Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Optimize your system for ultimate performance.

Moderators: khz, MattKingUSA

User avatar
langoring_composer
Established Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 10:32 pm

Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby langoring_composer » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:26 am

QUICK(?) LINUX DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION BLOATWARE REMOVAL (MX Linux/Debian/Ubuntu/AntiX)

OK, so these days MX Linux is topping out some of the noticed distrowatch.org charts, even though by other stats it's most definately NOT the most useful nor desireable distro. Nevertheless, I've used it enough to know that it currently suffers from more bloat than other similar distros at the default installs.

What follows at least applies to MX Linux 32-bit. I don't run a 64-bit system full of 64-bit levels of RAM because I never need that much RAM and when I enable it, the RAM tends to get used by malware/hackers instead of by me or my audio programs. Take it out and you'll have a spare chip and fewer conflicts if you're willing to cope with a dwindling pool of Classic 32-bit support.

Considering that most of the Golden Age of digital audio music production was 32-bit or less, and that programmers used to admit that most 64-bit implementation was buggy and difficult, and that 32-bit tends to occupy less space and resources, 32-bit is the backwards and forwards compatible choice for some of us who still like to use certain classic 32-bit audio tools and don't need the 64-bit stuff yet.

And before you rebutt me all the glory of 64-bit, keep in mind that I already know the benefits; save the 64-bit stuff for a separate install and there's the best of both worlds, no complaints, no problems.

I'm not giving up on stuff like LookAhead Limiter or TLs Maximizer or EasyQ or Terry West's nice VST effects simply because people started pushing 64-bit. I've got tunes to make and I'm used to using what works, not alpha-testing for propagandists who occasionally tell the truth on a whim. So onward!

This stuff is pertinent to MX Linux, but by extension, alot of it, yet not all, applies to Ubuntu/Debian/AntiX types of Linuxes.

Many or most or perhaps ALL of these items can be safely(?, we hope) purged (completely removed) from a default MX LINUX 18.x fresh install. The purge (complete removal) will free up more than 800 MB of dataspace. If you discover that something is missing that you need, as long as you have a way to download and install again, you ought to be OK. Also, the system will give usually one(1) chance to cancel the purging.

Also, even though it's risky, you can "$ sudo catfish" search for stuff you want to delete and temporarily delete from within catfish if and when it's updated and working. Lastly, you can still enter admin mode and manually search for and delete folders that don't belong. You'll gain a better idea of what doesn't belong as you go along protecting your system from invasive junk that reveals itself to those who choose to look!

For example, if you don't want to use Google Maps on your system, do a keyword search for "google" (within catfish, from the root level) and you might discover some google device drivers as well as Google Earth and Google Maps and some other potential geolocation stuff that really doesn't belong on your system without your express permission. But that's the world we are living in (and so am I!).

$ sudo apt-get purge libreoffice* cups* avahi* wildmidi* thunderbird* fonts-noto* ntfs* dictionary* xfc4-notes* notes* mc* samba* smbd* blue* conky* printer* config-printer* apport* onboard* mugshot* swell-foop* gmtp* galternatives* plymouth* plymouth-themes* plymouth-themes-mx* plymouth-x11* swell-foop* feh* imagemagick* imagemagick-6-common* imagemagick-6.q16* libimage-magick-perl* libimage-magick-q16-perl* libmagickcore-6.q16-3* libmagickwand-6.q16-3* nano* orage* xfce4-sensor* mx-clock* xfce4-cellmodem-plugin* xfce4-cpugraph* xfce4-diskperf-plugin* xfce4-netload-plugin* xfce4-systemload-plugin* xfce4-timer-plugin* xfce4-smartbookmark-plugin* xfce4-verve-plugin* xfce4-quicklauncher-plugin* fonts-dejavu* fonts-dejavu-core* fonts-dejavu-extra* apt-xapian-index* live-kernel-updater* live-usb-cli-antix* live-usb-maker* mx-live-usb-maker* reiser* openssh* hexchat* baobab* mx-usb* clipit* disk-manager* guvcview* smtube* simple* sane* lucky* nvidia* pdf* qpdf* gimp* xfce4-genmon-plugin* xfce4-mount-plugin* ttf-bitstream-vera* fonts-wqy-microhei* ttf-mscorefonts-installer* cmap-adobe-japan* fonts-japanese* cmap-adobe-japan* poppler* cmap-adobe-korea*

That's a LOT of stuff, you'll discover if you choose to purge it. I do it all the time, and I really don't mind. If you need the fonts, for example, I can understand that. It's very easy to reinstall those from within Synaptic or manually or via some other technique. If you miss MX-CleanUp, well there are other cleaning tools which are more thorough and you might even know how to script your own. Some of the entries above might look odd to you, but they work to nab some pesks.

For example "blue*" tends to nab the bluetooth stuff; so you could spell it out as "bluetooth*" or just use "blue*" and risk purging too much, but for some installs that's really preferable until you start installing bluish themes or whatnot. Till then, bluetooth is possibly more thoroughly selected in terms of both libraries and programs by just usuing "blue*". Similarly, that applies to stuff related to CUPS ("cups*").

If we are really here to make music, most of the stuff above is just bullying our harddrives and SSD drives and we DON'T need that. We need audio tools and some other minor frills and the extras can come later, if and only if we need and want them. A DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION is a D.A.W. ...it is a Work Station for Digital Audio Work!!!!!!! Think about it!!!!

What does'nt belong inside of an audio editing suite???????? hint hint hint. It's bad enough to have internet stuff coexisting on the same system, so don't do that if you don't have to. The internet giveth and the internet taketh away however.

So if you get a nice toolset from the web I totally understand. I don't throw away useful toolkits if I don't absolutely have to either. So we purge out the junk and learn how to do it, and then we teach others how to do it and make it easier for the next wave of contemporary music-makers and re-install cultural sanity.

OK, here's some other stuff to help:

Considering the old-fashioned technique of creating ".override" files to cancel out some services, here's a very incomplete list of what could also be helpful...

Create some of these within /etc/init/ to block the corresponding "*.conf" files/services. Each file should ONLY contain the single-line word "manual" and probably one blank line after it and no more no less.

apport.override avahi.override cryptdisks.override cups-bonjour.override cups.override nmbd.override samba.override whoopsie.override
avahi-cups.override bluetooth.override cryptdisks-udev.override cups-browsed.override dovecot.override plymouth.override smbd.override zeitgeist.override

"Apport" reports crashes but it also causes lots of crashes and then reports them. Purge it away; there are other ways to detect problems, such as if you can't get something to work. We don't need Apport causing system crashes and then transmitting obscure data about an instable system to the rest of the world via the internet.

"Whoopsie" is the same problem in a different way. We don't need either. Some of these might not entirely work or might be obsolete, yet they don't cause any problems; these are just off switches. Alternatively, you could manually edit the *.conf files and force each one to "exit 0" very early within the script.

Avahi, Bonjour, Samba/smbd/nmbd = internetting of local stuff that most users do NOT need at all.
Cups, printing stuff = internet or local printing that audio composers usually do NOT need at all.
Zeitgeist, Cryptdisks, Dovecot = more obscure stuff that like the other items is NOT needed by most users at all.

Also, don't forget that you can replace some of the buggier defaults with your own reliable choices, if you know what to do.

Also, without going into deep detail, it's decent and OK to add the "noatime," entry to "/etc/mtab" entries as well as to the familiar "/etc/fstab" entry. There are still times when each one is used. There are usually zilch problems with making the system faster by blocking logging of access times.

For a DAW, we aren't launching rockets, we are making tunes so we don't need to be micromanaged. If you need noatime, have at it, read all about it in the "man" entries. Some of us would rather be making tunes than validating the mental checksums of interrogators and digital saboteurs. And when we are all extinct, our "last access" times will be forensicly available via other collossal sources of metadata and archaeology. See?

Bluetooth is a gigantic vulnerability. Disable and purge every part of it that you find, especially the physical chips within your system which are hopefully and often are removeable. Take them out, break them, and throw them away (and dispose of the broken pieces eco-responsibly if you can).

Even the lingering Bluetooth library files can be co-opted by other programs to tap into your networking capabilities. Trust me, you do NOT need that kind of invasive curiosity tampering with your data, and "they" don't need your data until AFTER you post it up on the internet AFTER you complete your compositions. Anything else is likely to be used for behind the scenes data-terrorism by proxy using your/our systems as proxies... and WE DON'T NEED THAT!!!!

I hope this is useful again, I will post up more content in a more complete manner if possible. I've done a bunch of dry runs for system installs, so I'm gradually gaining some feeble techniques to make certain DAW resources less likely to fall. It used to be a lot easier and longer-lasting, but if you care more about electronic music-making than digital warfare, then I assume we are on the same page.

Don't digitally berate me if you disagree, you have a voice too. Our communications are not mutually exclusive of each other. But my purpose of this stuff is to make good electronic music to enhance living cultures and to make it easier for others to do the same.

Those who attempt to block peaceful activities have very different ideologies and behaviors than me. I'm not here for them. They have arenas they can combat in if they choose. Digital Audio Workstation territory is NOT "battlebot" territory. If you are someone who needs or wants to knock down digital accomplishments, you need to carefully select your targets so you aren't damaging the innocent and the helpful and the needed.

I can't emphasize this enough. Think about the 75-year consequences of each and every action and we won't cross paths in a bad way. I'll do the same as much as possible. Peace.

jonetsu
Established Member
Posts: 1431
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:05 am

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby jonetsu » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:52 am

Very good post, excellent remarks.

rghvdberg
Established Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 7:11 am

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby rghvdberg » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:03 am

I once recorded in a studio. All Macs btw.
They were on the point of paranoid about security.
No internet, no files from outside sources. Not even a midi file.
All workstations were wiped at the end of the day. It was stressed to save your work (I think it was saved on internal server), otherwise your work was lossed. You were warned, multiple times.
I think only the mac the senior engineer used had an internet connection and no one was allowed near that machine.
So yes, you do have a very valid point. None of these services are supposed to be an a dedicated audio machine.

User avatar
raboof
Established Member
Posts: 1635
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Deventer, NL
Contact:

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby raboof » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:06 pm

langoring_composer wrote:Many or most or perhaps ALL of these items can be safely(?, we hope) purged (completely removed) from a default MX LINUX 18.x fresh install.


At least on Debian, the installer installs the base image, and then there is a separate step that allows you to install additional 'tasksel' bundles. The default is of course to install a lot of tools, but if you don't want that, wouldn't it be easier to start without any of the 'tasksel' bundles and only install the things you know you need? That seems simpler than removing things after-the-fact.

langoring_composer wrote:For example, if you don't want to use Google Maps on your system, do a keyword search for "google" (within catfish, from the root level) and you might discover some google device drivers as well as Google Earth and Google Maps and some other potential geolocation stuff that really doesn't belong on your system without your express permission.


Can you give an example of this? Searching for 'google' will also turn up a lot of harmless hits, it's kind of hard to separate the signal from the noise. If there really is "stuff that really doesn't belong on your system without your express permissions", shouldn't this be fixed at the distro level?

langoring_composer wrote:Even the lingering Bluetooth library files can be co-opted by other programs to tap into your networking capabilities.


Those "other programs" can just include a Bluetooth library themselves, so I don't see how removing 'lingering' bluetooth libraries helps here. Though it's nice to clean up I guess.

User avatar
CrocoDuck
Established Member
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat May 05, 2012 6:12 pm
Contact:

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby CrocoDuck » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:05 am

raboof wrote:
langoring_composer wrote:Many or most or perhaps ALL of these items can be safely(?, we hope) purged (completely removed) from a default MX LINUX 18.x fresh install.


At least on Debian, the installer installs the base image, and then there is a separate step that allows you to install additional 'tasksel' bundles. The default is of course to install a lot of tools, but if you don't want that, wouldn't it be easier to start without any of the 'tasksel' bundles and only install the things you know you need? That seems simpler than removing things after-the-fact.


I think too that bottom-up is the most reasonable approach to have a not bloated system with pretty much only the components you want/need. In short, in addition to the fact that I like pacman better than apt, this is the main reason why I use Arch Linux.

Debian allows to the do the same, i.e. to build a system step by step from a basic core to what you want, and even Ubuntu does: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Insta ... /MinimalCD

Just follow the Minimal CD installation program until the Software Selection part, and then un-select everything. You will be left with a minimal system you can log in through command line. From there, remove the 1 or 2 packages you might potentially not want, and just apt your way up to a system you like. For example, see: https://www.maketecheasier.com/install- ... ld-laptop/

I think it will give you a better result, without risking to somehow brick your system. It is gonna make you learn more about Linux too.
Check my Linux audio experiments on my SoundCloud.
Browse my AUR packages.
Fancying a swim in the pond?

merlyn
Established Member
Posts: 482
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:13 pm

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby merlyn » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:09 pm

I agree with @CrocoDuck.

purge and a wildcard don't belong in the same command :)

User avatar
langoring_composer
Established Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 10:32 pm

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby langoring_composer » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:41 pm

While I'm not apt to nitpick (no pun intended), the main post is provided for those who may not yet have the option to simply switch to another distro. However, I do agree, it is better to resolve it at that level. However distros can differ a lot, and culturally and in terms of preferred compatible programs some distros might be needed for legacy work to be done.

In my particular case, all of my boot disks failed except for MX Linux, and I couldn't get to a decent wifi spot for a long while, and I couldn't get a few other things to work, and yet my MX Linux disc tended to work and Windows was already erased.

I used MX Linux foLinuxr a previous DAW install, and since I noticed that MX is at the top of the list on distrowatch lately, I decided to provide some explicitly non-conventional advice that I already know works. It's not for those who don't want to do it; it's for those who do.

Some other folks might be wondering how much can be purged out of a DAW like that without losing core functionality. I answered that questionability. A few items might be a minor issue, but that's no big deal. Bluetooth is a MAJOR security hole in almost every implementation. i refer you to google for that... if you would like to know of specific alternatives, I can do that in another thread for ya. Please don't attempt to knock down this thread via nitpicks. The advantages are as implicit as every other known DAW optimization for audio-only use anyone can find on the web and in a few trade magazine articles too. Although this is narrow, it's guaranteed to be of use: 800+ MiB of unneeded stuff purged is useful.

The sudo catfish technique is risky and odd, but also quick and effective and a nice block against certain attempts at creeping bloatware (which tends to be counted upon by hackers against the end users). I'm not of the Microsoft digital culture approach.

sorry that I was not clear enough.

If you don't use MX Linux or similar, then my post is clearly NOT for you. No need to rebutt me if you aren't of the intebded audience of MX Linux DAW users(!), etc.

Peace, though.

User avatar
CrocoDuck
Established Member
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat May 05, 2012 6:12 pm
Contact:

Re: Quick(?) Linux DAW Bloatware Removal (MX Linux, AntiX, Debian, Ubuntu)

Postby CrocoDuck » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:23 am

langoring_composer wrote:No need to rebutt me if you aren't of the intebded audience of MX Linux DAW users(!), etc.

It is not about rebutting you, and nobody cares about somehow destroying your argument by being pedantic or nitpicky. It is all about contributing to the discussion that you initiated with additional related information that can be useful for many more users that will read this post, which is public. A passer by might be wondering "Well, but can I achieve a lean system on Ubuntu, which is my favorite distro?" or "Cool, but would it be possible to get to the same result by adding packages from a core rather than stripping a distribution to a core?" or "But is there any factor of risk in stripping down a distribution?". Or, somebody might not even know that there are two main ways to get a lean Linux machine: core + selected packages or bloatware removal. Now they know it, and the thread has all suddenly become relevant also outside MX Linux DAW users. Isn't that cool? Everybody that arrive to this post, from all over the internet, will read out the options and decide the preferred course of action. Isn't that good? Did your arguments loose anything by other valuable options being presented? Nope.

As a comment, do you mind if I give my couple of cents about discussing objective matters, for example cyber security? For example:
langoring_composer wrote:Bluetooth is a MAJOR security hole in almost every implementation. i refer you to google for that...

I do not doubt about it, nor I wish to discuss it as it would derail the topic, but providing references is responsibility of the person who makes the claims. If you are aware of vulnerabilities in the Linux Bluetooth stack, from the kernel up to user-space utilities, or other vulnerabilities of any other kind you might be aware of, you should be providing the references, not just recommend to do a google search: I will never be guarantee to find exactly the same information on which you motivated your post, and makes everything harder to prove and even to understand. Even better, if there are certain particular vulnerabilities that motivated you to uninstall certain packages it would be more interesting to hear about those particular vulnerabilities rather than the packages. That way whoever reads your post will be able to individually and critically asses the information, and decide on their own whether they want to intervene on their systems in a similar fashion to what you did. Otherwise, how is anybody able to understand if they want to do it?
Check my Linux audio experiments on my SoundCloud.
Browse my AUR packages.
Fancying a swim in the pond?


Return to “System Tuning and Configuration”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests