[SOLVED] LinuxMint is safer than Windows (for newbies)

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Benedetto
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Benedetto » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:40 pm

As see it those moving up to Linux (Mint in my case) from Windows often, quite wrongly, assume it to be similar. It may have similar appearances and usage, for the most part, having many familiar applications and browsers.
However, it is rather like driving a different car: you have to read the manual** and familiarize yourself with the settings.
It is a new learning curve - as they say - and whilst I have used Linux Mint daily since last August there is much that I still have to learn. Users of Windows will recall how long it took for them to fully be acquainted with the version they were running plus new versions took more adjustment. The Linux vocabulary is only the start of it all. :lol:

** A guy in the UK bought a new car yesterday. He had it for just four hours until he wrecked it! Apparently he wad driving along and wanted the 'eco cruise' facility so looking down into the vehicles manual - whilst still mobile - failed to notice a truck ahead that had stopped! :oops: No one hurt fortunately. So new car needed, maybe insurance will not pay out? Even if they do he will have lost his good, safe driver discount.
Best wishes,
Linux Mint 19 Tara Cinnamon - version 3.8.9

Rocky Bennett
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Rocky Bennett » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:47 pm

I hope that the OP posts back into this thread because since he has started this thread I have performed two fresh installs of different Windows systems and I have not seen any such warning that the OP claims exists. This morning I did a clean install of a Windows 8 system for a client and I was very careful to study each and every screen in order to see the warning, but I did not see any such warning.

Not only that, and this is actually more important, I did not even see the opportunity to create a user account during the installation process itself. Sure there is plenty of opportunities after installation, but Windows does not offer that as an option during installation.

I am very curious as to what the OP thinks he might have seen or read or heard that gave him the impression that Windows serves up a warning during installation to create a user account.

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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Rocky Bennett » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:28 am

To the OP, I am a very big Windows fan so I was quite curious when I read your post. I did some investigating in order to find out exactly where this WARNING was and I found things to be quite the opposite of what you reported. Please read the following link to understand how difficult it is to create a guest account in Windows 10. It is no easy task.

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-crea ... windows-10

Now for some background information. Please read all of the detailed information regarding root privileges that you might find interesting and quite informative.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/users_and_groups

It seems to me that Linux is a far cry safer than Windows and is exactly the opposite of what you claim in your initial post.

Rocky Bennett

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Arch_Enemy
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Arch_Enemy » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:34 pm

Benedetto wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:40 pm
As see it those moving up to Linux (Mint in my case) from Windows often, quite wrongly, assume it to be similar. It may have similar appearances and usage, for the most part, having many familiar applications and browsers.
However, it is rather like driving a different car: you have to read the manual** and familiarize yourself with the settings.
It is a new learning curve - as they say - and whilst I have used Linux Mint daily since last August there is much that I still have to learn. Users of Windows will recall how long it took for them to fully be acquainted with the version they were running plus new versions took more adjustment. The Linux vocabulary is only the start of it all. :lol:

** A guy in the UK bought a new car yesterday. He had it for just four hours until he wrecked it! Apparently he wad driving along and wanted the 'eco cruise' facility so looking down into the vehicles manual - whilst still mobile - failed to notice a truck ahead that had stopped! :oops: No one hurt fortunately. So new car needed, maybe insurance will not pay out? Even if they do he will have lost his good, safe driver discount.
https://youtu.be/PAqHxg0NtSk?t=41
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.

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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Portreve » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:08 pm

newbie serena wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:57 pm
LinuxMint is less safe than Windows for newbies, because LinuxMint does NOT warn during or after install that one has to create a standard user account.
Windows DOES warn. And Windows DOES offer a menu to create a standard user account.
Another thought...

I am not speaking to Windows 10, nor Windows 8.x, but classically it was the case in the WinNT environment (which, to clarify, is what all releases of Windows were from XP onwards) that a lot of software was not written with the Admin / Normal User security model in mind, and if the software didn't essentially have unrestricted access, it would break. Classically, from Windows XP onward, the default account created at installation time was an Administrator account. These two facts are the reason in the Windows world why one had to create a separate non-admin account, and no matter how the process might have been sugar-coated, that the user had to do this.

For the longest time, software no matter how installed would not behave properly without Admin privileges. I don't mean this was the case with literally every single last possible piece of software, but it was frequently the case nonetheless.

Also, serena, and for your benefit because I'm assuming you wouldn't know this, all versions of Windows come out of an era where originally there was no such distinction; in fact, generally there was no such thing as the concept of user accounts in the first place. In the Windows world, Windows NT on corporate workstations, and then later Windows 95 for "normal" users, implemented user accounts. However, "user accounts" in non-NT versions of Windows were pretty trivial and absolutely meaningless where security was concerned.

Prior to Windows NT and Windows 95, there was no such thing as a user account in Microsoft-produced operating system products. Windows 1 - 3.11 offered no such thing. You turned the computer on and it booted up and took you to a desktop. The same was true of every version of MS-DOS which ever existed. The same was also true of pretty much every single other operating system with the exception of the several different iterations of UNIX which existed since the 1960s.

The original purpose behind user accounts was to allow multiple people to access a central computer (i.e. distributed dumb terminals connected to a mainframe) because there had to be a way of differentiating between user input. This was done not so much for security reasons as it was because computers were excruciatingly expensive, and one could much more easily justify the cost of a computer if multiple people could use it. It made it even easier to justify the expense if multiple people could use it at the same time, and then again further justified the expense if multiple people could use it from different locations.

AT&T's UNIX, Berkley's BSD, and others became the basis of inspiration for Linus Torvalds to write the Linux Kernel, and for Richard Stallman and the other members of the GNU Hurd to write the GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) Toolkit. That is to say, everyone involved in the foundational conception, development, and execution of what we now refer to as GNU+Linux was working off the basic playbook started by the UNIX community. One of these foundational underpinnings is the separate root account. As a GNU+Linux distribution, LinuxMint is absolutely no different than the dozens or more of other distributions which do or which have ever existed.

The reason it may seem that a "normal account" is an administration account is you're using a normal account which is included in the list of which accounts have access to superuser do, which is more commonly known as "sudo".

Some distributions by default give no other account sudo access, and instead require you log in as root to do administrative tasks.
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by bob466 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:44 pm

Here's a Windoze Warning... :D
Image
Linux For Ever...Windoze Never

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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Arch_Enemy » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:54 pm

bob466 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:44 pm
Here's a Windoze Warning... :D
Image
PROCEED!!!! ;)
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.

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absque fenestris
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by absque fenestris » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:02 am

You are in doubt about security: take Debian - then you have both - root and user. Take strong long passwords for both, preferably with special characters.
Continue ...
Installation was successful ...
Enter the password for user ... You are logged in - you are lucky!
First time a terminal command with "sudo"...
Enter password for root...

Your keyboard layout is not American? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (Mate) 32-bit - Acer D250 Netbook (Intel Atom N270, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD)

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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by carum carvi » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:58 pm

Thanks for all the feedback everybody.
Sorry for the delay. And apoligies for my confusing the way windows works with the different way linux works. And let me tell you too that I really love LinuxMint. I was just concerned about safety.

I just (mistakenly) thought I found a lack of safety for newbies in LinuxMint. Not for experienced linux/computer users, but a lack of safety for people who just surf the internet a little, like me. But apparently I have confused different OS and (still) do not fully understand the difference between adminstrator account and a newly created user account.

Let me try to explain my confusion:

After having used Linux as a newbie for a couple of months I got the advice to create a standard user account and was told NOT to use LinuxMint as an administrator. This was important for safety according to different experienced forummembers.
So when I heard this advice to create an seperate user account I thought to myself: "wow, I have been using this linux system for months as an administrator, that is NOT safe. Like it was not safe to do so in windows, because you get those pop up screens in windows to allow certain programs to be active or not.

Then I started thinking why havent I been warned for this explicitely in LInuxmint? In windows vista and 7 you do get warnings all the time that pop up AFTER installation. (Not during installation).
But as I understand now I may not compare windows user accounts to linux user accounts because they have totally different meanings and functions.

I know that when I use LinuxMint 18 with my standard user account (correct name?) I can not acces for example software management or the log in screen. It just wont open a password menu for these programs. I do have to log off as a standard user and log in as an administrator to search for new software or change the settings in the log in screen.

Final question: Am I correct to understand that there is NO difference for safety in using an administrator account compared to a standard user account?
Then why is it available?

P.s: english is not my native tongue, so I hope I used the correct translations, but I fear that there is some misunderstanding about the term user account and what I created. What I created after the installation is something I call a "standard user" account, which automatically has less priveleges.
(I am dutch speaking)

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absque fenestris
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by absque fenestris » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:29 pm

If you use Linux Mint, you are a very common user. Only the command sudo xxx + password in the terminal (ie Super User Do) or the password entry in dialog boxes makes you a short-term administrator.

Unknown things in Windows...
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by smurphos » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:29 am

newbie serena wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:58 pm

Final question: Am I correct to understand that there is NO difference for safety in using an administrator account compared to a standard user account?
Then why is it available?
Anything potentially dangerous that the admin account can do can only happen with the explicit permission of the admin user via entry of their password in response to a prompt thus gaining root privileges for that action. So as long as the admin account user takes reasonable care to understand why a particular action requires root privileges and what that action is doing and has a reasonably strong password to prevent unauthorised use of root privileges by someone else with physical access to the machine it is safe to routinely use this account type for normal use and as a single user quite inconvenient not to do so..

A non admin account is useful for machines with multiple users (maybe some children?) where the main admin user wants to maintain control over installed software and updates or prevent a less experienced or careful user from borking the system for everyone else. It is also useful in a work environment where an admin user wishes to maintain full control of a number of machines used by non-admin end users. For a single user machine it just adds a layer of inconvenience to getting anything done that requires root privileges.

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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by all41 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:39 am

LinuxMint is less safe than Windows for newbies,
omg you may be right--on the Bizzaro world
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by smurphos » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:25 am

leucocyte wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:10 am
Sudo gives you root privilege for only one command, the one following sudo. Su gives you access to root privilege as long as you don't exit, therefore any command you will type will be executed as root. Except in very specific cases where you need to do a complex list of manipulations as root, it is better to use sudo.

As an example of case where I use root account, it's mostly when I run a computer with system rescue CD and need to do extensive recovery/ repair operations on partition and using dangerous commands such as dd.
I would never recommend running the root account or using su rather than sudo or gksudo. When I refer to an admin account I'm referring to the default user type with sudoer privileges. A non-admin account is a user with no sudoer privileges - i.e. no way to mess with anything outside their own home folder.

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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by Moem » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:59 am

This seems like a good moment to point out that sudo should never be used to start a program from the terminal if that program has a graphical interface. For any graphical programs you should instead use gksudo (or if you're on KDE: kdesudo). And if you're a newbie, you will mostly be using graphical programs. If it is visible outside of the terminal, it's a graphical program.

Why? Because otherwise you will sooner or later run into problems with permissions. Graphical programs that are opened with sudo will write files that are owned by root, not by the user. We see a lot of problems on the forum caused by this.
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Re: LinuxMint is less safe than Windows (for newbies)

Post by carum carvi » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:22 am

Thanks everybody for the advice. I learned a lot and understand now where I made my mistake. LinuxMint is even safer than I thought, even for newbies! I can recommend LinuxMint now to some of my friends who are just as unexperienced as I am and let them do their own installation without adding a second new user account.

I want to quote Smurphos to sum it all up:

Smurphos wrote:
When I refer to an admin account I'm referring to the default user type with sudoer privileges. A non-admin account is a user with no sudoer privileges - i.e. no way to mess with anything outside their own home folder.

A non admin account is useful for machines with multiple users (maybe some children?) where the main admin user wants to maintain control over installed software and updates or prevent a less experienced or careful user from borking the system for everyone else. For a single user machine it just adds a layer of inconvenience to getting anything done that requires root privileges.


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