Gnuserland

Ubuntu

Show Desktop

#GNOME was started in 1999, and twenty years later (today is Sunday, July 28 2019), the best it has been able to achieve is to get rid of the show desktop button or function.

Of course, the brilliant idea behind Gnome3 was: if I eliminate the desktop area I don't need the show the desktop icons either, as well as minimize and maximize the windows. As a matter of fact the main philosophy behind Gnome3 is fixing things simply deleting everything is not conforming with their plans, as I said: BRILLIANT.

However as I told in others post the Gnome approach is fine for whom works for activities (whatever it is actually means) rather than for tasks, the way the old Gnome 2.x used to work before the introduction of Gnome-Shell. Which is the result?

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The mysterious case of Tracker...

Some of days ago I found a post on #Diaspora with this article:

https://www.linuxuprising.com/2019/07/how-to-completely-disable-tracker.html

And I am suddenly remembered about Tracker; It was by Gnome 2.6 that I don't uninstall an indexer on my computer... At that time there was an epic challenge between #Tracker and #Beagle to decide which was the crappiest, I suppose that Tracker won.

BeagleBeagle was made in Mono...

But I had totally forgot about them, as a matter of fact #Xfce4 on #Debian is distributed totally unbloated (not sure about #Xubuntu) so you don't to worry about that.

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Tuning the encryption!

Prologue

I have achieved my goal! However I am not still pretty sure about the goodness of the encryption. From my point of view it creates more problems respect the ones it should be solve. If you have a disk failure you may not be able to decrypt that disk, even having a LVM partition spread on several disks may lead to the same problem and if those are also encrypted the risk is even higher.

Today, as a matter of fact, the Solid State Disk (SSD) are lesser prone to get broken as the old spin Hard Drive (HD) and probably this kind of risk is really low respect before; I don't store sensible information on my computers and the risk to get my hardware stolen is presumably lower than get a damaging disk. I believe that my personal data are more on risk while my computer is on internet, if for some reason there is a 0 Day Attack on Linux my data will be grasped whether I have or not my disks encrypted.

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Never give up – “Final Round”

And eventually I was able to achieve it, I extended my root partition across two disks encrypted through LVM!

The process was a total pain in the heck just because, so far I saw, the Elementary Installer (POP!_OS 19.04) has a bug that makes impossible to unlock two disks or two partitions during the advance setup, hence you have to do everything manually.

The main issue is the following one: after you added the second disk and extended the root partition you have also to add the new disk on the crypttab file in order to unlock it at boot time; unfortunately you can't do that simply restarting the OS because it won't unlock the second disk, hence you have to go in live mode and CHROOT your system to activate your changes.

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Never give up – “Round Two”

In this round I tried to extend the root partition adding the second disk available on this system. I followed these documentation for this test:

To extend the LVM Partition you have to go on Live Session but before to reboot the system with a LiveCD I created a GPT Table on it and formatted the disk as EXT4 with GPARTED, then I run this command:

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Never give up – “Round One”

I have been trying to install from the beginning POP! in the Debian Way and it didn't work out. Indisputably that approach will never work, hence I just installed POP! with the basic setup just to see how it organizes its stuff!

There we are:

Disk /dev/sda: 32 GiB, 34359738368 bytes, 67108864 sectors
Disk model: VBOX HARDDISK   
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: D5E7BAF4-0084-4DB5-AF26-689AE7ED51F1

Device        Start      End  Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sda1      4096  1023998  1019903  498M EFI System
/dev/sda2   1024000  9412606  8388607    4G Microsoft basic data
/dev/sda3   9412608 58716158 49303551 23.5G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda4  58716160 67104766  8388607    4G Linux swap


Disk /dev/sdb: 32 GiB, 34359738368 bytes, 67108864 sectors
Disk model: VBOX HARDDISK   
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: 26E74287-8A66-42F6-863B-4D7FBAA64639


Disk /dev/mapper/cryptdata: 23.5 GiB, 25226640896 bytes, 49270783 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Disk /dev/mapper/data-root: 23.5 GiB, 25224544256 bytes, 49266688 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Disk /dev/mapper/cryptswap: 4 GiB, 4294442496 bytes, 8387583 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
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The dream goes down 👎

Just to recap...

I created a Debian (GPT/EFI) with LVM + LUKS spread on two disks. I reused the same partitioning to install POP! and the installation went fine, but, when I rebooted the laptop, the OS was unable to unlock all the partitions and it didn't boot properly.

Then I repeated the same procedure and installed Ubuntu but apparently Ubuntu ignored my encrypted partitions and install everything without encryption.

🤔

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The dream goes on 👍

Eventually I was able to install POP!_Os on two disk trough LVM, but this is just the beginning.

As first istance I was using VirtManager trying to simulate an EFI partition but afterward I realized that QEMU/KVM doesnt' support any EFI-BIOS hence I switched to Virtualbox which supports EFI but I was unable to install POP! for some weird issue with a keyboard layout but I ended up I could have a corrupted ISO.

As a matter a fact downloading again a new ISO and checking the correct integrity I was able to install POP!. Now I could move forward and perform a LVM with encryption.

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A broken dream

One of the essential things I learned using GNU/Linux is “prepare yourself to avoid bad surprise”...

Actually I have something in mind, for a small price I bought another 250GB SSD, and now I have in total 500GB split in two disks. But my old disk is formatted as lvm partition, in fact:

sudo lvmdiskscan -l
  WARNING: only considering LVM devices
  /dev/sda2            [     232.41 GiB] LVM physical volume
  0 LVM physical volume whole disks
  1 LVM physical volume
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1. Laptop and Lapbottom

As a matter of fact this title doesn't mean anything anyway I finished to backup my data so I am ready to perform the brand new OS installation as soon as I can, even though the week-end is the part of the week where I have even lesser time for doing these stuff... 🙄

After ten years using Debian and after five years using Xfce4 I realized I need a change. I am firmly convinced that Debian is the best distro out there, not only because a technical stand point but mostly because the Debian Social Contract, and I am firmly convinced as well that Xfce4 is amazing, however when you combine both I see a drift far away about my idea of the Linux Desktop.

I see that we don't share the same priorities, and a lot a small details that needs a workaround to make them effective are treated as second class citizens. I tried a couple of things to stimulate a reflection on both parts but it didn't work and since the moment I am not a coder I am not able to fix those stuff by myself.

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