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5 Advanced Linux Distributions you should try

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5 Advanced Linux Distributions you should try

There are over a hundred Linux distributions and more come out every year. Linux gives users the freedom to setup their computer almost any way they want. They are generally more secure and lighter than their Windows and OS X counterparts. Most advanced Linux distributions give users the opportunity to dig deep into their computer to find out exactly what’s happening underneath the hood, and they provide a great way to learn a lot more about how computers work.

Here are 5 advanced Linux distributions that you should try if you are up for the challenge:

1. Arch Linux

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    Photo by Dxiri Via Flickr Creative Commons

    Arch Linux is known for being one of the more “Bleeding edge” linux distributions, meaning it gives users access to software that is still in development, beta, or for some reason has not been released yet on other systems. If you like being the first to have access to technology and are willing to potentially encounter and fix bugs, then you will probably love Arch. Arch Linux is also one of the few “Rolling Release” Systems in use. This setup is awesome because there is no such thing as an “Arch XP”, or “Arch 8”. Arch gets updated on a day by day basis and the user is always running the latest and greatest packages.

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    Don’t just think you can pop in an Arch disk and be ready to go. Arch starts as bare bones and forces you to install everything manually. You are greeted with the command line, and will pretty much have to do the entire installation inside your terminal. Give Arch Linux a try and you will soon be the owner of a secure, lightweight and ultra customizable computer, making this one of the greatest linux distributions. Their main IRC channel is #archlinux

    2. Slackware

    slackware

      Photo by Roger Will Comply via Creative Commons

      Created in 1993, Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux Distribution, and still going strong. Slackware is known for it’s rock solid stability and security. This distro releases updates slowly compared to other systems, but it’s also released with far fewer security holes making it an excellent option for use as a server. Slackware is one of the harder to install linux distributions and provides ample bragging rights for those who are able to use it as their primary system. Once you learn how to use Slackware, you’ll be rewarded with a system that works almost perfectly, and is “simple” to use, highly secure, and customizable. Give this linux distribution a try and you will not be disappointed. Check out their IRC channel: #slackware

      3. Kali Linux

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        Kali Linux is a very specialized Linux distribution. The sole intention for using Kali Linux is “Offensive Security”. This is the tool that both good and bad guys use to break into and exploit other peoples restricted areas. The good guys use this tool to make their own systems and their clients systems more secure, while the bad guys do bad things that we won’t talk about. Kali provides hundreds of tools out of the box for the security professional – Metasploit, SqlNinja, and WireShark to name a few.

        This linux distribution is NOT for general purpose use, and users will most likely use Kali only when doing penetration testing related activities, and then switch to something else for watching cat videos.

        If you want to become a successful security professional, or learn how hacktivist groups like “Anonymous” and “Ghost Security” use their hacking skills to fight terrorism online, then you could greatly benefit from learning about “Social Engineering”, using Kali Linux, and learning a programming language like Python or C.

        You should definitely give Kali Linux a try! Check out their IRC channel here: #kali-linux

        4. Gentoo

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          Gentoo is known for being extremely difficult to install. When the topic of installing Gentoo comes up, the average time seems to be around three full days to just get the system installed. Once it’s installed you still need to setup programs for your desktop, sound, wifi, the ability to watch videos, etc… Oh, and every single program is installed and compiled from source, but it’s not always as scary as it sounds. This is probably the most difficult linux distribution that people actually use on a regular basis.

          So why would anyone in their right mind use Gentoo? For starters, it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about the intricacies of how Linux works. About half-way through the installation you decide whether you want to manually configure the “Kernel” or if you prefer to use the “General kernel”. The Kernel can be considered sort of like the heart of linux. It’s also great if you need a very small system. Gentoo is extremely well documented and very flexible. You get to make a decision for what you want on just about everything, including which bootloader you would like to use.

          What you end up with is a 100% customized computer that has exactly what you want and use, and nothing more. It’s lightweight, fast, secure, and there’s no other system just like it. Once you have installed Gentoo you already deserve bragging rights, but being able to use it puts you in the ranks of “Super Powered Hardcore User”.

          Most of the benefits of Gentoo mean nothing more than mumbo jumbo to a mere mortal, however, ask a Gentoo user why they like the distro and you’ll hear nothing but praises for this advanced linux distribution. Check out their IRC channel at #gentoo and say hello!

          5. Linux From Scratch (LFS)

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            Linux From Scratch is the ultimate educational opportunity. With LFS (Linux From Scratch) you are essentially building your very own linux distribution similar to how you would make your own bread from flour, yeast and anything else that is in bread. Nothing is done for you, and you don’t even have a package manager. LFS is good for university students doing computer projects, or any geek looking to learn more about how a computer system is put together. LFS is not something you would want to use on a day to day basis unless you were to go beyond Linux From Scratch with the next step called “BLFS” (Beyond Linux From Scratch), and even then it’s still not a secure system until you do a lot more work. If you’re wanting to geek out on some computer stuff then head over to Linux From Scratch and get started! Check out their IRC channels #lfs and #lfs-support

            No matter what Linux distribution you use, there is plenty of fun stuff to learn and do. Linux offers you plenty of challenges and gives you the freedom that Windows and OS X simply don’t have. Only about 3% of the population uses one of the linux distributions as a desktop, but many people are using Linux in some form and don’t even realize it. If you use a TV, microwave, refrigerator, or some other sort of technology then you’ve been using Linux for a long time and probably had no idea.

            There are many benefits to using Linux, especially if your in the tech field, so pop an installation cd into your computer and have fun!

            Featured photo credit: dxiri via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on November 25, 2021

            How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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            How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

            There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

            Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

              What Does Private Browsing Do?

              When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

              For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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              The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

              The Terminal Archive

              While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

              Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

              dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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              Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

              Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

              However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

              Clearing Your Tracks

              Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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              dscacheutil -flushcache

              As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

              Other Browsers and Private Browsing

              Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

              If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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              As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

              Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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