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Old 17th July 2010, 02:04 PM   #1611
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phofman View Post
Major streamlining of full ubuntu desktop installation is no simple task, even pro seasoned linux users. I do doubt you can do it in 10 minutes. Modern linux desktop is VERY complicated and ubuntu is not renowned for correct and minimal dependencies among packages. Even stopping some services after login, easily accessible to any user, ruins key desktop functionalities without any warning. Such as disabling the start of gnome power manager (I do not want any power-saving features on a desktop PC ) leads to quiet disfunction of the shutdown button in gnome menu. Ubuntu desktop is definitely not easy to streamline.

For a streamlined audio client without GUI it is much less work to install a debian netinstall and add the remaining packages, or even use the specialized embedded distros (basically a predefined set and configuration of debian packages).
To start just NFS, SSH and e.g. MPD it doesn't need more then three more lines in the recovery mode startup-scripts. This won't have any impact on the actual Ubuntu installation.

There is no GUI with my setup or any other fancy service started.
There is just the kernel+my apps of choice up'n running.
This way I strip the system up, not down. This approach I consider very efficient.

My headless FitPc is up'n running in a few seconds.

Again. I am not telling fairy-tales here. I am running my system that way since almost 2 years by now.
If you go back in the thread you'll find discussions about those micro Linuxes quite a while back. I was spending more times tailoring those systems and fixing problems, compiling apps. and making kernels etc. then playing music.

One of the major advantages of my setup is that I can boot up the system in normal mode too. I can use a complete Ubuntu system with all its gadgets if I want to. And of course I take advantage of a rock solid and quick installation process.

If I'd tell you how I done it. You'd be up'n running in 5 minutes (assuming an Ubuntu would have been installed beforehand) - I stick to that statement

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Old 17th July 2010, 03:00 PM   #1612
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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OK, recovery mode (i.e. single mode, runlevel 1) in ubuntu is just as plain as in any other linux with SysV runlevels. BUT using a single mode as a regular operating mode is a BAD practice and bad example for newcoming linux users. The single mode has its purpose (troubleshooting, recovery) and adding new daemons to it produces a functioning system for your needs, but definitely is not the proper way. A clean way would be using runlevels 3, 4 or 5, keeping only required services, and leaving runlevel 1 intact.

Last edited by phofman; 17th July 2010 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 17th July 2010, 03:34 PM   #1613
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phofman, sorry, but I don't buy your arguments. I don't see your problems.

As an example a Squeezebox Touch as well as other low level embedded systems are running in exactly this mode - those devices don't have different runlevels. This runlevel is all what's needed to start a diskless audio client running apps such as MPD.
There is no security risk associated to that runlevel, since login is still required.

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Old 17th July 2010, 04:44 PM   #1614
1audio is offline 1audio  United States
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Soundcheck:
Thanks for prompting the quick lesson on run levels. The wikipedia article Runlevel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia seems to be a good intro into it. if I'm not confused what you are doing is changing run level 1 (single user no network) into a different run level with network access. Since the whole thing is a convention and especially with Linux you are always free to make it your way its not really important. However the security types would point out you are running in a less secure mode if the network is active and you are running as an admin.

I prefer using Voyage for a bunch of reasons but I'm not about to run down any other choices. I had a friend that for years ran Windows 3.1 in recovery mode since it was the only way he could get the system to run. For the less skilled its better to use a system as designed if you can than to bend it in a non-standard way and hope for the best. Something a complex as a linux distro (even the stripped down ones) have so many moving parts that need to be tested and sorted using one in a very different way could lead to unpleasant surprises.
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Old 17th July 2010, 07:13 PM   #1615
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@ 1Audio

As you say. When changing your Linux, you should know what you're doing.
I can tell you, the changes I applied are pretty trivial. If you'd have had a look at those startup scripts, you'd know what I mean.

I do have quite some professional sysadmin and system integration experience on Unix systems. I wouldn't come up with an unsecure solution proposal.

Ubuntu's recovery mode comes with two options:with and without network access and is protected with a password.

As I said. There is not more or not less security as you'd have it with a SB Touch.

There are Linux systems which boot right into the root account without password, if booted into single-user mode. That's not the case with Ubuntu.

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Old 17th July 2010, 07:51 PM   #1616
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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Soundcheck,

whatever you do, is your own responsibility. Just please do not present your solution to linux beginners as a proper way to go and admit that it is a hack to make your life easier.

Runlevels have been designed for a reason. Tweaking perhaps the most important one - single, to serve your purpose, is a bad practice and no amount of justification will change it. Plus there is no reason why on such a powerful system, capable of installation and running ubuntu, the buggy audio clients should run under root. That is a bad security practice and if you really have "some professional sysadmin and system integration experience on Unix systems", you should not even propose such solution, let alone defend it. And if you perhaps run them under another user which I very doubt, it still denies the principle of runlevel 1 where only root should be logged in. It does make sense as e.g. /home can be mounted via nfs while network is disabled in the single runlevel. And running the unreliable network manager, the default networking daemon in ubuntu (and again I doubt you have changed it to the legacy networking since it is not that simple), in the single mode, as a regular operation, absolutely wrecks the principle of the single mode as a secure and always available minimum working system in case of troubles.
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Old 17th July 2010, 07:55 PM   #1617
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It depends on your distro, but "runlevels" are mostly just a way of saying which "snapshot" of services you want running at boot. Ubuntu has switched a new init manager so it's configuration is slightly different to other unixes, but for most distros there is literally a directory with a bunch of symlinks in it and when you request to be at a certain runlevel the system simply runs all the scripts in that directory. This means you can easily compare run levels and change around their contents

I realise that doesn't actually help anyone do anything practical, but hopefully that gives you an overview of what we are actually talking about? I guess to put it in Windows terms it's basically a way of saying "run this particular bunch of services and give it a name of 'level 3' " - you are completely free to choose what services are included in a runlevel (but there is a weak historical precedent which hints at some common conventions)

Good luck
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Old 17th July 2010, 08:00 PM   #1618
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...Further I don't in principle see any obvious reason why a machine in run level 1 is likely "insecure"? Run levels are largely just a way of quickly switching to a given bunch of services running. Personally I would use something like runlevel 2 or 5 if I were doing this, but that's only because I would want to keep a working level 1 in case I break something and need a very plain rescue system - no other reason though (just make runlevel 2 a clone of runlevel 1 and proceed from there...)

Security is going to be largely a function of how you setup the machine and in general linux machines are provided in a manner which is secure against intrusion from the network almost no matter what you do with them.

Good luck
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Old 17th July 2010, 08:20 PM   #1619
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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ewildgoose,

I agree that the technical implementation of runlevels is very simple and their names/numbers are just a convention. Still, having a minimum bootable system (the purpose of single mode) is pretty useful, e.g. if some daemon started automatically in runlevel 2 triggers kernel panic caused by a buggy driver. Not so uncommon, unfortunately. And the option to boot from live medium (CD, USB) is not always readily available.

Until recently, RT kernel in combination with ICE1724 soundcards was causing kernel deadlock. I would not want my single/recovery mode to initialize and use such HW automatically from init scripts.

Last edited by phofman; 17th July 2010 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 18th July 2010, 12:57 AM   #1620
1audio is offline 1audio  United States
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phofman:
If we were talking about an appliance (router, media player, etc.) you would not need run levels since your users would never have a way to use them. but the root access would be very locked down and the system would run at a user level.

For an audio machine built by a DIY'er who is more interested in playing content I would shy away from a desktop system kludged to operate like an appliance. Voyage has its solid read only OS so its really hard to screw up and it comes without the desktop audio stuff so you don't need to hack/remove it. There is a few hours of learning to get ALSA and MPD working well. And I would not suggest that accomplishing a running system qualifies someone to cross compile and bring up the same on an arm core. But unlike Win or Mac based systems one can do pretty much anything in Linux with time and Google.
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