View Full Version : Linux

05-23-2007, 10:49 PM
I have been reading a lot about Linux lately and it has caught my interest.

What are some pluses?
I have read it doesn't crash much and that appeals to me since my current XP system has some trouble, especially with the HRD program.

Just want some more info. and reasons to get it for my system.

My PC is a Dell that runs Winows XP

05-24-2007, 01:01 AM
Download Ubuntu (or Kunbuntu) and try running it off a CD

Cons: Linux is not great for "multimedia" applications, and some consider it hard to use if you're not comfortable typing in commands and editing configuration files. And you don't get a book telling you how it works (you'll need to go buy one or something), and you may have to do some configuration work, but not much!

Pros: Once you get it figured out, if you don't like how it behaves, you can be the Boss of Your computer! (not Bill $$$). It's also FREE (a Good thing!). Been using it since 2003 and have NEVER had it crash - it always recovers! Few viruses to worry about, and puts YOU back in control of your box. Mac OS-X is essentially a Unix clone (as is Linux) (Tho I now I'll get flamed for that)! http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif Linux is smaller than WinDope$ and you can dual boot your box too (both Win$ and Linux! and you get to chose which one you want to boot up whenever you start the computer. And it boots up faster than Windop$ (about 30-45 sec on a 3 gig P-4 w/ 512M Ram) vs much longer for Win$) Where with Win$ you get one GUI, with Linux you get a wide variety and can pick the one you like (I use gnome, but lots of folk like KDE ) (Don't worry if you didn't understand, just different "look and feel") (I see more flames comming!

Plus, if your a geek, you can rewrite the whole operating system. The Source code is included in the price!

Oh, and did I mention FREE? Open Office will do everything M$ Weird will, and it's FREE too.

If you're a GUI person, there's a bit of a learning curve, but it's not too steep. If you know DOS, you'll be in great shape. As with anything in ham radio, you have to be prepared to learn stuff, but that's what it's all about, right?

Not a geek here, just a home user, but best decision you'll ever make! And no registries to keep straight! And be sure to set up a "user account" for yourself - it's much safer that way!

And you can give copies away, and it dosen't insist on calling home without your permission!

I'd definitely give it a try. And the price is right! (Did I say FREE!)

05-24-2007, 01:18 AM
free is good,

sounds great

i plan to use it for some APRS and run XASTIR so a system i don't have to mess around with once it's up and running sounds very appealing.

Still want some other opinions...

05-24-2007, 06:18 AM
Check this site out - says pretty much what I would & explains it all, too.

Why Linux is better (http://www.whylinuxisbetter.net/)

05-24-2007, 09:05 AM
Quote[/b] (k3wrv @ May 23 2007,18:01)]Mac OS-X is essentially a Unix clone (as is Linux)
it's not a clone, actually. it is UNIX-based (that's what the Darwin layer is all about) with lots of Applelicious goo on top.

this is pretty awesome, imho, but clearly it isn't for everyone.

05-24-2007, 10:13 AM
It really is as K3WRV mentions ... about user rights.

Linux...or perhaps more accurately "GNU/Linux" (and lots of other free software) is licensed under the General Public License. The GPL guarantees you as a computer user "the four freedoms".

Freedom Zero: The freedom to use the software for any purpose

Freedom One: The freedom to study the software and adapt it to your needs

Freedom Two: The freedom to copy the software so that you can help your neighbour.

Freedom Three: The freedom to change the software and release your changes to the public.

And for freedoms one and three to have any meaning its recognized that you have to have free access to the source code.

Proprietary "end user license agreements" usually tell you what you "can't" do.

While you might not personally be a programmer, the fact that the software license gives programmers the freedom to tinker and collaborate in their tinkering, produces some really fantastic software that just keeps getting better all the time.

Ham radio folks and Linux folks I think are "kindred spirits" in many ways.
Tinkering comes naturally to us!

With Linux you can pretty much kiss viruses, spyware, and assorted malware goodbye. And because Linux "educates" the user not to run their computer with root (administrative) privileges even if you got hit, usually the worst thing that would happen is an unprivileged user profile would get hosed...your whole machine wouldn't be toasted the way it can happen with Window$.

You'll never have to defragment your hard drive either.

Every Linux distribution has user forums and so help is usually only a Googlesearch away.

Ubuntu/Kubuntu (or Xubuntu on an old slow machine) is a good place to start. But there are dozens of different Linux distros to choose from. Try out a few of them. You'll eventually find one or two that you really like. Every Linux user develops their own "pet favourite"...kind of like hams arguing the merits of Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom etc. (hi).

Aside from multimedia, which really isn't all that bad, the big drawback right now is playing multimedia Window$ games. However with Wine, Crossover Office and Cedega support for running Windows games on Linux is improving too.

The other thing is that even though I may run into the odd quirk here and there using Linux, I'm much more forgiving of those quirks because the software is produced by a community and usually cost me nothing.

If I've given the world's largest software company hundreds of dollars every few years and they mess up...then yes indeed I get quite irritated! http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

What I'm finding is that since Vista was released...which requires that most folks buy a brand new computer to run it, a lot more folks are starting to question why they need to be running Microsoft's operating system and software. Some people are starting to look at getting a Mac, but others are looking for a much cheaper (most of the time free as in "free beer", "free as in freedom") alternative in Linux.

I'm not a programmer either, just a user who's become a staunch convert.
After you've used Linux for a couple of years, chances are that you'll find yourself becoming a staunch convert as well...and you'll find yourself extolling the virtues of running Linux to all your friends too! http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

05-24-2007, 11:44 AM
Ubuntu 7.04 is pretty much point and click. The learning curve is not
too steep. Give it a try. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

05-24-2007, 11:51 AM
I use Fedora Core here. The Reason I suggested one of the Ubuntu flavors is that you can run it directly off a cd, without installing it, to kind of get a feel for it without much configuring. See also the "favorite Linux" thread on this forum.

And it will run "just fine" on older hardware! Until recently, I'd been running Linux on an old P-II-400 and a P-III-800. Try using ExPee on one of those!

The only reasons I still use Win$ux are SSTV and TurboTax. Haven't found good Linux substitutes for them and haven't got wine working. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

By the way, one really cool thing about Gnu-Linux is the names of the programs. Wine (which lets you run Win$ programs stands for "wine is not an emulator"; gnu stands for "gnu's not Unix". And Linux comes with free earwax (an audio application)! Plus, you get a BSOD screensaver - great in an office environment - everybody thinks your windowbox crashed (til you wiggle the mouse). http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

05-24-2007, 03:57 PM
you've got a convert!

i need to download Linux, anyone have anything to say about Xastir for APRS?

05-24-2007, 05:55 PM
Don't know anything about Xastir, but if you google Linux and ham radio, you'll turn up a bunch of stuff. Since Xastir starts with an X it sounds like a linux program (Probably runs under the "X-Windows system" , the GUI which most *nix's use. Try googling "man Xastir" and look up "Ham Radio Howto" linux and you should get a bunch of stuff. But unfortunately NOT much on SSTV. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

Linux is about tinkering, and there aren't any hard answers. So "MYfavorite app today" may be replaced by "yourfavorite app tomorrow", and everybody tries these things out, and the one that works best for YOU is the one YOU decide to use!

Much different than the Win$ world. You won't really understand this until you Do it, and then you'll get frustrated, and then you'll decide you like something, and then something else better, and then... Kinda like Ham Radio? Choices are Good, like Free as in Beer and Free as in speech. But for a noobie, choices can be intimidating. Don't get intimidated! Try one of each and see what works for YOU!


[Sorry for the edit, meant to hit reply. Fat finger problem or braincramp hr!]

05-24-2007, 09:31 PM
Another thought - If you use either Firefox or Thunderbird, then you already have a taste of what Linux is all about...


05-25-2007, 12:13 AM
Quote[/b] (kc0vvu @ May 23 2007,15:49)]I have been reading a lot about Linux lately and it has caught my interest.

What are some pluses?
I have read it doesn't crash much and that appeals to me since my current XP system has some trouble, especially with the HRD program. #

Just want some more info. and reasons to get it for my system.

My PC is a Dell that runs Winows XP
There must be something good about Linux. After all, Bill gates has been trying to squash it for years.

I've been using Linux since the early days, about 1994. In those days Linux was tricky, lacked sound and multimedia support, etc.

Linux has come a long way since then. It has become an extremly mature powerful operating system. As a server operating system it's rock solid, I've had Linux boxes running for months on end without a single crash and the only downtime for preventative maintenance, i.e. cleaning the machine, checking it;s integrity, backing up the drives, etc.

As a desktop system I can do virtually anything my Windows boxes can do, matter of fact I can do some things better. As far as multimedia apps go I can play DVD's, watch flash videos, play any type of audio file, play almost any type of video file, etc. In rare cases where a video file is in a Windows only proprietary format I can usually manage that by playing it through either Crossover or WINE.

Linux has implemmented virtualization via hypervisor (via Xen) (something Microsoft promised for Vista but has yet to deliver) enabling one to run a virtual machine..

Linux does indeed give control of your machine back to you. Software is mostly free and installation these days is most of the time as easy as...
entering a command like

$ yum install <software-package-name>

which will download the package along with any needed dependencies and install them. Or using a GUI dialog to accomplish the same.

If you are mainly used to Windows and have no Unix experience there is a bit of learning but the learning curve these days is nowhere as stee as it used to be.

You might do a google search for a Linux User Group (often called LUG's) in your area. Such groups usually have mailing lists, regular monthly meetings, install fests, and generally friendly people willing to help newcomers.

05-25-2007, 12:22 AM
Does anybody know if you can run VPN client software?

05-25-2007, 02:12 AM
VPN yup not a problem their is one available with almost every distro. Doing linux to linux I use SSH in many ways. I tunnel X via SSH locally all the time and use Webmin for remote where X or the shell won't do. Keep in mind command shells in linux are way more useful then command or cmd are in Windows.

I have one more distro to add to the list you may wish to look at Sidux http://sidux.com Sidux is a bleeding edge fork of Debian with some knoppix roots to it. Whats nice is you can download the iso and run it from the cd (isolinux) and if you don't care what happens to Windows you can install it from the running CD. I was impressed it did pretty well with multi media (YMMV)

I stay with Redhat, Fedora, & SUSE because that is more common in the enterprise or at least that is what they want to hear you say you use http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

05-25-2007, 05:48 AM
I am running PCLinuxOS (the newest edition, plus updates---all free) and dual booting with OS/2 Warp 4 (which I am planning to use for all my amateur radio applications such as logging and psk31). Works great, and the multimedia is actually easier than it seems. I can also install software using the synaptic package manager, including updates. If I need something that isn't offered on the synaptic repository, I can simply download the rpm, confirm depends and run rpm -i from a command line. I've been using Linux since 2001 (Red Hat 6.1) and I haven't looked back.

05-25-2007, 06:40 AM
Linux is a natural for the amateur radio commuity. I'm surprised that there's so much focus on developing amateur radio software for Windows. Then again, Microsoft goes out of its way to make it easy to develop software for windows. Also there are a gazillion more Windows users than Linux users.

I use SuSE on my personal laptop. I also provide technical support for SuSE on Sun's X64 servers (http://www.sun.com/x64/index.jsp).

A few tips for those making the switch:

- Buy a copy of CrossOver (http://www.codeweavers.com/products/). This is the commercially supported version of WINE, a compatibility layer which lets you run Windows software on Linux. Yes, WINE is free but CrossOver only costs $60 and adds extra stuff that makes it easy for the non-technical user to install and manage Windows apps. Also they do an extensive amount of testing and guarantee the Windows apps that are on their compatability list. EchoLink is not listed but I have personally tested EchoLink on CrossOver. Works gangbusters. I'm currently trying to test the software for FlexRadio. Will post more about this later.

- Watch out for hardware compatability pitfalls. Know what hardware is in your system and check the distro's website to make sure your hardware is supported. Likewise, you can get on irc.freenode.net and join the #linux channel to ask questions. I got burn bad just now with purchasing a new HP laptop and not checking to see if the WiFi chipset was fully supported. The drivers for the 802.11g are EXTREMELY flaky and has crashed my laptop many times over.

- Linux distos have their own personalities and quirks. Try several until you find one that works for you. Many people swear by RedHat. RedHat is indeed the de-facto standard of the Linux community but I find the RPM package manager (used for installing and removing software) annoying. There's something known as RPM hell. What I mean by RPM hell is a condition where you're trying to install a piece of software and it depends on you installing 20 other RPM packages in the correct order. Sometimes you jump through all these hoops only to discover that one RPM package refuses to install because it conflicts with another. RPM hell, indeed. This is why off-shoots of Debian such as Ubuntu are better. The software manager in Debian (and other spin-off distros) is much smarter and easier to use.

- You may need to run Windows. I'd recommend downloading VMware Server. This little gem of a program allows you to run Windows in a "virtual machine". Meaning that you can run Linux and Windows side by side without rebooting. Just do a CTRL-ENTER to change between Windows and Linux.

05-25-2007, 06:51 AM
Regarding GPL/OpenSource licencing, remember this salvo:

Free as in beer, free as in speech. Some software costs nothing but often you give up your rights to be able to use that software. GPL'ed software frees your wallet without asking you to give up your own personal freedom.

Article from K6BP on OpenSource:


05-25-2007, 12:55 PM

Redhat & Fedora now use something called YUM, a front end for rpm. It's actually pretty civilized, and from what I've seen, it resolves most dependencies transparently to the user!

Good point about hardware. There are a lot of "winmodems" out there that Linux mostly doesn't like very much, and if you're using a newer computer w/o ISA slots, there seem to be very few Linux compatible PCI modems around these days.

05-25-2007, 05:51 PM
Better then yum, but you will use yum to get it, is Smart Package manager. Smart is way quicker yum shell or gui is sluggish at best. I like the quick search capabilities in Smart and you can use it --gui or --shell. It is written in python and much more responsive then yum. Mostly intended for RPM based distributions.

Ah one more point about vpn and ssh likely you will operate with the gui installed so for setting up ssh look for a distribution of putty. Putty is a TCL/TK frontend for the command line ssh utilities, quite nice.

Speaking of RPM hell I find you can also get a Debian hell condition too. Some of the packaging of .debs is pretty bad too. I love this one somebody assured me that removing a specific package would not remove the dependencies. So I believed them and removed the package, it removed a good deal, not all, of kde on me. I had one after that where I was trying to get rid of some of the games and it removed critical libraries on me too. Oh well live and learn and avoid meta packages if you can http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

05-25-2007, 07:38 PM
While we're all preaching to the Choir (me included) the original post was about "Why should I try it?"

VVU, it was your post, you tell us what you want to know!? You're seeing the "good the bad and the not very ugly" because Linux folk just kind of stict together, and you probably don't have a clue what we're talking about, so You tell US what YOU want to know! (caps are kind of considered rune in Linux circles and I appologize to those that took offense).

My advice is to just give it a try, get used to SOME learning curve (after all, this ain't WinDope$) and don't give up!

Any flavour will work, and it will be better than window$. But the guy asked why he should try it! (which he should). It just works!

de Bob in MD

05-25-2007, 09:11 PM
I love it cause I can do more of what I want to. Right now you can do anything Windows can and then some.
Want to take it easy on yourself get the free version of VMWare and start that way. Get the IsoLinux versions of several Distros. It seems like all of them have one in development. Run it dual boot if you still aren't sure. If you have a need for windows because you have to use it I bet with the right hardware you can run Windows as a virtual machine. That way you can happily and reliably run Linux as your host and then you can always run windows when you have to or are forced too http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
Honest there isn't any great advantage to running windows except with windows you get to stay ignorant and are at MS's mercy. KDE & Gnome are great user interfaces and they can customized to work as you want them too.
KDE is a bit like the Windows 2000 interface and Gnome is a bit more Mac like neither are exact clones of those two.
With Linux you get a fabulous full featured shell interface that at times will make you wonder why exactly you are using a gui. Of coarse there are great productivity reasons to use a gui but shells in Linux are actually capable of doing useful tasks in.
The best thing though is that you get to chose and you get to control. With MS you either accept what they give you just live with it.

PS: Figure your first install will be wrong so if you can stand the time invested figure your first installation is a throwaway or disposable. By the time you hit the third install you will feel like you know what you are doing. If you don't feel comfortable with that then do a few test installs under the free VMWare and then decide.

05-26-2007, 04:03 AM
Quote[/b] (k3wrv @ May 25 2007,05:55)]JCY-

Redhat & Fedora now use something called YUM, a front end for rpm. #It's actually pretty civilized, and from what I've seen, it resolves most dependencies transparently to the user!

Good point about hardware. #There are a lot of "winmodems" out there that Linux mostly doesn't like very much, and if you're using a newer computer w/o ISA slots, there seem to be very few Linux compatible PCI modems around these days.
If you need a modem and you're using Linux your best bet is to buy an external serial modem. I bought one during the last few months I was on dialup and found it was much more reliable than internal modems. I wish I has it for all those other years that I was on dialup.

05-26-2007, 05:39 AM
VPNs: There are many ways of setting up a VPN and Linux support varies from VPN to VPN. Your best bet is to check out the specifics of the VPN that you want to use and google for Linux support for it.

05-28-2007, 03:59 PM
I am making this post from an IBM Thinkpad that I picked up at Hamvention. I have it running Puppy Linux, and am accessing the net via a USB 802.11G connection. It works a heck of a lot better than the Windoze 2000 Pro that was installed. The only reason I'll keep Windoze on this box, at least through Field Day, is to use it with the network logging program we use. After that, full time Linux box. Might set it up as an Igate for APRS use is I can't get the old Toshiba Laptop running Win98SE to interface with a PCMCIA Network card (wired).

05-29-2007, 07:55 PM
I've been a SuSE user for almost 10 years, and the latest distro (10.2) is really nice . . . their Yast program does everything you need to keep the system integrated, and it is so easy a caveman can do it (sorry, Progressive!!).

Start with a LIVE CD, so you can get used to the feel and look of the desktop. KDE is more popular, but Gnome (pronounced GEE Nome) is a very close second thanks to Red Hat/Fedora.

You can install it alongside a Windows installation, and dual boot, but I've found it best to just have another hard drive dedicated to Linux, as its file system is totally different than Windows.

I'd reccomend at least 256 MB of memory (you can get by on less but the swap partition gets a lot of use); 9 GB HD minimum, and any processor faster than 166 MHz. Some of the gfx might be a bit sluggish, but for my purposes a cheap AGP card is all I need, or use.

Don't worry about using the CLI (DOS prompt in M$ world). Most programs have a good GUI -- only the serious hackers need to know about the shell and commands.

I do reccomend getting the O'Reilly book, "Running Linux" as a good starter. Once you get used to everything, and its stability and freedom from the gazillion & one M$ virii, you'll never want to go back.


06-03-2007, 03:17 PM
If u wanna try linux before u actually install it on ur computer a good distribution is Knoppix. It runs completly off from a CD. I cant thinki of the site but u can just google it. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

06-05-2007, 10:12 PM
i have been using linux for a good few years now and use it exclusively on my desktop pc. Couldn't comment on some of the newer distros though as i still only have SUSE 9.1.
You should definately give Linux a go- there seem to be plenty of copies you can download that will boot off a cd. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

06-06-2007, 01:56 AM
Yes Knoppix did pioneer the "live CD" Linux distro but now there are plenty of "live CD...and live DVD" distros...many of which can be installed to hard drive if you happen to decide that you like a particular distro.

"Damn Small Linux" is another "live CD" but unlike Knoppix, it is as the name implies...very small...and runs quite well on older PC's if you happen to have a spare kicking around. "DSL" also uses the same excellent hardware detection that Knoppix uses.

That's another cool thing about GNU/Linux, a neat feature developed by one distro can be incorporated it another distro!

06-09-2007, 03:20 AM
Fedora 7 was recently released and includes a live CD. I haven't tried it yet, I was actually messing around with the thumbdrive boot one.

06-16-2007, 03:42 PM
I am typing this on an "ancient" PII 450 MHz. with 192 MB RAM picked up in a yard sale for $5. The hard drive had been removed and the video card didn't work...no matter...popped in a 9 GB hard drive, network card and a spare 8 MB ATI AGP video card from my computer "junque" collection and back in business.

But...there is no way in the "Microsoft World" I can legally install a supported operating system on this old beast. Windows 95, 98, ME and NT4 are all officially "unsupported". Windows 2000 Pro is still supported but has been withdrawn from sale. Very theoretically, Windows XP could run on this machine according to Microsoft's published minimum hardware specs...but we all know they're a joke!

So this machine has been brought back to life with "Xubuntu". Xubuntu is basically Ubuntu Linux but uses the much lighter-weight XFCE desktop instead of the "Gnome" desktop...or KDE in the case of "Kubuntu".

It runs quite well and is quite responsive! And any software missing from the "default" installation can be installed from the Ubuntu (and Debian) repositories.

One tip when installing Xubuntu though...if you are installing on a machine that has low RAM, use the "alternate" install disk instead of the standard one.

In any case, here's one more computer that's been rescued from a landfill site with Linux. So you could say that Linux is an "environmentally-friendly" operating system http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

06-17-2007, 05:54 AM
I too have been a Linux/GNU user since the early days, around 1995, when out of curiousity I borrowed some CD's from a friend in school.

I don't run it home now because at home I'm more of a computer appliance operator.

BUt it's a great OS, and don't let the MS fanboys deter you. I find Linux useful as a Unix learning tool and test environment.

Next computer is going to be a mac though and that comes with OS X which is built on BSD.

06-17-2007, 06:22 AM
Quote[/b] (kf6rdn @ June 08 2007,20:20)]Fedora 7 was recently released and includes a live CD. I haven't tried it yet, I was actually messing around with the thumbdrive boot one.
so far Fedora 7 is awesome. the other evening i did the upgrade from Fedora Core 6, essentially, with

yum -y update

easy peasy!

06-17-2007, 03:53 PM
running fedora 7 & digipup (on same computer with aid of a swap kit.

The computer is a pIII with 128M ram. The F7 runs GREAT until the drive gets hammered (lack of memory) - the digipup runs great but is limited (by design - & I plan to leave it that way)

LINUX just plain rules - now if we can just get "off the shelf" vendor support. Would be nice to pick up software or hardware & see that it is made to run on Linux as well as (or should I say instead of) M$.

06-17-2007, 11:49 PM
I run Fedora (4,5,6 and now 7) pretty much exclusively. I host our club's web site, my own site, a business site, an email server our LUG web site and email server, an APRS server and more I've likely forgotten about someplace. Here at the house we've 7 computers for this family of 3. ALL running Linux. I've 5 boxes at the office all running linux. I do have a A laptop the boss gave me that has XP on it, but it's setup for dual booting and I haven't booted XP in about 6 months now.

I get a real kick out of recovering, repairing and restoring Windows systems with my linux bag of tricks.

Work projects, documents, servers, LAN security, routers, school work/projects, games, music, movies, ham radio, laptops, wifi (w/WPA2) and more - all going on Linux right now. And the ability to setup my own anti-Spam at the server level - all for the price of downloading and tinkering up some 2nd hand hardware, it's a natch.

APRS client: what many consider to be *the* benchmark standard against which all others are measured. http://www.xastir.org

The spirit of FOSS and ham radio are kindred. It is amazing there isn't a HUGE grass roots involvement of hams in the FOSS world.
OH! wait - there is <g>

We even have a rather 'exclusive' group here in town. BMW motorcycle riding, ham radio operating, linux enthusiasts. Includes the CTO of the state's largest hospital. There're about a half dozen of us here in town now.

06-24-2007, 05:46 AM

My current Mac laptop runs OS-X, but also Windows XP, by way of bootcamp.
Its real use is in running Solaris, what I use to emulate a SS-7 install with.
Almost all telephone switchs on the planet go into service mode if you provide the correct signalling format while "on hook".
Once in, you are communicating with the line card, default is 1200 baud but will normally jump to 9600 baud once the switch itself kicks in.
Now, this does not sound like much, 9600 baud, but there is very little data you are going to be dealing with, perhaps a k or 2 at the most.
The first thing you will get is the ANI information, like caller ID but far more informative, and it can never be blocked or spoofed.
From there, all kinds of neat things, but remember, this is a very limited bandwidth network.
All with just a little help from my friends.
Linux is also far more secure, I can not simply plug in a USB drive and run an application that takes over the entire OS like in windows.
Linux and Unix are OS driven, not application driven.