OS Specific Guides

Fedora 28 Workstation Review Supplement: Installation

June 1, 2018, 6 p.m.

Fedora's default Anaconda installer features a new approach to installation in Fedora 28 Workstation. Anaconda now performs an OEM style installation where the user is created after installation on first boot as part of an expanded GNOME Initial Setup program. Other than this new approach, installation with Anaconda from a live image remains largely the same since the last major change -- the addition of the optional Blivet-GUI partitioning component in Fedora 26.

This article presents the installation steps of Fedora 28 Workstation as well as some of Fedora's resources for users related to installation.

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Void Linux: Creating Binary Packages Using xbps-src

May 30, 2018, 6 p.m.

The primary reason I wanted to try Void Linux was for its build system, xbps-src, a complement to Void's binary package management system, XBPS. It can be used to build and install source packages from Void's Github repository or to build and install software made available as source packages from third parties. In this post, I present my experience building two programs that are not available from Void either as binary or source packages -- Opera Developer and Firefox Developer Edition.

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Void Linux 20171007 Review Supplement: Required Fixes and Enhancements

May 24, 2018, 6 p.m.

Void Linux, a distribution suitable for experienced Linux users, requires a lot of work to configure after installation -- at least this is the case if the Enlightenment Live ISO is used for installation. Even the most basic software needs to be installed by the user. Additionally, an optional, non-free repository must be enabled to install non-free software. Besides this, some essential fixes need to be made to even log into the newly installed system as well as to connect to wireless networks as a regular user.

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Void Linux 20171007 Review Supplement: Installation

May 24, 2018, 6 p.m.

Void Linux can be installed by chrooting from an existing Linux installation or using one of the live ISOs featuring a popular desktop environment, available in editions for versions of the distribuion that are developed using the Musl C Standard Library or Glibc, the GNU C Standard Library. The live ISO's include the void-installer curses type shell program which can install the system from a local source found on the ISO, or for the latest packages, from a network source. This post includes screenshots of an installation using the Enlightenment ISO developed with Glibc from the ISO's local source of packages.

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Deepin 15.4 Review Supplement:Installation Screenshots

May 1, 2017, 6 p.m.

The Deepin Linux project has just released version 15.4 of their OS. The installer is simple and straightforward, suitable for those new to GNU/Linux, and is as beautiful as the installed. Screenshots of the installation process are presented here. You can also read a review of the installed system.

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Sabayon: Using Portage to Build a Binary Package for Installation by Entropy

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

My biggest complaint with Sabayon after using the 14.08 release for more than three months was the lack of a way to get software that is not available in the Sabayon repositories for management by the Entropy binary package management system. There didn't appear to be an easy way to build binary packages from source or from a third party tarball as there is for RPM based distributions through the rpmbuild tool. As it turns out, although Entropy can't do this, Sabayon has several alternatives for getting software that is not available in its binary repositories for for installation and management using Entropy by employing some of the functions available in Portage -- the Gentoo source package management system -- to first build the packages. This article describes one such relatively simple and safe method.

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Sabayon: Converting to Hybrid Source/Binary Package Management System

Oct. 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

After using Sabayon 14.08 for several months, I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of software in Sabayon's repositories which I had become accustomed to being available in other distributions' default repositories. There wasn't even a method for building binary packages from third party or upstream source using a simple tool like rpmbuild for RPM based distributions for installation and management by the system package manager. This article describes one way to mitigate the lack of adequate number of binary packages in Sabayon -- converting the system to use hybrid binary/source package management.

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Repository Management in openSUSE

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

This article describes how repositories are structured in openSUSE, as well as listing some of the useful repositories not enabled by default at installation, and how to manage repositories using both the zypper tool and the YaST "Software Repositories" module. Although, originally written as a supplement to the openSUSE 13.2 review, it applies to newer versions of openSUSE's regular release as well as openSUSE's rolling release, Tumbleweed.

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openSUSE 13.2 Review Supplement: Installation

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Unfortunately installation in this version of openSUSE had problems, which is unusual compared to my experience with recent versions beginning with version 12.3. (I also used versions 7.1 through 9.1 before going to Windows exclusively, but of course those versions were always problematic, because of wireless driver availability and the uncommonness of dual or multi booting which required use of third party tools for partitioning.)

For those who want quick info, I have provided a list of tips below before delving into the problems and the detailed installation steps further below.

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openSUSE 13.2 Review Supplement: After Installation Fixes and Enhancements

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

As usual there are a some details to take care of after installation besides just installing your favorite programs. The first, for laptops is to correct the backlight control issue described below. The other is to add repositories which have the proprietary codecs for multimedia and better sources for the associated applications, and proprietary drivers for hardware. Other minor adjustments may also be necessary, including changing the hostname which will cutomize the command prompt in the shell from the default used in the live environment.

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NixOS Configuration

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

One of the attractive features of NixOS is the ability to declaratively configure all aspects of the system from one configuration file called configuration.nix or for manageability, with this file and input files -- imports in the nix expression terminology --) that are called from this file. Even nix expressions (package build scripts) that can initiate a custom package build, starting from downloading a source tarball to configuring the custom package, can be integrated into this single file configuration system. This guide will provide examples of a configuration I have used.

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Installing Arch from an Existing Linux Installation

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

For some people, the typical method of installing Arch -- using the downloaded ISO installation environment, which provides all of the very basic command line tools to install Arch, and manually configuring everything, is more difficulty than they are willing to endure. The most intimidating element of this process being configuring the network during installation. Fortunately, Arch, like any distribution, can be installed by using a chroot environment from an existing Linux installation, greatly simplifying the normal process of installing Arch. Arch actually provides a customized chroot environment that makes installing from an existing Linux installation easy. When this chroot environment is used from an existing Linux on a machine that is connected to a network the process is much easier than the standard method of installing Arch because the network configuration will not have to be performed for the installation, although the user will still need to follow most of the standard process, with the exception of network setup. Other steps are also avoided with the chroot method. For example, preparing the partitions outside of the installation process -- another deviation from the standard Arch installation process described in the Arch Linux Beginners' Guide -- also simplifies the installation, allowing the use of a graphical tool available in the existing Linux. Selecting packages that will automatically install dependencies instead of installing dependencies first, because the goal is to get to a working desktop environment in as few steps as possible will further simplify the process.

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Fedora 22 Review Supplement: After Installation Fixes and Enhancements

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

As usual there are some small problems to fix and some convenience adjustments to make after installing a Linux distribution. The fix that has always been necessary for me on this laptop with an Intel integrated graphics card has been to fix a problem with backlight control, where changing the backlight level by any method built into the desktop environment may indicate that the backlight level is changing but doesn't actually change.

The only other issue requiring attention was enabling hibernation (suspend to disk). Most other things I did were minor, including creating polkit rules for convenience, adding repositories for proprietary software, using a workaround to add chromium-pepper-flash for the Opera browser, installing tlp, setting the hardware clock to UTC, and improving visual polish during boot when using the GRUB installed to the EFI partition by another distribution.

The last correction involving the GRUB required editing the other distribution's grub.cfg file therby modifying how the GRUB menu works and appears. It has the added benefit of making the booting fo Fedora behave exactly as it had been booted with Fedora's own GRUB, therby including the kernal command line parameters secified in Fedora.

A more involved enhancement I made was to install Fedora's packaging tools and methods, which included rpmbuild. I did this so I could use rpmbuild to package the Synapse tool, which is similar to KDE's krunner, to have it available for use with the Cinnamon desktop.

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Booting Arch and Arch Based Distributions with another Distribution's GRUB

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Arch implements the loading of Intel processor microcode updates at boot differently from other distributions. While other distributions include the microcode into the initramfs (the replacement of the initrd) image, Arch leaves this as a separate image, which is loaded by Arch's GRUB at the same time as the initramfs. Because the implementation of GRUB through the scripts in /etc/grub.d/ by other distrubutions doesn't account for this difference, other distributions' GRUB try to load the microcode image as if it was the actual initramfs, resulting in an immediate kernel panic.

This issue is described further in this article, along with my preferred workaround which is part of another workaround for maintaining the visual polish available when using a distribution's native GRUB with another distribution's GRUB.

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openSUSE Tumbleweed [Snapshot 20161204] Nvidia Hybrid Graphics

Jan. 1, 2017, 6 p.m.

Although openSUSE is an excellent distribution in its core design, the project's adherence to certain FOSS principles prevent it from installing proprietary packages by default. This includes packages necessary to enable the proprietary Nvidia drivers through the Nvidia kernel modules. This limitation includes the Nvidia drivers specifically used with the Bumblebee graphics processor switching program. Fortunately, openSUSE provides optional repositories that contain the necessary packages. This article describes how to enable the the full capabilities of the Intel/Nvidia hybrid system as much as it is possible in Linux on openSUSE Tumbleweed (Snapshot 20161204).

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openSUSE Leap 42.1 Review Supplement

Oct. 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

As usual there are a some details to take care of after installation besides just installing your favorite programs. The first, for laptops is to correct the backlight control issue described below. The other is to add repositories which have the proprietary codecs for multimedia and better sources for the associated applications, and proprietary drivers for hardware. Other minor adjustments may also be necessary, including changing the hostname which will cutomize the command prompt in the shell from the default used in the live environment.

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Build RPM Package for Installation and Management by System Package Manager

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Many Linux users install software from source using the steps ./configure, make, make install. This method is easy but unattractive because it bypasses the system's package management tools, and any software installed using this method doesn't allow for the management of the software with the package manager. A method almost as simple that allows the package manager to track the installation is to use the rpmbuild tool to create an rpm package and install the package directly using zypper, the command line package management tool, or add it to a local repository and install it using whatever method the user normally chooses to install from remote repositories. This article gives an example of this process by packaging the xwinwrap program.

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