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Author Topic: Best Linux distro to run a full node  (Read 1057 times)
neurotypical
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October 29, 2017, 03:47:22 PM
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I don't have much experience with Linux, so I would like to know what is a safe and reliable distro that at the same time is user friendly for a regular Windows user, in order to be able to run a full Bitcoin Core node and forget about constantly being paranoid of doing so in Windows.

I heard Ubuntu is really user friendly but I also heard that Ubuntu is no longer considered safe because it got bought by some sort corporation or something like that. Im not sure about the details but I remember reading something dodgy about Ubuntu.

I would also like to know if I can re-use my existing "blocks" and "chainstate" folders of my Bitcoin Core windows folder into the the Linux folder to not have to go through the entire thing from scratch.
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aleksej996
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October 29, 2017, 04:21:00 PM
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I didn't really hear any controversies about Ubuntu, at least I can't find anything recent on Wikipedia at the moment and I would remember if I heard something until now. But there are other platforms considered more secure as far as I know. OpenBSD is a very simple OS that actually isn't Linux, but is Unix based. It apparently had a very few vulnerabilities in it's default installations in the past despite it's long history. The code is apparently highly and actively reviewed regularly to check for any vulnerabilities. The security is their number one goal as far as I understand and I use that OS for my own node.

I don't know about user friendly tho, that is subjective. I did compile Bitcoin Core from source and I am unaware of any packages for OpenBSD, but then again I didn't search a lot for it as I always compile Bitcoin Core from source and recommend it as well. Just follow the instructions in the Bitcoin Core documentation in source code and you should be fine.
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October 29, 2017, 06:03:55 PM
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If you don't have much experience with Linux, I suggest to just try a few distributions. I've had several of them, I especially didn't like what Ubuntu did to the GUI, so I left them. You could try Kubuntu too, or Elementary OS, or Linux Mint, or Arch Linux, or CentOS. There's also the "classics" like Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian and Fedora.
In general, they're all quite safe, but some focus more on security than others. But if you have some time to spare, I recommend to just try a few and see which one fits your needs.

I would also like to know if I can re-use my existing "blocks" and "chainstate" folders of my Bitcoin Core windows folder into the the Linux folder to not have to go through the entire thing from scratch.
I'm pretty sure you can just copy it, but I'd prefer to just let it run from scratch.

Quote
in order to be able to run a full Bitcoin Core node and forget about constantly being paranoid of doing so in Windows.
For what it's worth: I'm just as paranoid running Linux. I actually consider it a good default, don't ever assume your computer is safe!

neurotypical
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October 29, 2017, 07:24:25 PM
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I didn't really hear any controversies about Ubuntu, at least I can't find anything recent on Wikipedia at the moment and I would remember if I heard something until now. But there are other platforms considered more secure as far as I know. OpenBSD is a very simple OS that actually isn't Linux, but is Unix based. It apparently had a very few vulnerabilities in it's default installations in the past despite it's long history. The code is apparently highly and actively reviewed regularly to check for any vulnerabilities. The security is their number one goal as far as I understand and I use that OS for my own node.

I don't know about user friendly tho, that is subjective. I did compile Bitcoin Core from source and I am unaware of any packages for OpenBSD, but then again I didn't search a lot for it as I always compile Bitcoin Core from source and recommend it as well. Just follow the instructions in the Bitcoin Core documentation in source code and you should be fine.

I have looked some youtube tutorials and OpenBSD seems to be an OS that doesn't have a GUI (like in the old times with MSDOS). Mmm no way im going to go back to that in 2017 man. I would probably make a mistake and end up doing something stupid.
Can't you install a desktop and still profit from OpenBSD's security?

For what it's worth: I'm just as paranoid running Linux. I actually consider it a good default, don't ever assume your computer is safe!

Well, what do you personally consider the best way to run a full node and transact with it? What OS specifically and what security measures must be taken?
aleksej996
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October 29, 2017, 07:55:30 PM
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I believe it does have a GUI by default and it should be secure of course. I did never use GUI tho, there really isn't any need and it makes it easier, at least for me. You just need to run like one command to start bitcoind and that is it. GUI would just make it harder for you to pass arguments to bitcoin when you run it, but do as you wish, I can just tell you that it takes far less effort to compile Bitcoin Core without GUI and to run it. Don't worry, you really don't need to do nothing complicated, there is a reason why many people still prefer to run things in command line, it really is simpler, easier and quicker.
neurotypical
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October 30, 2017, 03:03:05 PM
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I believe it does have a GUI by default and it should be secure of course. I did never use GUI tho, there really isn't any need and it makes it easier, at least for me. You just need to run like one command to start bitcoind and that is it. GUI would just make it harder for you to pass arguments to bitcoin when you run it, but do as you wish, I can just tell you that it takes far less effort to compile Bitcoin Core without GUI and to run it. Don't worry, you really don't need to do nothing complicated, there is a reason why many people still prefer to run things in command line, it really is simpler, easier and quicker.

It may be easier for you, but it isn't easier for 99% of population man. Windows was a success and MSDos died out for a reason. And i think OpenBSD comes with no GUI and you must install it separately.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_qHwc02erg

This guy makes it sound like it was a pain in the ass to get the GUI working for OpenBSD.. not sure if I want to still do this or use some Linux distro.
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October 31, 2017, 01:44:09 AM
 #7

Are you planning on running this node on a computer you have at home with a monitor? Or do you plan to run it on a server somewhere, either on your home network or in the cloud?
neurotypical
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October 31, 2017, 05:18:52 PM
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Are you planning on running this node on a computer you have at home with a monitor? Or do you plan to run it on a server somewhere, either on your home network or in the cloud?

My idea is to set up a node on a computer at home with a monitor that I would use as a wallet, which is why I don't want to use windows at all for that. I thought about Linux to bypass the endless sea of viruses of windows. Im not sure if I would still need an antivirus in Linux but at least it's open source. Then someone told me about OpenBSD, but i've seen OpenBSD has no GUI, so you need to install it separately, and I don't know if that is safe. Also I don't know if OpenBSD is going to be too difficult for me to keep updated and safe, im not a coder. Does it have an auto-update system? I used Ubuntu in the past and it was pretty easy to keep updated.

What do you think of Linux Mint? i've heard is better than Ubuntu.
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November 01, 2017, 02:44:41 PM
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Dude, don't advice to people to use Arch Linux while they are not used to use GNU/Linux. I am sure he couldn't just install it. For someone who is quite new to Linux, I would never advise using Arch.
As for the OP, the controversy about Ubuntu is just that Linux users like to fight distro A VS distro B. It has been like this for years.
Linux Mint is considered as a good alternative to Ubuntu but it's just a matter of what OS type you like. There are some good OS but ugly, like there are bad Os but with a nice interface.
I advise you to visit youtube as you can find lot of videos demo on any Linux OS, so you can get an idea of what you would like (or not)
And distrowatch if you are looking for names

SureLockLoans
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November 01, 2017, 04:41:57 PM
 #10

Are you planning on running this node on a computer you have at home with a monitor? Or do you plan to run it on a server somewhere, either on your home network or in the cloud?

My idea is to set up a node on a computer at home with a monitor that I would use as a wallet, which is why I don't want to use windows at all for that. I thought about Linux to bypass the endless sea of viruses of windows. Im not sure if I would still need an antivirus in Linux but at least it's open source. Then someone told me about OpenBSD, but i've seen OpenBSD has no GUI, so you need to install it separately, and I don't know if that is safe. Also I don't know if OpenBSD is going to be too difficult for me to keep updated and safe, im not a coder. Does it have an auto-update system? I used Ubuntu in the past and it was pretty easy to keep updated.

What do you think of Linux Mint? i've heard is better than Ubuntu.

Linux mint is just an alternative that some people perfer due to the interface. Ubuntu is fine for what you want to use it for and there will be a lot more documentation on it if you run into problems.

miguelmorales85
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November 01, 2017, 05:08:49 PM
 #11

I don't have much experience with Linux, so I would like to know what is a safe and reliable distro that at the same time is user friendly for a regular Windows user, in order to be able to run a full Bitcoin Core node and forget about constantly being paranoid of doing so in Windows.

I heard Ubuntu is really user friendly but I also heard that Ubuntu is no longer considered safe because it got bought by some sort corporation or something like that. Im not sure about the details but I remember reading something dodgy about Ubuntu.

I would also like to know if I can re-use my existing "blocks" and "chainstate" folders of my Bitcoin Core windows folder into the the Linux folder to not have to go through the entire thing from scratch.

I have been running bitcoin core nodes since several years. At this moment I have one running on a rPi (ARM64) , pine64 (aarch64) and Ubuntu(x86_64) and I can tell you Ubuntu client is the most simple one out there. Specially if you use the GUI (bitcoin-qt).

good luck and welcome to the world of bitcoin nodes (support the network!)
neurotypical
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November 01, 2017, 05:31:21 PM
 #12

I don't have much experience with Linux, so I would like to know what is a safe and reliable distro that at the same time is user friendly for a regular Windows user, in order to be able to run a full Bitcoin Core node and forget about constantly being paranoid of doing so in Windows.

I heard Ubuntu is really user friendly but I also heard that Ubuntu is no longer considered safe because it got bought by some sort corporation or something like that. Im not sure about the details but I remember reading something dodgy about Ubuntu.

I would also like to know if I can re-use my existing "blocks" and "chainstate" folders of my Bitcoin Core windows folder into the the Linux folder to not have to go through the entire thing from scratch.

I have been running bitcoin core nodes since several years. At this moment I have one running on a rPi (ARM64) , pine64 (aarch64) and Ubuntu(x86_64) and I can tell you Ubuntu client is the most simple one out there. Specially if you use the GUI (bitcoin-qt).

good luck and welcome to the world of bitcoin nodes (support the network!)

Yes, Ubuntu seems very user friendly, I used it some years ago, I think it was version 10, and it was almost like Windows. To install stuff, you just clicked on the Synaptic Package Manager thing and you would get all of that installed there, you didn't even need to use the terminal much. Eventually, I somehow bricked my install when I tried to install nvidia drivers (which needed the terminal). The monitor was just black after boot. I gave up and went back to Windows...

But some thing I dont like about Ubuntu is that it was accused of spyware in the past:

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do

It may be a bit too much calling this incident spyware, but it still sucked, I wouldn't expect these practices when I go to Linux. But now it seems in recent versions all of that was removed, but im not sure, I haven't been paying attention to anything Linux.
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November 02, 2017, 07:43:20 PM
 #13

I think you are overthinking this (very typical when trying to choose a Linux distro). Pretty much any distribution will be a fantastic improvement assuming you are using Windows or Mac recently. I would recommend Ubuntu (which no longer has the spyware you talk about since version 16.something). I've also seen Linux Mint recommended for newbies (I've never tried it personally). There's also many variations of Ubuntu like Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu... im not sure about these, but you may want to check them out. Forget about OpenBSD, Gentoo, Arch or any of these, you don't really need them unless you are a super technical person. Given that you don't visit stupid websites or download anything of dodgy nature, your bitcoins should be safe in any of the most known distros.

LilibethSantos
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November 02, 2017, 08:11:23 PM
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Debian or a Debian-based distro will be the easiest to use and maintain. Distros like Arch, Gentoo, or *BSD operating systems are simply too time consuming and instable to maintain for a new user.

If you are super worried about spyware being loaded by the distro creators, you may use one of the GNU/FSF approved distros. These distros completely remove close-source programs and drivers from their operating systems, and Trisquel is based off of Ubuntu . The down side is that they have limited hardware support since some devices require closed-source drivers.

neurotypical
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November 03, 2017, 03:07:40 PM
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Debian or a Debian-based distro will be the easiest to use and maintain. Distros like Arch, Gentoo, or *BSD operating systems are simply too time consuming and instable to maintain for a new user.

If you are super worried about spyware being loaded by the distro creators, you may use one of the GNU/FSF approved distros. These distros completely remove close-source programs and drivers from their operating systems, and Trisquel is based off of Ubuntu . The down side is that they have limited hardware support since some devices require closed-source drivers.

Trisquel looks nice. I think I saw a video with Richard Stallman and during the interview (it was an interview over the internet, like skype but they used free software) he was asked what distro he was using and I think he said Trisquel.

Is Trisquel easy to use?

Has Bitcoin Core been tested in Trisquel successfully?

I also considered Xubuntu.
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November 04, 2017, 09:24:59 AM
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No way i'd use Trisquel unless I was a pro, stick with Ubuntu and Debian if your experience is quite limited. Smiley Lots of community support and hardly any compatibility issues.
aleksej996
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November 05, 2017, 02:35:52 PM
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Well I still think that using OpenBSD would probably be the best option and that objectively it is very trivial to use an OS without a GUI, as I believe GUIs are just there so it looks nice. I don't see many reasons not to go through slightly more effort for better security when you are already switching to Linux, but it doesn't matter that much anyway. Ubuntu should be just fine and it has good community support so you will be able to search the Internet for any problems you might encounter. Also you can download Ubuntu with different GUIs if looks are important to you, like a Gnome variant. Installing drivers was always difficult in Linux so I don't recommend doing that, as that is harder then doing anything that was mentioned above, altho even that is not that hard and can be done in like a dozen of commands in like 10 minutes. But still, using Ubuntu should be just fine for someone who doesn't like command lines.
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November 05, 2017, 06:38:35 PM
 #18

Are you planning on running this node on a computer you have at home with a monitor? Or do you plan to run it on a server somewhere, either on your home network or in the cloud?

My idea is to set up a node on a computer at home with a monitor that I would use as a wallet, which is why I don't want to use windows at all for that. I thought about Linux to bypass the endless sea of viruses of windows. Im not sure if I would still need an antivirus in Linux but at least it's open source. Then someone told me about OpenBSD, but i've seen OpenBSD has no GUI, so you need to install it separately, and I don't know if that is safe. Also I don't know if OpenBSD is going to be too difficult for me to keep updated and safe, im not a coder. Does it have an auto-update system? I used Ubuntu in the past and it was pretty easy to keep updated.

What do you think of Linux Mint? i've heard is better than Ubuntu.

Linux mint is just an alternative that some people perfer due to the interface. Ubuntu is fine for what you want to use it for and there will be a lot more documentation on it if you run into problems.

I agree with this statement. However, since Mint is based on Debian/Ubuntu, a lot of documentation from Ubuntu should apply 1-1 to Mint.

Ubuntu gets a lot of hate these days because of Unity, its default desktop window management setup.

I recommend playing around while the live CD is running (you can do this from a USB nowadays). This will give you a chance to see if you feel like the desktop window manager is a good fit. Under the hood, in the terminal, Ubuntu/Debian/Mint are going to be roughly the same.**

**CAVEAT: Most coin/node software is targeted for Ubuntu 14 or 16. It might be worth going with Ubuntu 16 just because most projects will build easily on there. That's not to say you couldn't get it to build on any distro of linux, it just might be more difficult (here's looking at you BerkeleyDB 4.8 ).
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November 05, 2017, 06:43:13 PM
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I will advice you Debian or ubuntu (for the simple use).
Mint had some major security problems.
Arch is too difficult for a beginner.

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LilibethSantos
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November 05, 2017, 06:52:42 PM
 #20

Debian or a Debian-based distro will be the easiest to use and maintain. Distros like Arch, Gentoo, or *BSD operating systems are simply too time consuming and instable to maintain for a new user.

If you are super worried about spyware being loaded by the distro creators, you may use one of the GNU/FSF approved distros. These distros completely remove close-source programs and drivers from their operating systems, and Trisquel is based off of Ubuntu . The down side is that they have limited hardware support since some devices require closed-source drivers.

Trisquel looks nice. I think I saw a video with Richard Stallman and during the interview (it was an interview over the internet, like skype but they used free software) he was asked what distro he was using and I think he said Trisquel.

Is Trisquel easy to use?

Has Bitcoin Core been tested in Trisquel successfully?

I also considered Xubuntu.

Trisquel is just as easy to use as Ubuntu in my opinion. Although, if you run into hardware compatibility issues, it can be a nightmare since Trisquel only limits itself to open-source drivers. For example, I switched out my Wifi adaptor on my laptop since it did not run at all on Trisquel.

You may install Bitcoin Core using 'apt-get' just like on Ubuntu and it worked fine for me.

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