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Debian Linux

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[edit] Linux offers Many choices

A wonderful thing about Linux is that there are many competing software packages - the best features of each end up rolled into even better software in the end. Due to the nature of GPL/OSS and the large number of eyes that iron out any bugs in the code the quality just keeps getting better. The Linux desktop is now starting to pass M$'s Windows in quality in some areas i.e. auto-detecting printers, package management, multi-national support, better file browser functions and of course cost and a much more stable underlying kernel and file system. The most important program in a operating system is the file browser - Linux has definitely left M$ in the dust with the dolphin file system browser. Installing debian takes less clicks and key strokes than just typing-in the windoze license key!

[edit] Distributions

Linux comes packaged by many companies as distributions - that is combinations of versions of the GNU code with a little glue code and some install routines that form a complete operating system. We have tested several distributions and spent some time using Redhat - but now I can only recommend Debian. (There is no one system in the M$ world that comes close, as this verifies not only system files but applications as well.) The incredible power of the debian apt-get system is something you will want to learn about. Be aware that many Linux systems are intended to provide future lock-in - This is the biggest reason to stick with Debian.

[edit] Hardware to avoid

  • Brother
  • Novel
  • Olympus ausdio recorders ( proprietary audio files format )
  • Sonly audio recorders

[edit] Hardware

  • Debian nvidia how-to
  • Identify keyboard size
    • pc101 means a 'standard pc' keyboard with 101 keys. Such a keyboard has no less/greater key (and no MS Window keys too).
    • pc102 ('base' keyboard with '<>' key)
    • pc105 (the same but with LeftWin/RightWin/Menu keys).

[edit] Compatability

Install and learn the following commands:

  • hwinfo
  • lspci
  • lsusb

[edit] Debian Links

  • Download Debian ISO net install
  • Request to package To request some OSS to be added to Debian you must first be sure no one else has - if they have add to the bug report. This is by doing a reportbug for wnpp.
  • Bug data base

[edit] Install notes

Hardware information and BIOS settings is a page for BIOS settings and tools to find hardware information.

Cloning Thumb-drives Backing up images - write protect and more.

[edit] Desktop Packages

The first thing to know is that overall the installation process is easier than Windows! OK, it is different and you have to learn how. When you are finished you will have spent about the same amount of time required for a Windoze installation - but you will have also installed your applications! You only reboot once!!!!

(How many man-lives of time have been wasted waiting for M$windows to reboot? Let's see, three times for install and then another 6 times counting installing a bit of software and all the updates that they don't see fit to sending out as a new disk.)

Debian install support is available, from your local Linux users group. It takes just as long to install Debian as Windows, but when you are finished you have also installed 95% of the software you will likely use (Ok, I usually install 150% of the software I will ever use - but some day I really will try that math package out)

The task bar supports applets that run on it - like the ones on the far right side of a windows task bar - sort of. My favorite is kweather. It goes out and gets the local weather from a nearby airport and displays the temperature and a little sun that sometimes has a bit of cloud over it. If you click on it you can read the latest detailed weather report. There are others that are just for fun, and a sticky-yellow-notes-simulator and of course a clock - well actually you have lots of choices when it comes to clocks. I lost track how many there are -but I like the stock one that has the just the date and time.

[edit] KDE / GNOME Desktops

KDE has the better file browser for the time being. You can run Gnome apps from KDE - Gnome is working hard to get better. Competition is a great stimulus, the lack of which has caused the stagnation of the Windows world.

[edit] Fonts

Most people use too many fonts - you really mostly need :

  • Mono spaced - normal and narrow - for printing code etc.
  • Times
  • A Sans font and a narrow Sans font
  • There is a package called fontmatrix to preview and activate different fonts.

[edit] Browsers

[edit] Google Earth

  • Googleearth can be installed - be aware that it leaves huge cache files behind
  • WW2D download site - you can snag topographical maps of anywhere in the USA - plus much more - Really hope WW2D becomes part of Debian.

[edit] Email MUA

[edit] Calender

  • iceowl lightning in disguise ( upgrade to sunbird).

[edit] Word processing

  • libreoffice (then supported fork of openoffice) also will edit text, and open M$word documents, Excell documents, has an HTML editor, paint database capabilities and glue functions. It has one more feature that is a killer; it will run on both windows and Linux - thus libreOffice is the perfect migration office suite for those who want out of the Redmond strangle hold!
  • kate is a great text editor and includes kwrite and faster word processor.
  • abiword is smaller lighter - but sadly tends to always have bugs
  • For Desktop publishing look at scribus.

[edit] Nevernote or Onenote Replacement

  • nixnote Sadly, this was written in Java - that non-securable language ( it doesn't wipe memory if you remove an object ) with a culture of binary blobs without source, so there is a problem packaging it.

[edit] HTML editors

  • kompozer soon to be BlueGriffon Nothing else comes close at this time. Has in-line spell check for every day page creation!
  • Quanta - not WYSIWYG but has a lot of nice features - between nvu and quanta you have what you need.
  • Openoffice - creates extreme bloat code that isn't human friendly - as bad as frontpage. Don't use it for html!

[edit] Spreadsheet

  • gnumeric - excellent - so good there is no reason to even talk about anything else.

[edit] Simple text editing

[edit] Graphics programs

  • gimp somewhat like photoshop
  • digikam Photo indexer, tagger for adding, editing and searching of IPTC/IIM, EXIF data and JPEG comments. Meta data editor - picture tagger - can put tags, title, caption within image-fil and much more Website
  • Great package to make web galleries of pictures - lazygal
  • gwenview Photo viewer and re-namer
  • hugin Panoramic stitcher
  • luminance HDR workflow Luminance website
  • kipi-plugins Image plugins for KIPI aware programs Website
  • stopmotion program for creating stop motion animations
  • inkscape a vector graphics program
  • ksnapshot - very nice screenshot program
  • dngconverter - converts Adobe DNG (Digital Negative Specification (Adobe's raw camera file)) to other popular image formats, the output images support JPG / JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIF / TIFF, and BMP image formats.

[edit] Graphics command line packages

[edit] Calculator

[edit] PDF Viewers and Editors

  • gscan2pdf convert scans to PDF and more
  • pdfedit Yes, it is possible (not easy ) to edit pdf files.
  • calibre convert PDF to ebook formats

[edit] PDF command Line Tools

  • pdftk PDF tool kit - you can split pdf's delete pages - reorder pages and more. Command line tool.
This is the tool to unpack PDF packages (PDF packages are another attempt to make a proprietary standard locking - malware IMO )

[edit] Signature rotator

  • ksig is my choice after trying several - most are overly complex - unspported 2012 needs a fix..

[edit] Ebay sniper

[edit] E-book reader

[edit] FAX software

  • Hylafax is great - more stable than any of the M$ platform fax systems I ever tried (I tried four different one including M$ own!)
  • Debian-print2fax Print to fax using the cups printing system, hylafax and Faxfrontend.

[edit] Webcast radio tunner

[edit] Video player

  • Mplayer will need an entry in /etc/apt/sources.list :
deb etch main

[edit] Video Editing

  • kdenlive
  • transcode - remove shakes from video and convert from most anything to most anything

[edit] Package chooser

This is something not found in windows - Think of it as an application store - but everything is free. If you need some software you just launch this application and it finds it, installs it (free of course) with just a click or two.

  • For the Desktop use Synaptic - great for searching through the 28,000 packages available.
  • Sometimes gjig is better.
  • Command line you want to use wajig.
  • apt-spy find best mirror server

Sometimes you will get an error about a key

[edit] APT key magic

gpg --recv-key --keyserver <key number>
gpg --export A70DAF536070D3A1 | apt-key add -

[edit] Odds and ends

  • kicad is an excellent schematic capture to printer circuit board CAD system - should get a best of Linux EE software award.
  • jpilot palm desktop for Linux!
  • kicad EE cad system - Schematic capture to PCB layout and more. Kicad is the future for PCB CAD - it is GPL!
  • bash The common shell

[edit] Run-level editor

  • sysv-rc-conf - also curses based - shows all run levels - recommended

[edit] Disk usage

Ok, You know your have been there. you go to back up your stuff and find out it is 16G too big. So how do you find the big file that you meant to delete?

  • gmap is a gui program that makes finding large clinkers easy.
  • KDE has filelight
  • For working from the shell try ncdu

[edit] Renaming tool

  • If you need to rename files look at mmv

[edit] File compare and meld

  • meld - If you have customized code and need to update, there isn't anything better I've yet seen. You can look at two files side by side - clearly see the differences and copy parts by clicking the arrow.
  • There is also kompare, tkdiff

[edit] Multi-file find and replace

  • regexxer Powerful regular expression GUI tool that lets you change strings in multiple files all at once!

[edit] M$ Access Replacement

kexi kexi

[edit] Windows Emulation

If you have a couple of windows only programs you need to use, you may well be able to run them on linux

  • wine - kindle, some versions of quickbooks.. etc..
  • Crossover/Impersonator This costs some money, but the folks that do it have helped the WINE project - The ability to make a deb out of a windows install that is tweaked and configured is quite worth it.

[edit] Telephony VoIP- Video chat

  • Freeswitch A successor to asterisk - A PBX system on a linux box. Buy phone service wholesale..

[edit] EE Electrical Engineering

  • kicad EE cad system - Schematic capture to PCB layout and more. Kicad is the future for PCB CAD - it is GPL!

[edit] Printer Setup

Best to use systemsettings from command line or the GUI. You will need membership to the lpadmin group. (see Adduser/group_cheatsheet)

[edit] Most people will want to install the following packages

  • cupsys - the main print server.
  • cups-client - user interface to cupsys
  • cups-bsd - provides the BSD commands for interacting with CUPS. It is provided separately to allow CUPS to coexist with other printing systems (to a small degree).
  • foomatic-db-engine -makes it easier to set up common printers
  • system-config-printer-kde for configuring your printer

Postscript printers are still probably the best choice for Linux/Debian. Unfortunately, the default PPD files lack paper sizes such as IndexCards.. BUT you can modify these files as outlined on the Edit PPD Files.

[edit] Some of these as well depending on the printer and software to support

  • cups-driver-gutenprint - for printing from gimp
  • foo2zjs - support for ZjStream-based printers. Minolta magicolor 2200/2300/2430 DL, Minolta Color PageWorks/Pro L and HP LaserJet 1000/1005/1018/1020/1022. These printers are often erroneously referred to as "winprinters" or "GDI printers".
  • hp-ppd - Provides HP Postscript Printer Definition (PPD) files (Install if you have a postscript HP printer) This PPD lacks several paper sizes.
  • hpijs - contains an IJS printer driver for Ghostscript, which adds support for most inkjet printers and some LaserJet printers manufactured by HP. It is also required for HPLIP fax support.
  • cjet - Software PCL emulation for Canon CaPSL laser printers
  • splix - Samsung's SPL2 (bw) and SPLc (color) laser printers Support for printing to SPL2- and SPLc-based printers. These are most of the cheaper Samsung laser printers which do not understand standard languages like PostScript or PCL. Both monochrome (ML-15xx, ML-16xx, ML-17xx, ML-2xxx) and color (CLP-5xx, CLP-6xx) models are supported. Also some rebranded Samsungs like the Xerox Phaser 6100 work with this driver.
  • c2050 - Lexmark 2050 Color Jetprinter Linux Driver
  • HP pnm2ppa -Deskjet 7XX Series, HP Deskjet 820 Series and HP Deskjet 1000 Series support

[edit] Plotting - Graphing

[edit] Sound, MIDI and Sheet-music generating packages

  • Debian Sound How to get sound working on Debian
  • alsa feeds things to your sound card. ALSA stands for Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. It is a suite of hardware drivers, libraries and utilities which provide audio and MIDI functionality for the Linux operating system.
  • phonon KDE sound daemon
  • jackd Inter plugging sound daemon
  • timidity Timidity Converts MIDI to sound out your speakers if you don't have a MIDI sound card
  • rosegarden Rosegarden lets you import/export MIDI, you can even play a keyboard to input music - advanced features - impressive.
  • musescore Music score editing system
  • noteedit Lets you edit scores and imports/exports MIDI files as well as common sheet-music formats such as lilypond to produce printed content.
  • hydrogen - drum machine Simple drum machine/step sequencer

[edit] Graphic programs

[edit] Graphics command line packages

  • exiftran - jpg manipulation - lossless jpg rotations via exifautotran *
  • autotrace - convert bitmap to vector

[edit] Bluetooth Links

[edit] WIFI SD cards (eye-fi)

  • How to allow Public hotspots to let your camera upload to your own Linux box?

Right now It only talks to two things:

  1. the Eye-Fi manager Windows software
  2. the server

[edit] Sys Admin Tasks

  • nfs - reread exports file:
$ exportfs -r
  • Encryption Key Certificate Manager and Unified Crypto GUI kleopatra
  • Hot swap incantation to rescan scsi bus
echo "- - -" > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/scan
  • Run GUI admin programs - all work - First is simple
gksu guiprogam
  • module-assistant for source packages not on select list :
# m-a a-i package-source

[edit] Linux documentation

[edit] Server Damons and system programs

  • IMAP - Internet Message Access Protocol
  • logcheck look for funny business in your logs automatically and have them emailed to you.
  • shorewall firewall config
  • Raid How to get move to a RAID system working with Debian
  • asterisk phone system in software
  • hylafax fax server
  • Mysql on Debian - How to edit MySQL tables as a spread sheet and other notes.
  • postgresql Notes
  • Exim Tidbits for supporting Exim the best choice for an MTA (replaces sendmail)
  • mediawiki customization
  • bind DNS server

[edit] identifiying ports

When rkhunter tells you that there are hidden processes, try to cd to the /proc/<pid> directory for the process (where <pid> is one of the process ID numbers output by rkhunter). If you can't cd into the directory, then the process isn't really hidden, it was just in the middle of exiting when the rkhunter check ran and rkhunter was confused and you probably have nothing to worry about.

If you do manage to cd into the /proc/<pid> directory, then it's likely you have a problem. Interesting things to do once you're in the /proc/<pid> directory include:

  1. "cat cmdline" should give you the name the process is running under
  2. "sudo cat environ | perl -pe 's/\000/\n/g'" gets you the environment variable settings for the process
  3. "sudo ls -l fd" shows you what files the process currently has open
  4. "sudo ls -l cwd" shows you the current working directory of the process (which could be interesting if the process was started by the attacker from their rootkit installation directory)

There's plenty of other cool stuff you can do with the various bits of information under /proc, but the above should be enough to help you figure out what the process(es) are doing and how much trouble you're in.

[edit] Network Monitoring

[edit] System test and Burn-in tools

You will want PXE boot working

boot any image on a thumb drive
Hammer your system before deploying
  • DOS - various flavors

[edit] Application development

[edit] Building custom packages

wajig source foo 
cd foo-1.0 patch -p0 < ... 
debchange -i or debchante oldversion -v newversion
fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b -uc -us

[edit] new stuff not yet sorted

Add your about favorite Linux program I missed or email me at - be sure to tell me WHY you like it better than the others.

[edit] OSS not part of Debian

[edit] Caps Lock button

I never use the Caps Lock button. Never. The only time I "use" it is when I accidentally press it and start typing things in UPPERCASE. To disable it in Linux all you have to do is enter this on the command line:

$ xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"

To set this permanently, just stick the above line in your ~/.bashrc file (or /etc/bash.bashrc if you're root) so that it looks something like this:

if [ "$PS1" ]; then
   # Disables the bloody CapsLock button
   xmodmap -e "remove lock = Caps_Lock"
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