Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

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spacexion
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Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by spacexion »

I installed sometime ago Mint 14 on my fathers' laptop. The reason is quite simple: he is a very basic user, who tends to click everywhere he should not (especially concerning emails and spam), so his old windows system was always infected by tons of malwares. As we live far away from each other, I administrate his PC remotely with teamviewer, and I was tired to have to scan&clean it once a month. Mint seemed to me a good solution.

My father is really satisfied with Linux Mint, and so I am as I now have to remote control less than 4 or 5 times a year.
The counter side is that we don't touch at all to the system: it works "as is" and it's enough, we really don't want to break anything with any kind of update. And installing remotely a current version from scratch, e.g. Mint 17, is not an option.
My father doesn't run critical applications. I understand that avoiding updates is a security risk but in his case I consider that an out of date Linux is anyway more secure that an up to date Windows which is compromised by constant bad email usage (I still never saw in my life any spam nor mainstream application containing any Linux malware). Thus his wifi card doesn't work out of box with Mint: it requires some manual advanced fixing and the last time we updated his system, I had him to connect the laptop on Ethernet in order to allow me to remote connect and fix it again. And this is the type of troubles I want to avoid with system upgrade, definitely.

I hope to let it run this way another 3 or 4 years, then we will migrate to new hardware with up to date system. As my father's needs probably won't evolve at all, do we actually need to update? What are the "real world" risks?

Thanks.

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jahid
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by jahid »

yes, you will be punished by not getting any update
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niowluka
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by niowluka »

spacexion wrote:an out of date Linux is anyway more secure that an up to date Windows
Yes. On Linux what you mostly get are very obscure bugs, which are quite complex to exploit. Someone would have to explicitly want to hack into your system, but in such case you probably can't hide anyway.
spacexion wrote:do we actually need to update?
No, your father is going to be fine.
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jimallyn
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by jimallyn »

I have a computer in the other room which is running Xandros 4, released in 2006 (I think), and it was my main computer up until a few months ago. Your father will probably be fine.
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Mute Ant
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by Mute Ant »

If you are content with the system exactly as it is, consider locking the OS against intruders...
o Sudo is a vulnerability. Remove ordinary GUI users from the sudo group so they just can't allow malware in by accident.
o Choose and set a really tough password for root, like four dictionary words strung together...
  • RubberOnionsHerballyPathetic
o A password is only a protection against remote attack; write it down somewhere?
o Read up on the chattr command; you can make all the system files impervious to modification, even by root. Roughly...

Code: Select all

chattr -R +i /{bin,boot,sbin,lib,usr}
...will lock the OS files. And you unlock them again with...

Code: Select all

chattr -R -i /{bin,boot,sbin,lib,usr}
...noting that the chattr command has to be run by someone logged in as root, now sudo is unavailable.
While you're waiting, read the free novel we sent you. It's a Spanish story about a guy named "manual".

acerimusdux
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by acerimusdux »

spacexion wrote:I hope to let it run this way another 3 or 4 years, then we will migrate to new hardware with up to date system. As my father's needs probably won't evolve at all, do we actually need to update? What are the "real world" risks?

Thanks.
You should be able to get away with it, but you would have been better off with Mint 13, which will be supported until 2017 (even if you went three years from right now, it would only be 6 months out of date). Or even better, upgrade him to Mint 17, and you will be good for 5 years.

But I know how it is, I just upgraded my dad to 17, and had to work out an issue with his outdated printer, which isn't supported anywhere. There are old divers from Canon, not intended to be installed on 17 or Ubuntu 14.04, but I was able to use "force" to install the missing library, and then the two old packages from Canon, and it worked. And I still have mom running 13.

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mbohets
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by mbohets »

You definitely risk a slap on the back of your head by the linux mint gods :lol:

Seriously, I don't think there is a big risk by not upgrading.
If he was running a server, I would say it needs to be up to date all the time, but for everyday use the risk will be very limited I think.
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spacexion
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by spacexion »

Thanks a lot for all your answers! :wink:

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karlchen
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Re: Mint 14 and I don't want to upgrade: will I be punished?

Post by karlchen »

The final and only authorized answer to your question has already been given by xenopeek here:
Still using Linux Mint 14, 15, or 16? Upgrade to 17 asap!
Assuming that in the long run an outdated Linux Mint with outdated software were still safe to use even though a dozen of security related bugfixes are being roled out to the supported Linux installations almost every month, just because it runs a Linux kernel, is naive at best, unless this is a standalone machine which will not be used for surfing the net.
The world wide web is a shark pool. And the sharks do not share your assumption that any Linux system will be inherently safe just because it is a Linux system.
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