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Thread: gpg/ssh info

  1. #1
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    gpg/ssh info

    Hello again friends and neighbors. Hope everyone is doing well today. I come to, again ask for your tips, advise and references to further reading.

    I recently read a tutorial from linuxbabe on gpg. I made a key pair, uploaded to default keyserver, and tested it. I seem to have done all that correctly.
    I'm also looking to explore ssh. I've read some stuff, and I think I understand the absolute basics, but still have more questions. References to additional reading would be very helpful with that.

    Besides just having ssh knowledge in the back of my head, my reasons are twofold. First, My daughter(granddaughter actually) was given a desktop computer. All I know about it so far is it is running win 7. I want to learn how to ssh into her machine, and help her with things, as she knows pretty much nothing about computers. I'm trying to talk her into dualbooting with lubuntu, before she gets the windows ways tatooed to her brain, but that is a work in progress.

    My second reason, I would love to buy a new computer, then use my laptop as a server for media file, files to share with others in my home, etc. Because I do not have access to a second computer, how can I practice what I learn, to gain some "hands on" experience with ssh. Possibly 2 VMs, 1 windows and 1 linux, and ssh into those??
    I know little about VMs, do they have their own ip address? More questions than knowledge at this point, but rest assured, with your help, and more reading, that will soon change.

    Again, I'm not asking you folks for all the answers. I'm primarily looking for references to further info, and any tips, advice,etc that you can give.

    Any help would be, as always, much appreciated. Thanks. Now, back to the man pages.
    Last edited by coley9225; May 17th, 2022 at 09:44 PM. Reason: edited for readability
    I'm a firm believer that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
    Lenovo ideapad320-15iap, 1.1G Intel processor with onboard graphics, x64, 1TB SSD, 8GB ram
    lubuntu 22.04.1, fully updated

  2. #2
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    A) Please don't post a wall of text. Use paragraphs for different ideas/issues. Please make is easy for people to read and follow posts.

    B) Win7 doesn't support sshd - at least not a secure version. I recall trying to setup sshd on Win7 about a decade ago and the available solution had some major security warnings that convinced me to stop. Of course, using ssh as a client FROM win7 was as secure as for any other platform. PuTTY was the common solution.

    Win10 includes ssh (finally) which works as close to the same as any other ssh client on Unix/Linux, just with the limitations of MS-Windows and their terrible command prompt and lack of select/paste and an excellent shell. To fix the shell issue, there's WSLv2 which I think provides bash.

    If she is under 10 yrs old, then you could help her to learn computers like this guy did:
    https://lifehacker.com/i-raised-my-k...ove-it-5974087 It keeps them interested AND teaches them how computers really work.

    But if she is 12+, the fight is probably lost already.

    I couldn't read any farther. wall-of-text made it too hard.
    Last edited by TheFu; May 17th, 2022 at 06:50 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    Hmm…

    To my mind, the first order of business is Win 7. This is a dumpster fire waiting to happen. W7 has been out of support for some time and, given that it is Windows, it is thoroughly compromised by now. The only way to run it safely is in a VM with all network access disabled, which means that you can't ssh into it to help her. At a minimum, she should be on W8, but there's little point in that. Just go straight to 10 or 11.

    I'm not sure that getting her started in Linux is the right strategy. The reality is that it's a Windows world out there, especially for young people focused on what their peers are doing. The Linux world is awesome, but it may have to come later and of her own accord. You could plant the seeds now by installing a VM with Linux on it, or having her over more often to play on your machine, but starting her out on Linux is kind of limiting given typical young people desires.

    As for your own needs, running a stack of VMs, then practising your networking skills on this virtual network, is a great learning strategy. It's exactly how I learned much of my networking basics. There will be some things that you can't do because VMs are significantly different from real infrastructure, but those differences are pretty plain and obvious.

    There's a link in my sig: Resources for Newcomers

    It contains a wealth of further links to really good learning resources. What you are looking for would be under the section: Free books for advanced GNU/Linux system administrators

    Don't be intimidated by the "advanced" part—the concepts are not that hard to grasp if you already have a basic understanding of Linux and are not allergic to the command line.

    Last but not least: I've tried using old laptops as servers in the past. While they work nicely for some sorts of servers, when it comes to file servers, they are brittle. This is because they must rely on USB HDDs for storage and USB is notoriously unreliable. You cannot even do proper HDD diagnostics over USB. Since purchasing proper machines for my file servers, I haven't had to wrestle with those alligators anymore.

    It needn't be expensive: two of my file servers are obsolete Western Digital MyBook Live boxes where I've replaced the original firmware with OpenWRT (a highly versatile Linux‑based appliance OS). I bought them for US$40 on ebay. I bought two so that I could mirror them for redundancy. Mirroring is done every night with a dead simple rsync script and cron. The biggest expenditure was a high capacity HDD, but you would be buying one for the laptop anyway, so that's a wash.

    If rehabilitating old appliances is not your thing, then a cheap and cheerful dedicated file server box is not that expensive. I recently purchased one from Amazon for $300, in my case, for use as a router, but it could easily have been used for a file server. It has room for only one HDD and is passively cooled. If used as a file server, you would be running a cli environment and won't need much RAM—possibly as little as 4GB. This would keep the cost down too.

  4. #4
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    Thanks for the responses. First, my apologies for the 'wall of text'. I see your point about readability, I try to make things a little better from here on out.

    TheFu, my granddaughter is 9, and loves to get on my computer when she's here. I do not have windows, nor plans to reinstall windows, but she is fascinated with the scripts I wrote, and seems a little interested in learning to do the same. It's a start. My daughter wants me to upgrade their computer to win10, but we haven't worked out the scheduling yet.

    DuckHook, As mentioned, working on upgrading their box, and would love to set up dual boot, that way she can begin to get the basics for now.

    I wasn't sure if VMs had a separate ip address so I could use ssh or not. I'll go that route for the time being.

    I was thinking of laptop as a server as a short term thing, just to experiment. It wouldn't have anything on there that can't be replaced. I have a 1TB ssd in it now, and could buy a caddy to convert the optical drive to a second hdd, so would have plenty of storage. I'll look into a use computer to use instead, and keep the laptop synced with a desktop for use when I'm away from home.

    I'l definitely check out your links, sounds as if I find good info there.

    Thanks again for the info guys
    I'm a firm believer that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
    Lenovo ideapad320-15iap, 1.1G Intel processor with onboard graphics, x64, 1TB SSD, 8GB ram
    lubuntu 22.04.1, fully updated

  5. #5
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    Ah. I see. A budding IT genius. In that case, Linux might be just the ticket. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. It's just that, in my experience, youngsters are more interested in games and social media. Linux is not strong in either category.

    If you are okay with 1TB for storage, then in fact there is nothing wrong with using a laptop for a file server. Again, faulty assumptions on my part. I thought that you wanted multi TB storage that would only be available on an external drive. If it's internal, then a laptop that sips a small fraction of a desktop's power is actually a good solution. And especially if it's just for experimenting, then there's nothing wrong with your plan.

    A further site that I've found useful is: https://linuxjourney.com/

    I'm serious about Win 7 though. Do not allow that OS on the Internet. Nothing but really bad trouble can come of it.

  6. #6
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    Quote Originally Posted by coley9225 View Post
    Thanks for the responses. First, my apologies for the 'wall of text'. I see your point about readability, I try to make things a little better from here on out.
    You'll likely get more responses if you edit the first post and break up the wall-of-text a bit. You can edit any post you've made if the thread hasn't been CLOSED by forum staff.

  7. #7
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    I have edited my OP, hope it's a little easier to read now.

    DuckHook, great links you have there. I've had the cl book for quite some time now, and have bookmarked the resources link, as well as the new one you posted.(I may go through that one myself!)

    I was looking at your tutorial on lxd containers. Do you think that would be a better option for me than VMs? I will have to figure out the process either way, and if lxd containers are the better option, I'll just go that route, I've not really had a good experience with VMs anyway. I have aprox 500 GB of unallocated space on my internal ssd, and multiple hdd and an enclosure to had them, so space isn't an issue.

    Again, I can't you guys enough for the help.
    I'm a firm believer that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
    Lenovo ideapad320-15iap, 1.1G Intel processor with onboard graphics, x64, 1TB SSD, 8GB ram
    lubuntu 22.04.1, fully updated

  8. #8
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    LXD only runs Linux, not Windows, not BSD, not any other OSes. They share the same kernel as the host.

    VMs provide fake hardware that looks like hardware that the guest VM sees. There are some drivers specifically created to be more efficient that are just for VMs. Those should be used.

    Which is better, lxd or VMs? The answer is it depends. Don't forget that there are 20 other Linux Container methods and that LXD really isn't very popular.

    With VMs, you can treat the VM like a physical machine. That's what I do.
    I also use LXD for some specific needs. There are things I like and things I dislike. LXD is about halfway between the protection that a full hypervisor like KVM-QEMU provides and what Docker Containers provide. The great thing about Docker is there are many thousands of pre-built tools/servers for it. The terrible thing about docker is that most of those pre-built containers shouldn't be trusted. It is easy to forget where a container was from and inappropriately trust it, especially if you are really busy.

    For media files, an external USB3 or faster storage should be fine. Be certain you have a place for backups.

    VMs are about 10x heavier than lxd. But if you want to run Windows under Linux, then you don't have any choice. I use lxd containers for my LAN DNS, pi-hole, email gateway, and for a wallabag web-app server. I have plans to move my nextcloud setup from a full VM to a container. I'll keep all the storage outside the container to avoid issues. The best practice for containers is for them to be used for CPU and providing services, not for storage heavy needs. VMs should be used for things that are a little more risky and where the separation of the OS from the host hypervisor OS is really important.

    I do have concerns that an IdeaPad would have a fast enough CPU for anything other than small, webapps and only if a container is used.

    BTW, DuckHook has plenty of LXD experience. Far more than I and my uses are for pure servers, no GUI things. I've been running VMs since the late 1990s at work. Over the decades, I've used about 10 different VM hypervisors. In 2011, I started migrating off virtualbox, Xen, VMware ESXi and onto KVM-QEMU with libvirt and virt-manager.

    As for networking, virtual machines usually have 4 different ways for the network to be setup under the VM. On Linux, the networking is separately configured from the VM. Most people would choose a "bridge". To have a bridge on Linux, that needs to be manually configured outside any virtualization. Oh ... and you'll want your VM host to use static IPs, not DHCP. While it is technically possible to use DHCP, if your network skills aren't pretty good, you'll just have problems. Any server needs a static IP. Just take that as the rule. Your life will be 10x easier that way. Of course, if you have static IPs, that also means you'll likely want to have an internal DNS and otherwise run a well-managed IP network.

    I don't really provide links, since google is how I find this information, when I need it. I try to stick with reputable websites, typically with Ubuntu in the domain name, for the best quality information. help.ubuntu.com is where the official Canonical stuff is. I've followed LinuxBabe too, but she sometimes misses important security considerations, IMHO. Her guides generally work and to my eye, they are the shortest and usually complete. She's been responsive to feedback too, which is pretty impressive, unlike some more famous, larger, tech sites behind larger 200+ people companies.
    Last edited by TheFu; May 18th, 2022 at 12:10 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    Quote Originally Posted by coley9225 View Post
    …I was looking at your tutorial on lxd containers. Do you think that would be a better option for me than VMs? I will have to figure out the process either way, and if lxd containers are the better option, I'll just go that route, I've not really had a good experience with VMs anyway. I have aprox 500 GB of unallocated space on my internal ssd, and multiple hdd and an enclosure to had them, so space isn't an issue.
    I have to be honest: although LXD is a wonder once it is mastered and up and running, it is a royal pain getting it set up properly. There are no man pages, documentation is Spartan, there are few online resources and it is saddled with an unreasonable level of arcanery and obscurity.

    It is really meant for power users with hides tougher than those of rhinoceroses who don't mind spending hours sifting through web searches for the few nuggets of useful hints, explanations and workarounds. It also helps to have a magic wand lying around.

    Though I have a link in my sig pointing to a LXD tutorial, I would recommend this platform only for someone who is entirely at home with the command line and is a geek/tinkerer at heart. For those who just want something to work with the minimum of effort, it requires too much time investment and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Using my own experience for measure, on a ten point scale, I would compare respective difficulties as follows:

    • Learning, installing and using VirtualBox — 3
    • KVM/QEM — 5
    • LXD — 9

    To be fair, I would apply the same numbers to each of these three platforms' usefulness too, so it's another example of the reward being commensurate to the investment.

    TheFu is spot on that LXD is not very popular (else it would have better documentation). And he is also right that your only choice for Windows is a VM. Windows will not run in a container (although it is possible to install a streamlined VM within LXD, then Windows within that, but let's not even go there).

    All in all, I would recommend that you get comfortable with VMs first. If you then want to explore LXD, you can do so at leisure and without feeling that you have to rely on it for anything.

  10. #10
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    Re: gpg/ssh info

    Thanks so much for the input guys. I looks like I'm about to get more familiar with VMs. I'll continue to look into LXD, but for now just leave it as a back burner project.
    I'm a firm believer that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
    Lenovo ideapad320-15iap, 1.1G Intel processor with onboard graphics, x64, 1TB SSD, 8GB ram
    lubuntu 22.04.1, fully updated

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