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Old 10-15-2013, 08:22 PM   #1
billsliv
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why so hard?


Why is Linux so hard to do simple things like install a program or uninstall a program?

I have a headless Ubuntu 12.04 box acting as a file, web and ftp server. It also runs a security camera system. Whenever I want to update that software, I get another hard drive, reinstall linux, the security software, then all the web files. It takes a long time.

But that's not my current problem. Someone told me I should be running snort. So I install it. I can't read its log files. It appears I need a front end so I choose snorby. After dealing with ruby and rails and rake and version issues, I get it installed. Took several hours. But now when I try to access my website I get "Web application could not be started" on every page except the main index.

I have no clue what rails and rake are. I learned ruby is a programming language. What should I do to get my websites back up?

I'd like to get snort and snorby working but I don't know what to do.

I don't know how to uninstall snort/snorby.

I 'think' I've backed up all the data and I'm preparing to reinstall a new operating system after I format the drive. I hope someone can stop me from this, but if not, what o/s makes a good lamp server for a my purpose? I've used red hat, mandrake, suse, and ubuntu.

Does my frustration show?
 
Old 10-15-2013, 09:06 PM   #2
frankbell
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Running a headless webserver is inherently complex. You are going to run into learning issues that you do not have when you have a GUI as an intermediary. You are facing difficulties because you have chosen a difficult task and--I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way--you have approached it in a roundabout way with the "swapping hard drives" method.

Trying to do anything on a Windows box from the command line is a bleeping nightmare.

To install, update, and remove programs from the command line, learn how to use apt-get and aptitude. This should relieve you from having to switch hard drives to do updates and installations, which I suspect is adding an extra layer of complexity.

The sequence for updating with apt-get is

Code:
apt-get update   <--updates the software listing
apt-get upgrade   <---installs the updates
apt-get autoclean  <---deletes unneeded files
You can do the same with aptitude by substituting "aptitude" for "apt-get." Learn more about both commands from their man pages (full disclosure--I'm not running Ubuntu at the moment; for all I know, they might have removed aptitude).

You might also, if you haven't already done so, learn about ssh and scp so you can connect directly to the machine over your network and administer it locally over the connection.

The command line tools for maintaining your system are available, but they may not be "intuitive" (frankly, I think there is no such thing as "intuitive" software, unless "intuitive" is defined as "easy to remember after using once.")

"Rails" usually refers to "ruby on rails," a web application development stack. Rake, a web search tells me, is a rails utility.

Again, I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way.

Last edited by frankbell; 10-15-2013 at 09:16 PM.
 
Old 10-15-2013, 09:21 PM   #3
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by billsliv View Post
Why is Linux so hard to do simple things like install a program or uninstall a program?
It's not hard. It's trivial. A few clicks in a gui package manager or a single command in a terminal. Eg Uninstalling the Apache web server on a Debian (or derived) system.
Code:
apt-get uninstall apache2
Quote:
I have a headless Ubuntu 12.04 box acting as a file, web and ftp server. It also runs a security camera system. Whenever I want to update that software, I get another hard drive, reinstall linux, the security software, then all the web files. It takes a long time.
Ikk! Why do you do that? What is stopping you from sshing to that box and upgrading on the command line?

Quote:
But that's not my current problem. Someone told me I should be running snort.
So I install it. I can't read its log files. It appears I need a front end so I choose snorby. After dealing with ruby and rails and rake and version issues, I get it installed. Took several hours. But now when I try to access my website I get "Web application could not be started" on every page except the main index.

I have no clue what rails and rake are. I learned ruby is a programming language. What shrould I do to get my websites back up?

I'd like to get snort and snorby working but I don't know what to do.

I don't know how to uninstall snort/snorby.
You'll have to start by telling us what method you used for installing snort and snorby.
Quote:
I 'think' I've backed up all the data and I'm preparing to reinstall a new operating system after I format the drive. I hope someone can stop me from this, but if not, what o/s makes a good lamp server for a my purpose?
We don't know what your purpose is.
Quote:
I've used red hat, mandrake, suse, and ubuntu.
If you prefer a rpm based systems I'd suggest CentOS (and don't mind that there is no upgrade path between major versions), if you prefer deb I'd suggest Ubuntu LTS sever edition (latest version is 12.04) or my personal preference Debian stable (currently wheezy). However since you already have Ubuntu 12.04 I suggest you stick with it.

Quote:
Does my frustration show?
Yes and it seems to stem from a missunderstanding of package management.

Evo2.
 
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:33 PM   #4
billsliv
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Thanks for the replies. I'm still battling but got my websites back by changing a config file. I think it disables what I was trying to setup.

I use ssh to try to manage the box. I usually don't mess with it much. It was up for 2 years without a reboot at one point.

What gets me is the app I was trying to get to work needed another program which needed another program which needed another program. Then do it all again with different versions. Then get a response during install that a higher version is required and yet the higher version just got installed!

I consider reinstalling the o/s the nuclear option. But I've resorted to it several times.

How did I install the app? Wish I knew. I followed about a 10 step online instruction. That didn't work so I followed someone else's instructions. That didn't work either. Then I removed an older version and I could finish another step. Confused? I sure am.

Thanks again. I have thick skin. You can talk to me like I'm an idiot and I won't care, much.
 
Old 10-16-2013, 07:47 PM   #5
frankbell
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Keep us posted if you learn more about what's going on here.

It might be a good idea, when some website suggests that you "need" an application, you take out some grains of salt and look into it thoroughly, especially if the application is not in the repos.
 
Old 10-16-2013, 08:31 PM   #6
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billsliv View Post
What gets me is the app I was trying to get to work needed another program which needed another program which needed another program. Then do it all again with different versions. Then get a response during install that a higher version is required and yet the higher version just got installed!
What you've just described is called "dependency hell", and was a big problem back in the early 00's before good package management systems with dependency resolution were introduced (and is still a problem for Slackware users, *cough* ). If you're using the built in package management system, with the proper repos set up, all dependency resolution will be done for you. From the sounds of it, you're not aware of these "new" package management systems and are still doing it the "old" way. You're running Ubuntu, so forget this manual hell and use apt-get to install these packages.

If the program you're trying to install is not available in the stock apt-get repositories, see if there's a trusted 3rd party repo that has it. If there isn't, then you should seriously re-think what this program will do for you, what the alternatives are, and why you absolutely need THIS program versus the alternatives. Nearly everything you might need is available in the Ubuntu (and most other distros as well) repositories. There's a reason these programs made it into the repos, and that the program you're trying to install - that does the same thing - didn't. This isn't Windows, programs don't make it into the repos by paying money to the developers, they make it in because they're generally the most functional, most reliable, most used, and most documented program that does whatever that program does.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 10-16-2013 at 08:32 PM.
 
Old 10-16-2013, 08:40 PM   #7
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidaleggroll View Post
What you've just described is called "dependency hell", and was a big problem back in the early 00's before good package management systems with dependency resolution were introduced
Hmm, just want to clarify, this was solved by apt back in 1998. IIRC, the "dependency hell" in the 00's that you speak of was more commonly known as "rpm dependency hell" ;-) There were various attempts to solve this for Redhat, including the ill fated "Red Carpet", there was also a port of apt to to rpm, but eventually Yellow Dog Linux's tool yum was adopted.

Cheers,

Evo2.
 
2 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-16-2013, 08:42 PM   #8
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evo2 View Post
Hi,

Hmm, just want to clarify, this was solved by apt back in 1998. IIRC, the "dependency hell" in the 00's that you speak of was more commonly known as "rpm dependency hell" ;-) There were various attempts to solve this for Redhat, including the ill fated "Red Carpet", there was also a port of apt to to rpm, but eventually Yellow Dog Linux's tool yum was adopted.

Cheers,

Evo2.
Lol, my early Linux years were with RH, so naturally I was a child of the "rpm dependency hell" as you call it. I didn't realize that apt had solved the problem so much earlier. Thanks for the info.
 
Old 10-21-2013, 05:55 PM   #9
ericson007
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If you want a more gui based tool for your packages, you can install aptitude. This will give you a ncurses based interfae that may make things a little easier. Once you learn the ropes. Headless is not all that bad unless you are absolutely allergi to the cli.

If you really want to do things graphically on the box you can install the gui and a vnc server, but that will be a lot of extra work to configure securely. The other downside is running things not strictly necessary.

Good luck with your adventures.
 
Old 10-21-2013, 07:42 PM   #10
billsliv
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I started working at a computer store in the days of dos 2.0 so have no fear of the command line. Utilities like apt-get, yum and rpm are good solutions but not perfect. I use a program to monitor security cameras. Apt-get hasn't heard of the program. Or if it has, I'll get a permission error along the way (just happened). Easy way around that is to run the command as root, just as I was told not to do. The last time I tried to update the security program, neither the new or the old versions worked. That's when its time to reinstall the operating system. And that's the reason the program is several versions old. And since I installed a new program without apt-get and it doesn't work, it might be time to reinstall the o/s again.

I'm not giving up on linux. It does some things very well. Once configured, mine runs flawlessly. But if I want to change something, its often times frustrating. I thing I'm getting crotchety in my old age too.
 
Old 10-21-2013, 08:14 PM   #11
evo2
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Hi,

what is this program? Perhaps we can help you install it in a way that won't break your system.

Evo2.
 
Old 10-21-2013, 08:25 PM   #12
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billsliv View Post
I started working at a computer store in the days of dos 2.0 so have no fear of the command line.
Unfortunately, you are the worst kind of person to migrate to Linux. No offense to you, or anything about you, but this is just what I've observed (keep reading). People who don't really understand the inner workings of their OS are pretty much OS-agnostic, and adapt easily to new platforms. Somebody who doesn't know how their OS does what it does, and consult "technicians" to fix things when they break, really have no obstacles to overcome when they switch from Windows to Mac, Windows to Linux, Mac to Linux, etc. Basic operation is more or less the same, "tech support" is more or less the same, etc.

The problem is "power users". "Power users" in any OS typically find it VERY difficult to transition to a new OS. They know all the inner-workings of their OS, and find it confusing, difficult, and frustrating when the new OS doesn't behave/perform exactly like the one they're used to does. Again, nothing against you, I actually encounter the exact same frustration when I have to debug a Windows system. I find it backwards, confusing, the online support makes NO sense, etc.

In fact, the knee-jerk reaction to just re-install the OS when you encounter a problem is VERY indicative of your Windows heritage. That is an incredibly Windows-based response to a problem, namely because many Windows problems are random, uncorrectable, and fatal unless you reinstall. That is not the case with Linux, which is why you're encountering such aggressive "you're doing it wrong" replies. That's not how it's done in Linux. Errors in Linux are [usually] quite logical, and easily fixable, if you simply explore the cause of the problem. Unlike Windows, nothing is hidden from the user in Linux, there's no "black box" that needs fixing by re-installing the OS. Everything is out in the open, and available for your analysis.

I've been using Linux since 2001, daily since 2004. I have never encountered a problem that required re-installing the OS to fix (apart from those few learning mistakes in which I wiped out my own system by accident).

The best advice I can give you is to forget everything you know about computers and start from scratch. That is most certainly the easiest way to transition to any new OS. Since that's not a possibility, I can only recommend that you ignore how you would fix the problem in Windows, and instead spend your time searching online and asking questions to see how you should fix it in Linux, the Linux way.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 10-21-2013 at 08:26 PM.
 
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:45 PM   #13
jamison20000e
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Can't handle the red pill?
 
Old 10-22-2013, 03:03 AM   #14
dansimon
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Hi,

I have no real experiance with snort, and very little with ruby/rails. However I have done some work on web servers, and I agree that this work can be very confusing with lots of steep lerning curves!

One friendly suggestion (feel free to ignore it): Have you tried running a server on a more user friendly distro for that kind of job? Zentyal (www.zentyal.org) is an ubuntu based linux distro that lets you administrate your server through a user friendly web frontend. There are other such alternatives, red hat based clearos (http://www.clearfoundation.com) for instance.

One last comment; Linux can come off as hard to use because it lets you do anything you whant. You can use user friendly graphical front ends, or you can cut your way through the deep joungle of the command line like Indiana Jones. But dont expect thing to be easy if you opt for the last aproch, there is an old saying: "Unix gives you just enough rope to hang yourself, and then adds some more for good messure!".
 
  


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