Tag Archive | LUKS

Cloning linux

As mentioned in my previous post, I had wanted to install Debian in a existing encrypted LVM on my hard drive.  But I was stymied by a lack of installer support.  So I installed on an external drive instead.

It occurred to me that I could just copy the installed system back to where I had originally wanted to install it.  So I did.  And it worked quite well.  In this post, I will describe the steps that I went through.


The first step was to boot into a linux system, but not one of the systems involved in the copying.  I could have done this by booting a live system on CD or USB.  However, I happened to have Tumbleweed installed in a separate partition on the same computer, so I just booted into that.

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Encrypted disk without a separate “/boot”

When support for legacy grub (or grub1) was dropped for opensuse 13.2, one of the reasons was to make it easier to support encryption without a separate unencrypted “/boot” partition.  Recent releases of grub2 have some support for accessing encrypted file systems, so it was mostly a matter of adding support to the installer.

I decided to test how that works.  So I did a test install of opensuse 13.2 into an encrypted LVM, without a separate “/boot”.  The Yast installer was happy with that.  It did not complain that there was no “/boot”.  So I continued through the full install.

There were no install errors reported.  But it didn’t work.  Instead, while booting, I got a grub shell.  And the grub shell did not offer any commands related to crypto.

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Ubuntu 14.04 — a review

It has been a while since I last tried ubuntu.  So, with the hype I was hearing, I decided to give the new 14.04 release a good trial.  I downloaded both the standard version and the kubuntu version (KDE version) on the day of the release announcement.

My initial reaction was “this is awful.”  But it turns out that most of what I did not like was because of the Unity desktop in the standard version.  So that’s probably not a good way of judging the distro, since other desktops are available.  Perhaps I’ll post on my opinion of Unity at another time.

“Burning” to USB

My plan was to install via a USB flash drive.  I ignored the instructions at the ubuntu site, and copied the “.iso” files directly to the USB device.  I used “dd_rescue” on opensuse for that, though “dd” or some other raw copying utility should work.  The instructions at the site also indicate how to create a persistent store for changes you make when running from the USB.  My method did not do that, but otherwise worked well and was simple for me to do. Read More…

Installing ubuntu 14.04 in an encrypted LVM

I’ve been hearing some hype about the new LTS (long term support) release 14.04 of ubuntu, so I decided to give it a try.  I have not yet used it enough to give an adequate review, so this post will only be about my experience with installing.

The ubuntu release is available for download at www.ubuntu.com.  I downloaded both the main distribution file “ubuntu-14.04-desktop-amd64.iso” and the kubuntu distribution file “kubuntu-14.04-desktop-amd64.iso”.  This post describes installing from the main distribution file. Read More…

Random number generators

Bruce Schneier has a new blog post:

It’s about a new research paper on the weaknesses of random number generators such as the one use for “/dev/random” and “/dev/urandom” in linux.  Check Schneier’s post for the abstract of the paper, and a link to the full paper.

Thus far, I have only skimmed the paper, so I won’t be explaining it here.  But I shall use this post to explain why it is important.

LUKS encryption

The main use of random numbers is in cryptography.

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Encrypted LVM problem for 13.1 beta is solved

Well, technically, it isn’t solved until a fix is officially out.  But the problem seems to have been tracked down.

Here’s how I described the problem in an earlier post:

I was alerted to a possible problem while running Tumbleweed on my Dell Dimension C521.  After installing a 3.11.0 kernel on Tumbleweed, found that it would not boot.  During boot, I was prompted for the LVM encryption key.  But the system seemed to never respond to what I typed in.  It looks to me as if it is failing to read the USB keyboard.

This issue was reported (by another user) as bug 839071.

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Plymouth begone

As mentioned in a recent post, I have uninstalled plymouth from some of my system.  It is still there on my main desktop, but I’ll remove it there, too, before I next reboot.

What is plymouth

Plymouth is the software that provides the graphic splash screen during startup and shutdown.  For opensuse 12.3, it slowly fades in the opensuse wallpaper background.  It also handles the prompting for the encryption key for any encrypted partition.  Plymouth is also activated during shutdown, where it presents a gradual fadeout of the opensuse background.

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Opensuse 12.3 Beta1 after three days

I have been using Beta1 for around three days now, and I have been trying to do as much of my computing as possible on a 12.3 Beta1 test system.  Overall, I am very happy with this beta release.  I have installed on three different machines, and it is looking good on all of them.  This is intended to complement my earlier post on beta1.

A quick overview

I installed KDE, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE.  I have not yet logged into LXDE, but I have experimented a little with Gnome and XFCE, and I have spent a lot of time with KDE. Read More…

Opensuse 12.3 Milestone 1

Opensuse 12.3 Milestone 1 was released on Thursday (Nov 8, 2012), so it was not long before I downloaded the DVD image and attempted an install.  I actually downloaded both the 64bit DVD image and the 64bit live KDE image.  The download went smoothly.  I used “aria2c” from the command line, to download the meta-link provided.  There did not appear to be a gpg signature to verify the download, so I made do by verifying the sha256 checksum.

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Opensuse 12.2 is still looking very good

I posted a preliminary report yesterday, after my first install of 12.2.  Since then, I have installed on three more systems, for a total of 4.  These have been among the smoothest installs that I have ever done.

On my main desktop system, I installed last evening, and finalized the customizing today.  I have now installed latex, though I have only tested that lightly.  For desktops, I have installed KDE, LXDE, XFCE and Gnome on all four installations.  One of the installs was on older 32 bit hardware, with the others on more recent 64 bit systems.  All installs were done using the DVD image, written to a USB flash drive. Read More…