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Whats the best OS for us

A local chapter of Habitat for Humanity was given a computer without an OS. We want to make a slide show presentation in our window for people to see what we do on two different monitors. What would the best OS we could download for this and what would be the best program on the OS to do this?

Thanks

Comments

  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    Ubuntu or Mint are great distros for first timers and OpenOffice Impress would probably be the best app to do a slide show.

    http://www.openoffice.org/product/impress.html

    Ubuntu and Mint are the easiest to install, especially if there is no operating system on the computer. Check out the link I gave you above, the application is free, and, if you want to experiment with it, there is even a Windows version if you don't have a Linux computer already set up.

    BTW - If you are asking if the two different monitors can show 2 different displays, instead of a single presentation across 2 monitors, that's a bit more difficult, but probably could be done with a little bit of configuration.
  • We are doing the same display on two different monitors. I have the cable for it. I also forgot to mention its an old computer. I has millennium on it for goodness sake. I dont really know the spec but will ubuntu work with that probably? Or do I need some really old version or will a live disk be able to do the display?
  • jabiralijabirali Posts: 157
    enwhaccount wrote:
    I also forgot to mention its an old computer. I has millennium on it for goodness sake. I dont really know the spec but will ubuntu work with that probably? Or do I need some really old version or will a live disk be able to do the display?
    That shouldn't be a problem, there's always some Linux distribution that fits the bill ;-)

    According to the official system requirements, they recommend the following specs for an Ubuntu desktop installation:[ul][li]1 GHz x86 processor[/li][li]512 MiB of system memory (RAM)[/li][li]5 GB of disk space[/li][li]Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024x768[/li][/ul]
    They also have a version called Xubuntu, which is tailored for older systems:[ul][li]256 MiB of system memory (RAM)[/li][li]2 GB of disk space[/li][li]Graphics card and monitor capable of 800x600 resolution[/li][/ul]
    If your computer is even older, you could try Linux distributions like Puppy Linux instead:
    Puppy has been tested on a very old machines but the best results for the standard release of Puppy Linux to run at a reasonable pace have been achieved with the following:

    CPU : Pentium 166MMX
    RAM : 128 MB physical RAM for releases since version 1.0.2 or failing that a Linux swap file and/or swap partition is required for all included applications to run; 64 MB for releases previous to 1.0.2
    Hard Drive : Optional
    CDROM : 20x and up
  • adnhackadnhack Posts: 16
    I think knoppix or DSL will do a great job. But if you want to have good graphics then go with fedora or Mandriva, they are easy to use in the live cd mode
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    DSL worked pretty well on an old 486 DX2 :D
  • Please see eBay to max out your RAM (probably PC133, needing 2X256), then go to http://linux.softpedia.com/progDownload/MEPIS-AntiX-Download-27857.html and download.

    This Linux distro is amazing on lod machines and with access to Debian and sidux (and other) repositories, you will hav no trouble upgrading software, including OpenOffice. You will definitely need the most RAM your motherboard will support, however.

    To find this out, go to SystemRescueCD (http://sourceforge.net/projects/systemrescuecd/files/) and download version 1.3.4.
    It is a LiveCD and has a utility that tells one all that is needed about Hardware used.

    Best wishes and my the Creator bless your efforts!
  • I agree with GoinEasy9, Ubuntu is the easiest to install on any computer, even with the latest hardware. Mint, is another flavor of Ubuntu with a flashy GUI that they've modified while Ubuntu keeps theirs simple.

    Also, Ubuntu uses the SUDO option (rootless) commands to prevent hackers from attempting to break in the system. root is present but deactivated. Never reactivate it.
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    Maarek Stele wrote:

    Also, Ubuntu uses the SUDO option (rootless) commands to prevent hackers from attempting to break in the system. root is present but deactivated. Never reactivate it.[/quote]

    Why so?
  • marc wrote:
    Maarek Stele wrote:

    Also, Ubuntu uses the SUDO option (rootless) commands to prevent hackers from attempting to break in the system. root is present but deactivated. Never reactivate it.

    Why so?[/quote]
    First reason as I've seen online and from my server logs, root is the primary account automated scripts try to break in through. Before adding additional security measures to block these scripts and free up bandwidth, my server logs were in the 10s of thousands with these types of hits. Sure I'm using SSH which Greatly slows down the automation of the attack, but the whole findings end up annoying, I would trace hits from Guatemala, China, Russia, Middle East, and even parts of the US. And that's about it. Nothing more I can do in return without repercussions.

    The Second part of not activating the root user is simple. If you want to be in the command line as "the" admin, just type su. you'll be at a # sign after the password and you won't need the sudo option for the server maintenance you are preforming.
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    I differ in my opinion, sudo represents a potential issue by allowing attackers to potentially access root rights from a standard user account, which may have a weak password. I think it is better practice to keep the root account, remove sudo rights except for specific actions and secure root with a difficult password. As for ssh that should be restricted to not allow root login and limit retries or only allow root ssh access via a key file.
  • Good tips, moderator! I believe I had what you refer to happen to me. As such, should one goes with any ubuntu flavor to access the web, I would recomment immediately installing Bastille along with it. Ubuntu_Pirate_Avatar.jpg
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    Maarek Stele wrote:
    First reason as I've seen online and from my server logs, root is the primary account automated scripts try to break in through. Before adding additional security measures to block these scripts and free up bandwidth, my server logs were in the 10s of thousands with these types of hits. Sure I'm using SSH which Greatly slows down the automation of the attack, but the whole findings end up annoying, I would trace hits from Guatemala, China, Russia, Middle East, and even parts of the US. And that's about it. Nothing more I can do in return without repercussions.

    The Second part of not activating the root user is simple. If you want to be in the command line as "the" admin, just type su. you'll be at a # sign after the password and you won't need the sudo option for the server maintenance you are preforming.

    I totally disagree. If you feel unsafe on your server for the root user, just disable the remote login as root (besides, that is the right thing to do).

    And about the "su" command, you can't do that on Ubuntu as the root user is disabled! There is no password for it ;)

    First thing I do on sudo based systems:
    sudo passwd
    

    To get the root user back.

    Using sudo is getting another program with the suid bit which is a security flaw as well. The less programs you have with that bit the better.

    What else? Using sudo is getting the admin security to a user's password level... safer than having a safe password for root? I guess not ;)

    Naaaahh, using sudo is a bad idea security wise IMHO
  • sudo can only be used by an admin level user. Standard users do not have permission to use the sudo command unless permitted via their own password. Also, if you have a poor password, then it's your own fault. Also, su again, only for the admin user to temporary activate the root user for multiple commands. Once the terminal session ends, so does that option.

    Sudo allows flexibilty for standard users. Because you can edit he sudo file for that user and make them a "power user" rather then an admin who is capable of venturing everywhere on the system. The sudo option also tracks the user since you won't share the root account with anyone else for security purposes. the initial user is the admin which has access to the sudo command. All subsequent users do not have access to sudo unless granted by the admin. It's all about perception

    http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/karmic/en/man8/sudo.8.html

    Frankly if you are used to root, then use that. years ago I've used Slackware on older 486 computers. To me I'm rather pleased with Ubuntu's progress over the years.
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    Nice explanation Maarek,
    I mean don't get me wrong sudo is extremely useful when it is used correctly. And Ubuntu's method of using sudo for the for the admin and default user is both good and bad:

    Pros:
    it keeps the users from running everything as root
    The default unconfigured installation has security that is accessible to normal users

    Cons:
    Some users don't really understand why they are using sudo, so they end up using it for all command line commands.
    If the user does not practice proper security the system is quite exploitable
    The default user which is normally the admin has full rights that can be exploited by anyone logged into the account.

    It all comes down to a simple rule, the system is only as good as the admin, if the admin does not know what they are doing then you can only do so much to force integrity and security.
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    Still can't see the point of using sudo. I would prefer using "su" not just to login as root but to run a command as sudo does. Besides, with "su" you can run any command as any user/group you want...

    I fail to see the usefulness in sudo as "su" does exactly the same (as far as I know). Would you point me to something that "sudo" does that is different from "su"?

    And, still, you rely on a *user's password for security!!! I agree that is not every user on the system but a few granted but I still believe is safer to have a root admin for doing "admin staff".

    Marc

    PS:love this healthy discussions!!!
  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    sudo can be useful if you edit the sudoers file to give rights to specific command such as changing specific user's passwords, modifying network connection, etc... but using it to give someone full rights to the admin console is some type of security oer letting them run everything from a root gui login, but not enough to call the system trustworthy.
  • marc wrote:
    I fail to see the usefulness in sudo as "su" does exactly the same (as far as I know). Would you point me to something that "sudo" does that is different from "su"?

    That's your perspective of being an admin for the system. If my boss said we are using DISTRO X (that uses root), I won't mind one bit. To me, The su/root option is like CAPS LOCK, once you have it on and start typing, you need to delete what you typed to correct the problem, and can be fatal in some cases. For example, while viewing a system file as su/root, you might type something or hit a key deleting a line withing vi. sure, you can always q! out, but you might type w first out of habit and permanently change the file. The sudo option, or lack of it allows you to view the file as an admin and not worry about making any changes.

    Even with root in systems typing su will switch over to the root user. I guess my point is that you cannot login as root itself on a system that strongly emphasizes on sudoers unless you set a password for root. Root is present & active, just check the process list. Root is running the system, sudoers just help maintain it.
  • mfillpot wrote:
    I differ in my opinion, sudo represents a potential issue by allowing attackers to potentially access root rights from a standard user account, which may have a weak password. I think it is better practice to keep the root account, remove sudo rights except for specific actions and secure root with a difficult password. As for ssh that should be restricted to not allow root login and limit retries or only allow root ssh access via a key file.

    sudo sux
  • jabiralijabirali Posts: 157
    I personally use both su and sudo, but for different tasks.

    Sure, they overlap in many ways; sudo -s can give you a root shell (like su), and su -c lets you run a single command as root (like sudo). Sudo can also be configured to request the root password instead of the user password (check man sudoers). As pointed out in previous posts, a properly configured system can be about equally secure with both approaches.

    What I like about sudo though, is that the flexibility you get through the /etc/sudoers file. For instance, this entry is taken from my sudoers file:
    jabirali hermes=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/acpitool -s
    
    That line lets the user jabirali from the host hermes (the local hostname) run the command /usr/bin/acpitool -s (suspend the computer) with root privileges - without entering a password. If the alternative is e.g. giving SUID-rights to /usr/bin/acpitool, this approach has many advantages:
    [ul][li]You can restrict what arguments are passed to the program; invoking acpitool in any other way than the exact wording specified in /etc/sudoers will not work.[/li][li]One application with SUID-rights (sudo) is likely more secure than a lot of SUID-apps scattered throughout your filesystem.[/li][li]You can give certain users (e.g. a special group) rights to execute a handful of commands, without either giving them the root-password or modifying the rights of the files.[/li][li]One file is easier to manage in the long run (in my opinion) than scattered SUID rights.[/li][/ul]
    Another potentially useful example could be to give a certain user the ability to su to another user by providing his own password, this time from all hosts:
    jabirali ALL=/bin/su guest
    
    (This allows jabirali to run /bin/su guest as root after providing his own password)

    If you still want to use only su to run anything but selected tasks (like the examples above), that should also be easy to configure. E.g. the default /etc/sudoers on ArchLinux contained this line:
    %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
    
    That gives everyone in the group wheel permissions to run anything as root, given that they provide their own password. You can just comment out that line! Or perhaps more useful: modify it to require the root password (search for rootpw in the sudoers manpage).
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    All this sudo staff is fantastic but I'll stay with my opinion: admin staff should be done by the admin and not by any user.

    I guess it's about choice, isn't it? ;)

    Regards
  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    I've always thought of sudo as a security risk, and, yes I've heard all the arguments to the contrary. But on my machines, the admin (me) does the administrative work. I don't want to extend any kind of permissions to anyone, even if it is temporary. So, sudo ... no like it, don't want it, don't use it.
    sudo sux
    Yeah, that about says it...LOL
  • I completely agree with you.
  • Jared9Jared9 Posts: 3
    I think I am going to give Debian a try!
  • woboylewoboyle Posts: 501
    Once, a long time ago, on a POSIX real-time operating system, I was logged in as root with "su -", and had cd'd to /. Some time later, in a distracted minute, thinking I was still running in a user, not root, shell, I executed the command "rm -rf *"... Hilarity ensued! Doh! One thing about sudo, is that this won't happen, unless of course you have executed "sudo su"! :-) So, for my own purposes, I am ambivalent about either approach, although I do configure my Ubuntu systems to allow root logins; however, I do use a strong password for the root account - you need a good Sanskrit dictionary, along with some physics to derive it... I expect that the universe will reach maximum entropy before anyone can guess it!
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