[sticky] Tired of paying for Windows? Linux is your answer!

Welcome to PrescottLinux.com, we are a local team dedicated to informing dispirited computer users of the tri-city area that there is an alternative to Microsoft Windows. You may very well have a Dell PC right now, did you know you paid Microsoft a percentage of the cost of that PC? With Microsoft’s versions of Windows, you are paying them for the privilege of providing you with an operating system that will open you up viruses, spyware, and all types of malware. Windows by far is the biggest platform for attracting all the unwanted nuisances floating around on the Internet.

If you have kids in the house going online, then you probably have had problems with your Windows computer catching a virus, and all the popups, hijacking of your computer, etc. It is an expensive nightmare to try to get that computer cleaned out. That’s where Linux has a huge advantage over Windows- It is designed from the ground-up with security in mind.

Linux is Free and Open Source Software, a concept known by the acronym, FOSS. As such, you don’t have to pay for Linux, most of the software that runs on Linux is also free and open source. All your favorite applications, such as Mozilla Firefox, web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird E-mail client, Sun’s Open Office, their office suite that is compatible with Microsoft’s Office, as well as many other programs you are probably using already.

Linux also gives you freedom from knowing that there isn’t a big, centralized corporation controlling what do you with your computer, with just its shareholders in mind.

We will add more posts here to explain the virtues of Linux periodically and hope to inform the public.

Linux/Moose Malware Wreaks Havoc on Social Networks

Internet security researchers at Eset on Tuesday published a security research paper on Linux/Moose, a major threat to social networks that turns routers into conduits for grabbing users’ log-in credentials, employing them for network fraud and to further spread malware to client devices that connect through them to the Internet. The paper, “Dissecting Linux/Moose,” details a months-long investigation into a carefully concealed flow of traffic involving the malware and recommends how to avoid prolonged exposure to it.

Ebuyer Introduces 3 New Ubuntu Powered HP Laptops

Now this is interesting. If you are in the market of an Ubuntu pre-loaded laptop, you’re in for a treat. Just last month, Dell launched Ubuntu variants of its stunning XPS 13 line of Ultrabooks. Now Ebuyer, a big UK based online Computer retailer, has introduced 3 new AMD powered HP laptops running the latest from Ubuntu. Momentum is clearly building in Ubuntu’s favour. 

AMD powered hp ubuntu laptops

AMD Powered HP Laptops running Ubuntu

HP 255 G3 Quad Core, HP 355 G3 Quad Core and HP 455 G3 Quad Core. Ebuyer, an online retailer based in UK, has launched 3 brand new Ubuntu pre-loaded laptops running the latest and greatest from Ubuntu. Spec sheet and price below:
HP ubuntu laptops
Now, Ebuyer is not new to the seen either. They launched their first Ubuntu powered laptops back in April 2014 (here). Seems like they had a decent response from customers. Now they are looking to expand their Ubuntu portfolio by introducing new products.

The laptops are pre-installed with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. They are also ‘Ubuntu Certified’, and hence no compatibility issues whatsoever with the hardware components (that includes touch screen support and hiDPI monitors). Check out the products @ebuyer.

“We are extremely pleased to be launching Ubuntu on AMD-based HP devices with Ebuyer.com here in the UK,” said Maria Bonnefon, Global Client Sales Director at Canonical. “Ebuyer.com has proven itself to be a stalwart force in the UK electronics retail space and we are excited to be aligning with them on offering the Ubuntu desktop OS to local customers. We are thrilled  by the growing success of this partnership and what lies ahead.” [Further reading: Ubuntu Insights]

3 Relatively Unknown Open Source Web Browsers for Linux that Packs the Punch

Browser wars has been going on for more than a decade now and yet, there are no signs of a let down by any parties involved. In fact, things are only hotting up with the big three competing tooth and nail to become the leader of the pack. But that’s not the entire story. A host of niche players are also in the market which are equally good and sometimes even better. Here, we’ll discuss 3 superb free and open source web browsers you’ve probably never heard about.

Open Source Web Browsers for Linux

Slimjet: Slimjet is a web browser based on Blink engine. It is built on top of Chromium open source project and has been very fast and stable in my experience. Some salient features worth mentioning include the following: A full-featured form filler that replaces the basic password manager in Chrome, fully customisable toolbar, facebook integration, youtube video downloader (can also convert videos to mp3), and instant photo upload with automatic image compression.

download slimjet in ubuntu

But its biggest feature is being NOT Google. It doesn’t send any usage statistics to Google (like Chromium). Slimjet packages for Linux (DEB and RPM). Also available on Software Center.

Open Source Web Browsers for Linux

Palemoon: Palemoon on the other hand is based on Mozilla Firefox’s Gecko engine. Palemoon claims to have a carefully selected set of features and optimizations to maximize the browser speed, stability and user experience. And it does all this without breaking any compatibility with your favorite Firefox extensions. Being a big Firefox fan, this is currently my preferred choice. Unlike Slimjet though, Palemoon is not available in Ubuntu repositories. If you’re using Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10 or Ubuntu 12.04, you can use the following PPA to install Palemoon. Simply copy-paste the following commands in Terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:marian.kadanka/palemoon
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install palemoon

But if you’re using the latest Ubuntu 15.04 ‘Vivid Vervet’ instead, you are out of luck and would’ve to use the generic download option. It’s a simple script anyway. Just download, extract and run the script. Download Palemoon here.

Open Source Web Browsers for Linux

QupZilla: QupZilla is a free and open-source, cross-platform web browser based on Qt and Webkit. It has a simple but familiar interface with integrated AdBlock. Probably the least distinct among the ones featured here. Started out as a ‘hobby’ project which later became more mainstream and popular. A fun alternative nonetheless. Lots and lots of download options.

download qupzilla in ubuntu

Hope you enjoyed the list. Some of the more obvious ones we missed out here include Midori, Epiphany and Chromium. Then there’s Vivaldi, a relative new-comer developed by former Opera team with many power-user friendly features. Thank you. 

Simplicity Linux Makes Good on Its Easy-Peasy Promise

The latest edition of Simplicity Linux, version 15.4, recently became available for download. Simplicity Linux delivers just what its name suggests: It is a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. Simplicity lets you carry your entire desktop, favorite installed applications, and complete collection of documents and files in your pocket everywhere you go. Other Linux distros let you do much the same thing — but solutions like Puppy Linux, Porteus, Knoppix and such are a bit trickier to set up and configure.

Rightful Successor to Open Moko & Nokia N900, Neo900 Open Source Phone Pre Order Starts

Sometime back in 2011, Nokia ended its Linux program (MeeGo) with Nokia N9 when Microsoft acquired its mobile division. Much before that in 2009, the last phone with Nokia’s Linux based Maemo OS was released, it was called Nokia N900. Though both phones was a hit among its loyal fans, Nokia decided to ditch both the projects and went all out with Windows OS. But some people were just not ready to let go the N900 yet. 
Neo900 Open Source Phone

Neo900 Open Source Phone Project
In the land of iPhones and Androids, Nokia N900 might not have been a runaway success. But as always with Nokia, the hardware was top notch and the software based on Linux worked pretty well too. But it was just a case of too little too late. Nokia was just not willing to read the writing on the wall. But that’s beside the point.

A while ago, a team of erstwhile Nokia N900 fans decided to resurrect the long forgotten device. The result is Neo900. Though the team tried their best to update the device with the latest of hardware, when you compare it with contemporaries the results are pretty average. But having said that, Neo900 is not meant for mass production and is not meant to compete. It is mainly targeted at enthusiasts. And that’s part of the reason why they have opened up a web shop for Neo900 pre order so that they could raise some money for producing the device and mitigate the risk of losing money on the device (like a down payment).

Neo900 is powered by a 1 GHz TI OMAP DM3730 SoC, has 1 GB of RAM and has the same 3.5 inch TFT resistive touchscreen display. Full spec sheet here.

“The Neo900 is the spritual successor of the Nokia N900. The new circuit board can be placed into an existing N900 for better specs (faster CPU, more RAM, LTE modem) than the original device while still maintaining fremantle (maemo 5) backwards compatibility. Alternatively, a fully assembled phone can be purchased as well. The Neo900 will be fully operational without any binary blob running on the main CPU. While the modem still requires a non-free firmware, it is completely decoupled from the rest of the device (think of a LTE usb stick you put in your laptop) and can reliably be monitored or switched off by the operating system.” [source: slashdot.org]

Russia Aims to Build US-Free Mobile OS

Russia wants to develop alternatives to proprietary or partly closed mobile operating systems by using open source tools as a foundation, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Nikolay Nikiforov said last week. “Success would make a fairly significant impact on the go-to market plans of numerous IT vendors. We are seeing the beginnings of similar efforts in China, a market that has long been central to many vendors’ future plans and hopes,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Popcorn Time Offers Smooth-as-Butter Streaming

Popcorn Time, known as the “Netflix for Pirates,” has introduced a browser-based service that lets users play streaming videos without having to download anything. The videos play on the company’s servers. However, the browser-based service does not include a built-in virtual private network, a feature of the downloadable Popcorn Time app. Popcorn Time presents thumbnails and film titles just like Netflix does, and users can browse the site to select the movies they want to watch, just as they can on Netflix.
Most of the videos stream in HD.

Venom Less Toxic Than Heartbleed

It was a little over a year ago that the Heartbleed bug shocked the Internet with its potential for mischief. Now another flaw in open source code has sent network administrators into damage control mode. The bug, called “Venom” for “Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation,” allows an intruder to jump out of a virtual machine and execute malicious code on its host. Virtual machines are widely used in data centers, so it has the potential to cause widespread mischief.

The Rampant, Risky Babbling of Android Apps

Eurecom researchers recently developed an Android app that can monitor the network traffic of other apps to alert users of suspicious or malicious activity. With more than 1.2 million applications in the Google Play store, there are multiple programs for performing a particular task. That can make choosing an app a chore for users, they noted in a report released last month. “Moreover, some of the applications being of dubious origin, there are no mechanisms for users to understand who the applications are talking to, and to what extent.”

Makulu Gives Unity a Good Name

Makulu Linux now is one of the first major distros to integrate the Unity desktop. It was more than worth the wait! The Unity desktop is Ubuntu’s flagship desktop environment. Parent company Canonical pushed through its development several years ago as a way of introducing users to its “unifying” computing platform for all devices. It removed the traditional panel bar and two-column application menu. It replaced both with an expanding sidebar that lost most of the configurability and functionality of the Linux panel.