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Jet Cash
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February 23, 2021, 03:01:55 PM
 #1

I've been synchronising a node using an external 2Tb HDD. Things seem to have been going well, until I checked the settings. I've been switching the drive between an openSUSE system and a Ubuntu system. The wallet data and the blockchain are on the external drive. Somehow I seem to have managed to switch to a 2Gb pruned node, and most of the blocks have been removed. I'm only a couple of weeks behind now, and the wallet seems to be fine. However, I had hoped to be able to keep a complete copy of the blockchain.

At this stage, it seems that the best thing to do is to copy the current files onto a smaller SSD, and to install that into a spare notebook that I have. It was given to me because the hinge had been broken. I can probably fix that with some heavy duty tape, and I'll use the system as a crypto specific machine. Now I need to decide which OS to use on it. I've gone off openSUSE, so I need to decide which Linux distro offers me the most security for the use of cryptos.

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NotATether
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February 23, 2021, 03:44:02 PM
Merited by Jet Cash (5), LoyceV (4), NeuroticFish (1), sheenshane (1)
 #2

Now I need to decide which OS to use on it. I've gone off openSUSE, so I need to decide which Linux distro offers me the most security for the use of cryptos.

Use CentOS 8 because it has a working SELinux sandbox set for all binaries out of the box. This means that if some OS service was compromised by a vulnerability, it wouldn't be able to do things like spawn a shell or read files belonging to other packages because it will not have the correct SELinux permissions to do those things and the whole process will be killed.

Also packages are frozen and only get security updates and bug fixes, so less chance for new features being introduced that have accidental security vulnerabilities.

CentOS 7 isn't much different except it has Python 2 preinstalled, which is bad for wallet software that needs Python 3 but there are ways to sideload it from third-party repos. (Off topic but I hate how newer CentOS releases got screwed over into another testbed for RedHat at the expense of stability).

OpenSUSE has a similar sandbox called AppArmor, I never got a chance to see how that works though because the OpenSUSE installation wizard always crashes on me.

Ubuntu doesn't have any sandbox AFAIK, I think having one is important when you have cryptocurrency on it even though the wallet is (normally?!) secured with a password.

Debian is a tiny bit better than Ubuntu since packages are literally frozen just like CentOS. Other distros are pretty much out of the question (Linux Mint website was briefly hacked, Fedora is at stability's edge, Arch updates packages too quickly which can break things, etc).

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February 23, 2021, 04:03:05 PM
 #3

, so I need to decide which Linux distro offers me the most security for the use of cryptos.


It doesn't matter,  providing  you use  a cold storage for bitcoin  and  dedicated  offline machine that accommodate relevant client (It may be Armory or Electrum). Nevertheless, in the term of security,   nothing would beat Linux the required kernel of which  is assembled with  own hands.  There is a book "Linux From Scratch"   that might guide you in compiling your own OS ( Disclaimer: recommended exclusively to  experienced Linux users).


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February 23, 2021, 07:54:22 PM
 #4

Nevertheless, in the term of security,   nothing would beat Linux the required kernel of which  is assembled with  own hands.  There is a book "Linux From Scratch"   that might guide you in compiling your own OS ( Disclaimer: recommended exclusively to  experienced Linux users).

Instead of Linux From Scratch, which only shows you how to build a handful of basic packages by hand, build a Gentoo installation if you want to go that route. Instead of an installation wizard, you set up the target system from the command line. Gentoo even has a package manager that builds all of them for you (emerge) so you don't have to mess with every package's build scripts, and great community support when it doesn't work, whereas with LFS you are practically on your own for support.

LoyceV
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February 24, 2021, 08:44:21 AM
 #5

I wouldn't recommend Linux From Scratch or Gentoo. Apart from a very steep learning curve, you're probably better off with a distribution that's secure out of the box.

I found Best Linux distros for privacy and security in 2021 an interesting read, although the privacy focused distributions aren't really meant for permanent installations.

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February 24, 2021, 08:59:57 AM
 #6

did you go off on opensuse leap or tumbleweed?
Leap is a pretty good OS. I have about 200 SLES (suse linux enterprise) machines running without a hitch for many, many years... They're churning huge workloads (sap application servers, opentext, hana, oracle,...) and they run smoothly.  And (eventough i've never ever run leap, only sles),leap is marketed as the free version of the enterprise OS. If you want something stable, you might want to stay away from tumbleweed... This is why i asked you witch version: it's perfectly possible you were running tumbleweed, and it turned you off of opensuse, whilst leap might be a perfect fit for you Smiley

On the other hand, privately, i sometimes go with CentOS (eventough it seems they're currently rethinking their model) since it's basically the free version of redhat, like opensuse leap is the free version of SLES.

If i need a system i'll be messing with extensively, i usually go for a good'ol debian... And in the past i used to be a big fan of freebsd: use the port system to compile what you need, exactly how you need it... Nothing more, nothing less. But you asked linux distros, and freebsd is technically unix, not linux Wink

But it usually boils down to preference: if you ask 100 linux users which distro is best, you'll get at least 10 different answers, each with perfectly valid arguments... The same argument can be a "pro" for one person and a "con" for a different one btw Smiley

Truth be told, if you know what you're doing, it shouldn't actually matter: opensuse leap, centos, debian, fedora, gentoo, tails, bsd... even ubuntu can be ok for a crypto laptop if you properly manage it. Just stay away from those "mom and pop" distros with a small userbase and infrequent updates, stick to the bigger ones and learn how to harden your setup properly... And if you have questions: ask them, your money is at stake.

Good luck!

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February 24, 2021, 09:59:03 AM
 #7

Now I need to decide which OS to use on it. I've gone off openSUSE, so I need to decide which Linux distro offers me the most security for the use of cryptos.

Use CentOS 8 because it has a working SELinux sandbox set for all binaries out of the box. This means that if some OS service was compromised by a vulnerability, it wouldn't be able to do things like spawn a shell or read files belonging to other packages because it will not have the correct SELinux permissions to do those things and the whole process will be killed.

CentOS 8 will stop receive support by end of 2021, while CentOS Stream release is somewhere between Fedora and RHEL. Not best option IMO.

See https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/12/centos-shifts-from-red-hat-unbranded-to-red-hat-beta/

And if you have questions: ask them, your money is at stake.

Also read https://wiki.archlinux.org/, i often use it even if i use Debian-based Linux distro.

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February 24, 2021, 12:48:49 PM
 #8

CentOS 8 will stop receive support by end of 2021, while CentOS Stream release is somewhere between Fedora and RHEL. Not best option IMO.

See https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/12/centos-shifts-from-red-hat-unbranded-to-red-hat-beta/

It's a messy situation overall. CentOS 7's EOL date is sometime in 2023, later than CentOS 8. So the newer version goes out of support sooner than the older version!  Angry

Whereas if you wanted to use Electrum on your cold storage for example, it needs Python 3.6+ or later to work if you don't want to use the AppImage, and alongside the 2.7 version preloaded, in the main repos there's a 3.4 version but that's not high enough to run Electrum. There may also be a Python 3.6 version in the main repos that barely meets the requirements but I'm not 100% sure.

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February 25, 2021, 12:01:53 PM
 #9

Thanks to everybody for their help and advice. I'm using the Leap distro of openSUSE. I switched to Ubuntu on the netbook because I had problems setting up a printer, and I didn't have the time to research into the problem. I'm having a minor problem on the notebook, andit seems to disconnect the external HDD after an hour of so, and that locks up Bitcoin Core. Thst is why I decided to use a dedicated machine with an internal SSD. Rhe pruned node will help with this, and I had planned for it, but I wanted to keep a full archive blockchain on a drive, but I seem to have lost this. I probably won't bother to download a new version in the near future.

I did win a hardware wallet in a contest in this forum, and I will use that as soon as I have a stable and up=to-date node. I'll report on my experience with this when I start.

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March 03, 2021, 04:35:17 PM
 #10

I've now completed this synchronisation, and everything looks fine. Well, except for the fact that at some stage I seem to have ticked the pruned node box, som now I have a blockchain pruned to 2Gb. This could be an advantage though, as it means I can copy it onto a smaller SSD, and use that as anb internal drive on a dedicated notebook.

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March 03, 2021, 07:08:09 PM
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 #11

I've now completed this synchronisation, and everything looks fine. Well, except for the fact that at some stage I seem to have ticked the pruned node box, som now I have a blockchain pruned to 2Gb. This could be an advantage though, as it means I can copy it onto a smaller SSD, and use that as anb internal drive on a dedicated notebook.
I've used a pruned node for a while (until I upgraded my HDD), and it works fine as long as you're aware of the limitations: you can't load an older wallet.dat, and you can't import funded private keys.

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