Lost my GUI in 14.10

Basil Fernie basil at pop.co.za
Wed Sep 10 15:45:48 UTC 2014

Thank you again, Israel, it did explain better what you meant, but I would  
still like to hear exactly how to do what I want to do at this stage.

First, let me assure you that I am by no means ignorant of matters  
software ans OS, having been a user and developer on platforms from the  
IBM 704 right through the entire PC revolution. Even programmed some  
interesting applications in Forth, where dependencies are  
everything...Initially I was not interested in Linux since it was going to  
take a long time to be usable by my particular client set of PC users.  
However I had repudiated Microsoft because of their unethical approach to  
the PC market and used DR-DOS until the pressure for GUIs became too  
intense. I transferred to OS/2 with great technical satisfaction and even  
some end-user acceptance, until just after the Y2K bug furore, then joined  
the M$ herd until Linux more or less came of age. Since then I have been  
trying to use it from the "intelligent user" perspective, rather than  
becoming a Linux fundi which could be counterproductive in regard to my  
efforts to spread Linux, as distinct from Android, usage.

Thus while I could probably sit down for a couple of weeks and RTFM and  
become a Linux boff in due course, I don't want to. I'm well past  
retirement age at this stage and there are many other things I want to do  
with whatever time is left to me. Hopefully Linux will be a continually  
more viable tool helping me to accomplish these things, but I want to sit  
in my chosen "intelligent user" space, encouraging hopefully many others  
to join me. Obviously I need a reference community to whom I can turn with  
questions that I am out of my depth on, and that's why I'm on this list.

Now to specifics: My laptop has a 50GB ext4 partition (sda6) with Lubuntu  
12.04/14.04.1 installed to some messy degree on it; ~/home occupies 30GB  
with 15GB taken by other system folders. There is another, 20GB, ext4  
partition (sda7) which I have used at various stages to try out different  
distros on. At the moment it has LXDE14.04.1 cleanly on it, hosting a few  
applications I cannot do without right now (CUPS, anyone?). I would be  
rather happy if you could steer me to some config file (I presume) on sda7  
where with a bit of text editing I could redirect ~/home searches to sda6.  
Is this exercise likely to be dangerous in terms of data loss? If it is  
successful I'll weigh up my options going forward for, e.g. a clean  
Lubuntu 14.04.1 install on sda6. I can spare the time for backing up  
~/home to an external USB drive, but don't want to have to restore it  
after such a clean install, I am already losing too much productive time  
on the laptop... If I can just try the exercise of switching the search  
partition, I may have learned a very valuable technique for various  

Could you please help me in this? Any helpful comments?

Best regards,

Basil Fernie

On Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:18:44 +0200, Israel <israeldahl at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Basil,
> The idea behind installing /home to a separate partition excludes your  
> personal documents (Music, photos, Documents, >Videos, etc...)  from the  
> base OS.
> All aps are stored in a few general places.... the most pertinent are:
> /usr/bin
> /opt
> as well as the 'system administrator' apps being in:
> /usr/sbin
> The /usr/share/applications folder gives the Desktop Environment (i.e.  
> LXDE/Lubuntu)
> the information about the app, like Name (in various languages) Icon,  
> Category and path to the executable... i.e. />usr/bin/some-program
> Sharing this folder between other distros is HIGHLY discouraged by most  
> people.  You can however have a partition >that you keep separate to  
> share between distros, and access it at will.
> My point I was making was about things in ~/.config/  and ~/.cache/
> There are some configuration files in those folders that occasionally  
> get messed up in an upgrade.  You can move the >entire folder to a  
> backup (mv ~/.config ~/backup_config && mv ~/.cache ~/backup_cache)
> And see if this fixes your issues.  You will lose all of your data  
> (firefox bookmarks, program settings) but you can >(of course) copy  
> those back from your backup.
> If it doesn't fix your issues, you may need to simply backup your /home  
> directory and reinstall.
> If you are very adept and understand dependencies you can use apt's  
> cache as a backup for your current programs, >though that is often  
> asking for trouble, so if you are slightly unsure the answer is 'Do not  
> try this!' :)
> NOW,
> to set up a fresh install with a separate /home you must do this through  
> the 'Something Else' option where you choose >what to do when installing  
> (other options are Replace Lubuntu 14.04, Install alongside, etc...)
> The way to partition your disk (assuming you have a regular x86 machine  
> (32/64 bit))
> is very simple.
> 1. Make a partition that is about 20Gigs and set it to mount at /
> 2. If you have 2 Gig of Ram make a swap partition at the end of the disk  
> that is 2 Gig
> basically make a swap that is the same size as your Ram... swap is not  
> as needed these days, but is very useful in >certain circumstances,  
> there are lots of different opinions about this, but that is a basic  
> starting point.
> 3. Use the rest of the disk mounted at /home
> You should most likely use ext4 format for your filesystems, though some  
> people like some of the lesser used ones >(brtfs for example) the  
> default install uses ext4, so you probably should too unless you  
> understand what the other >types are and why you want to use them.
> I hope that explained what I meant much better
> On 09/09/2014 11:36 AM, Basil Fernie wrote:
>> Hi Israel,
>> Thanks for the as always considerate response.
>> 1. I tried the sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
>> although I wonder if this has any more effect than issuing the two  
>> commands separately but consecutively. >>Anyway it downloaded and  
>> installed another 1-2MB of files which might just have been very  
>> recently >>released to the repositories? Whatever, the whole thing  
>> still failed on the sane-utils as before.
>> There's enough Trusty Tahr floating around to thwart the other sudo  
>> which reports there isn't a new >>release to upgrade to.
>> Regarding the /home trick, I'm confused. First, does  /home contain all  
>> my chosen and explicitly installed >>apps as well as data in eg  
>> Documents and Downloads folders? What about system-tied apps, e.g.  
>> utilities, >>which might be replaced in the new release by proxies not  
>> to my liking? How can I retain those without >>fouling up the new  
>> installation? I seem to recall that updated versions of LibreOffice get  
>> installed in />>opt...
>> Second, how do I redirect OS searches for /home away from the default  
>> disk to the substitute, POST->>installaion of the new release? (I'm  
>> presuming that if the desirable /home is on sda6 and I am  
>> clean->>installing to sda7, involving formatting of sda7, and I  
>> rediract /home to sda6 DURING the installation, >>the installer is  
>> going to wipe the /home on sda6, if not the whole of sda6, as well as  
>> sda7
>> Any authoritative responses will be very welcome! I like the /home idea  
>> as it suggests the potential of >>having a variety of Debian-based  
>> distros accessing a common data- and- application base... but, "better  
>> >>safe than sorry"
>> Basil
> --Regards

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