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Re: [linux-dell-laptops] Re: Next distro?

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  • Douglas S. Oliver
    ... Actually, what you have done is not really related to what I was discussing. Also, Xubuntu is a bit of a different beast. In straight Ubuntu, one doesn t
    Message 1 of 19 , May 25, 2007
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      Sword King wrote:
      > Apparently I have way less experience with Linux and even computers
      > than you guys, but I easily solved the problems you are discussing on
      > my Inspiron 1100 (Xubuntu Feisty) by creating a shortcut to a root
      > terminal in X, thereby alleviating the need to 'sudo'. It's usually
      > one of the first things I start when I fire it up, cuz I like to play
      > around way more than is necessary to get work done.:) For example, I
      > go there and use aptitude to update or install software.
      >
      > I also made a shortcut to open Nautilus as root, so I can go poking
      > around in places I shouldn't be allowed, and found a way to insert a
      > context menu item "Open as Root". Needless to say, I don't remember
      > how I did these things, but they are beneficial.
      >
      > SK
      >

      Actually, what you have done is not really related to what I was
      discussing. Also, Xubuntu is a bit of a different beast. In straight
      Ubuntu, one doesn't really need to become root to install and modify
      programs. In fact for lack of a root password, there is no true
      linux/unix root account. Instead the users are added to the sudoers
      account/group. Sudoers are given root privileges through their own login
      password. What do I mean when I say there is no true root account? It's
      not possible to login as root out of the box. That's because that would
      require a root password. What you have done, SK, is cool, but at some
      point you had to give a password. I'm guessing you used your login
      password, not a root password. For me now, with a root password, I open
      an xterm and switch to root with the "su -" command and give the root
      password. Su means switch user, and the dash means switch to that
      account. You'll notice that your account is located at /home/<your
      username>/, whereas, the root account is located at /root/. The
      difference is this, if I simply type su and the root password, I remain
      in whatever folder I was in when I entered the su command. I also don't
      inherit root's settings for the display and such. The dash says to
      switch user and inherit that user's settings. This is a subtle but
      important difference.

      One of the main issues I was discussing related to working without X,
      i.e, no gui. I think that everything you've done here SK still remains
      within X. Ubuntu normally only allows you to work in either traditional
      linux/unix run level 1--single user mode, or traditional level
      4--multiuser graphical mode. Level 1 is a single user text console mode,
      but not the traditional multiuser text mode of run level 3. SK, type
      this: telinit 1 <enter> to see what run level one is like. To return to
      the gui, simply type telinit 4 <enter>. Keep hacking, and please share
      with us how you did your cool shortcuts. --D

      --

      ******

      Douglas S. Oliver

      "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
      and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

      "....What right do I have to think?" --Ugarte, December 1941

      ******
    • John DeCarlo
      Ken and Doug, Using apt is much easier and more reliable than using rpm. Trust me, I used rpm and Red Hat for decades. When I switched to Ubuntu last year, I
      Message 2 of 19 , May 25, 2007
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        Ken and Doug,

        Using apt is much easier and more reliable than using rpm.  Trust me, I used rpm and Red Hat for decades.  When I switched to Ubuntu last year, I was delightfully amazed at how much I had been missing while using rpm.

        Booting to single user mode is very easy - When you are booting the machine, type "e" at the grub menu and add a "1" to the boot line.  The other option is to kill gdm or kdm to avoid rebooting.

        apt supports downloading and compiling source as well as binary.  Typically repositories have both a "deb" and "deb-src" equivalent, depending on what you want to do.  When using the right tools to install from "deb-src", it will run the install script and compile and make and configure for you.

        Ubuntu is very much a "free" distribution.  So they don't install "non-free" stuff by default (like MP3 support, or DVD play via libdvdcss).  But "Feisty" makes it very easy to install those capabilities when you need them.  The first time you try to play an MP3 file, it will ask you if you want to install MP3 support, even if it is non-free.

        As for changing networks, Ubuntu Feisty comes with networkmanager, allowing you to see what networks are accessible and choose one to connect to.  I haven't used it that much, though, so I don't have step-by-step.  Just look in the menu under Internet.

        Feisty is also very good at hardware detection, and most things "just work" out of the box on laptops nowadays.

        Hope this helps.


      • Gilbert Mendoza
        ... Hash: SHA1 I hate to add to an already long thread, but ... Just because the root account is not given a password during the installation process, doesn t
        Message 3 of 19 , May 25, 2007
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          I hate to add to an already long thread, but ...

          Just because the root account is not given a password during the
          installation process, doesn't mean it does not exist. The root
          account has simply been "locked", and most certainly does exist.
          (check out "man passwd" for the "-l" option).

          "sudo -i" and "sudo -s" are two very easy ways to run any
          prolonged root shell without enabling the root account, exposing
          it to local and remote dictionary or brute force password
          attacks. That is unless of course a sudoer user doesn't have a
          weak password. :-P But that's another topic. (the -i will drop
          you to the /root/ directory, and -s will leave you in your own
          /home/user/ directory. See "man sudo".)

          Elevating user privileges on a need-only basis is considered an
          industry wide best practice and is generally accepted by most
          experienced administrators.

          Changing to runlevel 1 (single user mode) just to gain a root
          shell is NOT what one should do if they simply wish to gain root
          access. Runlevel 1 actually stops many services according to
          their init level configurations, and is typically used when
          performing maintenance, troubleshooting, or system recovery.


          As for the default runlevels, Ubuntu moved to "Upstart" which
          doesn't use /etc/inittab, but still evaluates it if you create
          one. (see /etc/event.d/) If one wishes to not use the graphical
          logon manager "GDM", they can simply

          a) remove the symlinks in /etc/rcX.d
          (sudo update-rc.d -f gdm remove)

          b) remove gdm altogether (sudo apt-get remove gdm). This of
          course is a dependency of the ubuntu-desktop meta-package,but if
          you are already comfortable with using a console only, who
          cares.

          c) or even remove just one of the gdm rcX.d scripts, and
          designate that runlevel of your choice as being a non-graphical
          multiuser. To be thorough, you can add a corresponding "K13gdm"
          symlink, so that switching back and forth between this runlevel
          will stop gdm accordingly.
          i.e.
          cd /etc/rc2.d
          sudo rm S13gdm
          sudo ln -s ../init.d/gdm K13gdm

          For regular use of the console, you may also want change your
          frame buffer size to a higher resolution to 1024x768 or higher by
          editing /boot/grub/menu.lst.
          i.e. add "vga=791" to the defoptions variable:
          # defoptions=quiet splash vga=791


          Anyway, hope this is useful for you folks.

          GM
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        • Douglas S. Oliver
          ... Hash: SHA1 ... Thanks much, Gilbert. This is really useful information. Am I right in thinking that sudo -i and sudo -s are a little like the difference
          Message 4 of 19 , May 25, 2007
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            Gilbert Mendoza wrote:
            >
            > I hate to add to an already long thread, but ...
            >
            > Just because the root account is not given a password during the
            > installation process, doesn't mean it does not exist. The root
            > account has simply been "locked", and most certainly does exist.
            > (check out "man passwd" for the "-l" option).
            >

            Thanks much, Gilbert. This is really useful information. Am I right in
            thinking that sudo -i and sudo -s are a little like the difference
            between having a root password and using "su <enter> and <password
            enter>" and "su - <enter> and <password enter>? The difference here
            being the added safety of using sudo and staying out of the root
            account. I've been using linux for almost 10 years but am a relative new
            comer to sudo. A few years ago I was studying for my RHSE cert. At that
            time we were warned to watch out for users using sudo when they had weak
            passwords, as you have said. That's why I stayed away from it till now
            with Ubuntu. Not because of a weak password, but because it was easy to
            use su when and only when I needed to become root. I made an rm error as
            root once on my system. Trashed everything! I just needed to do that
            once to become respectful of becoming root. Thanks again--Douglas

            - --

            ******

            Douglas S. Oliver

            "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
            and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

            "....What right do I have to think?" --Ugarte, December 1941

            ******
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          • Gilbert Mendoza
            ... Hash: SHA1 No problem at all. You are correct regarding similarities between su , su - , sudo -i and -s. su - and sudo -i elevate privileges to root
            Message 5 of 19 , May 25, 2007
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              No problem at all.

              You are correct regarding similarities between "su", "su -",
              sudo -i and -s.

              "su -" and "sudo -i" elevate privileges to root and use the shell
              environment for the root user in /etc/passwd. you will notice by
              issuing a 'pwd' command, you are placed in the /root directory.

              "su" and "sudo -s" elevate privileges to root and use the shell
              environment of the user running the command. So, you will stay
              in /home/user, and any bash aliases, etc, will remain intact.

              There are many advantages in using sudo vs. su, but primarily it
              comes down to the granularity of control one has in limiting what
              sudoer's can do with their privileges. For instance, with sudo
              you can allow a user (or group of users) to to run a small set of
              commands with root privileges, without granting access to more
              sensitive functions.

              Have a great weekend...

              GM

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              --- "Douglas S. Oliver" <dsoliver@...> wrote:
              >
              > Thanks much, Gilbert. This is really useful information. Am I right in
              > thinking that sudo -i and sudo -s are a little like the difference
              > between having a root password and using "su <enter> and <password
              > enter>" and "su - <enter> and <password enter>? The difference here
              > being the added safety of using sudo and staying out of the root
              > account. I've been using linux for almost 10 years but am a relative new
              > comer to sudo. A few years ago I was studying for my RHSE cert. At that
              > time we were warned to watch out for users using sudo when they had weak
              > passwords, as you have said. That's why I stayed away from it till now
              > with Ubuntu. Not because of a weak password, but because it was easy to
              > use su when and only when I needed to become root. I made an rm error as
              > root once on my system. Trashed everything! I just needed to do that
              > once to become respectful of becoming root. Thanks again--Douglas
              >




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            • Lamar Owen
              ... While there is nothing wrong (and a lot right) with apt, let s compare apples to apples here. The raw rpm command is equivalent to the raw dpkg command.
              Message 6 of 19 , May 25, 2007
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                On Friday 25 May 2007, John DeCarlo wrote:
                > Using apt is much easier and more reliable than using rpm. Trust me, I
                > used rpm and Red Hat for decades. When I switched to Ubuntu last year, I
                > was delightfully amazed at how much I had been missing while using rpm.

                While there is nothing wrong (and a lot right) with apt, let's compare apples
                to apples here. The raw rpm command is equivalent to the raw dpkg command.
                The equivalent command to apt in a Debian-inspired distribution on, say, a
                Fedora Core installation, is 'yum'. You do that same sorts of things: 'yum
                install kshisen' will pull in any needed RPM's from the repository, exactly
                like 'apt-get install kshisen' would.

                Now, with Ubuntu or plain Debian you will get a substantially larger
                repository of software available; and it's not as fractured as the typical
                RPM third party repositories are. But that has nothing to do with the tools
                that are available.

                I've been evaluating Kubuntu 7.04 in a virtual machine for a week or so, and I
                like most of what I see. The biggest thing is the unified repository. The
                second biggest thing is that the gnuradio and usrp packages are 'just there'
                in that repository, whereas getting RPM's of same is difficult. However, I
                find that adept-installer is just about as slow as pirut (GUI yum frontend on
                Fedora Core 5 and above), and that's with identical hardware. Now,
                adept-manager is quite a bit better.

                Incidentally, there is an apt version for RPM-based systems. You can even get
                synaptic on Fedora Core if you'd like.

                I'm using Fedora Core 6 here on an Inspiron 640m, and most things work fine
                (no headphones is an annoyance, but the sound does at least play; I haven't
                worked much on the wireless, but that's a low priority for me; LCD backlight
                control with Fn-UP or Fn-DOWN isn't working, etc).
                --
                Lamar Owen
                Chief Information Officer
                Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
                1 PARI Drive
                Rosman, NC 28772
                (828)862-5554
                www.pari.edu
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