Linux: The 10 best privacy and security distributions

Also in today’s open source roundup: elementary OS as an alternative to macOS, and DistroWatch reviews Subgraph OS 2016.12.30 Alpha

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The 10 best privacy and security distributions

Privacy has become an important issue for many users as corporations and governments stop at nothing to gather personal information. But Linux users do have some choices when it comes to distributions that help protect their privacy and security.

Nate Drake reports for TechRadar:

The awesome operating system Linux is free and open source. As such, there are thousands of different ‘flavours’ available – and some types of Linux such as Ubuntu are generic and meant for many different uses.

But security-conscious users will be pleased to know that there are also a number of Linux distributions (distros) specifically designed for privacy. They can help to keep your data safe through encryption and operating in a ‘live’ mode where no data is written to your hard drive in use.

Other distros focus on penetration testing (pen-testing) – these come with tools actually used by hackers which you can use to test your network’s security. In this article, we’re going to highlight 10 of the best offerings when it comes to both privacy and security.

1. Qubes OS

2. Tails

3. BlackArch Linux

4. Kali

5. IprediaOS

6. Whonix

7. Discreete Linux

8. Parrot Security OS

9. Subgraph OS

10. TENS

More at TechRadar

elementary OS as an alternative to macOS

Apple has gotten a lot of criticism recently for not updating its Mac hardware line, and some Mac users have had enough. These folks are trying to make the jump from macOS to a new operating system.

A writer at Bit Cannon recently wrote two articles designed to help users move from macOS to a different operating system. Part 1 of the series examined the options available and part 2 (which I’ve excerpted below) focuses on using elementary OS as a replacement for macOS.

There’s also a video version of the post below that’s worth checking out, and a follow up discussion on Reddit.

Wesley Moore writes for Bit Cannon:

I’m going to continue using Arch at work and home. I’ll also keep an eye on, and continue to support elementary. I think the elementary team is definitely on the right track but they probably need to give some thought to the base it’s built upon. A Long Term Support (LTS) release makes sense for servers but for a desktop I think it’s the wrong choice.

The next frontier is Linux on my MacBook. I think that will be more of a test, particularly with hardware support (especially WiFi and trackpad).

This experiment has consumed days of my time at this point and the result is not in any way as polished as macOS. For the type of work I do and how I like to do it, it is still a productive environment though. Plus there is the added benefit of access to much more up-to-date, varied hardware than Apple is offering at the moment.

I may still have the shine of novelty attached to my experience so far. Time will tell if that fades and it becomes frustrating or remains a productive environment. I’ll continue to attempt to shift my computing needs to Arch. As always I’ll be posting as I go.

More at Bit Cannon

DistroWatch reviews Subgraph OS 2016.12.30 Alpha

Speaking of security, a writer at DistroWatch has an interesting review of Subgraph OS 2016.12.30 Alpha. Subgraph is a Debian-based distribution that offers enhanced privacy and security features.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

Another Linux distribution which tries to protect the user and their files is Subgraph OS. The Subgraph distribution is based on Debian and includes several security features to keep the operating system locked down and our on-line browsing anonymous.

The Subgraph distribution is still in an alpha state and I think it is worth keeping that in mind when attempting to evaluate the project's usefulness. The distribution has a few rough edges, for example the OnionShare service did not work for me. I also had trouble running the distribution in a VirtualBox environment. However, apart from those issues, Subgraph worked well for me. The distribution played well with my laptop's hardware and the Tor network and web browser worked for me.

I think Subgraph ships with several interesting features that people will find useful. The application level firewall worked really well for me and I liked that I was able to allow or block outgoing connections as they happened. This dynamic, user friendly approach to managing the firewall was easy to use and I think it will appeal to people coming from a Windows background especially. I also liked the way Enigmail is integrated with Icedove and the extra functions built into the file manager.

I think what impressed me most about using Subgraph was that, apart from the reduced network performance, using the distribution was much the same as using mainstream Linux distributions which ship with the GNOME desktop. Running Subgraph feels approximately the same as using Debian or Fedora in the way things are arranged. The performance and ease of use are fairly similar too. Often times security-focused distributions are more difficult to use or put up barriers the user needs to work with or around. With Subgraph there are few hurdles, but some nicely integrated security features I think privacy-minded people will enjoy.

More at DistroWatch

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