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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 13 Sep 2012

You know your Linux installation is getting a bit old and crusty when ...

While there's always a pack of geeks telling me how they've been running the same Debian system since Potato, I've found that most desktop systems under any kind of heavy use by those of us who do a lot of experimenting and install a lot of software don't last forever.

Or they won't last a long time without a great deal of maintenance and fixing mistakes made along the way.

My current, main Debian desktop system -- running on the Lenovo G555 laptop I bought in early 2010 -- has been in place since late 2010, after Fedora 13/14 died a quick yet painful death and I had a brief flirtation with Ubuntu 10.04. I started with Debian Squeeze while it was still the Testing distribution but well after the freeze that would lead it to becoming Stable the following February.

I upgraded to Wheezy -- the current Testing release that is now frozen -- with very little pain at all and am pretty happy with GNOME 3/Shell. I've installed Xfce for comparison's sake. I'm not using it much, preferring GNOME Shell even though it seems like I'm in some kind of silent minority and in threat of using my geek credibility because I not only don't hate the Shell but actually like it and find that it boosts my productivity on the desktop.

So here's the old and crusty part: You (really I) never know how much disk space you'll need when you set up a system. And since I chose to use Logical Volume Management with a couple of encrypted volumes, I really can't mess with them. Go ahead and send me links about how you shrink and expand LVM partitions. With encryption. It's just too hard. There's not enough real information out there. And for the non-super-geeks out there, attempts to modify encrypted LVM partitions are likely to go pear-shaped damn quickly.

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