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LMDE2 Tips for long stability

dultdult Registered
Hello eveyone,
I've been wanting to move to debian to get a more stable and longer LTS OS. Debian 8 had Grub2 problems due to the sources list so i tried something more user friendly: LMDE2.

I've posted this in the linux mint forums but this has been the forum where I've had the best replies and the nicest comunity so I'll be giving it a shot.

I've been using Xubuntu for a long time and wanted something more Stable and LTS.
I tried Debian 8 but had lots of troubles:
- Troubles creating a bootable USB (Debian's PT wiki is different from EN);
- Grub2 refused to install (had to add new sources to download, install and update it);
- Then I broke the nvidia drivers (followed in my 586 kernel install.

Now, I will test LMDE2 but I want to check something before I do anything so I can have apply good practices. I want:
1) A Stable System in which I don't mind most APPs are outdated (LAMP installation, GNumeric, GIMP, etc.);
2) Have nvidia drivers and non-free software working (wi-fi drivers);
3) Use bleeding edge software (i.e.: Blender 3D) as a binary in ~/.apps;
4) Install other software in .deb packages in /opt.

About each point:
1) Debian Stable is STABLE, old, but STABLE, so it's a good foundation to work and to do simple stuff.
2) there are many topics everywhere (google, this very site, etc) that say "This is the best method to install nvidia."! But I basicaly think it only makes sense two ways:
Debian's wiki method (which broke my previous installation) and DDM (Device Drive Manager). The first might be a nouveau problems, I still have to search about it, but does DDM work in LMDE2?
3) This has been my method of evading PPA's... It works and manages to keep issues localized, to the software causes issues, it isolates problems;
4) I see more posts on WHICH folder (/opt, /var or /usr/local) to install that how to install on those folders... can anyone help me? Like the binary above, I just want to isolate issues.

Basically... Which is the CORRECT way to install Nvidia Drivers in LMDE2 and how can we install/uninstall .deb in /opt to avoid breaking the system.

Sorry if this has been replied before... but I'm finding a lot of contradictory stuff...

Best regards.


  • darthlukandarthlukan Registered
    The "correct" way is to use the package manager.  It also happens to be the simplest, safest, and most stable method.

    Here's a Debian 8 specific write-up (source:

    Version 340.65

    For support of GeForce 8xxx and higher GPUs (supported devices). For older devices, see Version 304.125 (legacy GPUs).

    1. Add "contrib" and "non-free" components to /etc/apt/sources.list, for example:

      # Debian 8 "Jessie"
      deb jessie main contrib non-free
    2. Update the list of available packages. Install the appropriate linux-headers and kernel module packages:

      # aptitude update
      # aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-kernel-dkms

      This will also install the recommended nvidia-driver package. DKMS will build the nvidia module for your system.

    3. Create an Xorg server configuration file.

    4. Restart your system to enable the nouveau blacklist.

    NOTE: Make sure that you are entering everything PRECISELY as you see it, that is a common pitfall even amongst the most experienced of Linux users (or users of any OS for that matter).  Also, make sure that if you get any error you immediately stop what you're doing, write down the error word-for-word, and search what it means if you don't understand it or how to work-around it.  If all else fails, take some screenshots and start a thread here, someone will be able to help you.

    SAFETY NOTE: Don't ever enter a command into a terminal that you do not understand. It's rare, but it's not unheard of to execute a command that in turn calls an unsafe script or worse, one that's so poorly written that it breaks something because the person writing it didn't know what they were doing (it happens).  In short, if you have a question or see something that you don't understand what it does or how it works, speak up and someone will explain it to you. You may get a faster response if you link to your forum thread in the LDC IRC channel so that others can reference it and keep an eye out for any responses (there are bound to be a few other users that have gotten stuck in the same predicament as you and your thread may very well end up containing the answers they need).
  • dultdult Registered
    Ok. Thanks, I had a feeling about that but I had such a rough experience with Debian 8 Live USB that I kind though something was missing.

    About installing .debs in a isolated folder, do you have any idea how?
  • darthlukandarthlukan Registered
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by this.  Apt stores .deb packages under /var (I'm not on an Apt-using system right now, but if I remember correctly, it's something like /var/apt/packages or somesuch).  During the installation process, Apt places executables into /bin, /usr/bin, or /usr/local/bin depending on how the package was configured.  Those directories are stored in your PATH environment variable (type "echo $PATH" without quotes into your terminal to see which directories your user shell is configured to search for executable files/programs).

    So, to clarify, you don't execute .deb files when you start programs, you execute executable files.  For example, if I install Chromium-some-version.release.deb, when I "chromium" from a terminal or run prompt, I'm not executing chromium-some-version.release.deb, I'm executing /usr/bin/chromium.

    Do you mean that you want to store the .deb packages in an alternate directory (like /opt)? Or do you mean that you want the executable command to be installed to /opt?

    A not-recommended-way of doing the latter would be to do:

    # apt-get -d <package_name>
    # dpkg --instdir=/opt/package_name -i <package_name>.deb

    The first command tells apt to only download the .deb package, the second tells dpkg to install the package files to /opt/package_name (the executable files that you'd run in a terminal or run prompt).  You'll need to make sure that /opt/package_name is in your $PATH variable, to do that, you'll need to edit your $SHELL's rc file (~/.bashrc if using bash) and add the following snippet (change package_name to the actual directory name holding the executable):

    export PATH=$PATH:/opt/package_name

    Then you'll need to source your rc file:

    $ source ~/.bashrc

    Assuming you have an executable named "foo" in /opt/package_name, after executing all of the previous steps, you should be able to execute the following and have your program run:

    $ foo

    Just as a word of caution: Changing the installation directory of packages IS NOT recommended, unless you're a developer working on multiple package versions and are testing, and even then, most of us devs have containers, vms, chroots, and/or specialized development environments for such things.  If you're system is "breaking" because you installed a package, chances are, there's another problem on your system (most likely you configured something incorrectly) and that particular package just happens to present the bug that was lying dormant on your system.  Messing with installation paths is like playing Russian Roulette with all six cylinders loaded with live ammo, it's dangerous and everyone involved is pretty much never making it into space.  Be careful!
  • DanDDDanDD Registered
    edited August 2015
    LMDE is a good distro, and when I had it, I preferred Synaptic over their default package manager.  I usually found that Synpatic had more to offer than their default package manager.
  • darthlukandarthlukan Registered
    Synaptic is a GUI front-end to the package manager's CLI tools.  When you click "Update", you're executing "$ sudo apt-get update" or "repo_update(user)" (whatever the function is) in apt's libs. The package manager didn't change when you installed Synaptic, you just gained a clickable interface rather than a text-input based one, but that clickable interface is still using the CLI tools and their accompanying libs in order to get work done.
  • dultdult Registered
    @darthlukan ;

    I know .deb are installations packages with binaries and libraries and such.

    What I meant by installing .deb in /opt was to have it installed in some place where its libs and its resources didn't overwrite is existing ones.

    BTW. I've installed LMDE2 and am now trying to fgure out how to autologin.
  • darthlukandarthlukan Registered
    Well, the instructions are in one of my replies, but again, not something that's at all recommended. If you need to run programs with different library versions, run the program in a custom chroot, vm, container, etc so that your base system is "siloed" away from whatever it is you're trying to do. That's how most developers do it if they don't just manually compile what's needed and set destination targets/prefixes.

    Autologin is very well documented for many distros and is largely the same across distros and environments.  Pick up your favorite wiki for system-specific steps, those wikis will be able to explain it better than I can and their methods have been vetted by the community.
  • DanDDDanDD Registered
    edited August 2015
    Usually, at least for me, every distro that I installed, gives you the option to auto login, or type a password to login.  For the most part, I don't usually choose auto login because that way I will always remember the password if I want to log in to the distro, and to do updates.
  • dultdult Registered
    Hi there, managed to solve the autologin issue.

    About the installation... LMDE2 comes with firefox installed in /opt.

    Anyway, what I'm going to do is install everything in ~/.APP
  • darthlukandarthlukan Registered
    @dult - Yes, Firefox gets installed to /opt, because that's where the package maintainer put it. You're not a package maintainer, as such, your knowledge of how library paths and dependencies is probably not as high as the maintainer of that firefox package.  Not trying to insult you, just provide a warning to be careful because any time you start messing with where things get installed, you run the risk of instability or worse...
  • dultdult Registered
    edited August 2015
    @darthlukan - no offense taken. I came here to ask questions because I have the idea that somethings should be simpler than it turns out to actually be...

    I want a base system that is stable. So that if I use any software that is unstable, it won't permanently affect the system (no root priviledges) and I can "delete" the software without further issues.

    I believe my previous problemas where due to excessive PPA abuse...
  • darthlukandarthlukan Registered
    The base system is in general very stable, even amongst rolling release distros like Arch. The crux of issues that users usually deal with are GUI apps that may or may not have bugs that crash the X server. In those cases, ctrl+alt+F2 is your friend, you'll get dropped into a TTY console, can login, and then kill the offending program, afterward restarting your login manager (kdm, gdm, lxdm, etc).

    Re-wiring the installation paths to your packages is definitely not the sanest way to keep your system stable, for more than 20 years Linux has used the same pathing mechanism and filesystem layout which it got off of UNIX which had been using it for more than 10 years prior to the creation of Linux.  It's tried and tested over decades.

    A system is as stable as its admin (in almost 100% of cases), learn how to be a better admin (as you are doing now) and the rest will follow. :)
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