System Basics

Light Candy

Even if we all had a quantum machine or two we'd still be tapping and waiting. While it is logical to desire a so-called lightweight system, the continued demand for candy is not. My personal definition of lightweight are 512 megabytes of RAM and 20 gigabytes of hard disk. I happen to type this on a novelty T400 running a full Debian LXDE with tons of custom binaries. Average non-optimised boot time are about 10 seconds and disk space occupied by binaries some 10 gigabytes. Light enough for me.

System Security

Since the majority of computers comes with a preinstalled copy of one or the other Windows thing, this information mainly addresses the users of that system. Finding drivers or applications may be easier but a weak core implies weak applications.

A brandnew machine may appear blazing fast for a while. However, the more programs you install, the more it will slow down. To keep track of any changes your first task should be to install a decent registry watchdog to store the current state of the registry and indicates any changes by new installations. If something turns out to be useless you can easily roll back. Schedule regular disk defragmention at boot time.

Testing lots of software on your default machine exposes you to unnecessary security dangers. Don't pay for something you neither know nor understand. There are many pseudo security applications out there, which are in fact really quite the opposite. Install and configure a decent firewall and close all unnecessary ports. Be cautious with dubious sites. In principal, the more tempting, the more danger. Be sensible with e-mails from unknown senders, in particular those with fancy attachments!

Malware is no fun, so grab a professional anti virus and enable read-write scanning for all file types, medium heuristic, active online protection and automatic updates. On low RAM systems you probably want to disable the real-time feature. Even with four gigabytes of RAM it'll be bogged down most of the time. Reboot and immediately run a full system scan. While this may take a while it usually pays a good dividend.

For maximum online security you should first of all forget everything about social nonsense. If you must, at least don't use your real name and data. Accept cookies from the originating site only. Globally turn off Java, Java Script and Flash and configure your browser to ask permission first. Forget all the hyperbole about anonymous browsing. Proxies, dark web, Tor, and so on. Nothing will make you invisible!

Last not least a word about the ominous root account. Think of a supervisor performing mission critical system commands. In principal it doesn't really differ whether or not you login as root. Most hacking typically happens on a services level long before you ever get to type your login. However, if you do, you are actively playing with fire. Ouch!

Systemd Versus Sysv

Frankly, this whole discussion going on about systemd is just a load of whining by folks either not willing or simply not qualified to advance their skills. Yes, systemd is different from sysv but so is Ferrari from Volkswagen. Dumb example but the dumber the example the more logical it should be to think again. Is systemd really all that bad?

No, it's not! It's different and that's good. It's called progress. If you are one of the never change a running system folks you probably also still run kernel 0.0.1; if ever there was such. But then how comes you are reading this in the first place? Most major distributions have long since switched to systemd, so what's the big surprise now?

And regarding those expert dummies claiming it was directly linked to the NSA? Good heavens! Gimme a break! We have stuff flying around in the universe with cameras perfectly capable of taking a snap of your current screen if you were hiding two floors underground. (Slight exaggeration to emphasise.) Honestly, that sort of crap is the least I'd expect from presumably intelligent Unixers.

If major players like Debian and others get aboard there must be a reason, don't you think? Usually that sort of reason is one providing more pro's than contra's. Unix gives you all the freedom to roll your own. Either dismiss systemd and get stuck with obsolete binaries or embrace the future and learn something new. Just give it a little time to mature and you won't ever look back.