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Decided to try out Linux, what now? Tips, tricks, guides for 2017?

Hello everyone,

First, thanks for being such a great community. Since I started following Tek years ago, I was inspired by both Wendell and Logan into thinking about Linux as a daily driver, for reasons well known (cough, Windows). Well, I finally stopped reading about this or that distro, and jumped into it by installing OpenSUSE Leap 42.2. I actually know nothing about Linux except what I read on different distros' websites, DE's, etc. I know I will still need my Windows system for the time being, but I want to see how much of it will remain in Windows. If I manage to get 90% of things working in Linux, I'll dump Windows for good. Why OpenSUSE?

  • Main reasons: It's an rpm distro. I work a lot with 3D & vfx - Maya, Houdini, Foundry (Modo, Nuke) which all work on Linux. Maya's and Foundry's official supported distros are CentOS/RHEL, but I've read that it can be a pain to utilize properly (nvidia drivers etc.), and it uses way too old kernel, but, people say it's rock solid. Anyway, I thought OpenSUSE is as close to it as possible.
  • It's one of the major distributions, stable (well, that's what people say, I actually have no idea, but being used as a server OS also, I tend to believe that) and well documented. It's unlikely to disappear any time soon.
  • Versatile. OK, again, being a noob at Linux, I have no idea in what way it is versatile, but I'll go with it.
  • I reckon it's a medium difficulty Linux to start with - Ubuntu is beginner friendly, and Arch is not for a beginner. I don't mind rolling up a sleeve and diving into it, but I'd like to avoid distro hopping. I have some trust issues with Ubuntu (I'm probably wrong, though), but I also read it's not that stable. Manjaro - read some good stuff, but felt safer with OpenSUSE, don't know why.

So far: I installed OpenSUSE Leap (less frequent updates), installed nvidia GPU drivers, chrome. It has it's own HDD, so I expect it not to interfere with my Windows system. I haven't plugged it back in yet, though. Any precautions?

So, what to do now? I can continue with installing my programs, but I'd like to know if there are any things I skipped, perhaps some good practices that I don't know about? Any links to some up to date guides?

Thanks in advance for your patience and answers,

Best regards
Predrag.

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feel free to check oit my #ult series that is designed to help beginners with the termial

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Hopefully your partitioned everything correctly to keep Windows bootable from GRUB.

My best advice is just try to get stuff done and work around with your environment, if issues come up, come back.
Oh! If you are wanting to use the terminal a lot, try learning how to use ZSH. Great asset to my workflow.

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Thanks, checked the guides. It has useful stuff.

As for the partitions, I unplugged all drives that I had before the installation, and did the install on a separate empty drive. If I just plug the windows drive and the rest of the data drives in, will it become multi-boot on it's own, or there are steps to make?

Also, I forgot to mention - are there any security tips for system hardening, etc. after installing? What are good practices in that regard? I know my security practices around W, but this is new to me. Firewall? AV?

How is the terminal great asset to your workflow? What is your WF anyway?

Thanks

If you removed the Windows drives beforehand both should still be bootable through the UEFI separately but the Windows drives wouldn't boot from grub, if you want everything separate and you don't mind the extra step it should be fine. The preferable approach is to have a single EFI partition on a drive for both Windows and Linux and let grub manage the booting. I'm also not sure grub plays nice with more than one EFI partition though so if you want to use grub with separate EFIs it could be a problem unless you migrate the Windows EFI over to the drive Linux is on.

Yes, you can have an ESP (EFI System Partition) on each drive.

I find that keeping my OS's completely separate on their own drive, as you have, is much more stable - Windows is less likely to overwrite important Linux system files.

It won't magically start dual booting when you plug the Windows disk back in. At the very least, you'll have to boot Linux, open a terminal and type: sudo update-grub

If both Windows and OpenSUSE were installed in UEFI mode, many folks find it more convenient to use UEFI to choose which OS to boot. Mine boots Linux by default. If I need Windows, I press F11 (or your local equivalent for your motherboard) and select the Windows partition from the UEFI boot menu.

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Configuring grub2 to handle the boot process is what I would have recommended, but Try out what @MichaelLindman suggested...

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Get familiar with seLinux and Firewalld if it comes with you distribution. Actually get familiar with sytemctl... No better yet get familiar with the terminal ! There are man websites I could reference, just let me know

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grub will be fine. It wont care

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You can just set your preferred OS as your boot drive and hit whatever F# key to select the other OS. If you change your mind on which one you prefer to boot first then you can go back and change it. You probably won't be running this same Linux OS for years so I wouldn't even bother with setting up Grub personally. It can be done fairly easily, but certainly not a necessity.

There are a lot of little things about Linux that made me really like it and stop using Windows. Maybe it is just me, but I am horrified every time I end up at someone's Windows computer because of how hideous the text rendering is on the screen. People with much nicer machines and monitors that are kind of hard for me to look at. If you are doing any reading or really anything that isn't exclusively Windows then using your Linux install will help you get more familiar with it.

Two separate buffers for copy/paste procedures! I really enjoy how that works. You can do the standard highlight/copy and paste somewhere, but you can also just highlight text and middle click to paste. If you are trying to rewrite something or pull multiple quotes, you can highlight/copy one thing and then highlight something else, then go standard paste and middle-click paste two separate things. Sounds very simplistic, but it is one of my favorite things about Linux.

Another thing I really like is using the up arrow to go back through your terminal history. If you only use a command a few times then don't touch it for months then you probably don't have it completely committed to memory. I find by scrolling back through my history I can remember what it was I was doing, why I was doing it, and best of all the exact commands I punched in. I try to look at it somewhat regularly to help me commit stuff to long term memory vs reading all about something once and then having to go back and reread it months later since I haven't used it in so long. Plus most of the time the last thing was update && upgrade, so it saves me typing a few letters.

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That is good to know, somebody told me a couple years back that grub had issues with booting from separate EFI partitions, was always somewhat skeptical about that because it never had any issues with legacy booting which is why I wasn't sure.

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ctrl + r is your friend !

and adding : HISTSIZE= and HISTFILESIZE= to your .bashrc file will allow you to maintain an unlimited history file and filesize

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You will find antivirus for linux, comodo, clamav, sophos are a few, but you don't really need an antivirus on linux probably because compared to windows, linux has very few pieces of viruses.

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Thank you all for your input. I plugged all my drives back in, Linux is definitely the main OS to boot first. I learned that I had to disable Fast boot option in Windows in order to access my other drives from Linux, as it wasn't going to mount them - unclean file system. After that everything was ok.

I don't mind hitting F11 whenever I need to go to WIndows, so I won't bother with configuring grub for now. Being this new, I know for sure I am quite capable to screw myself up and loose the system or files I need for work. I will perhaps assemble some small machine from some spare parts that I have lying around, to try and play with setting up dual booting, as I think it's something nice to learn and to know, but this feels safer for now.

Get familiar with seLinux and Firewalld if it comes with you distribution. Actually get familiar with sytemctl... No better yet get familiar with the terminal ! There are man websites I could reference, just let me know

Yeah, please do. I don't know how SuSEFirewall2 compares to those. Is there a kind of application control module to specifically allow/block certain apps from internet access?

You will find antivirus for linux, comodo, clamav, sophos are a few, but you don't really need an antivirus on linux probably because compared to windows, linux has very few pieces of viruses.

Is there a way to protect files or home directory from ransomware for instance? Does Linux actually need sort of behaviour blocker or something similar? (Yeah, saw the video of a guy managing to activate WCry through wine)

There are a lot of little things about Linux that made me really like it and stop using Windows.

From what I saw up until now, I really like how some thing are done in Linux. For instance, centrally managed updates for everything; multiple clipboards (learned by accident, lol).

...because of how hideous the text rendering is on the screen.

Well, I have a problem with that. Perhaps it's just me, but it's as if AA doesn't work as good as it should when surfing the web. One time i booted up, all the fonts on the entire system started going blurry then clear as I'm moving the mouse. Drivers or KDE perhaps, but at the next boot everything was fine again. Fonts on webpages, being Chrome or Firefox, look better (smoother?) on Windows. And there is screen tearing when doing a slow scroll. Any ideas?

You can start with the documentation https://en.opensuse.org/SuSEfirewall2

https://doc.opensuse.org/documentation/leap/security/html/book.security/index.html

I would start by looking at having a security context for certain files if you need that level of security using selinux

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there's always reFind if you're particularly bothered about being able to choose your OS at boot. when i installed it on Ubtuntu, it just worked[tm] for me, so i assume you can just run the script the same way.

Disclaimer: i don't know how to uninstall it, configure it, or otherwise know if it'll pick up your OS's. but given that that's the point of the thing, it should.

My experience was the other way around, with Windows being the offender with bad font rendering. With KDE, the compositor should not give you screen tearing, but I mostly use Intel integrated graphics, so my experience would be much different than most enthusiasts using high end machines with massive graphics cards.

I do believe with nVidia there are some options that can be adjusted in the settings for the proprietary drivers to turn the compositing on and off. Someone better versed with that could help you if you list which graphics and drivers you use.

Oh, now that I reread your post, I just had the same problem you did concerning moving the mouse. I installed the KWin compositor in XFCE and the first thing I noticed was with the mouse on the left hand of the screen it got a blueish tinge to it, and got worse towards the top left corner. I knew it had something to do with hot corners, and sure enough after playing with it there was a hot corner enabled. I installed systemsettings ('KDE base workspace module', which I would assume is included with KDE by default) and turned off everything related to hot corners. I'm not sure what or why as far as the reason behind adding a colored gradient on top of windows, I figured it was a bug with my Franken-Linux.

Thanks everyone for replying. So far, I found a bunch of guides to harden the Linux, but man.... I put those to the side for now, and decided just to start learning Linux from the beginning. Found a decent tutorial on Udemy yesterday for a mere 10$ deal, so I will be doing that for an hour or two every day after work. I probably could do everything the guides say, but I'd have no idea why I was doing any of it.

For the record, machine specs are:

OS: Windows 10 Enterprise 64bit / Linux OpenSUSE Leap 42.2
CPU (Processor): Intel Core i7-5820K
Memory (RAM): 16GB DDR4 Kingston HyperX 2133MHz
GPU (Graphics Card): MSI GeForce GTX 1070 ARMOR 8G OC
Motherboard: MSI X99S SLI Plus
Windows / SSD: Samsung SSD 850 PRO 128GB
HDD 1: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB
HDD2: WD Red 3TB
HDD3: WD Caviar Blue 640GB
Linux / HDD4: Toshiba 500GB
Case: NZXT H440 Blue
Power Supply: Corsair TX750w (8th year of impeccable service!)
Monitor (Display): Fujitsu Siemens 22in 1680x1050 / Lol
Keyboard and Mouse: Logitech K520
Extra Details: CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Nepton 280L

Have you tried out those applications on OpenSUSE yet? Not sure how compatible they are with non-Red Hat/CentOS distros. Just because they're packaged as RPMs doesn't mean they're compatible with all RPM distros. Might require some fiddling with to get the right dependencies.

I had to move back to a Ubuntu based distro (Maui) because I was getting too many weird and conflicting issues with steam, I think it was partly due to the steamtricks scripts deleting specific versions of library files which causes many titles to have issues with the ones included in the system. OpenSSL in particular, there is no way to roll back that package it seems and it kept causing issues.

So after installing Maui, everything worked first boot. Shame as I was likely openSUSE, but I think my steam to work.