Switching to Linux with Puppy

Posted on January 1, 2010. Filed under: Computer Virus and Malware, Linux, Low Cost or Free |

Do you need a trusted online banking environment that you can be sure is free of malware? Or maybe you are just tired of buying Windows, antivirus software, and still having to pay someone to remove viruses? Have you ever thought about switching to Linux?

Typically the Linux operating system has been considered an O.S. for computer geeks and hackers. When your Linux distribution of choice just happens to recognize all of your hardware, it really is nice. If you have to tweak your settings to get a plugin or driver to work, it can be a real headache.

I have used Puppy Linux for about two years, mainly for data recovery. When nothing else works to recover data off of a corrupted hard drive, I know that I can use puppy to easily copy files to USB drives with ease. That has been my secret weapon for data recovery.

I have been using the same Puppy CD-ROM disk for quite a long time. It met my needs so I didn’t see the need to try the latest version. Lately a coworker needed to borrow my disk, but I had left it at home. He downloaded and burned the latest version. When I took a look, the latest Puppy version (4.2), looked very polished. After trying it myself, the main thing that stood out was that the menus and program names are arranged by verb instead of program name. This makes it perfect for a first time Linux user. You don’t have to look for a program to play a video and wonder what the names of each program mean. When you click on the start menu, the programs are named similar to “Play Video”, or “Browse the Web”, or “Read Email”.

Puppy can be run directly from the CD or installed to hard drive quickly and easily. Just boot off of the CD to try it out and see if it recognizes your computer hardware. If you like it, you can continue to run it off of the CD or install it. If you continue to run off of CD, It will save your data to USB drives or hard disk. Each time you reboot, your operating system is refreshed but your files are still there. Basically any changes like a virus infection is wiped out, that is if you even have to worry about a virus infection in the first place since this is rarely seen on Linux.

If you would like to be sure that you are doing online banking from a clean system, just run your operating system of choice (Windows/Linux/Mac) everyday and boot from the Puppy CD before going to your banking site. This is a great way to prevent malware keyloggers from stealing your banking credentials.

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11 Responses to “Switching to Linux with Puppy”

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[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marius Adrian and Yee Hon Choong, glurt. glurt said: Switching to Linux with Puppy http://tinyurl.com/yjfbv67 [...]

Not sure i would recommend Puppy as a first distro, but ok for a quick blast i suppose.

It does not have to be secure, maybe they have a hardware keylogger, or a micro camera aimed at your keyboard. They could be sniffing the network… It is just a matter of how paranoid you are… ;)

But I like puppy :D I mostly put it on USB with unetbootin. Talking about usb booting, check this out: http://raymii.org/usbtools

Thanks for another positive post on this distro! Puppy Linux indeed is a great OS either for using it ocassionaly/for backups, recovery or even running it as everyday OS.
I’d like to point out one thing though so readers don’t get wrong information.
You said:

Each time you reboot, your operating system is refreshed but your files are still there. Basically any changes like a virus infection is wiped out

Well chances to catch a virus are really small, I don’t worry about it personally, but that’s not the point.

If you create a savefile (“pupsave”) and it happens to have virus caught in it virus will still be there together with all other files you saved there. But there’s boot parameter which simulates version upgrade/ system cleanup which refreshes core libraries if they get corrupted in any way it’s explained more detailed here on official sites faq:
http://puppylinux.com/faq.htm

But then again, I wouldn’t worry about that. Another thing. There might be posts saying that running as root is not secure etc…
Puppy does have limited user account by default called “spot” that you can use for running apps.
If you type: su spot in terminal any app ran from that session runs with limited priviledges. There’s also multiuser puplet based on 4.2.1: http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=47409

BTW latest official version is now 4.3.1
and there are many more puppy derivates developing at puppy forum. ;)

Really? Log into your banking institution as root?

I have to admit that I didn’t know that by default Puppy runs user as root. That’s not good and should be changed. It should be okay for those that just boot into it for a trusted system to access online banking and reboot into other permanent O.S.

Aww, frightened already? :) Changed your mind quickly…

Actually, no I haven’t. I still think that Puppy is great for showing off Linux to Windows users, and to boot off of a CD or USB for a trusted system to do your online banking. I also pointed out in the post that I think the menu layout of Puppy is great for first time Linux Users. For a permanent installation, the default root user is definitely a problem.
Thanks for your commment. :)

We love Puppy and have been using it for years!

funny, I too have it updated on cd just in case “Something happens” to the linux distro world; I will have my Puppy linux(4.31?)
I like its management team and that it has its’ OWN suitable programs for the Puppy world. If it wasn’t named Puppy- it COULD be named…. uhh what was that little chickens name with the big reading glasses on FogHorn Leghorn cartoons :)?
I hope Puppy Linux continues to have Well programs made for it.

Oh, God… I see the “Root! Oh noes!” comment showed up reliably.
Look, you can still get malware, buggy programs and other nuisances in a limited account, though it’s unlikely at all under Linux, and that account is still screwed if it happens. The only thing limited permissions protect are the OS’s main files, which in Puppy are read-only anyway off the disc or a frugal installation (the recommended and default type).
Additionally, since it’s meant as a single-user OS for personal use, other users meddling with other users’ files isn’t an issue, either, so why all the fuss over running as root?


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