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#1 2020-02-21 19:55:28

Roger
Member
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Registered: 2019-04-06
Posts: 40  
Website

Install Devuan over existing Linux system?

My private network has two desktop machines running Devuan, and they have been running virtually continuously for eight years. I thought it would be a good idea to get a new machine in order to be ready for a failure, and also to keep my hand in with the installation process. The new machine has an Asus B360M motherboard, which I believe will handle Linux, and to my surprise when I first turned it on, I was immediately dumped into a Gnome desktop. So obviously the hardware handles X11 graphics which is good news.

But it is filled with Gnome bloatware and garbage, and I am hampered in investigating what is there by not knowing the password set up by the vendor, and Ubuntu's ridiculous attitude about root accounts. I had intended to install Devuan in an empty machine, using an iso file on a USB stick, and of course it is still possible to do that; however, I am interested in finding our whether one can make the iso file accessible to the existing Ubuntu system, and install Devuan by overwriting from there. Has anyone any ideas on that?

In passing, I must comment that if I wanted a desktop system filled with bloatware, and a Gnome menu devoid of xterms, I might as well stay with Windows. Linux does of course allow access to tty's using function keys, but that isn't any use without a password to log in. I can get the password, either from the vendor, or by diverting the boot process, and would like to investigate what Ubuntu has provided, before I erase it and set up my familiar Devuan.

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#2 2020-02-22 10:20:41

Camtaf
Member
Registered: 2019-11-19
Posts: 37  

Re: Install Devuan over existing Linux system?

Just treat it as if it were an empty disk, insert & boot from your pendrive, run the installer, partition the disk how you want it, & install it. smile

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#3 2020-02-22 17:42:57

chris2be8
Member
Registered: 2018-08-11
Posts: 81  

Re: Install Devuan over existing Linux system?

You should be able to boot off a live CD (or equivalent), su/sudo to root, mount the hard disk and chroot to it. That should get you into the new system as root, where you could reset passwords as desired. Then you could reboot and log on normally to investigate it. But I've not had to do it myself so I'm not sure if I've missed a step.

Or you could just back up the hard disk from the live system, eg over the network to one of your existing systems.

Or use the live system to edit /etc/shadow on the new system to set the root password hash to the same as on a system where you know the root password.

Chris

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#4 2020-02-22 20:31:24

Head_on_a_Stick
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From: London
Registered: 2019-03-24
Posts: 556  
Website

Re: Install Devuan over existing Linux system?

Roger wrote:

I am interested in finding our whether one can make the iso file accessible to the existing Ubuntu system, and install Devuan by overwriting from there.

Not sure I understand what you want to do but it is possible to boot an ISO image saved on the Ubuntu system by making a custom GRUB menu entry for it pointing to the installer kernel & initrd images.

Something like this saved to /boot/grub/custom.cfg should do it:

menuentry 'Start Installer' {
   isofile=example.iso
   loopback loop (hd0,1)/$isofile
   linux (loop)/install/vmlinuz vga=normal quiet toram
   initrd (loop)/install/initrd.gz
}

^ That presumes you have saved the image to /example.iso on /dev/sda1, mutatis mutandis.

I'm not 100% sure if the toram option will work with the installer kernel but it's needed to stop it being over-written during the installation process if you're installing to /dev/sda1. If you're installing to another partition then remove the toram option.

Roger wrote:

Ubuntu's ridiculous attitude about root accounts

Unlock the root account by assigning a password:

sudo passwd root
Roger wrote:

Gnome menu devoid of xterms

I use this to generate a menu entry for /usr/bin/x-terminal/emulator:

# ~/.local/share/applications/x-terminal-emulator.desktop
[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=x-terminal-emulator
Comment=Terminal emulator
Exec=x-terminal-emulator
Icon=terminal
Categories=System;

Then set xterm to the x-terminal-emulator alternative:

# update-alternatives --set x-terminal-emulator /usr/bin/lxterm

"Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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#5 2020-02-23 11:24:32

ToxicExMachina
Member
Registered: 2019-03-11
Posts: 201  

Re: Install Devuan over existing Linux system?

Roger wrote:

I had intended to install Devuan in an empty machine, using an iso file on a USB stick, and of course it is still possible to do that; however, I am interested in finding our whether one can make the iso file accessible to the existing Ubuntu system, and install Devuan by overwriting from there. Has anyone any ideas on that?

It's extremely easy if you have a home filesystem on different partition. Just perform clean installation overwriting existing system and don't format partition with home directories. The best way is to boot iso from usb stick. Another way is to make the root filesystem via debootstrap. In this case you don't even need an iso file with installer but you'l need to reconfigure GRUB or you won't be able to boot Devuan. You can also use qemu.

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#6 2020-02-24 17:34:49

Head_on_a_Stick
Member
From: London
Registered: 2019-03-24
Posts: 556  
Website

Re: Install Devuan over existing Linux system?

For installing with debootstrap see https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ … 03.en.html ← that's for Debian but the instructions should also work for Devuan.


"Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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