Noob Starts From Scratch

All Gurus once were Newbies
Forum rules
There are no such things as "stupid" questions. However if you think your question is a bit stupid, then this is the right place for you to post it. Please stick to easy to-the-point questions that you feel people can answer fast. For long and complicated questions prefer the other forums within the support section.
Before you post please read how to get help
FrustratedNoob
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:14 pm

Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by FrustratedNoob » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:07 pm

This thread is me, a Linux noob, installing Linux Mint 18.2 XFCE and doing things really slowly and carefully and asking for help every time I have to be root or do something that looks like it might be important so I don't get things screwed up like I have every other time I've tried to Linux. Hopefully this will help me and other frustrated noobs understand how to start using Linux without messing up as bad as I have.

I figure I'll never be good enough to contribute to computing with my smarts. Maybe I can contribute with my ignorance. =)

Also I apologize in advance for sounding like a frustrated moron in desparate need of help with things that you guys think are simple, but that is kind of the whole point.

About me:
I started using computers in the late 80's. I used mainly DOS and Windows (3.1, 95, 98, xp, and 7 a little) before deciding to try to switch to Linux a year or so ago (partly cuz of my disgust with MS and partly cuz I only had a Gateway Pentium4 that could only do XP). I went a few years in the 2010s without having a computer and before that I generally had a kinda outdated one if I had one at all. I've always been really interested in computers, but I've never really progressed in ability beyond just a decent Windows user. Also, I've seen Serial Experiments Lain like 10,000 times.

About my computer:
Dell Vostro 400
Core2 Duo
Some kinda GeForce card, I think

(I'd tell you more but lshw shows me a warning to run as root, which I ain't doing yet, and then I don't know what most of the stuff it shows means, and hwinfo isnt installed and i dont know any more 'show me what's in my computer' commands.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's what I've done so far:
0. Installed Mint 18.2 XFCE to sda
1. Set Update Manager to 'Just keep my computer safe'
2. Installed mint-upgrade-info in Update Manager
3. Update Manager had a bunch of stuff X'd to update and I didn't know what a lot of it was so I erred on the side of noobish caution and closed the window and decided to get on here
4. Set Firefox prefs like I usually do (no 3rd party cookies, kill cookies on exit, use Duckduckgo.com, etc) and got the usual add ons (HttpsEverywhere, NoScript, uBlock, etc)
5. Came here to look stupid asking how updates work...

I don't have a basic understanding of how updates work or why I need them.
I don't understand why it always wants to update things I don't even use, have or want, even when I set it to only do the minimum updates.
I don't understand why there is the choice between getting security updates to be safer, but the security updates might break your computer. What's safer about more likely to be broken?
I don't understand why updating any program, not even installing a new one, just updating, should break my computer.

Also, when it makes me use the root pw to do the updates is that like using su, sudo, gksu or gksudo or something else?
What about in Thunar?

Thanks for any help I get on this, I really really need it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

User avatar
jimallyn
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8945
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:34 pm
Location: Wenatchee, WA USA

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by jimallyn » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:20 pm

FrustratedNoob wrote:About my computer:
Dell Vostro 400
Core2 Duo
Some kinda GeForce card, I think
There are a number of ways to get information about your computer. One of the best is to open a terminal, type inxi -Fxz, and press Enter. That's what most of the most experienced users here will ask for when they try to help you.
FrustratedNoob wrote:I don't have a basic understanding of how updates work or why I need them.
I don't understand why it always wants to update things I don't even use, have or want, even when I set it to only do the minimum updates.
Most software is being constantly improved and updated. When you run a distro like Debian Unstable, you will receive updates to everything, all the time, and most of them haven't been adequately tested yet. Mint is intended to be stable; everything should "just work." So, not every update will be made available in Update Manager. What will be made available is security updates. It may be found that there is an exploitable bug or problem in a program, and updates will almost always be offered for those. But, if a program is stable, works well in Mint, and doesn't have security holes, you probably will not get updates to add new features and that sort of thing. One of the things about Linux is that it is very modular. There's an old saying that "a program should do one thing, and do it well." So, where in Windows you might have a massive program that does everything, in Linux you will more likely have a "frame" of a program, and that frame will fill in with other programs that "do one thing and do it well." These programs are usually called libraries, or "libs." So, when you run a program, there are likely a bunch of these "libs" being run that you don't see. So, there will be core libs that other applications rely on, and sometimes you will see something being updated and think, "I don't even use that program, why is that being updated?" Most likely, it's because some other program relies or "depends" on it. An example would be Synaptic. You might think that you never run Synaptic. But Update Manager calls on Synaptic for some of its functions. So, when Synaptic is updated, that update will be installed in Mint because Update Manager depends on it. You are running Synaptic whether you know it or not.

I hope I have explained that adequately, but if not, ask more questions. Others will probably pop in and answer some of your other questions, and probably some clarification on what I have written.

Remember that while there are many things that you can know about Linux, there really aren't that many that you have to know. For most users, it's just a matter of clicking the Menu button, finding the program you want in the Menu, clicking on it, and away you go. So, if there are things that you don't quite understand yet, don't worry about it, have patience, you will get it all in time.
Image

“If the government were coming for your TVs and cars, then you'd be upset. But, as it is, they're only coming for your sons.” - Daniel Berrigan

User avatar
pbear
Level 8
Level 8
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:25 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by pbear » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:54 am

Hey FrustratedNoob. As a fellow noob, I found your question interesting, so decided to take a look at what Update Manager would say about my machine. Like you, I had a long list of things wanting updates. (Hadn't run until now, as I've been focusing on other issues.) My hunch, frankly, is that the folks who assemble packages for inclusion in the distribution don't worry much about getting the most recent ones because they know that'll get taken care of by UM. In any event, it's easy to see which updates might be of concern. Basically, everything at Levels 1 and 2 is safe. In 18.1, Level 3 was marked as (probably) safe even though untested, so I had already unselected it. Don't know what's the default in 18.2, as I got there by upgrade, but you can check by going to Edit: Preferences: Levels.

Hope that helps and is mostly correct. Obviously, take the word of more experienced users over mine.
By the way, if you haven't yet, read the help file. There are only about half-a-dozen entries.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
If your problem has been solved, please edit the thread title.

Cosmo.
Level 23
Level 23
Posts: 17830
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:34 am

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by Cosmo. » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:06 am

FrustratedNoob wrote:I don't understand why updating any program, not even installing a new one, just updating, should break my computer.
Any software can contain bugs. Nobody likes that, but that is reality. An update can fix bugs - inclusive security leaks -, but it can also introduce new bugs; if this happens we talk about a regression. A regression can give all kind of problems, in the worst case the updated package fails completely. As long as only a single application (say the text editor) fails, this has no impact to the system, but in case of system components get a regression, parts of the system - in the worst case the complete system - might stop working. That's why those packages are leveled as level 3 or level 4 (in Mint 18.2).
FrustratedNoob wrote:Also, when it makes me use the root pw to do the updates is that like using su, sudo, gksu or gksudo or something else?
What about in Thunar?
Actually you use your user password. In Mint 18.2 a root password does not even exist (by default). Yes, if you enter in the update manager your password, it is somehow similar to using gksudo, but technically there are differences. For the usage one thing is very important to obey: If you need to run any graphical program with elevated rights you must only use gksudo, never sudo. Otherwise you will break your user account. This is true for any graphical program, so also for Thunar.

User avatar
Pierre
Level 19
Level 19
Posts: 9159
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:33 am
Location: Perth, AU.

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by Pierre » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:31 am

actually FrustratedNoob it seems that you've been poking around with PCs for some time now,
& so you will probably know more than you realise.

the main thing, is to accept whatever the LinuxMint defaults are, as generally, that's what works the best.
- leave the modifications, for later when you have some better Linux experience,
and can mess around with either a dedicated Test PC, or with a Virtual System.

if you do have any questions / queries then post them back here,
and someone should be able to address those issues.
Image
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

User avatar
majpooper
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 951
Joined: Thu May 09, 2013 1:56 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by majpooper » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:13 pm

Definitely apply the updates - as Cosmos said you use your user ID to authenticate.

It is a good idea to create a root password - which is very easy to do.

Pjotr, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced Linux Mint contributors on this forum, has a great web site that will walk you through how to set up LM so it will ". . . give you a polished, nearly maintenance-free operating system . . . " I suggest you go through it - it will make you system run better and you will learn a lot - and it really does not take all that long to do.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

FrustratedNoob
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by FrustratedNoob » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:31 pm

Thanks for the replies, people.

I think I understand updates and how programs work a little better now and it's cool that a fellow noob thought I said something interesting.

Pjotr's page looks pretty helpful. I havent done much of it yet, but I probably will soon (caaaarefully).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's some stuff I've done since last time :
(Nothing's screwy yet. I'm just being thorough.)

1. Downloaded all of the level 1 & 2 updates
2. Used the terminal to get ufw firewall
3. Set the desktop, panels, and whisker menu up like I like them
4. Thought about putting my files from my backup drive on here and/or getting some programs from the repo but I came here instead...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's some more noob questions before I continue my adventures in Linuxing:

Repos
1. Is it better to use just one repo or is both ok?
2. Is it better to use the gui for Synaptic and Software Center or should I use the terminal?
3. When I put my password in to use Synaptic, Software Center, etc, is that like using sudo, su, gksudo, gksu or something else?
4. Can I screw things up or cause dependency issues or anything by getting things from the repos, or do all the programs in a repo play well together?

Terminals
1. Is the terminal "real" or like an emulator or something? Is it like DOS with Win 3.1 running on it, or is it like a cmd window running inside of Win 7, or something else entirely?
2.Are different terminals (xterm, uxterm, terminal emulator, etc) different about that?

Permissions and Ownership
0. I'm still kinda sketchy on the basics of su, sudo, gksu, gksudo, that kinda thing in general
1. If I have pics on a usb drive and I want to put them into /home/me/Pictures/Wallpaper should I be able to do that without su, sudo, gksu, gksudo? If not, which do I use. If Its a gk one, how do I do that?
2. If I right click a folder in Thunar and select "Open as root", what happens? Is that like using su, sudo, gksu, gksudo, or something else? (I feel like I've probably maybe screwed this one up a lot in the past cuz that's how i usually get permission to do things and I only recently learned of gksudo's existence.)
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

User avatar
Schultz
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1632
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:57 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by Schultz » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:49 pm

FrustratedNoob wrote:
Here's some more noob questions before I continue my adventures in Linuxing:
Some answers and comments:

Repos:
1. Have no idea what your question is. Can you explain it better? If you're talking about the Update Manager, one is for stuff from Ubuntu, the other is for stuff from Mint.
2. I always use the Software Manager. Why use the terminal?
3. The purpose of that is to prevent "just anyone" from making changes to your setup.
4. [ blank ]

Terminals:
1. It is like (or, somewhat like) cmd in Windows.
2. [ blank ]

Permissions and Ownership:
1. Yes. Just simply use copy-and-paste.
2. Things that require being opened as Root ("Administrator" in Mate, my DE of choice) are usually things that affect the system. Tread carefully.

User avatar
jimallyn
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8945
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:34 pm
Location: Wenatchee, WA USA

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by jimallyn » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:28 pm

FrustratedNoob wrote:Pjotr's page looks pretty helpful. I havent done much of it yet, but I probably will soon (caaaarefully).
I don't think I have ever seen anything on Pjotr's site cause trouble for anyone. I think I saw one time that somebody mentioned there might be a better way or something like that, but I've never had any problems with anything I've got from there.
FrustratedNoob wrote:1. Is it better to use just one repo or is both ok?
OK to use them both. In fact, on my computer I have enabled a half dozen or more different repos, and while some here will tell you this is a recipe for disaster, I haven't had any problems yet.
FrustratedNoob wrote:2. Is it better to use the gui for Synaptic and Software Center or should I use the terminal?
Either way is OK, with one exception for updates: Update Manager sorts applications into levels indicating safety. The terminal doesn't do that; it just installs what you tell it to install whether it's a good idea or not. So stick to the Update Manager for updates. For installing new programs, Synaptic, Software Manager, or terminal should all give you the same results. I mostly use Synaptic, just because I have been using it for a long time and have gotten used to it.
FrustratedNoob wrote:3. When I put my password in to use Synaptic, Software Center, etc, is that like using sudo, su, gksudo, gksu or something else?
For practical purposes, it's pretty much the same thing.
FrustratedNoob wrote:4. Can I screw things up or cause dependency issues or anything by getting things from the repos, or do all the programs in a repo play well together?
Everything from the repos should be OK. I might have seen one time something in the repos caused a problem, but that would be quite rare.
FrustratedNoob wrote:1. Is the terminal "real" or like an emulator or something? Is it like DOS with Win 3.1 running on it, or is it like a cmd window running inside of Win 7, or something else entirely?
Well, there are terminals, and then there are terminals. If you hit Ctrl-Alt-F1 through Ctrl-Alt-F6, you will drop to a terminal level below the GUI. It is possible to run your system this way with no GUI at all, just the terminal. (And sometimes people have to do this to rescue their system. Or some people just like to use their computer that way.) But if you run xterm or one of those, then you are running a terminal emulator inside the GUI. So, you can have it both ways: DOS with Win3.1 on top, or Win7 with a cmd window.
FrustratedNoob wrote:0. I'm still kinda sketchy on the basics of su, sudo, gksu, gksudo, that kinda thing in general
The first thing you should remember is that it will be very rare that you have to use su or gksu. (I don't remember the last time I had to - years ago.) When you do that, you are logged in as root. But if you use sudo or gksudo, you're just a regular user with elevated privileges. It may be slight, but there is a difference. Use sudo and gksudo, don't use su or gksu.
FrustratedNoob wrote:1. If I have pics on a usb drive and I want to put them into /home/me/Pictures/Wallpaper should I be able to do that without su, sudo, gksu, gksudo? If not, which do I use. If Its a gk one, how do I do that?
In theory, you should be able to do this with ordinary user privileges. But I have had a couple of times where for whatever reason I didn't have permission to access those files. In that case, I usually use the right click, open as root method. I suppose you could use gksudo <nameofyourfilemanagerhere> but that's not the way I usually do it.
FrustratedNoob wrote:2. If I right click a folder in Thunar and select "Open as root", what happens? Is that like using su, sudo, gksu, gksudo, or something else? (I feel like I've probably maybe screwed this one up a lot in the past cuz that's how i usually get permission to do things and I only recently learned of gksudo's existence.)
That's the way I usually do it. I'm not sure whether it would be precisely like gksudo or what, but for most practical purposes, it probably doesn't matter. Hope this is helpful.
Image

“If the government were coming for your TVs and cars, then you'd be upset. But, as it is, they're only coming for your sons.” - Daniel Berrigan

Cosmo.
Level 23
Level 23
Posts: 17830
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:34 am

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by Cosmo. » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:49 am

FrustratedNoob wrote:1. Is it better to use just one repo or is both ok?
I am not sure, what you actually mean. If you mean (in the software sources at the first page) Mint and Ubuntu: You need both.
FrustratedNoob wrote:2. Is it better to use the gui for Synaptic and Software Center or should I use the terminal?
The terminal (better: the commands in the terminal) assume, that you know exactly, what you are doing. If you type something in error, it will - as far as possible - get executed, partially without a confirmation request. So there is a higher grade of user mistakes. Using a GUI tool is far more safe.
FrustratedNoob wrote:4. Can I screw things up or cause dependency issues or anything by getting things from the repos, or do all the programs in a repo play well together?
No, not all. E. g. the repos allow to install all possible desktop environments, but this would surely give troubles. Do not blindly believe, that the installation of every software in the repos is safe, only because the software is inside of them.
FrustratedNoob wrote:0. I'm still kinda sketchy on the basics of su, sudo, gksu, gksudo, that kinda thing in general
su will not work (at least not by default) in a fresh installation of 18.2. So forget it. gksu will work, because by default it uses sudo as backend and not (as you might expect) su. So using gksu and gksudo does not make a difference - as long as the backend does not get exchanged.

One thing is really important: Never use sudo with any graphical program. This will - sometimes more, sometimes less - break your user account with all possible kind of consequences. For any graphical program only gksudo is allowed.

And please don't understand (gk)sudo as kind of Swiss army knife, which can solve any problem. Possibly it can create new problems.
FrustratedNoob wrote:1. If I have pics on a usb drive and I want to put them into /home/me/Pictures/Wallpaper should I be able to do that without su, sudo, gksu, gksudo?
None of them, otherwise you will have at least write access trouble inside of your home. Usually you should have as normal user at least read access to the usb drive, what is enough to copy the files.
FrustratedNoob wrote:2. If I right click a folder in Thunar and select "Open as root", what happens? Is that like using su, sudo, gksu, gksudo, or something else?
It is like gksudo thunar.

User avatar
jimallyn
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8945
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:34 pm
Location: Wenatchee, WA USA

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by jimallyn » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:38 pm

Cosmo. wrote:
FrustratedNoob wrote:4. Can I screw things up or cause dependency issues or anything by getting things from the repos, or do all the programs in a repo play well together?
No, not all. E. g. the repos allow to install all possible desktop environments, but this would surely give troubles. Do not blindly believe, that the installation of every software in the repos is safe, only because the software is inside of them.
Good point, Cosmo. I forgot about that one. You definitely do not want to install multiple desktop environments.
Image

“If the government were coming for your TVs and cars, then you'd be upset. But, as it is, they're only coming for your sons.” - Daniel Berrigan

FrustratedNoob
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by FrustratedNoob » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:22 pm

Hello and thank you, everybody.

Here's some more questions related to the last stuff:

1. When, if ever, would I want to use the 'real terminal' instead of something like XFCE Terminal?
1a. How does an overly curious noob exit back out of the 'real terminal' when they get stuck in it the first time? I had to reset. It was like vim all over again. =)

2. "Never use sudo with any graphical program."
How do you use sudo with graphical programs? Does that mean typing it in bash or is there a way to do it from a graphical thingy?

3. Does a terminal in a window (ie XFCE Terminal, not the 'real' one) count as graphical since it's not the 'real terminal' but a program running in a window?

4. In gksudo, why are there several possile users in the 'as user' menu? I thought that the only users were root, me, and guest.
4a. What does 'preserve environment' do?
(I assume I just use the default settings and tell it what prog to run to use it. I'm just curious about 4 and 4a)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's some of what I've done since last time:

1. Copied stuff (pics, movies, books, atari roms, etc) from my backup drive to home/me/otherfolders

2. Downloaded some stuff from Software Manager.
-I didn't download some programs I usually get (ZSNES, Pychess, etc) because some red letters said "The following packages would be removed: libc-dbg, libc6. I've installed those on this machine from Mint's Software Manager before and it never said that, or anything red.

3. Downloaded some stuff from Synaptic and when I hit apply I got a window that said:
! An Error Occurred
The Following details are provided:
W: Cant drop privileges for download as file
'/root/.synaptic/tmp//tmp_sh'
couldn't be accessed by user '_apt'.-pkgAcquire::Run(13:Permission denied)

I've never seen one of those before.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Cosmo.
Level 23
Level 23
Posts: 17830
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:34 am

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by Cosmo. » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:42 pm

For the next batch of questions here the next batch of answers.

#1. This "real terminal" is usually named as "virtual console". Try to get used to those terms, it makes not only communication easier, but it helps you, if you read anywhere some text.

It gets most usually only used in emergency situations, e. g. if you cannot log in graphically. Otherwise it does in the days of desktops with graphical environment not more much sense. But there do exist also server machines, where the virtual console gets heavily used.

#1a. If you mean with "reset", that you did press the power button until the machine was off: Don't do that, you can damage your file system.
To get out of the virtual console press alt-left or alt-right once or several times, until you re back in the graphical environment. For convenience use the first virtual console (ctrl-alt-F1), in this a single alt-left brings you back, or the sixth (ctrl-alt-F6), where you use a single alt-right.
It is a good practice to log out of the virtual console before you leave it. This can easily be done by pressing ctrl-d in the empty command line. (ctrl-d can also be used in a graphical terminal to close it.)

#2. Forbidden (example) is sudo xed, allowed is gksudo xed. Regardless were you type it. This is important to obey for any graphical program.

#3. Yes.

#4. I am not quite sure, what you mean. You can create several user accounts, and they can or cannot have the right to use (gk)sudo. They do not exist by default, but they can get created (e. g. for dad, mom, son, daughter). That is good practice in a family, btw.

#4a. Please elaborate, what exactly you mean. In which context?

FrustratedNoob
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by FrustratedNoob » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:52 pm

1.So the 'real' one is the virtual console. Awesome.
1a. I used shutdown -r +0 to reset.

4. If I type gksudo in the whisker menu search/run box and hit enter it brings up a small window.
The window has a 1 line text entry box labeled 'Run', a dropdown menu labeled 'As user', a 'Cancel' button, an 'OK' button and an 'Advanced' button that has 2 unchecked check boxes for 'Login Shell' and 'Preserve Environment'. The 'As user' menu has things on it like: root, daemon, proxy, nobody, rkit, speech dispatcher, syslog, systemd-timesync, saned, etc.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

User avatar
austin.texas
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 12054
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:57 pm
Location: at /home

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by austin.texas » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:22 pm

FrustratedNoob wrote: 4. If I type gksudo in the whisker menu search/run box and hit enter it brings up a small window.
The window has a 1 line text entry box labeled 'Run', a dropdown menu labeled 'As user', a 'Cancel' button, an 'OK' button and an 'Advanced' button that has 2 unchecked check boxes for 'Login Shell' and 'Preserve Environment'. The 'As user' menu has things on it like: root, daemon, proxy, nobody, rkit, speech dispatcher, syslog, systemd-timesync, saned, etc.
That does not sound like something anyone should do, really. Using gksudo to start a program is common, but normally you enter the name of the program at the same time > "gksudo xed"
The "environment", I believe is a choice of preserving the current environment, that is, the current user's path and configuration (very basically), or using root's "environment". Generally, if you are running a program as root, you would not want to use the user's environment. As Cosmo said, that can cause all sorts of problems.
Mint 18.2 Cinnamon, Quad core AMD A8-3870 with Radeon HD Graphics 6550D, 8GB DDR3, Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI
Linux Linx 2018

Cosmo.
Level 23
Level 23
Posts: 17830
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:34 am

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by Cosmo. » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:19 pm

Preserving environment does exactly the bad thing, what shall get prevented by using gksudo instead of sudo. There might exist special situations, where this might be needed, but for normal user's usage this would be a catastrophe and lead - like wrong usage of sudo - to breaking your home.

User avatar
gold_finger
Level 9
Level 9
Posts: 2886
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:39 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by gold_finger » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:16 am

@ FrustratedNoob,

Others have answered most of your questions, so I won't repeat things they've said, but I will expand a bit on issue of sudo and gksu/gksudo usage because that seems to be causing quite a bit of confusion.

Neither of those are used from within a graphical program. They are only used from within a terminal. When you find and use a graphical program from the Menu that requires entering root/admin password, (eg. Synaptic, Software Center, Update Manager, Driver Manager, etc.), there is no need to use gksu or gksudo. You simply enter your password and that's it. (When you initially install Mint, it sets your user as a member of the sudo group -- meaning that you have root/admin privileges and your password is accepted when those privileges are necessary. Your password is the root password that is being requested in Mint.)

If, on the other hand, you were to try starting one of those programs (as root) with a command in a terminal window, then you would need to use gksu or gksudo. Another example to demonstrate what I mean. Thunar is the graphical file manager in Xfce. Normally, you don't use a terminal to start and use Thunar -- you just select it in the Menu or from an icon in the panel and browse through your file system to find what you're looking for. If you needed to open a particular directory/folder as root/admin, you would right-click on it then select "Open as Root". It would then ask for your password and open another instance of Thunar running as root. No gksu, or gksudo is needed -- just enter your password.

Even though you'll probably never do this, you could open Thunar as root with a command in a terminal. When people say "never open a graphical program using sudo", this is what they are referring to -- opening a graphical program as root from a terminal, not from the point-and-click Menu. In this instance you would use gksu or gksudo. For example, if you wanted to open the "/etc" directory as root in Thunar, you would type either gksu thunar /etc, or gksudo thunar /etc in a terminal. (Go ahead an do that so you see what I mean.)

You could start any graphical program from a terminal command, but you only use gksu or gksudo when you want to open them as root. For example, if you wanted to open the grub file under the /etc/default directory with your text editor from a terminal, you could enter this command: xed /etc/default/grub. Since the file is owned by root you would not be able to make any changes to it by opening as a regular user. To do that you would need to start the command with gksu or gksudo.

Some programs only run from the terminal -- they do not have graphical front ends shown in the Menu. For those programs "sudo" is used if it is required to be run as root. (Not all terminal-based programs need to be run as root, so don't automatically use sudo for any and every terminal-based program.) An example of that would be the "parted" command, which is a terminal-based disk partitioning program and it must be run as root. It and other terminal-based programs do not show up in the Applications Menu for you to point and click on. (Note: GParted is a graphical partition program which does show in the Menu if it is installed to your system. I'm not talking about that.) If you wanted to use parted to list the partitions on the drives attached to your system, you would type sudo parted --list into a terminal. (Go ahead and do that. Command will only list the partitions and won't change them or cause any problems.)

I hope this helped clear things up a bit.
Last edited by gold_finger on Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
Please add [SOLVED] to your thread if a solution is found. Go to your first post in the thread, hit "Edit" button and add [SOLVED] to the title of the post.

How To Format Your Forum Posts.

Try Linux Beginner Search Engine for Linux questions.

User avatar
mintymatrix
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:05 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by mintymatrix » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:45 am

I regularly update my system but have never faced any problem with updates.
Usually LM defaults / recommended options are the safest.

.

User avatar
BG405
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1906
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:09 pm
Location: England

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by BG405 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:34 am

I would just like to add to this, regarding sudo, gksudo etc. that if root privileges are required it should inform you, along the lines of ".. Are you root?" so no harm done trying without first.

.. "If in doubt, leave it out" may be a good policy whilst you are getting used to things. :)
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Lenovo T440 8GB - Manjaro KDE with Mint VMs
Toshiba NB250 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Dell PII 350 64MB - Puppy 4.3 & Win98-SE

FrustratedNoob
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: Noob Starts From Scratch

Post by FrustratedNoob » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:52 pm

Thanks for the help, non-noobs. That was pretty informative.

Here's some issues I've had since last time. Mostly error messages and window snapping problems. I always, always, always end up with window snapping problems after a week or two and I have no clue why or what to do about it.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
XFCE Terminal

-Window snapping is messed up.
-Theres always a bunch of space under and around the window when I snap it to the sides or corners. It's like it doesn't know where the bottom of the screen or the quandrant it's supposed to go in really is.
-The terminal window starts out really big every time now.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xed

-Window wont snap to sides or corners at all.
-I cant make the window narrower than about 65% of the screen. I can make it as short or tall as I want, just cant control the width.
-If I save, the terminal says:

(xed:5037): GVFS-WARNING **: can't init metadata tree /home/vlad/.local/share/gvfs-metadata/home: open: Permission denied

(xed:5037): GVFS-WARNING **: can't init metadata tree /home/vlad/.local/share/gvfs-metadata/home: open: Permission denied

(xed:5037): GVFS-WARNING **: can't init metadata tree /home/vlad/.local/share/gvfs-metadata/home: open: Permission denied

** (xed:5037): WARNING **: Set document metadata failed: Error setting file metadata: can't open metadata tree

(xed:5037): GVFS-WARNING **: can't init metadata tree /home/vlad/.local/share/gvfs-metadata/home: open: Permission denied

(xed:5037): GVFS-WARNING **: can't init metadata tree /home/vlad/.local/share/gvfs-metadata/home: open: Permission denied

** (xed:5037): WARNING **: Set document metadata failed: Error setting file metadata: can't open metadata tree

but the actual saving seems to work ok.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xplayer

-Window wont snap at all anymore if the playlist is open. Window snapping works normally if the playlist is closed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thunar


-If I run it from the terminal it says

** (thunar:5136): WARNING **: Couldn't connect to accessibility bus: Failed to connect to socket /tmp/dbus-g7MoR4qyV8: Connection refused
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

gksudo


If I type it in the terminal I get

** (gksudo:11480): WARNING **: Couldn't connect to accessibility bus: Failed to connect to socket /tmp/dbus-z2n7jGhlOE: Connection refused
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Firejail, PulseAudio, and a stubborn icon

I installed Firejail (Firefox sandbox) a few days ago and was having trouble with Pulse Audio not working so I removed Firejail (running FF from a sandbox sounds like a great idea, but not if my sound doesnt work). Now pulse audio seems to work again but I cant get rid of the Firejail whisker menu icon to save my life. It doesn't show up in the menu editor at all and cussing at it doesn't work, so I'm out of options on that. If anyone knows how to make Firejail and the sound work at the same time, that'd be awesome. If not, how do I murder the icon if I can't use the menu editor?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Synaptic
Synaptic was giving me a warning when I tried to download things but now that I've decided to gripe about it, I can't reproduce the problem. Maybe it decided to be cool again. I dunno.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Packages
If I try to install some things from the software manager, ZSNES, for example, it says in red letters "The following packages will be removed: libc6-dbg, libc6"

How do I know if that's something that'll break stuff or not? ZSNES has always been one of the first things I got from the repos and I've never had a message like that before. What could be different this time? Would it be better to install it from the repo or try to get it from a tarball or something (and probably noob-up the installation)?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Post Reply

Return to “Newbie Questions”