figure grafix/mxfcelogo.png

MX Linux Users Manual

v. 20150219

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Table of Contents


MX Linux Users Manual

1 Introduction

1.1 About MX Linux

MX Linux is a special version of antiX developed in full collaboration with the MEPIS Community, using the best tools and talents from each distro. It is a midweight OS designed to combine an elegant and efficient desktop with simple configuration, high stability, solid performance and medium-sized footprint. It deploys Xfce4 as Desktop Environment on top of a Debian Stable base; ongoing backports to the Community Repos keep it current.
The amount and size of applications have been restricted both to reduce download size and to limit the need to remove unwanted packages; one-click installation of many popular additional packages is available in the MX Package Installer.
Although antiX is its “code-parent,” MX Linux comes with a distinct set of applications and procedures that in many instances differ completely from those of antiX. It relies on the excellent upstream work by Linux, Debian, and Xfce. It also incorporates the independent and innovative development products Whisker Menu, smxi and inxi.
The following Development Team members played a particularly significant role in the creation of MX Linux.
Special thanks for strong support of this project go to the Mepis Community Packagers.

1.2 About this Manual

figure grafix/manuals.png
Figure 1: The *need* for manuals (xkcd.com)
This Users Manual is the product of large group of volunteers from the MX Linux community. As such, it will inevitably contain errors and omissions, although we have worked hard to minimize them. Please send us corrections or suggestions using one of the methods listed at the beginning. Updates will be available on a regular basis through the standard package procedures.
The Manual is designed to walk new users through the steps of obtaining a copy of MX Linux, installing it, configuring it to work with one’s own hardware, and putting it to daily use. It aims to provide a readable general introduction, and purposely gives preference to graphical tools when available. For detailed or infrequent topics, the user should consult the Resources or post on the Forum.
New users may find some of the terms used in this Manual to be unfamiliar or confusing. We have tried to limit the use of difficult terms and concepts, but some are simply unavoidable. The Glossary located at the end of the document provides definitions and comments that will help in getting through difficult passages.
All content is © 2015 by antiX Linux and released under GPLv3. Citation should read:
          MX Linux Community Documentation Project. 2015. Users Manual for MX Linux.

1.3System requirements

Minimum
Recommended

1.4 Support

What kind of support is available for MX Linux? The answer to this question depends on the type of support you mean:

1.5 Bugs, issues and requests

Bugs are errors in a computer program or system that produce incorrect results or abnormal behavior. MX Linux defines “issues” as upstream bugs about which the Dev Team can do nothing. Finally, “requests” are additions requested by users, either as new applications or new features for existing applications. MX Linux deals with these in the following manner:
figure grafix/Tracker_1.png
Figure 2: Tracker

2Installation

2.1 Introduction

A MX Linux LiveMedium (USB or CD) boots your computer without accessing the hard disk. It copies a virtual file system into RAM that acts as the center of a temporary operating system for the computer. When you end your Live session, everything about your computer is back to the way it was, unchanged.
This provides a number of benefits:
Running from the LiveMedium also has some disadvantages if using a Live CD:

2.1.1 PAE or non-PAE?

MX Linux is available in two modes for 32bit architecture: PAE and non-PAE. PAE stands for Physical Address Extension, a way of allowing 32 bit operating systems to access ram beyond around 4GB. It is possible to use a non-PAE version on a PAE system, but not vice versa. MX Linux non-PAE is exactly the same as MX-14 PAE except it uses:
The method you use to determine whether you need the pae or non-pae version depends on the OS you currently run.

2.2Creating a bootable medium

2.2.1 Obtain the ISO

MX Linux is distributed as an ISO, a disk image file in the ISO 9660 file system format. It is possible to purchase a CD or USB from OSDisk with the ISO already loaded and ready to use: use the links on the Download page. MX Linux receives a small amount back from each purchase that it uses to cover costs.
Many users will want to download the ISO and create the bootable medium themselves, and the remainder of this section is directed to them.
Download
The MX Linux ISO can be downloaded in two ways from the Download page.
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png How to Create a Torrent
figure grafix/torrent2_ellipse.png
Figure 3: LinuxTracker: small link to torrent
figure grafix/torrent3_ellipse.png
Figure 4: LinuxTracker: small download link

2.2.2 Check validity of downloaded ISOs

After you have downloaded an ISO, the next step is to check its md5sum against the official one. It will be identical to the official md5sum if your copy is authentic. The following steps will let you verify the integrity of the downloaded ISO on any OS platform.
Windows®
users can use a tool called WinMD5FREE. Download and unzip it, then put the exe file in any folder on your hard drive. It is ready to use, no installation required.
Linux
Open a terminal in the location where you downloaded the ISO, then type:
 md5sum filename.iso
Be sure to replace “filename” with the actual filename (type in the first couple of letters then hit Tab and it will be filled in automatically).
Compare the number obtained by this calculation with the md5sum file downloaded from official site. If they are identical, your copy is identical to the official release.
Mac
Mac users need to open up a console/terminal and change into the directory with the ISO and md5sum files. Then issue this command:
 md5 -c filename.md5sum
Be sure to replace filename with the actual filename.

2.2.3 Create the LiveMedium

DVD
Burning an ISO to a DVD is easy, as long as you follow some important guidelines.
USB
You can easily create a bootable USB that works on most systems. MX Linux includes two tools for this work.
figure grafix/Unetbootin.png
Figure 5: Unetbootin

2.3Pre-Installation

2.3.1Coming from Windows®

If you are going to install MX Linux as a replacement for Microsoft Windows®, it is a good idea to consolidate and back up your files and other data currently stored in Windows®. Even if you are planning to dual-boot, you should make a backup of this data in case of unforeseen problems during the install.
Backing up files
Locate all of your files, such as office documents, pictures, video, or music:
Backing up email, calendar, and contact data
Depending on the email or calendar program you use, your email and calendar data may not be saved in an obvious location or under an obvious file name. Most email or scheduling applications (such as Microsoft Outlook®) are able to export this data in one or more file formats. Consult your application’s help documentation to find out how to export the data.
Accounts and passwords
Although not usually stored in readable files that can be backed up, it’s important to remember to make note of various account information you may have saved in your computer. Your automatic log-in data for websites or services like your ISP will have to be entered in all over again, so make sure to store off disk the information you need to access these services again. Examples include:
Browser favorites
Web browser favorites (bookmarks) are often overlooked during a backup, and they are not usually stored in a conspicuous place. Most browsers contain a utility to export your bookmarks to a file, which can then be imported into the web browser of your choice in MX Linux. Here are some export methods for common web browsers:
Software licenses
Many proprietary programs for Windows® are not installable without a license key or CD key. Unless you are set on doing away with Windows®permanently, make sure you have a license key for any program that requires it. If you do decide to reinstall Windows®(or if dual-boot setup goes awry), you will be unable to reinstall these programs without the key.
If you cannot find the paper license that came with your product, you may be able to locate it in the Windows®registry, or using keyfinder software (example link below).
Running Windows®programs
Windows®programs will not run inside a Linux OS, and MX Linux users are encouraged to look for native equivalents (see Section 4). Applications that are critical for a user may run under Wine (see Section 6.1), though it varies somewhat.

2.3.2Harddrive questions

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Create a new partition with GParted
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Partition a Multi-boot system
Where should I install MX Linux?
Before starting the install, you need to decide where you are going to install MX Linux.
You can simply select one of the first two during installation, but the third requires the creation of a new partition. You can do this during installation, but it is recommended that you do that before you start the installation. In either case, you will be using GParted, a useful and very powerful tool.
MORE: GParted Manual
Another handy tool is Start menu > System > Disk manager. With this utility you can easily manage partitions, file system and NTFS support. For Disk Manager Help, see Section 8.6.
figure grafix/gparted_5.png
Figure 6: Creating a new partition with Gparted
What are those other partitions on my Windows®installation?
Recent home computers with Windows®are sold with a diagnostic partition and restore partition, in addition to the one that contains the OS installation. If you see multiple partitions showing up in GParted that you were not aware of, they are probably those and should be left alone.
Should I create a separate Home?
You do not have to create a separate home, since the Installer will creat a /home partition within / (root). But having it separate makes upgrades easier and protects against problems caused by users filling up the drive with a lot of pictures, music, or video data.
How big should / (root) be?
Do I need to create a SWAP file?
The Installer will create a SWAP file for you (see Section 2.5.1). If you intend to hibernate (and not just suspend) the system, swap may need to be something on the order of 2GB or else the hibernation will fail when the current memory use is more than 1GB.
What do names like “sda” mean?
Before you begin installation, it is critical that you understand how Linux operating systems treat hard drives and their partitions.

2.4First look

2.4.1 Boot the LiveMedium

LiveDVD
Simply place the DVD in the tray and reboot.
LiveUSB
You may need to take a few steps to get your computer to boot correctly using the USB.
Once your system is set to recognize the USB Drive during the boot process, just plug in the Drive and reboot the machine.

2.4.2 The opening screen

figure grafix/2.4.2live.png
Figure 7: LiveMedium boot screen (MX-14.3)
When the LiveMedium boots up, you will be presented with a screen with a number of vertical entries, below which is a row of horizontal options. (The installed screen looks quite different.)
Menu entries
Table 1: Menu entries in Live boot
Entry Comment
MX-≺VERSION≻ (≺RELEASE DATE≻) This entry is selected by default, and is the standard way that most users will boot the Live system. Simply press Return to boot the system.
Frugal Install Run MX LInux as a persistent live iso on a hard drive. See Section 8.4 for details.
Command Line Install Boots directly to the command line. Does not start X-windows. This can be useful to install on systems with very limited RAM.
Root Persistence Enables root persistence so a LiveUSB acts like an installed system. Will prompt for creation of persistence files if not already available.
Static Root Persistence Just like root persistence but changes are saved immediate to disk instead of being stored in RAM. Will prompt for creation of persistence files if not already available.
Home Persistence Only enables home persistence. This saves files and settings in your home directory but does not save system-wide settings are packages that have been installed. Will prompt for creation of persistence files if not already available.
Boot from Hard Drive Boots from the first internal hard drive.
Memory Test (memtest86+) Runs a test to check RAM. If this test passes then there may still be a hardware problem or even a problem with RAM but if the test fails then you know something is wrong.
Custom entries may also appear in the main menu.
Options
MORE: Liinux startup process

2.4.3 The desktop

figure grafix/defaultdesktop.png
Figure 8: Default desktop
Panel
The default desktop of MX-14 has a single vertical panel on the left side of the screen. Default panel elements from top to bottom:
To change the default Panel, see Section 3.8.
Tips & Tricks
figure grafix/settingsmanager.png
Figure 9: Settings Manager
Some handy things to know at the beginning:
Table 2: Handy key combinations
Keystrokes Action
Ctrl-Alt-Esc Changes the cursor into a white x to kill any program
Ctrl-Alt-Bksp Closes the session and returns you to the login screen
Ctrl-Alt-F1 Drops you out of your X session to a command line; use Ctrl-Alt-F7 to return.
Alt-F1 Opens this MX Linux Users Manual
Alt-F2 Brings up a dialog box to run an application
Alt-F3 Opens the Application Finder which also allows editing menu entries
Alt-F4 Closes an application that is in focus
PrtScr Opens the Screenshooter for screen captures
Applications
Applications can be started in a couple of ways.
figure grafix/whiskermenu.png
Figure 10: Whisker menu (MX-14.3)
System info and management
System information
Video and audio
NOTE: for troubleshooting areas such as display, sound or internet, consult Section 3: Configuration.
Links

2.4.4Exiting

It is important to exit MX Linux correctly when you have finished your session so that the system can be brought down in a secure way. All running programs are first notified that the system is going down, giving them the time to save any file being edited, exit from mail and news programs, etc. If you just turn the power off, you risk the possibilities of damaging the operating system.
The usual way to exit is to click the Log Out icon (open box with arrow) between the Notification Area and the Pager.
Permanent
To leave a session for good, select one of the following on the Log Out dialog box:
Temporary
You can temporarily leave your session in one of the following ways:

2.5 The Installation process

2.5.1Detailed installation steps

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Installing MX-14
To begin, boot to the LiveMedium and click on the Installer icon in the upper left corner. The installer will open in a two-pane format: installation steps to take in the right pane, Help in the left. The installer is very easy to use with detailed instructions, and a step-by-step video is linked above. We restrict ourselves here to a sequence of images with clarifying comments.
figure grafix/1a-c.png
Figure 11: Installer Screen 1
Comments
figure grafix/2a-c.png
Figure 12: Installer Screen 2
Comments
(If you chose Auto-install using entire disk on Screen 1, you will not see this screen.)
figure grafix/3.png
Figure 13: Installer Screen 3
Comments
figure grafix/4.png
Figure 14: Installer Screen 4
Comments
figure grafix/5.png
Figure 15: Installer Screen 5
Comments
figure grafix/6.png
Figure 16: Installer Screen 6
Comments
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Figure 17: Installer Screen 6 (extra)
Comments
figure grafix/7.png
Figure 18: Installer Screen 7
Comments

2.5.2Troubleshooting

Locking up
If MX Linux is locking up during installation, it is usually due to a problem with faulty computer hardware, or a bad DVD. If you have determined that the DVD is not the problem, it may be due to faulty RAM, a faulty hard drive, or some other piece of faulty or incompatible hardware.
Installed MX does not boot
After a reboot, it sometimes happens that your computer reports that no operating system or bootable disc was found. Usually, this means that GRUB did not install properly. To fix this, try the following:
  1. Boot to the LiveMedium.
  2. Launch MX Tools ≻ Boot Repair.
  3. Make sure that “Reinstall GRUB Bootloader” is selected, then click OK.
  4. If this still does not fix it, you may have a faulty hard drive.

2.6Apple Intel computers

Installing MX LInux on Apple computers with Intel chips is generally problematic, though the situation varies to a certain degree with the exact hardware involved. Users interested in the question are advised to consult the Debian materials and forums for recent developments.
Links
Installing Debian on Apple Computers:
Debian forums

3Configuration

This section covers configuration instructions in order to get your system running correctly from a fresh installation of MX Linux, and a short guide to personal customization.

3.1Peripherals

3.1.1Smartphone

Android
Sharing files with an Android device.
Music files can be viewed and managed using Clementine. Click on Device in the left pane, then double-click CD Drive if necessary.
figure grafix/thunar_android.png
Figure 19: Thunar connected to an Android phone
iPhone
Through the iPhone 4 series, MX Linux is able to mount an iPhone in Thunar and reveal its contents for manipulation. Since iOS 5.0, iPhones will not allow a Linux installation to be recognized as a “trusted connection,” and users usually turn to a cloud storage service to carry out transfers.
See also Section 4.2.
Blackberry
Open Synaptic and search on blackberry to find the files that need to be installed.

3.1.2Printer

Attached
MX Linux offers two utilities for configuring and managing printers.
figure grafix/cups-web-admin.png
Figure 20: the CUPS adminstration screen for managing printers
Network
Samba on MX-14 allows printing via the network to shared printers on other computers (Windows®, Mac, Linux) and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices offering Samba services. See also Section 3.7 File management.
Using the MX-14 Printing Utility to Set Up Printers
Using the MX-14 Printers (CUPS) Utility to Set Up Printers
Troubleshooting

3.1.3Scanner

Scanners are supported in Linux by SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) which is an application programming interface (API) that provides standardized access to any raster image scanner hardware (flatbed scanner, hand-held scanner, video- and still-cameras, frame-grabbers, etc.).
Basic steps
You can manage your scanner in MX Linux with the default Simple Scan.
Troubleshooting

3.1.4Webcam

Most likely your webcam will work in MX Linux. If not, there is a recent detailed discussion of setup in the Arch Wiki.

3.2Basic MX Apps

figure grafix/mxtools.png
Figure 21: MX Tools dashboard
A number of applications have been developed specifically for MX Linux to save the user effort with important repetitious tasks often involving unintuitive steps.
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX Apps

3.2.1 MX Apt-notifier

This extremely handy and versatile applet monitors package updates and notifies you when they are available with a green arrow above the yellow box. When the arrow appears, there two ways to proceed. NOTE: We follow here the default setup when upgrades are available, but the actions triggered by left- or right-clicking the mouse can be reversed in Preferences.
figure grafix/3.2.1 MX Apt Notifier--View and Upgrade.png
Figure 22: View and upgrade screen from MX Apt-notifier
Options via right-click:
Other available options:
Help for Synaptic is available from the context menu.
License: here.

3.2.2 MX Boot repair

The bootloader is the first software program to run and is responsible for loading and transferring control to the kernel. It sometimes happens that the bootloader on an installation (GRUB2) becomes dysfunctional, usually because the user has made changes of some kind. When that happens, GRUB2 can be restored to a functional state, depending on the exact problem.
figure grafix/3.2.2 Boot Repair.png
Figure 23: MX Boot Repair main screen
MX Boot Repair offers you handy options to fix a system where the boot has become completely non-functional.
License: here.

3.2.3 MX Check Apt GPG

Apt (Apt-get) includes package authentication in order to improve security. You can still install non-authenticated packages, but you will run into an error: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available. This helpful utility saves carrying out the many steps necessary to obtain that key.
License: here.
figure grafix/3.2.4 Check Apt GPG.png
Figure 24: Results of checking repo public keys with MX Check Apt GPG

3.2.4 MX Codecs Installer

This application allows easy installation of certain restricted codecs while transferring the responsibility to the user. A codec is a piece of software that enables encoding/decoding a digital data stream or signal. Most codecs will be installed in MX Linux by multimedia applications such as VLC. There are two codecs, however, whose use is restricted in some jurisdictions. As a result, the end-user must assume responsibility for downloading and installing them
figure grafix/3.2.5 Codecs Installer.png
Figure 25: MX Codecs installer main screen
License: here.

3.2.5 MX Find Shares

This simple but handy utility shows all shares, i.e., computer resources available to a user’s machine. When launched, the app displays a table with machines and shares listed by networked group, both local and remote. It is particularly useful when trying to set up Samba or NFS.
License: here.
figure grafix/3.2.6 Find Shares.png
Figure 26: Search results screen of MX Find Shares

3.2.6 MX Flash Manager

This application facilitates the installation, removal and especially the updating of Flash players.
figure grafix/MXFlash.png
Figure 27: MX Flash Manager main screen
Adobe Flash Player
This Player is proprietary software distributed by Adobe without charge. It permits the viewing and streaming of multimedia content, and is familiar to users in the form of online videos, games and animations. You can adjust its behavior by clicking Start menu > Settings > Adobe Flash Player.
For all of its popularity, the Adobe Flash Player raises concerns for some Linux users.
The MX Flash Manager is designed to make it as easy as possible for the user to manage these concerns. It can be scheduled with a single click to automatically update to the latest Flash version. Older processors that require a different version because they do not implement the current instruction set (sse2) will be detected and provided with the latest correct version. Note that you can adjust the Flash settings to your level of security by clicking Start menu > Settings > Adobe Flash Player.
PepperFlash
The PepperFlash Player is maintained by Google and is newer than Adobe Flash Player. Adobe currently only provides security fixes for Adobe Flash Player, while Google provides newer features in PepperFlash Player. It comes installed in Google Chrome. In Chromium, it is provided by the pepperflashplugin-nonfree package. It takes precedence in Chrome/Chromium over the Adobe Flash Player if both Flash plugins are installed on your system.
License: here.

3.2.7 MX Package Installer

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Package Installer
With this application (originally called metapackage-installer) you can install popular packages in a simplified manner. This ability is particularly useful for MX Linux, since the CD-size limit imposed on the OS restricts the number of applications that can be provided by default. It is also very handy for installing language packs, which can be troublesome to chase down with other methods.
figure grafix/mx_package_installer.png
Figure 28: MX Package Installer main screen
Operation is straightforward.
If you would like to suggest changes in the package list, please post on the MX Forum.
License: here.

3.2.8 MX Switch User

This tiny but handy tool allows a user to switch out of the current session into a session of another user, without needing to log out and then back in. Sessions can be switched back and forth using Ctrl-Alt-F7 for the original user, and Ctrl-Alt-F8 for the second user.
figure grafix/switchuser.png
Figure 29: MX Switch User information screen
The tool can be run conveniently by clicking on the users icon at the top of the Start menu; if not present, right-click the Menu icon ≻ Properties ≻ Behavior tab, check the Switch Users box and enter the command mx-switchuser.
License: here.

3.2.9 MX User Manager

This application aids in adding, editing, removing users and groups in your system. Everything in Linux runs under a specific user, and each user’s permissions govern whether and how it runs. The superuser (“root”) can create users, give them specific passwords, restrict what they can do, etc.
Moreover, each user belongs to one or more groups. New users are automatically added to these groups: lp, dialout, cdrom, floppy, sudo, audio, dip, video, scanner, plugdev, users, fuse, lpadmin and netdev. In addition, some applications when installed (VirtualBox, for example) will create a new usergroup, but may or may not add users to it.
The application has 5 tabs.
License: here.
figure grafix/usermanager.png
Figure 30: MX User Manager repair screen

3.3Display

3.3.1 The Black Screen

Occasionally it may happen that when you boot up with the LiveMedium, you end up looking at an empty black screen that may have a blinking cursor in the corner. This represents a failure to start X, the windows system used by Linux. Possibilities and solutions for this failure include the following.

3.3.2 Resolution

Resolution refers to the physical number of columns and rows of pixels creating the display (e.g., 1920x1200). In most cases, the resolution is correctly set by the kernel during installation or when a new monitor is connected. The user also has the option when booting into a live session of adjusting the resolution with running If not, you can change it in the following ways:

3.3.3 Graphic driver

If you are not satisfied with your display’s performance, you may need to upgrade your graphic driver (make sure to first back up the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf, if used) using one of the two following tools (see Section 6.5.2):
It is also possible, but more complicated, to download directly from the manufacturer. This method will require you to select and download the correct driver for your system; for system info, open a terminal and enter: lspci│grep VGA.
Here are driver websites for the three most popular brands (do a web search on “brandname≻ linux driver for others):
Intel drivers must be compiled (Section 4.5.2), but Nvidia and ATI drivers are easily installed:

3.3.4 Fonts

Basic adjustment
  1. Click Start Menu ≻ Settings Manager ≻ Appearance, Fonts tab
  2. Click on the pull-down menu to see the list of fonts and point sizes
  3. Select the one you want, and click OK
figure grafix/3.3.4 Fonts.png
Figure 31: Changing font details in Settings Manager
Advanced adjustments
  1. Some applications may not heed the system-wide font choices.
  2. Iceweasel: click Edit ≻ Preferences ≻ Content, and make any desired changes.
Adding fonts
  1. Click Start Menu ≻ System ≻ Synaptic Package Manager.
  2. Use the search function for fonts.
  3. Select and download the ones you want. The Microsoft core fonts package ttf-mscorefonts-installer provides easy installation of the Microsoft True Type Core Fonts for use with websites and MS applications that run under Wine.
  4. Extract if necessary, then copy as root (easiest in a root Thunar) the font folder to /usr/share/fonts/.
  5. Your new fonts should be available in the pull-down menu in Settings manager ≻ Appearance, Fonts tab.

3.3.5 Dual monitors

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Dual screens in MX
Multiple monitors are managed in MX Linux with Start menu > Settings > Display. You can use it to adjust resolution, whether one clones the other, which ones will be turned on, etc.

3.3.6 Power management

Right-click the Power Manager icon (a battery or a plug) in the Notification Area ≻ Preferences. Here you can set when a display shuts down, when the computer goes into suspension, the action initiated by closing the lid of a laptop, etc.

3.4 Network

figure grafix/3.4.1 Network Connections.png
Figure 32: Network Manager main screen
Internet connections are handled by Network Manager; click the applet in the Notification Area to see status, connect and explore options.
Right-click the applet ≻ Edit Connections to open up a Settings box with five tabs.
MORE: Ubuntu Wiki: Network Manager

3.4.1 Wired access

MX Linux typically picks up wired internet access upon boot without much problem.
Ethernet and cable
MX Linux comes preconfigured for a standard LAN (Local Area Network) that uses DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to assign IP addresses and DNS (Domain Name System) resolution. This will work in most cases as-is. You can change the configuration with Network Manager.
When you boot MX Linux, your network adapters are assigned a short interface name by udev, the kernel’s device manager. For normal wired adapters this is usually eth0 (with subsequent adapters eth1, eth2, eth3, etc). USB adapters often come up on the eth0 interface in MX Linux, but the interface name can also depend on the adapter’s chipset. For instance, atheros cards often show up as ath0, while ralink usb adapters may be rausb0. For more a detailed list of all found network interfaces, open a terminal, become root, and enter: ifconfig -a.
It is wise to connect to the Internet through a router, as nearly all wired routers contain optional firewalls. In addition, routers use NAT (Network Address Translation) to translate from big Internet addresses to local IP addresses. This affords another layer of protection. Connect to the router directly, or through a hub or switch, and your machine should autoconfigure via DHCP.
Known Issue
The MX 14.3-pae ISO (but not the non-pae) contains by mistake a pre-defined network wired interface in /etc/network/interfaces that blocks Network Manager from being able to handle wired connections. Correct the file in the following manner:
ADSL or PPPoE
If you use ADSL or PPPoE, connecting to the internet is easy in MX Linux. Right-click the Network Manager icon, then the DSL tab. Click the Add... button and fill in the required information, checking to connect automatically if you want.
NOTE: if you encounter problems when using a USB device to connect, plug the unit into the computer, open a terminal and type:
dmesg | tail
Post a message on Forum with the output to get some help in finding the driver you need.
figure grafix/3.4.2 Edit-Add DSL Connection.png
Figure 33: Setting up DSL service
Dial-Up
On the Device tab you will need to set up the serial information. Accepting the default /dev/modem may work, but you might need to try another interface. These are the Linux equivalents of the COM ports under MS-DOS and MS-Windows®:
Table 3: Linux equivalents for COM ports
Port Equivalent
COM 1 /dev/ttyS0
COM 2 /dev/ttyS1
COM 3 /dev/ttyS2
COM 4 /dev/ttyS3

3.4.2 Wireless access

MX Linux comes preconfigured to autodetect a WiFi card, and in most cases your card will be found and set up automatically. There are two standard ways wireless can be supported in MX Linux:
Sometimes there is both a native Linux driver and a Windows®driver available. You may want to compare them for speed and connectivity, and you may have to remove the one you are not using to prevent a conflict. Wireless cards can be either internal or external. USB modems (wireless dongles) usually show up on the wlan interface, but if not then check others on the list. NOTE: The successful method varies for users because of the complicated interactions among the Linux kernel, wireless tools, and the local wireless card chipset and router.
Basic Wireless Steps
Click Start menu > Settings > Network Connections (or just click on the Network Manager icon in the Notification Area), and then the Wireless tab. One of 3 situations will arise.
  1. A wireless network has been found.
    • Click on the line that gives the name of the network.
    • Click Edit in the right panel, and enter your information.
    • When done, click OK.
  2. The found network does not function after the completion of Step 1.
    • Find out basic information by opening a terminal and entering one at a time:
       lspci
       lsusb
    • Become root in that open terminal and enter:
       iwconfig -a
      The output from the first commands (example below) will give you the exact name, model and version (if any) of your wireless chipset, as well as the associated driver and the mac address; from the second, the name of the access point (AP) you are linked to and other connection information.
       Network
       Card-2: Intel Ultimate N WiFi Link 5300 driver: iwlwifi
       IF: wlan0 state: up mac: 00:21:6a:81:8c:5a
    • Use the information you have gathered in one of the following ways:
      • Do a web search using that information. Some examples using the above lspci output.
         1) linux Intel Ultimate N WiFi Link 5300 (rev 03)
         2) debian stable 00:21:6a:81:8c:5a
      • Consult the Linux Wireless site below to find out which driver your chipset needs, what conflicts might exist, and whether it needs firmware installed separately.
      • Post your information on the Forum and ask for help.
    • Sometimes using the terminal application Ceni (in the repos) can reveal hidden access points and other difficult factors. NOTE: using Ceni to configure your network interface in MX Linux will interfere and/or disable management of that interface by the default Network Manager. Ceni stores its configuration info in /etc/network/interfaces. Any interface defined in /etc/network/interfaces will be ignored by Network Manager, as Network Manager assumes that if a definition exists, you want some other application managing the device.
  3. No wireless interface is found.
    • Open a terminal and type these commands one at a time:
       lspci
       lsusb
      Alternatively, this command may be used;
       inxi -n
    • Look for the network entry, and note the detailed information on your specific hardware, and look for more information about that from the LinuxWireless site listed below, or ask on the Forum.
    • If you have an external wifi device and no information on a network card is found, unplug the device, wait a few seconds then plug it back in. Open a terminal and enter
       dmesg | tail
      Examine the output for information about the device (such as the mac address) that you can use to pursue your issue on the web or the forum.
    • Probably the most common example of this situation arising is with the Broadcom wireless chipsets; see Section 8.7
Firmware
For some cards it is necessary to install firmware (for example, firmware-ti-connectivity for Texas Instruments WL1251). MX Linux comes with a good deal of firmware already available, but you may have to track down your particular need, again using the LinuxWireless website linked below.
Ndiswrapper
Ndiswrapperis an open-source software driver “wrapper” that enables the use of Windows®drivers for wireless network devices in Linux. It does not come pre-installed in MX Linux, but is in the repos. NOTE: the Windows®driver you use must match the OS architecture (e.g., Windows®32-bit driver for MX Linux 32-bit edition). In general, Windows®XP drivers are required.
Security
Wireless security is handled by Network Manager. Here are the basic steps you need to follow:
figure grafix/3.4.3 Edit Wireless Security.png
Figure 34: Wireless security in Network Manager
It is equally possible to use Ceni to handle wireless security, as long as subsequently you will not be using Network Manager, with which it interferes.
Links

3.4.3 Mobile Broadband

For wireless internet access using a 3G/4G modem, please refer to the Debian Wiki’s 3G pages linked below for compatibility information. Many 3G/4G modems will be recognized on MX Linux by Network Manager.
Troubleshooting
On some systems, modem connections fail due to an upgrade of the packages udev and libudev1. To solve this, open Synaptic, highlight the packages, and then click Package≻ Force version... Use the pull-down menu to drop to a lower version and click the Apply icon.
In some cases this solution has not worked consistently for users, but they have found that the complete removal of Network Manager solved the problems.
MORE: Debian Wiki: 3G modem

3.4.4 Command line utilities

Command line utilities are useful for seeing detailed information, and are also commonly used in troubleshooting. Detailed documentation available in the man pages. The most common ones below must be run as root.
Table 4: Wireless utilities
Command Comment
ifconfig Main configuration utility for network interfaces.
ifup ≺interface≻
Brings up the specified interface. For example:
ifup eth0 will bring up the ethernet port eth0
ifdown ≺interface≻ The opposite of ifup
iwconfig Wireless network connection utility. Used by itself, displays wireless status. Can be applied to a specific interface, for instance to set a particular
rfkill Disable softblock for wireless network interfaces (e.g., wlan).
depmod -a Probes all modules and, if they have changed, enables new configuration.

3.5 File management

File management in MX-14 is carried out through Thunar, a fast and powerful tool. Much of its basic use is self-evident, but here are good things to know:
figure grafix/thunar_custom.png
Figure 35: Custom actions set up in Thunar

3.5.1 Tips and Tricks

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Enable thumbnail images in Thunar

3.5.2 FTP

The File Sharing Protocol (FTP) is used to transfer files from one host to another host over a network.
For a discussion of how FTP works, see this page.

3.5.3 File sharing

There are various possibilities to share files between computers or between a computer and a device

3.5.4 Shares (Samba)

figure grafix/3.5.4 Samba Browse Network.png
Figure 36: Using Thunar to browse network shares
Thunar can connect to shared folders (AKA Samba Shares) on Windows®, Mac, Linux computers and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. For printing with Samba, see Section 3.1.2.

3.5.5 Creating shares

On MX, Samba can also be used to create Shares for other computers (Windows®, Mac, Linux) to access. Creating Public Shares is fairly straightforward, but keep in mind that creating Samba Shares is a complex area from a configuration perspective. For example, the task creating Shares that are specific to individual users and are authenticated properly is beyond the scope of this help. Comprehensive reference guides can be found at Using Samba and Samba.org.
Basic method
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Create a share with the Samba configuration tool
Click Start menu ≻ System ≻ Samba to bring up the Samba Server Configuration tool. Click on the plus sign icon to add a share; details available by clicking on the Help icon. NOTE: users often find that the configuration tool must be augmented with the manual method, below.
Manual method
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Create a share manually
If for some reason you need or want to create shares manually, follow these steps.
MORE: Xfce Docs: Thunar

3.6Sound

MX Linux sound depends by default on Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA), which forms part of the kernel. In most cases sound will work out of the box, though it may need some minor adjustment. Click on the speaker icon to mute all audio, then again to restore. Place cursor over speaker icon in the Notification Area and use scroll wheel to adjust volume.

3.6.1 Sound Card Set-up

The sound card is configured and volume of selected tracks adjusted by right-clicking the speaker icon in the Notification Area ≻ Open Mixer. If you have more than one sound card, be sure to select the one you want to adjust using the pull-down menu at the top of the Mixer.
figure grafix/audio_mixer_selecting_sound_card.png
Figure 37: Selecting the sound card in the Audio Mixer
Note that by default Left and Right outputs are linked to keep them balanced, but you can unlink them by clicking on the chain icon below any pair of channel sliders; click again to relink. Below each slider pair, click on the small speaker icon will mute that channel. The center button of a three-button mouse can be configured for direct access to the Audio Mixer by right-clicking the speaker icon ≻ Preferences.

3.6.2 Troubleshooting

3.6.3 Sound servers

Whereas the Sound Card is a hardware item accessible to the user, the Sound Server is software that works largely in the background. It permits general management of sound cards, and provides the ability carry out advanced operations on the sound. The most common is described here.
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Install PulseAudio

3.6.4 Links

3.7Localization

MX-14 is maintained by an international Dev Team that constantly works to improve and expand the options for localization. There are many languages into which our documents have not yet been translated, and if you can help with this effort please post on the MX Translation Forum.

3.7.1 Installation

The primary act of localization occurs during the use of the LiveMedium.

3.7.2 Post-installation

figure grafix/3.7.2-keyboard-localization.png
Figure 38: Adding another keyboard layout in Settings Manager
Here are the configuration steps you can take to localize your MX Linux after installation.

3.7.3 Further notes

3.8Customization

Xfce4 makes it very easy to change basic function and look of a user’s configuration.
MORE: Xfce Tips and tricks

3.8.1 General look

The overall appearance can be customized in Settings Manager.
MORE: Xfce4 docs: Appearance.

3.8.2 Panel

figure grafix/panel_customization.png
Figure 39: Preferences screen for customization of panels
MORE: Xfce4 docs: Panel.

3.8.3 Desktop

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Customizing the desktop
The default desktop (AKA wallpaper, background) can be changed in various ways.
figure grafix/3.8.3_desktop_with_icons.png
Figure 40: Icons tab of the Desktop settings tool in Settings Manager
You can display almost any kind of information on the desktop by using Conky
MORE: Conky home page
figure grafix/conkymanager2.png
Figure 41: Many conky configurations are available in Conky Manager 2

3.8.4 Keyboard

By default, MX-14 uses the keyboard layout that matches the user’s language choice. To make another layout available, see Section 3.7.2.

3.8.5 Menu (“Whisker”)

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Customizing Whisker menu
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Fun with the Whisker menu
MX-14 comes by default with the Whisker Menu, though a classic menu can be easily installed by right-clicking Panel ≻ Panel ≻ Add New Items ≻ Applications Menu. Whisker Menu is highly customizable.
Menu entries can be edited with a native Xfce application.
figure grafix/MenuEditor.png
Figure 42: Menu entry edit screen

3.8.6 Login greeter

For modifications of the login greeter, see Section 8.5.

3.8.7 Bootloader

The bootloader (GRUB) menu of an installed MX-14 can be modified by clicking Start menu ≻ System > Grub customizer. This tool allows users to configure some important Grub settings such as the boot entry list configuration, names of partitions, etc.

3.8.8 Default applications

General
The default applications to be used for general operations are set by clicking Start menu > Settings > Settings manager > Preferred Applications, where you can set four preferences.
Particular
Many defaults for specific file types are set during an application’s installation. For instance, *.docx and *.xlsx files are associated with LibreOffice when it is installed. But often multiple options exist for a given file type, and a user would like to determine which application would launch the file. A common example is when a user wants to open an *.mp3 file with a different music player than Clementine (default). A simple method exists to make that change.
figure grafix/OpenWith.png
Figure 43: Changing default application

4 Basic use

4.1 Internet

4.1.1 Web browser

4.1.2 Email

4.1.3 Chat

See also Section 4.11.7 Google Talk.

4.2 Multimedia

Listed here are some of the many multimedia applications available in MX Linux. Advanced professional applications also exist, and can be found through targeted searches in Synaptic.

4.2.1 Music

figure grafix/clementine.png
Figure 44: Playing a song file with Clementine

4.2.2 Video

figure grafix/netflix.png
Figure 45: Running desktop Netflix on MX Linux

4.2.3 Photos

figure grafix/mirage.png
Figure 46: Using the crop tool in Mirage

4.2.4 Screencasting

figure grafix/simplescreenrecorder.png
Figure 47: Main screen of SimpleScreenRecorder

4.2.5 Illustrations

4.3 Office

4.3.1 Office suite

MX Linux comes with a great free office suite called LibreOffice, which is the Linux equivalent and near drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office®. The suite is available under Start Menu ≻ Office ≻ LibreOffice. LibreOffice supports the .docx, .xlsx and .pptx file formats of Microsoft Office 2007 and above.
figure grafix/office-suite-via-libre.png
Figure 48: Main dashboard in LibreOffice

4.3.2 Office finances

figure grafix/gnuCashNewAccount.png
Figure 49: New account in GnuCash

4.3.3 PDF

4.3.4 Desktop publication

4.3.5 Video conferencing

4.4 Home

4.4.1 Finances

4.4.2 Media Center

4.4.3 Organization

figure grafix/osmo.png
Figure 50: The personal information manager Osmo

4.5 Security

4.5.1 Firewall

4.5.2 Antivirus

4.5.3 AntiRootkit

4.5.4 Password protection

4.5.5 Web access

figure grafix/dansguardian.jpg
Figure 51: Web filter in action on Dansguardian

4.6 Accessibility

Various open-source utilities exist for MX Linux users with disabilities by virtue of Xfce4 tools.
MORE: Xfce4 documentation

4.7 System

4.7.1 Get hardware specs

4.7.2 Create symbolic links

A symbolic link (also soft link or symlink) is a special kind of file that points to another file, much like a shortcut in Windows®or an alias in Macintosh. A symbolic link does not contain any actual data (as a hard link does), it just points to another file somewhere in the system.
There are two ways to create a symlink: Thunar or the command line.

4.7.3 Find files and folders

figure grafix/catfish.png
Figure 52: Search screen of Catfish
Catfish is installed by default in MX Linux, and can be launched from the Start menu > Accessories. It is also integrated into Thunar so that the user can right-click a folder > Find files here.
Catfish home page
CLI
There are some very handy commands for use in a terminal.

4.7.4 Kill runaway programs

figure grafix/htop.png
Figure 53: Terminal screen of Htop

4.7.5 Track performance

4.7.6 Schedule tasks

4.8 Backup

The most important practice is to back up your data and configuration files regularly, a process that is easy in MX Linux. It is highly recommended that you back up to a different drive than the one your data is on! The average user will find one of the following graphical tools convenient, though CLI methods will also work.
figure grafix/luckybackup.png
Figure 54: Main screen of Lucky Backup
See also Section 6.6.2 Save system to live ISO.

4.8.1 Data

Make sure you back up your data, including documents, graphics, music, and mail. By default, most of this is stored in your /home directory unless you have a separate data partition or external data location.

4.8.2 Configuration files

Here is a list of items to consider for backup.

4.8.3 List of installed program packages:

It’s also a good idea to save in your /home directory a file that contains the list of programs that you have installed with Synaptic, apt-get or Gdebi. If in the future you need to reinstall, you’ll just have to paste the names of the files into an apt-get install command. You can create an inventory of all packages on your system installed since installation by copying this long command and pasting it in a terminal:
 dpkg -l|awk ’/\^{}ii/{ print \$2 }’|grep -v -e \^{}lib -e -dev -e linux-image -e linux-headers > apps_installed.txt
To reinstall ALL those packages at once: make sure that all needed repositories are enabled, then:
 dpkg — set-selections < apps_installed.txt
 su
 apt-get update
 apt-get dselect-upgrade

4.9 Games

Because of space limitation, MX Linux comes with only a few simple games, but many more are available. Browsing the extensive list of games available through Synaptic (click Sections ≻Games at the bottom of the left panel) or following the links below will bring up many other titles for your enjoyment.
The following list contains some examples to whet your appetite.

4.9.1 Adventure and Shooter Games

figure grafix/4.9.2chromiumbsu.png
Figure 55: Enemy warships on the attack in Chromium B.S.U

4.9.2 Arcade Games

figure grafix/ri-li.png
Figure 56: Train must choose where to go on Ri-li board

4.9.3 Board Games

figure grafix/Gnomine.png
Figure 57: High-tension moment in Mines.

4.9.4 Card Games

Here are some fun card games available from the repos.

4.9.5 Desktop Fun

figure grafix/tuxpaint.png
Figure 58: Budding genius at work in Tuxpaint

4.9.6 Educational Games

figure grafix/scratch.png
Figure 59: Coding screen for Dance Party using Scratch

4.9.7 Tactics & Strategy Games

figure grafix/breakout.png
Figure 60: Trying to break through the first wall in Lbreakout

4.9.8 Windows®games

A number of Windows®games can be played in MX Linux by using a Windows®emulator such as Cedega or DOSBox, or some may even run under Wine: see Section 6.1.

4.10 Google tools

figure grafix/TB.png
Figure 61: Integrated Google Calendar and Contacts in Thunderbird

4.10.1 Gmail

Gmail accounts can be integrated into Claws-Mail and Thunderbird, see Section 4.1.2.

4.10.2 Google’s Contacts

Goggle’s Contacts can be linked into Thunderbird by using the add-on gContactSync.
MORE: gContactSync home page

4.10.3 Gcal

Gcal can be set up on a tab in Thunderbird with the add-ons Lightning and Google Calendar Tab.
MORE: Lightning calendar home page

4.10.4 Gtasks

Gtasks can be included in Thunderbird by ticking the Tasks entry of the calendar.

4.10.5 Google Earth

GE for Linux is available from the repos.

4.10.6 Google Talk

There is a browser plugin called google-talkplugin available from the repos that allows you to make a voice or video call to someone from your Gmail account.

5Software Management

5.1Introduction

5.1.1Methods

Synaptic is the recommended method for beginners to manage software packages, although other methods are also available and may be required for certain situations.

5.1.2Packages

Software operations in MX are accomplished through the Advanced Package Tool (APT) system. Software is provided in the form of a package: a discrete, non-executable bundle of data that includes instructions for your package manager about installation. They are stored on servers called repositories, and can be browsed, downloaded, and installed through special client software called a package manager. The recommended package manager for MX is Synaptic, though the command-line utility apt-get is also included for those who prefer it. The graphical utility Gdebi is launched for downloaded*.deb files with a single click on the file name; an alternative is to open a terminal and use the command dpkg install packagename.deb
The majority of packages have one or more dependencies, meaning that they have one or more packages that must also be installed in order for them to work. The APT system is designed to automatically handle dependencies for you; in other words, when you try to install a package whose dependencies are not already installed, your APT package manager will automatically mark those dependencies for installation as well. It can happen that these dependencies can not be met, preventing the installation of a package.

5.2Repositories

APT repositories (repos) are much more than just web sites with downloadable software. The packages on repository sites are specially organized and indexed to be accessed through a package manager, rather than browsed directly.

5.2.1Standard repos

MX Linux comes with a set of enabled repositories that offer you both security and choice. If you are new to MX Linux (and especially if you are new to Linux), it is recommended that in general you stick with the default repositories at first. For security reasons, these repositories are digitally signed, meaning that packages are authenticated with an encryption key to make sure they are authentic. If you install packages from non-Debian repos without the key, you will get a warning that they could not be authenticated. To get rid of this warning and make sure your installations are secure, you need to install missing keys using Check Apt GPG (MX Tools).
Repositories are most easily added, removed, or edited through Synaptic, though they can also be altered by hand by editing the files in /etc/apt/ in a root terminal. In Synaptic, click Settings ≻ Repositories, then click the button New and add the information. The repo information is often given as a single line, like this:
 deb http://main.mepis-deb.org/mepiscr/mx-test/ mx-14 test
Be careful to note the location of the spaces, which separate the information into four chunks that are then entered into separate lines in Synaptic.
figure grafix/repos.png
Figure 62: Repos, with one of the disabled MX test repos highlighted.
Some repositories carry special labels:

5.2.2Community repos

MX Linux has its own Community Repos with packages that the Packagers build and maintain. These packages are distinct from official MX packages coming from Debian Stable, and typically have been backported from Debian versions in development (testing or even experimental). The Community Repos are critical to MX Linux, since they permit an OS based on Debian Stable to stay abreast of important software developments.
NOTE: The two testing repos should only be enabled to download packages for testing, and immediately disabled afterward. They should not be used on main production machines or mission critical set-ups, as there is by definition a risk that they will break your system.
To find out more about what is available, who the packagers are, and even how to get involved, see MX Community Packaging Project.

5.2.3Dedicated repos

In addition to the general repositories such as Debian, MX, and Community, there also exist a certain number of dedicated repositories associated with a single application. When you add one of them, either directly or through Synaptic, then you will receive updates. Some are preloaded but not enabled, others you will add yourself.
Here is a common example (VirtualBox):
 deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/stable contrib

5.2.4Development repos

One final category of repository exists for acquiring the most recent (and thus least stable) build of an application. This is done through a version control system such as Git that can be used by the end user to stay current with development. The user can check out a copy of the application source code into a directory on a local machine.
More: Wikipedia: Software repository

5.3 Synaptic

Synaptic is a friendly, easy-to-use frontend (GUI) to the APT packaging system. It is a graphical tool that allows you to install, remove, upgrade, downgrade, or get information on all the software packages available in the online repositories on your repository list. Note that your root password is required and, naturally, you will need to be connected to the Internet.

5.3.1 Installing and removing packages

Installing
Here are the basic steps for installing software in Synaptic:
figure grafix/synaptic_recommended.png
Figure 63: Checking recommended packages during package installation.
Removing
Removing software from your system with Synaptic seems as straightforward as installing, but there is more to it than meets the eye:
figure grafix/synaptic_autoremovable_selection_using_shift_key.png
Figure 64: Getting ready to clear out the autoremovable packages.

5.3.2 Upgrading and downgrading

Synaptic enables you to quickly and conveniently keep your system up-to-date.
Upgrading
Unless you are using a manual method in a terminal, upgrading is typically triggered by the appearance of a green arrow on the Apt-notifier in the Notification Area. There are two ways to proceed when this arrow appears.
Downgrading
Sometimes you may want to downgrade an application to an older version, for instance because of problems that arose with the new one. This is easy to do in Synaptic:
  1. Open Synaptic, supply the root password, and click Reload.
  2. Click on Installed in the panel on the left, then find and highlight the package you want to downgrade in the panel on the right
  3. On the menu bar, click Package ≻ Force version...
  4. Select from the available versions on the pull-down list
  5. Click Force Version, then install in the usual manner.
figure grafix/synaptic_force_version.png
Figure 65: Using Force version to downgrade a package
Pinning
Sometimes you may want to pin an application to a specific version to keep it from being upgraded in order to avoid problems with more recent ones. This is easy to do:
  1. Open Synaptic, supply the root password, and click Reload.
  2. Click on Installed in the panel on the left, then find and highlight the package you want to pin in the panel on the right.
  3. On the menu bar, click Package ≻ Lock version...
  4. Synaptic will highlight the package in red and add a lock icon to the first column.
  5. To unlock, highlight the package again and click Package ≻ Lock version (which will have a check mark).

5.4 Troubleshooting

Synaptic is very reliable, but sometimes you may get an error message. A full discussion of such messages may be found in the source given in the Links section, so here we will only mention a couple of the most common.

5.5 Other methods

5.5.1 Deb packages

The software packages installed through Synaptic (and APT behind it) are in a format called deb (short for Debian, the Linux distribution that devised APT). You can manually install downloaded deb packages using the graphical tool Gdebi or the command-line tool dpkg. These are simple tools to install local deb packages. NOTE: if dependencies can not be satisfied, you will receive a notice and the program will stop. In such cases, an alternative can sometimes be found using a different package manager called Aptitude.
figure grafix/gdebi.png
Figure 66: Gdebi ready to install.
Installing deb files with Gdebi
  1. Navigate to the deb package you want to install and click on it. Gdebi will open the install dialog.
  2. Click Install.
  3. Enter your root password when prompted.
  4. Gdebi will attempt to install the package, and report the results.
Installing *.deb files with dpkg
  1. Navigate to the folder containing the deb package you want to install.
  2. Right-click and empty space to open a terminal and become root
  3. Install the package with the command (substituting the real package name, of course):
     dpkg -i packagename.deb
  4. If you are installing multiple packages in the same directory at the same time, you can do it all at once using:
     dpkg -i *.deb
    NOTE: In a shell command, the asterisk is a wild card in the argument. In this case it will cause the program to apply the command to any file whose name ends with *.deb.
  5. If required dependencies are not installed on your system already, you will get unmet dependencies errors as dpkg does not automatically take care of them. To correct these errors and finish the installation, run apt-get -f install. Apt-get will attempt to rectify the situation by either installing the needed dependencies (if they are available from the repositories), or removing your .deb files (if the dependencies cannot be installed).

5.5.2 CLI methods

It is equally possible to use the command line to install, remove, update, switch repositories and generally to manage packages. Instead of launching Synaptic to carry out common tasks, for instance, many users will just open a terminal, become root and use one of these commands.
Table 5: Common commands to manage packages
Command Action
apt-get install packagename Install a certain package
apt-get remove packagename Remove a certain package
apt-get purge packagename Completely remove a certain package
apt-get autoremove Clear out leftover packages after a removal
apt-get update Refresh the package list from the repos
apt-get upgrade Install all available upgrades
apt-get dist-upgrade Intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions of packages
For more information, consult the man page for apt-get.

5.5.3 More install methods

Sooner or later some software that you want to install will not be available in the repositories and you may need to use other installation methods. These methods include:
Links

6Advanced use

6.1Windows® programs under MX Linux

There are a certain number of applications, both open-source and commercial, that will allow Windows® applications to run under MX Linux. They are referred to as emulators, meaning that they replicate the functions of Windows®on a Linux platform. Many MS Office applications, games and other programs can be run using an emulator with varying degrees of success ranging from near-native speed and functionality to only basic performance.

6.1.1 Open-source

Wine is the primary open-source Windows®emulator for MX Linux. It is a kind of compatibility layer for running Windows®programs, but does not require Microsoft Windows® to run the applications. New Wine versions are rapidly packaged by the Community Repository members and made available to users.
DOSBox creates a DOS-like environment intended for running MS-DOS-based programs, especially computer games.
DOSEMU is software available from the repos that allows DOS to be booted in a virtual machine, making it possible to run Windows® 3.1, Word Perfect for DOS, DOOM, etc.
figure grafix/wine_ftw.png
Figure 67: Family Tree Maker for Windows®running under Wine on MX Linux

6.1.2 Commercial

CrossOver Office allows you to install many popular Windows®productivity applications, plugins and games in Linux, without needing a Microsoft Operating System license. Supports Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint (up to 2003) particularly well.
Cedega is designed to run DirectX and OpenGL games from the Microsoft Windows®Platform under Linux. Popular games such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Battlefield 2142, World of WarCraft, Madden 2007 and Civilization IV can be played on MX Linux with this application.
Links

6.2Virtual machines

Virtual machine applications are a class of programs that simulate a virtual computer in memory, allowing you to install any operating system on the machine. It is useful for testing, running non-native applications, and providing users the feeling of having a machine of their own. Many MX Linux users make use of virtual machine software to run Microsoft Windows®“in a window” to seamlessly provide access to software written for Windows®on their desktop. It is also used for testing to avoid installation.

6.2.1 Setup

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Virtual Box: install and configure
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Virtual Box: set up a shared folder
A number of virtual machine software applications for Linux exist, both open-source and proprietary. MX makes it particularly easy to use VirtualBox, so we will focus on that here. For details and the most recent developments, see the Links section below. Here is an overview of the basic steps to set up and run VirtualBox:
figure grafix/VB.png
Figure 68: Windows 2000 running in VirtualBox

6.2.2 Use

figure grafix/VB_iso.png
Figure 69: Setting the ISO for a new VirtualBox guest (“Some OS”)
Links

6.3Alternate Window Managers

A window manager (originally WIMP: window, icon, menu, and pointing device) in Linux is essentially the component which controls the appearance of Graphical user interfaces and provides the means by which the user can interact with them. MX Linux is tightly tied to Xfce, as part of its overall approach, but other possibilities exist for users. MX Linux makes it easy to install the most popular alternatives through the MX Package Installer, as described below.
figure grafix/mx-mate-desktop.png
Figure 70: MATE running on top of MX Linux
Once installed, you can choose the window manager you want from the Session Type pull-down menu on the default login screen (lightdm) and log in to as you normally would. If you replace the login manager with another from the repos, make sure you always have at least one available upon reboot.
Wikipedia: X Window Managers

6.4Command Line

Although MX offers a complete set of graphical tools for installing, configuring, and using your system, the command line (also called the console, terminal, BASH, or shell) is still a useful and at times indispensable tool. Here are some common uses:
The default program to run a terminal in a MX desktop window is XFCE Terminal, which can be found at Start Menu ≻ System ≻ Xfce Terminal (Terminal Emulator). Some commands are only recognized for super user (root), while others may vary the output depending on user.
To obtain temporary root permissions:
  1. open Xfce Terminal.
  2. type su.
  3. enter root’s password (nothing will show on the screen)
You will recognize when Xfce Terminal is running with root privileges by looking at the prompt line right before the space where you type. Instead of a $, you will see a #; in addition, the user name changes to root written in red. If you try to run as a regular user a command that requires root privileges such as iwconfig, you may receive an error message that the command was not found, see a message box that the program must be run as root, or simply find yourself at the prompt again with no message at all.
figure grafix/6.4.1terminalrunningroot_notepromptchange.png
Figure 71: User dolphin now has temporary administrative (root) privileges

6.4.1First steps

6.4.2Common commands

Here is a list of rudimentary terminal commands. For a complete reference, see the Links section, below.
Filesystem navigation
Table 6: Filesystem navigation commands
Command Comment
cd /usr/share Changes current directory to the given path: “/usr/share”. With no argument, cd takes you to your home directory.
pwd Prints the current working directory path
ls Lists the contents of the current directory. Use the -a switch to show hidden files as well, and the -l switch to show details on all files. Often combined with other terms. lsusb lists all the usb devices, lsmod all the modules, etc.
File management
Table 7: File management commands
Command Comment
cp sourcefile destinationfile Copy a file to another filename or location. Use the -R switch (“recursive”) to copy entire directories.
mv sourcefile destinationfile Move a file or directory from one location to another. Also used to rename files or directories and to make a backup: for example before changing a critical file such as xorg.conf you might use this command to move it to something like xorg.conf_BAK.
rm filename Delete a file. Use the -R switch to delete a directory, and the -f switch (“force”) if you don’t want to be prompted to confirm each deletion.
cat file.txt Prints the contents of a file on the screen. Only use on text files.
grep Find a given string of characters in a given piece of text, and print the entire line it was on. Usually used with a pipe, e.g. cat somefile.txt Ⅰ grep /somestring/ will display the line from somefile.txt that contains somestring. To find a network usb card, for instance, you could type: lsusb Ⅰ grep Network. The grep command is case sensitive by default, use the -i switch to make it case-insensitive.
dd Copies anything bit by bit, so can be used for directories, partitions, and whole drives. Basic syntax is dd if=<some file> of=<some other file>
Symbols
Table 8: Symbols
Command Comment
The pipe symbol used to send the output of one command to the input of another.
The redirect symbol, used to send the ouput of a command into a file of device. Doubling the redirect symbol will cause the output of an existing file rather than replacing it.
& Adding the ampersand to the end of a command (with a space before it) causes it to run in the background so that you don’t have to wait for it to complete to issue the next command. Double ampersand indicates that the second command should only be run if the first has been successful.
Troubleshooting
For most new Linux users, the command line is mainly used as a troubleshooting tool. Terminal commands give quick, detailed information that can be easily pasted into a forum post, search box, or email when seeking help on the web. It is strongly recommended that you keep this information at hand when asking for help. Being able to refer to your specific hardware configuration will not only speed up your process of obtaining help, but also it will let others offer you more accurate solutions. Here are some common troubleshooting commands (see also Section 3.4.4). Some of them may not output information, or not as much information unless you are logged in as root.
Table 9: Troubleshooting commands
Command Comment
lspci Shows a quick summary of detected internal hardware devices. If a device shows as /unknown/, you usually have a driver issue. The -v switch causes more detailed information to be displayed.
lsusb Lists attached usb devices.
dmesg Shows the system log for the current session (i.e. since you last booted). The output is quite long, and usually this is piped through grep, less (similar to most) or tail (to see what happened most recently). For example, to find potential errors related to your network hardware, try dmesg Ⅰ grep -i net.
top Provides a real-time list of running processes and various statistics about them. Also available from the Start menu as Htop.
Accessing documentation for commands

6.4.3Links

6.5Scripts

A script is a simple text file that can be written directly from a keyboard, and consists of a logically sequenced series of operating system commands. The commands are handled one at a time by a command interpreter which in turn requests services from the operating system. The default command interpreter in MX is Bash. The commands must be understandable to Bash, and command lists have been established for programming use. A shell script is the Linux counterpart of batch programs in the Windows®world.
Scripts are used throughout the Linux OS and applications that run on it as an economical method of executing multiple commands in an easily created and modified manner. During boot, for instance, many scripts are invoked to start up specific processes such as printing, networking, etc. Scripts are also used for automated processes, system administration, application extensions, user controls, etc. Finally, users of all kinds can employ scripts for their own purposes.

6.5.1A simple script

Let’s do a very simple (and famous) script to get the basic idea.
  1. Open the text editor Leafpad (Start Menu ≻ Accessories),and type:
     #!/bin/bash clear echo Good morning, world!
  2. Save that file in your home directory with the name SimpleScript.sh
  3. Right-click the file name, select Properties, and check “Allow this file to run as a program” on the Permissions tab.
  4. Open a terminal and type: 
     sh /home/UserName/SimpleScript.sh
  5. The line “Good morning, world!” will appear on your screen. This simple script doesn’t do very much, but it does establish the principle that a simple text file can be used to send commands to control your system’s behavior.
NOTE:All scripts open with a shebang as in the the beginning of the first line: it is a combination of a number sign, an exclamation point, and the path to the command interpreter. Here, Bash is the interpreter and it is found in the standard location for user applications.

6.5.2A useful script

Let’s look at a useful script for the ordinary user that reduces all the moves involved in backing up multiple sets of files into a single keystroke. The script below relies itself on a system script called Rdiff-backup that would need to be installed from the repos for the script to work. It copies one directory to another, keeping a record of the differences in a special subdirectory so you can still recover files lost some time ago. (Incidentally, Rdiff-backup relies in turn on a script called Diff.)
In this example, a user named “newbie” wants to set up a script to back up documents, music, mail and pictures from the /home directory to an external drive.
 1 #!/bin/bash
 2 #
 3 # This Rdiff-Backup script backs up to a second hard drive
 4 # It must be run as root in order to mount the second hard drive
 5
 6 # To restore files, issue the command: cp -a /mnt/sda1/username /home
 7 # To restore, but not overwrite:
 8 # cp -a -i — reply=no /mnt/sda1/username /home
 9
 10 # Mount the external devices
 11
 12 mount /dev/sdb1
 13 mount /dev/sdb2
 14 mount /dev/sdb3
 15
 16 # Execute the backup
 17
 18 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Documents /mnt/sdb2/Documents
 19 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Music /mnt/sdb1/Music
 20 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Mail /mnt/sdb2/Mail
 21 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Pictures /mnt/sdb3/Pictures
 22
 23 # Unmount the external devices
 24
 25 umount /dev/sdb1
 26 umount /dev/sdb2
 27 umount /dev/sdb3
Now let’s look at this script’s components:
Anyone who wanted to use such a script would have to carry out a few execution steps:
  1. Copy the whole script.
  2. Right-click the desktop and select Create New≻Text file...
  3. Give the file a name that makes sense (no spaces, though), and add the “sh” extension so you will recognize it is a script. For this example, you might select Backup_DocsMusicMailPictures.sh
  4. Open the new text file and paste in the script.
  5. Change any names, locations, etc. to what they are on your particular system. In the example above, you may well have different names and/or locations for the directories to be backed up, and different devices where they are supposed to go.
  6. Save that script in a place you can easily find it when you need it, let’s say you make a new directory /home/scripts for it.
  7. Right-click the script, select Properties, click on the Permissions tab, and check the Is executable box and click OK.
  8. When you are ready to backup, open a terminal and type: sh /home/scripts/Backup_DocsMusicMailPictures.sh HINT: use the tab key to autocomplete the file name after you type the first few letters.
Links

6.5.3 Pre-installed user scripts

The following scripts allow users to help keep their MX Linux installation up-to-date and running as a rolling release.
smxi
When run, smxi allows users to install a new kernel, install ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers, run apt-get upgrade or apt-get dist-upgrade safely, and lots more! Written by a programmer named "h2", the script is pretty much self explanatory, but for usage options, execute smxi -h.
smxi must be run outside of the X window system (i.e., not from the desktop) for most functions.
smxi will ask a series of questions the first time it is run, including which system options you want to run. The following options are recommended:
After smxi has completed its operations it will ask if you want to restart the desktop. NOTE: Running smxi -G in a root terminal while inside a running X session allows certain features of smxi to run, such as removing unwanted kernels etc.
smxi home page
smxi documentation
sgfxi
This h-2 script runs inside smxi or separately, and deals with installing graphical drivers (see also Nvidia_Install, below). Sgfxi currently supports ATI, fglrx and NVIDIA drivers. It also supports converting from or to xorg free drivers like ati, intel, or nv. Follow the procedure above to start the script, replacing smxi with sgfxi.
Sgfxi requires a working internet connection! Some wireless internet connections may be dropped when operating outside of X. If this applies to your internet connection either temporarily switch over to a wired internet connection before proceeding or use the ’Partial install in X, completion outside of X method’ instructions in the next section below.
The sgfxi script automatically downloads and installs the kernel headers and every thing else it needs. Then it downloads the binary graphic driver installers from either nvidia or ATI, prepares system, installs, then sets up xorg.conf, all in a fairly clean, reasonably intuitive way. Plus it updates itself so any new drivers released will be installed. Finally, sgfxi allows you to easily switch between proprietary non free drivers like ATI’s fglrx and nVidia’s nvidia driver and the free xorg drivers.
sgfxi manual
inxi
A third script from h-2 included in MX Linux is inxi, a convenient command-line system information script. Enter inxi -h in a terminal to see all the options available, which include an entire range from sensor output to the weather.
Nvidia_Install
Created by MX Linux user kmathern, this script has two advantages over sgfxi:
Launch by clicking Start menu > System > Nvidia_Install, enter root password when the terminal opens, and follow the prompts.
figure grafix/nv_in.png
Figure 72: Nvidia_Install begins its work

6.6Advanced MX Apps

In addition to the configuration MX Apps discussed in Section 3.3, MX Linux includes utilities for the advanced user available from MX Tools.

6.6.1 Live remaster/persistence (RemasterCC)

REMASTER
WARNING: for use in a Live session only!
The primary purpose of live remastering is to make it as safe, easy, and convenient as possible for users to make their own customized version of MX Linux that can be distributed to other computers.
The idea is that you use a LiveUSB (or a LiveHD: a frugal install to a hard drive partition, see Section 8.4) as the development and testing environment. Add or subtract packages and then when you are ready to remaster, use use a simple remaster script or GUI to do the remaster and then reboot. If something goes horribly wrong, simply reboot again with the rollback option and you will boot into the previous environment.
Requirements
Typically you will be using a LiveUSB as your target system for your customized version of MX Linux. (If you are using a LiveHD then you will need to create a LiveUSB or a LiveCD from the LiveHD in order to install elsewhere.)
There are three simple and straightforward system requirements that are needed to perform live remastering:
Although optional, persistent home or a persistent root can be useful if you are doing remastering. For details, see Persistence, below.
figure grafix/remastercc.png
Figure 73: The persistence and remaster tool
Step by step
After you have made all the changes you want in a Live session of MX Linux, click Start menu > System > RemasterCC and enter the root password. The persistence/remaster tool opens with 4 buttons.
Work your way carefully through the remaster list, from top to bottom, following the directions that lead you through the process.
Remaster: advanced
— — — — —
PERSISTENCE
WARNING: for use in a Live session only!
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Live USB with persistence
Persistence is a hybrid between a LiveMedium and a full install; it allows you to retain any files you install or add during a live session.
Step-by-step
The persistence files (rootfs and homefs) are straightforward to create once you know the trick. You just need to decide how large you want to make the file and what file system to use. If you have a lot of free space on the device (many GB) then a size of 1 GB is a good choice although you can get by with much less. We suggest using the ext3 file system, but you can also use ext2 or ext4.
There are many options available, so here is one good method to get you started that only uses the top button.
  1. Make a LiveUSB (Section 2.2.3)
  2. Click Start menu > MX Tools > Persistence/Remaster. The same tool that is used for remastering pops up, since the beginning steps are identical.
  3. Click on the top button Set up Live Persistence.
  4. Create persistence files (only needed if UNetbootin was used to make the LiveUSB).
  5. Reboot and select Root Persistence from main bootloader menu.
  6. Enter new passwords.
  7. Now whenever you log out, you will be prompted to save the changes you have made during your session, and they will be retained (persist) for the next session.
NOTES
Step 1: If you are already running an installed version of MX-14, use the antix2usb application by clicking Start menu > MX Tools > Create Live USB. This is the easiest way to go since you simply check the boxes in the lower right corner to create the persistence files.
Step 3: If unsure about what choices to make, use the action pull-down menu and select first Root: Create Root Persistence (recommended: ext2 and 1 GB). When that has finished, then select Home: Create Home Persistence (recommended ext4 and enough memory for what you intend to use it for). For home persistence, the homefs persistence file is mounted at /home. Any changes made to files under /home are (nearly) instantly stored on homefs file system. It is good if you want to save settings (such as bookmarks or changes to your desktop) but it does not save changes made to the system such as installing packages.
Step 4: You will be prompted for a new root and user password; this is needed because the LiveUSB passwords are public knowledge.
The tool: details
The easiest method to set up persistence is to just use the first button, as described above. The tool has, however, two optional buttons (bolded below) that can be used for persistence.
Dynamic and static root persistence

6.6.2 Save system to ISO (Snapshot)

This tool makes a copy of your running system and creates an ISO from it. The ISO can be put on a LiveMedium in the usual manner (see Section 2.2). To then install from the LiveMedium, open a root terminal and enter the command: minstall.
Requirements
The first screen shows the available space using the default settings. It is recommended that the free space for the snapshot be at least equal to the used space in / (root) and /home partitions. (The created ISO file will be compressed, so you might be able to do with a little bit less than that.) If that is not the case, use the buttons below to change to a directory with more free space.
Settings options

6.6.3 Create live USB (antix2usb)

WARNING: for use on a hard drive installation only!
There are two tools available by default to create MX Linux live on a USB stick: antix2usb and UNetbootin (see Section 2.3.3). antix2usb is limited to Linux use, but has a number of advantages:
figure grafix/antix2usb.png
Figure 74: Main screen of antix2usb
Use
Insert your USB stick. If it auto-mounts, unmount it (in Thunar: right-click ≻ Unmount). Open antix2usb from MX Tools (by default, in the Favorites). The left side of the screen that pops up has the following areas.
Options
On the right side of the screen you are presented with a number of options.
Troubleshooting
If you use this tool within a hard drive installation it doesn’t work and you get no error message. To solve this problem you have to load the kernel module loop before using antix2usb by opening a terminal, becoming root, and entering: modprobe loop
To load it each time you boot MX Linux, enter in a root terminal:
 echo loop ≻≻ /etc/modules

6.7 SSH

SSH (Secure SHell)is a protocol used to securely log onto remote systems. It is the most common way to access remote Linux and Unix-like computers. MX-14 comes with the main packages necessary to run SSH in active mode, the main one being OpenSSH, a free implementation of the Secure Shell that consists of a whole suite of applications.

6.7.1 Troubleshooting

Occasionally, SSH does not work in passive mode, sending a message of denied connection. Then you can try the following:
MORE: Openssh manual

7Under the hood

7.1Introduction

MX Linux ultimately inherits its fundamental design from Unix, an operating system that has been around in various forms since 1970, much earlier than MS-Windows®. From that Linux was developed, from which Debian develops its distribution. The base operating system is the topic of this section. Users coming from Microsoft Windows®typically find a lot of unfamiliar concepts, and get frustrated trying to do things the way they are accustomed to doing them.
This section will give you a conceptual overview of some basic aspects of MX Linux, and how they differ from other systems to help ease your transition.
Links

7.2The file system structure

There are two basic uses of the term “file system”. The first is the Operating System’s Filesystem. This refers to the files and their organization that the operating system uses to keep track of all the hardware and software resources it has as its disposal while running.
The other use of the term file system refers to the Disk Filesystem, designed for the storage and retrieval of files on a data storage device, most commonly a disc drive. The Disk Filesystem is set when the disk partition is first formatted, prior to writing any data on the partition.
The Operating System’s Filesystem
One of the first problems many new Linux users struggle with is how the file system works. If you have been looking around your MX Linux system trying to find the C:\ drive or D:\ drive, for instance, you are searching in vain: MX Linux handles hard drives and other storage media differently from Windows®. Rather than having a separate file system tree on every device, MX Linux has a single file system tree ( called the /root/ of the file system) which is marked “/” and contains every attached device. When a storage device is added to the system, its file system is attached to a directory or subdirectory of the file system; this is called mounting a drive or device. If you open Thunar and click on File System in the upper left pane, you will notice a number of directories with names based on the Unix Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.
figure grafix/filesystem.png
Figure 75: The MX filesystem viewed in Thunar
Here is a simple description of the major directories in MX Linux along with a common example of when users commonly work with files there:
The Disk Filesystem
The disk file system is something about which the average user does not need to be much concerned. The default disk file system used by MX Linux is called ext4, a version of the ext2 file system that is journaled —i.e., it writes changes to a log before enacting them, rendering it more robust. The file system ext4 is set during installation when your your hard drive is formatted.
By and large, ext4 has more years on its track record than any of its rivals, and combines stability and speed; for these reasons, we do not recommend installing MX Linux onto a different disk file system unless you are well-educated in the differences. However, MX Linux can read and write to many other formatted disk filesystems, and may even be installed on some of them, if for some reason one of them is preferred over ext4.
Links

7.3Permissions

MX Linux is an account-based operating system. This means that no program can run without a user account to run under, and any running program is thereby limited by the permissions granted to the user who started it.
In MX Linux there is one and only one user account that has permission to do everything; this account is called root (not to be confused with the “root” of the file system, mentioned in Section 6.1 see: root file system. The root user has a unique password that is set during system installation. When you run programs (such as Synaptic or MX Linux System Assistants) that need to access or change protected operating system files and directories, you will be prompted for the root password. Once you enter it, MX Linux will be able to make the specific changes it needs.
NOTE: Much of the security and stability that Linux is known for hinges on the proper use of limited user accounts, and the protection provided by default file and directory permissions. For this reason, you should operate as root only for a procedure that requires it. Never log into MX Linux as root to run the computer for normal activities!
Basic information
The default file permissions structure in Linux is fairly simple, but more than adequate for most situations. For each file or folder, there are three permissions that can be granted, and three entities (owner/creator, group, others/world) to which they are granted. The permissions are:
NOTE: For advanced users, there are additional special attributes beyond read/write/execute that can be set: sticky bit, SUID, and SGID. For more information, see Links section.
Viewing, setting and changing permissions
There are many tools available in MX Linux to view and manage permissions.
The bolded “rw-r — r — ” bit right after the opening dash (indicating it is a regular file) contains read/write/execute permissions for owner, group and others: 9 characters total. Here it shows that the owner has read and write but not execute (rw-), but the group and others can only read (r — ). The owner in this case is specified to be “newbie” who belongs to the group “users”.
If for some reason it was necessary to change the ownership of this file to root using the command line, you would use the chown command like this: 
 chown root /home/newbie/.asoundrc
For details on using chown, as well as the more detailed chmod, see Links section.
Links

7.4Configuration files

With only rare exceptions, program and system settings on MX Linux are stored in discrete plain text configuration files; there is no “Registry” which requires special tools to edit. Most configuration files are just simple lists of parameters and values which are read by programs when they launch to determine their behavior.

7.4.1User config files

Files that hold individual user settings (such as high scores for your games, or the layout of your desktop) are stored within a Users home directory, typically as a hidden file or directory, and can only be edited by that user or by root. These personal configuration files are actually less often edited directly than system files because most of the user configuration is done graphically through the applications themselves. When you open an application and click Edit ≻ Preferences, for example, your selections are written to a (usually hidden) configuration file in your user directory. Likewise in Firefox, when you type about:config in the address bar, you are editing the hidden configuration files.

7.4.2System config files

Files that hold system-wide configurations or defaults (such as the file that determines which services automatically launch during boot up) are largely stored in the /etc/ directory and are only editable by root. Most of these files are never touched directly by regular users, such as these for instance:
Some configuration files can contain just a few lines, or even be empty, while others may be quite long. The important point is that if you are looking for a configuration file for an application or process, head for the /etc directory and look around.

7.4.3Example

Sound problems can be solved with a number of graphical and command-line tools, but once in a while a user needs to edit directly the system-wide configuration file. For many systems, this will be /etc/modprobe.d/snd-hda-intel.conf. It is a simple file whose top paragraph looks like this:
 # some chips require that the model be set manually
 # for example asus g71 series may need model=g71v
 options snd-hda-intel model=auto
To try to get sound, you might decide to substitute the exact information about the sound model in place of the word “auto.”. To find out your sound model, you could open a konsole and type: lspci │ grep Audio
The output will depend on the system, but it will take the following form:
 00:05.0 Audio device: nVidia Corporation MCP61 High Definition Audio (rev a2)
Now you can plug that information back into the configuration file:
 # some chips require that the model be set manually
 # for example asus g71 series may need model=g71v
 options snd-hda-intel model=nvidia
You would save the file, reboot the machine, and hopefully your sound should be working. You could also try more precision by using model=nvidia mcp61 instead, if the first did not work.
Links

7.5Runlevels

MX Linux boots up by executing the program init. After completing the boot process, init executes all start scripts in a directory specified by the default runlevel (this runlevel is given by the entry for id in /etc/inittab). Like most other Linux versions, MX Linux has 7 runlevels:
Table 10: Runlevels in MX Linux
Runlevel Comment
0 Halt the system
1 Single-user mode: provides a root console without logon. Useful if you lose your root password
2 Multiuser with no network
3 Console logon, no X (i.e. no GUI)
4 Not used/custom
5 Default GUI logon
6 Reboot the system
MX Linux defaults to runlevel 5, therefore any init scripts set up in the level 5 config file will run at boot.
Use
Understanding runlevels can be handy. When users have a problem with X Window Manager, for instance, they can not correct it on the default runlevel 5, because X is running on that level. But they can get to runlevel 3 to work on the problem in one of two ways.
Once the cursor is at a prompt, login with your normal username and password. Useful commands when you are looking at the prompt on runlevel 3 include:
Table 11: Common runlevel 3 commands
Command Comment
runlevel Returns the number of the runlevel you are on.
halt Run as root. Shuts the machine down. If that does not work on your system, try poweroff.
reboot Run as root. Reboots the machine.
<application> Runs the application, as long as it is not graphical. For instance, you can use the command nano to edit text files, but not leafpad.
Ctrl-Alt-F7 If you used Ctrl-Alt-F1 to drop out from a running desktop but did not continue down to runlevel 3, this command brings you back to your desktop.
telinit 5 Run as root. If you are on runlevel 3, enter this command to get to the login manager lightdm.
NOTE: these commands may change in the future if MX Linux switches to a new system manager.
Links

7.6The kernel

Introduction
To provide a background, here is a simplified diagram and description of the kernel’s position in a Linux OS, borrowed from Anatomy of the Linux kernel.
figure grafix/Kernel.jpg
Figure 76: Diagram of the Linux kernel
At the top is the user space, or application space. This is where the user applications are executed. Below the user space is the kernel space. Here, the Linux kernel exists. There is also the GNU C Library (glibc). This provides the system call interface that connects to the kernel and provides the mechanism to transition between the user-space application and the kernel. This is important because the kernel and user application occupy different protected address spaces. And while each user-space process occupies its own virtual address space, the kernel occupies a single address space.
Upgrading
Unlike other software on your system, the kernel is not upgraded automatically except below the minor revision level (indicated by the third number in the kernel name). Here is a basic approach for manually upgrading the Linux kernel on your system.
Be sure to write down the name of the kernel (bolded above) from the output of that command.
Advanced procedures
Other considerations and choices exist with respect to kernels:
Links

7.7Kernel panic and recovery

A kernel panic is a relatively rare action taken by the MX Linux system when it detects an internal fatal error from which it cannot safely recover. It can be caused by a number of different factors that range from hardware problems to a bug in the system itself. When you get a kernel panic, try rebooting with the MX Linux LiveDVD, which will overcome temporarily any software problems and hopefully allow you to see and offload your data. If that doesn’t work, then unplug all unnecessary hardware and try again.
Your first concern is to access and secure your data. Hopefully, you have it backed up somewhere. If not, you can use one of the data recovery programs such ddrescue that is supplied with MX Linux. Your last resort is to take your hard drive to a professional recovery business.
There are a number of steps you might have to take to recover a functional MX Linux system once you have your data safe, although ultimately you may have to reinstall using the LiveMedium. Depending on the type of failure, the following steps may be undertaken:
  1. Remove packages that broke the system.
  2. Reinstall the graphic driver.
  3. Reinstall GRUB using MX Boot Repair.
  4. Reset the root password.
  5. Reinstall MX Linux, checking to keeping /home on Screen 2 so that your personal configurations will not be lost.
Be sure to ask on the Forum if you have any questions about these procedures.
Links

8 Appendix

8.1Default repositories (MX-14.3)

Various repositories included by default in the most recent release. For information on how to manage these repos, see Synaptic .
Default repositories
Sources of software packages are listed in 4 files contained in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/. Note that users may see minor changes due to localization (e.g., http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ instead of http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/).
antix.list
 # Use with Debian Wheezy repository. Set as default for MX Linux
 deb http://antix.daveserver.info/stable/ stable main
debian.list
 # Debian Stable
 deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free
 deb http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main contrib non-free
 # deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free
 # Wheezy backports
 deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ wheezy-backports main contrib non-free
 # Multimedia Stable
 # deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org/ wheezy main non-free
mepis.list
 # Mepis Community Main and Test Repos
 deb http://main.mepis-deb.org/mepiscr/xfce/ xfce-4.10 main
 deb http://main.mepis-deb.org/mepiscr/repo/ mepis12cr main non-free
 # deb http://main.mepis-deb.org/mepiscr/mx-test/ MX Linux test
 # deb http://main.mepis-deb.org/mepiscr/testrepo/ mepis12cr test
various.list
 # opera
 # deb http://deb.opera.com/opera/ stable non-free
 # virtualbox
 # deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/ wheezy contrib
 # GAMES - gottet, peg-e and simsu
 # deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:gottcode/Debian_7.0/ /
 # Latest iceweasel (australis)
 # deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ wheezy-backports iceweasel-release

8.2 Boot parameters

This document explains many of the boot parameters (AKA cheatcodes) that are used by antiX and MX Linux Live systems. Most users will get by just fine by making selections in the bootloader menus, which provide a convenient GUI for setting some of the options documented here. You can use the F12 key in the bootloader to see what boot options are selected by your current menu choices.
Boot codes not listed in the menus must be added manually. When the boot screen shows, type “e” (without the quotes) to enable editing the line with the boot parameters.

8.2.1The Boot Directory

By default, we look for the /linuxfs/ file and and persistence files in the //antiX/ directory on the boot device. If you want to boot more than one Live system on the same device or if you want to do a frugal install, you should change that directory and use the bdir parameter to point to the new directory.

8.2.2Debugging

Debugging the boot process is described in the antiX FAQs. Sometimes booting problems can be tracked down to a missing driver or a driver that is not getting loaded. These two boot parameters can be helpful in tracking down such problems.

8.2.3Loading Modules

One of the primary tasks of the live-initrd is to mount the device that holds the /linuxfs/ file which contains the final file system. Modules (also called drivers) sometimes need to be loaded to allow the kernel to talk to certain types of hardware. Most of the time this is taken care of automatically but if you have very old or unusual hardware, there might be a glitch.

8.2.4Persistence

These options enable and control Live persistence which allows you to make changes that will persist across reboots. These options are normally used on LiveUSBs but if you specify a persistence device (or use the default LiveCD persistence device) then you can make use persistence on a LiveCD. In this case, the changes will have to be saved on some other device that allows for read-write access.
Persistence Device
Just like the boot device can be specified generally with the |from=*| option and more specifically with options like |bdev=*|, the same choices are available for specifying the persistence device. On a LiveUSB or a frugal install, the default persistence device is the boot device which is what you would expect. Normally the persistence files will sit alongside the /linuxfs/ file that we are booting from.
On a LiveCD the default persistence device is whatever device has the disk label antiX-Persist. If you specify a persistence device with one of the three options below then the defaults are ignored.
Other Persistence Options
These options don’t fit into any of the previous categories.

8.2.5Remastering

These two options affect remastering. Normally, remastering is done automatically whenever there is a /linuxfs.new/ file in the same directory as the /linuxfs/ file.

8.2.6X-Windows

These options affect X-windows. They will all be carried over when you do an install. The various keyboards options are carried over in the file //etc/defaults/keyboard/. The other options are carried over in the file //etc/X11/xorg.conf/.
Keyboard Options
A complete list of keyboard options and variants is usually available at /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/xorg.lst

8.2.7Video Options

These options affect the X-windows video.

8.2.8Personalization

These options let you customize or personalize your system. They will all be carried over to the hard drive when you install.

8.2.9Other Live System Features

These options control features that are specific to the Live system but don’t fit into any of the previous categories. Some of these are available in the bootloader menus.

8.3 KDE on MX Linux

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX-14 with KDE
The following guide was first worked out by MX Linux user joany.

8.3.1 Installation

The basic installation is very simple.
  1. Install MX-14: default with nothing added.
  2. After rebooting from the HDD, open the MX Package Installer application.
  3. Select KDE_Standard; if you want more control, install KDE Lite.
  4. Wait for all of the packages to be downloaded and installed. Time required will depend on Internet speeds.
  5. Reboot, and a KDE option will appear on the log-in screen under Session Type.
  6. Run MX-14 system tools such as Disk Manager, MX Codecs Installer, MX Flash Manager, etc.
  7. Install the appropriate video driver using smxi or whatever method you prefer.
  8. Network Manager is present, but not visible in the KDE System Tray. This is resolved by installing plasma-widget-networkmanager.
  9. Go through the inventory of installed applications and install the ones that are missing (there may be quite a few of them).
Almost all the tweaking will consist of things always done to a new installation anyway, like setting up the panel, installing a different mouse cursor arrow, and setting up compositing features and changing window appearances in System Settings. The resulting KDE desktop will be very generic, featuring plain gray KDE wallpaper with stripes running diagonally. Also, the KDE version installed by the MX Package Installer is a couple of versions older than the current version of KDE.
figure grafix/kdedesktop.png
Figure 77: KDE 4.8 running on top of MX Linux.

8.3.2 Customization

There are many items provided by a standard KDE installation that have to be done manually.

8.3.3 Caution

One final strong recommendation. People who use the plain-vanilla KDE can simply do a fresh installation from the Live Media when things go sideways on their systems, but that isn’t an option here. Since installing MX-14/KDE is a two-step process, it’s highly recommended to make back-up partition images of / and /home when you’re finished.
MX Linux KDE forum

8.4 Frugal installation

You can automatically do a frugal install (similar to using a LiveMedium) from a LiveMedium to a hard drive or a USB drive. Persistence files can also be created automatically so you can literally create and boot into an installed system in just a minute or two (depending on the speed of your hardware). Advantages of frugal installations:

8.4.1 Description

There are two modes of operation that are triggered by the same frugal boot parameter: install mode and boot mode. Normally the frugal device is a partition with the label MX-Frugal. If such a device is not found then you will be given a list of partitions to choose from. Once you have selected a device, you will be given an option to have it be given the MX-Frugal label. If an MX frugal install has not already been done on the device you selected then a frugal install will be performed.
The next time you boot with the frugal option, it will automatically boot from the MX-Frugal device into the frugal system that was installed. Again, if a frugal install is not found on that device, you will be given the option to automatically create one. If persistence is requested and the persistence files are not found then we will offer to create them after we do the install. If you want to force a persistence file to be created in a later boot, select that form of persistence with an exclamation point: frugal=root!.

8.4.2 Definitions

You will see a number of terms when you select a frugal install that need to be defined.
Table 12: Frugal installation terms
Term Meaning
frugal Enable frugal mode. Either boot into the existing frugal system or create a new one if it does not already exist.
frugal= A contraction of frugal persist=*. It is common to add persist options when enabling frugal mode so you can add the persist options directly to the frugal boot parameter. Examples: frugal=root or frugal=home.
fdev The name of the frugal device.
flab The partition label of the frugal device.
fuuid The UUID of the frugal partition.
MORE: antiX Wiki

8.5 Greeter

The display manager used by MX Linux is Lightdm, and it supplies the login greeter that every user sees. Here are a couple of simple modifications that users may want to consider.
Restart button
Follow these directions to add a Restart button to the login greeter.
Autologin
In most cases, users will have selected during installation to log in manually; sometimes, however, a user will check the autologin box during installation. Both procedures can be reversed.
For other types of modifications, see Lightdm documentation.

8.6 Disk Manager

Disk Manager (DM) provides a graphical presentation of all the partitions on the machine (excluding swap) with a simple interface for quickly and easily mounting, unmounting and editing some properties of disk partitions. Changes are automatically and immediately written to /etc/fstab and are thus preserved for the next boot.
DM automatically allocates mount points in /media, using /media/LABEL (e.g., /media/HomeData) if the partition is labeled or /media/DEVICE (e.g., /media/cdrom) if not. These mount points are created by DM when a partition is mounted, and removed immediately when a partition is unmounted.
figure grafix/diskmanager.png
Figure 78: Disk Manager main screen (note that home is in a separate partition)

8.6.1 Caution

8.6.2 Interface

Menu bar
Main window
Bottom buttons

8.6.3 Known issue

On some machines for unknown reasons, DM uses: ntfs (unknown driver) for ntfs partitions, which is read-only. To change to read/write, take the following steps:
  1. Highlight the partition
  2. Click the Edit button at the bottom
  3. Change the Driver to: ntfs-3g (Read-write driver)
  4. Save

8.7 Broadcom wireless chipsets

Although the situation has improved in recent years, Broadcom chipsets were not supported in LInux for a long time. Even today, you may have to run Step 2 in Section 3.4.3, then chase down the correct driver and firmware, but at least now the Linux Wireless site carries up-to-date information. If you have an older Broadcom chipset, and want to use the native driver instead of using Ndiswrapper (see Section 3.4.2), you may have to enable the correct driver and suppress the others.
This illustration uses the most frequent case of the common driver b43 that is blacklisted by default in MX Linux because it conflicts with the wl driver.

8.7.1 GUI method

8.7.2 Manual method.

Arch Wiki: Broadcom wireless

9Glossary

Introduction
Linux terms can be confusing and offputting at first, so this Glossary provides a list of the ones used in this Manual to get you started.