August 4th Meeting AriOS Audacity Rootkits MC-Midnight Commander

We had another good meeting with 9 members present including 2 new attendees. We were given the Auditorium for the evening which was very nice, one time only. Clint led off the evening with a demonstration of AriOS 3.0 which he had recently installed. Clint likes this distribution, even better than LinuxMint, as a replacement for Windows. Not only does it come with all the multi-media codecs that are provided by LinuxMint, but it is truer to Ubuntu. It comes on a 1.5 GB DVD which is twice the size of the LinuxMint DVD and it includes the restricted drivers (nvidia, etc) so that you don't have to be connected to Internet to get everything working. AriOS provides a very clean desktop and uses the avant window system for providing a side bar listing a small set of always available applications like Firefox, Terminal plus a system analog clock and it expands as you open application to provide short cuts to those open application while occupying very little desktop space, another very nice feature of AriOS. The word “AriOS” could be roughly translated into “The Operating System from the Ancient Persia” and lists its home country as Iran which does raise a few eyebrows. On the website is their feature list which starts by saying "AriOS has a lot of features which makes it a suitable OS for everybody." It is an: Elegant, productivity-oriented user interface: desktop layout has been carefully designed to help you achieve maximum productivity. AriOS helps you utilize the precious screen space by omitting unnecessary panels. Best for offline computers: almost all you need is available (office suite, media players, image editors, instant messenger, microblogging client, system tools and even a virtualization solution). If you are on a slow dial-up connection AriOS is a good option. Super Stable: AriOS is released a few months after each new version of Ubuntu when most bugs have been fixed and the base system has reached its most stable state. ‌Bleeding Edge Packages: AriOS is not a rolling release distro, but for some apps it uses Getdeb and PPAs instead of official repositories so that you can always have the latest and greatest versions! Driver Installer: AriOS comes with a handy utility that can install drivers for your video card (Nvidia & ATI) without an internet connection. Tweaks: Almost every aspect of the OS has received special attention to make the system look coherent and well-polished. Given concerns about security and Identity Theft, using an Iranian distribution does raise those concerns, and Clint cautiously "installed" it for test on an isolated machine but in the time he has been using it, has come to the conclusion that it is just as secure as any other Linux Distributions, there have been no reports of malware lurking, and the Web Upd8 website gives it high marks. It was released on July 2nd of 2011. Plus it in climbing in the "polls" in popularity according to Distrowatch where it is ranked #61 on the Distrowatch list of activity (uploads/downloads) and it is climbing in the list, consider it climbing in the polls! The Distrowatch link Web Upd8 is a Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews source that provides a lot of information on Ubuntu Remasters as well as maintaining a Ubuntu repository. A couple of recent articles that can be found there: AriOS: Light Interface And Heavy Application Base In A Ready To Use Ubuntu Remaster AriOS 3.0 Released [Ubuntu 11.04 Remaster] Audacity Clint then turned to Audacity which he has been using lately to transfer his 25 year old cassette tapes (still in good condition) to MP3 files for use with his MP3 Player. He provided a lot of information on using it including moving around in the program, highlighting sections for effects treatments like normalization, noise removal, and using the Equalizer. He also showed how to connect your external audio devices to computer (laptop) using the microphone connector where you need to use an attenuator device to reduce the line level of most devices to Microphone signal level so that your recording is not distorted. Another alternative is to use a USB box such as the ADS "Instant Music" box (available for about $50). Clint spent a little time on how to address "hum" in the audio connection and how to minimize or eliminate it. Finally, he mentioned that the audio capabilities of your computer can greatly affect the quality of your recordings and his favorite is using a desktop computer with the multi-function PCI SoundBlaster Live card. More information including how-to's can be found at the Audacity Wiki Home Page Another good source of information is "The Book of Audacity" by Carla Schroder, No Starch Press. She is also a member of the Ubuntu Community and one of the panelists in the week that followed the release 11.04, discussing what else but using Audacity. Rootkits Next, a little off topic but Linux related was the use of a Linux Program or LiveCD to remove a root kit or other infection of a Windows computer. ClamAV is a popular Linux program for doing virus scans and removal but no assurance of removal or fixing the damage by a rootkit that may have infected the boot sector. (Post Meeting, I have a friend out east that had a rootkit infection that did infect the boot area; the Microsoft Rescue CD was used to repair his system.) There are a couple of liveCD's that you can download to fix rootkit infections on Windows Computers. The first is the Microsoft Standalong System Sweeper (Beta Release), a free download from Microsoft where you find download links for both 32bit and 64bit systems along with instructions; since it involves a Windows executable, it is best to create this CD using a Windows system. Microsoft has taken so much heat for their vulnerabilities, they have been extremely proactive in securing the Windows operating system and providing free programs to home users to both protect their system and recover infected systems but for real security, it is still best to run Linux. A second LiveCD and comes highly recommended by one of our members is the Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 which is also a free download. Two links are available for this download, the first being their support page and the direct download page where you will also find a link for a Windows executable that will transfer the LiveCD to a bootable USB drive which you can keep updated from Kaspersky without having to download a fresh copy or reburning the CD. One thing the Kaspersky LiveCD needs is a Internet connection so that it can get the latest update before repairing a system. Midnight Commander Member Mike has a question on running the old command line (DOS like) Midnight Commander. Clint tried to find a solution during the meeting in adding it to the menu but had to quit due to time constraints. Even after some research at home, an answer was not found but in examining the .destop files on Parted Magic for "commandline text base driven programs that had to be run in a terminal window, Clint wrote this midntcmdr.desktop file: [Desktop Entry] Name=Midnight Commander Exec=/usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator -e mc Icon=/usr/share/pixmaps/mc.xpm Type=Application Categories=System; StartupNotify=true The magic is in the Exec=/usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator -e mc commandline, but when you put it in the start menu, you can drop the Exec= prefix for just a command of "/usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator -e mc" no quotes. There are couple of attached screen shots that may be helpful to you (you must be logged in to view them) if you need such a function and the process can be applied to other terminal applications that you may want to run from the desktop. Note that the .desktop file also provides the link to the icon for Midnight Commander. Clint built this on AriOS 3.0 (Ubuntu 11.04) but then copied the file to his own Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS desktop where it worked without error. Clint won't tell you how much time he spent on this and documentation is nearly non-existent for this function. Working in Linux can be so much fun! :-)