How to uninstall dnscrypt-proxy and revert to previous DNS settings on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

Oh, you thought this was gonna be easy? This is Linux.

Writing this because while there’s a lot of documentation about installing dnscrypt-proxy, there’s very little about removing it.

This guide assumes a few things:

  • Raspbian Stretch or later with default desktop environment
  • dnscrypt-proxy was manually installed (read: not installed via a package manager or from a repository)
  • resolvconf was not uninstalled and/or removed from Raspbian
  • The DNS server for the LAN is determined via a router setting or a separate DHCP server (such as a Pi-hole instance running on a separate machine)

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open a terminal command prompt at /opt/dnscrypt-proxy
  2. Run ./dnscrypt-proxy -service stop
  3. Run ./dnscrypt-proxy -service uninstall
  4. Delete the /dnscrypt-proxy folder
  5. In the taskbar, right-click the network icon
  6. Click Wireless & Wired Network Settings
  7. Ensure the 1st dropdown next to Configure is set to interface
  8. Set the 2nd dropdown to eth0
  9. Check the Automatically configure empty options box
  10. Clear the DNS Servers and DNS Search fields
  11. Click Apply
  12. Click Close
  13. In the terminal, run sudo service resolvconf start
  14. Run sudo systemctl enable resolvconf
  15. Reboot the Raspberry Pi

Upon reboot your network connection and DNS functionality should be returned to its previous normal state.

Sources:

dnscrypt-proxy Github (see Steps 4 & 6)

AskUbuntu

Power cycle – NOT reboot – your PC after a Linux Mint version update

Why write complete documentation when you can just confuse users instead?

If you reboot your PC after a Linux Mint version update (e.g. 17.3 to 18) and find things to be a bit wonky, you’ll need to power cycle the PC. The reason for this is there may have been a kernel version update, and Linux Mint always boots into the latest kernel installed. However, it does this only if the PC is power cycled. If it isn’t, the new Linux Mint build will boot using the old kernel, which causes the problems you may be experiencing.

You’d think this would be in the official version update instructions, but this is Linux, and so caveats are left to unlucky users to discover for themselves.

How to start Android Terminal Emulator as root

As usual with Linux, anything beyond simple use cases is a minor ordeal.

UPDATE: This method seems to be causing the app to crash for some folks. I haven’t used the feature in a while and am unaware of a workaround.

You probably know the su or sudo commands on Linux, but those don’t seem to work in the Android terminal.* Fortunately, you can get around that via a terminal emulator setting. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Install Android Terminal Emulator.
  2. Open the above.
  3. Tap the options menu icon.
  4. Tap Preferences.
  5. Scroll down to Shell.
  6. Tap Command line.
  7. Enter /system/xbin/su -c "/system/xbin/bash -" as shown below.

    Screenshot_20160426-080222
    One thing Android does have in common with desktop Linux is even the simplest things are always unnecessarily complicated for the sake of engineering ideological purism.
  8. Tap OK.
  9. Back out of Preferences.
  10. Close the terminal window.
  11. Restart the app.
  12. Approve the root permissions request that pops up.

You’ll now have superuser permissions every time you start the terminal.

Thanks bitmaster2000 for the method.

 

*I suspect the main reason for this is Android doesn’t handle user/administrator/root accounts in the same manner desktop Linux does. On Android every app is a user in Linux parlance, while Android users are something else entirely.

How to set up Linux Mint on PCs that lack Windows 8.1 support

Recently a friend came into possession of an HP Compaq 6730b laptop: a 6+ year old relic running pre-SP1 Windows XP. After quickly determining that it wouldn’t support Windows 8.1, I decided to load it up with Linux Mint. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Download the Cinnamon 64-bit (assuming you have a 64-bit CPU) ISO here. Ignore the other builds: a general rule of thumb with Linux is the more exotic you get, the more problems you run into. Keep it simple.
  2. Download Win32 Disk Imager.
  3. In Windows 8.1, open the folder containing the ISO file.
  4. In the View tab, check File name extensions.
  5. Change the .iso in the ISO filename to  .img.
  6. Plug a USB flash drive of capacity 2 GB or greater into your PC.
  7. Run Win32 Disk Imager.
  8. Click the file icon in the Image File section.
  9. Navigate to the renamed .img file in Step 5.
  10. Click Open.
  11. In the Device menu, select the name of the drive in Step 6.
  12. Click Write.
  13. When that’s done, remove the USB flash drive from your PC and insert it into the PC onto which Mint is to be installed.
  14. Reboot the install PC.
  15. Set the USB drive as the boot device (how to do this varies from PC to PC). Mint should fire up from there and give you the option of installing it to the hard drive, which you should then do.

Not a pretty UI at all, but gets the job done.
Not a pretty UI at all, but gets the job done.

If your Wi-Fi doesn’t work after installation, try resetting the PC’s BIOS to factory default settings. That worked for me.

Pros:

  • It’s fast. The old laptop boots to a usable desktop faster than my Core i7-3770 powered Dell XPS 8500.
  • Very low RAM usage.
  • Excellent legacy hardware support.
  • It’s free.
  • It installs quickly.
  • Peripherals (assuming they’re recognized by the OS) install and configure rapidly.
  • You can get up and running with word processing, email, web browsing, etc. in no time.
  • Easy to nonexistent learning curve for basic functionality.
  • Read NTFS storage out of the box.
  • No annoying, unmovable dock (unlike Ubuntu).
  • No need to worry about security software.* Unfortunately, this pro is nearly nullified by a con below.
  • Since most of the ways to hose the system involve command line use, you can hand it over to less experienced users without worrying about them borking it.
  • Very familiar to Windows users.
  • Aero Snap is better than it is in Windows.
  • Can play DVDs out of the box. (Ironically, Windows lost this feature in Windows 8+.)

Cons:

  • Documentation is thin to nonexistent for anything more advanced that email, productivity, and web browsing.
  • Limited default software support compared to Ubuntu, positively woeful compared to Windows. While LibreOffice worked, I couldn’t get OpenOffice to install, for example.
  • As with many distros, solutions posted online often lack important details.
  • Samba just doesn’t work.
  • Doing anything more than the basics still requires using the terminal or manually editing config files (I’m a GUI guy).
  • Although there are no antivirus worries, there’s also no way to check for and/or automatically install updates; it has to be done manually. This produces a significant security risk, especially if you’re passing the machine on to non-technical users who’re unlikely to check for updates themselves.
  • The menu for adding/removing users doesn’t update immediately, so deleted user accounts show up until you close and reopen the menu. Confusing and annoying.
  • Dated UI that looks like a reimagined Windows XP.
  • (For Firefox Nightly users) Nightly builds are few and far between compared to Windows.
  • Little annoying things. For example, while Aero Snap Windows key combos work amazingly well, some basic Windows key combos with obvious analogs in Mint don’t work.

Conclusion:

I’ll be honest: I grew up on Windows, and the way it does things just makes more sense to me. It’s not that Linux Mint is bad, it’s just that it would have to offer some significant advantage over Windows in daily use for me to switch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, except in the following cases:

  • You absolutely need Linux for something that can’t be done on Windows.
  • You have older hardware that doesn’t meet Windows 8.1’s system requirements AND don’t want to buy a new PC. Seriously, if you can stand the cost of a new machine, just go that route instead and eBay the old one.

That said, it’s the best Linux desktop experience I’ve come across yet, and my friend seems pretty happy with it.

*This is mostly because there isn’t much Linux security software out there, not because Linux malware doesn’t exist.