Updates: user-overrides.js and user.js-notify.sh

I updated my user-overrides.js for Firefox. Changes can be found here and the file can be downloaded here. This brings the overrides file up to date with Firefox v82.x.

Also updated is the user.js-notify.sh script (Linux) which can automatically display a desktop notification (such as at log-on) informing whether an update is available for the 'arkenfox' user.js and, optionally, my user-overrides.js. Changes can be found here and the file can be downloaded here.

If you wondering what the hell this is about, see this.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Content update: user.js-notify.sh script for Firefox

I made a few minor changes to the user.js-notify.sh script (direct link) for Firefox on Linux, including adding links in the notification pop-up that point to the revision history of both The Firefox Privacy Guide for Dummies! page and the Firefox Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs page.

Content update: Firefox Config Update Notifier

I updated the Firefox Config Update Notifier bash script (direct link here). I added options to check the 'last updated' date for both Firefox configuration guides.

This script can:

* compare versions of local and remote 'arkenfox' user.js
* optionally, compare versions of local and remote
user-overrides.js from 12bytes.org
* optionally, display the last update date for The Firefox
Privacy Guide For Dummies! from 12bytes.org
* optionally, display the last update date for the Firefox
Configuration Guide for Privacy Freaks and Performance Buffs
from 12bytes.org
* display a desktop notification containing a compilation of
the information collected

Linux vs. Windows - from a privacy perspective

First of all let's make it clear that Linux is not an operating system (OS), rather it is the integral part of many Linux-based operating systems known as the 'kernel'. While there are perhaps hundreds of operating systems that use Linux, there is only one Linux kernel as far as i'm aware (not including forks). Similarly, most Windows operating systems use the NT kernel.

While there are many fundamental differences between the Linux and Windows family of operating systems, the most important for our purpose here is that most Linux-based operating systems are open sourced while Windows operating systems are proprietary black boxes. Given the title of this article, it may already be obvious which is the better choice for those of us who are concerned about our privacy.

Bill Gates never intended to help anyone, not then in the tech industry nor now as a philanthropist. Gates is one of the more evil people on the planet and this is evident when one reviews his actions.

Jeffrey Epstein, sex offender, with William 'Bill' Gates
Jeffrey Epstein, convicted sex offender, with William 'Bill' Gates

Although one of Gates' goals with Microsoft was to make himself filthy rich, i suspect he had others that were far more nefarious and which involved mining data from those using Windows operating systems. Indeed, data is the new oil and large tech corporations, governments and intelligence communities absolutely lust for it. Windows 10 literally meets the definition of a virus in that it harvests an enormous amount of data and information about the person using it without their explicit consent and sends that data over the network. Contrary to what some Windows geeks might believe, there is nothing one can do to mitigate all the potential risks simply because all the risks can never be known.

It is simply not possible to trust any proprietary operating system or software. If the source is not published than, other than those designing it, essentially no one can audit it, and if you cannot analyze the code, then you cannot know everything it is doing. Windows is a black box and there is reason to suspect that back doors have been built into it that can be accessed by certain third parties, such as intelligence communities. Whether such back doors exist or not doesn't matter because the fact is, one can never know for sure.

Linux, on the other hand, was designed by Linus Torvalds for his own purposes. Upon realizing that it could be useful to others, he published the source code on the internet for free. He too likely could have become an extremely wealthy man, but unlike Gates, he chose to help people by giving away his work. That ethic has been carried forward by many thousands of people in the Linux community. Although the kernel is apparently heavily developed by large corporations today, the code is still open source, as is most of the software, and Linus is still involved in the project.

While you may think that i'm a Linux fanboy, i assure you i'm not. There are a lot of problems with Linux-based operating systems and you can read about some of my criticisms in my article, A personal perspective: From Windows to Linux to Windows to Linux to.... I didn't choose to use a Linux OS because i liked Linux, i chose to use it because i saw it as the only viable choice. Once i understood that Windows could not ever be trusted with my privacy, regardless of how many tweaks, registry edits and anti-spyware tools i threw at it, and once i decided that my privacy was more important to me than a workflow that i'd become accustomed to, the decision to abandon Microsoft made itself. All i needed to do was find a replacement.

How much you value your privacy is your choice, just know that with Windows there can be no reasonable expectation that it isn't spying on you. Should you decide to experiment with alternatives to Microsoft Windows, you may want to read the article i linked to earlier, as well as Sick to death of Microsoft Windows spying on you? Here's a solution....

Sick to death of Microsoft Windows spying on you? Here's a solution...

I'll keep this (semi) short and sweet. Think of this as the 'Dumping Windows for Dummies!' guide in the interest of privacy and security.

If you're sick of Winblows as a desktop operating system (OS), then you have LOTS AND LOTS of options from which to choose... as long they're all Linux. Yeah there's Mac, but that's just a different flavor of crap, and beyond that there's not much else other than Linux, assuming you want a reasonably easy to use OS with a large selection of software. ReactOS seems like it might be a decent open source alternative to Wintendo, but development is so painfully slow that we'll all be DEAD by the time they release a 1.0 stable (and i've been watching the project for... what? FIFTEEN YEARS?

The problem i, and many others have had when switching to Linux, is the shear number of choices there are. It can get real confusing real fast and i think that has maybe put a lot of people off. Not only do you have to pick a particular "flavor" of Linux (there are hundreds), but you also have to choose a "desktop environment" (DE). If you don't know what a DE is, it is the Graphic User Interface (GUI) that provides a comfortable way for us humans to interact with our computers. You know, all those buttons and widgets and icons and things? That's called the "desktop" or "user interface". With a Linux-based OS you can have several choices for a DE and that complicates matters even more. Avoiding all this hassle is one of the goals of this poor excuse for a guide.

Having a good deal of experience with WinDoze (noticing all the derogatory names i have for that pile of proprietary shit?) and some experience with Linux-based operating systems, which i've been using for the last 4 or 5 years, here's my personal advice...

Go to Mnajaro.org and download the generic 64 bit edition of Manjaro with the KDE desktop. The file you download will be an ISO and you need to write that to a DVD or USB stick (do the latter if you can since it's quicker). For writing to a USB stick you can use Rufus, or any other software that can create a bootable image.

With that done, jam that USB drive (or DVD if you went that route) in its socket and reboot. As your computer starts you'll need to boot from the USB or DVD drive instead of the drive that holds the Winlouse virus. How you do that depends on what kind of boot firmware is installed (BIOS) so you'll have to figure out which key to press in order to boot from your USB/DVD drive. A little searching of the interwebs should yield results without significant damage.

Assuming all that went OK, you'll have booted Manjaro Linux (yea!) and you can play with it all you want before deciding to install it.

Installing a non-Windows OS on a Windows machine can be easy or tricky depending on what kind of boot firmware is installed (BIOS or UEFI). With BIOS firmware the process is generally easy; click the installation icon on the Manjaro desktop and follow the prompts. If you're unfortunate enough to have UEFI firmware, the process can be a little trickier. You can thank Micro$oft for that, in part, because the assholes in Redmond don't want you running anything other than Wintendo. Either way, you should be able to learn all you need to know in the Manjaro User Guide.

Once Manjaro is installed you should be able to figure out the necessaries. The KDE desktop isn't a whole lot different than something like Windows 98, XP, Vista or 8. Windows 10 is a different animal and one reason i had for writing this is to prompt those of you running 10 to get the hell rid of it. 10 is SPYWARE and nothing less!

If you need more help, let me know. In the mean time...