Why are there too many Linux Distros

Linux (/ˈlinəks/) is An open-source version of the UNIX operating system. It’s kind of a big deal for Servers Mainframes and Super computers.

More than 90% of today’s super computers run on a some kind of Linux. Also many small devices run on Linux even if you can’t tell they do… for example the Android OS is based on Linux.

Linux is great, it’s powering most of the webservers for your favorite websites, since it’s free, highly customizable and very reliable.

That’s great, but why are there way too many Linux distros or distributions?

To answer this question we have to define the difference between Linux and other operating systems (Windows or Mac OS). Any operating system comes with a preinstalled set of applications, a user-interface and built-in drivers. For Windows, Microsoft decides what software they’ll have built-in to Windows and how the Window Manager (The piece of software that organizes the display of windows and dialogs on your computer) will work for this specific version of windows. Microsoft has the one and only decision in this, and there’s only a limited number of customizations we can do to the Window Manager (The Look & Feel of Windows), that Microsoft allows us to change, but those changes we have to do after installing windows.

For example, if I wanted my Microsoft Windows 9 to have WinAmp installed on it out of the box, I’ll have to request Microsoft to do this. They will probably say No, since Windows has that wonderful media player (That I never use). I also cannot ask them to change the color of menus from white to grey just because I like it better that way. Same story for drivers, I don’t use printers, I don’t need Windows to have HP generic printer driver because I have a canon driver but that’s so selfish.

Now comes Linux.. Linux is a kernel (the bridge between applications and actual data processing) and a bunch of free software packages. The flexibility of the OS allows me to choose anything I want and to customize it the way I want. As a programmer, I can fetch the code of any software that my Linux is using, modify it as I wish. Then rebuild it and replace the one installed on my computer.

I can add some new packages, remove others and modify packages as much as I wish. All that is left to do is create an installation disk (or ISO image) for my current OS and distribute is the way I wish (Of course there’s a bunch of licenses that I have to read first).

As software keeps updating to add new features or fix bugs, my OS will have to keep up with the packages I’ve modified or created to keep my OS up-to-date or otherwise it’ll be discontinued just like many other Linux distros. And if my OS was found great by some developers, they’ll help me with ideas, testing and code writing to keep up and add features to my own software.

This answers the question “How is a Linux Distro created” not “Why are there so many of them?”.

As I’ve explained, I’ll most likely base my distro on an existing one to ease the integration of software packages into my OS. I’ll also have to find a team that shares my vision and finds the OS I’m creating great in order to help me develop and maintain it. It’s not that easy to maintain and develop an OS.

There are few basic Linux distros that most other ditros are based on. e.g. “Slackware Linux”, “Redhat”. you check out this Linux Distros Timeline to see how many distros have ever been developed

Something to speed up Windows boot

This is my second post of the day about things you can do to speed up Windows boot time (or startup time). First let me start by expressing how important it is to never rely on most of the tools online that claim to speed up you computer. Most of those tools use registry cleaning, which is never a good idea. Unless you’re an expert and you’re so sure you can fix any problems they may cause manually.

Windows is actually equipped with many tools that can help speeding up your boot time:

Windows Defrag Utility:


All computer systems depend on files, files are everywhere. Unfortunately Windows suck at managing those files. Most of your files are distributed into small segments, those segments might be placed at random locations in your hard-disk. So 1 file might be placed at 2 locations very far away from each other meaning more time to read the file.


Windows comes with a defrag utility that can move fragments of a file into the same or a close location to other ones minimizing the time needed to access the file (read/write)

Duh!! We all know that!


But what many people don’t know is that you can use this utility to optimize the files required by Windows boot. Open the start menu, type in cmd, and if you have UAC enabled (in case you don’t know what UAC is, you have it enabled) right click on the cmd and select “Run As Administrator”

Now type in the following command: defrag C: /b
Wait for it till it’s done and you’ll notice you computer is running a bit faster the next time you start it up

Making use of your multi-core processor


During Windows boot, the computer is only using a single processor (Or I might be wrong, feel free to let me know if I’m wrong)


You can use the msconfig tool (Start ==> msconfig, right click and run as admin) :-

Go to the “Boot” tab as shown in my screenshot, click on the “Advanced options…” button. Check the “Number of processors” in the dialog that shows up and select how many cores do you want Windows to believe you have during its boot.


That’s it for tonight, I’ll come up with other things you can do in another post

Reigning Pwn2Own champion: "The main thing is not to install Flash!"

Here are the highlights from Miller’s interview:

He thinks Windows 7 will prove more secure than OS X Snow Leopard this year, in part because it doesn’t have Java and Flash enabled by default. Windows’ full ASLR (address space layout randomization) also gives it a security advantage.

When asked what he thought would make the safest OS and browser combo, he opted for Chrome or IE8 on Windows 7, with no Flash installed, although ‘there probably isn’t enough difference between the browsers to get worked up about.’

For my money, the juiciest quote from the interview was ‘The main thing is not to install Flash!

On the mobile side, Miller guessed that the iPhone 3GS would be more easily exploitable than the Motorola Droid, mainly because the iPhone’s been around longer, and has been subjected to more extensive security research.

You can check out Miller’s full answers (in English or Italian!) at OneITSecurity.

Microsoft Security Essentials. How secure is it?

Well, I’ve been using the Microsoft product ever since it was a private beta. I liked it, because it was smooth and light on my computer. Today is occurred to me. How secure is actually is.

So I looked up for some tests and came across The “Firewall Leakage Tester” a small but really useful utility for people asking the same question I’m asking.

It simple just click the “Test my firewall” button. Your firewall then should notify you that some software is attempting to connect to a remote server. Should I let it? oddly enough MSSE didn’t even mention any activity. Which means not doing what you’re NOT paying it to do. So I decided to try another freeware firewall. ZoneAlarm was the first to occur to me, I didn’t know if there was a free edition. But there actually is one, it’s called “ZoneAlarm Basic Firewall”. There also is an all you can eat “Internet security suite” at the same page.

I wasn’t really eager to use ZoneAlarm because I knew it consumed a lot of memory. But to be honest the last time I used ZoneAlarm I had a Pentium II running Windows 98. Things change in a decade you know.

I downloaded and installed ZoneAlarm and BOOM. I spent the past I think 8 hours just trying to get my Windows 7 RC to work. At first I thought it was ZA so I manually deleted the files from my Ubuntu (dual booting is a bless) the tried deleting the registry keys (through a batch file on startup) which worked but not as well as you’d think.

I restarted into Windows and it kept crashing. So I tried to beat the System and DID (Ladies & Gentlemen I AM faster than a Core2 Duo 2.33Ghz 2MB Cache) Not from the first trial of course. So at startup I tried as fast as I could to start the task manager and kill the msmp…Something process and it’s subtree. I noticed that the computer didn’t crash. So I tried Removing and reinstalling Microsoft Security Essentials But again my computer froze. So I tried again several times to beat the system (Again) this time I removed it and tried reinstalling ZA.

Things went smoothly even after trying to reboot for several times.

Oh, noooooooooow that I got ZoneAlarm to work I tried running the same utility again. But luckily ZA did ask me if I allow this software to open a connection.. Imagine if it didn’t, I’ve done would have been a waste of my Useless Thursday.

Conclusion (I’ve seen a couple of bloggers do this):

Microsoft Security Essentials Didn’t really work for me, but ZoneAlarm did 🙂