LinuxQuestions.org
Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Debian
User Name
Password
Debian This forum is for the discussion of Debian Linux.

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 01-03-2004, 09:18 AM   #1
Ander
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Vancouver
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 37

Rep: Reputation: 15
Annoying newbie questions (your chance to feel superior...)


Hi,

I've installed Knoppix 3.3 to h/d, and am enjoying it tremendously. I read a lot of moaning from people who think Linux (and Debian in general) is too baffling, but I like to learn.

That's why I hope you don't mind if I bother you with some newbie questions. (Feel free to ignore any that seem too dumb.)

(1) I've set everything up for my root account (KDE desktop settings, program configurations, etc.). Now I've found out that I should log in as a normal user most of the time. Is it possible to copy my settings to a non-root account? (Since Linux uses config files instead of a kludgy central registry, I thought it might be possible.)

(2) Following up on question 1: Is there ever a reason to log in as root? What can't you do with 'sudo'?

(3) The 'clear' command clears the visible portion of a shell session. Is there a command that clears the scrollback area, too? (That would make it easier when viewing long output.)

(4) When you use 'apropos' with more than one term, it shows you all the man pages containing ANY of the terms. Is there a way to find pages that contain ALL of the terms?

(5) Can you define keyboard shortcuts in KDE? For example, to minimize a window, something simpler than 'Alt+F3 N' would be nice... And is there a keyboard shortcut that minimizes all open windows (or can you create one)?

(6) Is GRUB really better than LILO? Why? If you install GRUB, does it automatically replace LILO, or do you need to uninstall LILO first?

(7) When I list my processes, I see that KDE is running seven instances of kdeinit. Is that normal? (I figured there would be one for each desktop, but...)

(8) By default, my /root dir. is set <rwxr-xr-x>. Is that a good idea? And what's this I've heard about finding and changing permissions on all world-readable files?

(9) I've always read that Debian is significantly different from other Linux distributions (besides its higher quality standards, I mean). Are these differences anything that would be confusing when consulting general Linux documentation---file locations, etc.? If so, is there a list of them somewhere?

Thanks for your help!

Cheers, Ander
 
Old 01-03-2004, 10:22 AM   #2
scott_R
Member
 
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Brighton, Michigan, USA
Distribution: Lots of distros in the past, now Linux Mint
Posts: 747

Rep: Reputation: 31
First of all, no question is too dumb...that's a lazy person's mindset.

1) Yes, for the most part, you simply create a new user, then copy the files to that new user, making sure to strip them of their root permissions (or they won't work for your user account). It's actually a pain at first, that's why most distros provide a '/etc/skel' directory, which sets up "skeleton" files for your users. It's not hard, it's just confusing to newbies.

2) Yes, and no. Most people open a console/terminal and 'su' to root. A good number of people defy the rules and always have a root window open, especially software developers.

3) Not that I'm aware of, but there are so many things available for Linux, that I can't say for certain. I've never thought about this before, but perhaps someone will implement your idea. That's one of the strengths of Linux, that everybody can toss in their ideas.

4) No. As above, there might be, but for the most part, apropos is meant to be available to even the most basic systems. Unfortunately, that means it's as basic as possible, and is a simple search engine with no advanced features.

5) You can alter any shortcuts in all desktops/window managers, but I use GNOME for the most part, so I can't help you in detail.

6) Yes, no, maybe. It depends on your needs. For 99% of people, there is no noticable difference between Lilo and Grub. Some systems, however, didn't like Lilo, so Grub gained familiarity. In reality, Grub exists because FSF needs their own bootloader to keep Hurd active. For most people, the bootloader is nothing, as long as it works. I'd argue that Lilo is maybe less feature filled, but better tested. I'm old-fashioned though. Only grub or Lilo can exist in the MBR, as it's a tiny space, so they replace each other.

7) Yes, and the same holds true for GNOME. It's goofy, but if you take the time to understand the desktop, you'll understand why they do this. In a nutshell, Linux doesn't thread well, so you end up with a number of processes, which Linux does amazingly well.

8) It might not matter, if your directory is hidden with similar permissions. I'd be more worried about /sbin and /usr/sbin permissions than /root. /root is simply a version of a home directory, while the others contain programs that can do all sorts of nasty things to your system. I'd prefer that my admin files weren't world executable, as "hiding" them (your lack of read permissions) migh be a false sense of security.

9) Debian. As a Debian user, and a long time Linux user (almost 6 years now), I'd recommend Debian wait until you know more about Linux. I love the system, but it can be a bugger to install and set up. Once you've figured it out though, you're home free, as updates are easier than any other OS I know of. To paraphrase the perfect quote, "Debian's install sucks, because Debian users only install once."

Another thing to keep in mind is that while the base debian system is stable as heck, most people don't use "stable". Most Debian users use testing or unstable, which are exactly what they sound like. This is because Debian tends to follow other distros by a year or so. Testing allows you to have more recent software at reasonable stability, while unstable is for those with fast internet connections that like to have the newest stuff fast. In reality, unstable pretty much equals most distros, but Debian's reputation is based on it's "stable" servers, which rarely have a problem. (It was major news a little bit ago when Debian servers were cracked.)

The raw differences in Debian and other distros are minor, but Debian presently lacks the easy install stuff and wizards that other distros include. Once installed, however, you're good to go, and like most distros, most stuff is the same. There are differences, but nothing that will confuse you if you've reached this level of usage.

My answers aren't perfect, on a number of levels, but I hope they help, regardless. If you're looking for a "real" distro to install, I'd suggest Mandrake, simply because it's as easy as distros get. Save the hard installs for your spare time.
 
Old 01-03-2004, 10:26 AM   #3
slakmagik
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
1) 'cp -R /root/* /home/user; chown -R user:usergroup' might do it.

2) dunno - why not su to root? I always do.

3) dunno

4) Kind of awkward but you could do 'apropos foo | grep bar | grep baz | grep ...

5) dunno - don't use KDE

6) No. People just like 'the newest thing' and goofy syntax and not having to remember to reinstall it. Yeah, if they are targeted to the same (say MBR) they'll overwrite each other.

7) dunno (don't use KDE) but mozilla and xmms are listed several times too, so it's probably normal. It's not using that much memory though - just the entries repeat.

8) Sure. Normal settings. I suppose if you wanted to be extra secure you could chmod every file on your box either 600 or 700 and every directory 700, but it'd be a royal pain, both to do and to live with. My umask creates my personal files that way, though, just for the heck of it. *g*

9) I don't really like Debian (though I have an install of it) and wouldn't call it higher standards - just slower and hyper-cautious. Every distros a little different and few distros are extremely different. The only thing I noticed was dumb removable drive mount points cluttering the root directory and those godawful SysV init scripts and millions of minor details.

Cool that you're interested in learning and have discovered the wonders of man and terminals.

My answers suck and I don't feel superior but you'll get more and better later.

-- Geez that took a long time to write - and to read scott_R's post that came up in the meantime - and reminded me to check which forum I was in - I thought I was in the Newbie forum. Don't mean to be saying anything bad about Debian. Debian's just not my cup of tea, is all.

Last edited by slakmagik; 01-03-2004 at 10:33 AM.
 
Old 01-03-2004, 09:30 PM   #4
jimscafe
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 17

Rep: Reputation: 0
I'm a 'newbie' also so I don't know the answer to most of your questions.

However, I read that Lilo needs to have the first access point (sector?) on or before cylinder 1024 on your hard drive - as I have Win98 taking up the first 15GB that is not possible for me and Grub does not have this restriction so I use Grub (when my first Linux distribution - Suse - gave me the choice of Lilo or Grub.

I hope this is correct.
 
Old 01-03-2004, 10:08 PM   #5
Strike
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 569

Rep: Reputation: 31
2) sudo is god, use it and love it

3) nope

4) no, and that multi-grep command wouldn't work either

5) yes, it's in some unobvious part of the control center though ... something to do with languages and internationalization I think ... not in front of KDE right now so I can't tell

6) yes it is. GRUB doesn't have to be reinstalled (i.e., you re-run lilo, no need to do this with grub) every time you update the settings (is the main reason I think it's better). Installing GRUB won't remove the lilo package, but installing grub on the bootloader or on your partition or whatever WILL overwrite LILO so there's no need to do anything like lilo -u

7) yes, kdeinit starts damn near everything in KDE, basically. Konqueror, Konsole, and others all use kdeinit. Look at the full command line invocation and you'll see. Or just randomly kill kdeinit processes and see what disappears

8) I think the default is to have it as 700, but ultimately it's your call. Personally I have nothing in /root

9) Don't listen to digiot's complaints about SysV. He apparently doesn't know what he's talking about.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 01:53 AM   #6
slakmagik
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally posted by Strike
4) no, and that multi-grep command wouldn't work either
Code:
511 >> apropos man | grep display
XmCommandAppendValue (3)  - A Command function that appends the passed[...]
XmCommandError       (3)  - A Command function that displays an error message[...]
XmCommandSetValue    (3)  - A Command function that replaces a displayed string[...]
groffer              (1)  - display groff files and man~pages on X and tty
man                  (1)  - format and display the on-line manual pages
xman                 (1x)  - Manual page display program for the X Window System

512 >> apropos man | grep display | grep format
man                  (1)  - format and display the on-line manual pages

513 >> apropos display | grep format | grep man
man                  (1)  - format and display the on-line manual pages
Like I say, it ain't pretty but it seems to show the man page that contains all three of those words. What am I missing?

Quote:

9) Don't listen to digiot's complaints about SysV. He apparently doesn't know what he's talking about.
Smile when you say that.

---

jimscafe - the 1024 restriction is only true of old LILOs - it hasn't been the case for quite awhile.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 02:56 AM   #7
Strike
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 569

Rep: Reputation: 31
Well, if apropos only checks command names and descriptions, then it will, but I remember it checking more than that.

And:

Don't listen to digiot's complaints about SysV. He apparently doesn't know what he's talking about. It's true
 
Old 01-04-2004, 03:01 AM   #8
paradoxdruid
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Kubuntu 6.10 Edgy
Posts: 37

Rep: Reputation: 15
5) Keyboard shortcuts for that kind of stuff are availavle in Control Center --> Regional & Accessibility --> Keyboard Shortcuts.

Shortcuts to open programs are through the Menu Editor, usually found on the menu at KMenu --> Settings --> Menu Editor.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 03:31 AM   #9
slakmagik
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally posted by Strike
Well, if apropos only checks command names and descriptions, then it will, but I remember it checking more than that.
Yeah - it's just 'man -k' and checks the whatis file. It actually is a little sloppy, though. I think 'whatis foo | grep...' will do the same but with whole words instead of general character string matches.

Quote:

And:

Don't listen to digiot's complaints about SysV. He apparently doesn't know what he's talking about. It's true
 
Old 01-10-2004, 07:01 PM   #10
Ander
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Vancouver
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 37

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Hey, everybody, thanks for your time. I sure appreciate it.
Quote:
Ander> (2) Is there ever a reason to log in as root? What can't you do with 'sudo'?

digiot> dunno - why not su to root?
Okay---but if you're a normal user with an open root shell, how different is that from being root? Should you close the shell when not using it?
Quote:
Ander> (4) When you use 'apropos' with more than one term, it shows you all the man pages containing ANY of the terms. Is there a way to find pages that contain ALL of the terms?

digiot> Kind of awkward but you could do 'apropos foo | grep bar | grep baz | grep ...

Strike> that multi-grep command wouldn't work...

digiot> [shows demo] Like I say, it ain't pretty but it seems to show the man page that contains all three of those words...

Strike> Well, if apropos only checks command names and descriptions, then it will, but I remember it checking more than that.

digiot> Yeah - it's just 'man -k' and checks the whatis file... I think 'whatis foo | grep...' will do the same but with whole words...
That's it. (I must admit it's fun watching you guys reminisce about this kind of stuff---you must rarely need to refer to documentation anymore... ;?)
Quote:
Ander> (8) By default, my /root dir. is set <rwxr-xr-x>. Is that a good idea? And what's this I've heard about finding and changing permissions on all world-readable files?

scott_R> (8) It might not matter, if your directory is hidden with similar permissions. I'd be more worried about /sbin and /usr/sbin permissions [which contain] programs that can do all sorts of nasty things... I'd prefer that my admin files weren't world executable, as "hiding" them (your lack of read permissions) migh be a false sense of security.
Do I have this right, then?:

sudo chmod -R /sbin o-x
sudo chmod -R /usr/sbin o-x

Quote:
scott_R> (9) As a Debian user, and a long time Linux user... I'd recommend Debian wait until you know more about Linux. I love the system, but it can be a bugger to install and set up. Once you've figured it out though, you're home free...
As I mentioned, I used Knoppix's install script. It was nearly as easy as running it from CD. A full Debian system without the need for a university Linux degree---seemed like a good idea.
Quote:
digiot> ...reminded me to check which forum I was in - I thought I was in the Newbie forum...
No kidding! :?)
 
Old 01-10-2004, 09:25 PM   #11
slakmagik
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
quote:Ander> (2) Is there ever a reason to log in as root? What can't you do with 'sudo'?

digiot> dunno - why not su to root?


Okay---but if you're a normal user with an open root shell, how different is that from being root? Should you close the shell when not using it?
To tell the truth, Strike's right - I dunno what I'm talking about (except about SysV - SysV sucks ) and I've never understood Linux security. In a multi-user multi-machine environment, you don't want to be leaving shells open to a root account (like leaving the keys in the ignition) - but that doesn't really apply to personal home environments - and you generally don't want to be running processes as root. And you don't want to leave yourself open to making mistakes as root. So you rarely need to be root and rarely should be root. And so doing an 'su' at need meets that. Maybe sudo's better. The unfortunate thing with me and Linux is that *nix is really paranoid about local security and never clear about what's local and what's remote. And local security is meaningless to me. I also don't buy the accident argument - my likelihood of making a typo has nothing to do with how I log in and I've run DOS and Windows boxes 'as root' without ever slagging them so why should I spontaneously nuke a *nix box? But I just do what I'm told, as best I can. Strike can clear that up for you - or go post in Security and maybe unSpawn and others can help. I'd love it somebody could make it all make sense to me, myself.

Quote:
That's it. (I must admit it's fun watching you guys reminisce about this kind of stuff---you must rarely need to refer to documentation anymore... ;?)
Oh, yeah. I had to reinstall man just to do that test because I'd deleted it. No, I probably spend more time reading docs than anything else. Well, and organizing my bookmarks to even more documentation... which is how I largely spent this fine snowy Saturday - other than watching the fantastic Panthers/Rams playoff game. Double overtime and the Panthers with over 200 yards on the *ground*.

Quote:
quote:digiot> ...reminded me to check which forum I was in - I thought I was in the Newbie forum...


No kidding! :?)
Well, the thread title says newbie and most of my posting seems to be in newbie, so I tend to think that's where I am unless I specifically notice I'm not.
 
Old 01-10-2004, 09:34 PM   #12
Strike
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 569

Rep: Reputation: 31
Bah, SysV is fine. BSD is a weak init system. SysV can do everything BSD init can and not vice-versa, so SysV wins.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The annoying newbie again. A Question ddrfreak Mandriva 5 12-11-2004 10:17 PM
help a total newbie and feel better.... TailGunner Linux - Newbie 5 05-15-2004 06:37 PM
Fedora Newbie any chance of some 2.6 help? DavidTempler Fedora 1 12-28-2003 10:21 AM
Time like these...feel so newbie -->Themes -G- Linux - Newbie 1 07-18-2003 03:04 AM
Annoying Newbie with FTP Probs! mort Linux - Newbie 2 08-01-2002 07:27 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Debian

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:47 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration