Computing > Programming

DOS vs. Linux

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I learned DOS way back before Windows and picked up on it quickly. Today I find it's still easy to navigate and remember commands. I've also used Linux (or Unix?), however, I find it's extremely confusing.

Linux seems like so many hidden commands. Recently I used DD to image a drive, and it took a very long time to figure out if my drive was connected, which one it was, and kept having command errors.

Also, I find things like updating and/or installing packages to be confusing. Anytime I want to do something, it seems I need to install a package in which case I find the steps online. Once I execute the commands, I never understand what I've done, but know it works.

My feeling and understanding is that Linux is much more powerful than DOS, but I find myself confused over what commands exist, what they do, and of course, things like apt-update....xxxx

Where do the apt-updates come from, and how do I know if I'm installing a virus?

Perhaps it's time to take a short course to straighten out some likely misconceptions.  I am not an expert but when you run into this sort of difficulty it's probably because your understanding is too limited.

Linux is FAR more powerful than DOS. This should be obvious when you consider that Linux is a clone of Unix which was what ran on large mainframes in the era when DOS was released for the far less powerful desktop PC. Since Windows really took over when DirectX for Windows 95 started to allow gaming on Windows the development of DOS pretty much froze and it does pretty much what it did in the 80s. In the meantime PCs and other devices have become so powerful that running a full Unix-like multiuser OS is no problem.

I cut my teeth on DOS and used it for many years, well into the Windows era but over the last 5 years or so I've done more and more on Linux and now when I use the command prompt on my Win7 laptop I really miss all the stuff I can do from a Linux terminal.

Apt updates come from repositories that are stored in a text file /etc/apt/sources.list, the default repositories are vetted and safe, although you should exercise caution when adding random repositories you find. That said, viruses in open source software are very rare because being open source it would not take long for someone to find it.

I second the recommendation to read a book or take a course, depending on what works well for you. There are a number of Linux courses on Udemy, and almost all of their courses go on sale frequently for $10-$15 so never pay the inflated full price. Lots of tutorials online too, and random youtube videos, do whatever works for you.

APT specifically installs things from a repository. There is a limited list of people that maintain packages and it is not that easy to sneak in a totally malicious program.

But some programs are legitimately destructive by their nature. Formatting a drive is what drive formatting utility does. This is destructive, but you know ahead of time what you are installing.

It would be virtually impossible to put something virus-like into the repository.

Things get different when you download some random *.dpkg package, as a lot of commercial software is distributed. Then all bets are off, it can be anything and you have to trust the publisher. This is no different when you download a random *.exe installer on windows.

And it is better to understand what the commands do. Some advice you will find on sites like StackOverflow is just bad. Generally you want to find out what package contains the program you need and install it yourself using apt-get. 




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