Refracta 9 - a few thoughts on installation and configuring

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Refracta 9 - a few thoughts on installation and configuring

Postby bin » March 9th, 2019, 9:44 am

First off - thanks for R9 - especially the effort of setting up a meta-package free system, that is just such a welcome feature.

The installer does work, but, as stated the re-use of an existing /home partition is a bit experimental.
First time round I used a spare drive with some stuff in /home. My normal method is just to rename any existing user directories and just leave them as a source of configs etc.
I stepped through the installation and used the option to reuse existing home and went through the rest of the install, decided to ensure the root account was disabled and everything runs through sudo.
Nevertheless I did create a root password - just in case.
All went well apparently but on reboot it wasn't possible to log in - it transpired that although there was an account and a use home folder - it was empty - no configs, nada.
So, I found an old drive, wiped it, installed and of course it created the user home files etc. That was then copied to the other drive and all went well from then on.

So far a few little glitches - if you want to use the archive plugin for thunar then zip needs to be installed

The user is not a member of lpadmin by default so cannot set up a printer - needs to be added
Code: Select all
sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin <username>
- I also added adm group for me to make /var/log access easier.

I went on to replace lxdm with lightdm - interesting side effect is that with lightdm, the original thunar and thumbnailing you get a lot of junk arriving in the log files.
That was fixed by using Thunar 1.6.15 - it is a known "issue".

Other than that a quick trip down memory lane with sysv-rc-conf was needed to remove a few things I don't need but that was it.

One thing I did find was that wicd was taking a long time to get an address - as in 15 seconds - so it's been hardwired into /etc/network/interfaces instead and wicd no longer runs.

Various i915 tearing nuisances taken care of but the side effect is a sluggish terminal - again a known issue but so annoying as I do spend a bit of time there with mc as my go-to tool for most things.

I have installed a few bits from the MX-18 testing repos as I use GIMP for photo work and 2.8 had some horrid issues with gegl 0.3. also needed qt5ct for XnViewMP to look right.

While I was doing all this I as making good use of the snapshot facility to make sure I could get back though it may be timeshift would be a better bet for quick restore.

So - all in all a fun experience - like linux used to be - and right now there's not much that would make me want to change - which is nice.
bin
 
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Joined: February 13th, 2019, 4:45 pm

Re: Refracta 9 - a few thoughts on installation and configur

Postby fsmithred » March 11th, 2019, 1:24 am

Thanks for the report. I'm open to suggestions for what a "re-use old home" option should do. Personally, I think it's a bad idea unless you move all your user configs out of the way first. I don't think the installer would be able to do that (I'm not able to know all the config files in someone else's home.)

All the installer does with that is to mount the old home partition at /home and not copy anything from the running system (live media). That's good because it doesn't clobber your config files, but it's bad because you don't get new config files, and they're often different with newer versions of software.

When you used that option, did you also change the username to whatever username you had in the old home?

What zip is needed for thunar? p7zip, p7zip-full and unzip are installed. Maybe it's because gvfs-backends is missing. I forgot that in ascii - it got removed from the package list in the jessie version because libsystemd0 was banned in the jessie version. It'll be in a point release.
fsmithred
 
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Re: Refracta 9 - a few thoughts on installation and configur

Postby bin » March 11th, 2019, 7:15 am

The big advantage of having a separate /home partition is that you can keep your data intact whilst switching between distros.

Clearly there is a distinction between user data and the config files required to make stuff work and mixing configs from different sources at installation time is, as you say, a bad idea.

With just about every linux version I have used the process has been the same. Rename /home/username to /home/username-old or whatever then install with my usual user name.

A new user folder is created with all the default configs etc. Post install some configs, dot files etc such as browser, email and a few others need to be manually moved over to ensure continuity but that is about it. I would never expect the installer to do that for me, but being able to follow the basics of the above is what I would regard as normal or expected behaviour simply because it is what just about every other distro does.

When you install Refracta WITH the re-use home option you get an un-useable system as there is just a user folder with nothing in it. Being unable to log in is not expected behaviour.

When you install Refracta on a bare drive without the re-use home option, you get a user folder populated with the relevant config files. Could I suggest that this would be the better option for when reuse home is selected? I don't think this should involve any more than a note in the docs to remind people what is needed when re-using home since anyone doing this would almost certainly have done it before and know what they need to do.

As regards the zip thing. If you are using thunar and the archive plugin, right click>create archive does not include .zip in the file type options unless zip is installed.

Hope this helps.
bin
 
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Joined: February 13th, 2019, 4:45 pm

Re: Refracta 9 - a few thoughts on installation and configur

Postby fsmithred » March 11th, 2019, 3:26 pm

With just about every linux version I have used the process has been the same. Rename /home/username to /home/username-old or whatever then install with my usual user name.

A new user folder is created with all the default configs etc. Post install some configs, dot files etc such as browser, email and a few others need to be manually moved over to ensure continuity but that is about it. I would never expect the installer to do that for me, but being able to follow the basics of the above is what I would regard as normal or expected behaviour simply because it is what just about every other distro does.


Well, that's how I do it if I want to re-use an old home. It doesn't requires an option in the installer - just install to a single partition and then rename directories and edit fstab. The one thing the installer might do (safely) is add a commented line in fstab for the separate home partition for the user to uncomment when they're ready. (and a better explanation of what the option does.)

As regards the zip thing. If you are using thunar and the archive plugin, right click>create archive does not include .zip in the file type options unless zip is installed.


When I looked yesterday, I couldn't find a package named zip, but today I see it. I'll add it. Thanks.
fsmithred
 
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