Everything You Need To Know About WC Linux

The roots of Unix go all the way back to the 1970s and Bell Labs. Originally intended for use at Bell and AT&T, Unix was licensed for use with outside parties starting in the late 70s, and soon it was in use at UC-Berkeley, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft and IBM. Over the years, the rights to Unix changed hands among Novell, Santa Cruz Operation and The Open Group. Today, the single biggest application for Unix is with Apple’s macOS.

Unix was originally intended as a platform for programmers who were developing Unix-compatible software. It began to catch on in academic circles and grew larger as users adapted their own tools into the system. Unix uses plain text for storing data, with a hierarchical file system and the capacity for treating devices and interprocess communication as separate files. By the early 80s, users began to regard Unix as an operating system that could be suitable for computers of all sizes.

Understanding Unix

Unix can be thought of as the link between the user and the computer, in the form of a set of programs. These programs allocate and manage the computer’s resources, with the shell translating commands from the user and converting them into terms that are understood by the “kernel” or OS, which is Unix.

The system also runs on commands and utilities, which initiate everyday tasks for the system and are usually delivered through third-party software. Its information and data are all organized into files, which are further organized into directories. This tree-like design is called the filesystem.

WC for Linux

linux

In Linux and Unix operating systems, the WC (word count) command is what’s used to determine the number of newline count, word count, bytes and characters in a file, as defined by the file arguments. Let’s break down these definitions a little bit, as they pertain to Linux and Unix:

  • Newline: a control character or a series of control characters in a character encoding setup such as ASCII or EBCDIC. Newline marks the end of a line of text and the beginning of a new one.
  • Byte: a sequence of a certain number of bits, which can be used as a unit of memory or storage. An eight-bit byte is used for instructions execution
  • Word : a “word” is considered to be any sequence of characters, followed by a white space.

Counts are always assembled in the following order: newline, word, character, byte, maximum line length. So, these are a few examples:

WC -1: Prints the number of lines in a file

WC – w: Prints the number of words in a file

WC – c: Displays the count of bytes in a given file

WC – m: Prints the count of characters in a file

WC – L: Prints only the length of the longest line in a file

WC In Use

WC logo

Obviously, WC is really handy when there are instances where you need to know characters, line counts, bytes, words or longest lines in a given file. So, let’s take a look at how it’s actually done.

A basic command could be:

$ wc/etc/passwd

65 185 3667/etc/passwd

In a case such as this, 65 is the lines count, 185 the word count and 3667 the characters count. Now, should you just need to know the number of lines in a given file, add the -1 argument:

$ wc -1 etc/passwd

         65/etc/passwd

Determining the number of words in a file, add the -w argument:

$ wc -w etc/passwd

          185 etc/passwd

Using Pipes in Linux WC Commands

Pipelines, in Unix and Linux systems, can be thought of as a series of processes that are linked by standard streams, with the output of one process fed directly as input to the next process. The shell syntax used for pipelines will list a series of commands, each separated by a vertical bar or “pipe,” in Unix/Linux verbiage. Pipes and pipelines are also used in other operating systems, such as Microsoft windows, DOS, OS/2 and BeOs.

WC as a command follows the process of reading input from STDIN and writing output to STD out. Thus, it can be used in Linux command pipelines, for instance:

Here’s a command that shows the number of people who are logged into your Linux system at any given time:

who | wc -1

In this instance, the output of the “who” command is piped into the input of the “wc” command, which, in this case, is being used to tabulate the number of lines in the output of the “who” command.  Along the same lines, this example shows how to use pipelines and WC to indicate the number of processes running on a Linux system at a given time:

ps -3 | wc -1

This is achieved the same way as the previous example. The “ps” command generates output, and the “wc” -1 command indicates the number of lines of output associated with that command. In other words, piping is a useful way to connect the streams and connections between programs and files, directing and redirecting data in accessible ways.

Redirecting From a File

Let’s look at this example:

[email protected]: wc -1 myoutput

8 myoutput

[email protected] 2c -1 ¸myoutput

8

[email protected]:

Many programs allow a user to access a file as a command line argument, and will then read and process the contents of that file. Using WC to supply the file you need as a command line argument, the output from that program displays the name of the file that’s being processed. The subtle difference in this example is that when we want to redirect contents of the file using wc, the file name isn’t printed since in an occasion where redirection or piping are used, data is sent anonymously. In this example, WC refers some content to process, but can’t print this information since there’s no specific knowledge of where it came from. This is a mechanism that can be used to get access to ancillary data, which isn’t printed.

Now, we combine two different forms of redirection into a single command, still using WC:

 

[email protected]: wc -1 < barry.txt > myoutput

[email protected] bash: cat myoutput

7

[email protected]:

Let’s Recap

So we’ve talked about how to use the WC command in Linux and Unix. Just to reiterate:

Wc -1 : prints the number of lines in a file

Wc -w: prints the number of words in a file

Wc -c: displays the count of the bytes in a file

Wc -m: prints the count of characters in a file

Wc – L: prints ONLY the length of the longest line in a file

 

To find more information and get help for the WC command, run “wc -help” or “man wc” from the command line. Remember that more than one file name is called for in argument, the command will show a four-columnar output that displays all individual files. There will be another extra row that displays all files specified in argument, including the total number of characters, lines and words, along with the keyword “total.”

The WC command can also be used to get a total of the number of rows or records in CSV files, when used along with pipes. Here’s an example with five CSV files and the objective of finding the sum of records across all five files. Here, we’ll pipe the output of the “cat” command to WC:

cat *.csv | wc -1

1866

Thus, there are 1866 records counted across all five files.

WC can also be used to get a total of folders and files in a directory, when combined with the ls command. It involves passing the -1 option to ls to count each folder or line, piped to WC to give a count:

ls -1 | wc -1

21

And we see a total of 21 folders and files in that directory.

Learning your way around Unix and Linux is a lot like learning a new language, and the WC command is just another part of the syntax that you’ll need to grasp to do well with Unix.

How You Can Use Rescutux To Save Your Linux or Windows System

Any operating system should have a rescue CD, DVD, USB or download that’s available, just in case the worst happens. Everyone knows that Windows and Linux systems can fail and crash so completely that there’s seemingly not much the user can do to resuscitate them.

That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, though.

Rescutux is a product from GNU/Linux that’s designed to bring an apparently-dead operating system back to life. It’s not exactly a “reinstall” CD, but more of a companion utility that is handy for when the unexpected happens.

It features an array of tools and works in live mode to cover a wide range of issues that crop up in Linux and even in Windows. While many of the tools for rescuing a “broken” OS can be daunting to use, Rescatux is pretty straightforward. Right away, it launches Rescapp, a window that can be used to address problems with a series of categorized icons and buttons.

Rescutux can be downloaded here.

From there, the best approach is to burn it onto a CD-ROM or USB, making sure that it’s burned as an image and NOT a file. When you insert the media, your machine should do Rescutux autodetect, by default. Press return – if you don’t press return, it should be autoselected anyway inside of 60 seconds time.

Getting Started with Rescutux

rescatux logo

The first step you’ll want to take on with Rescutux is a password reset. This is a solution that will work for XP, Vista or Windows 7. You’ll see a button on the main window that corresponds to this particular action – press it and you’ll see detailed instructions and prompts on how to do the reset.

When you’re ready, just press the “Run” button at the top of the window.

If the problem you’re having originates on your Linux partition, Rescutux can help that as well. Select the partition in the system that’s giving you problems, and then just select which user you want to designate and set a new password.

Booting USB Via Yumi

boot logo

Booting via YUMI by default will boot onto the machine’s first hard disk. When you see the YUMI MultiBoot USB screen, select Linux Distributions using the down arrow key, then the return key. From there, you should see Linux Distribution screens – again, use the down arrow key and return key to arrive at the Rescatux entry. You should then see the Rescutux ISOlinux screen.

Use this default entry: Live (amd64).

Should you see this message:

This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU, but only detected an i686 CPU. Unable to boot – please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU

Go ahead and repeat all these steps to be able to boot into your device, but select the Live (486) entry instead.

Grub Menu Issues

When a filesystem has errors, there are several things that can go wrong, sometimes unpredictably so. Sometimes Grub1 or Grub2 can’t locate its own files (which will show as Grub errors) or the kernels (which are “cannot find file” errors).

You may encounter situations where the kernel can be loaded, but the initrd stage can’t find the final device root filesystem. These are options to fix filesystem errors, even when a filesystem at least seems to be clean and OK.

Here are a couple of methods to rescue Grub, if you’re seeing a black screen with the message “Unknown Filesystem” and “Grub Rescue”:

  • Type IS and hit Enter
  • You’ll see several partitions that are in use on your PC, such as hd0,msdos1 or hd0,msdos2. Click on the partition where your Linux distro is installed.
  • You’ll be asked which is the Gnu/Linux partition on your machine. Select the Gnu/Linux distro partition and ignore the Loop1 partition,
  • If your distro is installed in the second option, enter this command: setprefix=(hd0,msdos1)/boot/grub. If you can’t remember or don’t know which partition, use this command with every option. You’ll see either an error message or you’ll be able to proceed.
  • Once you’ve found the drive, enter: insmod normal and then normal.
  • Your laptop should now reboot and take you to the desktop. Enter Ctrl+Alt+T and open terminal, then enter sudo update-grub followed by sudo grub-install/dev/sda. You might be asked for your password next – type it in, even though the password may remain invisible while you type it.
  • If Grub files are lost, the system will ask for a data connection in order to download them.

Now, here’s another method for recovering Grub:

  • Get a live USB stick and plug it in.
  • After booting up into the live desktop, open terminal.
  • Type /mnt and boot to /mnt/boot, then hit Enter to mount the root partition.
  • You should be able to replace /dev/sda with the correct partition at this point.
  • Type sudo update-grub to update Grub (this can take some time).

Now, if all else fails:

  • Get a Windows OS installation DVD – not a Windows XP or Windows Vista DVD.
  • Launch it in the PC or laptop and run the installer, either by going into boot order in the bootloader or just by pressing F12.
  • When the Windows files are loaded, you should see a dialog box with “Repair your Computer.” Select this button.
  • If prompted, in system recovery mode, select OS. Now enter the command bootrec/fixboot.
  • Quit setup and reboot the machine. At this point, Windows is restored, and Linux distro is present, but Grub has been overridden.

How to Set Partitions

You’ll find an “Expert Tools” section in the Rescutux window, with the “Gparted” tool residing in it. You can reconfigure the partitions the tool has detected this way.

Just right-click on the partition/disk that you will be reconfiguring, which will next display a set of options that includes format partition, resize, delete, etc.

Ordering Your Hard Disks

If your machine has more than one hard disk, you’ll be asked to select and order the hard disk, in boot order that parallels the BIOS boot order. This way, Grub knows if it’s booting from a secondary device or from the first device to boot.

  • Wait for Rescapp to finish. You may see a message while Rescapp is performing its assigned task, which can take some time. Be patient and wait until the process is finished.
  • You should see a message saying everything went OK, or “something went wrong.”
  • If you see a message that the procedure went wrong, click on the Chat button up at the top right corner of Rescapp and you can ask for help. You may be asked to share your logs via the Share Log button.
  • When engaging in Chat, remember that the wait times for replies may be fairly long. Rescatux is funded by donations, and the money for a well-staffed support just isn’t there. If you’re still having problems, you can ask someone knowledgeable by forum or mailing list.

How to Restore Files

There’s a command line tool that enables users to find any files that were accidentally deleted in a partition. This is one of the more esoteric features of Rescutux, but it can be executed through the “Expert Tools” using the button named “Photorec.”

You will see a partition where files were located – just select the filesystem type you want and press “c” to start the search for deleted files. Please note this only works on HDD partitions – any files located in SSD partitions cannot be rescued using the Photorec features.

Support Features for Rescatux

One of the unique features of Rescutux and its wizard is the suite of support features that are available.

  • Chat: Having trouble? You can go directly to a Rescutux channel and open the chat feature to ask for help directly.
  • Share log: Each option or procedure will have its action registry stored as a log which you can share in the chat for better help and a better handle on what’s going on. Better still, users can help identify, debug and fix any Rescutux bugs that are encountered, on the fly.
  • Share log on forum: There’s also a feature where you can copy and paste your logs into the forum of your choice. The logs are in forum post-alike text, complete with code symbols.
  • Boot info script: You can share your computer configuration and boot script by running Boot Info Script option.

Wrapping Up on Rescutux

Once everything is back up and running, you’ll see an on/of button at the right bottom corner of the Rescutux wizard. Click on it and you’ll see “Shut down” on the menu. The computer will then power off.

At this point, you should remove the Rescutux media so that the machine doesn’t boot Rescutux the next time you turn it on instead of your regular OS.

Tips On How To Use Setuid Within Linux, Difference Of Setuid And Setgid

For the average person who understands the basics of what cyber threats could be lurking around every corner of the web, digital security is very important.

It is so important that many programs and operating systems require special permission to run advanced commands. Even if a person isn’t familiar with the more complex aspects of data security and program execution, they likely know that some programs can have a bigger impact on their computer than others.

This type of security is just as important as virus protection, anti-malware software, and identity guarding tools. If folders and directories are accessible without proper permissions, it means unauthorized parties can access them. Even on a secure operating system designed to circumvent typical viruses and phishing, having proper permission protocols is paramount to security.

Take an operating system such as Linux – free, open source, and based on the Unix framework popular in many other systems, it is a constantly evolving and extremely useful option for anyone. Tech beginners or experts, casual users or professionals, everyone can appreciate a proper security protocol when it comes to file permissions.

Setuid is a term used to describe access rights flags for file permissions. Here we’ll go over how to use this process within the Linux operating system.

What is Setuid? Why is it Useful?

What is Setuid Why is it Useful

Setuid is one of those terms that’s a cross between a type of tech slang and an acronym. It translates to – “set user ID upon execution” or simply “set user ID” for short. The term means exactly what it says. It involves giving file permissions that allow users to run executable files and make changes to a directory or system.

Almost everyone has had the experience of having their operation system ask them if they want to allow a program to make changes to their system. This is a security measure, and also a type of safeguard for the program designer. If a program is required to access critical files and make changes, permission is vital – as improper installation or botched updates could potentially cause problems beyond just that directory.

Because of the way file permissions work, the option to allow for permission on executables is sometimes included as a standard option in file menus. In addition to seeing options like Open upon right-clicking a program shortcut, a person is also likely to see Run as Administrator. This is similar to setuid and shows the importance of permission protocols for even basic programs.

Setuid is useful because many tasks require higher levels of permissions. These tasks are also crucial to a variety of daily operations and applications handled in a standard workflow. The workflow could involve setting up a new machine, restoring a system, or even simply updating. But, regardless, the ability to give specific permissions lets users have more control over their own system – and helps them make sure unauthorized parties don’t gain control.

Consider a task like setting up a new login password or changing an existing one. This, via extension, affects every part of the system in some way. Therefore setting privileges on who may access these options is important for the owner of a device or system to ensure they can control any largescale or intensive changes that may occur.

The setuid file permission is only found in Unix and Unix-like systems such as Linux. When an executable file or program is set with setuid permissions, only users with an appropriate level of access can make changes. This makes it very useful for helping shared networks or shared devices remain stable and ensuring owners can control how their system changes no matter who uses it.

How to Set Up Setuid Permissions on Linux

When you’re using Linux, it pays to know how to set up a setuid permission step by step. But, before a user can do that, they need to know how to view the permission setup of a file. This is helpful in saving you time, as a file may already have certain authorization flags in place.

In order to view the setuid permission of a file, you’ll use the standard ls-l command. In the typical user-execute bit position, an existing setuid protocol will be displayed by the letter s. If the permission isn’t already in place, you’ll need to set it up yourself. To do this, you’ll use the chmod command along with u + s.

But what about for non-executable files? Does the same type of command produce a similar permission? The answer is no – simply because setuid is not applicable with non-executables. It will show up as an uppercase S and have no other noticeable impact on the program or its directory.

However, let’s say you carry out this command and the uppercase S appears in the file command. If you then change the file to be user-executable in nature by using u + x, you’ll notice the s turns lowercase, indicating an active setuid protocol is in effect.

Some programs may offer you the chance to change them from executable to non-executable. This is especially true if it is a custom program where the classification can be changed at the user’s discretion. Open-source systems like Linux are very popular for their high supply of community programs, many of which can be downloaded in both forms.

If you’re experimenting with different types of programs, and especially if you’re doing so on a shared computer or network, it’s wise to use setuid and make sure you have executable programs to do so. This extra precaution can help you save a lot of headache and give you more security – and you never know when you’ll need it.

The Difference Between Setuid and Setgid

While you may use setuid more often on Linux than other similar commands, it is helpful to understand these commands and how they relate. One of the most common terms associated with setuid is setgid.

Like setuid, this is also a cross between a slang term and an acronym. It means set group ID and allows you to assign permission for executables to certain groups. This is very useful in network settings where members of the same group may need similar permissions to access executable files.

Take for example an academic network where a professor gives all students their own user ID and password. This may give them unique access to their own account, but it can also give the professor a way to monitor all accounts collectively. The professor could then give each account permission to make changes to the hub they were using – which could include uploading assignments, accessing study guides, etc.

The same could also be said for workplaces. An employer could give all employees access to a hub for training, task completion, and communication purposes. The entire group could be given permission to make changes, or the permissions could be split among supervisors and entry-level workers.

Setuid commands can be used for similar situations, but it goes to show how the common permission protocols often used across most mainstream operating systems also exist in Linux and other Unix systems. It’s just a matter of understanding how they can be applied and what functions they’re used for.

Setuid and setgid protocols can also be useful for organizing files within directories. Applying one of these protocols to a single directory causes each file and subdirectory developed within it to inherit the same group ID. However, users can create files elsewhere and move them to the affected directory without having them be impacted by the protocols – it’s great for flexibility purposes and can make networking with multiple parties of various permission levels much easier.

While setuid protocols are very useful for heightening security, they can have the opposite effect if applied incorrectly. For example, shell scripts and other fundamental types of protocols can influence nearly everything else within the system. For this reason, setuid commands are sometimes ignored if they’re applied to these systems.

Permissions Matter, Even in Open-Source Systems

Permissions Matter, Even in Open-Source Systems

One of the main reasons people choose Unix-based operating systems over their closed-source counterparts is the protection. The adaptable nature of systems like Linux means it is extremely hard, though not impossible, for traditional malicious software to harm them.

It is true that using these systems can help improve safety. But no matter how robust an operating system and how safe it is from malicious software; human users can still sometimes gain unauthorized access. Whether it’s a complete stranger who is trying to access a system remotely or a peer who has access to certain parts of the system, it is important to make sure the owner controls who can access what.

Basic protocols like setuid prove Linux offers the same conveniences as systems like Windows, only they’re applied in a different way. Users can keep their systems, directories, and critical folders safe, while ensuring important executable programs don’t make any changes without said changes being authorized.

Linux users have a lot of tools at their disposal, and the setuid command is one of the best for ensuring executable programs and network sharing can be done safely.

What is Fuser & Is it Worth My Time? – Everything you Need To Know

Fuser is a command line utility for the UNIX and LINUX computer operating systems. For many system administrators and other users, Fuser is an invaluable utility because of the control it offers to its users, along with its versatility. There are many different reasons to use Fuser and all of them are worth your time, both as a LINUX and UNIX user and as a system administrator.

The History Of LINUX

The History Of LINUX

First of all, LINUX and UNIX should be explained for neophyte computer users. UNIX and LINUX are related and share some command and utilities(such as Fuser). UNIX came first in 1970 and is a complete operating system. It was originally developed by AT&T and was loaned out to other companies, such as Apple for its Macintosh computers. Unlike LINUX, companies that wish to use UNIX in their products must pay a fee, which can be substantial.

Meanwhile, LINUX is an open source kernel that is based on UNIX, but is considered to be separate in most respects. This means no one company owns LINUX, unlike Windows or DOS, for example. Any individual who wants to add to or modify LINUX may do so without paying a fee or being an employee of a corporation. This flexibility allows for innovations that might be impossible on a closed platform. Although LINUX is open-source, certain companies(such as Valve) still support it. Even though these companies don’t own the OS, they can use it like everyone else does. LINUX isn’t a full operating system yet, but it is very close to being a full OS, and can be used as one in a variety of ways.

How is UNIX different from Windows or Mac OS?

How is UNIX different from Windows or Mac OS

So Fuser is a command-line utility for both UNIX and LINUX. That explains a lot, but if you don’t know what a command line is, these words can still be confusing. With a command line operating system such as UNIX and LINUX, all commands for the operating system must be typed into the computer. An excellent example of a command line OS is MS-DOS. MS-DOS requires the user to type every command. To see a list of files, the user must type “dir”. In order to see a sorted list of files, the user must type in something like “dir /p”. The “/p” portion of the command is known as the parameter, and helps to specify the command that you’re typing into the computer. All computers used to work this way before mouse-based interfaces came into fashion.

But wait a second. There are other operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X that don’t require any typing at all, and are mouse-based. Are those related to these command-line operating systems? The simple answer to that question is yes. Windows and Mac OS X actually create a “shell” of sorts that basically translates the mouse movements you are making into commands on the command line! The command line is even visible in certain instances while you work in Windows or Mac OS X. For example, when you open the “Terminal” window in Mac OS X, you can actually see the UNIX command line and work with it! So most computers still run on a command line, even if computer companies spend a lot of time and energy to make it seem as if that’s not the case.

While most users are content working with their mice in an environment set up by computer manufacturers, some users prefer the control of a command line interface. UNIX is one of the most popular operating systems with this type of interface. Now that we understand what UNIX and LINUX are, we can more fully appreciate what Fuser is and the functionality it gives a knowledgeable user.

What is Fuser and How Does it Work?

What is Fuser and How Does it Work?

With Fuser, you can examine a computer file, see what processes(or running programs) are using the computer file in some way, and actually stop active processes from using a particular file! This ability gives users control over what a program is doing, while the program is working. It’s an exceptional ability to have and is well-worth your time to learn.

To use Fuser, first type the word “Fuser .” into the command line and press enter/return. Please note the period—it is important and tells the computer which directory to examine. The computer will return a series of numbers followed by a letter. According to Tecmint.com, the series of numbers is a PID, or process identification number, which is assigned to each process by the computer as the process is running. The letter that follows the PID is a code that tells the user what file is being executed(running) and which directory the file is in. For example, the letter “e” means that you are looking at an executable file that currently is running. Meanwhile, the letter “c” means that the process is happening to a file in the current directory. This information can be a big help in seeing exactly what’s going on in a network at the moment.

That’s great, but what if you need more information, or you don’t have access to a code key? Well, that isn’t a problem. Simply type “Fuser -v” and a verbose version of the information comes on screen. Fuser shows the name of the current directory, columns of the process owner (USER), the access type (ACCESS) and the command (COMMAND) along with the PID(PROCESS ID) again. This will give you a lot more information to track down exactly what’s going on inside your network. Just identifying the process owner alone could come in very handy. If, for instance, a user on your network inadvertently set up a an endless loop without realizing it, you as the administrator could easily use Fuser to identify the process along with the person responsible. Again, this ability allows a system to be much easier to maintain.

If all Fuser could do was to identify running processes and users, it still would be handy. But Fuser can do far more. As stated above, Fuser can actually stop processes from running. In order to kill all processes affecting a directory, for example, you can type “. Sudo fuser -k”, and then type enter/return. Sudo is a UNIX and LINUX program that grants you administrative access to a UNIX system. It originally stood for “superuser do”. We have already gone over “fuser” and the “-k” parameter stands for “kill”. This command will kill all processes occurring in a particular directory.

Suppose you just want to kill one or two processes? When that happens, simply type in “. Sudo fuser -k -i”. The “-i” parameter stands for “interactive”. When the command is received by the computer, it will ask you if you wish to kill each process, which will be referred to by its PID. It really is that easy and is useful in a number of situations. Take, for example, debugging. If you are aware of which directories/files a program is meant to access, and it keeps crashing, you can use Fuser to check and see if the program is accessing files that it shouldn’t be and whether or not that’s causing the crash.

Real World Examples of How Fuser Can Help With A Problem

man stretching while on work

Another example that is encountered often, in reality, is when a user comes across a file that she may want to delete (because it’s bugged, for example), but a number of processes are using that file, possibly hanging and slowing down the entire system. In that instance, with Fuser, you can just kill every process that is accessing that file and then easily delete it. Without Fuser or another way to stop processes, that file would be difficult to get rid of.

Another instance in which Fuser could come in handy is when you are working on TCP/IP sockets. Fuser can monitor all processes using those sockets by simply typing in “. Fuser n socket name”. So, you can see which programs (processes) are using the Internet at any time, simply by typing in an instruction, and you can stop any unusual or excessive internet traffic. Mobile drives, such as USB drives, can also be monitored this way by typing in the “-m” parameter. Not only is this ability useful for monitoring regular internet traffic, it is also useful for monitoring spyware and virus activity, although admittedly these are uncommon on the UNIX/LINUX platform.

To recap, Fuser is a UNIX and LINUX command line utility that allows you to monitor processes affecting files, as well as network traffic. It also allows you to stop those processes at anytime, simply by typing a command. This way, you, as a system administrator, can accomplish many goals more efficiently, including resource allocation.

Even better, according to digitalocean.com, Fuser allows you to monitor TCP/IP traffic as well, and even allows the same command over mobile drives, such as USB thumbsticks. Fuser is also relatively easy to learn and is available to every computer using LINUX and UNIX. In short, Fuser is a powerful command, and definitely is worth your time to learn.

Linux vs. Ubuntu: Learn the Primary Differences

 Looking for a new OS and trying to decide between Linux and Ubuntu? We break down the (surprising!) histories of these two Linux distros and explain pros and cons to both. Plus, we wade into the security concerns over Linux Mint; should you avoid it? We help you answer that question once and for all. 

If you’re even the tiniest bit tech savvy, you’ll know there’s a vast difference between Windows and Mac operating systems. What you might not realize, however, is that there is a whole world of available operating systems that have nothing to do with either Windows or Mac!

Most of the time, beginners are pointed towards Linux Mint or Ubuntu. Both of these operating systems are excellent choices for people just starting out, but they vary in some important ways. In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into all things Linux and Ubuntu to help you understand the differences, and decide where you should start.

What Is an Operating System?

To best understand Mint and Ubuntu, we should first clearly understand what is meant by the term “operating system.” An operating system is a software that manages software resources and computer hardware. It allows one computer program, for example, to be used by a wide variety of computers (including phones!).

We’ve already touched on how popular Microsoft Windows and the macOS from Apple are. Together, they account for more than 84% of the market, with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS accounting for 99% percent of the smartphone and tablet market.

Linux, however, is a distant (but important) third, with just over one and a half percent of the computer market. More importantly, Linux dominates when it comes to servers and supercomputers.

Computer Operating Systems
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Open Source Software

Linux is an example of open-source software. It is distributed in source code form and built and created by different entities and people. It doesn’t come as a complete package, either, the way Windows or your macOS will.

Instead, different organizations work on the following disparate parts:

  • The GNU shell utilities (this provides the commands we use as well as the terminal interface)
  • The kernel (which, for Linux, is the core of the entering OS)
  • The desktop environment (provides a graphical desktop by running on the X server, explained below)
  • The X server (works to support the desktop environment)

While you can nab each of the separate parts and combine them, this is extremely time-consuming and quite difficult. Plus, it’s a ton of work! That’s where Linux distributions (often called distros) come in. They take all those open-source project codes and combine them into a single OS.

With a distro such as Linux Mint or Ubuntu, you can simply boot up your computer and install. Plus, distros add special touches, such as themes. That’s the magic of a distro, and that’s why Mint and Ubuntu are often recommended to beginners.

Computer Open Source Software
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Variations Among Distros

Distros vary according to their purpose. Some are designed to be used by servers (and therefore don’t have a graphical interface) while others are designed for special purposes, like the PC you use for your home theater.

Linux distros serve a wide variety of purposes and come in an even wider variety of forms. Some include only open-source software (Fedora is one such distro) but others, such as Mint, include closed-source software so that users have a better experience.

The default desktop environments from one distro to another also vary rather dramatically. Unity, for example, comes with Ubuntu, while you can get Cinnamon or MATE with your Mint. Fedora, another distro that’s commonly compared to Mint and Ubuntu, comes with GNOME Shell.

Computer Open Source Software
Photo credit to Open Source Initiative

Try it Out

As you explore the differences between Ubuntu and Mint, keep in mind that the decisions are fiercely personal. Both distros are excellent choices for PCs, but the best way to know which you prefer is to try them out yourself. Fortunately, it’s easy to do so.

All you have to do is download them and either burn a DVD that’s bootable or create a USB drive that’s bootable. Next, restart your computer, booting from your DVD or USB drive, and you can use your new Linux distro in live mode.

Some newer computers require you to disable secure boot first, but this is easily done. If you like your Linux distro, you can then install it directly from the live environment (which will not, coincidentally, mess with your existing system).

Why Ubuntu?

Now that you know what an OS, a distro, and Linux are, let’s talk about Ubuntu, specifically. Ubuntu is a Linux distro based on another Linux distro, Debian. It’s offered in three packages: Ubuntu Desktop for PCs, Ubuntu Server (for, cough, servers), and Ubuntu Core for IOS (internet of things) devices.

Debian itself has been around since 1993, more than a quarter of a century! New versions of Debian are still being released, but the original point of Ubuntu was to take the stable, respectable Debian and make it faster and more user-friendly.

Ubuntu’s name comes from the South Africa philosophy of human-ness and is produced by Canonical, a privately held software firm created by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. Canonical uses a meritocratic governance model to provide commercial services for Ubuntu-related products.

This means the company can create new releases every six months, as well as provide support. Ubuntu has become the most popular choice for cloud OS.

Ubuntu Operating System
Photo credit to Fossbytes

Unity for All

Ubuntu users receive the Unity desktop as a default, those with minimal effort you can install and use a variety of other desktop environments (Ubuntu maintains a robust library plus there are third parties that create personal packages, known as PPA).

It is the Unity desktop, in fact, that will remind Mac users of what they’re used to, with working windows and a left-hand application launcher. Unity utilizes windows and global windows in a similar fashion to Windows and comes with Firefox.

Why Mint?

We have a bit of a surprise twist for you. Mint, as it turns out, is based on Ubuntu! While the two distros have both come far enough that they’re quite different now, they were originally very similar. Mint’s first Ubuntu system was called Barbara and was released in 2006.

It was only lightly customized, with software that was slightly different from the original. In fact, the main difference was that it included Flash, Java, and other proprietary software and multimedia codecs. Users loved Mint’s convenience, often more than they loved Ubuntu’s idealistic setup.

Mint is now its own entity, with a customized desktop, main menu, and configuration tools and unlike Ubuntu, it is community-driven (with Clément Lefèbvre as the brainchild behind the thing).

Instead of Unity, Mint users can enjoy Cinnamon or MATE desktops, though they do have to be content with less consistent software updates (this had led to some security concerns, which we’ll explain below).

Mint is often recommended for computer users who desire more traditional desktop experiences; Cinnamon and MATE both have complete taskbars with window lists, pop up app menus, and so forth.

Mint Ubuntu Operating System
Photo credit to OMG! Ubuntu!

Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu

Some of the differences between Mint and Ubuntu are fairly obvious at this point: Mint has the more traditional desktop setup (here’s a fun wrinkle: you can install Cinnamon on Ubuntu!), while Ubuntu has more long-term support and an established schedule of updates.

Mint used to be preferable for people who didn’t want to install media add-ons later, but Ubuntu has made that process so easy that it’s not an issue anymore. The fact is that Ubuntu may well be the more popular distro of the two, which means a lot if you’re just beginning.

The fact that you’ll see tons of community support available for your Ubuntu means a lot when you hit a snag or major issue. On the other hand, the consensus is that Mint offers better configuration. One example is that you’ll see a whole setting application for the Cinnamon desktop, whereas you’ll only see a few options with Ubuntu’s Unity.

Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu
Photo credit to YouTube

Secure?

A Canonical employee who worked on Ubuntu made waves years ago when he alleged that, because Mint blocks certain security updates, he wouldn’t do his personal online banking via a Linux Mint PC. Debates hammered out the arguments across internet forums, but it left many of us wondering–is Mint secure?

The bottom line for most is that most home desktop users will probably not be compromised. Ubuntu, as it turns out, updates everything by default, shoring up vulnerabilities even if they’re not likely to be breached. Mint, on the other hand, excludes the updates that might cause problems.

Ultimately, it’s up to the user to decide which he or she is more comfortable with!

Ubuntu and Linux Mint are both excellent distros for beginners or people who just want a good OS for a new or existing computer. Do you agree with our break down? Which will you choose? Let us know in the comments!