linux mint for beginners
Linux OS, Tutorials

Linux Mint for Beginners

Today I want to introduce you to one of my all-time favourite Linux desktop distros: Linux Mint. There are a lot of great desktop distros that work fantastic right out of the box, but I think this one edges out the competition. It’s a great option if you are new to working with Linux based systems. You have a lot of customization options available but it’s not overwhelming or easy to break. Let’s get into it!

Quick Overview of Linux Mint

One of the best things about Linux Mint is that will work right away from install. Yes that does include full multimedia support without you needing to install any additional packages. It’s an open-source project (duh!) and freely available to use to the public. Currently number of users ranges in the millions. It’s also community driven, so if you notice any bugs or would like a feature added into a future version let them know!

The Linux Mint system is based on Debian and Ubuntu. It boasts an impressive 30,000 packages! My personal favourite feature is it’s software update manager. You also won’t need to spend much time on security, you don’t need to install anti-spyware or antivirus.

Current Desktop Editions

Right now there are four editions of Linux Mint available, which one you choose depends on your needs. The two most common are Cinnamon and MATE, and then there is also KDE and Xfce. Essentially they are just different versions of the desktop view but there are some important software differences as well. If you’re feeling unsure about which to choose, the developers recommend that you go with the MATE edition as it has more options for hardware specifications.

Personally, I go with the Cinnamon desktop environment and to be honest I find it more user-friendly for newbies. I’ve never had a problem installing anything, it looks great, and it’s easy to use. I should note that it’s pretty easy to switch between desktop environments. So you can always dabble in one and then if you don’t like it you can switch to another. Either Cinnamon or MATE will work great for both individual users and companies.

Installing Linux Mint

First things first, make sure you download the ISO from the official Linux Mint Website. Then, before you go running off all excited to install your new software, verify that ISO! It’s unlikely, but it can happen that unethical humans will intercept your transaction and send you a bogus version of the software. It’s easy to do, you’ll just need to run a sha256sum checksum program. If you’re already running a version of Linux that will be accessible from the command line. If you are on a Windows machine then you can download the program from here.

Once you’ve verified the ISO you will need to burn it to a disk. If you’re on a Linux box this can be done from the terminal with the following command (make sure you are in the same directory that you downloaded the ISO to):

cdrecord -v -dao dev=1,0,0 linuxmint.iso

If you’re on Windows then there are a number of programs that you could use, I’d suggest Nero. Take caution to burn the ISO image to the disk, not the file! If you’ve done it correctly you should see file folders on the disk, not the ISO file.

Once you have that burned installation is very straightforward! Insert the disc into the disc drive and restart the computer, the Linux Mint install wizard should appear on start-up. You’ll need to enter a couple of details, let it do it’s thing, and then you’ll have a beautiful new Linux Mint desktop!

Customizing Linux Mint

To be honest, Linux Mint works great straight out of the box and outside of aesthetic changes I don’t really change much. Changing the desktop background is very simple, right click anywhere on the desktop and then select Change Desktop Background. You can select from the pre-existing library of images or you can upload one of your own by clicking on the plus sign near the bottom of the window.

You can adjust the panel as well, which is the bar along the bottom of the screen that will show your program icons. Right click on the panel and select Panel Settings from the menu that pops up. You are able to change the size of the panel itself, as well as the icons. In addition, you can set the panel to display at all times, or only when you hover your mouse near the bottom of the screen. It all depends on how much screen real estate you typically need.

Beyond that you can add yourself some Applets and Desklets. These are small programs that typically just handle one simple function like a calculator or a calendar, for example. Some people like to have them available and ready to use at all times on the screen.

Installing Additional Software

If you’re a newbie to Linux, the easiest way to install software is to use the Software Manager. You can find this in the main menu. It has a graphical interface as well as a search function, so you can look for ‘Steam’ for example, and install it with the click of a button. Super simple!

If you’re looking to be a little more efficient and want to learn commands or are already familiar with the Terminal then you can do it that way as well. This is also a way that you can install software that may not be available through the Software Manager. The Software Manager is using the APT system in the background, but you can access APT directly from the Terminal. Again, let’s say that you want to install Steam. All you gotta do is open Terminal and type in:

apt install steam

Pretty easy, right? Just take note that because Software Manager uses APT, you have to make sure that is closed first before trying to access it from the command line. You can’t run it in two places at once.

There is also another graphic software installer called Synaptic, which you can use to install software that is not available via the Software Manger if you don’t want to use the Terminal.

Need more help?

One of the best features of Linux Mint is it’s super-engaged user community. If you need support, posting on the forums is a great way to get help. They do have an IRC chat as well, however I find the forums to be a better way to connect with other users. Also keep in mind that the Linux Mint system is built with Ubuntu repositories so most tutorials for Ubuntu will also apply to Linux Mint.

Kali Linux for Beginners
Linux OS

Kali Linux for Beginners (Includes PDF guide)

Hey there, this is not a comprehensive guide to using Kali Linux, the good folks who developed it have put together a great manual in the form of a free EBook (link below) as well as an online training course, also free! I wanted to give a brief overview of Kali Linux below, and help you decide if it’s right for you to dive deeper into.

If you don’t want to go too much into the details, here is a quick bullet point list:

  • Intended as a security auditing tool, not as a general day to day use OS
  • Not for those who are new to Linux-based systems, best used by infosec professionals and those who have prior sysadmin experience with Linux systems
  • Comes with and supports several security packages & repositories, but will require quite a bit of work to run even some fairly standard ones such as Node.js
  • Basically, if you’re looking for something to run day to day or are just looking to learn more about Linux distros in general Kali Linux is not the best choice for your needs.

If you do happen to be looking for more general training on getting started with Linux then I recommend starting here.

What is Kali Linux?

If you didn’t know already, Kali Linux is a security auditing tool that you can use to find vulnerabilities in your machines and networks. Please note that the operative word here is ‘your’. The creators of Kali did not build it so that you could hack into your enemies stuff. It is a tool for good, it is up to you to use it appropriately. Although the developers make images freely available to download, the actual development is not community based for security reasons. So it’s completely safe to use, you don’t need to worry about somebody (ironically) sticking a backdoor into a tool that is designed to find those. That would be the perfect cover though, wouldn’t it? They do however make their development tree freely available, so if you want to customize a package for your specific situation you are welcome to do so.

Some of the nice features that the developers have included are extensive wireless device support, FileSystem Hierarchy Standard compliance, multi-language support, and customization options all the way down to the kernel (wow!).

This Guide is for Beginners, But…

So, here is the thing. If you are a total beginner at Linux in general, I don’t suggest using Kali Linux. It can really mess up your machine and be a massive headache if you don’t already have a pretty good grasp on being a sysadmin. You also will have a hard time using a lot of packages and repositories that are pretty commonplace, such as NodeJS. If you’re goal is to learn how to use a Linux environment or a good desktop installation, there are a ton of better options for you. I’d try Linux Mint or Arch Linux, both of which I will have tutorials on soon. I wrote this one first because…well, I just felt like it.

Kali Linux was designed for security professionals who already have a strong understanding of Linux distros and administering Linux systems, or as a learning tool for the more experienced user. If that does describe you, then carry on reading.

Getting Kali Linux

Depending on what you want to run Kali Linux on there are a few options for downloading an image. They also have options for a ‘live’ image that requires network access (which is perfect for running from a USB) and one that does not and can install completely on it’s own. The latter is the version that the developers suggest that most users download. They also have special builds available to run on VMware and ARM-based devices. All of these different images can be found on the Kali Linux official website Downloads page or the Offensive Security page for Kali Linux. Be absolutely sure you are only getting images from these two sources, and it’s a good idea to verify the SHA256 signature manually as well. If you are unsure of how to do this they provide detailed instructions on the Kali.org website.

Default Credentials for Kali Linux

Please note that this has changed as of the release of Kali Linux 2020.1, the default user is no longer root/toor. Your default user is now a standard user account and the credentials will be kali/kali. Also note that if you are using the Vagrant image, then your default credentials are vagrant/vagrant as per the Vagrant policy. There are a few tools that come standard with any Kali Linux distro such as BeEF-XSS, MySQL, OpenVAS, and Metasploit and they have their own default credentials, which are covered on the Kali.org website.

Training for Kali Linux

I know, you came here because you wanted a quick and dirty guide to getting started with Kali Linux, but as you may have gathered from above this is a fairly advanced Linux distro that isn’t really for novices. If you are an infosec professional then I would urge you to go direct to the source and get trained from the people who made it! There is a free ebook that you can download in PDF format (link below), as well as a free online course. I would start with reading through the book to get a good overview, and then you can jump into the online course which will give you some hands on practice as well as skills testing.

Download the Kali Linux Revealed Ebook PDF
Purchase a hard copy from Amazon

If you really enjoy working with Kali Linux and would like to do so officially on a professional level then you can take the KLCP exam and become a certified pentester for them. The exam is 80 questions and you will have 90 minutes to complete it.

Video Guide for Beginners

Is a Linux or Windows Server Right for You
Linux OS

Is a Linux or Windows Server Right for You

When you are interested in purchasing a sophisticated server, it is vital for you to know if you need Linux or Windows operating system to be installed. Many web hosting providers will offer at least some version of both Windows and Linux hosting. However, it is up to you to decide between different factors like programming language, security, and cost when choosing the best OS for your needs. For the most part, Linux is going to be your best option. If you want to resell hosting for small businesses then that’s definitely the way I would go as most of them will want to use an open-source CMS, and those definitely run more smoothly on a Linux box. You can also offer to hook them up with freelancers who can help them set up their websites, click here for coupons you can use on GoDaddy.

You are recommended to choose the appropriate operating system for your committed server as Linux and Windows can be utilized to run different applications.

Do You Need To Install Windows Operating System

You will need Windows to be installed if your advancement team has developed your applications or websites alongside ASP.NET or ASP scripting, which use Microsoft SQL (MSSQL) or Microsoft Access databases. The Windows OS can be used to create and asses PHP and MySQL database applications and database although regularly used for ASP creation.

Having a committed server alongside a Windows OS does offer your developers an expansive dimension of scripting opportunities, such as MySQL, and PHP, which are not present in a Linux environment. When managing the server, some consumers find it easy to manage Windows based committed server as you have access to the server utilizing Remote Desktop, which is a graphical compound whose main purpose is to bond your computer to the server.

The Requirements of Windows Operating System

It is very important to verify the system requirements of the Windows OS before selecting your committed server as you need to ensure those vital requirements are achieved.

There are licensing fees included with the installation of Windows operating system, thus you will need to consult your service provider for further details of what the costs will be for a specific version you need.

Do You Need To Install Linux Operating System

Linux is affordable source software, meaning that you do not need to pay any licensing fees as opposed to Windows operating system. You are recommended to choose a Linux operating system if your applications or websites have been created using MySQL and PHP.

There exist numerous versions of Linux referred to as distributions that are accessible and include Debian and Ubuntu. You should consult your advancement squad as they will possibly have a desire of which Linux distribution to utilize.

The Requirements of Linux Operating System

Linux requirements are much less than those required by Windows. Also, it is very important for you to verify the requirements of the software in order to ensure that you are buying the appropriate software with enough resources for the server.

A lot of customers use Linux operating system because it uses minimal server resources Windows, thus allowing you to save a lot of money on your server.

The performance of MySQL and PHP enhances the reliability and speed of your applications or websites.


Bonus: Best Dash Cams for Your Commute to Work

If you spend time in your car going to and from work every day, then it’s not a terrible idea to have a dash cam for your dashboard just in case. It can really be a lifesaver in the event of an accident, especially if your insurance is being a pain about wanting to pay out. A video paints a very clear picture of what happened, and can really speed the process up. There are a ton of models on the market, so make sure you go through the reviews and find the one that will work best for you!

bluehost web hosting coupon codes
Linux Servers, Uncategorized

The Best Coupon Codes For Linux Web Hosting Plans

Linux is by far the most popular type of hosting plan with most major web hosting companies. And why not? For the hosting company, linux is free, open-source, and works with most web applications. But hosting companies still manage to charge quite a bit for web hosting packages on their platform. That’s where we come in:

bluehost web hosting coupon codesFor Bluehost Coupons:

Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting companies out there. And you know what? They don’t have coupons! Instead they have special link-activated discounted prices, which means you need to click on a special link to unleash discounted prices. We looked around and found that Web Hosting Coupon Codes (yes, that’s their name) had the absolute best list of these discounts, as it lists out every type of bluehost web hosting coupon codes available for promotion. For the basic shared hosting package, it’ll save you about 30%. But for VPS and Cloud Hosting? These purchases will save you hundreds, if not thousands per year.

hostpapa promo code - 2018For Hostpapa Coupons:

For environmentally-friendly hosting, try Hostpapa. They have carbon-neutral hosting, which means that they purchase carbon credits to off-set the footprint created by their data-centers. Despite that, they manage to have some of the cheapest hosting plans around. There are lots of discounts available with a Hostpapa promo code as well.

For GoDaddy SSL Coupons:

Having a linux-based website doesn’t guarantee web security. Right now the internet is moving towards secure browsers, and you’ll want to get an SSL certificate for your website to inspire trust in your website visitors. How do you install an SSL certificate? Most hosting companies will do it for you, once you buy one. With GoDaddy, since it’s the biggest hosting company, you can buy a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate (click here for coupons) and they’ll automatically add it to your website.

Now, because we love Linux, we want to show you how to migrate anything you have that’s Windows or Apple related to Linux quickly, easily, and freely.

How to Migrate to Linux

If you have had enough of Microsoft or Apple‘s policies and bad design decisions, you may have decided to jump ship to a better, more free operating system. Alternately, you may have just learned about Linux and are interested in seeing how hard it would be to make the switch.

Depending on the version (or distro) you use, Linux can be either a smooth experience or a nightmare. The most popular and most “forgiving” is Ubuntu, although using it still requires you to have at least some level of expertise. If you consider yourself knowledgeable, you can search for other distros to use in your Linux adventure, but if you are new to Linux, you probably should stick to Ubuntu.

Gamers or Power Users May Have Trouble (But It’s Not Linux’s Fault!).

Linux can be either your second home or a bad experience for you, depending on your needs. If you are a programmer, then it is extremely likely that you will enjoy Linux. If you are a gamer, then you might have a bad time because most of the titles released on PC are Windows-only, despite some eventually getting ported months later. There are methods to play Windows games on PC, such as the popular WINE program, but your mileage may vary.

In order to start, you need to download your preferred distro from its official website and create a bootable device with it. Then insert the bootable device you created into the computer you would like to install Linux on, and follow the on-screen prompts through the installation process.

Once you have successfully started your Linux adventure, you need some software to use on your new Linux machine. While a lot of software won’t work on Linux, there are alternatives to just about everything you’ll need on a daily basis. Microsoft software doesn’t work, but instead of the dated Internet Explorer or the fairly primitive Microsoft Edge, you could always go for the better browsers, such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Opera. For an alternative to Microsoft Office, there is LibreOffice, which is open-source and free.

You can install most applications through the terminal, which you will find yourself using quite often as long as you aren’t scared off by command prompts or “hacker text.” To install your desired program through the terminal, you will have to Google the required command line.

Steam and other entertainment software, such as the Spotify desktop player, should work out of the box, but there are certain exceptions. For example, only approximately 25 percent of the Steam catalog is available on Linux, while Origin and the EA catalog do not support Linux at all.

Linux may take a while to get used to, but after the “honeymoon period,” you are left with a robust and stable operating system that is sure to keep your data safe, while giving you full power over its capabilities.

learning Linux online
Tutorials

Learning Linux Online

Linux is truly ubiquitous throughout people’s every day lives. Linux has been around since the 1990s, and nowadays it’s being used to power everything from Android devices to supercomputers to refrigerators. Linux is used to run and maintain the internet and world stock exchanges. Most of the websites you visit on a day-to-day basis are run on servers that use Linux-based operating systems. Most web hosts offer a discount if you choose Linux hosting (as opposed to Windows hosting). You can also save on domain registrations, hosting, email, and more by using promo codes. Running a website does not have to be be expensive!

Though Linux is an operating system just like Windows 10 and Mac OS X, it’s very rarely used by regular people or even considered as a viable third option in the intense PC versus Mac debate. This is mostly due to the fact that much of the power that can be found in Linux comes from the shell, or command line. The shell allows you to control the computer through text commands that you input.

Back in the day, text commands were the only way to make a computer do what you want. All operating systems still have a command line, but Linux has made it a feature rather than something to be hidden behind a graphic user interface. This has scared quite a few people off the operating system.

However, with modern Linux distributions, it’s possible to completely ignore the shell if you don’t want to deal with it. But where’s the fun in that? Part of the reason Linux is so attractive as an operating system is because of how much direct control it gives the user.

It can be daunting, that’s understandable, but there are dozens of resources online that will help get you started learning everything about Linux. Listed here are some standout websites that can help the absolute beginner get started.

Learn the Basics at LinuxSurvival.com

LinuxSurvival.com is the perfect place for the absolute beginner and thus goes over the most basic of commands such as creating, deleting, and moving files and directories. As well, it will teach you how to change permissions and redirect output. It starts off slow so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you know absolutely nothing about Linux, then this is a great place to start.  Here are some other tutorials to help you.

Learn the Shell at LinuxCommand.org

Once you learn the basics of Linux, then you can start learning how to use the command line, or shell. Most operating systems rely on graphic user interfaces (GUIs) to make navigating the computer simpler and easier. However, there are some tasks that a command line is much more suited to. At LinuxCommand.org, you’ll learn what a shell is, what’s it good for, how to use it, and eventually even write your own shell scripts.

Tutorials at Linux.com

Linux.com not only has the latest news on open source software, but it also has a variety of tutorials written by some real big wigs in the industry. Top Linux engineers and developers share their experience and knowledge and it can all be found at one place. Linux.com also hosts several webinars and events that are wonderful opportunities to learn. You should definitely check out this website once you have got some knowledge about Linux.

There are many more places on the internet to learn Linux, but the three mentioned above a good starting line. Learn all you can, and soon you’ll be doing some incredible things with nothing but Linux’s shell and a keyboard.

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