Creating swap partition

When I installed my OS, somehow I managed to somehow mess my swap partition, the most probable cause was that firstly I encrypted my drive and afterwards I partitioned it encrypting my swap with no way to access it. Thankfully I don’t use it much so it took me two days and a Conky setup to figure out that my swap partition was a zero byte partition. So the solution was to create a new partition, the space was there waiting, to be used as swap.

First of all after logging in as root in the terminal, I ran : blkid /dev/sdX where X is your various partitions, my output was :

Synapse ~ # blkid /dev/sda1
/dev/sda1: UUID="xxxx-xxxx" TYPE="vfat"

Synapse ~ # blkid /dev/sda2
/dev/sda2: UUID="xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxx" TYPE="ext4"

Synapse ~ # blkid /dev/sda3
Synapse ~ #

That means, no partition was identified in sda3. Now, I created an empty partition in the place of sda3 and then I ran mkswap :

Synapse ~ # mkswap /dev/sda3

Next, I used the swapon command to enable the partition :

swapon -U UUID where UUID is the output of running the command blkid /dev/sda3

The final step was to add the new UUID in /etc/fstab, which should look like this :

# swap was on /dev/sda3 during installation
UUID=xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxx none            swap    sw              0       0

That was it, my swap was identified and ready to be used.

 

Installing Linux Mint 17.1

Installing Linux on my PCs always feels easier than installing Windows, mainly because most of the times, I’m logged in a productive environment moments after installation is complete. Recently I decided to find a distribution to stick with, my choice – for reasons I have stated in older posts – is Linux Mint Ubuntu edition with the Cinnamon desktop.

Linux Mint’s 64bit Cinnamon can be downloaded from here and be used as a live system running from USB, from which it can be installed on a HDD. The installation process is very straightforward and blazingly fast.

After booting on the live session, a welcome screen appears with various links on the Linux Mint site, forum and documentation pages. On the desktop, alongside the Computer and Trash icons, there is an Installation icon which opens the Linux Mint installer. The installer is identical to the Ubuntu official installer, tweaked to Mint’s specific software and principles. Most of the steps are about configuring your custom system, language – location – keyboard layout – username & password. The only step worth mentioning is the partitioner. Most people (not dual booting) should use the “Use entire disk” option which auto-partitions your disk. It is worth mentioning that Linux Mint has the ability to boot an EFI system, just adds a small efi partition.

My setup, on a system with a 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM, is :

Device           Type   Mount Point   Size

/dev/sda1    efi         /efiboot           512MB

/dev/sda2   ext4      /                        125GB

/dev/sda3   swap     swap                 2GB

I decided to use a unified root and home directory due to storage restrictions, if  I play games a 40GB root partition may not be enough. Also after reading various articles for swap on Linux systems I found that 2GBs of swap space are enough (maybe overkill for some).

Afterward all the procedure is just waiting for the installer to finish copying the files, which on my system lasted under 20 minutes and voila I was ready to be productive. No hassle, no drivers, all my hardware was detected, Lenovo’s function keys worked out of the box, as well as brightness control, microphone, suspend etc.

So after 30′-45′ I had a system with everything I needed for every day use. But no system comes tailored to everyone’s needs, it needs some minor (or major) tweaking. That leads us to…

Next : Tweaking Linux Mint

Commitment

If you have read my previous posts on Linux distributions, you would have figured out that I was undecided on which one I should use for my main PC. Since then I distrohopped like a maniac, used Manjaro KDE edition, Debian Testing GNOME and Cinnamon versions, Antergos GNOME, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Crunchbang Linux, Sparky Linux, Chakra to find what suites my needs.

To reassert my needs, what I really need from a distribution :

  • I own a laptop which I can’t have powered on 24/7, meaning I need fast boot and shutdown times plus good power and temperature management.
  • UEFI support and excellent hardware detection. I don’t have the time and enthusiasm to configure my system from the bottom up, I want my GPU-Ethernet-WiFi-Bluetooth adapters to be fully identified and functional after installation.
  • Stability over bleeding edge software (but not staying with ancient versions).
  • Small (if possible) system footprint. My laptop is fully capable of running a resource hungry system, but I just don’t like having such a machine, they tend to get slower and slower as time passes.
  • My laptop is the first machine I want to install Linux, but I want to install the same distribution on most (if all) my machines. My NAS has been hacked to have a Debian barebone installation to use Transmission, but that doesn’t count as a full distro. I own a Raspberry though and some spare parts can be used to assemble a headless server or something else entirely.
  • On the software side of a distribution, I don’t like bloated OSes. Why would I want to have 3 video players, 2 music players and 3 browsers?? Keep it simple, install the minimum amount of needed applications and let the user decide.
  • System customizing. I love tweaking my desktop, so a desktop environment which lets me do some tinkering, without the fear of breaking the whole system, is definitely a big plus.
  • Friendly community. I want to be part of a community, not something huge though, with the fear of “getting lost” nor too small without the traction to keep going and evolving. This point is kind of weird and doesn’t have anything to do with the software itself, but is a point when choosing.

Secondly what I intent to use my system for :

  • The most common uses obviously. Browsing, multimedia and office applications will be mostly used.
  • Want to begin studying HTML and maybe start learning how to code. Maybe use GIMP a little.

The title of this post stands for my need to commit on a single platform, distribution or better package manager (apt, pacman etc.). That may sound wrong, considering that Debian is better suited for a server than Arch, but Arch is better suited for desktop use.

Concluding, I want to add that I am a Linux newbie. Maybe I don’t want to admit it but I haven’t used any distribution long enough to get acquainted with it. So it feels like unknown territory when really dealing with the inner workings of a distribution. That maybe better though, I will get to know a distribution clean slated, thus I believe the 4 most probable distributions are :

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
  • Manjaro 0.8.11 KDE
  • Manjaro 0.8.11 Cinnamon

15/1/15 is Installation Day