A big part of my move from Windows to Linux has been finding replacements for the applications that I had previously used day-to-day that are not available on Linux. For the major applications like my web browser (Firefox), e-mail client (Thunderbird), password manager (KeePass2) this hasn’t been a problem because they are all available on Linux as well. Heck you can even install Microsoft Office with the latest version of wine if you wanted to.
With the recent questions surrounding the security of TrueCrypt there has been a big push to move away from that program and switch to alternatives. One such alternative, on Linux anyway, is the Linux Unified Key Setup (or LUKS) which allows you to encrypt disk volumes. This guide will show you how to create encrypted file volumes, just like you could using TrueCrypt.
The Differences There are a number of major differences between TrueCrypt and LUKS that you may want to be aware of:
If you are not familiar with the concept of virtual hard drive volumes, sometimes called file containers, they are basically regular looking files that can be used by your computer as if they were real hard drives. So for example you could have a file called MyDrive.img on your computer and with a few quick actions it would appear as though you had just plugged in an external USB stick or hard drive into your computer.
As noted previously I’ve recently switched over to running Linux on all of my personal computers at home. This switch has gone surprisingly well and I will be posting about some of my experiences with that later on. In the meantime just a quick update on the distribution I’m running.
It has been a bit of a long time coming but I’ve finally decided to stop procrastinating and actually attempt to move my last Windows desktop to Linux. This decision was reached after I realized that for many months now my home computing use has happened almost exclusively on my Linux powered laptop, and that I actually only ever bothered to use my Windows desktop to sync my phone and for nothing else.
This past year I purchased a laptop that came with two drives, a small 24GB SSD and a larger 1TB HDD. My configuration has placed the root filesystem (i.e. /) on the SSD and my home directory (i.e. /home) on the HDD so that I benefit from very fast system booting and application loading but still have loads of space for my personal files. The only downside to this configuration is that linux is sometimes not the best at ensuring your SSD lives a long life.
The default sort order in Nautilus has been changed to sorting alphabetically by name and the option to change this seems to be broken. For example I prefer my files to be sorted by type so I ran
dconf-editor and browsed to org/gnome/nautilus/preferences. From there you should be able to change the value by using the drop down:
Seems easy enough
Unfortunately the only option available is modification time.
Ever wanted your computer to be on when you need it but automatically put itself to sleep (suspended) when you don’t? Or maybe you just wanted to create a really elaborate alarm clock?
I stumbled across this very useful command a while back but only recently created a script that I now run to control when my computer is suspended and when it is awake.
#!/bin/sh t=`date –date “17:00” +%s` sudo /bin/true sudo rtcwake -u -t $t -m on & sleep 2 sudo pm-suspend This creates a variable, t above, with an assigned time and then runs the command rtcwake to tell the computer to automatically wake itself up at that time.
It is a pretty common practice to use the command dd to make backup images of drives and partitions. It’s as simple as the command:
dd if=[input] of=[output]
A while back I did just that and made a dd backup of not just a partition but of an entire hard drive. This was very simple (I just used if=/dev/sda instead of something like if=/dev/sda2). The problem came when I tried to mount this image.
I recently re-built an older PC from a laundry list of Frankenstein parts. However before installing anything to the hard drive I found I wanted to check it for physical errors and problems as I couldn’t remember why I wasn’t using this particular drive in any of my other systems.
From an Ubuntu 12.04 live CD I used GParted to to delete the old partition on the drive. This let me start from a clean slate.