The Linux Mint Install is an easy setup operation. Linux Mint is a good operating system to learn Linux on because it is an Ubuntu based distribution with lots of community support. The desktop interface is easy to use, and will be a great starter operating system for you.
If you haven’t done so already, read my article How to Install Linux from USB to see how to get Linux Mint, how to put it on a USB stick for installation and how to configure your computer to read the USB Stick for installing Linux.
When you first boot up, you’ll see a series of screens flash as the system starts up, but eventually, you’ll get to the live screen, which has three icons: Computer, Home, and Install Linux Mint. Click the last one.
Pretty self-explanitory here.
Linux Mint will check to make sure that your system meets the basic requirements before installing. They are pretty easy to meet: 6.1 GB of space and an internet connection.
You have four options here:
My recommended settings are shown below: just install Linux Mint. The encryption is not really necessary unless you’re a security nut. LVM (logical volume manager) is a great technology, but requires many extra steps if you ever have to do recovery. For that reason, I recommend that you not use LVM unless you have a specific reason to do so.
I’m in EST / EDT. You choose the time zone that applies to you.
Leave this as the defaults (pictured below) unless you have a special keyboard or language requirement.
Enter your full name, and let it pick your computer’s name (default). It will also give you a username, which I always leave as my first name because my password is very strong.
For security reasons, you never want to allow the computer to log in automatically. Always leave it as the default: Require my password to log in. You can optionally encrypt your home folder.
Once you complete these screens, Linux Mint will begin the installation process. Just sit back, relax, and let it do it’s thing. Be sure to read all the banners that float by: they will give you some hints of everything you can do with Linux Mint!
Once your Linux Mint Install has completed, you’ll be prompted to reboot. Be sure to click the restart now button, then, once your screen goes black you’ll be prompted to remove the USB drive from your system (or else you might be prompted to start the install process all over again!)
I have had enough of the Unity garbage for the newest version of Ubuntu. My Unity desktop has become unstable on my office machine, so I started looking for another distribution for my office desktop. It’s a work computer, so it has to be a stable, well supported OS. According to distrowatch, Linux Mint has overtaken Ubuntu and become the number one desktop installation worldwide. That’s good news because that means there is a lot of community support. Moreover, Linux Mint is essentially a pre-unity fork of Ubuntu, so it should make for a great operating system. So, I am making the switch. Here’s how to install Linux from USB using Linux Mint 15 as a source distro.
Unlike other versions of Linux, there is no torrent download for this distribution that I could find. Torrents are my preferred method of downloading open source operating systems because it saves the developers money on bandwidth, and is usually a great deal faster than a regular download. But, there’s not a torrent (yet) for Linux Mint 15.
The default download is a .iso file, which should be burned to a DVD. However, I don’t like optical media. I waste DVDs and CDs with these iso’s, and then they get thrown away. I prefer to install from a USB stick. It’s faster, it saves optical disks, there is MUCH less chance that you’ll get a defective disk and therefore a blown / broken installation. It’s an all-round better choice.
I prefer to use the UNetbootin Installer, which you can get from sourceforge.net.
1. Download the Unetbootin Installer, run the program, and click “I Agree” to the terms and conditions.
2. Select Linux Mint from the Linux Distribution list.
3. Select 10_Live or 10_Live_x64 (if you have a 64-bit system). These templates are more of a set of guidelines than hard and fast rules to follow. The template for 10 works for versions 10-15. If you’re not sure if you have a 64-bit system or not, choose 10_Live (the 32 bit) version.
3. When you click browse for step 3, it won’t find your Linux Mint 15 iso because it’s looking for 10. So, browse to wherever you saved the download, and then type *linux* in the file name box, and press open. Your Linux Mint 15 .iso file will magically appear. Select it, and click open.
4. Select your USB drive, (in my case, it was drive Q:). Be sure that you select the correct drive here! You could accidentally erase your hard drive if you select the wrong one!
4. Click OK. It will immediately scare you with warning message (pictured below). Just verify that you have the write drive letter for your USB drive. As long as you have that correct and there is nothing on that stick that is important, click “Yes to All”
5. Cilck exit, when you get the completed message. You don’t want to reboot here, unless you are removing Windows from the computer you’re using to setup the USB stick. Typically, you’re going to be installing Linux on a different computer than the one you are using to complete this procedure.
When it completes, you’ll finally have a working USB stick from which you can install Linux. But this wouldn’t be a complete article on how to install linux from USB unless I covered the all-important BIOS settings.
Every BIOS is different. So, you have to get the concept in order to be successful. When your computer boots up, the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) has a list of devices that it will look at in order to determine which one it should boot from. You want to configure the BIOS to boot from removable disks FIRST and the hard drive second. That way, if a USB drive is plugged into your computer, it will see that drive, check it to see if it is bootable, and if it is, boot from it. If it’s not bootable or not plugged in, it will go on to the hard drives and boot from those.
Here is an example BIOS screen to help you see what you’re looking for. Most BIOS screens have a boot section. And, in that section, you can select the boot order of the devices. Make sure:
To Setup Your BIOS to Install Linux from USB:
1. Reboot your computer.
2. At the POST screen (the very first screen you see), press whatever key it tells you to “enter setup.” Typically, this is either del, F2, F8, F9, or F10.
3. Find the Boot section, and re-order the boot devices as detailed above.
Once you have properly configured your BIOS, press F10 to save and exit. Your system will now reboot, and (if you have the USB drive plugged in) it will boot and install Linux!
Continue On to the next step and read Linux Mint Install – The Step by Step Guide
Like many of you around the interwebs, you have been upgrading your Ubuntu 10.04 LTS boxes to 12 because 10 is getting end-of-life’d. And, of course, it is not without headache. You upgrade your server, re-install vsftpd from apt, copy over your config files, and it starts up just fine. Then you try to connect to vsftpd with your FileZilla FTP client, and the vsftpd GnuTLS Error 15 shows up in the FileZilla log. It worked before, but now it doesn’t. Here how I fixed it. Read More
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could prepare a network lab that would allow you to build a server and fully test it (including the production network configuration) before deploying it to a client’s office? As an IT consultant, you will reap many benefits by fully testing a server or a system in a network lab before it ever hits the client’s office. For starters, if something breaks, is mis-configured, doesn’t work, or is just plain wrong, you can fix it at your leisure and without the client ever knowing you made a mistake. If you try to build out servers and systems at the client’s office, however, they are going to see every hiccup and every mistake, which damages your credibility with them.
In this article, I will teach you how to build a network lab that you can use to completely re-create your client’s network inside your own lab, so that not only can you build the server before you give it to the client, but you can fully test it (including it’s network configuration) before deploying it.
Essentially, we are going to create two, concentric networks inside your existing LAN. (This makes a grand total of three concentric networks with an internet connection.)
In order to create each of these concentric networks, we’ll need to configure a router to route traffic appropriately between them. For the sake of simplicity, just know that with every router, a new circle is created. And, the router doesn’t care that the circle you are creating is a private or public network. It just routes traffic.
By definition, a router is a device that joins two networks together. The secret is: it doesn’t care what the networks are. While IP address calculation and subnetting are outside the scope of this article, I will tell you that you can create a small network inside your network that will mimic the public internet at your client’s place.
PseudoWAN: The emulated WAN or public internet connection we create inside your LAN, which serves to mimic your client’s internet connection.
PseudoLAN: The emulated local area network that is inside your LAN, which serves to emulate your client’s LAN.
AlphaRouter: The router that connects your LAN to the PseudoWAN (and by virtue of its existence and configuration, creates the PseudoWAN inside your LAN.)
AlphaSwitch: The switch that lives in the PseudoWAN.
BetaRouter: The router that connects the PseudoLAN to the PseudoWAN (and by virtue of its existence and configuration, creates the PseudoLAN).
BetaSwitch: The swith that lives inside the PseudoLAN.
Network Universe: The entirety of the three concentric networks, which include your LAN, the PseudoWAN, and PseudoLAN
To do this, we are going to need two routers in addition to the one you are already using, some cables, and the computers you are going to hook up to test in configuration.For the purposes of this article, we are going to use a Linksys WRT54G, but most any router that allows you to fully configure both the WAN address and the LAN address will do. (If you’re lucky enough to have a WRT54GL and can put either the Tomato firmware or DD-WRT on it, that’s even better!).
You’ll need to know what his IP addresses are. Smaller offices use a 192.168.x.x/24 network. You’ll need to figure out what they are using so you can properly configure your pseudo network.
Your Client’s ISP Configuration
You’ll need to get your client’s IP address block information so you can successfully create the pseudo public internet. For the purposes of this tutorial, we are going to use a 6 host block, which gives us 5 usable IP addresses. The IP addresses we have available are:
Our gateway is 126.96.36.199, and the network is 188.8.131.52/29 (this is the same as 184.108.40.206 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.248).
So, our IP configuration for our first usable IP is going to be:
Address: 220.127.116.11 Netmask: 255.255.255.248 Gateway: 18.104.22.168
Our second usable address will be configured to be a server. It’s network configuration will be:
Address: 22.214.171.124 Netmask: 255.255.255.248 Gateway: 126.96.36.199
I highly advise that you draw out what you’re about to make and put in the relevent IP addresses for all the equipment. It will make it a lot easier to understand and a lot more efficient to build. Below, you will find the network map of the example Network Universe we are building. You can see that it flows from top to bottom, from the internet, to the LAN, to the pseudo public network for the client, to the client’s pseudo network. Be sure to come back to this diagram and reference it as you read the rest of this tutorial and even as you build your own network universe.
To create our own, personal, version of our client’s internet connection, we’ll need to configure the first router to create the same network conditions that exist at our client’s office. Thus, we need to create a gateway for their block of public IP addresses. So, let’s grab our Linksys router, and configure the WAN and LAN sides of the router so it will act like our client’s ISP’s gateway.
The WAN port of the Linksys router will need to be configured as an address on your local LAN. This allows the router to pass information into your LAN from our pseudo networks. So, let’s configure it to be 192.168.1.15/24.
Now, let’s configure the LAN side to be the gateway of the WAN for the client. Enter your client’s public gateway IP address in for the LAN IP address of the router, configure the gateway, and disable the DHCP server, then click save.
Now, plug the WAN port from this router into the switch on your network, and plug the LAN port into a switch. Your public network is now operational.
Address: 188.8.131.52 Netmask: 255.255.255.248 Gateway: 184.108.40.206
Assuming that all three of these ping tests receive replies, you are clear to move to the next step. If you get packet losses at any of the steps above, go back, and reconfirm your settings.
This process is done with a second router. You can use the same make and model router as you used before. They do not have to be different. Again, we are using a WRT54G in the examples.
1. Plug the WAN port of the BetaRouter into the AlphaSwitch.
2. Configure the WAN port of the BetaRouter with the following:
Address: 220.127.116.11 Netmask: 255.255.255.248 Gateway: 18.104.22.168
First, you’ll need to change the LAN IP address, and click Save / Update because until you do that, the DHCP server range will be inaccurate. Once you have done that, you can configure the DHCP server range, and click save / update again. Configure the LAN IP of this router to be the gateway of the PseudoLAN, which mimics the LAN in your client’s office.
At this point, you can add a computer to the PseudoLAN, and give it an IP address that is identical to what it would have while in production at your client’s office. Once you have a computer setup, use ping to verify connectivity from that computer to the PseudoLAN gateway (192.168.10.1), the PseudoWAN gateway (22.214.171.124), your LAN gateway (192.168.1.1), and finally the public internet (Google’s DNS at 126.96.36.199). When all those tests come back positive with good replies, you have successfully built your network universe to parrot your client’s network so you can build and install!
If you want to install software on Linux computers, the software manager (called a package manager) makes it very easy. But first, there are a couple of terms and concepts you should know. Nothing complicated, just slightly different from the Windows world. Software applications are called “packages” in the Linux world. So, when we mention a Linux package, we are talking about a software program or application. The terms are used interchangeably.
Debian based systems (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint) use a package manager (software manager) called apt to install and uninstall programs. Most of the time, you’ll use the apt manager to install and remove packages from your system. There are, however, a few instances when you will manually setup some packages. We’ll go over those shortly.
Software (packages) are installed from the internet, so you have to have a working internet connection to get new and updated versions of packages. There are five commands you need to know to successfully manage your system:
To ensure you have the newest, latest, and greatest information about the repositories that contain the packages you want or use, always use the apt-get update command before performing any management tasks. This command tells the system to go on to the interenet and download the latest list of packages that are available including information about updates, patches, and new versions that have been released.
It doesn’t matter if you just did this yesterday or even a couple of hours ago. It’s always best to do it again and again right before you manage your packages or do updates.
To update your apt package manager, use the following command:
The syntax to search for a package is:
apt-cache search [package name]
apt-cache search firefox
Here’s a big hint: don’t be afraid to use Google to figure out which package you really want. Search for something like “ubuntu 10 apt-get” and the name of the software you want to install. (Don’t forget to put the version of the operating system you have in the search!)
Since we now know that firefox is the package name for the FireFox web browser. Thus, we can install it with this command:
apt-get install firefox
If, at any time, we want to uninstall the Firefox browser from our system, we can remove the package with this command:
apt-get remove firefox
Upgrades under Linux are extremely easy. At anytime you want to check for, download, and install updates, simply use this command:
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
The most important thing you need in any Linux system is a text editor. All configurations are controlled by text files in Linux, and so without a text editor, you cannot get anything to work.
While there is a lot of opinion out there on what editor you should choose, I recommend vim. While many people say that vim is only for hard-core administrators, I recommend it because it is universally available on all systems. Its predecessor (vi) even comes installed with all versions of Linux.
Many people object to vim because it is difficult to learn. There are no menus or gui hints, and all the commands are hotkey based. For many people (like me) that makes it incredibly attractive, but for new users or people migrating from the hand-holding world of Windows, this can be a challenge. Fortunately, you only have to know a couple of commands to put vim (or vi) to work for you.
By default, only vi comes with your Linux operating system. So, you’ll need to install vim with the following command:
sudo apt-get install vim
To start vim, you need only type vim followed by the file you want to edit. In this example, we are going to create a new file called helloworld.txt:
The interface has several key parts, which are shown below. One important difference between vim and other editors is the tilde ( ~ ) that shows you where the file ends. In our example, this file is empty, and so you see a series of ~ characters beneath the cursor, which visually indicate where the file ends. Also, the file’s various status indicators are shown at the bottom of the window. They are (from left to right) the file name, a new file indicator, the cursor position (row, column) and the percentage of the file that is currently viewable.
There are really only three commands you need to edit files in vim: i, w, and q.
The ‘i’ command sets the editor into “Insert Mode,” which allows you to insert text into the file. Use this command to change files or add information to files. Note: it will only insert text, and will not overwrite text. So, to delete text while in insert mode, you’ll need to use the backspace or delete key.
Once you are done adding / editing text, press the escape key (ESC) to exit insert mode.
File operations are done in the command console, which you can access by typing a colon ( : ). Saving a file (writing a file to disk) is accomplished by typing :w and pressing enter. This opens the file console, and issues the write command.
Quitting the file is done much the same way. Use the :q command to quit the program and exit to the shell.
As a shortcut to write changes and exit vim, you can combine the commands into :wq.
Vim is unbelievably powerful. Most users only use a fraction of what it is capable of doing. It has a built in macro recording feature, code and syntax highlighting among other powerful features.
There are two features that I highly recommend you use when working with vim, and one that should be turned off.
You can manually turn these on using the following commands:
:colorscheme blue :set autoindent :syntax on
Configuration files frequently get longer than the screen can display. When dealing with human readable text, like a letter, word wrap moves the line of text down to the next line and neatly formats it. However, in the computer world (especially when dealing with programming, scripting, or configuration files) word wrap can make those files difficult to read and decypher. Subsequently, I recommend you turn word wrap off to leave commands in-tact and on a single line when they are supposed to be on a single line. Use this command to turn word wrap off:
No one wants to type 5 commands to setup vim every time they start the program. Fortunately, there is a simple way that you can configure vim to set itself up every time you start the program. The .vimrc file is like the autoexec.bat file in Windows, except instead of running whenever the system is started, it is run whenever the vim program is started. Simply create this file in your home directory, and put the commands we listed above in it, save the file, and vim will configure itself just the way you want it whenever it is started up:
Here is what my .vimrc file looks like:
If you run your own email server, like Microsoft Exchange, chances are, you need to have a backup mail server just in case your primary server goes down. Fortunately, you can setup an alternate / failover email server for free if you have access to a secondary internet connection. If you don’t, it is usually pretty easy to barter with a friend or even a client to offer the service for them in exchange for their hosting the service for you. Read More
A Linux mail server consists of software packages that can send and receive mail using the SMTP protocol and retreive mail using the standard protocols POP3 and / or IMAP. Since we are about to setup your new Linux mail server, it is important to understand the differences between the various protocols and their purposes. SMTP is typically used to deliver mail from a client to a server or pass messages from one server to another. POP3 (Post-Office Protocol) is an uni-directional protocol, which retrieves mail from the mail server and delivers it to a mail client like Mozilla’s Thunderbird. POP3 differs from IMAP with one significant respect: IMAP synchronizes messages between different d whereas POP3 simply downloads copies of messages. Read More
It’s going to happen sooner or later: you’re going to need to recover some files from a VM disk after a server has crashed, been decommissioned, or otherwise. Either your backups weren’t current enough, or you though you had everything, or the crash was sudden. For whatever reason, you’re wishing you could just pull the hard drive, hook it up to a USB – SATA adapter, and pull files off. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a VMware disk mount utility? Good news, if you have a Linux workstation, there is a free one you can use to recover your files. Read More
Linux is an open source operating system that runs the vast majority of the servers on the internet. It is developed and maintained by a community of volunteers, who are both dedicated as well as brilliant. It’s penguin logo, who is affectionately named “Tux” is ubiquitous and the source of both humor and pride in the Linux community. Linux is the foundation for the internet, the Apple Mac operating system, as well as the Android mobile device platforms. You can easily utilize this powerful resource in your life and business, and this website is dedicated to helping you do that. Let’s jump right into setting up your first Linux computer!
How you setup your Linux computer depends on how you’re going to use it. There are four levels of usage of any computer, and each level is cumulative.
Casual usage can easily be described as “using the computer like a type-writer with spell check and email.” At this level, the user only wants to send and receive email, check their Facebook account, search Google, and read Wikipedia. There is not much required for this type of a user. They just need a browser and an email client.
A workstation is just that: a computer designed to do work. It includes all the capabilities of the causal user, but also includes software applications that allow you to create office documents, images, and other items that can be considered work product.
An administrator level setup includes all the capabilities of the casual user and the workstation, but is also designed to manage networks and servers. It includes a lot of “geek” tools that the average user will never see nor want to know about.
The final and highest level of computer setup is the developer setup. It includes all the capabilities of the other three, but also includes the tools and utilities as well as source code (called linux-headers) that are required for creating programs and applications.
Below, you will find a list of tutorials that teach you the Linux system one building block at a time. Read and do each of these tutorials in the order they are listed below to get a jump start on working with your new Linux System.
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