Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

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slipstick
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:48 pm

JosephM wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:58 pm
....when I do an install I want it clean. I don't want left overs.
I have a triple boot system (UEFI, gpt) on a single 1TB HDD with W7 (used once a year to do my income tax return), LM17.3 (retired) and LM18.3. The way I have this set up may be a little too advanced for a complete newbie, but is really pretty simple and should be easy for a near beginner to implement if he has a gpt HDD with plenty of space on it.

What I have started doing is to have separate partitions for odd numbered and even numbered Mint editions. Actually I have a separate / and /home for each version (probably don't really need the separate /home, but I started out with that and see no reason to change at this point). I have a separate Data partition shared between both versions and have moved my thunderbird and firefox profiles onto the data partition (symlinked from the thunderbird and firefox directories in both versions) so that all my personal data, emails, and FF bookmarks are available from either version. So when I get ready to install LM19, it will replace LM17.3, but I can continue using LM18.3 while I configure LM19 at my leisure. Then I will continue upgrading to 19.1, 19.2, 19.3 in place, then LM20 will replace LM18.3. I am not using a shared /home for both because I have heard that sometimes using old versions of configuration files can conflict with newer versions of the same software, so a clean install seems safer. I made a detailed itemized list of everything I did when I moved from 17.3 to 18.3, so I think setting up 19 "from scratch" should not be too bad. I can boot into 18.3 when I want to use the computer, or boot into 19 when I have some spare time to get it configured, without worrying that I will mess something up on my working 18.3. When I get 19 configured and switch over to using it full time, I will still have 18.3 as a backup. The only complication I have run into is with "firejail" - because I moved my thunderbird and firefox profiles onto my data partition I had to add a whitelist statement for these folders in /etc/firejail/firefox.profile and /etc/firejail/thunderbird.profile.
EDIT: Per recommendation from Fred Barclay, it is best not to modify those two firejail ".profile" files, but rather to create two new files, /etc/firejail/firefox.local and /etc/firejail/thunderbird.local and put the required whitelist statement in each file, so that an update to firejail which replaces /etc/firejail/firefox.profile and /etc/firejail/thunderbird.profile will not wipe out the whitelist statements.

Here's my disk layout:

Code: Select all

Model: ATA ST1000DM003-1ER1 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 1000GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    File system     Name                          Flags
 1      1049kB  106MB   105MB   fat32           EFI system partition          boot, esp
 2      106MB   240MB   134MB                   Microsoft reserved partition  msftres
 3      240MB   302GB   301GB   ntfs            Basic data partition          msftdata
11      322GB   344GB   21.5GB  ext4            LM18_root
12      354GB   365GB   10.7GB  ext4            LM18_home
13      387GB   483GB   96.6GB  ext4            LM18_timeshift
 4      500GB   500GB   105MB   fat32                                         msftdata
 5      500GB   522GB   21.5GB  ext4            LM17_root
 6      522GB   543GB   21.5GB  ext4            LM17_home
 7      543GB   651GB   107GB   ext4            Data
 8      651GB   668GB   17.2GB  linux-swap(v1)  Swap
10      878GB   983GB   105GB   ext4            LM17_timeshift
 9      983GB   1000GB  17.2GB  fat32           Share                         msftdata
Last edited by slipstick on Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rui no onna
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by rui no onna » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:15 pm

slipstick wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:48 pm
I have a separate Data partition shared between both versions and have moved my thunderbird and firefox profiles onto the data partition (symlinked from the thunderbird and firefox directories in both versions) so that all my personal data, emails, and FF bookmarks are available from either version.
Question, how did you do that for Firefox? On Windows, I use Firefox Portable and I need to find how to do something similar on Linux. I already have the separate shared data partition (subvolume really) and I think I'll only be symlinking targeted directories in /home (e.g. Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, etc). As you noted, I'm also trying not to mix up incompatible configuration files between different distros hence the separate /home for each.

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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:05 pm

rui no onna wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:15 pm
Question, how did you do that for Firefox? On Windows, I use Firefox Portable and I need to find how to do something similar on Linux. I already have the separate shared data partition (subvolume really) and I think I'll only be symlinking targeted directories in /home (e.g. Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, etc). As you noted, I'm also trying not to mix up incompatible configuration files between different distros hence the separate /home for each.
On my Data partition, I made a new hidden (not really necessary to make it hidden) directory for the FF profile, and one for the Thunderbird profile, named .firefox and .thunderbird. Then I moved the entire Firefox profile directory named mwad0hks.default (with all its subdirectories) from its original location /home/<my user name>/.mozilla/firefox to /home/<my user name>/Data/.firefox and replaced it with a symlink mwad0hks.default in the original location pointing to /home/<my user name>/Data/.firefox/mwad0hks.default. I did the same with Thunderbird, replacing the TB profile (named zsw2x4o8.default on my system) in /home/<my user name>/.thunderbird with a symlink of the same name pointing to /home/<my user name>/Data/.thunderbird/zsw2x4o8.default . I could have skipped the intermediate .firefox and .thunderbird directories in the Data directory, but I put those in just so I would know which of those oddly named profiles were which.

Then, to make it work with firejail, I had to add a whitelist statement to /etc/firejail/firefox.profile: whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.firefox
and another to /etc/firejail/thunderbird.profile: whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.thunderbird

Note - the names of your FF and TB profile directories may differ from mine, but should be the same format xxxxxxxx.default.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by rui no onna » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:20 pm

Thank you very much for the instructions!

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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:35 am

For backing up my dual system, I have a separate Timeshift partition for each of the two LM installations for backing up the system files.

For backing up my /home and Data partitions, I use Back-In-Time. I have three target profiles on my external USB HDD, numbered 1, 2, and 3. In LM17.3 (and in future LM19) BIT settings, I have a "Main" profile and a "Data" profile set up so that "Main" backs up my /home, excluding the Data partition to profile 1 on the USB drive and "Data" backs up my Data partition to profile 3 on the USB drive. In LM18.3 (and future LM20) BIT settings, I also have a "Main" and a "Data" profile, with "Main" backing up /home, excluding Data to profile 2 on the USB drive and "Data" backing up to the same 3 profile as used for LM17.3.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by rui no onna » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:03 pm

Btw, I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before but keeping a Live USB of your OS available for troubleshooting purposes is extremely helpful (particularly if your system boots into grub rescue or initramfs command line).

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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by Fred Barclay » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:03 am

slipstick wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:05 pm

Then, to make it work with firejail, I had to add a whitelist statement to /etc/firejail/firefox.profile: whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.firefox
and another to /etc/firejail/thunderbird.profile: whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.thunderbird

Note - the names of your FF and TB profile directories may differ from mine, but should be the same format xxxxxxxx.default.
Small recommendation -- the /etc/firejail/firefox.profile file may be overwritten when you update firejail. If instead you either
(a). copy it over to ~/.config/firejail/firefox.profile and add the line whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.firefox, or
(b). create the file /etc/firejail/firefox.local with only the line whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.firefox,
your changes will persist across updates.

Same thing for thunderbird and any other profiles. ;)

EDIT: correct wrong file name for local - thanks @slipstick
Last edited by Fred Barclay on Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:44 am

Fred Barclay wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:03 am
Small recommendation -- the /etc/firejail/firefox.profile file may be overwritten when you update firejail. If instead you either
(a). copy it over to ~/.config/firejail/firefox.profile and add the line whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.firefox, or
(b). create the file /etc/firejail/firefox.local.profile with only the line whitelist ${HOME}/Data/.firefox,
your changes will persist across updates.

Same thing for thunderbird and any other profiles. ;)
Thanks, Fred. I took your option (b), as it seemed cleaner - thought maybe if there should be other changes to the profiles when updated, then having two copies in different places, one updated and one not, might somehow cause a conflict.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:12 am

@Fred Barclay

Fred, I just noticed something about your option b) in your last post. Shouldn't that file I create be /etc/firejail/firefox.local and not /etc/firejail/firefox.local.profile, as the former file name is the one included in /etc/firejail/firefox.profile ? And similarly for thunderbird?

Note - I haven't really tested this yet, as Ieft the whitelist statement in my /etc/firejail/firefox.profile and /etc/firejail/thunderbird.profile which haven't been overwritten because I haven't made any updates to firejail.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by Valsodar » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:23 pm

KBD47 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:07 pm
1. If It Ain't Broken Don't Fix It.
2. You Might Be Better Off Sticking With Windows For Now.
3. Keep Windows Alongside Linux Until You Feel Comfortable Leaving It Behind.
4. Be Willing Try Try Other Linux Distributions And Desktop Versions.
5. Read About The History of Linux, Various Distributions, and The Free Software Movement.
6. Share Your Passion For Linux.
7. Give Back.
1. I'm something in between newbie and noob - not even close to a guru. But I wonder: how are the newbies supposed to learn Linux and get used to it, if they don't break and then fix it? Personal trial and error is the best teacher for Linux and by doing that you can learn things no one else can teach you.
2. They better start learning Linux now, until Windows hasn't enslaved them for good. Cuz when all the other Windows versions die (2020 and 2021) and only Dumbows 10 remains, they'll have no choice but to voluntarily enslave themselves with Dumbows 10 or switch to an OS they know nothing about and that doesn't work as they expect.
3. That's a good one. I did that for about 2 months - the time I needed to find replacement software for the programs I used to use in Windows. Well, there's still one program that can never be replaced unless the Germans who develop it decide to compile it for Linux, though I doubt they'd do that.
4. Been there, done that. This is how I came to choosing Cinnamon as prefered desktop environment and Mint as prefered distro. This whole experience was fun, though.
5. Personally I never needed to know the history of Linux. All I need to know is that at some point you had to compile the kernel yourself and basically Linux used to be a useless crap back in those days - one that required the user to have 3 higher educations in order to use it.
6. Idk what you mean by "passion for Linux" but I can only tell you that fixing something yourself no one else could help you fix makes you feel incredible. :)

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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by trope » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:06 am

slipstick wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:48 pm
I have a triple boot system (UEFI, gpt) on a single 1TB HDD with W7 (used once a year to do my income tax return), LM17.3 (retired) and LM18.3. The way I have this set up may be a little too advanced for a complete newbie, but is really pretty simple and should be easy for a near beginner to implement if he has a gpt HDD with plenty of space on it.

What I have started doing is to have separate partitions for odd numbered and even numbered Mint editions. Actually I have a separate / and /home for each version (probably don't really need the separate /home, but I started out with that and see no reason to change at this point). I have a separate Data partition shared between both versions and have moved my thunderbird and firefox profiles onto the data partition (symlinked from the thunderbird and firefox directories in both versions) so that all my personal data, emails, and FF bookmarks are available from either version. So when I get ready to install LM19, it will replace LM17.3, but I can continue using LM18.3 while I configure LM19 at my leisure. Then I will continue upgrading to 19.1, 19.2, 19.3 in place, then LM20 will replace LM18.3. I am not using a shared /home for both because I have heard that sometimes using old versions of configuration files can conflict with newer versions of the same software, so a clean install seems safer. I made a detailed itemized list of everything I did when I moved from 17.3 to 18.3, so I think setting up 19 "from scratch" should not be too bad. I can boot into 18.3 when I want to use the computer, or boot into 19 when I have some spare time to get it configured, without worrying that I will mess something up on my working 18.3. When I get 19 configured and switch over to using it full time, I will still have 18.3 as a backup. The only complication I have run into is with "firejail" - because I moved my thunderbird and firefox profiles onto my data partition I had to add a whitelist statement for these folders in /etc/firejail/firefox.profile and /etc/firejail/thunderbird.profile.
Why update by decimal versions (19.1 to 19.2...)?

Why update by whole numbers (17, 18, 19) instead of waiting until before it is no longer supported and then installing the latest version available at the time? How much benefit is there?

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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by lsemmens » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:13 am

My advice is to "jump right in" Yes, you might find some things that you need that aren't readily available, but that's where forums such as this one come in. Occasionally you'll find that you might need something that is only Windoze specific, but, seriously, they are few and far between. That's where jumping in comes in, it FORCES you to learn different ways to do things. It took me a long time to jump ship because I was locked into Access and VBA for documents and spreadsheets. The VBA stuff can be replaced by learning other tools to do the job. Access was my biggest hurdle, and I eventually just bit the bullet and re-entered all my data into a ready made linux solution. With a bit of jigger pokery to get it working. I've now got to learn a suitable alternative to Sketchup, but there are plenty to choose from. To me, the best learning experience is total immersion. If you keep skipping back to Windoze to perform a "simple" task, you'll never learn how to do it in Linux, which, MAY actually be MUCH easier and more portable.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by Moem » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:27 am

lsemmens wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:13 am
My advice is to "jump right in"
That's what I did. I also completely disregarded 'principles' 1 to 5. There are different ways of getting into Linux and what works for some may not work for others.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:37 am

trope wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:06 am
Why update by decimal versions (19.1 to 19.2...)?
To get newer software.
trope wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:06 am
Why update by whole numbers (17, 18, 19) instead of waiting until before it is no longer supported and then installing the latest version available at the time? How much benefit is there?
I'm not really sure what you're asking here. Of course you can stay with the original release (17, 18, 19) as it will be supported for 5 years. Or you can stay with any of the point releases until they reach EOL as these are also supported. In the past, I have not upgraded regularly - I went from LM16 to LM17.1 to LM17.3 to LM18.3 - and I still haven't installed 19 yet. But whenever I do upgrade to a new point version, I stay with the original LTS kernel series - currently running LM18.3 with kernel 4.4.0-134.
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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by trope » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:32 pm

slipstick wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:37 am
trope wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:06 am
Why update by decimal versions (19.1 to 19.2...)?
To get newer software.
trope wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:06 am
Why update by whole numbers (17, 18, 19) instead of waiting until before it is no longer supported and then installing the latest version available at the time? How much benefit is there?
I'm not really sure what you're asking here. Of course you can stay with the original release (17, 18, 19) as it will be supported for 5 years. Or you can stay with any of the point releases until they reach EOL as these are also supported. In the past, I have not upgraded regularly - I went from LM16 to LM17.1 to LM17.3 to LM18.3 - and I still haven't installed 19 yet. But whenever I do upgrade to a new point version, I stay with the original LTS kernel series - currently running LM18.3 with kernel 4.4.0-134.
I asked why you update. I mean what are the differences between decimal versions, eg 17.1, 17.2, 17.3, are these considered essential upgrades, eg for security reasons? Are they bug fixes? How complicated is it to upgrade from 17.1 to 17.2? For a novice whose system is working fine, is it worth the effort to upgrade by decimal number?

https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31632/w ... oes-it-do/
Can it be assumed that 17.1, 17.2, and 17.3 have the same kernel series, and that 18.1 is the same as 18.2 and 18.3? I don't know what you're getting at regarding staying with the original LTS (long-term support?) kernel series.

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Re: Advice For Linux Newbies - 7 Principles

Post by slipstick » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:57 pm

trope wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:32 pm
I asked why you update. I mean what are the differences between decimal versions, eg 17.1, 17.2, 17.3, are these considered essential upgrades, eg for security reasons? Are they bug fixes? How complicated is it to upgrade from 17.1 to 17.2? For a novice whose system is working fine, is it worth the effort to upgrade by decimal number?
The point upgrades are not secuity updates - all point releases are supported and get security updates for the whole life of the release. So 19 will be supported until 2023, as will 19.1, 19.2 and 19.3. So you don't have to upgrade if you don't want to. But there will be new features and improvements introduced with the point releases. As far as I know, much (most?) application S/W versions doesn't change until the next version (whole number) release, though some will be upgraded to a newer version through the normal update process - this is one area that I am not real clear about. Upgrading to a new point release is easy and is done through the Update Manager - hardly more difficult than a regular (large) update, based on what I remember from the last time I did one of those (upgraded to LM17.3 from 17.1 ? or 17.2 ?, but I stayed on that until about 6 months ago when I did a clean install of 18.3)
trope wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:32 pm
https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31632/w ... oes-it-do/
Can it be assumed that 17.1, 17.2, and 17.3 have the same kernel series, and that 18.1 is the same as 18.2 and 18.3? I don't know what you're getting at regarding staying with the original LTS (long-term support?) kernel series.
New kernels are introduced with the point releases, but as I understand it, the new kernels are not supported for the full life of the whole number release. When 18 was released, it used the 4.4 series which is the LTS kernel supported until 2021. LM18.1 kept the 4.4 kernel, LM18.2 introduced 4.8 series, and 18.3 introduced 4.10. These are the kernels you would get doing a clean install. The 4.8 kernel was only supported until 18.3 was released with the 4.10 kernel. If you just upgrade to a new point release, the kernel is not changed, AFAIK. I prefer to stay with the LTS kernel, which is why when I did a clean install of 18.3, I downgraded my kernel to 4.4.

This may be of interest:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Min ... on_history

and maybe this will clear things up (or not):
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=276468&p=1518358&h ... e#p1518268
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