November 16, 2006

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Ask Shadowman

Hello again, gentle readers. How have you been? Shadowman's been fine, thanks. Relaxing, kicking back. Enjoying the fruits of his labors. No big news around these parts, really.

Oh, except for Oracle forking Red Hat Enterprise Linux and claiming that they can support it better and cheaper than we can.

Oh, and except for Novell's desperate cash grab in exchange for "patent protection" by Microsoft.

Oh, and except for Sun bowing to the inevitable and agreeing that it's time to open source Java (and good on them, even if they had no practical choice).

But other than that, not too much going on here.

No, sir. Pretty calm.

Just another day at Red Hat, one might say.

Got a question that you'd like Shadowman to answer? Ask him.


Mark asks:

Do I need an antivrus program for FC-6? How safe is FC-6 on a always on connection?

To which Shadowman replies:

You know, Mark, it's funny: the whole "antivirus" thing has never really taken off in the Linux world. There are a handful of companies out there that sell "antivirus for Linux," but generally speaking, those programs are actually used to disinfect emails that are en route to Windows systems.

Why? Because, practically speaking, there are no meaningful viruses in the Linux world.

Which is an interesting fact to consider. Back in the day, it was very much in vogue to say that, as Linux became more popular, viruses would become more of a problem. But that hasn't really happened; Linux has continued its steady growth both in the server room and on the desktop, and there just aren't any Linux viruses in the wild. None.

Sure, there are security exploits. Linux is not a perfectly secure operating system, and there are always hackers looking to gain entry to systems, and there are always holes that need to be plugged. But experienced Linux users don't even think about viruses.

So go ahead, Mark. Leave that shiny new Fedora system running. Just be sure to leave your firewall and SELinux running. You'll be fine.

penguinista asks:

I would like to know if it is possible to become an official member or representative of Fedora and or the community. I am burning cd's and letting people know that the other OS well....you know it doesn't work anymore? Thank God for that. Anyway just asking-thanks!

To which Shadowman replies:

Ah, you are clearly looking for the Fedora Ambassadors project, which empowers people worldwide to spread the Fedora goodness. Sign on the dotted line, and you're an Official Representative of Fedora. Be sure to use your newfound powers for good.

Nathan says:

This is just a note to let you guys know that you've managed to take Unix, and make it even more confusing and difficult. Your marketing people should be shot out of a cannon into the moon. In their effort to make your webpages look like 'everyone else' who does unix, you've done exactly that. Your marketing and nomenclature as just as cryptic and annoying as Sun. Congratulations!

To which Shadowman replies:

Sometimes a rant like that just needs a home. (And Nathan, if you've got some more specific complaints, drop Shadowman a line.)

Viperguy asks:

alright im new to linux, i just bought linux's SuSE 10.1 and tried to play some videos with totem. it said i need some decoders and plugins and stuff. what is this stuff? how do i get it? and how do i install it?

To which Shadowman replies:

Novell purchases SuSE to get into the Linux market: $210 million dollars.

Novell buys gold, platinum, diamond, titanium, mithril and adamantium sponsorships at every Linux event on the planet: millions and millions of dollars.

Novell sells its soul to Microsoft for "patent protection": eleventy gajillion dollars.

An actual paying user of SuSE asks Shadowman for technical support: priceless.

Anyway. According to Shadowman's research, you might want to check out this part of the Novell Linux Desktop documentation. Looks like maybe you're better off trying Kaffeine -- looks like it ships with more codecs installed.

Of course, Shadowman doesn't actually know the first thing about SuSE Linux, so maybe you should call the folks at Novell and ask them directly. Since the support is the bit that you actually paid money for.

Or maybe you should Ask Lizardman.

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