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Puppy Linux USB Fail to Boot


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#1 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 05:22 AM

Hi, 

 

After joining BC, I discovered a cool distro called Puppy Linux, so after some research, I downloaded the iso file here (Ubuntu Xenial 64/XenialPup64 7.5)

 

I used Rufus to create a live bootable USB drive and here are the contents of the drive (I named my USB drive XenialPup64). 

 

Attached File  Puppylinux.jpg   68.97KB   1 downloads

 

The problem is when I restart my PC, set the boot option to boot from my Kingston DT 101 2.0 (which the BIOS successfully detected), it will load the Grub screen that is missing puppy Linux. 

 

So, I see the Grub boot screen that I always see ever since I successfully installed CentOS alongside my Windows 10 OS. This allows me to boot into my CentOS, Windows 10 and Windows 7 factory recovery partitions, but I don't see any way to boot into my USB and start using Puppy (actually I already selected this device (my USB drive) to boot into, but the Grub screen that appears suggest that my laptop boots into the HDD rather than my USB drive). 

 

Can anyone shed some light on this? 

 

Thanks. 

 

Edit: More info for troubleshooting:

 

There is no Fastboot or USB boot option in the BIOS, I can either change the boot device from the HDD to the DVD drive or to the USB drive. I make my USB drive the first (priority) option and save the BIOS setting before quitting, but then upon an automatic restart it shows the Grub 2 screen without any sign of Puppy Linux).

 

Here are my BIOS screenshots (without the USB drive).

 

1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
5.jpg
 
As for those who suspect about bad sectors in my USB drive, or incomplete/corrupted downloaded iso file. You may safely rule out these possibilities. Checksums and mda5 are all correct, a simple 1 pass scan using Rufus and check disk program by Windows 10 show no bad sectors and my USB drive is in good health. 
 
Also note that I don't have any CDs/DVDs with me at the moment, nor do I plan to purchase one, so I would like to install Puppy Linux straight into my USB drive. 

Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 01 July 2018 - 05:33 AM.


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#2 Al1000

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 06:12 AM

Hi, in your BIOS under the Boot tab, can you change Boot Option #1 to point to the USB? You may have to plug the USB in, before turning the computer on, for the option to boot from the USB to appear.

#3 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 06:53 AM

I found the problem! And I successfully resolved it!

 

Basically, for my laptop (ASUS A53TA), you can't just edit the boot priority, save setting and reboot. 

 

What you need to do is to override the boot setting. 

 

Some pictures.

 

As you can see, I plugged my USB drive into my PC and it did not appear in the BIOS boot option (it did appear in the previous trial, no idea why it disappeared this time.)

 

Attached File  P_20180701_193301.jpg   83.55KB   0 downloads

 

But changing a few tabs and... there you see it! So, one needs to override the boot sequence and not just merely changing them.

 

Attached File  P_20180701_193253.jpg   63.05KB   0 downloads

 

Then, the rest would be nothing new to Puppy users...

 

Attached File  P_20180701_192251.jpg   67.29KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  P_20180701_192341.jpg   61.1KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  P_20180701_192404.jpg   79.83KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  P_20180701_192503.jpg   76.76KB   0 downloads

 

Woohoo, what a day! I really love Puppy. It's super fast.

 

One question, just to digress a bit from booting Puppy but still within the scope:

 

So, Puppy will load the whole OS into RAM at first place (as confirmed by the CLI screen outputs when Puppy loads), now does that mean I can unplug my USB drive after Puppy has loaded?

 

What if Puppy needs to save files (say I choose to save my session)?

 

Does that mean I have to reinsert my USB drive when I decided to restart or shut down my PC? 

 

Thanks for clarifying. I really enjoy this RAM OS. 

 

Glad to join the Puppy community! :)


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 01 July 2018 - 08:03 AM.


#4 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 08:50 AM

Actually, I have a question to ask. 

 

Why is it that I need to override the boot sequence and can't just simply change it to boot from my USB drive?

 

Previously, when I installed CentOS alongside Win. 10, I simply swapped the boot sequence and I didn't have to override anything. 

 

This is something that makes me ponder. Any thoughts on this?  


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 01 July 2018 - 08:50 AM.


#5 pcpunk

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 02:41 PM

Actually, I have a question to ask. 

 

Why is it that I need to override the boot sequence and can't just simply change it to boot from my USB drive?

I did not see the Option "Override" as you say, but I see what you did.  It would be my opinion to "Add a Boot Option", I've had to do this a few times.  You did not create your USB with UEFI GPT settings did you? just a thought.  Honestly I don't have lots of experience with this, but Adding a Boot Option has worked for me in the past.  Don't know why it is not there by Default, but this must be just how some BIOS's are.

 

Also, are you sure you don't have a Temporary Boot Option choice On Boot?  Most computers do, so it may be seen there and not in the BIOS.  Look at your Manual.


Edited by pcpunk, 01 July 2018 - 02:42 PM.

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#6 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 03:21 PM

Hallo, Nicholas. Welcome to BC, and to our little corner of the forums.

 

Glad to hear you're enjoying Puppy! Let's see if I can answer some of your queries/concerns...

 

The problem is when I restart my PC, set the boot option to boot from my Kingston DT 101 2.0 (which the BIOS successfully detected), it will load the Grub screen that is missing puppy Linux. 

 

So, I see the Grub boot screen that I always see ever since I successfully installed CentOS alongside my Windows 10 OS. This allows me to boot into my CentOS, Windows 10 and Windows 7 factory recovery partitions, but I don't see any way to boot into my USB and start using Puppy (actually I already selected this device (my USB drive) to boot into, but the Grub screen that appears suggest that my laptop boots into the HDD rather than my USB drive). 

 

Can anyone shed some light on this?

 

Oh, boy. If I had a pound for every time this one gets asked, I'd be a very rich man by now...

 

The crux of the problem here is that GRUB2, while almost universal amongst the majority of Linux distros, simply doesn't see Puppy. That sounds strange, I know, but it's because of Pup's unique construction, and method of operation.

 

GRUB2, during the initial 'pre-boot' phase, is looking for, and expects to find, a directory called /boot, in the '/' file-structure. Puppy doesn't use this, so as far as GRUB2 is concerned, Puppy might as well not exist.

 

Puppy's own bootloader is called Grub4DOS, and is based on the older, 'legacy' version of GRUB (pre-GRUB2). Moreover, it's been specially 'tweaked', many years ago, by the PuppyMaster, Barry Kauler, when he was first building Pup. It recognises Puppy's simple 'menu.lst' file, which points toward whichever kernel & initrd.gz (the 'virtual' ram-disk Puppy creates before loading itself) you wish it to boot from.

 

Furthermore, because Pup's version of Grub4DOS has been modified to search TWO layers 'deep' to find those files, if you wish to run multiple Puppies (I, myself, am currently multi-booting around 12 Pups in total), all you need to do is create a single large partition, then create a directory for each Puppy, and install Puppy into this. You can repeat this as many times as you have space for.

 

The best thing you can do, in all honesty, since I've yet to find a distro that Grub4DOS doesn't recognize, is to run Grub4DOS, next time you're in Puppy (making sure your Puppy USB is still plugged-in, naturally), and allow it to overwrite GRUB2, and replace it. Grub4DOS will recognise CentOS, Windows, and of course, Puppy.....and give you a boot menu to choose from.

 

The other option is to create a new boot stanza to add to the custom_42 file in GRUB2 itself. I've got some pointers given to me years ago from an acquaintance on the Ubuntu Forums, when I first wanted to try Puppy out.....before I knew about the 'frugal' USB option. You can try using this as a reference if you wish:-

 

-------------------------------------------

 

"Entries you can try in your 42_custom file are below. Run sudo update-grub after saving the change. The first is just a simple chainload entry which will only work if you have a bootloader installed on the Puppy partition. I've never used Grub4Dos, it's just a modified version of the original Grub. The second entry below I used to boot Puppy from Grub2,

 
menuentry 'CHAINLOAD PUPPY' {
insmod ext2
set root=(hd0,2)
chainloader +1
}
You will need to change the UUID in both locations in the entry below to whatever sda2 is on your machine. You can get that with the blkid command.
 
menuentry "Puppy-Lupu"{
insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='(hd0, msdos2)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 47891df9-aa27-4df9-99ac-aa96276780ac
linux /puppy/vmlinuz root=UUID=47891df9-aa27-4df9-99ac-aa96276780ac
initrd /puppy/initrd.gz
}"
 
(Puppy-Lupu was just the example the poster used to illustrate his point. You would replace that with the name of your own Pup; this is the name that appears in the boot menu.)
 

---------------------------------

 

Since I'm only one person ( and no real expert at that!), for Puppy-related matters you would be well-advised to head on over to the Puppy Linux Forums, and register an account. There are several of our members who can explain this stuff better than I can. For 'normal' Linux stuff, the guys here are very good at what they do.....but for 'Puppy' stuff, you do need the experts..!

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

 

AS far as removing the USB drive after boot, yes; you can. But it's not advisable, unless you've set Puppy to only save to the 'save-file' at shutdown.....and you will then need to replace it prior to shutdown. By default, Puppy will save back to, and 'update' the 'save-file' once every 30 mins.....unlike a traditional, 'full' install to hard drive, which is constantly writing to/reading from the hard drive all the time.

 

Many people will boot Puppy itself from the USB stick, but create the 'save-file' on the hard drive. Reason being that it simply reads/writes far faster than a USB stick. But if you want to keep Puppy self-contained, so you can carry it around with you, the save-file needs to be on the stick, too. In that case, you can set Puppy to save only at shut-down; it will, however, take longer to save, since there will be more data to update.

 

Again, the guys at the Puppy Forum can explain this stuff better than I can...

 

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/index.php

 

Enjoy Pup!

 

 

Mike. :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 01 July 2018 - 04:01 PM.

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#7 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 09:33 AM

Thanks the replies guys. 

 

Firstly, I would like to mention that I would want my Puppy to be portable, so all files should be saved on my USB thumbdrive. I also want to make sure that my Puppy is as universal and as less intrusive as possible, which means I should not disturb anything in the BIOS. I want to make sure that I can boot into Puppy by only making one override in BIOS or simply changing the boot order.

 

Adding boot options in Grub2 or in the 40_custom file are both workable methods, but they require changing system files. I prefer a plug-and-play-like concept, and leave the host OS untouch as mush as possible. (After all, my Puppy is meant to be portable. :) )

 

I am a bit confused with the part on Grub2 and grub4dos. So, when I simply change the boot sequence (NOT overriding anything) and boot from USB, my PC would boot into Grub2, which apparently does not exist in Puppy. This suggests me that this is more of my PC's BIOS problem and no Puppy's. 

 

Will need to do more research on this.

 

And thanks for telling me not to remove the USB drive before shutting down, Mike. (Luckily I didn't do that. lol)

 

I have found this tutorial here: http://puppylinux.org/wikka/grub4dos

 

I will study the tutorial there and ask questions here if I encounter any questions about Puppy's bootloader. (Currently no plan to open too many forum accounts, I already have 4 forum accounts to manage. :orange:)

 

I will let you guys know when I encounter problems. Thanks for the help so far. 


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 02 July 2018 - 09:37 AM.


#8 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 07:01 PM

@ Nicholas_Kang:-

 

I am a bit confused with the part on Grub2 and grub4dos. So, when I simply change the boot sequence (NOT overriding anything) and boot from USB, my PC would boot into Grub2, which apparently does not exist in Puppy. This suggests me that this is more of my PC's BIOS problem and no Puppy's. 

 

There's two schools of thought on that one. One, as expressed by most Linux users, is that it's entirely Puppy's fault for not adhering to the tried & trusted 'normal' boot procedure. The other, as expressed by Puppy Linux users (including myself) is why use a sledge-hammer to crack a nut when a nut-cracker (the proper tool for the job) will do?

 

Personally, I absolutely loathe GRUB2. It's a bloated, hideously over-complex monstrosity of a thing compared to the sleek, svelte Grub4DOS bootloader.....which after all, does exactly the same job with a fraction of the resources. (I shall have to run & hide, now; I can already feel the ire of a thousand Linux veterans coming down on me like a ton of bricks....  :P )

 

But I won't stop saying it, because it's true; use the right tool for the job.....and Pup's version of Grub4DOS has been designed to work properly with Puppy from the outset.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

If you like, you can install Grub4DOS twice. Once on your main machine at home; Grub4DOS will always recognise your Puppy USB when plugged-in, since it uses the USB stick's UUID to identify it. 

 

You can also install Grub4DOS to the stick itself, which will allow you to boot it anywhere.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I only suggest this because the syslinux bootloader which comes with every Puppy ISO by default doesn't always behave itself; with the newer Pups you often get the message that the main Puppy SFS file can't be found.....and it's dropping out to the console. It's a problem specific to USB installs, simply because the read/write speeds of USB drives (even modern ones) is an order of magnitude slower than that of a hard drive.....and Puppy's init sequence doesn't give sufficient time for it to search through a USB stick to find it. The problem has been addressed in the very newest release (Upup Bionic, based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS 'Bionic Beaver').....but that, of course, doesn't help with older Pups.

 

Pup's version of Grub4DOS, of course, was 'tweaked' to specifically allow for this very problem a long while ago.

 

One question, if I may? Just out of curiosity, did you do a 'full' install to your USB.....or the recommended 'frugal'? This I ask because many Puppy newbies get the impression that a 'full' install must, of necessity, be better than a 'frugal.....viewing the latter as a kind of 'poor man's' version of Pup. Which is far from the truth, since most Puppy software'n'stuff is designed to work better with a 'frugal' than a 'full'. The latter was only made available because it's been found to work more efficiently with very old, seriously RAM-challenged hardware...

 

There is 'method' to the madness!

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

You may find this worth a read; it's the 'manual' for Grub4DOS, which explains all the available options:-

 

http://diddy.boot-land.net/grub4dos/files/boot.htm

 

Hope some of that helps.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 02 July 2018 - 07:27 PM.

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#9 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 06:09 AM

Thanks for the reply, Mike. 

 

Personally, I don't mind trying out new stuff, nor do I have any form of discrimination towards Grub4Dos or Grub2. I am still a Linux newbie, so I don't want to tamper with too many system settings now (at least before I learn how exactly different Linux distros boot). 

 

First of all, let me explain exactly what I did to install Puppy on my USB drive so that we at least know that we are both on the same line. 

 

So, firstly, I went to Puppy's official website and downloaded the 64 bit XenialPup64 ISO file (I clicked on the "Main" hyperlink in the "Download Link" column) and that downloaded the ISO file for the Pupplet that I want, i.e. XenianPup64.

 

Then, I downloaded and installed Rufus. I plugged my USB drive into PC and created bootable USB drive (MBR setting, which allows me to use Puppy on old and new PCs). 

 

I did not touch anything and tamper with any files in the ISO and the Puppy files on my USB drive. 

 

So does this count as frugal or is it a full installation? 

 

(When I load Puppy from my USB drive, it says it copies some files (including the Linux Kernel) to the RAM, so based on this website, I suspect that mine was a frugal installation, but I am not sure.)

 

About the grub4dos vs grub vs syslinux part, now I am even more confused. 

 

I kept everything in the ISO file untouched, so I would like to know exactly which bootloader is responsible for getting Puppy loaded from my USB drive. My own computer's HDD is now controlled by Grub2. And when I install Puppy, i.e. extracting files/folders from the ISO file through Rufus to my USB drive, which bootloader, Grub, grub4dos or syslinux, is installed?

 

I am pretty sure there can only be one bootloader on my USB drive. Grub4dos and syslinux definitely can't coexist when my USB drive boots. 

 

Could you clarify on the boot process of Puppy Linux from a USB drive?

 

Thanks. 



#10 pcpunk

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 08:05 AM

Have you tried ESC on boot.  This is your temporary boot options.


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#11 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 09:40 AM

@pcpunk

 

Yes, it works. 

 

w9zdwnP.jpg

 

But that doesn't clear my confusion about the exact bootloader that Puppy Linux uses and the exact boot process from my USB drive. I still need clarification on that. 


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 03 July 2018 - 09:41 AM.


#12 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 11:06 AM

Hi again, Nicholas.

 

Mm. It is perfectly possible to have more than one bootloader on your USB drive at any one time.....but, of course, only one of them will be called by the init sequence at any one time. And I owe you an apology; the default bootloder isn't syslinux; it's isolinux.....designed for booting ISO files from optical drives. This is the one that always boots the Puppy LiveCD if you run from an optical disc.....

 

Be that as it may, whichever bootloader is in use, this is what happens when Puppy boots:-

 

Yes, yours is definitely a frugal install. The very first thing that Puppy does is to load the drivers that enable it to run/mount the drives attached to your system in order to search for Puppy files. It then searches for the partition/directory with the kernel that you have selected from the boot menu. It accomplishes this by means of the UUID.

 

The next thing Puppy does is to unpack, into RAM, the 'virtual ramdisk' from which it will run. This is the file marked 'initrd.gz'. 

 

Having done this, Puppy then unpacks the 'base' Puppy SFS file, and loads the read-only files into the 'virtual ramdisk'. Because these are read-only (locked with the ISO9660 encoding) they are untouchable, and therefore cannot be corrupted. Your save-file can suffer corruption.....but even if this happens, you will always be able to boot up a 'basic' Puppy to get you going again.

 

These 'base', read-only files are the same file-system as you would find at the root of any Linux partition.

 

The next thing Puppy does (and this is where the Puppy 'magic' happens), is to load the contents of your personal save-file over the top of, and into, the base file-system by means of the aufs union-file-system which Puppy uses expressly for this purpose. I don't even pretend to understand how this works; only a handful of our most experienced devs and senior forum members really & truly understand it, but as an end user, you don't need to 'understand' it. All you have to know is that when the boot process is over, everything is presented to you, the user, as a single, integrated OS.....ready to use.

 

The beauty of the save-file, which saves all system and personal configurations and settings, is that so long as you back-up this one item, you can always return your system to the condition it was in at the time when the save-file was backed-up (like a Windows 'snapshot', or restore point.....except that this is a lot more reliable than the Windows version, trust me).

 

Finally, the kernel (the file marked 'vmlinuz') is fired-up.....and Puppy begins to set itself up ready for your next 'session' (which doesn't take very long at all) starting with checking the available hardware, and loading the appropriate kernel modules.....which every Linux distro does.

 

That is the limit of my understanding. If you really & truly are interested in the full, highly-technical explanation about Puppy operation, by the 'PuppyMaster' himself (Barry Kauler), then you can find it here:-

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20171205044704/http://barryk.org:80/puppylinux/development/howpuppyworks.html

 

The article dates back to 2006, but is as relevant today as it was then; the mechanics behind Puppy's operation haven't basically changed in all those years, although individual components of the file system get updated regularly. Be prepared for a long read..!

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 03 July 2018 - 11:16 AM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

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#13 rufwoof

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 05:57 PM

​​


I would like to know exactly which bootloader is responsible for getting Puppy loaded from my USB drive

​Bootloaders can be chained, for instance a entry in grub4dos menu.lst can chain to grub2. Be mindful however that its almost trivial nowadays for undesired chains to be inserted. Puppy for instance loads into memory and runs as root, a simple flaw in a program/browser could enable undesired remote access that might in turn change values in memory in a manner that opens up overwriting your BIOS/bootloader such that remote access remains persistent.

https://www.wired.com/2015/03/researchers-uncover-way-hack-bios-undermine-secure-operating-systems/

Lenova have a rather poor history with regard to security and if a USB is penetrated then that can propagate into any other PC/laptop/device that USB is plugged into. If hardware/firmware is hacked it can be a pain to restore things. Routers/router-firmware are common targets, as that potentially enables all traffic to be redirected via a man-in-middle server.

The plus side is that loading and running from ram is quick, the downside is that increased performance comes at the expense of security, and not just for you, but for anyone else on the same LAN/behind the same router.

 

Personally, I don't mind trying out new stuff

​Just be mindful of the risks.


OpenBSD


#14 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 05:41 AM

Thanks guys!

 

Now I finally understand how Puppy boots. I just hope that someone in the Puppy community can help update that very nice tutorial. I was reading with full enthusiasm until Step 2 and then Step 3 is blank... 

 

I would say this tutorial seriously needs update. Puppy is now in version 6/7, if I recalled correctly (my XenialPup64 is of version 7). And the tutorial is still introducing Puppy v1/2.  

 

I really learnt a lot anyway. Those graphics are very intuitive. 

 

It's ok to get confused with the bootloader's name. No problem on that. :orange: (I sometimes confuse myself with similar names as well...)

 

I am not that worried of breaking stuffs, given that this community is full of kind helpers, and so many dual-boot Linux experts, I believe there's always someone to kick in when I need assistance. But being cautious, I will do my own homework before trying out new stuff, then decide on whether the risk is worth taking.  

 

On the issue of root login. Yes, I was quite taken aback when I noticed that I was logged in as root when using Puppy in CLI mode (without Xwin, i.e. no desktop environment) The hash prompt (which indicated that I logged in as root) shocked me.

 

Security compromise is a major concern for me. Now I am starting to think whether I should stop using....Puppy....

 

I mean yeah, I am not using Lenovo laptops (Thanks for the info, rufwoof! I won't buy Lenovo laptops in the future. :)), but I am still not comfortable with logging in as root.

 

I have a great Linux & UNIX sysadmin book called UNIX and Linux System administration Handbook (5th Edition, published in 2018, the latest version).

 

One of the few advice that Evi Nemeth passed on to all sysadmins: Always use sudo!

 

Logging in as root is certainly implying that you don't need sudo at all... which is not advisable. (Correct me if I am wrong, still a Linux newbie.  :busy:)

 

Talk about Evi, sad to see Evi leaving... But that's a great Linux book, and the team has been doing a great job updating the book.    


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 05 July 2018 - 05:46 AM.


#15 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 01:47 PM

@ Nicholas Kang:-

 

It's a well-accepted fact that using Puppy (and running as root) is acknowledged to be a definite security risk. If you really want to know how to run as securely as possible, rufwoof is the man for the job. If you're happy to take his advice, you'll soon be running a system that is the envy of many Linux users for being totally water-tight.

 

He won't steer you wrong. :thumbup2:

 

 

Mike. :wink:


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