DW Desktop Linux: 2007 – The year that was

Distrowatch has a piece summarizing the world of Desktop Linux distributions in 2007. It’s worth a read to get a quick snapshot of where things stand with the various major distributions, and developments in the space over the course of the year.

Of interest to Zonbu users is the observations about Gentoo (the distribution upon which the Zonbu OS is based):

In the meantime, Gentoo Linux had another disappointing year. It was the first time in the project’s history that it managed just one stable release in a calendar year (assuming that no new version shows up before 31 December), while its news page offered only marginally more updates than Slackware’s. The excellent Gentoo Weekly News was quietly abandoned in the second half of the year. Once a highly respected and rapidly evolving distribution, Gentoo Linux is now increasingly a niche product – technically excellent, but nowhere near as enticing as it was just a few years ago.

You can read the full article here:

http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20071217#commentary

-Mr. Zonbu

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6 Responses to DW Desktop Linux: 2007 – The year that was

  1. ignorati says:

    I am probably part of the target customer base for Zonbu. I know just enough to be nervous about malware and phishing. I switched to Apple a few years ago, when I got tired of AV software causing more problems than it prevented (as far as I could tell). I’m interested in doing online banking, but have not felt comfortable doing so, even with the relative safety of an Apple.

    I was about to buy a new Mac to be dedicated just for that purpose, i.e., no web surfing, no email at that machine, just navigate to sites for my bank, broker, etc. A friend suggested instead that I get a bootable CD with LInex instead for my banking sessions. Another friend told me about Zonbu as an option.

    Your blog is a great resource, and you understand where folks like me are “coming from” as well as the tech side. What do you think?

  2. mrzonbu says:

    I think the Zonbu is an option, but, to be honest, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with your Mac either.

    I would not recommend doing online financial transactions over wireless, I would stick to wired connections as it avoids any potential for your data to get “sniffed” out of the air.

    The Zonbu, on an Ethernet connection, definitely seems like a relatively secure option as there have been no security complaints to date.

    Thanks for posting and letting me know that we’re hitting the right notes for folks in your segment.

    My mother is in town and she has been successfully using the Zonbu laptop to access hotmail and a few other things, and so far its been good. She is not tech savvy at all, but does have an XP desktop at home…

    -Mr. Zonbu

  3. ignorati says:

    Thanks for the info. It will be interesting to see how things develop for Zonbu.

  4. SoloSalsa says:

    ignorati, I suggest you try ‘Fearless Browser’ the LivePC by Moka5. Moka5 is to virtual machines as Ubuntu is to Linux. You can install virtual machines to portable storage or a host machine. So you could put your ‘bank os’ on a little flash drive, and just plug it in every once in a while. Buying a new machine, to use sparingly, is quite wasteful, and Zonbu tries to be environmental. Find out more about Moka5 on the World Wide Web, at moka5.com.

  5. ignorati says:

    SoloSalsa: thanks for the info about “Fearless Browser.” I’ll check it out.

  6. ignorati says:

    PS regarding “Fearless Browser,” I found what (to my non-technical eyes) seems like a good review of it and others here:
    http://www.svtechie.com/cms/content/view/269/51/

    I infer that using such a “virtual” machine protects against some kinds of threats, but not against key loggers. However, the same review suggests that one can defeat key loggers by other means.

    This is very interesting to me. I am surprised that banks and brokers and others who want customers to do business on line don’t publicize this more, and help nervous would-be customers like me get comfortable with such an approach.

    I would be happy to pay extra for a flash drive or CD or whatever was needed, though as a practical matter it probably would not cost the bank or broker much to produce and distribute. In return, they could get a loyal customer. But none of the banks I’ve contacted has anything like this, so one is left to do it on one’s own.

    Of course, I may be worried more than necessary. So far, as I understand it, little if any malware for Macs has been found in the wild. But that may not last, I fear. Plus, there is the potential for human error, via the increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks. We are all only human, after all, and subject to human engineering.

    For now, I’m mainly focused on rudimentary online banking, but I’m also curious about potentially using Quicken or one of the similar programs (e.g., the one Zonbu provides). I suppose other security issues may arise with them, so I’m leaving that for another day. Still, if anyone has info to share about that aspect, I’d be interested.

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