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billstowell 05-01-2013 08:50 AM

links to files in /etc

I tried to update libflash and found an online reference that said to just replace in /etc with the new In the process of trying to do that I first was denied, then deleted (using sudo) from /etc and replaced it with the new

The problem, in retrospect, was that in /etc the file I deleted was NOT, it WAS with a green color.
So, I changed the a green color) to the new (without a green color). I think I am missing some sort of linking to other parts of the system.

I also had trouble shutting down the system. Finally had to resort to "shutdown -h -n" to kill most activities then the "off" button. Fortunately, it did boot up again.

I'm running Linux Mint Debian 13.

Any ideas regarding what I broke and how to fix it will be greatly appreciated.


moody_mark 05-01-2013 08:57 AM

Hi, the best thing you could try is booting the machine from a live CD or DVD and then taking a snapshot of the output of the command:


ls -la /etc
It will be a long output but you should be able to cut/paste it to a text file and email it to yourself or drop it into the local file system on the machine if its possible to mount the hard drive (usually on the gnome desktop you can browse the machines hard drives using a file manager and that should auto-mount it for you). You should then be able to compare your live CD/DVD with your machine.

Interestingly enough Im running Ubuntu (10.04) and I know Mint is based on the same kernel, your /etc would be similar to mine I'd think. I have flash installed but I dont see any reference to it in /etc, heres my output


$ ls -la /etc/lib*
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  20 2010-03-06 15:05 /etc/libao.conf

total 16
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root  4096 2010-03-06 20:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 174 root root 12288 2013-05-01 14:37 ..

John VV 05-01-2013 01:17 PM

on almost all linux distros
the libflash in /etc is a LINK !!
it links to alternatives , then that link is linked to the libflash in /usr/lib/flash/??? or /usr/lib64/flash/???

it is a rather convoluted set up

my preferences for a 64 bit OS -- mine and others might disagree

if you are NOT using the flash in your distros repo
and this IS a 64 bit install !!!

there is a 32 bit flash wrapper in the /usr/lib folder
-- if you plan on using the 64 bit flash anf NOT the 32 bit flash
you can uninstall this wrapper
remove the links in alternatives
and use the adobe flash installer script
or manually copy/paste

sundialsvcs 05-04-2013 08:21 AM

Also, understand what "a link" actually is.

In nearly every case, it a "symbolic link," which means that it actually consists of a tiny file with a file-name in it ... which Linux recognizes to be "a link." Therefore, when you open "a link," Linux at that moment reads the link and goes searching for the other file. (It will recurse a limited number of times before giving up, in case of a link loop link loop link loop link loop.)

The link, and its target, are two separate things. The mere presence of a link does not mean that the file being linked-to still exists, nor that you have access to it. If you rename or move the target file, links are not updated, nor is there any sort of "reference count."

Although terminal displays are often set up to use color-cues, always look for the lowercase "l" (el) in the ls display, which indicates a link.

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