Linux Inside Win 10

I am a zealous fan of Linux and FOSS. I have been using Linux and it’s TUI with bash shell for more than seventeen years. When I moved to my new role I find it bit difficult when I had a Windows 10 laptop and was literally fumbling with the powershell and cmd line when I tried working with tools like terraform, git etc. But luckily I figured out a solution for the old school *NIX users like me who are forced to use a Windows laptop, and that solution is WSL.

Windows Subsystem for Linux a.k.a WSL is an environment in Windows 10 for running unmodified Linux binaries in a way similar to Linux Containers. Please go through my earlier post on LinuxContainers for more details on it. WSL runs Linux binaries by implementing a Linux API compatibility layer partly in the Windows kernel when it was introduced first. The second iteration of it, “WSL 2” uses the Linux kernel itself in a lightweight VM to provide better compatibility with native Linux installations.

To use WSL in Win 10, you have to enable wsl feature from the Windows optional features. Being a aficionado of command line than the GUI, I’ll now list out step by step commands in order to enable the WSL and install your favourite Linux distribution and how to use it.

  1. Open Powershell as administrator and execute the command below Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
    Note: Restart is required when prompted
  2. Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -OutFile Ubuntu.appx -UseBasicParsing

In the above command you can use all the Linux distros available for WSL. For example if you want to use Kali Linux instead of Ubuntu, you can edit the distro url in the step 2 command as “ wsl-kali-linux”. Please refer to this guide for all available distros.

Once the download is completed, you need to add that package to the Windows 10 application list which can be done using the command below.

  1. Add-AppxPackage .\Ubuntu.appx

Once all these steps are completed, in the Win 10 search (magnifying glass in the bottom left corner near to the windows logo) type Ubuntu and you can see your Ubuntu (you need to search which ever wsl distro you have added). To complete the initialization of your newly installed distro, launch a new instance which is Ubuntu in our case by selecting and running Ubuntu from search as seen in the screen shot below.

This will start the installation of your chosen Linux distros binaries and libraries along with the kernel. It will take some time to complete the installation and configuration (approximately 5 to 10 minutes depending on your laptop/desktop configuration).

Once installation is complete, you will be prompted to create a new user account (and its password).

Note: You can choose any username and password you wish – they have no bearing on your Windows username.

If everything goes well, we’ll have Ubuntu installed as a sub system. When you open a new distro instance, you won’t be prompted for your password,
but if you elevate your privileges using sudo, you will need to enter your password.

Next step is to updating your package catalog, and upgrading your installed packages with the Ubuntu package manager apt. To do so, execute the below command in the prompt.

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Now we will proceed to install Git.

$ sudo apt install git

$ git --version

And finally test out git installation with the above command. You can also install other tools, packages available in the repository. I have installed git, terraform, aws-cli, azure-cli and ansible. You can install python, ruby, go programming environment as well. Python pip and ruby gem installations are also supported. You can use this sub system as an alternative for your day to day Linux operations and as an alternative terminal for your Powershell if you are using Sublime Text or Atom or Visual studio code

Search engine – A different view

Most of us will be doing a search in the internet for almost everything that comes to mind. If you’re the one who does so, it’s very likely you’ll be using a search engine for that matter. Though there are more than one search engine available, you will be using Google search engine for an internet search.

Google is one of the world’s largest companies. Though they have a wide spread of products traversed into many areas of our lives, they are still best known for their search engine. The phrase “You can just google that” emphasizes it. But there is one thing that you should keep in mind when you’re “googling” for information. To keep their services free, Google records a staggering amount of data about your online habits. Google in turn uses this data for targeted advertising – which obviously is Google’s primary source of income.

If you’re looking for a privacy focused alternative to Google search, then you should get your hands dirty with DuckDuckGO. The tag line of DDG describes as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. For those who want to take anonymity a step further, TOR browser users are presented with DDG search results by default. If you’re the one familiar with TOR browser and the .onion TLD in the Dark Web, you might have used DDG there. I have mentioned about DDG very briefly in my earlier post on Dark Web

Most search engines collect and store search data, but google link that data to your account. This collected information is used to personalize your search results. That’s how Google show you targeted advertising. But on the other hand DDG doesn’t track you and opts not to personalize your search results. DDG focuses on search result quality over quantity.

DuckDuckGo has grown steadily since its inception in 2008, sky rocketing from an average of 79000 daily searches in 2010 to a 40 million million daily and stands at a whopping 30 billion searches as of this writing. They partnered with many Linux distributions and have native apps for both Android and iOS. DuckDuckGo also is a search provider on most mainstream browsers which gained traction to them, but Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari users can also install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension. The extension blocks hidden advertising trackers, forces sites to switch to HTTPS where possible, and gives you quick access to DDG’s search.

Most of you will be wondering about the profitability of the company behind DuckDuckGo. We know that DuckDuckGo was first launched in 2008 which was done by it’s founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg. It is still owned and operated by Weinberg under the privately held company DuckDuckGo Inc. The company currently has over 65 employees working behind the scenes to continue development of DDG. Before creating DDG, Gabriel Weinberg developed one of the first-wave social networks, Names Database. He later sold the business for approximately $10 million in 2006. The money was used to self-fund the development of DDG through the company’s early years. Weinberg later co-authored Traction, a book about startup growth. Weinberg’s initial cash injection carried the company for some years. In 2011, the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures invested in DDG. According to Crunchbase, that initial funding round netted DDG an additional $3 million. To date, their external fundraising has generated $13 million. However, venture capital investments don’t make a company profitable. To create a financially sustainable business model, DDG displays advertising. nlike other search engines, the adverts are not based on targeted data. Instead, the ads are based exclusively on the keywords in your search. All of DDG’s advertising is syndicated by Yahoo, which is part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance.

While DDG doesn’t provide any personal data to either company, the inclusion of two technology giants with questionable attitudes to privacy might make you uncomfortable. That’s why DDG allows you to head over to the settings and disable advertisements. This is one of the most important points in the DuckDuckGo vs. Google battle. DuckDuckGo is also part of Amazon and eBay’s affiliate programs. If you click through to either site from your search results and make a purchase, DDG receives a small percentage of the sale. However, no personal information is passed through to either company.

Developments in recent years have shown that many technology companies can’t be trusted with your data. From Facebook selling your data to unscrupulous third parties to Timehop losing the personal information of over 21 million accounts, there are many data breaches that may have put you at risk. So, it’s only natural that you would question why you should trust DuckDuckGo. The founder’s privacy-focused background and the company’s admirable business model are excellent starting points, but there are plenty more reasons to trust DDG. If you’ve been wondering is DuckDuckGo safe, then these points may reassure you.

Privacy Policy
Their clearly written Privacy Policy also makes for reassuring reading, providing detail on the small amount of information they do collect. The key takeaways are that they do not store IP addresses or unique User-Agent identification and will set a cookie only for saving site settings.

It ends with the assuring statement:

“…we will comply with court-ordered legal requests. However, in our case, we don’t expect any because there is nothing useful to give them since we don’t collect any personal information.”

Open Source
As well as being built using free and open source software (FOSS), DDG has made parts of their software open source. Many of the site’s designs, mobile apps, browser extensions, whitelists, and instant answers are available on DuckDuckGo’s GitHub page. Although the primary search core is proprietary, open-sourcing most other parts of the site means that, given the inclination, anyone can view the code.

Donations to Privacy
Like many companies, DDG also donates a portion of their income to good causes. They specifically select organizations which share their “vision of raising the standard of trust online.” Each year DuckDuckGo selects a new group of organizations, even reaching out to Reddit for suggestions. To date, they have donated $1.3 million to their chosen beneficiaries. The Donations page on their website lists each donation they’ve made, arranged by year.

Beyond Search
In January 2018, DuckDuckGo moved beyond search, releasing a suite of tools to help you maintain your privacy across the internet. They revamped their browser extensions and mobile apps to include tracking protection, encryption, and quick access to their private search. The update also added a Site Privacy Grade rating from A through to F, for you to gauge how much a site maintains your privacy. Many of the features found in the browser extension and mobile apps aim to stop tracking and protect your privacy. In other words, DuckDuckGo’s privacy apps want to keep you safe online.

DuckDuckGo has another trick up its sleeve: bangs.

Bangs allow you to search third-party sites directly from DuckDuckGo. Say you wanted to search Google would let you perform a site search by entering Using DDG’s bangs, you type !muo followed by your search term. There are even plenty of bangs that make Google search look slow. What’s more, searching a site with any of the thousands of available bangs takes you directly to the site, rather than the search engine’s results. If you do find yourself missing Google’s tailored results, then adding !g with your query will take you directly there.

Google became the dominant force in search by offering you personalized search. They built incredibly useful apps and services which captured even more of our data to improve your search results further. However, in light of several privacy scandals in recent years, we are becoming more cautious with our data.

Alongside search, Google operates some of the web’s most used software including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and more besides. Google’s access to vast amounts of your data means that its results can be deeply personalized and their search page pulls it all together in one place.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t have any personal data to draw from, and so makes itself stand out in other ways. It’s one of the many ways that DuckDuckGo protects your personal information online.

This privacy-focused environment is almost the exact reverse of Google’s highly targeted surroundings. There are no personalized ads, no personal search results, and no filter bubble. Depending on your point of view, this is either one of DDG’s best or worst features. For the privacy-minded, this lack of tracking is likely to seal the deal.

Before we conclude, a simple demo of the googles targeted advertisement is illustrated below. This will help you understand things better about how Google is tracking you right from your very first search, even in incognito mode.

Open Google Chrome in incognito mode: Now search something like Stock Market:

Now what you have to do is remove the “Stock Market” keyword from the search bar and place something random like how, when, what, why, etc. and look at the suggestions.

You can even try with some random words like Best, King, Joke etc.

The Google Search tries to manipulate the suggestions in order to engage you more and more with the topic you were looking for. This is just the beginning how Google can manipulate your search behaviors, which results in loss of time and information bombardment as well. There are many more ways how Google is using your personal data.

On the other hand DDG doesn’t behaves like above, we’ll now do the same exercise with DuckDuckGo and you can visualize the difference.

DuckDuckGo proves us that user privacy and usefulness aren’t mutually exclusive. Isn’t it an absolute winner of the DuckDuckGo vs. Google fight?

DuckDuckGo appeals to the privacy-minded, but importantly, it isn’t a niche product. There are a range of useful features and some DuckDuckGo search tricks that don’t even work on Google.

If you do decide to stick with Google, take a look at the ways to customize your Google Search results.

The Big Indian Queue – Demonetization a perfunctory thought:

I’m not a financial expert or any sort of economist to comment on the demonetization issue. I’m a normal salaried IT employee who submits tax every year (mandatory as per the company policies). I believe 99.99% of us in this IT sector are doing so. This blog, I solemnly swear that this is my standpoint on the demonetization issue.
Since the midnight of November 9, 2016, we are going through an emotional roller coaster. There are a lot of emotions that are coming to our mind these days, we are happy, afraid, excited, frustrated, irritated to name a few. The electronic and social media has been fulsome in its praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Surgical strike”, by which he has reportedly destroyed the base of corruption and black money in India.
Do you have ever thought what is black money? As far as I know it’s not accumulated sacks of currencies lying in the basements or attics as we have seen in the movies. The real black money comes from two activities – corruption and tax evasion. Of course, there are certain other criminal activities such as smuggling, drug peddling, arms, and ammunition etc that contributes to this but these activities only account for a minuscule fraction of what is commonly understood as the ‘black money’
If your jeweler accepts cash in payment for a high-value ornament purchase, he is not committing any illegal activity but if you’re buying it without an invoice and if he conceals this income, then and only then, it converts to black money. If you have ever evaded sales tax duty while purchasing a land or house and if you have done some high-value purchases and paid without invoices you are also part of the black money market.
And for your information, those who have accumulated substantial amounts of black money are not keeping this in their attic or basements but that will be used to purchase gold and will be kept in bank lockers. There is another category of tycoons who accumulates huge amounts of black money which they will convert to dollars and move to Saint Kitts and Nevis or Swiss banks or to other countries. Opening a foreign account is not rocket science today and it assures the anonymity it provides and is a widely preferred option for those holding black money. The black money stored as cash decreases in value with inflation while other types of assets appreciate with inflation and storing large sums of cash is much more problematic than storing in gold equivalents. Investments in gold and property are always preferred for these reasons. The main playing grounds for black money are Real Estate, Motion Picture, and Jewelry.
So when we consider demonetization in all its worthiness, I strongly believe this reform is introduced not to extort the existing black money currently running in the parallel economy but to curb the sources which generate this.The surprise demonetization of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes of Indian currency dismissed about 85% of the money currently in circulation. This accounts to about 14 lakh crores which is 14 trillion. Its bit difficult for an “aam aadmi” to visualize this value but we can try this with the following illustrations:
1,000 = one thousand
1,000,000 = one million
1,000,000,000 = one billion
1,000,000,000,000 = one trillion
A million is equal to a thousand thousands (1,000 x 1,000).
A billion is equal to a thousand millions (1,000 x 1,000,000).
A trillion is equal to a thousand billions (1,000 x 1,000,000,000)
or a million millions (1,000,000 x 1,000,000)
If a person’s salary is 40,000 per year it would take:
25 years to earn 1 Million
25 Thousand years to earn 1 Billion,
25 Million years to earn 1 Trillion
1 day = 24 hours = 1440 minutes = 86400 seconds
11.57 days= 1000000 seconds – this is also represented as 1 million (1 million = 10 lakhs)
1 month = 2628000 seconds – approximately 26 million
1 year = 31536000 seconds – approximately 3 crore
31.7 years = 1000000000 seconds = approximately one billion
31709.8 years = 1000000000000 seconds = approximately one trillion
So, now you can imagine 14 trillion rupees. Its an onerous task to replenish this amount in the market. A solution for this is not to replenish and I believe this is what the government is planning. The people will be forced to switch to electronic cash transfers like NEFT, RTGS,IMPS and the shops will be forced to use point of sale terminals (POS) and/or PayTM or other virtual cash transactions. This, in turn, will make all the transactions transparent and eradicate black money. So as mentioned earlier demonetization is to curb the sources which generate black money.
There is no doubt that demonetization has pulled off a major political and publicity coup and has substantially enhanced Modi’s reputation as a muscular leader, but what’s the prize?
I strongly have my own doubts in the intention of demonetization, because there are certain contradictions which we can sense here,
Black Money – As mentioned earlier heap of cash is an insignificant component of black money. Illegitimate cash is just the tip of the iceberg and rest is still under the water.
Counterfeit currency – A study done by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, in 2015, states that, at any given point of time ₹400 crore worth of fake notes were in circulation in the economy. This is merely 0.025% o f the total budget outlay of ₹19.7 lakh crore as announced this fiscal. In comparison, just the printing cost of notes being taken out of circulation is approximately ₹12,000 crore. Is it a sensible public policy to flush ₹12,000 crore down the drain to purportedly remove about ₹400 crore of fake currency?
Leakage of demonetization – People were withdrawing cash in large amounts in smaller denominations due to rumors of demonetization of ₹1000 and ₹500 notes as per the reports by SBI in April this year. Also in April local dailies in Gujarat and elsewhere had also reported that such a move might be in the offing. There are suspicions over BJP’s West Bengal unit deposited an unusually large cash amount of Rs 1 crore just before the move’s announcement. In the absence of an upturn in economic parameters, the sudden rise in deposits just before demonetization decision is definitely fishy. All these factors indicate that information of the action may well have leaked
Lack of planning – RBI doesn’t have enough supply of smaller denomination notes and is supplying soiled 100, 50,20 notes to meet the demand. ATM calibration is required as the new ₹2000 notes are smaller in size than the old notes. So eventually, ATM’s are storing less cash and thus running out faster as they can only dispense ₹100 notes.
A more higher denomination in place – The other major pitfall of a hasty decision is that government was forced to reintroduce higher denominations as today India doesn’t have the infrastructure for a primarily cashless economy. Without being completely withdrawing these larger denominations the government has made it easier for those who want to hoard black money in cash. The new ₹2000 notes are being released without any additional security features as the hurried decision by the government didn’t allow for the provision of such features. This makes the task of counterfeiting much easier. Also since we have a higher denomination, it is more profitable to counterfeit.
Economic instability – A callow planning, the grievous under-preparedness of the RBI and the panic stricken people, have all lead the move to be an extreme pandemonium. The people are desperate for cash, so much of the workforce that should be productively working is wasting long hours in unending queues at the banks and ATM’s .The abrupt call-back of 85% of cash, has brought the informal economy to a standstill and this is the worst affected, with the most marginalized suffering the most.
Are we ready for cashless transactions? – If you simply bereave people of cash does it make an economy cashless? With only 46% banking penetration, only 22% internet connectivity, 19% of the population without electricity connection (and others with unreliable connection) and only 1.2 million of 14 million merchants having point of sale devices, India simply doesn’t have the infrastructure for a cashless economy. Another problem is the low level of digital literacy in India. Unless these real challenges are addressed, withdrawing the bulk of cash only creates chaos as we can now see.
In a long run, small scale businesses will come to an end which actually spread a lot of confusions between the people. Eventually, the people will need to suffer this changeover. This is because of improper planning of demonetization. The foresight and time required in planning to celebrate your ward’s birthday is not taken for doing this kind of activity. I have read somewhere that this is what happen in the Boston Big Dig project which was disastrous and also reminds about monetary reforms of 1991 a.k.a Pavlov reforms.


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Data courtesy : The Wire, Huffington Post, Forbes, The Diplomat and from the Facebook posts from a friend, author, entrepreneur and an engineer Ranjith