Is Linux Still The Safest Operating System?

When you first started to see personal computers come on the scene back in the late 70’s and early 80’s there was not that much thought about the security of the devices. The people who created them did not envision that soon they would be used to talk to people all around the world. When you finally did get some of the signs that the personal computer would be used for networking, most of the time it was between people who already knew each other or professionals who were using it for work. But as more people started to purchase home computers and the more the networks started spreading, computer security became an issue.

Hackers both on the good side of the law and the bad started to figure out that they could use their computer and access another person’s computer over the network without anyone noticing. This especially became a problem when teenagers with nothing else better to do started figuring out that they could do this as well. What started out as little pranks started to become a real problem because they were started to access sensitive information on these computers. The companies that made personal computers and operating systems knew that there had to be a change.

But the change did not come quick enough. While the security changes in the popular operating systems at the time were incremental at best, the hackers got better in wide leaps and bounds. They found that they were able to access systems through a numerous amount of holes in the machine. And through all of this time both the personal computer and the internet started to become more and more popular. There were targets everywhere for a hacker to do damage.

At the time, Microsoft Windows was the biggest operating system in the world. It was both popular in the work place and at home. Since this was the case, most of the attacks on networks were aimed at Microsoft systems. And Microsoft did not handle this very well. They waited and waited until their reputation was pretty much slandered before they got serious when it came to securing your computer. And so even in this time, while Windows 7 is one of the safest operating systems on the market, it still has the reputation of having the most holes. But does it really? What about the other operating systems out there such as Mac OS X and Linux? While OS X has made some improvements lately it is Linux that has always been known as one of the safest operating systems to use. Is it still that way?

What is Linux?

While most people who are reading this article should already know what Linux is, there are some people who do not. Linux is an operating system just like Windows or Mac OS X. The difference being is that it is a completely open sourced operating system that allows anyone to work on the code. This means that if there are any problems with the operating system people can examine the code and figure out a fix for it. Once the fix is made, then it can be shared with the other installations of Linux.

And this is what makes the system so secure. You are able to get fixes all of the time and they come in more regularly than the other operating systems do. Also what makes Linux more secure is that it is based on the UNIX operating systems which when it was built, was built for security. Several people at the same time used UNIX computers so there was always a concern that it needed to be built with protection.

But recently there have been more and more holes found in Linux that have let the bad guys cause more serious damage. The problem with Linux is that it is the most popular server in the world. So while the bad guys are not able to find that many people using Linux at home, they will find Linux on a bunch of servers that are out there. That makes Linux a real tempting target when it comes to exploitation.

While Linux has had more problems than it used to, it is probably just as safe as the other operating systems that are on the market. Where once it had a wide lead when it came to security, that gap has narrowed a lot and there is very little difference between it and the other operating systems. But when it comes to using it as a server, it is still one of the safest operating systems out there. You can make a Linux server very hard to crack into. You just have to be willing to learn about it and make sure that you know what you are doing.

– Posted using BlogPress


One Year After …

About a year ago, I started this blog as a means of penning down my ideas and to share interesting stories that I find around me or on the Internet. My primary focus was on articles bordering on innovations and evolution of technology and how it affects, especially, Nigerians. Quite a noble idea, if I may say so, but how well have we fared after one year?

With a monthly average of about 2,500 visits and a viewership of almost 4,000 (Source : Google Analytics), one can not say the blog has fared badly, not at all. But how well has it fared viz-a-viz other Nigerian Blogs? Not very well, I daresay.

You see, as noble as the intentions of this blog are, the dream of every blogger is to have his blog listed among Technorati’s Top 100 blogs in the world, putting one’s blog in the same league as “The Huffington Post”, “Mashable” and “Techcrunch”. And if the last ranking of Nigerian blogs is anything to go by, being ranked with “Ogbonge Blog”, “Bella” would definitely not be a bad idea.

I read up articles on how to improve the visibility of blogs and carried out the following recommendations;
– Search Engine Optimisation (Check)
– Quality Content (Check)
– Frequency of posts (Ehm, well, check. Hey, I need to earn a living!)
– Blog Networking (check)

After this, there was a slight improvement in the rankings but it was barely noticeable.

So, in the quest to make things better, I decided to take a stroll around the Internet, to see what makes these other blogs tick, and to find out exactly what it is they talk about that viewers find interesting. My findings were eye opening. People find blogs dealing in certain contents more attractive than others. Oh well, I should have known this, my wife never visits my blog, shouldn’t that have told me something? She always complain about me talking about nothing else but Linux, Computer, iPad! Well …

From my findings, blogs that have the following contents seem to excel more than others (not in any order);

– Social news and gossips
– Mobile News
– Free Browsing, mobile hacks, etc
– Online Business : How to make money online without lifting a finger!
– Free this, free that!
– Guys, what else?

This really did set me thinking, do I join the bandwagon? I am damn sure I would excel talking about hacks and the likes, it has always been a major attraction to me. However, one may have to consider the ethical aspect of this, the reason why the blog has only dealt sparingly on this topic. I recently penned a write-up on how to unlock your Etisalat dual SIM phone, you can only guess the number of viewership the topic had!

Thinking seriously, I felt the reason for this blog is to share ideas and not necessarily for commercial gains (Not that I would mind though) and obviously, the articles on the blog seem to fill the needs of a few people, and most importantly, I am happy doing what I do. So why change?

You see, I am a Geek, a Geek by birth and inclination (Borrowing from Wole Soyinka’s words) and anything short of the blog content would amount to not being true to oneself. I only hope and pray that “Insha Allah, By God’s Grace” (Borrowing, again, from the words of my high school teacher), this blog would get to the top of all rankings, someday.

PS: This article was meant to coincide with the birthday of my darling wife, I actually penned it about 2 weeks ago, but couldn’t find the time to type it out! So much for frequency of posts!!

Happy Birthday, Dear. Happy Birthday, “Diary of a Geek”


The top 20 strongholds for desktop Linux

As a server OS, Linux has long been highly successful and a poster child for open source. For example, Linux currently powers a majority of the world’s web servers and supercomputers. As a desktop OS, however, Linux has yet to gain mainstream acceptance.

That said, there are some countries where people have embraced Linux on the desktop to a greater degree than most.

Since you probably wouldn’t be able to guess which these countries are no matter how hard you tried, we have highlighted them in this article. Read on to find out where desktop Linux is most popular, plus some nice bonus stats.

Top 20 countries by Linux market share

We looked at desktop OS market share, in this case defined as the share of computers used to access the Web. It’s basically the only metric out there that can give us an estimate of actual market share of actively used computers. The numbers are based on aggregated visitor stats for more than three million websites, courtesy of Statcounter.

110512 top 20 linux countries

This chart reflects the relative popularity of Linux as a desktop OS in each country. It doesn’t mean that these countries have the most Linux users overall (which is more difficult to estimate correctly).

A few general observations

As we collected the data for this article, we couldn’t help but make a few additional observations that you might find interesting.

  • Linux is most definitely a niche OS on the desktop: In most countries, Linux has less than 1% market share.
  • The Linux vs. Windows situation: In no country is Linux anywhere near replacing Windows on the desktop, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
  • The absence of the US and UK: The United States is far outside the top 20, with a 0.73% desktop OS market share for Linux. This by the way happens to be the exact same market share as Linux has in the United Kingdom.
  • The top countries in Europe are, in order: Macedonia, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Estonia and Germany.

Sweden, where we are based, sadly didn’t make this list. We just managed a measly 1.09% desktop OS market share for Linux, but at least that’s above average.

If you are wondering what Linux’s desktop OS market share is in the various world regions, here are the numbers:

  • Worldwide, 0.76%
  • Europe, 1.14%
  • South America, 0.88%
  • North America, 0.72%
  • Oceania, 0.72%
  • Africa, 0.45%
  • Asia, 0.34%

In other words, Europe comes out as the overall most Linux-friendly world region.

Why these “low” numbers are not bad at all

Linux may currently be a niche desktop OS, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s often described as the “tinkerer’s OS,” and it’s hard to see how it could go mainstream and retain that quality. If you keep that in mind, it’s quite possible that Linux will never go mainstream on the desktop, but will continue to flourish in a similar way it is now, with a relatively small but very dedicated community of users.

And when we say “relatively small” we really mean relatively. The worldwide Linux desktop OS market share (0.76%) coupled with the number of Internet users (1.97 billion) indicates that there are at least 15 million active desktop Linux users out there.

We say “at least,” because that number is probably significantly higher since there is a lot of overlap in these stats with people who use more than one OS and more than one computer.

That’s not a small community by anyone’s standards (except maybe Facebook’s ;) ).

Notes about the data: The numbers are for the three-month period of February through April 2011 and are taken from StatCounter Global Stats. StatCounter bases those numbers on aggregated visitor stats for more than three million websites. To avoid statistical anomalies caused by small samples, we didn’t include any countries with fewer than 250,000 Internet users.




Happy 20th Anniversary, Linux

Around this time twenty years ago, Linux Torvalds, a Computer Science Student started developing an Operating System to run on his newly acquired computer. His major motivation was the fact that the OS it came with greatly underutilized its capabilities. After going at it for a while, he realized that his pet project could actually be useful to some others. At that point, he released the source code for his operating System online, and what is now known as Linux was born.

Over the last twenty years, there has been an exponential increase in the usage of Linux. From the early exclusive reserve of geeks and computer scientists, it can now be found on every electronic device from servers to smart phones, wrist watches and even toasters. The Linux Kernel has revolutionized the definition of an Operating System by being scalable and capable of running on anything with a processor.

The major strength of the Linux OS is the fact that it is Free Software. Released under the GNU General Public License (GPL 2), Linux was available for whoever is interested to use, edit, and distribute as they like. This spurred the rapid growth of the OS and caused it to evolve in ways that were previously unimagined. Some might think that such a model does not give room for commercial benefits from the OS, but as the past 20 years have shown, it only requires a bit of creativity for one to develop a successful business model around Linux. Success stories abound in Android, RedHat, Canonical, etc.

The major strenght of the Linux OS earlier on, due to its similarities to the UNIX OS is the server and super computers field. In this field, Linux today controls over 50% of all active servers in the World and 95% of all Supercomputers. Android is fast becoming the most popular smartphone Operating System, showcasing Linux dominance in that field too.

One area that has always eluded Linux has been the desktop. Pundits and fanatics alike have repeatedly declared several years as the “Year of Desktop Linux“; however, the market share is still abysmal. There is cause for hope however, especially with the new innovations into the desktop being embarked upon by Ubuntu (Unity) and GNOME 3.

The Linux Foundation has decided to mark the 20th Anniversary of the invention of this Revolutionary OS with a video showcasing its creation and evolution. To view the video, check the link below.

Looking forward, it is obvious that in the next twenty years, Linux will still become relevant. This is evident in the fact that every Linux is at the centre of every new and emerging technology; from the Smartphones and tablets to Cloud computing, etc.

To participate in the festivities, and for more details, check out the Linux Foundation’s official 20th anniversary page

Useful Links

1. The Story of Linux: Commemorating 20 Years of the Linux Operating System (Video)
2.Celebrating 20 years of Linux with us (Linux foundation)


Top 4 Linux Distributions Today

Linux has been covered in some of the early articles on this site. However, as a quick introduction to our new readers, Linux  is an operating system kernel used by the Linux family of Unix-like operating systems. It is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software.

What all that jargon above means is that, Linux, unlike popular misconceptions, is not an Operating System in itself but rather, is the backbone that powers several operating systems in existence today.

Windows is by far the most popular operating system available to consumers as it comes preinstalled on most new computers. However, there are several alternatives which most people are not aware of.

One of the most compelling features of linux is that, it can run on several platforms, ranging from Laptops to even wristwatches and toasters :). It is also opensource and therefore, in most cases, free of charge to download, install and distribute.

In this article, I will highlight the five most popular Linux Distributions (distros) in the wild today according to my own preference

1. Android: It might come as a surprise to many, but Google Android OS runs on the Linux Kernel, and that makes it a Linux Distribution. Android is arguably the most popular mobile phone operating system today and runs on a wide range of smartphones and tablets from different manufacturers. Not much needs to be said concerning this particular OS as it is now all around us, thanks to its giant patron, Google.

2. Ubuntu: Ubuntu is the most popular Linux Desktop Distribution. Founded by Mark Shuttleworth in 2004, it has grown over the years both in community and quality of the versions. Ubuntu is my personal favourite Linux Distribution. Versions are released in 6month intervals. The desktop is powered by the GNOME Desktop environment (more on that at a later post).

Ubuntu comes preinstalled with most applications needed for productive work. Some of them are: Evolution Email Client, OpenOffice Office Suite, Rhythmbox Media Player, Mozilla Firefox Web Browser, Ubuntu Software Center, etc.

One of the gripes of using ubuntu, especially in this part of the world is the fact that it doesnt come preinstalled with multimedia codecs. Therefore, out of the box, one cannot play any other media format except ogg/vorbis. This is easily rectified by downloading the required codecs once you are online.

3. Fedora: Fedora is another Linux Distribution that is quite popular. It is developed by the RedHat  Company which is a popular Linux company. Fedora is reputed to be on the bleeding edge of innovation. This makes their releases sometimes unstable. However, Fedora is still beloved by its users. It might be a little too much to handle for beginners to linux though

4. Linux Mint: Linux mint is the operating system i recommend wholeheartedly to any beginner in linux. Its windows-like Graphic User Environment makes the new convert feel right at home. Every software one could possibly need is included, along with multimedia codecs. Linux Mint, which is built on Ubuntu, and it is an exceptional and user friendly OS.

There are several other Linux distributions, some of which are just “respins” of other OSes with different default applications. However, honorable mention should go to the following

1. Mandriva Linux

2. OpenSuse Linux

3. PCLinux

4. Debian Linx

5. Arch Linux

Gadgets Mobile

Download Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo for Faster Than Ever Speed

Mozilla has released Firefox 4 beta for Android and Maemo devices, and the web browser is fast on the new Linux platforms. This release is the fastest performing Firefox 4 Beta for mobile yet. You will notice faster start-up, page load times and responsiveness to panning and zooming. The Firefox Mobile Add-ons Gallery also offers more than 100 add-ons to customize the features, functionality and look of your Web experience.


The brand new Mandriva Linux 2010.2 is here!

Mandriva announces the launch of the new version of Mandriva Linux 2010.2 based on its new product strategy, a one-year period between major releases.

Additionally, Mandriva will also release updated versions of its products on a periodic time on a 6-month basis.

Mandriva Linux 2010.2 is the first product following this new strategy. It is based on Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring (Mandriva Linux 2010.1) plus 5000+ updated and renewed packages!

Mandriva Linux 2010.2 is available in three editions:

– Powerpack (the full commercial edition, including exclusive commercial software, support, and services),

– One (a live CD which can also be installed to the system permanently) and,

– Free (an edition which contains only free / open source software).

The full version, Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2010.2, can be ordered for download at the Mandriva Store, or you can buy a Powerpack subscription.

Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2010.2, for download, is available for 49 euros, or US$59.

Click here:

The Powerpack subscription, allowing Powerpack download access for twelve months (and so covering two Mandriva Linux releases), is available for 69 euros, or US$79.

Click here:



The TiTan

While we wait for the launch of the first set of Meego devices come 2011, i will be taking a cursory look at a couple of what is on offer at the moment.

One OS that has piqued my curiosity is the Windows Phone 7 (WP7). The only thing the new smartphone OS has in common with its predecessors is the name. It is designed freshly from the ground up for a finger-driven interface and built to be clean, attractive, and consistent. The ambition is that it will finally give Microsoft a platform that will enable it to take on the iPhone and Android phones. This ambition is now a fact. Microsoft has indeed made a powerful comeback. In line with the trend, its focus has moved to consumers with particular focus on social networking and multimedia.It is even compatible with the Mac OSX with an official syncing software released by Microsoft. It’s compatibility with Linux is yet to be determined though. The geek in me finds the WP7 very promising, something to tinker with for a while.


There have been so much noise lately about the Nokia N8 but for personal reasons, i refuse to join the bandwagon. With a price tag of about $500, would i pick this device over even Nokia N900? I seriously doubt it. Infact, No! What category of people is this phone targeted at? The BlackBerry-crazed youths and “youth at hearts”, the Business class or the geeks? With a price tag like that, i really wonder.

However, the Nokia N8 is the first smartphone powered by the new Symbian^3 OS and it packs a protruding 12 megapixel camera and a host of other enhancements. How much of the 12 Megapixel is a hype is yet to be determined. But with its brushed aluminium build and design, the product has definitely been well received.

Nokia N8

It is a known fact however that, being human, no smartphone will ever, never ever, be satisfactory to everyone and i expect to start seeing some bad reviews about these OSes any time soon.

My reservation for these OSes is however of a different kind, proprietary restrictions. Nokia probably comes tops here, which is probably a success for Nokia. Correct me if i’m wrong, apart from the N900, i am not sure there are many Nokia smartphones out there that have been extensively hacked or their ROMS modified to the extent of what has been done on Windows Mobile smartphones and the IPhone.

I have to admit that i do not follow the trend when i am buying my gadgets, moreso when frontline gadgets today become lost in the crowd a few months later. For a $500 Nokia N8 purchase, i will only get a few months of glory?! Then, what next?

I ordered for a brand new HTC TyTN II phone (remember it?). Pronounced TITAN, it is a 2007 release. In its hey days, the phone was sold for about $700 but i got it for less than $200! I have used a lot of Windows Mobile phones in my time and one major thing i love about them is the ease of modification of their ROMS. The TyTN II comes with Windows Mobile 6.1 OS, but i intend to flush the OS out as soon as possible and install an ANDROID ROM! Yes, you heard right, ANDROID ROM, courtesy of some crazy guys at XDA DEVELOPERS. I really do not believe in just starring at my gadgets, and only take the limited functionalities the manufacturers have to offer. To me, a phone is NOT just a phone. I can not wait to get my hands on it.


Well, till Meego devices roll out 2011, i’ll stick to the TiTan.

God keep us till then.


Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”

For those that have tried out the new Ubuntu Linux 10.10 aka Maverick Meerkat released on October 10, 2010 , the first thing you would probably notice is the very pleasing appearance. There have been a very positive improvement in its appearance and functionality. Though not revolutionarily different from 10.04, i really can not help but wonder if the crew at Linux Mint can develop anything more pleasing to the eye.

Starting from the installation process, you would immediately notice the changes.The installer has, once again, been revamped and improved.

Ubuntu 10.10 maverick-meerakat

I have never made much pretences about my preference for GUI and will never use the command line interface unless when necessary, so this whole new experience was a welcome development. However, the installation process was not smooth, especially if you are installing in a multi partition environment. The option of installing to “available free space” on the hard disk was not given. You could either make a fresh install on the whole drive or you use custom partitioning, an option not advisable for everyone. I was, eventually, able to create a multi boot partition with Ubuntu 10.10, Mandriva 2010.1 and Windows Ultimate 7. You can’t get it better than that.

The new fonts is definitely an attraction to me and I honestly must confess that Windows 7 lags behind Ubuntu 10.10, even in aesthetics.

The Software Center has also undergone another revamp and is really slick, with the interface a lot more user-friendly. Adding applications via the Software Center is easy and most users will find it very easy to use. There is also a History entry in the left panel,it gives you a detailed report of the installation activities right from the time the Operating System was installed. One of the improvements in the Software Center is the ability to purchase software. Now, most of the software you get with Ubuntu is, of course, under a free or open source license. But there’s some proprietary end user software out there for sale. The first application to appear for sale in the beta is Fluendo’s DVD player application.

With an installation disc size of about 700MB, a lot of software does not come by default on the CD like you have with Mandriva. Also, a lot of multimedia codecs would have to be downloaded to play files like Mp3 and Wma files. Even important softwares like CompizConfig Settings Manager need to be downloaded.

Those willing to take Ubuntu for a spin have the opportunity to submit their requests through the Contact Form. Only 64 bits versions of Ubuntu 10.10 or Kubuntu 10.10 are available at this time. Preference is for hand delivery but those with postal addresses, though encouraged to signify their interest, will have no guarantee as regards delivery date.

Spread the word!


Free Linux DVDs

For those that have not received their free Linux DVD offer, i apologise, chances are that i have not sent it at all, it is more difficult than i thought. No, it’s not the funds to mail them, but the inavailability of a Post Office in my neighbourhood, most times i have to get to Lagos Mainland before i can post them. Can be very tasking at times. All outstanding orders will be dispatched on 5/10/2010. Sorry for the delay.

For now, orders will be restricted to hand deliveries and you will have to do the pick up either in Ogba or Ajah. Sorry about that.

There is always a never ending supply of new DVD distros so i will not bother listing them all,  just mention your preference and i will confirm if i have it or not. The joker i have at hand now is Linux Magazine’s Complete Linux Magazine Archive on DVD! The magazine’s monthly publications for the last 10 years, containing tons of tutorials, articles and reviews, all on 1 DVD! Please indicate your interest but note that this item is billed for Hand Delivery ONLY.