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Old 09-12-2018, 06:12 AM   #1
Mulsimine
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Smile New To Linux, Asking For General Advice


I'm new and after a month of distro hopping, I've settled on Kubuntu. It is time to settle in and permanently migrate from my Windows 10 machine to Linux. I am a freelance copywriter and work on my machine 8 to 10 hours a day. Linux is obviously complex and that scares me. I'm nervous that I might make a mistake early on that requires I perform a re-installation. I understand this is possible, no matter the precautions I take. I should use common sense and not take risks with non-repo software.

That is about all I understand concerning safe Linux usage practices. Is there any other wisdom I should already know? Any book I should consider a must read before I start working full time on this PC? Is there any partition-fu or smart security practices I should perform or be aware of? In short, is there any wisdom, feedback, advice, or suggestions that you feel a newcomer to Linux should know? Your time and your thoughts are sincerely appreciated ^_^
 
Old 09-12-2018, 06:32 AM   #2
hydrurga
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Yes, I would advise you to install TimeShift (ensuring that you have adequate space for snapshots) and configure it to make regular snapshots. That way, you can roll back the system if anything goes awry, similar to the way you can restore the system in Windows to a previous date.

Also, make regular separate backups of your documents.
 
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:33 AM   #3
syg00
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Work as your non-elevated user whenever possible - use sudo only when you have to. You really shouldn't need to re-install - although it does happen ...
Note my sigline. You need backups (plural), and at least one on an external media - disk, cloud, whatever. Incremental backups like rsnapshot or timeshift - have a read of this for example.

I find it best to have /home mounted to a separate partition; it makes backup/restore - especially re-install - simpler. Not required, but for a meddler like me, a major convenience.
 
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:43 AM   #4
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsimine View Post
I'm new and after a month of distro hopping, I've settled on Kubuntu. It is time to settle in and permanently migrate from my Windows 10 machine to Linux. I am a freelance copywriter and work on my machine 8 to 10 hours a day. Linux is obviously complex and that scares me. I'm nervous that I might make a mistake early on that requires I perform a re-installation. I understand this is possible, no matter the precautions I take. I should use common sense and not take risks with non-repo software.
Just because a piece of software isn't in a software repo, it doesn't mean by virtue of that fact it's "unsafe". The whole point of package managers and by extension software repo's is to provide a consistent way of installing/upgrading/removing software from a Linux system.

But yes and that said, while you are still learning Linux it would be safer and normally much easier to stick to software in the repo's for your Linux distribution. You most certainly should NOT use software repo's meant for other Linux distribution's unless the repo in question is known to be compatible with your Linux distribution. The problem with installing software outside of the software repo's is that the package manager doesn't know about that software - it therefore could not update it along with the rest of the software you have installed.

If you don't know what the software in question is likely to do to your system, and you cannot find anything that explains what it's meant to do, don't use it. Read up about it first.

Quote:
That is about all I understand concerning safe Linux usage practices. Is there any other wisdom I should already know? Any book I should consider a must read before I start working full time on this PC? Is there any partition-fu or smart security practices I should perform or be aware of? In short, is there any wisdom, feedback, advice, or suggestions that you feel a newcomer to Linux should know? Your time and your thoughts are sincerely appreciated ^_^
The best book you can get is one you write yourself, by way of using Linux and understanding how things work. While everyone has a different way of learning, you'll learn a lot more by using it and reading things like man pages, etc.

I didn't learn about Linux let alone how things work by just reading about it. I learnt by doing it, using VM's to play around with it. Create a VM and break stuff and see what happens, then try and fix it - you'll learn a LOT.

Above all else, use common sense, like the old saying goes; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's similar with computers in general, not just Linux. Use safe practices. Do your research, don't run things as "root" unless you NEED superpowers.
 
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:44 AM   #5
Honest Abe
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safe linux usage practices is basically "safe windows usage" plus a few extras ..


-> Start with a backup plan. You don't generally need backup for OS files, but Data and configuration files should be backed up. Verify your use case, read up on different types of backup and select the one you need.

-> Plan your updates. Security and software updates should be done as quickly as possible (Downgrade to previous version ONLY if its absolutely necessary). You can dilly dally a bit on the Kernel Update (unless a vulnerability is fixed or if you are using a LTS kernel branch).

-> For major updates (Example - Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04), it's recommended to do a fresh install, instead of a dist-upgrade. Also, verify the new version doesn't break functionality by running it in live mode before installing.

-> Golden rule that has been repeated since Unix: Do Not Become root unless you have to. Use sudo as and when needed, until you gain more confidence. (Kubuntu still does not allow direct root login, right ?)

-> You will face minor issues in your daily use. maybe not a show-stopper, but enough to mildly annoy you. Make a habit of writing down the changes made (to fix the issue, add a configuration, install a file from source). Think of it as a captain's logbook.

-> Keep a habit of checking your syslogs and network usage (IPs connecting, ports open etc) from time to time.

-> Use firewall (iptables/firewall-cmd/ufw) and limit accessibility from an outside network to your IP/ports.

-> Other 'advises' would be related to your browsing, downloading and torrenting habits. Just follow 'safe windows browsing habits' and you should be good.


Undoubtedly many more will be advised.
 
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:24 AM   #6
hazel
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I hope the mods won't consider this to be advertising, but I wrote a book a few years ago that is a sort of "Linux for beginners". It won't necessarily give you much practical help (there are several posts in this thread already that do that that admirably) but it does try to explain how Linux works internally. Just follow the link in my signature.

I don't know where you got this idea that Linux is complicated. Windows is complicated because it's made up of a zillion little programs that all have to work together. If even one of them fails, your system is shot. And commercial secrecy means that you aren't allowed to find out anything about them or how they interact. Linux, by contrast, consists of big pieces that are exhaustively documented: kernel, shell, X-server, window manager, libraries, applications. Its structure is loose and modular so that even if something fails, you'll still have a working system for troubleshooting and recovery. Simples!
 
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:19 AM   #7
fatmac
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Linux is no more complicated than MS Windows is, it's just that you probably started out using the wrong operating system.

If it's a laptop, have a swap partition of at least the size of your ram, so that you can hibernate your system.

Have a partition for your OS with room to spare so you can add any additional programs that you may want/need, about twice the installed size.

Put your /home on another partition, always safer in its own partition, the rest of the disk for this.

Make sure to back up your personal data regularly, that way you will be safe if you ever have to re install, or make a mistake in the system.
 
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:34 AM   #8
Habitual
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Some resources for you:

The ultimate guide to Linux for Windows users

and the ever popular A Newbie's Getting Started Guide to Linux
Lot of free books up there too. Sponsored by Jeremy and LQ. (I signed up, no spam)

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

Common-sense mostly, but the issues that confronted us in Windows are barely evident in Linux.
Most hostilities are self-created.
Practice Safe Hex is a vital read.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
 
Old 09-16-2018, 12:03 PM   #9
Lucko666
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I suggest you look for any Linux users groups in your area, possibly on college campuses. These folks are usually eager to help new users and are great resources. As with the rest of the world, in rare cases you'll find pushy or elitist folks, ignore them!
 
Old 09-16-2018, 04:06 PM   #10
Lysander666
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I'm a startup freelance copywriter myself, so while I can't offer you any advice on that [even though I'd appreciate some myself], I can offer a couple of points on Linux.

If you've done a month of distrohopping, you clearly have a little bit of time on your hands. I think Kubuntu is a solid choice, and I'd stick with it if I were you. You need to have something that works well for you, is trusted, has a successful history, and is solid. Once you've gone with Kubuntu, don't be tempted to try the next shiny interesting distro. There will be temptations, but all distros have their plusses and negatives. The longer you stay with your distro of choice, the more you will learn about it and the more comfortable you will get with it.

Secondly, if you're the kind of freelancer who travels abroad a bit, you may run into issues [see this thread]. Connecting to wifi through Linux can be troublesome in some countries. However, if you don't travel much, or if you intend to rely on an ethernet connection most of the time, you'll be fine.
 
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