How To: Use Wayland in a Live Ubuntu Instance

This article is based on an AskUbuntu question I answered a while back. The user wanted to know how to use Wayland in a live instance of Ubuntu. They wanted to test some Wayland stuff and this was how they wanted to do it.

I personally would have gone a different route, but that’s fine. There are likely other people who have this same question, so it seems prudent to put the answer up here, as others will likely want to use Wayland in a live environment.

It actually turned out to be pretty easy, so this isn’t going to be a very long article. If you follow the directions carefully, you should be able to use Wayland while running Ubuntu live.

Use Wayland in Ubuntu Live:

The first thing you need to do is boot into the live instance of Ubuntu, and then you change the way you login. You don’t want to automatically login for this exercise.

Click in the bottom right and ‘Show Applications.’ Once there, you can enter the word ‘users’, click on the settings app offered, and then disable automatic login.

Next, you have change the password. You’re forced to deal with Ubuntu’s need for a complex password. The password you pick must be at least 12 characters long, not a dictionary word, and have a mix of numbers and letters. 

Next, you want to edit “/etc/gdm3/custom.conf” and comment out the line that disables Wayland. To do this, we’ll open a terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. That opens the terminal where you’ll enter:

Find the line:

Change it to (comment it out):

Make sure to save it. Just press CTRL + X, then Y, and then ENTER and nano will save it.

Restart gdm3 with:

If that doesn’t automatically log you out, log out manually.

Now start the process to log back in, but after you click the user, there’s an icon in the lower right. It’s a gear icon. Click that gear icon and choose  “Ubuntu on Wayland”. Then enter your password and press ENTER.

If everything worked, you’re now logged in with Wayland.

Now, if you want to verify that you’re using Wayland…

Press CTRL + ALT + T
to open the terminal and enter:

If you have done everything correctly, it looks like this:

live ubuntu running wayland
See? That’s how you use Wayland in a live Ubuntu instance. And now you know…

So, there you have it for those that want it. If you want to use Wayland then you can. You can do that in a live environment if you want. It’s Linux. You can do most anything, if you put enough work in.

Closure:

And there you have it. Another article is in the books. This one helps you use Wayland and helps you use it in a live Ubuntu instance. I suspect you could use this as a basis for other distros, but I’ve never actually tested that theory out. If you have tried it, let me know in a comment. Thanks!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

How To: Enable The Root Account in Ubuntu

This will be a quick and easy article, where I explain how to enable the root account in Ubuntu. It’s easy to enable the root account, but you may not want to. The choice is up to you.

This article really starts here, with a pet peeve. See, Ubuntu doesn’t ship with root enabled by default and it does that for security reasons. If there’s no root account, the root account can’t be compromised. Instead, it relies on sudo for elevating permissions. If you ask at some sites, they’ll give you a lecture instead of telling you how to enable root.

Me? I disagree with that. If you want to know how to enable root, I’ll tell you how to enable root. It’ll likely come with a blurb that tells you why you may want to avoid doing so – but I’ll give you the answer to your question.

About the only time I won’t give you a direct answer is when it’s obvious that you’re asking me to do your homework. I may also not tell people how to do their job. After all, I don’t want incompetence entering the workforce and I don’t want incompetent people staying staying in the field.

I view Linux as not just an OS but also as a bit of a philosophy, a philosophy of constant learning, continued improvement, and a never-ending quest for greater understanding. If someone wants to know how to enable root, I’m damned well going to tell them how to enable root.

Yes, it may lessen their security, and I’ll make sure to tell them that as well. I’ll be sure to tell them why Ubuntu made the choice and what it means if they undo it. It’s their system. If they want to enable root, I will help them do that.

Enable Root in Ubuntu:

Having said all of that above, it’s actually really trivial to enable root in Ubuntu. The first thing you’re going to do is open the terminal. Like always, you can use your keyboard, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal will open up.

Next, you’ll want to enter the following command:

Now, first it’ll ask for your current user’s password. Enter that. When you enter that, it’ll ask you to set a password for ‘root’. You’ll need to enter that password twice. Once you’re done with that, you’re done with it. That’s literally all it takes.

If you want to test this, you can login as root in TTY. Press CTRL + ALT + F3 and login as root, using the password you just assigned. To get back to your desktop, just press CTRL + ALT + F1 and it should bring you right back. If not, or if you’re not using Ubuntu, you can press and hold the left ALT button and then press the until you’re back at your desktop.

NOTE: This won’t enable GUI login as root. I’ll explain how to do that in a future article. This only enables the root account and nothing more.

If you do enable root, be aware that that means the root account can be compromised and used. Root has all the permissions. All of ’em… So, if the root account is compromised whoever has done so has complete control of the system. You should be aware of this before you make this change. Only make this change if you know what you’re doing and if you’re prepared for the consequences.

Closure:

And there you have it. You have another article in the books, this one explaining how to enable the root account. Think twice before doing so, but it’s your device and you get to make that decision. Just be aware of the consequences of doing so and you should be all set.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 6 Average: 4.8]

The State of Linux-Tips.us, a Meta Post

Wait a minute… There was an article yesterday! There shouldn’t be an article today! Indeed, there shouldn’t. This is a meta post, letting folks know the state of the site.

Linux-Tips is a personal project, though one I encourage folks to join. The goal has been, and will continue to be, to write an article every other day. I figure that I’ll do this for a year and see where things are at before deciding if I should keep it up.

The feedback has been awesome. The participation is not much but it’s actually better than I’d expected – especially considering how new the site is and how little promotion I do. Most of the feedback seems to be at the sites where I link this site, and not here on this site. It is what it is…

Speaking of which, if you want to help you could help by sharing the articles on social media. It’s just a few minutes every other day! I should also point out that each article is published with a permissive license. You can use ’em for anything you want, with attribution.

I think things are coming along just nicely. I increased the available bandwidth due to some hammering on the server, but that didn’t happen last month. I’m okay with that. I’d prefer a steady growth. It’s less pressure, I think. I figure I’ll share the meta information with you now and again. I’m not sure how often I’ll do this.

So, how about some meta?

By the time you read this, there should be 39 articles published. That’s keeping with my schedule. I still have tons of notes, old articles on the old site, and ideas for articles. Don’t let that stop you from making suggestions or writing the article yourself!

The stats are all over the place. Every analytics software does it differently. There’s Google’s Analytics that doesn’t count anyone blocking ads, and Awstats that counts everything under the sun. We only used about 4 GB of traffic this month but we did average ~140 unique visitors per day.

Most of June’s referred traffic came from Reddit. This was followed by Linux.org. Only a small amount of traffic comes from search engines (so far), and most of that was from Google. Perhaps due to some SEO efforts, some of the articles rank fairly well at Google.

Not a whole lot of people are signed up for the newsletter. You should sign up for that! I promise, there won’t be any spam. There may also come a time when I stop sharing the links at the various sites, and this will be your way to keep up with when new articles are published.

In June, 688 people visited my article about will your hardware work with Linux. Most of those visitors came from r/linux on Reddit. The page counter is horrible and I should probably disable it. I have more accurate stats from the server itself.

More Info!

Site-wise, I’ve invested about 250 hours according to a plugin that monitors this stuff. Sadly, I didn’t install the plugin at first, so that doesn’t include most of the time I spent building the site’s architecture.

I did remove the adblock nag. I figured that was just annoying people. Alas, nobody clicks on the ads and Google prohibits asking people to do so. They’re pretty strict about the rules. So far, there has been a single donation. To them, I say thanks! The site will (almost certainly) stay up and running even without donations. You can help cover the server expenses if you want. If not, I’ll just cover the costs. I ain’t scared!

I dare say the site is feature-complete. Everything is running as it should. The site updates itself. It backs itself up both locally and remotely, each with duplication for a truly robust backup strategy. It does this daily, so the odds of losing much data are pretty low. If you can think of a feature you want, let me know.

The site’s security is quite robust. There have been no breaches as far as I know. Then again, I don’t ask for much in the way of personal information. I figure if I don’t collect your information then I’m not obligated to protect it. Still, everything is reasonably secure, using multiple layers of defense that I’ll avoid detailing here.

Closure:

And, I guess that’s it. That’s the state of things at Linux-Tips.us. That’s about all the meta I can come up with. Things are going fine and I look forward to saying the same thing a month from now, though some more activity would be nice. I guess I’ll include my standard closure text…

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 2 Average: 4.5]

How To: Change The Port SSH Uses

There are a number of things you can do to help secure SSH, and changing the port that SSH uses is one of those things that many people change. That can help, but I feel it’s important to also mention that security by obscurity isn’t really good security.

By the way, I’ve already written a couple of articles about SSH. Feel free to check ’em out, as they may get you up to speed if you’re not already there. The first link should be the link you click if you need to learn how to get started.

If you don’t know what ports are, there’s a great Wikipedia page here. We’re talking about software ports and not hardware ports. They’re well-described as this:

At the software level, within an operating system, a port is a logical construct that identifies a specific process or a type of network service.

By default, SSH uses port 22, and everybody knows it. Well, everybody that’s interested in networking knows this. And, because of this, malicious actors will scan for online computers and then check port 22 to see if SSH is running. If they find the port open, they’ll possibly try to guess the password and keep trying until they get through. 

NOTE: There are a number of ways to secure SSH, including disabling password logins entirely and using things like fail2ban to limit login attempts. I’d expect articles on those subjects in the future, but they have not yet been written by me. I’m sure other sites will have information, so use a search engine if you’re wanting to learn about those things today. (I am never gonna remember to come back and remove this.)

So, one step you can take is to make SSH listen on a different port. You can do that in isolation or along with other security methods. It’s not the greatest security fix, because people can (and do) just scan entire port ranges. While moving the port to something other than the default will help, it’s (by itself) just security by obscurity.

Knowing all that, let’s take a look at how we can change from the default port to one of your choosing. It’s actually pretty easy.

Change Your SSH Port:

To get started, we’re gonna need to open a terminal. You can do this with your keyboard, simply press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open up. By the way, you can change your default terminal.

Once that’s open, we’re going to want to edit a file using nano. You’ll do that with this command:

That will open ‘sshd_config’ (the SSH configuration file) with the nano text editor. Once that’s open, you’re going to scroll down while looking for “#Port 22”. It will look a little something like this:

changing the port SSH uses
For many of you, the next step will be obvious!

What you need to do is remove the # and then change the 22 to whatever port you want to use. So, if you wanted to change the port to 4441, you’d change the line to read:

Note the removal of the #, as the # tells the computer to ignore that line. A line starting with # (in this case) means that line is ‘commented out’, meant to be ignored.

Anyhow, once you’ve changed it to the new port you need to save it. Seeing as you’re using nano, that’s pretty easy. Just use your keyboard and press CTRL + X, then Y, and then ENTER.

Just because you’ve changed it doesn’t mean it has taken effect. You have to restart the service. To do that, you need this command:

That should restart the service, where it will now listen on the new port. From now on, you’ll connect with something like this:

Basically you’re just adding the ‘-p 4441’, except whatever port you picked, to the command. If you’re using aliases or something like Putty, be sure to change those settings as well.

NOTE: This isn’t the final step for many people. Some of you will have to change your firewall’s settings to allow TCP on the changed port. In some cases you may also have to enable it with semanage utility. In those cases, consult your documentation. If you can’t get it figured out, leave a comment and we’ll see if we can get it figured out together.

Closure:

And there you have it, another article in the books. This time, you’ve learned how to change the port that SSH uses. Hopefully that’ll come in handy for some of you. In isolation, it’s not the greatest security method – but it’s better than nothing. There’s still an article every other day!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 2 Average: 5]

How To: Create a New User Without a /home Directory

There are legit reasons to create a new user without a /home directory. Maybe you want a new user to have limited access to just a few things, or a dedicated user that runs a single application. This article will show you how.

See, I was reading a forum post on Linux.org about a member that had set up a bunch of Linux computers for some learning children. One of the things that came up was that the kids were already trying to guess the password so that they could install games. 

That got me thinking about some security implications. What if they guessed the password and wanted to hide it? What if they used that password to create a new user, but one without a /home directory so that it wouldn’t be easily spotted by just using a file manager? It wouldn’t be impossible to find, but it’d not stand out immediately with a quick inspection. Besides, the new account’s password would remain the same even if the admin changed the password to the root account.

Well, if they get that advanced and guess that password, I kinda hope they read this article! Why? Because the world needs a little chaos and creativity! So, my fellow Linux.org forum user, this article is for you! Well, no… It’s for when the kids use a search engine to learn how to make a user account a little less obvious! 

Create a New User Without /home:

This one will be short and easy, perfect for budding Linux users! There are two easy ways to create a user without automatically making a /home folder. 

Both ways are done in the terminal, so you need to open it. To open the default terminal, use your keyboard and press CTRL + ALT + T.

Now, the first method is:

The second method is:

Those commands will both make a new user without a /home directory of their own. (Be sure to check ‘man useradd’ for more awesome things you can do.)

There are a couple more steps you can take, if you want. First, there’s no password assigned to the user you just created. So, let’s assign a password to them.

Follow the prompts to type in the password twice and you’re done with that step.

Next, the newly created user isn’t a member of sudoers – meaning it has no administrative rights. That’s easily fixed with the following command:

That command will make the new user a member of the sudoers group. Meaning they have administrative rights over the system. They can install software, remove software, delete files, create files, or even update the entire system.

The admin can still discover the new user by listing the users or poking around in the logs. However, the user won’t stand out immediately. There won’t be any new user folder in /home, so one may not have any reason to look. Additionally, changing the root password won’t matter. You’ll have to do something about the user they created.

And that, kids, is how you get started hiding stuff after you’ve discovered the root password! Use that account for your nefarious activities! You’re welcome!

Closure:

Nah, there are legit reasons why you’d want a user without a home folder. You may want that user to only access a limited set of applications or whatever. A keen admin would likely notice this fairly rapidly, so it’s not a great long-term strategy for hiding your game installing.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Smash a button!
[Total: 2 Average: 5]
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Get notified when new articles are published! It's free and I won't send you any spam.
Linux Tips
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.