Running Ubuntu Live - AV, Firewall advice please

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Ethel | 22:58 Thu 05th Jun 2008 | Technology
16 Answers
After some faffing and debating with myself I am now running Ubuntu live - installed on cd only, not on my hard drive.

So far I like it - although there is no hope of operating either my mp3 player or satnav (as far as I can tell).

However, am I right in thinking that because this is a cd only, which I can very easily replace, I don't need to worry about antivirus, firewall, antitrojan software? If I do get any nasties, I can chuck the cd away and hopefully my hard drive will be unaffected.

Am I right?


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yes pretty much, any virus or malware that tries to "attack" you is going to be trying to install itself onto the system drive, and as your running from CD it won't be able to do it. if anything does make it's way onto the hard drive file system then it will be trying to attack linux, not windows.

it is of course possible that somebody could write either a virus or some malware that would try and take advantage of how you are running your system, but highly highly unlikey. why write anything to try and infect such an incredibly small percentage of users.
oh and I know I don't need to sat this to you, but please don't take the speed linux will be running from the CD as a reflection of how fast it would run if installed properly. not only is the CD drive slower than your hard drive but it will also need to be uncompressing most of the stuff your running on the fly, whereas if it's installed on a hard drive it's already going to be uncompressed
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I appreciate that, Chuck, and do understand that running from CD will be slower.

It gives me a chance to see exactly what it does and how it works - my only bugbear is it has installed FF3 (beta) instead of FF2 and I'm having trouble downloading FF2.

That is a very small niggle though.
If you install it on your hard drive then you can easily change back to FF2

Go to System > Administration > Software Sources and make sure you have enabled all software package repositories. Now open the Package Manager under system>administration and check for the following packages.


Right click on all of these packages and �Mark for Removal�. Now find the following packages and right click to �Mark for Installation�


And bob's your uncle as they say )
Question Author

I think I will be installing it on the hard drive - in addition to XP.


Ethel... the coolest pensioner ever :)
hate to disagree ... but if you get a virus it will probably seat itself onto the HDD

however ... because linux is such a widespread and populat Os ... hardly anyone bothers to write viruses that will affect it.

same goes for macs ... it's not that they are superior ... it's that they are insignificant in the scheme of things ....
internet scammers work on percentages ... if you can infect 1000000 machines ... and hit 0.1% for �1 it's still been quite a sucess.

hit 50% of the linux community and you'll get ....
well ..... about 20p and a few old anoraks.
(present company excluded ;-) - with you they'd get a king's ransom in gadgetry. (which you'll find will be the devil to get talking to your new system).

the gadgets may use linux distros ... but they've been designed to talk to windows (now that's irony!)
so, surf safe
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Should I install it on my C or D drives; or my external hard drive?

Would that work?
if your computer has support for booting from USB devices then external drive would work ok
Question Author
Okay - I will check, thanks. :)
Viruses could still be an issue.

If they were an issue on most systems other than Windows.

Yes, I realise I'm going to start a flame war saying this. But the reason that Windows has so many viruses and other nasties isn't just because it's so popular. It's also because its security (certainly up to Vista, anyway), has been fundamentally more lax than Unix-derived systems.

If it was just popularity, then if you divided by the installed user base, then you'd expect to hear about a lot of viruses for Windows, but still a fair few for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux systems, *BSD systems, etc. But you don't. There essentially are none that exist in the wild.

(Part of this is also down to the fact that Windows users are in general more stupid than people using GNU/Linux, *BSD etc., so are more likely to be tricked into running a virus-ridden program.)

So, don't worry about viruses, but know that it's still possible (even just from the CD -- some viruses could easily be made to look for any drives attached -- including your internal drive.)

Regarding your mp3 player and satnav. What software do you use for them? iPods (latest models) are a bit annoying because Apple encrypts their song databases. But practically any other brand (especially the ones you just drag music into like a flash drive) should work fine.

If the Satnav needs special Windows software, then check the app database for Wine. See if that software runs with Wine:

(Wine is very easy to install with the Synaptic package manager, though it's probably on already. You'll need Ubuntu on your hard drive to download and install things though.)

Regarding Firefox: yes I agree, that is a stupid mistake on their part. Largely because there was a big issue with fsync, causing huge slowdowns.

fo - we'll just agree to disagree there.... no flames
it's not that I dislike linux as a hobby .... it's just ....
well - why doesn't realy matter (I'm sure we both have good reason) - the bottom line is that my wages come from finding my way round MS OSs - and the kit and software that works on them - and at this point in time ...that goes for - in excess of 90% of the world.
(living in a tent is good fun ... till it starts snowing)

so splitting my time on distractions isn't realy an option...
(I know it's a different story when you get to the serious 'tinternet and server networking kit - but again ... not my province)

the bare fact is that ethel is probably Ok unless she goes off road - (and the same applies to any other OS).

using a virtual machine is probably the safest option (I use them all the time ... for just that reason... the only danger is a boot sector virus ... or worm ... and they are so rare these days that it's hardly worth worrying.

I think it's somewhere in the region of 85% of the current viruses scanned for - were actually written by the companies who do the scanning ... in an attempt to anticipate what might happen and don't actually exist in the wild (a bit like watching crimewatch!).

I have a friend who has been running for almost a year without any protection - other than his router's firewall (we scan with a boot disc - out of interest) and without catching anything at all (he's the most boring man on earth ;-)

can't remember the proportion at the mo ... but the biggest threat these days is gulibility ... the "please verify your banking detail" - or the popup "scanner" which finds stuff your "ordinary" scanner didn't (why are people so bl**dy stupid? - and why brits in particular? - over 20% of all scams and spam are subscribed to by brits!!!)

which is one reason a high proportion of
Question Author
This is becoming fascinating. :)

I have already set up my virtual pc, and although I do like to explore different things I do like to be cautious. (I'd cry if my laptop died).
Hence the Ubuntu on cd - but now I will install it on my virtual pc. Little steps please me.

I loathe Apple more than Microsoft - only because Apple is so very proprietary, hence I have a Zen Vision M. I work with it through WMP but use their own software to convert the videos.
I have a TomTom satnav with free updates. :)
I also have a Seagate Freeagent Go 250gb portable hard drive.
I am hoping to import a Sony Reader in the near future.

I am gadget mad.

Thanks all for bearing with me through this - all views and comments very welcome.
if you do go down the install route ... never mix systems on the same partition (some say you can ... but .....)
given the number of cheap partition managers available ... it's just not worth the pain if you have to undo.

having said that ... the boot manager that comes with linux is a pain to remove and restore to windows only ... so maybe vpc for a while yet?
Firstly, AB seems to have cut my answer.

I also said that Firefox RC2 should be much better than the installed on live CD version. Faster (bugs fixed), and works with more addons.

Check Wine for your tomtom software.

(I'm also curious as to why people think Apple are more proprietary than Microsoft. They're both as bad as eachother, if anything with Apple often being less proprietary.)

I'd agree with putting it on another partition.

The virtual PC thing will work, but not half as well, for the reasons I outlined above (or in the other thread you started RE ubuntu).

Best thing to do in my opinion is to (assuming your PC boots from USB, quite probably does), install ubuntu on a new partition on you external drive. The installer should be able to do this for you automatically, and it's often wise to install a few partitions -- one for main system, one for home directories, and another for /tmp. (There may be options in installer to do all this for you.)
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Now running in my VPC - thank heavens for Foxmarks. :)

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