Linux as replacement for XP

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Windows_Security, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

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    Depending on the distro, MATE has a lot more stability problems. It also has more UI inconsistency problems (again depending on distro). Since youre moving from windows Ill point out that MATE is a fork of a desktop environment which used to be very popular, Gnome 2. Gnome developers started Gnome 3, which lead many to switch to XFCE, KDE, and for a fork called MATE to be made. While MATE itself is fine as its basically the old Gnome 2 with improvements, I wouldnt touch MATE on Arch. Maybe Ive been following the MATE thread on the Arch forums too long, but it seems like guys there have tons of problems with it. Maybe im wrong here? It seems like random guys having to come in and pull this and that, struggling to get X or Y to build, finally getting a decent version, and then uploading. I do see MATE in the community repos so perhaps all those issues have been sorted?

    Cinnamon is usually very stable, and a nice mix between the simplicity of something like XFCE versus the feature heaven of KDE. KDE is the most UI consistent interface on Linux and has a mind-boggling array of features, but it has bugs here and there. XFCE is a fantastic DE- it can look very good, its pretty light, its got a lot of features but isnt bloated, and its very stable. I mention XFCE because I havent seen you mention Xubuntu- probably the best buntu distro available. Might want to try it, but please do give it a chance by dressing it up a little- its pretty plain at first. MATE and XFCE are similar in a lot of ways, though not all.

    I could also suggest window managers, but based on what your testers like none of them would prolly be a preference. I personally use Openbox with xfce's panel, file manager, terminal, and system settings along with compton for compositing/tear-free/etc.
     
  2. @Anonfame1

    Thanks for the info. A relatives (age 74 and 76) were on Zorin 8, it crashed and I could not get the Zorin lookmanager to save its preferences.

    When I wanted to install Linux Mint Mate, it said that it could not find the southbridge, so I ran some tests and discovered the memory was corrupted. I have ordered a new 2GB memory module (for only 5 bucks). When this turns out to be the problem it is a miracle the PC stil works.

    I have to wait a few days before it is delivered, download Xubuntu now and will try it on my PC first. It should resemble Windows and I have to install Wine for some old Windows cards games they like. Not much requirements, I need to be able to install Chrome and Thunderbird (that is what they used to).They only surf and answer mail (view attachments) and play games, so low requirements on software.

    Thx
     
  3. Playing with Xubuntu 32 bits now, took some time to find an easy way to install firefox and thunderbird in Dutch

    Terminal
    sudo apt-get install firefox-locale-nl
    sudo apt-get install thunderbird-locale-nl

    Also getting the taskbar down, requires to unlock, but you need to grab at the left/right side to pull it down (I tried to grab it from the middle).

    Looks fine
     
  4. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

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    In Debian or Ubuntu, I usually install software with synaptic.
    Synaptic is not installed by default with newer versions of Xubuntu, but it can be done easily with the software manager, which I don't touch anymore once it's done.
     
  5. @fblais and @Anonfame1

    Thanks for your suggestions. To be honest I like both. I liked the XP skins of Linus Mint Mate, but the start button setup of Xubuntu resembles Windows more, so choices ....

    Tried 32 bits Xubuntu to discover that Chrome only supports 64 bits on linux now. With Mint, I had troubles using Dutch (language packs would be corrupted), while Xubuntu seemed to do that well. Problem is that Dutch Xubuntu still has some English words in it (like Cancel). This only seems to be with system settings, so my relatives probably would never see that.

    Have not tried Wine on Xubuntu with "klaverjassen"card game. Will do that this weekend (in Mint it worked smoothly).

    Thanks for your help. As a matter of fact I will convert my mother (84) who is still using XP and her brother also to this setup (Mint-Mate or Xubuntu). This setup is for my mother's younger sister and her man. She is 74 who, but uses a smartphone and is also on what's app, facebooj and skype and this Aunt does great job on helping her older relatives (so I need them on same OS).


    Thanks

    Kees
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2016
  6. I found only FireJail help/directions for ubuntu. Is that the same for Xubuntu or Mint (would like to FireJail firefox). Help appreciated, thanks in advance

    Found how to install firejail

    sudo apt-get install firejail

    Next how to sandbox Firefox
     
  7. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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  8. Thx, although when I use this command ($ firejail firefox -no-remote) to create a shortcut/starter,
    I get this error (Failed to execute child process "$" (No such file or directory)

    *** skipping the $ does the trick.

    Create a shortcut (starter) with this

    firejail firefox -no-remote
     
  9. Amanda

    Amanda Registered Member

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    Hehehehe.

    Just a tip: Whenever you see "$" or "#", it means two things:

    • "$" means your user. You open a terminal and type the command, like "sudo apt update" (if you're in the sudo group) or "uptime";
    • "#" means the root user. You open the Terminal and login as root, either by "sudo su -" or just "su -", and THEN type the command.
     
  10. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    @Windows_Security,

    throw in ublockO blocking only 3rd-party frames (a very nice balance between security while still affording usability) and keep enabled default 3rd-party filters and you virtually have yourself a browser fortress.
     
  11. @amarildojr & @wat0114 & @Anonfame1 & @fblais

    They were used to Chrome (that is also what she has on her smart phone). They are 74 and 76, so will keep changes as low as possible. The only reason I put them on 32 bits with Firefox is that they were the first ones I set up with Linux, because they were the joungest. As said my Aunt knows how to use a smartphone and she acts as a first line helpdesk for her family (including my mother and some same aged nieces). I don't have the time to jump into my car and explain that their PC is not breached, because one of their kids installed LinkedIn or Facebook and they were in their address book and facebook/linkedin invites them to join.

    I used to have a lot of hardware laying around, because my son liked to upgrade his PC constantly. I have them all on at least dual core's with 2 GB minimum. Although they are Because they are all 64 bits systems, I found out with the failing memory that 32 bits was still able to boot, while 64 bits would not load. This is the reason I tried Firefox, because I am thinking of putting on 32 bits.



    Thanks for your advices
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2016
  12. @wat0114 Trying out Linux Lite

    When installing Dutch Firefox and Thunderbird it says latest is already installed, so unable to change it to Dutch language.

    So tried to remove firefox (sudo apt-get --purge remove firefox) and reinstall using (sudo apt-get install firefox-locale-nl) but that did not work also.
     
  13. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    What exactly didn't work? Did you activate the Dutch language pack in about:addons?
     
  14. Amanda

    Amanda Registered Member

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    A terminal output of the error would help a lot too.
     
  15. @summerheat & @amarildojr

    Sorry, I was playing with Xubuntu again, went back to Linux lite to get the terminal error message for you, but decided I will go for Xubuntu (simply because Xubuntu looks better and gave no problems when playing with it).

    Playing with preferences Xubuntu can be made resembling Windows. Although some system menu's will display the plus icon in stead of a square icon and some system menu icons are not translated to Dutch. This is not a deal breaker, because the intended user should never use (see) these system menu's. Also for a Windows user, Xubuntu does not feel that awkward right out of the box. I also like the fact that I can lock the taskbar and disable most of the fancy user interface fancy, which will only confuse these senior users.

    Advantage of Firefox is that it gets updates, don't know about Chromium. Advantage of Chromium is that they already know it. On the other side my mother of 84 did not seem to have much adoption problems when Chrome stopt updating on her XP Pro and I installed Firefox. I will put her system also on Linux (so her younger sister can help her).

    I need to install 32 bits due to hardware limitations, so I can't install Chrome. Choice is between Firfox with Firejail VERSUS Chromium. What is the advice from forum members using Linux?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2016
  16. sbwhiteman

    sbwhiteman Registered Member

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    I'm probably not the one to compare the two, not having run Firejail, but I would think simpler is better and therefore suggest Chromium.

    But more importantly I wanted to commend you on your support of your ageing relatives. Not everyone would take the time to assist them as conscientiously as you do. You're a good son/nephew.
     
  17. It is a tradition in my family. I was the only with a useless profession when I became IT-er (the rest of my family had practical professions like carpenter, brickayer, mechanic, plasterer, electrician, etc). So this is my way of 'paying back' the help my mother gets (e.g. free car, house and garden maintenance, etc).

    To be honest, I first did it because of the social pressure. Having noticed that most pensions shrink, it does not feel like a burden anymore, but it actually feels good to help older relatives. Maybe I am just getting old.
     
  18. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Yeah, noticing that too, although I'm grateful, and fortunate, to have a pension from the industry I work in. Only CPP with old age pension in Canada won't cut it.

    BTW, you didn't have much luck with LXLE? Along with Lite it's been one of the highly reliable Ubuntu-based distros I've used.
     
  19. @wat0114

    Since I am a Noob with Linux, the most likely reason is my lack of knowledge.

    By the way, what would you advise Firefox with firejail or Chromium?

    Thx
     
  20. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Oh I don't know, probably go with user preference. Personally I like Chromium with Firejail. Even without Firejail, however, the Linux sandbox on Chromium is very strong. The trouble with Linux as I've found, and I'm sure you and many others too, is that it mostly doesn't go nearly as smooth as Windows. No matter the distro, there're always a few problems that creep up and I'd be doomed if it weren't for Google search ;) but I almost always without fail eventually find a solution. Even now, though, my comfort level with it is not near the same as with Windows, but I'll get there eventually with enough perseverance. Without doubt you will too. You're too smart not to.
     
  21. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

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    Especially on a grsecurity kernel, firefox + firejail will be better at protecting the underlying OS. Firejail loads necessary directories (in accordance with a profile) into a chroot- chromium makes all of home available by default. Firejail also uses a seccomp-bpf sandbox (as does chromium), so that is similar.

    Where chromium wins hands down is that each tab and plugin is sandboxed as well- in theory if one tab gets exploited, then not only can it not get to the OS but it also cant get another tabs data. Of course, this has been defeated before...

    There have been vicious debates here on the forums considering the idea of using a 3rd party sandbox (sandboxie, firejail, etc) to sandbox chrome/chromium. Some think the increase in attack surface makes a 3rd party sandbox less secure, while others point out the individual merits of the 3rd party solution as being superior to chromiums built in protection. Its an argument im not going to contribute to :p

    FWIW I run Firefox w/ firejail + apparmor, and I dont have any problems nor do I THINK ive been exploited.
     
  22. @Anaonframe1

    Standard Xubuntu does not come with GRSECURITY. With my currect level of Linux knowledge I am not going to recompile the kernel. You must have been laughing while you typed your anser :thumb: I am not going to byte into that bate, I am afraid I will end up changing my nickname.

    Not intending to invoke sandbox dicsussion again, but as far as I know on Linux FireJail uses other mechanisms than Chrome Sandbox.

    Because you can argue this question to death (firefox with firejail versus Chromium), so I decided t try install flash.Started terminal and entered (just an educated guess)

    sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplayer ==> no luck

    sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin ==> bingo it installed

    Checked and flashplayer worked in Chromium, so googled some more and enabled "Canonical-partners" sources in Software& updates

    Decided to run Chromium with Firejail, using this starter Firejail chromium-browser %U --disable-reading-from-canvas

    Firejailed Chromium thinks it is not the default browser, so I have chosen "Don ask again" to shut this down and it seems to work (bookmarks are added and about://flags options stick, like diable hyperlink auditing and reduce referer header).

    Will surf with Xubuntu for two weeks before installing it at my relatives, hope I will get updates for flashplugin.

    Thanks to al poster for their help and advice :thumb:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2016
  23. Amanda

    Amanda Registered Member

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    Chromium also gets updates, as long as you install it from Xubuntu's repositories.

    Personally I like Firefox better because it's less privacy invasive, has way more addons (both regular and themes), and is faster for me.

    Neither does Firefox with Firejail. I'm not sure which file the browsers use to check if they're default, but I'll definitely look into it someday. I'll also report this to Netblue.

    I'm not sure if things changed, but last time I checked Adobe will not be updating Flash for Linux anymore. And even if that's the case, it's not a huge problem because most websites are moving or already moved to html5.
     
  24. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    It still gets security updates until May 2017. But you're right that most sites I visit regularly work with html5 now. :thumb:
     
  25. I seem to have recent Flashplayer, PPAPI with Chromium seems better a better deal than NPAPI with Firefox

    Thanks for confirming that Chromium will be updated.



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