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Posts Tagged ‘Con Kolivas

Extra! Extra! Aegis 2.0 Is Here To Save The Day!

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Dual-booters among my brethren will be very happy to hear about a new dawg in the neighborhood. Dual-booters, in this case refers to people booting Windows as well as Linux. Typically these users will access potentially virus infested files from Windows in their day to day lives and in this process might hurt other users using Windows as their sole operating system without even knowing it (Why? Because, Linux for the most part isn’t a major target by viruses and is a lot more seure). This could happen in a variety of ways, from sending an infected attachment by email to lending a friend a corrupted CD. To my knowledge, until now most virus scanners running on Linux aren’t real-time/resident scanners, meaning that they only scan files when you ask them to – on demand. Newer versions of AVG for Linux, etc. provide a resident-scanning function with a prerequisite that you install the Dazuko module. As I recently learned what modularity in the computer world actually is, here’s a starter for the uninitiated. Operating systems (OS) can be divided into two basic groups – Monolithic and Microlithic. These terms denote how drivers for your hardware and similar stuff much beyond my comprehension as a medic come built with your OS. What is a driver? Before we come to that, know this first. At the very heart of any OS is what’s called a kernel. The kernel is the first thing that boots up when you start your PC. When you’re typing in MS Word and reading the letters on your screen as you type, a variety of things happen culminating in the kernel speaking to your hardware exactly what you want your hardware to do. It does this by means of ‘drivers’ that allow it to speak to your hardware. Drivers can be built into the kernel itself or can come as what are called ‘modules’ that can be activated or deactivated as needed independent of the kernel’s function. An OS with the former configuration is called a Monolithic kernel while the latter is typical of a Microlithic kernel. Because a Monolithic kernel contains all the drivers patched into the kernel itself, it’s a little slower to boot than a Microlithic kernel. The fun thing about modules is that you can activate or deactivate them even as you’ve already booted into your OS and are working on your email, watching movies, etc. No rebooting required in this process afaik. Anywho, so coming back to our main discussion, Dazuko is a piece of software that you can either patch into your kernel itself or load it as a module. AVG for Linux requires Dazuko installed to be able to act as a realtime scanner.

I’m a firm believer in usability than anything else. Especially for average computer-idiots. As a matter of fact my tryst with Linux started due to the continuous slow-downs and virus threats in Windows. I still do love the general user interface and ease of use of Windows. I also like things cheap and don’t like to be cornered into a position where I’d be forced to use cracks, keygens and illegit stuff which for all I know might contain malicious code. Not being a software developer or anything like that (although you’d be interested to know there are medics who are hard core devs too, like Dr. Con Kolivas who is a practicing Anesthesiologist in Australia and maintains their society’s website), the ‘free as in speech doesn’t really get my attention as much as the ‘free as in beer’ aspect of Linux. Although, if I were to be a medical entrepreneur who wishes to start some sort of business or a hospital system, etc. I’d view the ‘free as in speech’ aspect with due respect too because in that situation I would be able to build a custom OS for my business needs, hiring an IT team.

For those of us who’d rather not install Dazuko and immerse ourselves in uber-geeky stuff, there’s a really cool development in the Linux Antivirus world. Aegis 2.0, a project in the alpha stages (meaning it’s not stable yet), is a real-time scanner not requiring Dazuko. Not as far as I can tell from its website.

Here’s an excerpt from the website:-

Aegis 2.0 is a ground-up rewrite of the Aegis Virus Scanner. It was developed as a modular and flexible system that can support multiple backends for monitoring and scanning. Even the user interface is decoupled so that it would not be hard to write an interface for another desktop such as KDE.

The old Aegis was a simple “on-demand” scanner – you ran the application, chose a directory, and the program scanned it for you. Aegis 2.0 is a background scanner – it resides in your desktop’s notification area, and watches for new or modified files in your home directory. When it finds an infected file, it shows a dialog, allowing you to delete or quarantine the file.

So go ahead fellas, check it out here!

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Written by Firas MR

March 24, 2008 at 12:03 am