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Feature or Bug? fresh install fixes mistakes?

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:23 pm
by Bonsaii
Hi,

Is it normal that one can "fix" a linux installation
with a fresh install?

After screwing up my installation (again) I grew tired of
searching for a fix. Since I had a backup of the home
partition, I did a fresh install from DVD. I expected
to have to copy/sync the backup thereafter.

But, keeping users and passwords as they were before,
after ~15 minutes I was sitting in front of a "fixed"
installation.

All user data was still there, as well as ~95% of the settings.
And the installation was fixed, my mistakes ironed out.

Is that "normal"?

Pardon me, if that is a ridiculous question.
Bonsaii

Re: Feature or Bug? fresh install fixes mistakes?

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:40 am
by viking777
Is it normal that one can "fix" a linux installation
with a fresh install?


Far from being unusual, it is almost standard practice for when you have run out of other ideas.

Perhaps the bit you find unusual is that most of your settings were still in place. This isn't unusual either if you have a separate /home partition and elect not to format it when you reinstall.

Re: Feature or Bug? fresh install fixes mistakes?

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:41 pm
by widget
To clarify just a little on your settings.

Your user config files, the configurations you set so that your box fits the way you work, are stored in your users home directory. This is on your /home partition.

To look at these files in your file manager just hit Ctrl + h. This will show you your "hidden" files.

You state the "most" of your settings are still there. I would say that sounds like some of those settings were causing the problem, what ever it was, in the first place.

If you know which program is the problem you can simply delete the associated ~/.hidden file for that program (.gimp, .rhythmbox, etc) and reboot. The file will be regenerated using the default settings. Then you can screw up your install again. Well maybe not but I sure could.

It is also possible to just remove the offending ~/.hidden file to someplace else. Then you can compare it to the new default file. Warning - this could lead to learning something about how your OS works. Very dangerous.

Re: Feature or Bug? fresh install fixes mistakes?

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:51 pm
by BrianD
widget wrote:... you can simply delete the associated ~/.hidden file for that program (.gimp, .rhythmbox, etc) and reboot.


I agree with your post, for the most part -- but there is no need to reboot the system in this (and, it can be argued, most) situation(s)... it is true that a reboot will accomplish what is needed, but it's overkill (kinda like buying a new car because the ashtray is full of candy wrappers in your current car; a new car will come with a new ashtray (most likely), but there are other things you could do, short of buying a new car, to deal with an ashtray full of candy wrappers).

In this case, restarting the application without the associated user configuration file in place should be more than sufficient. At the worst, perhaps log out of the session and re-login. Certainly no need to reboot the whole machine.

Re: Feature or Bug? fresh install fixes mistakes?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:39 pm
by widget
BrianD wrote:
widget wrote:... you can simply delete the associated ~/.hidden file for that program (.gimp, .rhythmbox, etc) and reboot.


I agree with your post, for the most part -- but there is no need to reboot the system in this (and, it can be argued, most) situation(s)... it is true that a reboot will accomplish what is needed, but it's overkill (kinda like buying a new car because the ashtray is full of candy wrappers in your current car; a new car will come with a new ashtray (most likely), but there are other things you could do, short of buying a new car, to deal with an ashtray full of candy wrappers).

In this case, restarting the application without the associated user configuration file in place should be more than sufficient. At the worst, perhaps log out of the session and re-login. Certainly no need to reboot the whole machine.

You are, of coarse, right.

I have found that folks feel more comfortable, for some reason, rebooting.

I like the analigy by the way. I have known folks that were about that kind of person. Have known several that throw dishes away instead of washing them too.

Usually I find, like you, that just opening the file will create the new config file. That file is called for at that time after all is said and done, just as it is when you log out/in or reboot.