If you want to start and run an online business, you need at least one secure computer you can use to go online and make changes and additions to your business website and to hold your business data and documents. Sadly, all most people were taught to use when they went to school were Windows computers. Microsoft created an open back door to its operating system way back in 1998 by placing its web browser inside the core of its operating system (meaning the Microsoft web browser can not be removed). Any computer with back doors is not a secure computer. Using a Windows computer can therefore leave your business data and website wide open to hacking. In this article, we will explain why we need to switch from Windows to Linux.
Kicking the Microsoft Addiction
In 1998, Bill Gates, one of the billionaires behind the Great Reset, explained that his plan was to get people addicted to Windows. Much like Drug Companies and Drug pushers get people addicted to drugs, Bill knew that once people were addicted to Windows, it would be hard for them to break this habit – no matter how toxic it was or how much it costs.
Our goal is to help people kick the Windows addiction. Here are four important reasons to finally kick this extremely toxic habit.
#1 Windows Ransomware
Every Windows computer that goes online is subject to hacker attacks and Windows Ransomware. There is no way to protect a Windows computer. Every year, Ransomware attacks become more common – costing businesses and organizations billions of dollars.
#2 Microsoft Price Increases
Despite making record profits, On August 16, 2021, Microsoft announced that they will increase the monthly charge to rent their software beginning in 2022. The annual charge on the complete version of Office 365 will increase to over $400 per year.
#3 Windows 11 and the Great Computer Reset
Microsoft will officially release Windows 11 on October 5, 2021 -marking the beginning of the end of Windows 10. It will also be the beginning of the end for near any computer that is less than one year old as Microsoft announced that Windows 11 will only support Intel 8th Gen processors. Soon, over 90% of the computers in the world will have to be replaced! You will see a warning like this on your computer:
What Microsoft is forcing us to do is spend a thousand dollars or more buying new computers. Thankfully, there is another option. You can start ending your Microsoft Addiction today and gain your computer freedom by learning how to convert your current computer to a Linux computer.
#4 Linux is Free and so is Libre Office
Almost any existing computer can be converted to a Linux computer. Nearly all Windows programs have free Linux alternatives. And Libre Office can open and edit any MS Office document or file. So your choice is simple. Either spend thousands of dollars on a new computer and Windows price increases – and still be subjected to Windows Ransomware – or take the time to end your Windows addiction by learning how to use Linux. Hopefully, you have already decided that it is time to get your freedom back.
Homework Assignment #1: Learn Why You Should Use Linux for your Web Development Test Environment
For more on the problems of UEFI and Windows computers, see the following article: https://learnlinuxandlibreoffice.org/news/the-fight-for-a-secure-linux-bios
For information on how ransomware uses Windows back doors to destroy businesses, see this article: https://learnlinuxandlibreoffice.org/news/hidden-dangers-of-ryuk-ransomware
And if you want the full story on why you want to learn Linux, I have written a free 400 page book that explains the security problems of Windows computers. You can download and read this book at this link: https://freeyourselffrommicrosoftandthensa.org/
Here are a couple of additional videos I have done about problems with the security of Windows computers and the benefits of switching to Linux: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJIxIe_LZn4
Hopefully after reading some of these articles and watching some of these videos, you will have a clearer understanding of the need to learn Linux if you want to build and or run your own business website.
Why we recommend the Debian version of Linux
The next question is which version of Linux you should invest your time in learning. There are many versions of the Linux operating system. Among the most popular are Ubuntu, Mint and Debian. Sadly, Ubuntu has moved towards the spyware data mining business model pioneered by Microsoft.
In 2012, Ubuntu made a deal with Amazon where Ubuntu collects data on user activity and forwards it to Amazon. Many Ubuntu users are now bombarded by ads from Amazon after using the Ubuntu Search Box (which is now linked to Amazon).
2021 Ubuntu goes even further to the dark side
More recently, Ubuntu has gone even more to the dark side by employing many of the same spying tactics used by Microsoft. Ubuntu has been working directly with Microsoft in a data mining joint effort. Microsoft is already using and promoting the Ubuntu operating system on their Azure Server farm in Quincy Washington. They have also been changing the code base of the Windows operating system to make it more compatible to Ubuntu. To make matters worse, in February 2021, after a person created a new Ubuntu Virtual Private Server on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, they learned that there private information was shared by Microsoft with Ubuntu – and that anyone setting up any Ubuntu server anywhere had their private information sent to Ubuntu.
These latest actions have made it clear that Ubuntu can no longer be trusted to provide business owners with a secure operating system. This shocking level of data mining has sent many business owners searching for a more private and secure server option for running their online business databases.
The Ubuntu sell out to Microsoft is happening right after another Linux distribution called Red Hat sold out to IBM for $40 billion. This leaves Debian as the old major Linux distribution still controlled by a community of users rather than by a major corporation.
The problems with Linux Mint is that it is based on Ubuntu. And recently, the Linux Mint team announced that they would use the Google Frankenstein version of the Firefox browser rather than the more secure Debian version of the Firefox browser. This leaves the Debian operating system as the most secure option.
Why Linux Debian is the best choice for Windows Converts
Linux Debian is not owned by any corporation. Instead, it is a non-profit foundation controlled by a community of computer users who want to help develop and improve their own operating system. Anyone is welcome to join this group and even run for their Board of Directors. But Debian will never be sold to a corporation because it is actually just a group of people.
As Ubuntu moves closer to Windows, to the point where Ubuntu can no longer be trusted or considered secure, those who want a more secure Linux operating system should think carefully about the option they want to invest their time in learning and supporting. While there are more than 100 Linux operating systems, most of them are not very beginner friendly – especially for those wanting to make the jump from Windows to Linux. In my opinion, the most versatile option is Debian. If you eventually want to host your own websites on your own virtual private server, you will want to use Debian for that VPS. But there are still dozens of Linux operating systems based on Debian. Even Ubuntu is based on Debian.
Debian Desktop Options
A Desktop Environment is the friendly face of your operating system. It is what you see when you turn on your computer. It includes the desktop background image and the task bar at the bottom of your desktop screen. A desktop is also called a Graphical User Interface or GUI. Windows and Apple only come with one desktop option. But Linux Debian supports several Desktop options.
The problem with Debian is that the "Desktop" Debian normally comes with, called Gnome 3, is not very user friendly. Thankfully, there is an easy way to install the Cinnamon Desktop instead of the Gnome Desktop. The Cinnamon Desktop is ideal for people moving from Windows to Linux because it works and acts in a manner similar to Windows 7 (and more recent versions of Windows 10).
In my experience, the easiest Desktop Environment for Windows converts is called Cinnamon, which looks and acts much like the Windows 7 desktop. But there are still two major options that both use the Debian operating system combined with the Cinnamon Desktop. These are Linux Mint Debian Edition (aka LMDE) and Linux Debian with the Cinnamon Desktop (aka LD with Cinnamon). Therefore, we will compare Linux Mint Debian Edition aka LMDE to Linux Debian with the Cinnamon Desktop aka LDCD. Both use the Debian operating system and both use the Cinnamon Desktop.
Linux Mint Debian Edition versus Linux Debian with Cinnamon
While these two options appear to be very similar, there are a few important differences that are worth considering.
1 Installing New Programs
Both LMDE and LDCD now come with a graphical Software Manager. Both have an easy graphical interface for installing new programs with the click of a button. Debian also has many programs that can be installed with the click of a button using what are called Deb Files. LMDE also can install these same programs. Finally, both LMDE and Debian can install programs that are “App Images.” All three installation processes can be learned in a matter of minutes.
2 Cleaning and Reflashing USB Drives
LMDE comes with both a USB Reformatter and a USB Image Writer. These need to be installed separately on Debian with Cinnamon.
3 Web Browser Privacy
In 2022, Linux Mint announced that they would use the Google version of the Firefox browser (as does Ubuntu). Google pays Firefox about $500 million a year to send their users data to Google. Debian comes with a more secure version of Firefox that does not send your data to Google.
4 Ability to Run a Server
LMDE does not come with a server option. By contrast, Debian is the most secure server option in the world. Debian works with the free open source Hestia Server Control Panel. So if you eventually want to set up your own virtual private server in order to use Hestia to host your own websites, then you really should learn how to use Debian.
5 Installer Tools
The biggest drawback of LMDE is that its installer is not as good as the Debian Installer. While either installer works well for reflashing a desktop or laptop computer, the LMDE installer does not work well for installing the LMDE operating system on a USB Computer on a Stick.
Which Debian Installer should you use?
Two of the criticisms of Debian is that they offer too many choices of installers and their traditional installer process is too complex. An installer is an ISO program placed on a USB stick and used to install one of the many versions of the Debian operating system on a laptop, a USB "computer on a stick" or a server.
To address the complaint that their traditional installer was too complex, recently Debian added a simplified installer, called Calamares. But Calamares only works on some computers. It does not work well on either a USB "computer on a stick" or on a server. So Debian still offers many versions of their traditional installer. All of these Debian installation options can seem very confusing for beginners. Here we will describe the three versions of Debian installers we recommend and what they are best used for.
Three Different Debian Installers for Three Different Purposes
We recommend using the simple Calamares installer for reflashing an existing laptop. But because it does not work to create a computer on a stick, we recommend a full version of the traditional installer for creating a computer on a stick. Both the Calamares installer and the traditional installer come with the Cinnamon desktop. But since the Debian server we recommend uses the Hestia control panel, it does not need or use any Desktop. Therefore we recommend downloading the Debian NET ISO to install Debian on a virtual private server. Here is more about each of these three installer options.
Option 1 Simple Calamares Installer for Laptops
In the next article, we will describe how to reflash an existing laptop with the Debian operating system. Because this is a relatively simple process, we recommend using the simple Calamares Installer. The Calamares ISO is also called a LIVE ISO. This means you can practice using Debian before you install it. Also, you can open up your old Windows hard drive before you reflash it and copy any needed documents and programs to a USB or external drive before reflashing it from Windows to Debian.
Even the Calamares installer comes in many versions. We recommend the Calamares Installer with the Cinnamon Desktop. Go to this page to download the 64 bit version of Linux Debian Cinnamon ISO file with non-free software (the non-free software may be needed to install WIFI and Printer drivers on your computer).
Scroll down the screen to the Debian live 11 amd64 cinnamon plus non-free iso option. It will be about 3 GB. In the next article, we will explain how to use this ISO file to create a USB LIVE stick used to reflash laptops from Windows to Linux.
Option 2 Traditional Full Installer for a Computer on a stick
While we use the simple Debian Calamares installer ISO to install Debian on a laptop, the simple Calamares installer can not install Debian to create a computer on a stick. Therefore, we need to use the traditional version of the Debian installer ISO to create a FULL LIVE USB which we will then use to create our computer on a stick. FULL means it is the traditional Debian installer and LIVE means you can practice using Debian before you install it.
As with the Calamares installer, there are many different desktop versions of the FULL LIVE ISO. To download the FULL LIVE ISO, go to this CURRENT page to download the 64 bit version of Linux Debian Cinnamon ISO file with non-free software (the non-free software may be needed to install WIFI and Printer drivers).
Select the option at the bottom of the page which is firmware-11.2.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso with a size of 3.7 GB. Alternately, you can go to this page which is a specific page for the same iso. Scroll down the screen to the Debian live 11 amd64 cinnamon plus non-free iso option. Then click on it to download it. It will be about 3 GB.
Option 3 NET ISO Installer for a Debian VPS
The best version of Debian to install on a server is called the NET ISO file. It is also called a SMALL INSTALLATION IMAGE because it is only one tenth the size of either of the full installers. (400 MB versus 4 GB). It is called a NET installer because it requires access to the Internet in order to finish the installation of Debian on a Server. We will use this version to install Debian 11 on a virtual private server. Here is the link to the Download page for this option:
There are many options on this page. Look in the upper left corner of the page to see this section:
Click on the tiny blue text 64-bit PC netinst.iso link as shown in the image above. We use the DEBIAN NET ISO to install Debian on a practice virtual machine as described in this course.
However, when you get a real VPS from Canhost you just click the Debian 11 button when purchasing your VPS and Canhost will install the Debian 11 Net ISO on the real server for you. Canhost will then send you an email letting your know that your VPS is ready. So all you need to do is log into your VPS with SSH and then install Midnight Commander to bring up a graphical interface for the VPS and you are ready to start the Hestia Control Panel installation steps we will describe in a later article.
This completes our summary of why we should replace Windows with Debian. In the next chapter, we will review hardware options for creating a secure Linux Debian laptop.