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I've used Linux off an on for quite some time now but never really got hooked on it.. and the other day I was at work running a virus scan on another hard drive when the machine that I was using got infected without me knowing it and started emails on a massive scale.. somewhere in the 1000's every 10 min.. so I decided that it would be a really good idea to get a Linux machine as a work bench machine.. my question is..

what distro would you recommend for something like that.. and are there any anti-virus/spy-ware applications that will install on a Linux machine and scan for windows based viruses..

and is there any software that anyone can recommend for doing hard drive recovery on windows based machines..

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated..




  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Pretty much any distro will do, but the more stable and less flashy distros will leave more RAM and cpu cycles for your work.

    I don't know of any anti-spyware programs for Linux, but I use clamAV for an antivirus to catch windows viri, and I know that avtivir has a server edition for Linux.

    What you should do so that you don't have to play with too many new tools is setup virtualbox in a linux installation, then setup a windows virtual machine within it. For the virtual machine you can install your most used tools and mount harddrives or partitions. But the extra benefit is that you setup the virtualmachine, create a snapshot then you can do your work, when you are done you can reinstate the snapshot to return the machine to the prior state. In addition when in the VM you can enable or disable bridged networking at will, so you can enable networking to get AV and other updates, then disable it when you are doing the repairs.

    As for tool tools for recovery and other means, I recommend looking at http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
  • thanks for the rather quick reply.. I'll think about the VM idea.. I like it.. so in theory all I need to do is choose a distro that I like. and with some VM software (what would you recommend?) install XP as a virtual machine..

    I have Kaspersky that we use here in the office and it seems rather good at catching stuff.. I should be able to install that inside of the VM of XP right.. and as long as I have a secondary hard drive I should be able to back up any data one a HDD that im scanning if need be..

    did I miss anything?
  • I've decided to go with OpenSUSE 11.2 any recommendations of VM ware for that distro.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    OpenSuse should sufficient, It's not my first choice, but I am more hardcore than others.

    I recommend using Virtualbox as athe VM software because it is free and open source, but Vmware has more functionality and is worth the monty if you are willing to pay for it. You can setup a Virtual Machine running a fresh installation of XP with the patches, updates, system packs and needed software then make your snapshot or whatever that Vmware calls it, then do your work as you would have on a windows primary machine. And of course since it is always fresh you can grab new updates then overwrite the previosu snapshot to always keep it clean and updated.

    The only real limitations of the VM would be high level graphical apps like games, otherwise you should not have issues with any other software. You can store the backed-up info in another partition, a folder in Linux or and external harddrive, all you need to do is setup the VM session to share the needed location.

    The only thing you missed was the recommendation to use the ultimate boot CD For repairs that thing is a blessing, you should be able to resolve ~80 of issues from the CD without having to hook the infected disks up to another system or even the network.
  • as far as a OS goes what would you choose.. here is my level of experience of Linux.. I have installed at least 40 times.. with different distros.. but have never really hung on to it for more than a month.. i would really like to get into it and stay.. I use windows because of my games and Adobe Photoshop.. but that's pretty much it.. If they would make a distro of Linux that would run windows applications. I would be all over it.. but then again.. who wouldn't ... anyways.. back to what I was saying.. what would you suggest.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I am a Slackware user by choice because of the stability, speed and security. So naturally I would recommend something that isn't pushing for extreme "user-friendliness" becuase all of the additional mechanism provide potential faults, including the sudo function for administrative capabilities because giving the first use sudoi rights opens it up to potential user ralated issues. On top of that I would stay away from anything that is using mono by default, it is not an MS product, but it is based upon their code and standards so I am paranoid that it may also suffer the same insecurities that those viri may be able to grab onto.

    I would recommend going with Gentoo, LFS, Slackware or another light-weght system that allows you to fine tune it to use only what you want. In my experience OpenSUSE was quite unstable and conflicted itself often, at this point I refuse to use it for anything but trying to help others fix their problems on that platform.

    In response to the "if it ran windows programs" statement, pushing a stable and secure system to natively emulate a proven failure in security and stability is just asking for the problems to destroy the integrity of the once stable system. What is needed is for the software companies to recognize the benefits of Linux based distros and open source components and have them conform to the standards that have granted us this reliability.
  • I may go with slackware.. I wasn't aware of the stabibility issues with OpenSUSE.. Im I correct to assume that Slackware comes with KDE GUI?

    Or is that something that I have to install after the initial install?
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Slackware installs KDE4 by default along with others like xfce, fluxbox, blackbox, etc....

    If you have not used Slackware before be prepared it is more manual than most distros and doesn't do dependency auto-resolution, apt -style package managment or have a pretty installer. But it is rock solid if you are using the base installation. Generally for my system all I need to do after install and user setup is install the proprietary virtualbox appd and the nvdia drivers.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    As a note, I am a stability zealot, if a two program start throwing random crashes or something performs oddly then they have an issue in my book. So my opinion of the stability of opensuse may be more critical than from others, many others may not find anything wrong with it.
  • Oh ok.,. well ill play with some distros at home tonight and see what I like..

    if I have any questions i'll be back on tonight.,

    thanks for the info..


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