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HowTo install / manage Linux over ssh

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:03 am    Post subject: HowTo install / manage Linux over ssh Reply with quote

A faithful member of our forum contacted me a couple of months ago, regarding some trouble executing an install script from our forum on his laptop.
With trust, and probably some frustration Wink , he gave me ssh access to his laptop hoping that I would be helpful enough to lend a hand (which i do not recommend in toady's Internet).

So I went in and set him up...If you are wondering about what scripts exactly I am talking about then, I am referring to our:
HowTo install VMware-Server-Beta on Ubuntu Breezy 5.10

After the fact, he emailed me this...

A few friends who are into Linux want to know and me also want
to how you managed to setup a desktop on my laptop over ssh?

So for all Interested in understanding, HowTo manage & install software or even a complete system on a Debian Based Linux system such as, Ubuntu, than you must understand some key elements:

What is SSH?
SSH or Secure Shell is basically a secure remote control for a Linux /Unix box. Sort of like telnet in windows but much more powerful...It has the exact same capability of executing commands as if you were actually sitting in front of the machine and logged in to its console.
More info and background here:

HowTo install SSH?
If not already preinstalled then in a Debian based distro you can:

apt-get install openssh-server openssh-client

If your running anything else then you can download OpenSSH here:

OK, so I got SSH and I am connected now what? How do I install software?
You can remotely install any software on any Debian based distro using the powerful preinstalled "Apt" system...
Apt also can be installed on other Linux distributions.
Apt can be used to search and install any software that can be found on the Servers that Apt is pointing to.
The actual servers that Apt searches on is controlled in a file called sources.list usually located in:


Here is an example of what a file of this kind mite look like:

deb dapper main restricted
deb-src dapper main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb dapper-updates main restricted
deb-src dapper-updates main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'universe'
deb dapper universe
deb-src dapper universe
deb dapper-security main restricted
deb-src dapper-security main restricted

deb dapper-security universe
deb-src dapper-security universe

#debian experimental
#deb experimental main non-free contrib

# Skype
# deb stable non-free

 # Google Picasa for Linux repository
deb stable non-free

Top 5 commands to remember when using Apt:
1. Get a fresh list of updated Software Packages available for download
apt-get update

2. Search this cool list for some software that you want, e.g firefox:

jacob@jbdual:~$ apt-cache search firefox
firefox - lightweight web browser based on Mozilla

*I trimmed the results to show only firefox and not can do so using "grep"
3. Get a detailed description of the package and its dependencies:

apt-cache showpkg firefox

4. Pretend to install to see what else Apt suggests should be installed along with your software:

apt-get install firefox -s

5. Run the actual install:

apt-get install firefox

more usage information can be located in the man pages:

man apt-get

Once installed you can either run the program from the Shell or if it is Software that runs on a Gui, usually it will install the Shortcut to the executable in the Window Managers Start Menu.
If you can't find the command to run the program you can try "which" or "locate" to try to find it...

jacob@jbdual:~$ which firefox
jacob@jbdual:~$ sudo updatedb
jacob@jbdual:~$ locate firefox

Common Mistakes:
Permissions: You need to either be root or use "sudo" to install software.

I hope this HowTo will shed some light on the magic that can be done with Linux!


p.s for you Rodger xstation
"You only see what your eyes want you to see"
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