figure grafix/mxfcelogo.png

MX-16 Users Manual

v. 20170108
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 Email: manual AT mxlinux DOT org
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction

1.1 About MX Linux

MX Linux is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS communities, using the best tools and talents from each distro and including work and ideas originally created by Warren Woodford. It is a midweight OS designed to combine an elegant and efficient desktop with simple configuration, high stability, solid performance and medium-sized footprint.
Relying on the excellent upstream work by Linux and the open-source community, we deploy Xfce 4.12 as Desktop Environment on top of a Debian Stable base, drawing from the core antiX system. Ongoing backports and outside additions to our Repos serve to keep components current with developments.
The following Development Team members (devs AT mxlinux DOT org) played a particularly significant role in the creation of MX-16.
Special thanks for strong ongoing support of this project go to the MX Linux Packagers; to our great video producers; to our volunteers, especially Gordon Cooper and Old Giza; and to all our Translators whose work we appreciate so much.

1.2 About this Manual

figure grafix/manuals.png
Figure 1-1: The *need* for manuals (
This Users Manual is the product of large group of volunteers from the MX Linux community. As such, it will inevitably contain errors and omissions, although we have worked hard to minimize them. Please send us corrections or suggestions using one of the methods listed at the beginning. Updates will occur as needed.
The Manual is designed to walk new users through the steps of obtaining a copy of MX Linux, installing it, configuring it to work with one’s own hardware, and putting it to daily use. It aims to provide a readable general introduction, and purposely gives preference to graphical tools when available. For detailed or infrequent topics, the user should consult the Resources or post on the Forum.
New users may find some of the terms used in this Manual to be unfamiliar or confusing. We have tried to limit the use of difficult terms and concepts, but some are simply unavoidable. The Glossary located at the end of the document provides definitions and comments that will help in getting through difficult passages.
All content is © 2017 by MX Linux and released under GPLv3. Citation should read:
MX Linux Community Documentation Project. 2017. Users Manual for MX Linux.

1.3System requirements

For an MX Linux system installed on a hard drive, you would normally need the following components.

1.4 Support

What kind of support is available for MX Linux? The answer to this question depends on the type of support you mean:

1.5 Bugs, issues and requests

Bugs are errors in a computer program or system that produce incorrect results or abnormal behavior. MX Linux defines “issues” as upstream bugs about which the Dev Team can do nothing. Finally, “requests” are additions requested by users, either as new applications or new features for existing applications. MX Linux deals with these in the following manner:
figure grafix/TrackerBorder.png
Figure 1-2: Tracker

1.6 Migration

Whenever possible, a migration path is provided with distribution upgrades (i.e., apt-get dist-upgrade) so that users can avoid reinstallation. Check the migration page for the current procedure.
The exception to this standard procedure arises when the Debian base changes. Debian Stable is a wonderful solid distribution that can be upgraded in place from version to version automatically as long as the Debian Stable repos are used exclusively. MX uses Debian Stable as a base, but updates a lot of the userland programs & libraries, and backports newer programs from testing by building them against the Stable base. That gives a better user experience but interferes with Debian’s dist-upgrade path. Our current choice to stick with sysvinit instead of going to full systemd also interferes with that path.
So it’s a trade-off: better desktop user experience at the expense of having to do a quick fresh install (which lets you save /home if desired) when the Debian base changes, typically every 2-3 years.

1.7 Systemd

Because the use of systemd as a system and service manager has been controversial, we want to be clear about its function in MX Linux. Systemd is included by default but not enabled. You can scan your MX system and discover files bearing systemd* names, but those simply provide a compatibility hook/entrypoint when needed.
MX Linux uses systemd-shim, which emulates the systemd functions that are required to run the helpers without actually using the init service. This means that SvsVinit remains the default init yet MX Linux can use Debian packages that have systemd dependencies such as CUPS. This approach also allows the user to retain the ability to choose his/her preferred init.


2.1 Introduction

An MX Linux LiveMedium (USB or DVD) boots your computer without accessing the hard disk. It copies a virtual file system into RAM that acts as the center of a temporary operating system for the computer. When you end your Live session, everything about your computer is back to the way it was, unchanged (contrast Section 6.6.1).
This provides a number of benefits:
Running from the LiveMedium also has some disadvantages if using a Live DVD:

2.1.1 PAE or non-PAE?

MX Linux is available for two architectures: 32bit (PAE and non-PAE) and 64bit (PAE only) PAE stands for Physical Address Extension, a way of allowing 32 bit operating systems to access ram beyond around 4GB. It is possible to use a non-PAE version on a PAE system, but not vice versa. MX Linux non-PAE is exactly the same as MX Linux PAE except it uses the 486 kernel instead of the 686 one.
If unsure whether you need the PAE or non-PAE version, use the method below suitable for the OS you currently run.

2.1.2 32 or 64 bit?

What is the architecture of your cpu?
Follow the appropriate method below to find out whether your machine is 32- or 64-bit.*
*If you want to know the architecture of the OS instead, the command uname -m will probably work on all platforms.
How much memory (RAM) do you have?
MX Linux 64-bit users often report 2GB of RAM to be sufficient for general use, although at least 4GB RAM is recommended if you will be running processes (such as remastering) or applications (such as an audio or video editor) that are memory-intensive.
Which one should you choose?
MORE: here

2.2Creating a bootable medium

2.2.1 Obtain the ISO

MX Linux is distributed as an ISO, a disk image file in the ISO 9660 file system format. It is available in two formats off the Download page.
It is possible to purchase a CD or USB (original release only) from OSDisk with the ISO already loaded and ready to use: use the links on the Download page. MX Linux receives a small amount back to help with ongoing costs from each purchase.
MX Linux can be downloaded in two ways from the Download page.
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png How to Create a Torrent
figure grafix/LTtorrents.png
Figure 2-1: LinuxTracker with available torrents.

2.2.2 Check validity of downloaded ISOs

After you have downloaded an ISO, the next step is to verify it. There are two methods available.
Each ISO is accompanied by a matching md5sum file in the source, and you should check its md5sum against the official one. It will be identical to the official md5sum if your copy is authentic. The following steps will let you verify the integrity of the downloaded ISO on any OS platform.
GPG signature
As of March 16, 2016, MX Linux ISO files to be downloaded have been signed by their developers (anticapitalista, Adrian or Stevo). This security method allows the user to be confident that the ISO is what is says it is: an official ISO from the developer. Detailed instructions about how to run this security check can be found in the MX/antiX Technical Wiki.

2.2.3 Create the LiveMedium

Burning an ISO to a DVD is easy, as long as you follow some important guidelines.
You can easily create a bootable USB that works on most systems. MX Linux includes the cross-platform utility Unetbootin for this work, as well as the advanced MX Tool live-usb maker (Section 6.6.2). Using Unetbootin:
figure grafix/Unetbootin.png
Figure 2-2: Unetbootin


2.3.1Coming from Windows

If you are going to install MX Linux as a replacement for Microsoft Windows, it is a good idea to consolidate and back up your files and other data currently stored in Windows. Even if you are planning to dual-boot, you should make a backup of this data in case of unforeseen problems during the install.
Backing up files
Locate all of your files, such as office documents, pictures, video, or music:
Backing up email, calendar, and contact data
Depending on the email or calendar program you use, your email and calendar data may not be saved in an obvious location or under an obvious file name. Most email or scheduling applications (such as Microsoft Outlook®) are able to export this data in one or more file formats. Consult your application’s help documentation to find out how to export the data.
Accounts and passwords
Although not usually stored in readable files that can be backed up, it’s important to remember to make note of various account information you may have saved in your computer. Your automatic log-in data for websites or services like your ISP will have to be entered in all over again, so make sure to store off disk the information you need to access these services again. Examples include:
Browser favorites
Web browser favorites (bookmarks) are often overlooked during a backup, and they are not usually stored in a conspicuous place. Most browsers contain a utility to export your bookmarks to a file, which can then be imported into the web browser of your choice in MX Linux. Here are some export methods for common web browsers:
Software licenses
Many proprietary programs for Windows are not installable without a license key or CD key. Unless you are set on doing away with Windows permanently, make sure you have a license key for any program that requires it. If you do decide to reinstall Windows (or if dual-boot setup goes awry), you will be unable to reinstall these programs without the key.
If you can not find the paper license that came with your product, you may be able to locate it in the Windows registry, or use a keyfinder such as ProduKey. If all else fails, try contacting the computer’s manufacture for help.
Running Windows programs
Windows programs will not run inside a Linux OS, and MX Linux users are encouraged to look for native equivalents (see Section 4). Applications that are critical for a user may run under Wine (see Section 6.1), though it varies somewhat.

2.3.2Apple Intel computers

Installing MX Linux on Apple computers with Intel chips is generally problematic, though the situation varies to a certain degree with the exact hardware involved. Users interested in the question are advised to consult the Debian materials and forums for recent developments; a document for the MX/antiX Wiki is in development.
Installing Debian on Apple Computers:
Debian forums

2.3.3Hard drive FAQs

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Create a new partition with GParted
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Partition a Multi-boot system
Where should I install MX Linux?
Before starting the install, you need to decide where you are going to install MX Linux.
You can simply select one of the first two during installation, but the third requires the creation of a new partition. You can do this during installation, but it is recommended that you do that before you start the installation. In Linux, you will usually be using GParted, a useful and very powerful tool.
MORE: GParted Manual
figure grafix/gparted_5.png
Figure 2-3: Gparted showing a single partition (sda1) and swap (sda2)
How can I edit partitions?
A very handy tool for such actions is Start menu > System > Disk manager. This utility provides a graphical presentation of all the partitions on the machine (excluding swap) with a simple interface for quickly and easily mounting, unmounting and editing some properties of disk partitions. Changes are automatically and immediately written to /etc/fstab and are thus preserved for the next boot.
Disk Manager automatically allocates mount points in /media, using /media/LABEL (e.g., /media/HomeData) if the partition is labeled or /media/DEVICE (e.g., /media/cdrom) if not. These mount points are created by DM when a partition is mounted, and removed immediately when a partition is unmounted.
HELP: Disk Manager help.
What are those other partitions on my Windows installation?
Recent home computers with Windows are sold with a diagnostic partition and restore partition, in addition to the one that contains the OS installation. If you see multiple partitions showing up in GParted that you were not aware of, they are probably those and should be left alone.
Should I create a separate Home?
You do not have to create a separate home, since the Installer will create a /home partition within / (root). But having it separate makes upgrades easier and protects against problems caused by users filling up the drive with a lot of pictures, music, or video data.
How big should / (root) be?
Do I need to create a SWAP file?
The Installer will create a SWAP file for you (see Section 2.5.1). If you intend to hibernate (and not just suspend) the system, swap may need to be something on the order of 2GB or else the hibernation will fail when the current memory use is more than 1GB. Users with an SSD often avoid setting up a SWAP file on the SSD to avoid slowing it down.
What do names like “sda” mean?
Before you begin installation, it is critical that you understand how Linux operating systems treat hard drives and their partitions.

2.4First look

In case you want to log out and back in, install new packages, etc., here is the LiveMedium login information:

2.4.1 Boot the LiveMedium

Simply place the DVD in the tray and reboot.
You may need to take a few steps to get your computer to boot correctly using the USB.
If the machine already has Windows 8 or later installed, then special steps must be taken to deal with the presence of (U)EFI and Secure Boot. Unfortunately, the exact procedure varies by manufacturer:
Methods used for launching UEFI shell depend on the manufacturer and model of the system motherboard. Some of them already provide a direct option in firmware setup for launching, e.g. compiled x86-64 version of the shell needs to be made available as <EFI_SYSTEM_PARTITION>/SHELLX64.EFI. Some other systems have an already embedded UEFI shell which can be launched by appropriate key press combinations. For other systems, the solution is either creating an appropriate USB flash drive or adding manually (bcfg) a boot option associated with the compiled version of shell. (Wikipedia, “Unified Extensible Firmware Interface”, retrieved 10/29/15)
The UEFI booting function is restricted to 64bit machines, and is considered experimental. For details, please consult the MX/antiX Wiki.
The Black Screen
Occasionally it may happen that when you boot up with the LiveMedium, you end up looking at an empty black screen that may have a blinking cursor in the corner. This represents a failure to start X, the windows system used by Linux, and is most often due to problems with the graphics driver being used.
Solution: reboot and select Safe Video or Failsafe boot options in the menu (F6); details on these boot codes in the Wiki. For permanent resolution of the problem, see Section 3.3.2.

2.4.2 The standard opening screen

figure grafix/GRUB.png
Figure 2-4: LiveMedium boot screen of x64 ISO
When the LiveMedium boots up, you will be presented with a screen similar to the Figure above (the installed screen looks quite different). (The 386 ISO offers both the pae and non-pae versions.) Custom entries may also appear in the main menu. Detailed Help on this screen can be found in this document.
Main Menu entries
Table 1: Menu entries in Live boot
Entry Comment
MX-16 (<RELEASE DATE>) This entry is selected by default, and is the standard way that most users will boot the Live system. Simply press Return to boot the system. On the 386 ISO two entries will appear, one for PAE (default) and the other for non-PAE.
Boot from Hard Disk Allows for user to select a stored ISO to boot.
Memory Test Runs a test to check RAM. If this test passes then there may still be a hardware problem or even a problem with RAM but if the test fails then you know something is wrong.
In the bottom row the screen displays a number of vertical entries, below which is a row of horizontal options; press F1 when looking at that screen for details.
Other cheat codes for LiveUSB can be found in the MX/antiX Wiki. The cheat codes for booting an installed system are different, and can be found in the same location.
MORE: Linux startup process

2.4.3 The UEFI opening screen

figure grafix/uefi_boot.jpg
Figure 2-5: LiveMedium boot screen of x64 when UEFI detected
If the user is using a computer set for UEFI boot (see MX/antiX Wiki), the opening screen for UEFI Live boot will appear instead with 3 choices.
If you want localization or other options, choose "Custom boot." That will bring up as second screen of extensive menu options; just select what you want and follow the prompts.

2.4.4 Login screen

figure grafix/login.png
Figure 2-6: Login screen, with arrow indicating session and power buttons
The installed boot process finishes with the login screen; in a Live session only the background image is shown, but if you log out from the desktop you will see the complete screen as shown. The red arrow points to two small icons at the right end of the top bar:
If you wish to avoid having to log in each time you boot up (not recommended for security reasons), you can change the behavior on the “options” tab of MX User Manager (Section 3.2.12).

2.4.5 The desktop

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Xfce 4.12
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX-16 tour
The desktop is created and managed by Xfce 4.12, though its appearance and arrangement have been heavily modified for MX Linux.
figure grafix/defaultdesktop.png
Figure 2-7: Default desktop with the Welcome screen
The default desktop of MX Linux has a single vertical panel on the left side of the screen. A horizontal panel format is available by clicking MX Tools > MX Panel Orientation.
Default panel elements from top to bottom:
To change the position of the Panel, see Section 3.2.10; to change its properties, Section 3.8.

Welcome screen

When the user boots up for the first time, a Welcome screen appears in the center of the screen that offers quick orientation and help links. When running Live, a small link to the Login info appears that provides the passwords for demo and root.
Notice in particular the item Default Look (see Section 3.2.7), which allows the user to quickly decide two critical features:

Tips & Tricks

figure grafix/settingsmanager.png
Figure 2-8: All Settings (dark theme) is your one-stop location to make changes. Contents vary.
Some handy things to know at the beginning:
Table 2: Handy key combinations
Keystrokes Action
F4 Drops a terminal down from top of screen
Windows key Brings up the Whisker menu
Ctrl-Alt-Esc Changes the cursor into a white x to kill any program
Ctrl-Alt-Bksp Closes the session (without saving!) and returns you to the login screen
Ctrl-Alt-Del Locks the desktop by calling xflock4
Ctrl-Alt-F1 Drops you out of your X session to a command line; use Ctrl-Alt-F7 to return.
Alt-F1 Opens this MX Linux Users Manual
Alt-F2 Brings up a dialog box to run an application
Alt-F3 Opens the Application Finder which also allows editing menu entries
Alt-F4 Closes an application that is in focus
PrtScr Opens the Screenshooter for screen captures
Applications can be started in various ways.
figure grafix/whiskermenu.png
Figure 2-9: Whisker menu
figure grafix/appfinder.png
Figure 2-10: Application Finder identifying application
System information
Video and audio
NOTE: for troubleshooting areas such as display, sound or internet, consult Section 3: Configuration.


When you open Whisker menu, you will see by default four command buttons in the upper right corner. From left to right:
figure grafix/whiskerbuttons.png
Figure 2-11: command buttons
It is important to exit MX Linux correctly when you have finished your session so that the system can be brought down in a secure way. All running programs are first notified that the system is going down, giving them the time to save any file being edited, exit from mail and news programs, etc. If you just turn the power off, you risk the possibilities of damaging the operating system.
To leave a session for good, select one of the following on the Log Out dialog box:
You can temporarily leave your session in one of the following ways:

2.5 The Installation process

2.5.1Detailed installation steps

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Installing MX Linux
To begin, boot to the LiveMedium and click on the Installer icon in the upper left corner. The installer will open in a two-pane format: installation steps to take in the right pane, Help in the left. The installer is very easy to use with its detailed instructions, and a step-by-step video is linked above. We restrict ourselves here to a sequence of images with clarifying comments.
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Figure 2-12: Installer Screen 1
figure grafix/SMART.jpg
Figure 2-13: SMART warning of risk of failure
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Figure 2-14: Installer Screen 2
(If you chose Auto-install using entire disk on Screen 1, you will not see this screen.)
figure grafix/3.png
Figure 2-15: Installer Screen 3
figure grafix/4.png
Figure 2-16: Installer Screen 4
figure grafix/5.png
Figure 2-17: Installer Screen 5
figure grafix/6.jpg
Figure 2-18: Installer Screen 6
figure grafix/Services.png
Figure 2-19: Installer Screen 6 (extra)
figure grafix/7.png
Figure 2-20: Installer Screen 7


2.6.1 No operating system found

When rebooting after an installation, it sometimes happens that your computer reports that no operating system or bootable disc was found. It also may not show another installed OS such as Windows. Usually, these problems mean that GRUB did not install properly, but that is easy to correct.

2.6.2 Data or other partition not accessible.

Partitions and drives other than the one designated as boot may not be booted or require root access after installation. There are a couple of ways to change this.
NOTE: neither of these procedures will change Linux permissions, which are enforced on the folder and file level. See Section 7.3.

2.6.3 Keyring problems

If you set a password the first time the GNOME Keyring dialog box appeared (usually when you set up Network Manager), then you will be obligated to reenter it every time you boot. There are two ways to change that:
Note that if malevolent agents get physical access to your machine, using a blank password will make it easier to break into. But it seems pretty clear that if a malevolent agent has physical access to your machine it’s all over anyway.

2.6.4 Locking up

If MX Linux is locking up during installation, it is usually due to a problem with faulty computer hardware, or a bad DVD. If you have determined that the DVD is not the problem, it may be due to faulty RAM, a faulty hard drive, or some other piece of faulty or incompatible hardware.


figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Things to do after installation
This section covers configuration instructions in order to get your system running correctly from a fresh installation of MX Linux, and a short guide to personal customization.



Sharing files with an Android device.
Music files can be viewed and managed using Clementine. Click on Device in the left pane, then double-click CD Drive if necessary.
figure grafix/thunar_android.png
Figure 3-1: Thunar connected to an Android phone
Through the iPhone 4 series, MX Linux is able to mount an iPhone in Thunar and reveal its contents for manipulation. Since iOS 5.0, iPhones will not allow a Linux installation to be recognized as a “trusted connection.” File transfer is still possible via an Apple wifi file transfer app or a cloud storage service. See also Section 4.2.
A successful strategy was described for iPhone 6 in this tutorial, but as of this writing it no longer appears to work. Users interested in trying to pursue that should install the package mx-iphone, pair with the command idevicepair pair and then try to continue with mounting iFuse.
The good news: photos can be retrieved by opening Shotwell with the phone attached, then clicking on the link that appears under Cameras. Note that the phone link may not work in Thunar.
Open Synaptic and search on blackberry to find the files that need to be installed.


figure grafix/PrintSettings.png
Figure 3-2: Print Setting’s New Printer screen
Attached printer
MX Linux offers two utilities for configuring and managing printers.
figure grafix/cups-web-admin.png
Figure 3-3: the CUPS administration screen for managing printers
Network printer
Samba on MX Linux allows printing via the network to shared printers on other computers (Windows, Mac, Linux) and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices offering Samba services. See also Section 3.5.
Using the Printing Utility to Set Up Printers
Using the Printers (CUPS) Utility to Set Up Printers


Scanners are supported in Linux by SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) which is an application programming interface (API) that provides standardized access to any raster image scanner hardware (flatbed scanner, hand-held scanner, video- and still-cameras, frame-grabbers, etc.).
Basic steps
You can manage your scanner in MX Linux with the default gscan2pdf. In addition to being a good general scanner manager, it can export directly to a PDF among other formats. Other scanners such as Simple Scan are available from the repos.


Most likely your webcam video will work in MX Linux. If not, there is a recent detailed discussion of drivers and setup in the Arch Wiki. Webcam audio is sometimes trickier, see Section 4.1 about Skype.

3.1.5 Storage

Disk drives (such as SCSI, SATA and SSD), cameras, USB drives, phones, etc. – these are all different forms of storage.
By default, storage devices that are plugged into the system mount automatically in the /media/<username>/ directory, and then a file browser window opens for each (that behavior can be changed in Thunar: Edit > Preferences). Though it is turned off by default in MX Linux, you can also have an icon placed on your desktop for mounted devices place by right-clicking an empty space on the desktop > Desktop Settings... > Icons tab, Default Icons box: check Removable Devices.
The extent of the user’s access to storage will depend on the file system that it contains. Most commercial external storage devices, especially hard drives, will come preformatted as fat32 or ntfs.
Storage Filesystem Permissions
fat32 None.
ntfs By default, permissions/ownerships are granted to the user that mounts the device.
ext2, ext4, and most Linux
Full Linux permission capabilities (Section 7.3), including file/folder ownership, edit and view permissions.
Increasingly, machines may have an internal SSD: a solid state drive that has no moving components. These drives tend to accumulate blocks of data that are no longer considered in use, slowing down this very fast drive. To prevent this from happening, MX Linux runs a TRIM operation on a weekly schedule that you can view by opening the file /etc/cron.weekly/fstrim-mx.

3.1.6 Bluetooth devices

figure grafix/BT_Mgr.png
Figure 3-4: the Devices window of Bluetooth Manager, showing devices detected.
External bluetooth devices such as a keyboard, speaker, mouse, etc. will normally work automatically. If not, follow these steps:

3.2Basic MX Tools

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX Apps
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX New utilities
figure grafix/MXT_live.png
Figure 3-5: MX Tools dashboard (running Live)
A number of applications have been developed specifically for MX Linux, adapted or brought over from antiX, or adapted from outside sources to save the user effort with important tasks often involving unintuitive steps. (Advanced “Live” tools are treated in Section 6.6)

3.2.1 AMD/ATI and Nvidia driver installers

These graphics driver installer vastly simplify an important procedure: to install a proprietary graphic driver. There are separate icons for AMD/ATI and Nvidia on the MX Tools dashboard, but they are using much of the same underlying code (ddm-mx) so are treated here together. Clicking on the appropriate icon brings up a terminal, and all the user need do in most cases is accept the default.
figure grafix/ddm-mx.png
Figure 3-6: MX Nvidia driver installer finding no need to continue
HELP: here.

3.2.2 Apt-notifier

Not shown on the MX Tools dashboard, this extremely handy and versatile applet (a box in white outline) sits in the Notification Area where it monitors package updates and notifies you when they are available by making the box green. It is much quicker than going through Synaptic (Section 5.3). Be sure to check the important options available through the context (right-click) menu.
figure grafix/mx_apt_notifier.png
Figure 3-7: View and upgrade screen from Apt-notifier
HELP: here.

3.2.3 Boot repair

The bootloader is the first software program to run and is responsible for loading and transferring control to the kernel. It sometimes happens that the bootloader on an installation (GRUB2) becomes dysfunctional, and this tool allows you to restore the bootloader to a functional state.
figure grafix/3.2.2 Boot Repair.png
Figure 3-8: Boot Repair main screen
HELP: here.

3.2.4 Broadcom Manager

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX Broadcom Manager
Broadcom chipsets are often difficult to set up, and this application renders the process much easier by detecting hardware and permitting Linux and Windows drivers to be added, removed, and blacklisted. It provides good general network tools as well on the “Net diagnosis” tab.
figure grafix/mxbroadcom.png
Figure 3-9: Broadcom Manager detecting wireless and wired hardware
HELP: here.

3.2.5 Check Apt GPG

Apt (Apt-get) includes package authentication in order to improve security. You can still install non-authenticated packages, but you will run into an error: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available. This helpful utility saves carrying out the many steps necessary to obtain that key.
figure grafix/3.2.4 Check Apt GPG.png
Figure 3-10: Results of checking repo public keys with Check Apt GPG
HELP: here.

3.2.6 Codecs Downloader

A codec is a piece of software that enables encoding/decoding a digital data stream or signal. Most codecs will be installed in MX Linux by multimedia applications such as VLC, but some are restricted. This tool allows easy installation of certain restricted codecs while transferring the responsibility to the user.
figure grafix/3.2.5 Codecs Installer.png
Figure 3-11 Codecs installer main screen
HELP: here.

3.2.7 Debian Backports Installer

This tool allows the user to browse and install packages from the Debian Backports Repository directly without the need to first enable the backports repository or without having to deal with the complex pinning system in use by Debian Backports. You will see a warning screen modified from Debian notifying you that these packages have not been as thoroughly tested as the ones in Stable (and MX).
figure grafix/DBI.jpg
Figure 3-12: Debian Backports Installer main screen
HELP: here.

3.2.8 Default Look

On the Welcome screen and available through MX Tools, this little application allows you to quickly select between dark and light default theme as well as to decide how you want the panel oriented.
figure grafix/defaultlook.png
Figure 3-13: ready to select the Default Look
HELP: here.

3.2.9 Find Network Shares

This simple but handy utility shows all shares, i.e., computer resources available to a user’s machine.
figure grafix/3.2.6 Find Shares.png
Figure 3-14: Search screen of Find Shares
HELP: here.

3.2.10 Flash Manager

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Enabling Adobe Flash
This application facilitates the installation, removal and especially the updating of Flash players.
figure grafix/MXFlash.png
Figure 3-15: Flash Manager main screen
HELP: here.

3.2.11 Menu Editor

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX Menu Editor
This simple menu editor makes it easy to edit, add or delete menu items. Any edits are saved to the user’s directory /.local/shared/applications/, which takes precedence over the /usr/share/application/ when the Xfce menu gets built during startup. Also available by right-clicking the Start menu icon > Edit Applications.
figure grafix/mx_menu_editor.png
Figure 3-16: Menu Editor with the category Multimedia expanded
Note: the MX Menu Editor can be easily accessed through the context menu of the Whisker icon in the lower left corner.
HELP: here.

3.2.12 Package Installer

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Package Installer
With this application (originally called metapackage-installer) you can install popular packages in a simplified manner. This ability is particularly useful for installations that are not intuitive or require multiple packages. It is also very handy for installing language packs, which can be troublesome to chase down with other methods.
figure grafix/mx_package_installer.png
Figure 3-17: Package Installer, showing submenu and info screen
If you would like to suggest changes in the package list, please post on the MX Forum.
HELP: here.

3.2.13 Panel Orientation

MX Linux ships with the Panel in vertical orientation. Some users prefer a horizontal orientation, but it takes a lot of fiddling around to set it up so it looks good and is useable. This nifty application provides a one-click switch to a standard horizontal panel.
figure grafix/paneloptions.png
Figure 3-18: Panel Orientation ready for a one-click change
HELP: here.

3.2.14 Repo Manager

Although the most appropriate repository for a user is selected automatically during installation, there are many reasons why the user might want later to change that choice, ranging from a server being offline to a change in the physical location of the computer. This great tool provides one-click switching of repos, saving a lot of time and effort.
figure grafix/Repo_Manager1.png
Figure 3-19: Choosing a repository to use in Repo Manager
HELP: here.

3.2.15 Sound Card

Computers frequently have more than one sound card available. In a common situation, for instance, a separate card may be present for HDMI output. Unless the correct sound card is identified for the system, the user will hear nothing and conclude that sound is not working. This clever little application allows the user to select which sound card should be used by the system, whether in a particular instance or in general.
figure grafix/soundcardselect.png
Figure 3-20: Making the selection in Sound Card
HELP: here.

3.2.16 System Sounds

This little tool gathers into a single location the various actions and choices involved in setting up system sounds such as login/logout, actions, etc.
figure grafix/mx_system_sounds.png
Figure 3-21: Setting up login and logout sounds in System Sounds
HELP: here.

3.2.17 Test Repo Installer

MX Linux maintains a Testing repo for new applications and/or versions that need testing on various hardware before being placed into the Main repo. Since it is recommended that the Testing repo be disabled by default, this tool saves hunting around and making many keystrokes when a user wants to install a single package from it by displaying the contents of the Testing repo and enabling installation with a single click.
figure grafix/mx_test_repo_installer.png
Figure 3-22: List of available packages in Test Repo Installer, showing package version info in tooltip
HELP: here.

3.2.18 USB Unmounter

This tool for quickly unmounting USB and optical media sits in the Notification Area when enabled (default). A single click displays available media for unmounting with a double-click.
figure grafix/unmount_area.png
Figure 3-23: USB Unmounter with a device highlighted for unmounting
HELP: here.

3.2.19 User Manager

Everything in Linux runs under a specific user, and each user’s permissions govern whether and how it runs. The superuser (“root”) can create users, give them specific passwords, restrict what they can do, etc. Moreover, each user belongs to one or more groups. This application aids in adding, editing, removing users and groups in your system.
figure grafix/usermanager.png
Figure 3-24: User Manager repair screen
HELP: here.


3.3.1 Resolution

Resolution refers to the physical number of columns and rows of pixels creating the display (e.g., 1920x1200). In most cases, the resolution is correctly set by the kernel during installation or when a new monitor is connected. If not, you can change it in the following ways:

3.3.2 Graphic drivers

If you are not satisfied with your display’s performance, you may need/want to upgrade your graphic driver (make sure to first back up the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf, if used). Note that after a kernel upgrade you may have to repeat this, see Section 7.6.3.
There are various methods available to do this.
Basic adjustment
  1. Click Start Menu > All Settings > Appearance, Fonts tab
  2. Click on the pull-down menu to see the list of fonts and point sizes
  3. Select the one you want, and click OK
figure grafix/3.3.4 Fonts.png
Figure 3-25: Changing font details in All Settings
Advanced adjustments
  1. A number of options are available by running in a root terminal: dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config
  2. Firefox: click Edit > Preferences > Content, and make any desired changes.
  3. For further adjustment, see the MX/antiX Wiki.
Adding fonts
  1. Click Start Menu > System > Synaptic Package Manager.
  2. Use the search function for fonts.
  3. Select and download the ones you want. The Microsoft core fonts package ttf-mscorefonts-installer provides easy installation of the Microsoft True Type Core Fonts for use with websites and MS applications that run under Wine.
  4. Extract if necessary, then copy as root (easiest in a root Thunar) the font folder to /usr/share/fonts/.
  5. Your new fonts should be available in the pull-down menu in All Settings > Appearance, Fonts tab.

3.3.3 Dual monitors

Multiple monitors are managed in MX Linux with Start menu > Settings > Display. You can use it to adjust resolution, select whether one clones the other, which ones will be turned on, etc. It is often necessary to log out and back in to see the display you select. Finer control of some features is sometimes available with lxrandr (install if necessary).
Xfce 4.12 has some limitations with multiple monitors, so search the Xfce Forum if you are having unusual problems.
figure grafix/display.png
Figure 3-26: Selecting display values in All Settings > Display

3.3.4 Power management

Click the Power Manager plugins icon in the Panel. Here you can easily switch to Presentation mode, or go to the Settings to set when a display shuts down, when the computer goes into suspension, the action initiated by closing the lid of a laptop, brightness, etc. On a laptop, battery status and information is displayed and a brightness slider is available.

3.4 Network

Internet connections are handled by Network Manager; click the applet in the Notification Area to see status, connect and explore options.
Right-click the applet > Edit Connections to open up a Settings box with five tabs.
:figure grafix/3.4.1 Network Connections.png
Figure 3-27: Network Manager main screen
MORE: Ubuntu Wiki: Network Manager

3.4.1 Wired access

MX Linux typically picks up wired internet access upon boot without much problem.
Ethernet and cable
MX Linux comes preconfigured for a standard LAN (Local Area Network) that uses DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to assign IP addresses and DNS (Domain Name System) resolution. This will work in most cases as-is. You can change the configuration with Network Manager.
When you boot MX Linux, your network adapters are assigned a short interface name by udev, the kernel’s device manager. For normal wired adapters this is usually eth0 (with subsequent adapters eth1, eth2, eth3, etc). USB adapters often come up on the eth0 interface in MX Linux, but the interface name can also depend on the adapter’s chipset. For instance, atheros cards often show up as ath0, while ralink usb adapters may be rausb0. For more a detailed list of all found network interfaces, open a terminal, become root, and enter: ifconfig -a.
It is wise to connect to the Internet through a router, as nearly all wired routers contain optional firewalls. In addition, routers use NAT (Network Address Translation) to translate from big Internet addresses to local IP addresses. This affords another layer of protection. Connect to the router directly, or through a hub or switch, and your machine should autoconfigure via DHCP.
If you use ADSL or PPPoE, connecting to the internet is easy in MX Linux. Right-click the Network Manager icon, then the DSL tab. Click the Add... button and fill in the required information, checking to connect automatically if you want.
NOTE: if you encounter problems when using a USB device to connect, plug the unit into the computer, open a terminal and type:
 dmesg | tail
Post a message on Forum with the output to get some help in finding the driver you need.
figure grafix/3.4.2 Edit-Add DSL Connection.png
Figure 3-28: Setting up DSL service
On the Device tab you will need to set up the serial information. Accepting the default /dev/modem may work, but you might need to try another interface. These are the Linux equivalents of the COM ports under MS-DOS and MS-Windows:
Table 3: Linux equivalents for COM ports
Port Equivalent
COM 1 /dev/ttyS0
COM 2 /dev/ttyS1
COM 3 /dev/ttyS2
COM 4 /dev/ttyS3

3.4.2 Wireless access

MX Linux comes preconfigured to autodetect a WiFi card, and in most cases your card will be found and set up automatically. There are two standard ways wireless can be supported in MX Linux:
Sometimes there is both a native Linux driver and a Windows driver available. You may want to compare them for speed and connectivity, and you may have to remove the one you are not using to prevent a conflict. Wireless cards can be either internal or external. USB modems (wireless dongles) usually show up on the wlan interface, but if not then check others on the list. NOTE: The successful method varies for users because of the complicated interactions among the Linux kernel, wireless tools, and the local wireless card chipset and router.
Basic Wireless Steps
Click Start menu > Settings > Network Connections (or just click on the Network Manager icon in the Notification Area), and then the Wireless tab. One of 3 situations will arise.
–A wireless network has been found.
–The found network does not function.
If wireless networks are seen but your computer cannot connect them, this means that either 1) the wireless card is managed correctly by the right driver but you have problems concerning the connection to your modem/router, the firewall, the provider, DNS, etc.; or 2) the wireless card is managed abnormally because the driver is not the most appropriate for that card or there are problems of conflict with another driver. In this case you should gather information on your wireless card to see if the card drivers may have problems and then try to test the network with a set of diagnostic tools.
 inxi -n
 lsusb | grep -i net
 lspci | grep -i net
And as root:
The output from these commands will give you the name, model and version (if any) of your wireless card (example below), as well as the associated driver and the mac address of the wireless card. The output of the fourth will give you the name of the access point (AP) you are linked to and other connection information. For example:
 Card-2:Qualcomm Atheros AR9462 Wireless Network Adapter driver: ath9k
 IF: wlan0 state: up mac: 00:21:6a:81:8c:5a
Sometimes you need the mac number of the chipset in addition to that of your wireless card. The easiest way to do that is to click Start menu > System > MX Broadcom Manager, Introduction tab. For example:
 Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter [168c:0032](rev 01)
The number in brackets identifies the type of chipset in your wireless card. The numbers before the colon identify the manufacturer, those after it the product.
Use the information you have gathered in one of the following ways:
–No wireless interface is found.
For some cards it is necessary to install firmware (for example, firmware-ti-connectivity for Texas Instruments WL1251). MX Linux comes with a good deal of firmware already available, but you may have to track down your particular need, again using the LinuxWireless website linked below.
Ndiswrapper is an open-source software driver “wrapper” that enables the use of Windows drivers for wireless network devices in Linux. It does not come pre-installed in MX Linux, but is in the repos. NOTE: the Windows driver you use must match the OS architecture (e.g., Windows 32-bit driver for MX Linux 32-bit edition). In general, Windows XP drivers are required.
The easiest method of managing Ndiswrapper is to use MX Broadcom Manager (Section 3.2.3). See also the extended discussion in the MX/antiX Wiki.
Wireless security is handled by Network Manager. Here are the basic steps you need to follow:
figure grafix/3.4.3 Edit Wireless Security.png
Figure 3-29: Wireless security in Network Manager
It is equally possible to use Ceni to handle wireless security, as long as subsequently you will not be using Network Manager, with which it interferes.

3.4.3 Mobile Broadband

For wireless internet access using a 3G/4G modem, please refer to the Debian Wiki’s 3G pages linked below for compatibility information. Many 3G/4G modems will be recognized on MX Linux by Network Manager.
On some systems, modem connections fail due to an upgrade of the packages udev and libudev1. To solve this, open Synaptic, highlight the packages, and then click Package> Force version... Use the pull-down menu to drop to a lower version and click the Apply icon.
In some cases this solution has not worked consistently for users, but they have found that the complete removal of Network Manager solved the problems.
MORE: Debian Wiki: 3G modem

3.4.4 Command line utilities

Command line utilities are useful for seeing detailed information, and are also commonly used in troubleshooting. Detailed documentation available in the man pages. The most common ones below must be run as root.
Table 4: Wireless utilities
Command Comment
ifconfig Main configuration utility for network interfaces.
ifup <interface>
Brings up the specified interface. For example:
ifup eth0 will bring up the ethernet port eth0
ifdown <interface> The opposite of ifup
iwconfig Wireless network connection utility. Used by itself, displays wireless status. Can be applied to a specific interface, e.g. to select a particular access point
rfkill Disable softblock for wireless network interfaces (e.g., wlan).
depmod -a Probes all modules and, if they have changed, enables new configuration.

3.4.5 Static DNS

It is sometimes desirable to change your internet setup from the default automatic DNS (Dynamic Name Service) configuration to a manual static one. Reasons for doing this may include greater stability, better speed, parental control, etc. You can make such a change either for the whole system or for individual devices. In either case, get the static DNS settings you are going to use from OpenDNS, Google Public DNS, etc., before you start.
You can make the change for everyone using your router using a browser. You will need:
You will need to find and change your router’s configuration panel, following the directions for your particular router (list of guides here).
For single user change, you can use Network Manager.

3.5 File management

File management in MX Linux is carried out through Thunar, a fast and powerful tool. Much of its basic use is self-evident, but here are good things to know:
figure grafix/thunar_custom.png
Figure 3-30: Custom actions set up in Thunar

3.5.1 Tips and Tricks

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Enable thumbnail images in Thunar

3.5.2 FTP

figure grafix/ThunarNetwork.png
Figure 3-31: Using Thunar to access an FTP site
The File Sharing Protocol (FTP) is used to transfer files from one host to another host over a network.
For a discussion of how FTP works, see this page.

3.5.3 File sharing

There are various possibilities to share files between computers or between a computer and a device

3.5.4 Shares (Samba)

figure grafix/3.5.4 Samba Browse Network.png
Figure 3-32: Using Thunar to browse network shares
Thunar can connect to shared folders (AKA Samba Shares) on Windows, Mac, Linux computers and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. For printing with Samba, see Section 3.1.2.

3.5.5 Creating shares

On MX, Samba can also be used to create Shares for other computers (Windows, Mac, Linux) to access. Creating Public Shares is fairly straightforward, but keep in mind that creating Samba Shares is a complex area from a configuration perspective. For example, the task creating Shares that are specific to individual users and are authenticated properly is beyond the scope of this help. Comprehensive reference guides can be found at Using Samba and
Basic method
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Create a share with the Samba configuration tool
Click Start menu > System > Samba to bring up the Samba Server Configuration tool. Click on the plus sign icon to add a share; details available by clicking on the Help icon. NOTE: users often find that the configuration tool must be augmented with the manual method, below.
Manual method
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Create a share manually
If for some reason you need or want to create shares manually, follow these steps.
MORE: Xfce Docs: Thunar


MX Linux sound depends at the kernel level on Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA), and at the user level on PulseAudio. In most cases sound will work out of the box, though it may need some minor adjustment. Click on the speaker icon to mute all audio, then again to restore. Place cursor over speaker icon in the Notification Area and use scroll wheel to adjust volume. See also Sections 3.6.4, 3.6.5 and 3.8.9.

3.6.1 Sound Card Set-up

If you have more than one sound card, be sure to select the one you want to adjust using the tool MX Select Sound. The sound card is configured and volume of selected tracks adjusted by right-clicking the speaker icon in the Notification Area > Open Mixer. If problems persist after logging out and back in, see Troubleshooting, below. For details about PulseAudio, see below.

3.6.2 Simultaneous card use

There may be times when you would like to use more than one card simultaneously; for instance, you may want to hear music both through headphones and through speakers in another location. This is not easy to do in Linux, but check the PulseAudio FAQ. Also, the solutions on this MX/antiX Wiki page may work, if you are careful to adjust the card references to your own situation.

3.6.3 Troubleshooting

3.6.4 Sound servers

Whereas the Sound Card is a hardware item accessible to the user, the Sound Server is software that works largely in the background. It permits general management of sound cards, and provides the ability carry out advanced operations on the sound. The most common is described here.
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Install PulseAudio
figure grafix/PA-select.png
Figure 3-33: Using PulseAudio Mixer

3.6.5 Links


MX Linux is maintained by an international Dev Team that constantly works to improve and expand the options for localization. There are many languages into which our documents have not yet been translated, and if you can help with this effort please post on the Translation Forum.

3.7.1 Installation

The primary act of localization occurs during the use of the LiveMedium.

3.7.2 Post-installation

figure grafix/3.7.2-keyboard-localization.jpg
Figure 3-34: Adding another keyboard layout in All Settings
Here are the configuration steps you can take to localize your MX Linux after installation.
MORE: Ubuntu documentation
figure grafix/locales.png
Figure 3-35: Re-setting the default language for the installed system

3.7.3 Further notes


Xfce4 makes it very easy to change basic function and look of a user’s configuration, and the integration of Xfce 4.12 has now provided additional features.
MORE: Xfce Tips and tricks (PDF)

3.8.1 Default Theming

Default theming is controlled by a number of customized elements.

3.8.2 General look

The overall appearance can be customized in Start menu > Settings > All Settings.
MORE: Xfce4 docs: Appearance.

3.8.3 Panel

figure grafix/panel_customization.png
Figure 3-36: Preferences screen for customization of panels
MORE: Xfce4 docs: Panel.
figure grafix/horizontalpanel.png
Figure 3-37: Default horizontal panel using MX Panel Orientation.

3.8.4 Desktop

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Customizing the desktop
The default desktop (AKA wallpaper, background) can be changed in various ways.
Many other customizations are available in All Settings.
figure grafix/SetBackground.png
Figure 3-38: Setting different backgrounds for each workspace
You can display almost any kind of information on the desktop by using Conky
MORE: Conky home page
figure grafix/conkymanager2.jpg
Figure 3-39: One of many conky configurations available in Conky Manager 2
Opening programs or activating certain actions/effects can be facilitated by installing the Panel plugin HotCorner. Details on installation and use can be found in the Wiki.
figure grafix/scrot-hotcornersSettings.png
Figure 3-40: The HotCorner settings dialog box
Pull-down terminal
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Customizing the drop-down terminal
MX Linux ships with a very handy drop-down terminal triggered with F4 (change if needed with Start menu > All Settings > Keyboard: Applications Shortcuts tab). Many options for look and function are available by right-clicking an empty location on the main screen > Preferences.

3.8.5 Keyboard

By default, MX Linux uses the keyboard layout that matches the user’s language choice. To make another layout available, see Section 3.7.2.

3.8.6 Menu (“Whisker”)

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Customizing Whisker menu
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Fun with the Whisker menu
MX Linux comes by default with the Whisker Menu, though a classic menu can be easily installed by right-clicking a panel > Panel > Add New Items > Applications Menu. Whisker Menu is highly flexible.
Menu entries can be edited with two applications (the menu entry “desktop” files are located in /usr/share/applications/ and can also be edited as root directly).
figure grafix/MenuEditor.png
Figure 3-41: Menu entry edit screen

3.8.7 Login greeter

The user has a number of tools to customize the login greeter.

3.8.8 Bootloader

The bootloader (GRUB) menu of an installed MX Linux can be modified by clicking Start menu > System > Grub customizer. This tool allows users to configure some important Grub settings such as the boot entry list configuration, names of partitions, etc. Background on functionality here.

3.8.9 System and Event sounds

Computer beeps are silenced by default in the “blacklist” lines in the file /etc/modprobe.d/pc-speaker.conf. Comment out (# at the beginning) those lines as root if you wish to restore them.
Event sounds can be enabled by clicking All Settings > Appearance, Settings tab, and checking the box “Enable event sounds.” If you do not start hearing small sounds when you close a window or logout, for instance, try these steps:
The sound file of reference is Borealis, located in /usr/share/sounds. Two others are in the repos, sound-theme-freedesktop and mx-sound-theme-fresh-and-clean, and others can be found with a web search.

3.8.10 Default applications

The default applications to be used for general operations are set by clicking Start menu > Settings > All Settings > Preferred Applications, where you can set four preferences.
Many defaults for specific file types are set during an application’s installation. For instance, *.docx and *.xlsx files are associated with LibreOffice when it is installed. But often multiple options exist for a given file type, and a user would like to determine which application would launch the file. A common example is when a user wants to open an *.mp3 file with a different music player than Clementine (default). A simple method exists to make that change.
figure grafix/OpenWith.png
Figure 3-42 Changing default application

4 Basic use

4.1 Internet

4.1.1 Web browser

4.1.2 Email

4.1.3 Chat

Video Chat
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Installing Skype (MX 14.4)
See also Section 4.10.6 Google Talk.

4.2 Multimedia

Listed here are some of the many multimedia applications available in MX Linux. Advanced professional applications also exist, and can be found through targeted searches in Synaptic.

4.2.1 Music

figure grafix/clementine.jpg
Figure 4-1: Playing an internet song with Clementine

4.2.2 Video

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Enabling Adobe Flash DRM

4.2.3 Photos

figure grafix/mirage.jpg
Figure 4-3: Using the crop tool in Mirage

4.2.4 Screencasting

figure grafix/simplescreenrecorder.png
Figure 4-4: Main screen of SimpleScreenRecorder

4.2.5 Illustrations

4.3 Office

4.3.1 Office suite

MX Linux comes with a great free office suite called LibreOffice, which is the Linux equivalent and near drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office®. The suite is available under Start Menu > Office > LibreOffice. LibreOffice supports the .docx, .xlsx and .pptx file formats of Microsoft Office 2007 and above.
figure grafix/LO.png
Figure 4-5: Main dashboard in LibreOffice

4.3.2 Office finances

figure grafix/gnuCashNewAccount.png
Figure 4-6: New account in GnuCash

4.3.3 PDF

4.3.4 Desktop publication

4.3.5 Video meeting and remote desktop

4.4 Home

4.4.1 Finances

4.4.2 Media Center

4.4.3 Organization

figure grafix/osmo.png
Figure 4-7: The personal information manager Osmo

4.5 Security

4.5.1 Firewall

4.5.2 Antivirus

4.5.3 AntiRootkit

4.5.4 Password protection

4.5.5 Web access

figure grafix/dansguardian.jpg
Figure 4-8: Web filter in action on Dansguardian

4.6 Accessibility

Various open-source utilities exist for MX Linux users with disabilities by virtue of Xfce4 tools.
MORE: Xfce4 documentation

4.7 System

4.7.1 Get root privileges

There are two ways to obtain root (AKA administrator, superuser) privileges that you need to make system changes (e.g., installing software) using a terminal.
In other words, su lets you switch user so that you’re actually logged in as root, while sudo lets you run commands in your own user account with root privileges. Also, su uses the environment (user-specific configuration) of the user root, while sudo allows root-level changes but keeps the environment of the user issuing the command. In general, MX Linux uses a “true root,” meaning that this Manual and the Forum will generally instruct the use of su.
MORE: click Start menu > enter “#su” or “#sudo” (without the quotes) in the search space and return to see the detailed man pages.
Running a root application
Some applications that can be found in the Start Menu require that the user have root privileges: gparted, grub customizer, lightdm gtk+ greeter, etc. Depending on how the launch command is written, the dialog box that pops up may show that root access will be stored (default setting) for as long as your session lasts (i.e., until you log out).
figure grafix/enter_root.png
Figure 4-9: Dialog box for root password, showing that it will be saved
The next time during the same session that you launch an application needing root privileges, you will see another dialog box telling you that they have been granted without the need for you to enter the password again. If you want to change that default behavior, uncheck “Remember password” the next time you see it.

4.7.2 Get hardware specs

4.7.3 Create symbolic links

A symbolic link (also soft link or symlink) is a special kind of file that points to another file or folder, much like a shortcut in Windows or an alias in Macintosh. A symbolic link does not contain any actual data (as a hard link does), it just points to another location somewhere in the system.
There are two ways to create a symlink: Thunar or the command line.

4.7.4 Find files and folders

figure grafix/FileSearch.png
Figure 4-10: Search screen of Catfish
Catfish is installed by default in MX Linux, and can be launched from the Start menu > Accessories. It is also integrated into Thunar so that the user can right-click a folder > Find files here.
Catfish home page
There are some very handy commands for use in a terminal.

4.7.5 Kill runaway programs

figure grafix/taskmanager.png
Figure 4-11: Task Manager main screen, ready to kill a process.

4.7.6 Track performance

Battery level is monitored by the Power Manager plugin on the Panel. A dedicated Panel plugin is also available.

4.7.7 Schedule tasks

4.7.8 Correct time

If your clock time is always wrong, there are 4 possible issues:
These issues are most easily addressed by using Time Settings (Start menu > System); for command line techniques, see the MX/antiX Wiki.
figure grafix/TimeSettings.png
Figure 4-12: Screen of Time Settings, showing various options.

4.7.9 Show Key Lock

On many laptops there is no indicator light for the activation of the CapsLock or NumLock keys, which can be very annoying. To solve this with an onscreen notifier, install indicator-keylock from the repos.

4.8 Backup

The most important practice is to back up your data and configuration files regularly, a process that is easy in MX Linux. It is highly recommended that you back up to a different drive than the one your data is on! The average user will find one of the following graphical tools convenient, though CLI methods will also work.
figure grafix/luckybackup.png
Figure 4-13: Main screen of Lucky Backup
See also Section 6.6.3 Save system to live ISO.

4.8.1 Data

Make sure you back up your data, including documents, graphics, music, and mail. By default, most of this is stored in your /home directory; we recommend that if possible you have a separate data partition or external data location.

4.8.2 Configuration files

Here is a list of items to consider for backup.

4.8.3 List of installed program packages:

It’s also a good idea to save in your /home directory a file that contains the list of programs that you have installed with Synaptic, apt-get or Gdebi. If in the future you need to reinstall, you can recover the names of the files for reinstallation.
A handy tool to list packages installed since the system was initially installed can be found by right-clicking on the apt-notifier icon in the Notification Area > Apt History. A list of programs you installed via the apt system will appear that you can copy and paste into a document for storage and reference.
You can create an inventory of all packages on your system installed since installation by copying this long command and running it in a terminal. That will create a text file in your home directory called “apps_installed.txt” that contains all the package names.
To reinstall ALL those packages at once: make sure that all needed repositories are enabled, then issue these commands one at a time:
 dpkg \SpecialChar nobreakdash\SpecialChar nobreakdashset-selections < apps_installed.txt
 apt-get update
 apt-get dselect-upgrade
NOTE: this should not be attempted between MX releases based on different Debian versions (e.g., from MX-14.4 to MX-15 or MX-16)

4.9 Games

MX Linux comes with only a few simple games, but many more are available. Browsing the extensive list of games available through Synaptic (click Sections >Games at the bottom of the left panel) or following the links below will bring up many other titles for your enjoyment.
The following list contains some examples to whet your appetite.

4.9.1 Adventure and Shooter Games

figure grafix/4.9.2chromiumbsu.jpg
Figure 4-14: Enemy warships on the attack in Chromium B.S.U

4.9.2 Arcade Games

figure grafix/ri-li.jpg
Figure 4-15: Ri-li train needs a turn choice soon

4.9.3 Board Games

figure grafix/Gnomine.png
Figure 4-16: High-tension moment in Mines.

4.9.4 Card Games

Here are some fun card games available from the repos.

4.9.5 Desktop Fun

figure grafix/tuxpaint.jpg
Figure 4-17: Budding genius at work in Tuxpaint

4.9.6 Children

figure grafix/scratch.jpg
Figure 4-18: Coding screen for Dance Party using Scratch

4.9.7 Tactics & Strategy Games

figure grafix/breakout.png
Figure 4-19: Trying to break through the first wall in Lbreakout

4.9.8 Windows games

A number of Windows games can be played in MX Linux by using a Windows emulator such as Cedega or DOSBox, or some may even run under Wine: see Section 6.1.

4.10 Google tools

figure grafix/TB.png
Figure 4-20: Integrated Google Calendar and Contacts in Thunderbird

4.10.1 Gmail

Gmail accounts can be easily integrated into Thunderbird. Directions in the Help file.

4.10.2 Google’s Contacts

Google’s Contacts can be linked into Thunderbird by using the add-on gContactSync.
MORE: gContactSync home page

4.10.3 Gcal

Gcal can be set up on a tab in Thunderbird with the add-ons Lightning and Google Calendar Tab.
MORE: Lightning calendar home page

4.10.4 Gtasks

Gtasks can be included in Thunderbird by ticking the Tasks entry of the calendar.

4.10.5 Google Earth

The easiest method of installing Google Earth is by using MX Package Installer, where GE is in the “Misc” section.
There is also a manual method that may be useful in some installations.
Now finally Google Earth will appear in Start menu > Internet.

4.10.6 Google Talk

There is a browser plugin called google-talkplugin available from the Google repos that allows you to make a voice or video call to someone from your Gmail account.

5Software Management



Synaptic is the recommended method for beginners to manage software packages, although other methods are also available and may be required for certain situations.


Software operations in MX are accomplished through the Advanced Package Tool (APT) system. Software is provided in the form of a package: a discrete, non-executable bundle of data that includes instructions for your package manager about installation. They are stored on servers called repositories, and can be browsed, downloaded, and installed through special client software called a package manager. The recommended package manager for MX is Synaptic, though the command-line utility apt-get is also included for those who prefer it. The graphical utility Gdebi is launched for downloaded *.deb files with a single click on the file name; an alternative is to open a terminal and use the command dpkg -i packagename.deb
The majority of packages have one or more dependencies, meaning that they have one or more packages that must also be installed in order for them to work. The APT system is designed to automatically handle dependencies for you; in other words, when you try to install a package whose dependencies are not already installed, your APT package manager will automatically mark those dependencies for installation as well. It can happen that these dependencies can not be met, preventing the installation of a package.


APT repositories (repos) are much more than just web sites with downloadable software. The packages on repository sites are specially organized and indexed to be accessed through a package manager, rather than browsed directly.

5.2.1Standard repos

MX Linux comes with a set of enabled repositories that offer you both security and choice. If you are new to MX Linux (and especially if you are new to Linux), it is recommended that in general you stick with the default repositories at first. For security reasons, these repositories are digitally signed, meaning that packages are authenticated with an encryption key to make sure they are authentic. If you install packages from non-Debian repos without the key, you will get a warning that they could not be authenticated. To get rid of this warning and make sure your installations are secure, you need to install missing keys using Check Apt GPG (MX Tools).
Repositories are most easily added, removed, or edited through Synaptic, though they can also be altered by hand by editing the files in /etc/apt/ in a root terminal. In Synaptic, click Settings > Repositories, then click the button New and add the information. The repo information is often given as a single line, like this:
 deb mx-16 test
Be careful to note the location of the spaces, which separate the information into four chunks that are then entered into separate lines in Synaptic.
figure grafix/SynapticRepos_16.png
Figure 5-1: Repos, with the main MX-16 test repo highlighted
Some repositories carry special labels:
The current list of standard MX repositories is kept in the MX/antiX Wiki.

5.2.2Community repos

MX Linux has its own Community Repos with packages that the Packagers build and maintain. These packages are distinct from official MX packages coming from Debian Stable, and typically have been backported from Debian versions in development (testing or even experimental). The Community Repos are critical to MX Linux, since they permit an OS based on Debian Stable to stay abreast of important software developments.
NOTE: The two testing repos should only be enabled to download packages for testing, and immediately disabled afterward. They should not be used on main production machines or mission critical set-ups, as there is by definition a risk that they will break your system.
To find out more about what is available, who the packagers are, and even how to get involved, see MX Community Packaging Project.

5.2.3Dedicated repos

In addition to the general repositories such as Debian, MX, and Community, there also exist a certain number of dedicated repositories associated with a single application. When you add one of them, either directly or through Synaptic, then you will receive updates. Some are preloaded but not enabled, others you will add yourself.
Here is a common example (VirtualBox):
 deb contrib

5.2.4Development repos

One final category of repository exists for acquiring the most recent (and thus least stable) build of an application. This is done through a version control system such as Git that can be used by the end user to stay current with development. The user can check out a copy of the application source code into a directory on a local machine. The portal GitHub is a convenient method of managing projects using Git.
More: Wikipedia: Software repository

5.2.5 Mirrors

MX Linux repositories for both packages and ISOs are “mirrored” on servers at different sites around the world. These mirror sites provide multiple sources of the same information, and function to reduce download time, improve reliability, and provide a certain resiliency in case of server failure. During installation, the most likely mirror will be automatically selected for you based on location and language. But the user may have reasons to prefer another:
MX Repo Manager makes it easy to switch mirrors, enabling you to choose the one that works best for you.

5.3 Synaptic

Synaptic is a friendly, easy-to-use frontend (GUI) to the APT packaging system. It is a graphical tool that allows you to install, remove, upgrade, downgrade, or get information on all the software packages available in the online repositories on your repository list. Note that your root password is required and, naturally, you will need to be connected to the Internet.

5.3.1 Installing and removing packages

Here are the basic steps for installing software in Synaptic:
figure grafix/synaptic_recommended.jpg
Figure 5-2: Checking recommended packages during package installation.
Removing software from your system with Synaptic seems as straightforward as installing, but there is more to it than meets the eye:
figure grafix/synaptic_autoremove.png
Figure 5-3: Getting ready to clear out the autoremovable packages.

5.3.2 Upgrading and downgrading

Synaptic enables you to quickly and conveniently keep your system up-to-date.
Unless you are using a manual method in a terminal, upgrading is typically triggered by the appearance of a green arrow on the Apt-notifier in the Notification Area. There are two ways to proceed when this arrow appears.
Sometimes you may want to downgrade an application to an older version, for instance because of problems that arose with the new one. This is easy to do in Synaptic:
  1. Open Synaptic, supply the root password, and click Reload.
  2. Click on Installed in the panel on the left, then find and highlight the package you want to downgrade in the panel on the right
  3. On the menu bar, click Package > Force version...
  4. Select from the available versions on the pull-down list
  5. Click Force Version, then install in the usual manner.
figure grafix/synaptic_force_version.png
Figure 5-4: Using Force version to downgrade a package
Sometimes you may want to pin an application to a specific version to keep it from being upgraded in order to avoid problems with more recent ones. This is easy to do:
  1. Open Synaptic, supply the root password, and click Reload.
  2. Click on Installed in the panel on the left, then find and highlight the package you want to pin in the panel on the right.
  3. On the menu bar, click Package > Lock version...
  4. Synaptic will highlight the package in red and add a lock icon to the first column.
  5. To unlock, highlight the package again and click Package > Lock version (which will have a check mark).

5.4 Troubleshooting

Synaptic is very reliable, but sometimes you may get an error message. A full discussion of such messages may be found in the MX/antiX Wiki, so here we will only mention a couple of the most common.

5.5 Other methods

5.5.1 Aptitude

Aptitude is a package manager that can be used instead of apt-get or Synaptic. It is available from the repos, and is particularly helpful when dependency problems arise. Can be run as a straight CLI or as a primitive GUI.
figure grafix/aptitude.png
Figure 5-5: Aptitude’s home screen (GUI), showing dependency resolver.
For details on this option, see the MX/antiX Wiki.

5.5.2 Deb packages

The software packages installed through Synaptic (and APT behind it) are in a format called deb (short for Debian, the Linux distribution that devised APT). You can manually install downloaded deb packages using the graphical tool Gdebi or the command-line tool dpkg. These are simple tools to install local deb packages. NOTE: if dependencies can not be satisfied, you will receive a notice and the program will stop.
figure grafix/gdebi.png
Figure 5-6: Gdebi ready to install.
Installing deb files with Gdebi
  1. Navigate to the deb package you want to install and click on it. Gdebi will open the install dialog.
  2. Click Install.
  3. Enter your root password when prompted.
  4. Gdebi will attempt to install the package, and report the results.
Installing *.deb files with dpkg
  1. Navigate to the folder containing the deb package you want to install.
  2. Right-click an empty space to open a terminal and become root
  3. Install the package with the command (substituting the real package name, of course):
     dpkg -i packagename.deb
  4. If you are installing multiple packages in the same directory at the same time, you can do it all at once using:
     dpkg -i *.deb
    NOTE: In a shell command, the asterisk is a wild card in the argument. In this case it will cause the program to apply the command to any file whose name ends with .deb.
  5. If required dependencies are not installed on your system already, you will get unmet dependencies errors as dpkg does not automatically take care of them. To correct these errors and finish the installation, run this code:
     apt-get -f install
  6. Apt-get will attempt to rectify the situation by either installing the needed dependencies (if they are available from the repositories), or removing your .deb files (if the dependencies can not be installed).

5.5.3 CLI methods

It is equally possible to use the command line to install, remove, update, switch repositories and generally to manage packages. Instead of launching Synaptic to carry out common tasks, for instance, many users will just open a terminal, become root and use one of these commands.
Table 5: Common commands to manage packages
Command Action
apt-get install packagename Install a certain package
apt-get remove packagename Remove a certain package
apt-get purge packagename Completely remove a certain package (but not configuration/data in /home)
apt-get autoremove Clear out leftover packages after a removal
apt-get update Refresh the package list from the repos
apt-get upgrade Install all available upgrades
apt-get dist-upgrade Intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions of packages

5.5.4 More install methods

Sooner or later some software that you want to install will not be available in the repositories and you may need to use other installation methods. These methods include:

5.5.5 Links


6Advanced use

6.1Windows programs under MX Linux

There are a certain number of applications, both open-source and commercial, that will allow Windows applications to run under MX Linux. They are referred to as emulators, meaning that they replicate the functions of Windows on a Linux platform. Many MS Office applications, games and other programs can be run using an emulator with varying degrees of success ranging from near-native speed and functionality to only basic performance.

6.1.1 Open-source

Wine is the primary open-source Windows emulator for MX Linux. It is a kind of compatibility layer for running Windows programs, but does not require Microsoft Windows to run the applications. Installable through MX Package Installer (under Misc); if installing with Synaptic, select "winehq-staging" to get all wine-staging packages. Wine versions are rapidly packaged by the Community Repository members and made available to users, with the latest version coming from the test repo.
NOTE: In order to run Wine when running Live, you need to use home persistence (Section 6.6.3).
DOSBox creates a DOS-like environment intended for running MS-DOS-based programs, especially computer games.
DOSEMU is software available from the repos that allows DOS to be booted in a virtual machine, making it possible to run Windows 3.1, Word Perfect for DOS, DOOM, etc.
figure grafix/wine-photoshop-55-on-mx14-3_2.jpg
Figure 6-1: Photoshop 5.5 running under Wine

6.1.2 Commercial

CrossOver Office allows you to install many popular Windows productivity applications, plugins and games in Linux, without needing a Microsoft Operating System license. Supports Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint (up to 2003) particularly well.

6.2Virtual machines

Virtual machine applications are a class of programs that simulate a virtual computer in memory, allowing you to install any operating system on the machine. It is useful for testing, running non-native applications, and providing users the feeling of having a machine of their own. Many MX Linux users make use of virtual machine software to run Microsoft Windows “in a window” to seamlessly provide access to software written for Windows on their desktop. It is also used for testing to avoid installation.

6.2.1 Setup

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Virtual Box: install and configure (14.4)
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Virtual Box: set up a shared folder (14.4)
A number of virtual machine software applications for Linux exist, both open-source and proprietary. MX makes it particularly easy to use VirtualBox, so we will focus on that here. For details and the most recent developments, see the Links section below. Here is an overview of the basic steps to set up and run VirtualBox:
figure grafix/VB.jpg
Figure 6-2: Windows 2000 running in VirtualBox

6.2.2 Use

figure grafix/VB_iso.png
Figure 6-3: Setting the ISO for a new VirtualBox guest “Some OS”

6.3Alternate Window Managers

A window manager (originally WIMP: Window, Icon, Menu, and Pointing device) in Linux is essentially the component which controls the appearance of Graphical user interfaces and provides the means by which the user can interact with them. MX Linux is tightly tied to Xfce, as part of its overall approach, but other possibilities exist for users. MX Linux makes it easy to install the most popular alternatives through the MX Package Installer, as described below.
figure grafix/mate.jpg
Figure 6-4: MATE running on top of MX Linux, with YouTube Browser open
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png MX-16 with Kwin
Once installed, you can choose the window manager you want from the Session Button on the default login screen and log in to as you normally would. If you replace the login manager with another from the repos, make sure you always have at least one available upon reboot.
Wikipedia: X Window Managers

6.4Command Line

Although MX offers a complete set of graphical tools for installing, configuring, and using your system, the command line (also called the console, terminal, BASH, or shell) is still a useful and at times indispensable tool. Here are some common uses:
The default program to run a terminal in an MX desktop window is XFCE Terminal, which can be found at Start Menu > System > Xfce Terminal (Terminal Emulator). Some commands are only recognized for super user (root), while others may vary the output depending on user.
To obtain temporary root permissions:
  1. open Xfce Terminal.
  2. type su.
  3. enter root’s password (nothing will show on the screen)
You will recognize when Xfce Terminal is running with root privileges by looking at the prompt line right before the space where you type. Instead of a $, you will see a #; in addition, the user name changes to root written in red. If you try to run as a regular user a command that requires root privileges such as iwconfig, you may receive an error message that the command was not found, see a message box that the program must be run as root, or simply find yourself at the prompt again with no message at all.
figure grafix/6.4.1terminalrunningroot_notepromptchange.png
Figure 6-5: User now has temporary administrative (root) privileges

6.4.1First steps

6.4.2Common commands

Here is a list of rudimentary terminal commands. For a complete reference, see the Links section, below.
Filesystem navigation
Table 6: Filesystem navigation commands
Command Comment
cd /usr/share Changes current directory to the given path: “/usr/share”. With no argument, cd takes you to your home directory.
pwd Prints the current working directory path
ls Lists the contents of the current directory. Use the -a switch to show hidden files as well, and the -l switch to show details on all files. Often combined with other terms. lsusb lists all the usb devices, lsmod all the modules, etc.
File management
Table 7: File management commands
Command Comment
cp sourcefile destinationfile Copy a file to another filename or location. Use the -R switch (“recursive”) to copy entire directories.
mv sourcefile destinationfile Move a file or directory from one location to another. Also used to rename files or directories and to make a backup: for example before changing a critical file such as xorg.conf you might use this command to move it to something like xorg.conf_bak.
rm filename Delete a file. Use the -R switch to delete a directory, and the -f switch (“force”) if you don’t want to be prompted to confirm each deletion.
cat file.txt Prints the contents of a file on the screen. Only use on text files.
grep Find a given string of characters in a given piece of text, and print the entire line it was on. Usually used with a pipe, e.g. cat somefile.txt Ⅰ grep /somestring/ will display the line from somefile.txt that contains somestring. To find a network usb card, for instance, you could type: lsusb Ⅰ grep Network. The grep command is case sensitive by default, use the -i switch to make it case-insensitive.
dd Copies anything bit by bit, so can be used for directories, partitions, and whole drives. Basic syntax is dd if=<some file> of=<some other file>
Table 8: Symbols
Command Comment
| The pipe symbol used to send the output of one command to the input of another. Some keyboards show two short vertical bars instead of on
> The redirect symbol, used to send the output of a command into a file of device. Doubling the redirect symbol will cause the output of a command to be added to an existing file rather than replacing it.
& Adding the ampersand to the end of a command (with a space before it) causes it to run in the background so that you don’t have to wait for it to complete to issue the next command. Double ampersand indicates that the second command should only be run if the first has been successful.
For most new Linux users, the command line is mainly used as a troubleshooting tool. Terminal commands give quick, detailed information that can be easily pasted into a forum post, search box, or email when seeking help on the web. It is strongly recommended that you keep this information at hand when asking for help. Being able to refer to your specific hardware configuration will not only speed up your process of obtaining help, but also it will let others offer you more accurate solutions. Here are some common troubleshooting commands (see also Section 3.4.4). Some of them may not output information, or not as much information unless you are logged in as root.
Table 9: Troubleshooting commands
Command Comment
lspci Shows a quick summary of detected internal hardware devices. If a device shows as /unknown/, you usually have a driver issue. The -v switch causes more detailed information to be displayed.
lsusb Lists attached usb devices.
dmesg Shows the system log for the current session (i.e. since you last booted). The output is quite long, and usually this is piped through grep, less (similar to most) or tail (to see what happened most recently). For example, to find potential errors related to your network hardware, try dmesg Ⅰ grep -i net.
top Provides a real-time list of running processes and various statistics about them. Also available from the Start menu as Htop along with a nice graphical version Task Manager.
Accessing documentation for commands
You can create an alias (personal command name) for any command, short or long, that you want. Details in the MX/antiX Wiki.



A script is a simple text file that can be written directly from a keyboard, and consists of a logically sequenced series of operating system commands. The commands are handled one at a time by a command interpreter which in turn requests services from the operating system. The default command interpreter in MX is Bash. The commands must be understandable to Bash, and command lists have been established for programming use. A shell script is the Linux counterpart of batch programs in the Windows world.
Scripts are used throughout the Linux OS and applications that run on it as an economical method of executing multiple commands in an easily created and modified manner. During boot, for instance, many scripts are invoked to start up specific processes such as printing, networking, etc. Scripts are also used for automated processes, system administration, application extensions, user controls, etc. Finally, users of all kinds can employ scripts for their own purposes.

6.5.1A simple script

Let’s do a very simple (and famous) script to get the basic idea.
  1. Open the text editor Leafpad (Start Menu > Accessories), and type:
     echo Good morning, world!
  2. Save that file in your home directory with the name
  3. Right-click the file name, select Properties, and check “Allow this file to run as a program” on the Permissions tab.
  4. Open a terminal and type: 
     sh /home/<username>/
  5. The line “Good morning, world!” will appear on your screen. This simple script doesn’t do very much, but it does establish the principle that a simple text file can be used to send commands to control your system’s behavior.
NOTE:All scripts open with a shebang as in the the beginning of the first line: it is a combination of a hash sign (#), an exclamation point, and the path to the command interpreter. Here, Bash is the interpreter and it is found in the standard location for user applications.

6.5.2A useful script

Let’s look at a useful script for the ordinary user that reduces all the moves involved in backing up multiple sets of files into a single keystroke. The script below relies itself on a system script called Rdiff-backup that would need to be installed from the repos for the script to work. It copies one directory to another, keeping a record of the differences in a special subdirectory so you can still recover files lost some time ago. (Incidentally, Rdiff-backup relies in turn on a script called Diff.)
In this example, a user named “newbie” wants to set up a script to back up documents, music, mail and pictures from the /home directory to an external drive.
 1 #!/bin/bash
 2 #
 3 # This Rdiff-Backup script backs up to a second hard drive
 4 # It must be run as root in order to mount the second hard drive
 6 # To restore files, issue the command: cp -a /mnt/sda1/username /home
 7 # To restore, but not overwrite:
 8 # cp -a -i \SpecialChar nobreakdash\SpecialChar nobreakdash”reply=no /mnt/sda1/username /home
 10 # Mount the external devices
 12 mount /dev/sdb1
 13 mount /dev/sdb2
 14 mount /dev/sdb3
 16 # Execute the backup
 18 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Documents /mnt/sdb2/Documents
 19 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Music /mnt/sdb1/Music
 20 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Mail /mnt/sdb2/Mail
 21 rdiff-backup /home/newbie/Pictures /mnt/sdb3/Pictures
 23 # Unmount the external devices
 25 umount /dev/sdb1
 26 umount /dev/sdb2
 27 umount /dev/sdb3
Now let’s look at this script’s components:
Anyone who wanted to use such a script would have to carry out a few execution steps:
  1. Copy the whole script.
  2. Right-click the desktop and select Create New > Text file...
  3. Give the file a name that makes sense (no spaces, though), and add the “sh” extension so you will recognize it is a script. For this example, you might select
  4. Open the new text file and paste in the script.
  5. Change any names, locations, etc. to what they are on your particular system. In the example above, you may well have different names and/or locations for the directories to be backed up, and different devices where they are supposed to go.
  6. Save that script in a place you can easily find it when you need it, let’s say you make a new directory /home/scripts for it.
  7. Right-click the script, select Properties, click on the Permissions tab, and check the Is executable box and click OK.
  8. When you are ready to backup, open a terminal and type: sh /home/scripts/ HINT: use the tab key to autocomplete the file name after you type the first few letters.

6.5.3 Pre-installed user scripts

The following scripts allow users to help keep their MX Linux installation up-to-date and running as a rolling release.
When run, smxi allows users to install a new kernel, install ATI and Nvidia graphics drivers, run apt-get upgrade or apt-get dist-upgrade safely, and lots more! Written by a programmer known as “h2”, the script is pretty much self explanatory, but for usage options, execute smxi -h.
smxi must be run outside of the X window system (i.e., not from the desktop) for most functions.
smxi will ask a series of questions the first time it is run, including which system options you want to run. The following options are recommended:
After smxi has completed its operations it will ask if you want to restart the desktop. NOTE: Running smxi -G in a root terminal while inside a running X session allows certain features of smxi to run, such as removing unwanted kernels etc.
smxi home page
smxi documentation
This h-2 script runs inside smxi or separately, and deals with installing graphical drivers. Sgfxi currently supports ATI, fglrx and Nvidia drivers. It also supports converting from or to xorg free drivers like ati, intel, or nv. Follow the procedure above to start the script, replacing smxi with sgfxi.
Sgfxi requires a working internet connection! Some wireless internet connections may be dropped when operating outside of X. If this applies to your internet connection either temporarily switch over to a wired internet connection before proceeding or use the ’Partial install in X, completion outside of X method’ instructions in the next section below.
The sgfxi script automatically downloads and installs the kernel headers and everything else it needs. Then it downloads the binary graphic driver installers from either Nvidia or ATI, prepares system, installs, then sets up xorg.conf, all in a fairly clean, reasonably intuitive way. Plus it updates itself so any new drivers released will be installed. Finally, sgfxi allows you to easily switch between proprietary non free drivers like ATI’s fglrx and Nvidia’s nvidia driver and the free xorg drivers.
NOTE: running sgfxi on an nvidia chipset system will remove ddm-mx, the software package used by the MX Tools installers, so you need to reinstall it if you wish to use it.
sgfxi manual
A third script from h-2 included in MX Linux is inxi, a convenient command-line system information script. Enter inxi -h in a terminal to see all the options available, which include an entire range from sensor output to the weather.
MORE: MX/antiX Wiki

6.6Advanced MX Tools

In addition to the configuration MX Apps discussed in Section 3.2, MX Linux includes 2 utilities for the advanced user available from MX Tools.

6.6.1 Live-usb kernel updater (CLI)

WARNING: for use in a Live session only!
This command line application can update the kernel on an MX LiveUSB with any kernel that has been installed. This application will only show in MX Tools when running a Live session.
figure grafix/KernelUpdaterSelect.png
Figure 6-6: The live-usb kernel updater tool ready to switch to a new kernel
HELP: here.

6.6.2Live-usb maker (GUI)

Use to create a live-usb starting from an iso file, a live -cd/dvd or an existing live-usb or even a running live system. Although UNetbootin is also available by default (see Section 2.2.3), live-usb maker has a number of advantages:
NOTE: the CLI form (live-usb-maker, run as root) offers many advanced options.
figure grafix/LiveUSBmaker.png
Figure 6-6: The live-usb maker tool ready to create a live usb
HELP: here.

6.6.3 Live remaster/persistence (RemasterCC)

figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Make a snapshot of an installed system
NOTE: this application will only show in MX Tools when running a Live session.
WARNING: for use in a Live session only!
The primary purpose of live remastering is to make it as safe, easy, and convenient as possible for users to make their own customized version of MX Linux that can be distributed to other computers.
The idea is that you use a LiveUSB (or a LiveHD: a frugal install; see the MX/antiX Wiki) to a hard drive partition as the development and testing environment. Add or subtract packages and then when you are ready to remaster, use a simple remaster script or GUI to do the remaster and then reboot. If something goes horribly wrong, simply reboot again with the rollback option and you will boot into the previous environment.
WARNING: for use in a Live session only!
WARNING: may fail with large upgrades that can overwhelm the RAM. Alternative procedures are available.
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Live USB with persistence (legacy mode)
figure grafix/video_camera_rf.png Live USB with persistence (UEFI mode)
Persistence is a hybrid between a LiveMedium and a full install; it allows you to retain any files you install or add during a live session. Programs installed or removed from, and customizations to, the "demo" user files during live persistence will be carried over to the installed system.
figure grafix/remastercc.png
Figure 6-7: The remaster and persistence tool
HELP: here.

6.6.4 Snapshot

This tool makes a copy of your running system and creates an ISO from it.
The ISO can be put on a LiveMedium in the usual manner (see Section 2.2). To then install from the LiveMedium, open a root terminal and enter the command: minstall.
figure grafix/snapshot.png
Figure 6-8: Opening screen of Snapshot
HELP: here.

6.7 SSH

SSH (Secure Shell) is a protocol used to securely log onto remote systems. It is the most common way to access remote Linux and Unix-like computers. MX Linux comes with the main packages necessary to run SSH in active mode, the main one being OpenSSH, a free implementation of the Secure Shell that consists of a whole suite of applications.

6.7.1 Troubleshooting

Occasionally, SSH does not work in passive mode, sending a message of denied connection. Then you can try the following:
MORE: Openssh manual

7Under the hood


MX Linux ultimately inherits its fundamental design from Unix, an operating system that has been around in various forms since 1970, much earlier than MS-Windows. From that Linux was developed, from which Debian develops its distribution. The base operating system is the topic of this section. Users coming from Microsoft Windows typically find a lot of unfamiliar concepts, and get frustrated trying to do things the way they are accustomed to doing them.
This section will give you a conceptual overview of some basic aspects of MX Linux, and how they differ from other systems to help ease your transition.

7.2The file system structure

There are two basic uses of the term “file system”. The first is the Operating System’s Filesystem. This refers to the files and their organization that the operating system uses to keep track of all the hardware and software resources it has as its disposal while running.
The other use of the term file system refers to the Disk Filesystem, designed for the storage and retrieval of files on a data storage device, most commonly a disc drive. The Disk Filesystem is set when the disk partition is first formatted, prior to writing any data on the partition.
The Operating System’s Filesystem
One of the first problems many new Linux users struggle with is how the file system works. If you have been looking around your MX Linux system trying to find the C:\ drive or D:\ drive, for instance, you are searching in vain: MX Linux handles hard drives and other storage media differently from Windows. Rather than having a separate file system tree on every device, MX Linux has a single file system tree ( called the /root/ of the file system) which is marked “/” and contains every attached device. When a storage device is added to the system, its file system is attached to a directory or subdirectory of the file system; this is called mounting a drive or device. If you open Thunar and click on File System in the upper left pane, you will notice a number of directories with names based on the Unix Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.
figure grafix/filesystem.png
Figure 7-1: The MX filesystem viewed in Thunar
Here is a simple description of the major directories in MX Linux along with an example of when users commonly work with files in those directories:
The Disk Filesystem
The disk file system is something about which the average user does not need to be much concerned. The default disk file system used by MX Linux is called ext4, a version of the ext2 file system that is journaled —i.e., it writes changes to a log before enacting them, rendering it more robust. The file system ext4 is set during installation when your hard drive is formatted.
By and large, ext4 has more years on its track record than any of its rivals, and combines stability and speed; for these reasons, we do not recommend installing MX Linux onto a different disk file system unless you are well-educated in the differences. However, MX Linux can read and write to many other formatted disk filesystems, and may even be installed on some of them, if for some reason one of them is preferred over ext4.


MX Linux is an account-based operating system. This means that no program can run without a user account to run under, and any running program is thereby limited by the permissions granted to the user who started it.
NOTE: Much of the security and stability that Linux is known for hinges on the proper use of limited user accounts, and the protection provided by default file and directory permissions. For this reason, you should operate as root only for a procedure that requires it. Never log into MX Linux as root to run the computer for normal activities–running a web browser as root user, for instance, is one of the few ways you could get a virus on a Linux system!
Basic information
The default file permissions structure in Linux is fairly simple, but more than adequate for most situations. For each file or folder, there are three permissions that can be granted, and three entities (owner/creator, group, others/world) to which they are granted. The permissions are:
NOTE: For advanced users, there are additional special attributes beyond read/write/execute that can be set: sticky bit, SUID, and SGID. For more information, see Links section below.
Viewing, setting and changing permissions
There are many tools available in MX Linux to view and manage permissions.

7.4Configuration files

With only rare exceptions, program and system settings on MX Linux are stored in discrete plain text configuration files; there is no “Registry” which requires special tools to edit. Most configuration files are just simple lists of parameters and values which are read by programs when they launch to determine their behavior.

7.4.1User config files

Files that hold individual user settings (such as high scores for your games, or the layout of your desktop) are stored within a Users home directory, typically as a hidden file or directory, and can only be edited by that user or by root. These personal configuration files are actually less often edited directly than system files because most of the user configuration is done graphically through the applications themselves. When you open an application and click Edit > Preferences, for example, your selections are written to a (usually hidden) configuration file in your user directory. Likewise in Firefox, when you type about:config in the address bar, you are editing the hidden configuration files.

7.4.2System config files

Files that hold system-wide configurations or defaults (such as the file that determines which services automatically launch during boot up) are largely stored in the /etc/ directory and are only editable by root. Most of these files are never touched directly by regular users, such as these for instance:
Some configuration files can contain just a few lines, or even be empty, while others may be quite long. The important point is that if you are looking for a configuration file for an application or process, head for the /etc directory and look around. Caution: because these files affect the whole system, 1) back up any file you intend to edit (easiest in Thunar: copy and paste back in, adding BAK at the end of the file name), and 2) be very careful!


Sound problems can be solved with a number of graphical and command-line tools, but once in a while a user needs to edit directly the system-wide configuration file. For many systems, this will be /etc/modprobe.d/snd-hda-intel.conf. It is a simple file whose top paragraph looks like this:
 # some chips require that the model be set manually
 # for example asus g71 series may need model=g71v
 options snd-hda-intel model=auto
To try to get sound, you might decide to substitute the exact information about the sound model in place of the word “auto.”. To find out your sound model, you could open a terminal and type: lspci │ grep Audio
The output will depend on the system, but it will take the following form:
 00:05.0 Audio device: nVidia Corporation MCP61 High Definition Audio (rev a2)
Now you can plug that information back into the configuration file:
 # some chips require that the model be set manually
 # for example asus g71 series may need model=g71v
 options snd-hda-intel model=nvidia
You would save the file, reboot the machine, and hopefully your sound should be working. You could also try more precision by using model=nvidia mcp61 instead, if the first did not work.


MX Linux boots up by executing the program init. After completing the boot process, init executes all startup scripts in a directory specified by the default runlevel (this runlevel is given by the entry for id in /etc/inittab). Like most other Linux versions, MX Linux has 7 runlevels:
Table 10: Runlevels in MX Linux
Runlevel Comment
0 Halt the system
1 Single-user mode: provides a root console without logon. Useful if you lose your root password
2 Multiuser with no network
3 Console logon, no X (i.e. no GUI)
4 Not used/custom
5 Default GUI logon
6 Reboot the system
MX Linux defaults to runlevel 5, therefore any init scripts set up in the level 5 config file will run at boot.
Understanding runlevels can be handy. When users have a problem with X Window Manager, for instance, they can not correct it on the default runlevel 5, because X is running on that level. But they can get to runlevel 3 to work on the problem in one of two ways.
Once the cursor is at a prompt, login with your normal username and password. If necessary, you can also login as “root” and provide the administrative password. Useful commands when you are looking at the prompt on runlevel 3 include:
Table 11: Common runlevel 3 commands
Command Comment
runlevel Returns the number of the runlevel you are on.
halt Run as root. Shuts the machine down. If that does not work on your system, try poweroff.
reboot Run as root. Reboots the machine.
<application> Runs the application, as long as it is not graphical. For instance, you can use the command nano to edit text files, but not leafpad.
Ctrl-Alt-F7 If you used Ctrl-Alt-F1 to drop out from a running desktop but did not continue down to runlevel 3, this command brings you back to your desktop.
telinit 5 Run as root. If you are on runlevel 3, enter this command to get to the login manager lightdm.
NOTE: these commands may change in the future if MX Linux switches to a new system manager.

7.6The kernel


To provide a background, here is a simplified diagram and description of the kernel’s position in a Linux OS, borrowed from Anatomy of the Linux kernel.
figure grafix/Kernel.jpg
Figure 7-3: Diagram of the Linux kernel
At the top is the user space, or application space. This is where the user applications are executed. Below the user space is the kernel space. Here, the Linux kernel exists. There is also the GNU C Library (glibc). This provides the system call interface that connects to the kernel and provides the mechanism to transition between the user-space application and the kernel. This is important because the kernel and user application occupy different protected address spaces. And while each user-space process occupies its own virtual address space, the kernel occupies a single address space.

7.6.2 Upgrading/Downgrading

Unlike other software on your system, the kernel is not upgraded automatically except below the minor revision level (indicated by the third number in the kernel name). Before you change your current kernel, you would do well to ask yourself some questions: Why do I want to upgrade the kernel? Is there a driver I need for new hardware, for instance? Am I aware that I might have problems of one kind or another?
MX Linux provides an easy method of upgrading/downgrading the default kernel: open MX Package Installer and click on the “Kernel” category. There you will see two active entries surrounding the greyed-out default kernel:
Once you check and install the new kernel, reboot and make sure the new kernel is highlighted; if not, click on the options line and select what you want.
figure grafix/kernel_select.png
Figure 7-4: Kernel options in MX Package Installer for 64bit architecture
Here is a basic approach for manually upgrading the Linux kernel on your system.
Be sure to write down the name of the kernel (bolded above) from the output of that command.

7.6.3 Kernel upgrade and drivers

Dynamic Kernel Module Support(DKMS) automatically recompiles all DKMS driver modules when a new kernel version is installed. This allows drivers and devices outside of the mainline kernel to continue working after a Linux kernel upgrade. The exception concerns proprietary graphics drivers (Section 3.3.2).

7.6.4 More options

Other considerations and choices exist with respect to kernels:

7.6.5 Links

7.6.6Kernel panic and recovery

A kernel panic is a relatively rare action taken by the MX Linux system when it detects an internal fatal error from which it can not safely recover. It can be caused by a number of different factors that range from hardware problems to a bug in the system itself. When you get a kernel panic, try rebooting with the MX Linux LiveMedium, which will overcome temporarily any software problems and hopefully allow you to see and offload your data. If that doesn’t work, then unplug all unnecessary hardware and try again.
Your first concern is to access and secure your data. Hopefully, you have it backed up somewhere. If not, you can use one of the data recovery programs such ddrescue that is supplied with MX Linux. Your last resort is to take your hard drive to a professional recovery business.
There are a number of steps you might have to take to recover a functional MX Linux system once you have your data safe, although ultimately you may have to reinstall using the LiveMedium. Depending on the type of failure, the following steps may be undertaken:
  1. Remove packages that broke the system.
  2. Reinstall the graphic driver.
  3. Reinstall GRUB using MX Boot Repair.
  4. Reset the root password.
  5. Reinstall MX Linux, selecting the check box on Screen 2 to keep /home so that your personal configurations will not be lost.
Be sure to ask on the Forum if you have any questions about these procedures.


Linux terms can be confusing and offputting at first, so this Glossary provides a list of the ones used in this Manual to get you started.