Linux distributions & desktops

The LMDE3 installation I had done 18 months ago was in need of a refresh. This was based on Debian 9, so I thought Debian 10 would be a good place to start. Unfortunately, the newest release breaks my laser printer, so I've looked at continuing with Debian 9 (aka oldstable) for the forseeable. In ... Read more

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.

Note: as of Sep 2020, Debian 10 is now available on Lightsail

I will update this soon (mid-2020) to Debian 10 - Bullseye (stable) on AWS and Debian testing on the desktop. I consider this combination to be very good for intermediate users as it keeps them up-to-date on the latest testing build (when things break, that is a learning opportunity), as well as having access to most recent versions of applications, utilities and support libraries. Debian is a huge linux ecosystem which is generally well-supported by a very large community. For one's production desktop environment, Debian testing is an excellent balance of up-to-date application availability and community supportiveness. Together with the extremely stable desktop environment using Openbox/LXDE, very low system requirements are needed.

To be honest, once getting the hang of Openbox/LXDE, I do not see any advantage to Linux Mint or Ubuntu, for that matter (besides the personal repositories). Cinnamon (available on other distributions than Mint) is buggy, memory hungry, and requires a bit of customization. Openbox/LXDE offers nearly the same kind of required customizations, but demands many fewer resources and is nearly crashproof. In my opinion, the good parts of Mint do not include cinnamon, rather applications such as Nemo and Pix, which can of course be installed and run without Mint or Cinnamon.

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ufw, firewalld, iptables on Amazon Linux

ufw is known as a Debian (and Ubuntu) firewall, which is disabled by default but easy to use. There are some GUI front-ends which make it popular for Linux on the desktop. Coming from a CentOS background (RHEL/Amazon Linux AMI), ufw is not as common (as, say firewalld, or simply iptables, to which both ufw ... Read more

Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail is a VPS services offered by Amazon that competes with the likes of Rackspace, DigitalOcean, Linode, etc. Note: As of mid 2018 AWS effectively halved its prices on Lightsail. This means there is a $3.50 USD/mo. option and the $40 option listed below (4gb ram/2 cpu/60gb ssd/4tb xfer) is actually only $20 now. ... Read more

cron and crontabs on Amazon Linux AMI

Two words time-based automation: cron and crontabs (and other apps such as anacron) are needed for so many things on a server. Here is how to use cron and crontabs on Amazon Linux AMI. Install crontabs This will in addition install several dependencies, including cron. yum -y install crontabs chkconfig crond on service crond start ... Read more

Shell Commands and Utilities

This is a terse collection of commands and utilities I find useful for shells. There is little distinction between programs and commands as commands are programs (and are installed or come pre-installed) and programs have commands. Also included is a shell (Fish Shell) and some other shell applications/utilities (Mosh, Nano). bc - basic calculator See ... Read more

Portable Music Players & Linux

This article briefly describes some issues with managing portable music players on Linux, particularly the Apple Ipod Shuffle and the Sandisk Clip Jam (it's replacement).

I hope to update this with a better hardware replacement at some point (more are becoming available), such as the Wiwoo.

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