktop

This way is much easier.  Simply navigate to System -> Preferences -> Sound then navigate to the System Beep tab.  Uncheck the box labeled “Enable the System Beep” and click close.

Disable the System Beep from the Ubuntu Desktop

Here is a quick Linux tip to block incoming access to port 80 using iptables.

iptables -A INPUT -j DROP -p tcp --destination-port 80 -i eth0

The code above will drop all tcp packets coming into your Linux computer on device eth0 on port 80.  If your Internet connection runs through a device other than eth0, go ahead and make the adjustment.

To remove the iptables rule use the following code:

iptables -D INPUT -j DROP -p tcp --destination-port 80 -i eth0

For more information on using iptables visit the iptables man page.

Monitor Unix and Linux with Microsoft

Sean Michael Kerner is at Interop in Las Vegas where Microsoft has announced that their new Microsoft System Center Operations Manager allows you to monitor Unix and Linux systems.

Shilmover showed a live demo of Microsoft’s tool actually managing a Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and a MySQL database server. To be honest I’ve never seen anything like it before –  Microsoft demonstrating how it can manage Linux and Open Source technologies.

Microsoft is finally acknowledging that the open source and Linux/Unix world is slowly becoming the norm.  Instead of sitting back, they are coming up with new business models to adapt.  I suppose this is a good thing, but who really wants to use Windows to manager their Linux and Unix servers?

Read Sean Kerners article here.

How To Enable BCM43xx in Ubuntu 8.04

Here is a question I’ve been seeing pop up over the past few days:

My Broadcom bcm4306 Wireless card wont work in Ubuntu 8.04.  How do I fix it?

The most common reason is simply because Ubuntu did not enable the restricted driver.  If your Ubuntu 8.04 installation did not enable your Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 Wireless LAN Controller, here is how to enable it.

First, you need to make sure the b43-fwcutter package is installed.

sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter

Next, navigate to System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers

bcm4306 wireless driver in ubuntu 8.04

You should see your Broadcom 4306 device listed.  Check the box to enable it.

Now your bcm43xx Broadcom Wireless card should be working in Ubuntu 8.04!