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How-To Synchronize Files Using “rsync” Command

February 22, 2010 11 comments

Placing several backups in a safe place and keeping files synchronized either locally or remotely is an urgent necessity for all users whose everyday tasks solely rely on the use of computers. Hard drives get damaged, files get deleted, memory sticks get lost …etc. You have to make synchronized backups of your stuff!

Many backup applications are there. Some are GUI-based, while others run through the command line. Personally, I prefer to use the command line due to its high flexibility. One of the most widely used command for synchronization purposes has been the rsync command.

By the way, one of the reasons behind my migration from Windows to Linux was the lack of the FREE synchronization tools that run under Windows. Anyway, if I start talking about this again I won’t finish, and I already wrote about this in an earlier post. So, let’s start talking about “rsync” command.

rsync

rsync is an open source utility that provides fast incremental file transfer. “rsync” is freely available under the GNU General Public License

Features

Features of rsync are already mentioned in different sites, but this is how I see it:

  • Incremental File Transfer
  • Compression while Transferring
  • Synchronizing Remote Machines
  • Encrypted and Secure
  • Better Alternative to FTP
  • Very Flexible

Uses

If you have a look at the rsync manual you will notice a huge number of arguments, and that might discourage you from using the command. Well, don’t worry! All those arguments are for advanced usages, and as the synchronization process gets more complex you will need to understand more arguments and when to use them; otherwise, you only need to used to little arguments to do you the job. Therefore , you will find yourself running the same command over and over with same arguments all the time.

Here is the Generic Syntax:

rsync [options] Src Dst

Where Src and Dst respectively are:

Src: Source location from where files will be synchronized.
Dst: Destination location to where files will be synchronized.

Src and Dst can hold these location combinations except for Remote to Remote directories:

Src Dst
Local Local
Local Remote
Remote Local
Local: "/directory"
Remote: "username@hostname:"

Note: Remote Directory will be the HOME directory of the username used at the Remote machine by default!

Full Sync

A full synchronization process implies what is in this table will take place:

Command Process Current Directory Sub-Directories
rsync Create Yes Yes
Update
Delete

A very frequently used arguments with “rsync” command:

rsync -avz -u --progress --delete Src Dst -n
-a Archive mode
-v Verbose mode
-z Compress while transferring files. This will make the transferring faster and will save the network bandwidth
-u Update files which are newer in the Src
--progress Show the transfer progress of each file while transferring
--delete Delete files from Dst if they don’t exist in Src
-n Preview mode. Changes won’t take effect till this argument is omitted
Sync, without Sub-Directories

One of the syncing tasks I perform on a daily basis is that I sometimes want to sync a certain directory without syncing the subdirectories. This is how I do it:

rsync -dvz -u --progress --delete Src Dst -n

If you want the same effect that the argument ‘-a’ have, such as preserving links, owner, group …etc. Then, this is another option:

rsync -dlptgoDvz -u --progress --delete Src Dst -n
Arguments Worthy Looking at
--exclude=PATTERN exclude files matching PATTERN
--include=PATTERN don’t exclude files matching PATTERN
--existing skip creating new files on receiver
--ignore-existing skip updating files that exist on receiver

Important Notes

  1. Synchronization process always works from Src to Dst. So, Any change in the Src will be reflected in the Dst.
  2. A probable confusing matter here is the deleted files. Just remember, a deleted file in the Src will be deleted from the Dst, but any file deleted from the Dst will be recreated from the Src while syncing!
  3. As a rule of thumb, always make the necessary modification in the Src then sync it with the Dst.
  4. Be careful with the Trailing Slash. If the Trailing Slash appears, then content of that directory will be synced, otherwise, that directory AND its content will be synced. Try it out and see what happens!

Too Many Arguments!!

If you found any difficulty in using the proper arguments of rsync command due to their numbers, then I suggest you start with GUI rsync Application called Grsync. The good thing about it is that it shows you the arguments that are going to be used to perform the synchronization process!

Categories: Linux/Unix Tags: , ,

How-To Set Up SVN and Trac

February 2, 2010 16 comments

What are SVN and Trac?

SVN: is a free/open-source Version Control System. Subversion (SVN) manages files and directories over time. Files are placed into a central repository and every change every made to the files or directories are remembered.

Trac: is an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects. It provides a Graphical front end to SVN where diffs in files can be obtained. It cannot update the SVN repository. It simply provides a Project Management interface, wiki, ticketing system, and SVN front end.

Installation

sudo apt-get install apache2
sudo apt-get install subversion
sudo apt-get install libapache2-svn
sudo apt-get install trac
sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-fastcgi libapache2-mod-fcgid

Setting Up SVN and Trac

To make things simple and flexible in case you want to make some changes in the future, configurations will be set in individual files, i.e. as virtual sites, then they will be enabled/disabled when needed.

1-Creating SVN Repository:

cd /var
sudo mkdir MyProjects
cd MyProjects
sudo mkdir svn
cd svn
sudo svnadmin create SVN_Project_01
sudo chown -R www-data.www-data /var/MyProjects

2-Setting Up Trac

cd /var/MyProjects/
sudo mkdir trac
cd trac
sudo trac-admin Trac_Project_01 initenv
-->Project Name [My Project]>
-->Database connection string [sqlite:db/trac.db] (choose defaults)
-->Repository type [svn]>
-->Path to repository [/path/to/repos]> /var/MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01
sudo chown -R www-data.www-data /var/MyProjects
sudo trac-admin /var/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01 permission add username MILESTONE_ADMIN REPORT_ADMIN ROADMAP_ADMIN TICKET_ADMIN TRAC_ADMIN

Setting Up Apache:

At this stage, we need to secure the web access to the repository so only authorized persons who can modify it, enable the SSL mode so connection is encrypted, and modify apache configurations accordingly:

Securing Web Access

  1. Enable the Authenticated Access by adding a username and password:
    sudo htpasswd -cb /etc/apache2/passwords username password
    
  2. Enabling the SSL Module:
    Refer to this blog: How-To Enable SSL on Apache2 Server

Trac Configurations

Note: You will need to download the Trac package and link to the cgi-bin/trac.cgi and cgi-bin/trac.fcgi in the configuration.
In my case, this the path to these files after extracting:

ls /usr/local/Trac-0.11.6/cgi-bin

Create the following files or you may create one of them:

Track through CGI
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
cat > svn.cgi
##SVN

<Location /MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01>
	DAV svn
	SVNPath /var/MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01

	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Subversion Repository - SVN_Project_01"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd

#	<LimitExcept GET PROPFIND OPTIONS REPORT>
		Require valid-user
		SSLRequireSSL
#	</LimitExcept>
</Location>


##Trac

ScriptAlias /MyProjects/trac /usr/local/Trac-0.11.6/cgi-bin/trac.cgi
<Location /MyProjects/trac>
	SetEnv TRAC_ENV_PARENT_DIR /var/MyProjects/trac
</Location>

<Location "/MyProjects/trac">
        SSLRequireSSL
        AuthType Basic
        AuthName "Trac Login for Projectname Website"
        AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
        Require valid-user
</Location>


<Location "/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01/login">
	SSLRequireSSL
	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Trac Login for Projectname Website"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	Require valid-user
</Location>
Track through FCGI
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
cat > svn.fcgi
##SVN

<Location /MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01>
	DAV svn
	SVNPath /var/MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01

	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Subversion Repository - SVN_Project_01"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd

#	<LimitExcept GET PROPFIND OPTIONS REPORT>
		Require valid-user
		SSLRequireSSL
#	</LimitExcept>
</Location>



##Trac

ScriptAlias /MyProjects/trac /usr/local/Trac-0.11.6/cgi-bin/trac.fcgi
##fastcgi
#FastCgiConfig -initial-env TRAC_ENV=/var/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01
#FastCgiConfig -initial-env TRAC_ENV_PARENT_DIR=/var/MyProjects/trac

##fcgi
DefaultInitEnv TRAC_ENV_PARENT_DIR /var/MyProjects/trac

#<Location "/MyProjects/trac">
	##fastcgi
	#SetEnv TRAC_ENV_PARENT_DIR "/var/MyProjects/trac"
	#SetEnv TRAC_ENV "/var/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01"
	#AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcgi

	#AuthType Basic
        #AuthName "Trac Repository - Trac_Project_01"
        #AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	#Require valid-user
	#SSLRequireSSL
#</Location>

<Location "/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01/login">
	SSLRequireSSL
	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Trac Login for Projectname Website"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	Require valid-user
</Location>

Track through FastCGI
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
cat > svn.fastcgi
##SVN

<Location /MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01>
	DAV svn
	SVNPath /var/MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01

	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Subversion Repository - SVN_Project_01"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd

#	<LimitExcept GET PROPFIND OPTIONS REPORT>
		Require valid-user
		SSLRequireSSL
#	</LimitExcept>
</Location>



##Trac

ScriptAlias /MyProjects/trac /usr/local/Trac-0.11.6/cgi-bin/trac.fcgi
#FastCgiConfig -initial-env TRAC_ENV=/var/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01
FastCgiConfig -initial-env TRAC_ENV_PARENT_DIR=/var/MyProjects/trac

#DefaultInitEnv TRAC_ENV /var/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01

<Location "/MyProjects/trac">
	#SetEnv TRAC_ENV_PARENT_DIR "/var/MyProjects/trac"
	#SetEnv TRAC_ENV "/var/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01"
	AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcgi

	#AuthType Basic
        #AuthName "Subversion Repository - SVN_Project_01"
        #AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	#Require valid-user
	#SSLRequireSSL
</Location>

<Location "/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01/login">
	SSLRequireSSL
	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Trac Login for Projectname Website"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	Require valid-user
</Location>
Track through Python
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
cat > svn.python
##SVN

<Location /MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01>
	DAV svn
	SVNPath /var/MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01
	
	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Subversion Repository - SVN_Project_01"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	
#	<LimitExcept GET PROPFIND OPTIONS REPORT>
		Require valid-user
		SSLRequireSSL
#	</LimitExcept>
</Location>


##Trac

<Location /MyProjects/trac>
	SetHandler mod_python
	PythonInterpreter main_interpreter
	PythonHandler trac.web.modpython_frontend
	PythonOption TracEnvParentDir /var/MyProjects/trac
	PythonOption TracUriRoot /MyProjects/trac
	
	#SSLRequireSSL
	#AuthType Basic
	#AuthName "Trac Login for Projectname Website"
	#AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	#Require valid-user
</Location>

<Location "/MyProjects/trac/Trac_Project_01/login">
	SSLRequireSSL
	AuthType Basic
	AuthName "Trac Login for Projectname Website"
	AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/.htpasswd
	Require valid-user
</Location>

After that, you will need to enable ONLY one of them:

sudo a2ensite svn.cgi

Or

sudo a2ensite svn.fcgi

Or

sudo a2ensite svn.fastcgi

Or

sudo a2ensite svn.python

Finally, reload apache server:

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

Try to open these links:
https://localhost/MyProjects/svn/SVN_Project_01
https://localhost/MyProjects/trac

Next

You will need to configure your prefered IDE with the created SVN repository if it supports the synchronization with SVN repositories. In my case as a Java/Java EE Developer, I’ ll refer to the most known open IDEs which are: NetBeans and Eclipse. SVN is just a little part of them to control versioning!

Hence, this would help you get a well managed and organized development environment!

___________________

References

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuTracHowto
http://wiki.kartbuilding.net/index.php/Trac_and_SVN
http://trac.edgewall.org/wiki/TracGuide

How-To Enable SSL on Apache2 Server

January 13, 2010 2 comments

Why to Enable SSL Mode?

Without digressing too much in the Security topic, SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a cryptographic protocol that provides security for communications over networks such as the Internet. Therefore, you will need such a protocol to protect your connection with the web server by encrypting the information being exchanged. So, if a sniffer drops into the connection then that information is not compromised. e.g. remotely logging in to your machine requires from you to submit your username and password. If the connection is not encrypted using one of the cryptographic protocols then such must-be-kept-secret information is exposed and imagine the impact on your system if such info was in somebody’s hand!

So, let’s discuss the steps of how to enable the SSL mode:

  1. Generate a Self-Signed Certificate
    cd /etc/apache2/
    sudo mkdir certs
    cd ./certs
    sudo openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -days 365 -out server.crt -keyout server.key
    
  2. Encrypt the Private Key (Optional)
    The way of doing it is by passing a “passphrase“:

    sudo openssl rsa -des3 -in server.key -out server.key
    

    Note: I tend not to do this step due to the fact that when Apache2 is restarted you will be asked to type the passphrase again. Therefore, I just change the key and certificate files permission so they are only read by Apache2!

  3. Enable the SSL Modules
    You can either enable the SSL Module by running these commands:

    sudo a2enmod ssl
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
    

    OR if you are curious about what it does you can do the following steps instead:

    cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled
    sudo ln -s /etc/apache2/mods-available/ssl.load ./
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
    
  4. Create the SSL Site
    sudo pico /etc/apache2/sites-available/MySSL
    
    ##################################
    ##-->@Author Husain Al-Khamis<--##
    ##################################
    <VirtualHost "*:443">
            ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
    
            DocumentRoot /var/www
    
            ##-->Me<--##
    
            SSLEngine on
            SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/certs/server.crt
            SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/certs/server.key
    
            ##-->Me<--##
    
            <Directory "/">
                    Options FollowSymLinks
                    AllowOverride None
            </Directory>
            <Directory "/var/www/">
                    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                    AllowOverride None
                    Order allow,deny
                    allow from all
            </Directory>
    
            ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
            <Directory "/usr/lib/cgi-bin">
                    AllowOverride None
                    Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
                    Order allow,deny
                    Allow from all
            </Directory>
    
            ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error.log
    
            # Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
            # alert, emerg.
            LogLevel warn
    
            CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined
    
        Alias /doc/ "/usr/share/doc/"
        <Directory "/usr/share/doc/">
            Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
            AllowOverride None
            Order deny,allow
            Deny from all
            Allow from 127.0.0.0/255.0.0.0 ::1/128
        </Directory>
    
  5. Listen on Port 443
    Open ports.conf:

    	sudo pico /etc/apache2/ports.conf
    	

    And add the following:

    	<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
    		# SSL name based virtual hosts are not yet supported, therefore no
    		# NameVirtualHost statement here
    		NameVirtualHost *:443
    		Listen 443
    	</IfModule>
    
  6. Enable the SSL Site
    Same as in step# 3, you can either perform these commands

    sudo a2ensite MySSL
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
    

    OR alternatively, you can do it manually in this way:

    sudo pico /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
    

    And add the following to the end of it:

    # Include the secured host configurations:
    Include /etc/apache2/sites-available/MySSL
    

    Then, Restart Apache2:

    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
    

So, have a secure web surfing!

How-To Fix Flash Incapability of Recognizing Mouse Clicks

December 12, 2009 3 comments


Upon upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, some including me noticed that any Flash-containing website like YouTube.com then you can’t click on that Flash object. In other words, Flash is not recognizing mouse clicks.

It appeared that this was a bug that was reported here.

A workaround for such a bug has been put in place. So here are the workarounds as the official bug tracker suggested:

  1. WORKAROUND 1: Disable compiz
  2. WORKAROUND 2: Remove flashplugin-nonfree / flashplugin-installer and install from adobe
  3. WORKAROUND 3, and this is the one worked with me:
    • Open a terminal, or you can press Alt + F2, and type
    • gksudo gedit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer
    • Then add “export GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1” before the last line of text.
    • Save.
    • Restart your FireFox, or any application uses Flash.

So, This is it as far as I know!

Categories: Linux/Unix, Open-Source Tags: , ,

How-To Fix libstdc++5 Dependency Problem in Ubuntu 9.10

December 1, 2009 68 comments

Upon upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10 I noticed that some applications won’t run any more and the problem was apparently related to the dependency library libstdc++5. This library was deprecated and libstdc++6 was used instead. It appeared that the removal of this library wasn’t wise, and it was reported as a bug which can be found here. You might see an Error Message like this when try to run an application depends on the missing library:

Error while loading shared libraries: libstdc++.so.5: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

To me, the packages that were affected are:

  • Thunderbird (downloaded from Mozilla website)
  • GWT (Google Web Toolkit) in the Hosted Browser mode

A workaround of this bug has been put in place. Mine is almost similar:
Since libstdc++5 was discontinued in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) then we need to download the Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) package.

Note: You will need the i386 package if you use Ubunut_i386, and you will need both i386 & amd64 packages if you use the Ubuntu_amd64 as there are i386 applications run under the amd64 architecture!

For Ubuntu 9.10 i386

Download the i386 Jaunty libstdc++5 package.
and simply install it by double click on it, or through the command line you can run this:

sudo dpkg -i libstdc++5_3.3.6-17ubuntu1_i386.deb

For Ubuntu 9.10 amd64

As I said before we need to download both the i386 & amd64 packages:

The amd64 package:

as simple as we did for Ubuntu_i386.
Download the amd64 Jaunty libstdc++5 package.
and simply install it by double click on it, or through the command line you can run this:

sudo dpkg -i libstdc++5_3.3.6-17ubuntu1_amd64.deb

The i386 package:

Download the i386 Jaunty libstdc++5 package.
Here, we need to extract the libstdc++5 library ourself as this deb package is an i386 one. So, if you try to double click on it or install from the command line it will give you an error message “Wrong architecture ‘i386′”
The way to solve this is to extract the libraries yourself and place them in the correct directory. Starting from the director where the package has been downloaded to, run the following:

sudo dpkg-deb -x libstdc++5_3.3.6-17ubuntu1_i386.deb ./tmp
sudo cp ./tmp/usr/lib/* /usr/lib32/

Up to here, this must solve your problem with the libstdc++5. Stick with it till Ubuntu community find a solution for this bug.
Good luck!

Categories: Linux/Unix, Open-Source Tags:

Winning the BeginLinux.com Contest

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

5 days ago, I wrote an article narrating my Linux story “The Greatest Impact in My Life: Linux“. This article was part of the contest held at BeginLinux.com website. The contest was about writing an article discussing “Why Are You Thankful For Linux?


The good news is that: I was announced the WINNER of this contest! So, I’m so glad for this and I wish the best of luck for the rest of us in the upcoming contests.
Here, I would like to tell that I’m not glad because I’m the WINNER but rather I’m glad, happy, and delighted because actually I participated in a contest, I presented a work, I made an effort, I had to research, I got the acquaintance of a new community, I expanded my social network, I was connected to new fan of Linux, and countless benefits of participating in a contest!

So in case I was:

  • The winner then that would increase my self-confidence.
  • Not that winner then that would let me ask myself why I wasn’t that winner, what my weaknesses are, what the winner has that I don’t …etc. and that will encourage me to improve myself and strengthen my weaknesses! and of course, I would be so happy for the winner!

Therefore, I would like to thank the BeginLinux.com moderators who came up with the contest very much, and would like to thank every member participated and presented his/her idea in this contest.

Looking forward to more participations.

The Greatest Impact in My Life: Linux

November 23, 2009 2 comments

Before Switching To Linux

It’s been about 3 years since I started to use Linux seriously. Before switching to Linux I was trying to set up a Network Server at home starting with a home network, creating accounts for every family member along with their passwords, and then provide some network-based services to them. I tried to establish my home network and deliver the required services using Windows OS. The mission was a total failure due to the unavailability of the free tools doing the required job. Even the costly tools are useless. I really got fed up with the fact that whenever I wanted to do something then I had to pay that much of money and at the end for nothing professional. I’m specialized in Computer Science and I find the joy in developing applications and administering OSs. So, I was looking forward to having an environment enabling me to do whatever I want to do, whenever, and however. An environment providing you bundles of very flexible tools for Monitoring, Networking, Analyzing, Developing, Hosting, Securing, Virtualizing, Clustering …to name a few! Eventually, The OS that I underestimated long time ago was the whole solution for all my problems and needs. It is definitely the Linux OS!

The Linux Journey

Hence, My journey into Linux had started. This journey was a full of joyful adventure to me. Day after day while adventuring, I was exploring new ideas, fantastic applications, great solutions …etc. through which I managed to completely migrate from Windows to Linux! The Linux Journey has been of a great adventure to me. This Journey has really left high impact in my life. In this journey I found the convincing reasons to abandon Windows for ever and not to get back to it whatsoever!

Why Should I Be thankful For Linux

Thus, by my turn I have to very grateful and thankful to the Linux OS, to what it has been giving to me, to those who have been contributing in delivering it to the community at its best and highest potential. Therefor, I am very thankful for many reasons all of which time won’t be helping to mention but to list the most obvious ones for which everybody should be thankful to Linux:

Open-Source


Open Source, which everyone should be grateful for, is the concept of sharing the technical information with the community. When talking about an open-source software, then this software according to the Open Source Definition must comply with 10 criteria, 4 of them to me make Open Source Softwares rock:

  1. Free Redistribution
  2. Source Code
  3. Derived Works
  4. Distribution of License

An example of Open Source Licenses is the the well-known GPL, GNU General Public License, under which Linux OS is distributed. So, Linux really rocks because it is an open-source OS!

Performance

Linux performance has been one of the major contributing parts through which I was inspired to migrate to it. Linux has been of high performance in various aspects, to mention some:

  1. Kernel: No one can argue that Linux actually got its power from its kernel. Linux Kernel features multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, shared copy-on-write executables, proper memory management, and multistack networking including IPv4 and IPv6. And that’s according to the main Kernel website.
  2. Filesystem: Ext3 is the prominent Linux filesystem featuring the Journaling, up to 2TiB file Size limit, fragmentation is not that much of worry. Ext4 has just been out and is becoming the default in some distribution such as Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) and it features the extents, Persistent pre-allocation, Delayed allocation, Journal checksumming, Online defragmentation, Faster file system checking, Multiblock allocator, up to 16TiB file size limit …etc. With all these features, Ext3/Ext4 have been strong competitors to other filesystems such as FAT32 and NTFS.
  3. Processing: Just to mention the different types of computing that high performance is of high priority and Linux was chosen to perform these types of computing. So, we recently heard about Cloud Computing, Parallel Computing, Distributed Computing, Grid Computing, HPC …etc.

Security

Viruses, spywares, malwares ..etc. Huh! what are those? Sorry, I’m a Linux user, never heard about those before! Ooh, I’ve just remembered! they are Windows-related technologies. Sorry, I mean malwares. If we look at Security carefully then Security is not about installing a firewall and it’s not a product. Security is a policy, methodology, and an ongoing process. When it’s said that Linux is very strong in Security and unbreakable then because Linux is implementing the security policy itself in its core. Besides, Linux Authentication and Permission policy is what makes viruses impossible to have their effect on the system. So yes, Linux doesn’t need an ant-virus! Furthermore, Not having a running anti-virus software has also a huge positive impact on the system performance.

Support

Linux is a full-blown, feature-rich, and extremely powerful OS for free. Free doesn’t mean that you won’t get the required support. On the contrary, people working on it are already making a huge effort to deliver it, then how come you don’t get the support from them unless they want to get their effort to vanish and fade out. Actually, providing the support would help them harness the system and that’s by finding solutions to the problems that users complain about. One way to ease the support process is the centralized repositories enabling you to install/update all packages you need from one place, and this by its turn relieves you of getting a headache and distracted in finding the the packages you want.

Reliability

Linux is reliable to such a degree that you don’t need to frequently restart or shutdown the machine in case of errors or crashes, almost no hangs, very robust, fault-tolerant, and stable. I remember working in a department whose main mission is providing high Availability of the deployed applications (Business Continuance). Guess what? A Unix-based infrastructure was used to provide such a highly available environment!

Flexibility

A very fantastic feature of Linux is its Customizability to your needs. So, you can use it as a:

  1. Desktop: you can choose from different Desktop Environments (Gnome + KDE), edit and play multimedia (MPlayer, VLC, GIMP, Inkscape, Blender), have your office suite (OpenOffice), play games, browse the Internet (Firefox), Internet Messengers(Pidgin, Empathy), manage your files …etc.
  2. Server: Linux is the optimal OS to run as a Network Server(web server,ftp server, DNS server, e-mail server, file sharing, …etc.), Database Server, Monitoring. An important point needs to be mentioned here is that you need to master the use of the Shell through which I found the real flexibility I was looking for long time ago
  3. Development Environment: which is a combination of both Desktop and Server environment. So install whatever desktop applications you want, set up the type of servers fitting your needs, and have the required tools for development such as IDEs (Eclipse, NetBeans, Quanta), UML Tools (ArgoUML, Umbrello), Programming Languages(C/C++, Java), Frameworks (Qt, GTK), Scripting (PHP, Perl) … you name it.

Last But Not Least

As I said before, time won’t allow me to surround all the reasons why Linux is an ultimately optimal OS, but I tried to express indirectly that Windows has been a major obstacle to my productivity and I wish I had known Linux long time ago! You go to any IT-related company whose infrastructure is of high performance then with no doubt you will find that they use a Unix-based environment to run their business, and you can rely on Linux to run your business.

Linux has been embedded in ADSL modems and smart phones. Furthermore, Dell Company has already started shiping some laptops with Linux as the default OS! So, Why should I bother myself about a buggy, costly, virus-targeted, insecure, frequently crashing OS if there are already OSs capable of achieving the Business Level performance at home and for free!

Hereby, I would like thank those, the Open Source Community, for their great efforts, sincere endeavors, and continous support which greatly contributes in helping the community from naive users to the professional ones!