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Get The Most From Linux Distros With These Tips And Hints

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Linux Distro Tips, Hints, And Tricks

Learn from these smart Linux distro tips and hints. These tips are not guaranteed to work for you, but hopefully you'll learn a thing or two.

Hints Index

Puppy Linux on Linux Partition
Updating Frugal Puppy Linux

Title: Puppy Linux on Linux Partition

If you use a frugal install of Puppy Linux on a Linux formatted partition, I have a suggestion for effective disk use.

I use Puppy Linux on 4 different computers in my home, and 3 are frugal installs on Linux partitions. I've found that the frugal install is very hardy, easy to install, and easy to upgrade. But I don't like having all my Puppy Linux files stored in the "save file.'' While I can keep increasing the size of the save file, I prefer to have all non-software files stored outside of my save file.

What I do is make a partition at the base level of my Puppy Linux partition. I call my directory pup. The /mnt/home directory in Puppy Linux takes you to the base level of the partition, so I make my "out of save file'' partition thus:

mkdir /mnt/home/pup

Then for quicker access, I make a soft link to that file like this:

ln -s /mnt/home/pup /pup

I then build my directory tree for all of my data files under /pup. For example, I have a docs directory, a pdf directory, a download directory, etc. In this way, as I create files, I don't have need of increasing my save file, nor do I risk loosing everything should the save file get corrupted. Also, when I upgrade to a new version of Puppy Linux, my data files don't get mixed up in the fray. In the worst case I just need to re-make my soft link.

In this way, the only things that typically get stored in the save file are software installs using the Puppy Linux package manager.

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Title: Updating Frugal Puppy Linux

If and when you decide to upgrade your frugal install of Puppy Linux, you may find my case study informative.

I've upgraded my frugal Puppy Linux install a few times, from Lucid Puppy 5.1 to 5.2 to 5.2.5 and finally to 5.2.8. Each time, I simply booted from a CD of the new Puppy Linux and copied the half-dozen CD files to my Puppy Linux install directory. Then I rebooted the disc install.

Puppy Linux responded by informing me that my save file was for an earlier version, and gave me the option of upgrading it, which I chose. For most of the upgrades that was all there was to it. But the last upgrade, from 5.2.5 to 5.2.8, left a few puzzlers.

As an example, if I clicked on the help icon, though I should have been in version 5.2.8, I was getting the help file from the 5.2.5 version. There were other similar anomalies.

To get rid of them I found I needed to do a boot with the pfix=clean parameter, which caused Puppy Linux to replace any files in the save file that had duplicates on the install files with the install versions. That brought it up to date.

In general however, I've found a few techniques that for me make upgrading a frugal install easier.

1) Make a directory tree for my files that exists on the Puppy Linux partition, but outside of the save file. That way most of my work isn't involved with any upgrades Puppy Linux makes to the save file. This way, even if I find the save file doesn't survive an upgrade, none of my work is at risk.

2) To make working with Puppy easier, I make a lot of soft links to my outside-of-save-file directory tree. I wrote a little script that makes a batch file that can remake all of my soft links. I run this before I do any upgrades, saving the batch file outside of the save file. That way even if I have to make a new save file, I can quickly be up and running, leaving only the handful of software installs to redo.

3) I make a copy of my /etc/profile file before upgrading. I usually add a few aliases and path additions to the profile, and it seems to get clobbered and replace with a new copy -- minus my changes. By having a copy of my previous profile around, I can easily reinstall my changes to the new profile.

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