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#1 2013-07-17 14:30:47

lu6cifer
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Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 5

Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

I'm getting ready to install Arch soon, but I thought of a slight issue:
I have an existing Ubuntu partition with separate / and /home partitions. The plan is to just install Arch on / and leave /home alone (hehe...home alone). But there are a lot of dotfiles and configurations
in my /home currently that I'm using for my applications in Ubuntu.

Obviously, when I install Arch, these applications will all get replaced, so I won't care about their config files. However, my /home will (theoretically) be untouched after the installation, but all the dotfiles from my Ubuntu apps will carry over.

I thought about just deleting *all* of the dotfiles in /home as soon as I boot into Arch for the first time, but I'm not sure if Arch generates its own dotfiles in /home, and I wouldn't want to accidentally delete those. If Arch doesn't generate any, then I think my problem's solved.

But if Arch does generate them, then is there a way to delete just my Ubuntu dotfiles that have carried over during installation?

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#2 2013-07-17 14:36:08

WonderWoofy
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From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

Arch doesn't "generate" anything in $HOME.  Though there may be some applications that will try to create configs within the $HOME of the user that started it. 

Anyway, pacman doesn't ever touch your home folder whatsoever.  It goes as far as creating /home in the filesystem package, but the actual filling of that data within /home is up to you.  So what I would do is install the root filesystem w/o /home mounted (just to make super sure you don't accidentally screw it up), then just add that partition to your fstab when you are done.

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#3 2013-07-17 14:47:00

lu6cifer
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Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 5

Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

Okay, thanks!
Thanks for the tip about fstab as well. I was trying to figure out how to install my root partition only.

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#4 2013-07-17 14:48:46

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 13,373
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Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

Agreed with WW, but I'd say the best approach depends on your goal.

If you have a lot of 'dot-files' that won't be used with your arch programs, then I can understand the desire to do a good clean up - but it is not strictly necessary.

The only place where it would be necessary would be for programs for which the configuration has changed substantially between the version you had in ubuntoo and the current versions that arch will get you - this may lead to some programs failing to start.  In these cases though, the cause should be obvious.

If you want a good middle ground, you could backup all your dotfiles, remove them all, install arch as WW suggests (without the home partition mounted), then as you start using programs and realize "oh, crap, I wish I still had my ubuntoo config" then you can restore it from the backup and revise it as necessary for version changes.

Migrating my 'dotfiles' for vim, bash, and mutt are first thing I need to do when I get a fresh install - otherwise I keep running into things that just feel like they don't work right (they don't work how I'm used to).

Last edited by Trilby (2013-07-17 14:49:29)


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#5 2013-07-17 15:40:11

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
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Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

When you first login to your new Arch Linux installation, you will be root, so it will be easy to do whatever with the dot files in the user's home directory. wink

Here's a tip for working with dot files: Use ".??*" when refering to them on the command line.

# Examples:
# mv .??* ~/old_dot_files/
#  or
# rm -rf .??*

Last edited by drcouzelis (2013-07-17 15:40:46)

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#6 2013-07-17 16:58:35

lu6cifer
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Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 5

Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

Thanks for all the advice!
I realize a cleanup isn't strictly necessary, but I just want a nice, cleaner home directory.
Also I've heard of people using git/github to actually manage dotfiles all in one /home/dotfiles folder, so that might be a possibility for me later.

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#7 2013-07-20 23:29:00

cfr
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From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 5,661

Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

If you want to start with "Arch default" dotfiles (insofar as there is any such thing) then after your existing dotfiles have been backed up, copy the defaults from /etc/skel. Since you will not create a home directory when you create your user account (I assume), these won't get installed by default.

To simplify your life, check the user id of your Ubuntu user account and create your Arch user account with the same uid. That will avoid permissions/ownership issues with your files.

One of the first things I do on a new system is copy over dotfiles - even when switching OS I've done that and modified rather than starting from scratch. Mind you, that's why I have an antiquated set up designed to keep the configurations for tcsh and bash in sync so I probably wouldn't recommend it...


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#8 2013-07-20 23:35:15

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

cfr wrote:

Since you will not create a home directory when you create your user account (I assume), these won't get installed by default.

They would not be copied there by default anyways.  Creating a home directory and user does not create any files in that directory.


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#9 2013-07-21 00:24:24

cfr
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From: Cymru
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Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

Trilby wrote:
cfr wrote:

Since you will not create a home directory when you create your user account (I assume), these won't get installed by default.

They would not be copied there by default anyways.  Creating a home directory and user does not create any files in that directory.

Hmm. Then the manual page for useradd is wrong? It claims that if -m is used that the contents of the skeleton directory are copied into the new home and that if no skeleton directory is specified, the value of the environment variable SKEL is taken or, failing that, /etc/skel by default.


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#10 2013-07-21 01:02:09

Trilby
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Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

Oops, or perhaps I'm wrong.  I didn't think anything was added ... random thought, trumped by manual page.


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#11 2013-07-21 07:39:27

fantab
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From: 3rd Rock from the Sun
Registered: 2011-06-07
Posts: 150

Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

If you install Arch only to '/' then your Home Folder will be created in that partition. And Later if you add /home (which may not be /home but a simple partition) to fstab your default Home will still be the one created in '/'. So if you intend to keep separate /home it will be a good idea to just use the /home you already have, just don't format it. Mount it during installation.

As for the dotfiles if you are removing Ubuntu then remove those dotfiles. I always back up some dot folders like, .thunderbird, .mozilla etc. and use them between distros.

...my two cents.


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#12 2013-07-21 11:44:08

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Removing dotfiles in /home when installing over an Ubuntu partition

The home folder will have to be created - that is the mount point for the home partition.  This partition should not be mounted during the installation though.


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