[SOLVED] A Different Set of Installation Instructions

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CommonJoe
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[SOLVED] A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by CommonJoe » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:25 am

Hi,

I've kept personal installation notes since starting to use Linux Mint on my main laptop a couple of years ago. They've evolved into a kind of check list for me since I experiment with operating system installations.

At some point, I realized they would be good for others too. I know about the installation guide that you recommend. It's very different than that. It both goes into more detail and goes into less detail than the installation guide. (I also make a couple of different choices from the installation guide.)

It's not quite ready, but when it is, I would like to post this information somewhere to announce it. Is there a specific place I could do that?

Target audience are those who are new to Linux Mint, probably coming from Windows, and have some experience with computers. Target audience are also those who want to see how someone else sets up their Linux Mint because they are looking for ideas, or trying to grasp a difficult-to-understand concept. Usefulness would be very low for experienced Linux users and those very new to computers.

Thanks

-- Common Joe

P.S. If you're wondering what kinds of things it contains, it mostly a check list so that I can setup and install things as I see fit for a new install, but it also dives deep into a few specific areas that I felt are very confusing. For instance, it explains that encrypting the home directory upon install uses eCryptfs which is deprecated (and that I don't recommend using it; I have them use the LUKS technology instead). One of the first things the check list has the user do after install is turn on the firewall and update Linux Mint. It has them install clamAV and chkrootkit. It explains why themes are a mess and how to navigate through some of that mess. I discuss VirtualBox and how to run that if Linux Mint is being run as a guest in VirtualBox. (A good thing if they want to try Linux Mint in a virtual machine.) There's the possibility to install Microsoft fonts (totally legal and found in the Synaptic Package Manager). Lists of applications to install and what they do -- applications for both the command line and the GUI. I'm currently working on the section with hard drive encryption using LUKS. (Sure, you can install Linux Mint with encryption using LUKS, but what if you want to add a second or third password? Or what if you have a second hard drive? What are the exact commands necessary to do that? Perhaps Veracrypt would be better in some instances...)
Last edited by CommonJoe on Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lsemmens
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by lsemmens » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:07 am

It's always useful to have such a list if you have a complex setup. I used to have such a list when I was running that "other" OS. Now I'm running Linux, I just never got around to it, because re-loading the OS happens so rarely, and is usually over inside of 20 minutes anyway. Time was when I'd list what had to be loaded and when, how long it took, any activation keys, settings that needed to restore and so forth. Haven't needed an activation key since.
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by CommonJoe » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:59 am

lsemmens wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:07 am
It's always useful to have such a list if you have a complex setup. I used to have such a list when I was running that "other" OS.
The kicker is that this checklist is a "typical" setup. I'm not doing anything extraordinary by the pros on here. Far from it. But the checklist covers a lot of stuff that the Linux Mint installation document doesn't cover.

I started with DOS and used Windows for decades. With the improvements in Linux and the destruction of anything good in Windows, I finally made the real jump two years ago. I'd been trying out different Linux operating systems for years in virtual machines knowing the I'd probably swap one day. With Windows 8, I'd finally had it. Linux Mint was my OS of choice. And I struggled the first two months to do anything useful despite having prepped on a virtual machine for months. There were simply things that just have to be learned. And here I am two years later still learning basic stuff.

If you come from the Windows world, how do you know about LUKS? How do you know about SSH, rsync, the variants of top, font installation, making a static IP Address? Is Timeshift important? (What exactly does Timeshift do?) How do you secure a computer? Which version of KeePass do you use? (There are several.) How do you back it up?

If we want to make "the year of the Linux desktop" actually happen, it's going to take something more than what we currently have to get people on board. Sometimes, you just need to tell someone, "Here. Start with this and work your way from there. And here are a some links for when you're curious and want to know more about this particular topic."

I'm not the best person to start that kind of revolution, but I see an opportunity to help the people who can. I think I'm seeing this from a different perspective. (Shrug.) We'll see.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:21 am

CommonJoe wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:25 am
It has them install clamAV and chkrootkit.
This automatically means few experienced Linux users would recommend your instructions. No point having new Linux desktop users coming from Windows believe there to to continue to be a realistic need for that nonsense.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by catweazel » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:28 am

CommonJoe wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:25 am
LUKS
turn on the firewall
install clamAV and chkrootkit
Good grief. Linux is not Windwoes, and encryption is not the for newcomers unless they are fully prepared for potentially major data loss.
¡uʍop ǝpısdn sı buıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ os ɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ ɯoɹɟ ɯ,ı

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:41 am

rene wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:21 am
CommonJoe wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:25 am
It has them install clamAV and chkrootkit.
This automatically means few experienced Linux users would recommend your instructions. No point having new Linux desktop users coming from Windows believe there to continue to be a realistic need for that nonsense.
+1

Even more so, because AV actually decreases security in desktop Linux. As it introduces a dangerous new vulnerability:
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... html#ID1.1
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:52 am

... and, referring to catweazel's compact enumeration, because chkrootkit does no more in practice then spew false positives, encryption being advisable at best for mobile machines (i,e., that leave the house and can be forgotten) and only then in specific circumstances and preferably only for an experienced user capable of dealing with problems, and finally a firewall being advisable basically only when using said Linux desktop for gaming or alike, or at least, also by an experienced user who knows why all those Linux tutorials concerning a LAN-networking subject he finds on the web don't work.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Moem » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:14 am

I see no disadvantage in switching the default firewall on. I've been doing it in all installations as a matter of routine. Maybe I'm missing something?
On the other hand I see no advantage in installing clamAV and chkrootkit. I've never heard of any Linux user who had their rear end saved by one of these. CommonJoe, why are you advising that?
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:41 am

Moem wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:14 am
I see no disadvantage in switching the default firewall on. I've been doing it in all installations as a matter of routine. Maybe I'm missing something?
Perhaps an actual LAN. I.e., rsyncing from one local machine to another needs with an enabled firewall someone cognizant of networking in the sense of ports and of which ports.

Other than that there's a reason distributions do not enable the firewall out of the box: what a firewall does is lay a brick wall around your house. Simply closing the door first will often make significantly more sense. On Windows and with closed-source software on Linux an issue is that it can be hard to find the door, and UPnP is a specific issue in that context, but it's still the case that not using untrustworthy software and/or disabling UPnP can make for significantly better newbie-advise than enabling a firewall, especially/specifically for those newbies with an active LAN.

Experienced users should clearly feel free; newbies I'd feel generally better served by not enabling a firewall unless/until they understand what it in fact is and does.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Moem » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:54 am

rene wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:41 am
Moem wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:14 am
I see no disadvantage in switching the default firewall on. I've been doing it in all installations as a matter of routine. Maybe I'm missing something?
Perhaps an actual LAN. I.e., rsyncing from one local machine to another needs with an enabled firewall someone cognizant of networking in the sense of ports and of which ports.
Yeah, I don't do that and I don't think most newbies do... I could be mistaken there. I've never had complaints.

As for the rest of your post, I have no idea what you're talking about.
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:57 am

Well, I believe Skype is past being cool these days, but that sort of stuff and file-sharing is another impacted area. As, by the way, gaming itself. As to the "no idea" part: it was a very straight-forward analogy w.r.t. firewalls; nothing weird.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by CommonJoe » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:00 am

I hadn't planned to engage in debate. My actual goal was to find a good place for this unusual thing.

Nevertheless, I'll tread lightly because there are worthwhile things being said here.
Moem wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:14 am
On the other hand I see no advantage in installing clamAV and chkrootkit. I've never heard of any Linux user who had their rear end saved by one of these. CommonJoe, why are you advising that?
Keep in mind I'm coming from a Windows world. I'm no Linux expert myself, but I'm trying hard to learn and pass on what I have learned. With that said, I was wondering why I was getting flack about the Anti-virus thing until I saw Pjotr's post.
Pjotr wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:41 am
Even more so, because AV actually decreases security in desktop Linux. As it introduces a dangerous new vulnerability:
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... html#ID1.1
I need time to think about his arguments. The idea of not installing Wine, Java, or Mono don't sit well with me. I think too many people would want to use these. Which brings the question: if I'm running a cross platform program, wouldn't I need a virus scanner? Feedback on this question is welcome.

In any case, there are interesting bits of information that I can certainly adapt and adopt from this website you provided. Thank you.
rene wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:41 am
Experienced users should clearly feel free; newbies I'd feel generally better served by not enabling a firewall unless/until they understand what it in fact is and does.
What would you suggest to a newbie if Linux Mint is being used in an airport or hotel on business? A simple firewall seems like the best idea for a user on the go. Or is there something better I'm not aware of?

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:09 am

CommonJoe wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:00 am
What would you suggest to a newbie if Linux Mint is being used in an airport or hotel on business?
Nothing. And see, that's the issue I have with firewall advise: the overwhelming (utterly overwhelming) majority of people using or advising a firewall do not understand what it is. A firewall does not keep external parties from trying to contact your computer; it keeps the local machine from receiving said attempts. If there's hence nothing to receive it or reply to any such attempt in the first place a firewall makes not a single bit of sense.

As said, something like UPnP on your router has the issue drift a bit towards firewalls making more sense, and I wouldn't consider myself diametrically opposed to one in any circumstance, but also once again, preferably only in the case of the user in fact knowing why various forms of LAN-networking, Skype and/or online gaming don't work OOTB, and how to fix them. Otherwise a firewall basically just gets in the way of normal operation.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:22 am

CommonJoe wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:00 am
What would you suggest to a newbie if Linux Mint is being used in an airport or hotel on business? A simple firewall seems like the best idea for a user on the go. Or is there something better I'm not aware of?
Practical rule of thumb: enable the firewall in all cases, except when it's a static desktop machine connected to your own router (with an active firewall of its own). There's not much use for a double firewall....

Theory aside, that's best practice. :mrgreen:
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:30 am

Much like, theory aside, chopping of one's peepee is best practice regarding avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:33 am

CommonJoe wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:00 am
The idea of not installing Wine, Java, or Mono don't sit well with me. I think too many people would want to use these. Which brings the question: if I'm running a cross platform program, wouldn't I need a virus scanner?
Well, let's put it this way: why bring down the superior level of security of your Linux, almost to the deplorably low level of Windows?

For Windows applications and for applications that require a cross-platform infrastructure, I recommend.... Windows. As dual boot, or even better: as Virtual Machine in VirtualBox.

Just use the best tool for the job; in certain cases, usually rare nowadays, that might be a Windows application. No shame in that. It just needs to be contained right. VirtualBox is the ideal application for that.
Last edited by Pjotr on Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:35 am

rene wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:30 am
Much like, theory aside, chopping of one's peepee is best practice regarding avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
Haha. Well, that should work, right? :lol:

But sudo ufw enable practically never hinders anyone, because ufw has a smart default profile with sensible exceptions. Fire and forget. And live happily ever after (without chopping off any reproductive organs).
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19.2 Tina
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by rene » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:44 am

Yes, of the four things catweazel's reply enumerated an enabled firewall is the least significant problem in practice; usually it only does no more than provide the user with the warm & fuzzies. I'm no fan of warm & fuzzies...

This thread hasn't furthermore seen discussion of "chkrootkit". To OP: I've never seen it identify anything that was not a false positive and would as such be strictly against advising it to newbies, who'd not have a clue that its warnings were false positives.

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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:47 am

rene wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:44 am
This thread hasn't furthermore seen discussion of "chkrootkit". To OP: I've never seen it identify anything that was not a false positive and would as such be strictly against advising it to newbies, who'd not have a clue that its warnings were false positives.
With that I fully agree. chkrootkit might be useful on servers operated by specialists, but on desktop machines it's a useless burden.
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Re: A Different Set of Installation Instructions

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:58 am

Also a word (of wisdom, I hope) on the subject of encryption. As Catweazle already indicated, it might lead to irrecoverable data loss when used carelessly.

Be restrictive with it. Don't use any encryption on a static machine that never leaves your home, and only use it on laptops that do leave the house.

An encrypted /home is, in my view, preferable to having an entirely encrypted system. Less invasive and leaves you more options when you've forgotten your encryption key. Even though an entirely encrypted system is somewhat faster than a partially encrypted one: the performance loss is, in my view, acceptable and well worth the benefits.
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