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Debian on AWS Lightsail

This is a setup of several items, starting with Debian 9 on Amazon AWS Lightsail. This has server basics and apt, and then follows with links to additional articles. In general, after several years of running CentOS on Linode, and then Amazon Linux AMI on EC2 and Lightsail, I find that Debian 9 is simply faster, just as secure, and at least slightly easier to use.

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IPA Keyboard Layout

Well, it turns out, there is no such thing, per se, as an IPA Keyboard Layout, at least not in the sense that there are keyboard layouts for various languages and layout styles (e.g., English, Dvorak, etc.). This seems to me to be a tremendous oversight, though it obviously came about because someone thought supporting the entire Unicode space for the IPA was a great idea, and the only idea.

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Linux Mint Debian Edition 3

Note: since Debian has Cinnamon built-in as a desktop choice on install, and since the rest of Mint is Ubuntu or Debian (LMDE), it seems a bit nonsensical to go Mint when I can go Debian +Cinnamon.

This document will be somewhat regularly updated with information, and will start out sparse.

  • Debian installation with Gnome3 is such a shit show. Sorry guys but way too unpolished, as in unclean.
  • On the other hand, I've got excellent timing with the LMDE3 beta release on 31-July-2018. Here it is 31-August-2018 and I'm completely impressed with Linux Mint Cinnamon on Debian 9. This is they way things ought to be. Coming from OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) and also having spent a bit of time in ChromeOS 69-70, I have to say that Linux Mint Cinnamon on Debian is just simply way, better. In fact, it really should take on another acronym of the same name, LMDE - Lunar Module Descent Engine. The metaphor of the Pintile Injector completes the picture. Debian and its accompanying applications is the fuel and Linux Mint / Cinnamon is the oxidizer. Together there is kick ass and elegant movement, dancing among the stars.

Update - Early 2019 - Turns out that Cinnamon is a desktop environment natively available as an option when installing Debian. That appears to be a better choice rather than an entire other distribution that is patched together between Cinnamon and Debian, and various other Cinnamon/Mint applications (most of which I don't choose to use or could get elsewhere).


Note: for parallel reasons, I'm also moving over to Debian from my standard CentOS and Amazon Linux distributions. CentOS I've used for a while, and it is the basis of Amazon Linux. However, Amazon isn't really the greatest cloud provider and their customer service is in the toilet these days. On the other hand, the Linux Containers running on ChromeOS are Debian, so that is where I am headed. In addition, Debian is of course one of the major distributions and is available on most cloud platforms. Debian 8 on Amazon Lightsail and Linux Mint Debian Edition (Debian 9) on the desktop. A most delightful set of twins.

Debian Application Management

apt, .deb, Software Center (avoid), flatpak, .appimage

Apt

Standard package management can be done from apt-get or aptitude in Debian. Both are interfaces into apt. Installation using .deb files while possible, doesn't make as much sense. apt-get is the standard command-line interface to apt (Advanced Package Tool) package management for updating Debian and applications, akin to yum in the CentOS world. Note that apt-get is the most popular tool for package management. aptitude is another front-end to apt.

Actually, apt is pretty much what one wants to use on the command line, and then the Software Center (sometimes with flatpak) as a second choice, and .deb downloadable installations when necessary, as well as the odd .appimage

See these clarifying remarks re: apt vs. apt-get.

sudo apt update -y
sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y (when upgrading to a new release)
sudo apt autoremove -y
sudo apt update -y -t stretch-backports
sudo apt upgrade -y -t stretch-backports

The similar command using apt simply doesn't work.

Debian File System and Directory Structure

more here (later)

Security and Accounts

By default the root login is disabled, which if there is a need to emergency boot, will cause no end of headaches. Undo that:

sudo su
passwd

Quick - How to Update All Apps

Note that not only apt but the backports repository need to be queried, as well as flatpak

sudo apt update -y
sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt autoremove -y
sudo apt update -y -t stretch-backports
sudo apt upgrade -y -t stretch-backports
sudo flatpak update -y

See also: Using Flatpak Docs

Note: best to run each of these lines individually as otherwise something might be missed.

Applications Installed and To Install

Pre-Installed Apps on LMDE

Pre-installed with LMDE3 are quite a few applications, applets, and the like. The ones we prefer to use include:

  • GIMP
  • Libre Office
  • Transmission
  • Openssh-client

However, some of these lag behind in updates and this means going to different distribution sources.

Apps to Install on LMDE

There are many to install, and they are installed in a variety of ways. We prefer to use the Software Center when possible, apt-get when not, and .deb files when neither of the first two are available.

Software Center Apps

(note: this is not a great place to get applications since they tend to be older distributions that are not updated (at least not very often)

  • Audacity (audio editor)
  • Filezilla (sftp)
  • KeepassXC (password/OTP utility)
  • Calibre (ebook/document library)
  • Autossh (autorestart ssh)
  • Gtkpod (ipod manager)
  • Praat (speech analysis)
  • Stellarium (sky generator)

Apt Apps

  • htop
  • etc.

.Deb GDebi Package Installer Apps

(note, these can be updated via apt update)

  • Atom Editor
  • Chrome Browser
  • Insync (GSuite Drive File Sync)

Install Script Installer Apps and Drivers

  • Printer driver
  • Scanner

.appimage Apps

  • LMMS (audio editor)

Flatpak Apps

  • Quod Libet (music library)
  • Inkscape (vector graphics editor)
  • MuseScore (music score editor)
  • Shotcut (video editor)
  • Telegram Desktop (chat/voice/file sharing)

First, install flatpak

sudo apt install flatpak -y
sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Apps to Remove from Software Manager

  • Rhythmbox
  • Etc.

Configuration Issues

There are various tweaks and whatnot. It is simplest to go through Settings, Applets, and Panel systematically, also turn on the Firewall and set the Windows/Command key to Control in the Keyboard if using external keyboards of that ilk; enable additional keyboards as well.

Sound keeps changing from HDMI

This needs to be fixed as follows (read details here for different hardware than intel NUC NUC6CAYH 95062)):

Edit the /etc/pulse/default.pa file:

sudo nano /etc/pulse/default.pa

Add the following line to the bottom:

set-default-sink alsa_output.pci-0000_00_0e.0.hdmi-stereo

Restart pulseaudio

pulseaudio -k
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Linux Kernel on the March

As of early 2018, ChromeOS and Desktop Linux have both crossed the 3% threshold. Android is approaching 50% for OS market share, and is in excess of that in terms of new devices. Heady times for the Linux Kernel indeed. While Android uses the Linux Kernel, nearly everything else in Android is customized, and therefore it doesn't have any distribution linneage to speak of. ChromeOS is derrived from Gentoo Linux, a custom build linux distribution.

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