HowTos Journal Linux

Replace Snap Firefox with .deb on Ubuntu 22.04

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) ships Firefox as a snap, but some people (like me) may prefer installing it from .deb packages to retain control over upgrades or to keep extensions working.

Luckily there is still a PPA serving firefox (and thunderbird) debs at maintained by the Mozilla Team. (Thank you! 🙏)

Block Ubuntu’s Snap Version of Firefox

Block the Ubuntu archive’s version that just pulls in the snap by pinning it

$ cat /etc/apt/preferences.d/firefox-no-snap 
Package: firefox*
Pin: release o=Ubuntu*
Pin-Priority: -1

Remove Firefox Snap

Remove the transitional package and the Firefox snap itself

sudo apt purge firefox
sudo snap remove firefox

Install Firefox DEB

Install the DEB packaged Firefox from the Mozilla PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install firefox

⚠️ Optional: Enable Unattended Upgrades

Since the package comes from a PPA unattended-upgrades will not upgrade it automatically, unless you enable this origin:

echo 'Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins:: "LP-PPA-mozillateam:${distro_codename}";' | sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/51unattended-upgrades-firefox
HowTos Journal Linux

USB Boot Ubuntu 20.4.3 LTS on Raspberry Pi 4 FROM SSD


I have been using my raspberry pi 4 to monitor my network and my Synology NAS. So far, I’ve been using a SanDisk MicroSD card for storing all the data which died (remember: MicroSD cards have a limited number of writes)

After doing some research I learned that the Raspberry Pi 4 gained direct boot capabilities from USB Mass Storage (aka SSDs) with a bootloader (eeprom) update in 2020.

I struggled for about 2 nights to make it work despite following various how-tos/tutorials. The method outlined here is what worked for me as of 2021-10-23. It could change in the future. With new updates to the ubuntu image those steps might not be necessary anymore.

Preparation – Upgrade bootloader

The easiest way to upgrade the bootloader on the raspberry pi is to use the raspi-config tool built into the raspian os image. Therefore first write the Raspian OS image to an MicroSD Card to make use of raspi-config. Afterwards, write the Ubuntu Image to the MicroSD card You can use the raspberry image writer. Flash the image to a MicroSD card

Raspberry Image Writer: Choose Raspberry PI OS Lite (32-bit)

Boot the raspberry pi with raspian os, login with the default credentials and run

sudo raspi-config

raspi-config main screen

Choose Advanced Options –> Bootloader Version –> Latest

Select No when asked to restore Default Settings

Exit and Select Yes when asked to reboot

On Reboot the bootloader should be upgraded.

Check in the Terminal that the upgrade was applied

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo rpi-eeprom-update
BOOTLOADER: up to date
   CURRENT: Tue Jul  6 10:44:53 UTC 2021 (1625568293)
    LATEST: Tue Jul  6 10:44:53 UTC 2021 (1625568293)
   RELEASE: stable (/lib/firmware/raspberrypi/bootloader/stable)
            Use raspi-config to change the release.

  VL805_FW: Dedicated VL805 EEPROM
     VL805: up to date
   CURRENT: 000138a1
    LATEST: 000138a1

Use raspi-config to set the boot-order to USB-Boot by default

Choose: 6 Advanced Options

raspi-config, go to Advanced Options

Next choose: A6: Boot Order

Choose A6 Boot Order to set boot priority

Choose B2 USB Boot

B2 USB Boot

Check in the in the terminal that bootloader order has been modified. Confirm BOOT_ORDER statement is there.

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo vcgencmd bootloader_config

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ 

Write Ubuntu to MicroSD Card


Clone MicroSD card to USB-SSD

To Clone the content of the MicroSD card to the USB-SSD I used rpi-clone script

Install rpi-clone

$ git clone 
$ cd rpi-clone
$ sudo cp rpi-clone rpi-clone-setup /usr/local/sbin

Check with fdisk -l or lsblk SDD device name (e.g. sda or sdb etc.)

Clone the content of the MicroSD card to USB-SSD

pi@rpi0: $ sudo rpi-clone sdb

Booted disk: mmcblk0 16.0GB                Destination disk: sdb 8.0GB
Part      Size    FS     Label           Part   Size    FS     Label
1 /boot   58.4MB  fat16  --              1       8.0GB  fat32  --
2 root    16.0GB  ext4   SD-RPI-s1                               
== Initialize: IMAGE mmcblk0 partition table to sdb - FS types mismatch ==
1 /boot     (22.5MB used)    : IMAGE     to sdb1  FSCK
2 root      (6.0GB used)     : RESIZE(8.0GB) MKFS SYNC to sdb2
Run setup script       : no
Verbose mode           : no
** WARNING **          : All destination disk sdb data will be overwritten!
                       : The partition structure will be imaged from mmcblk0.

Initialize and clone to the destination disk sdb?  (yes/no): yes
Optional destination rootfs /dev/sdb2 label (16 chars max): SD-RPI-8a

Update config.txt to enable booting from USB SSD

Mount the system-boot partition on the SSD drive in order to change config.txt

sudo mkdir /mnt/ssdboot
sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/ssdboot
cd /mnt/ssdboot

Add kernel=vmlinux & initramfs initrd.img followkernel in the [all] section. Leave the rest the way it was before.

initramfs initrd.img followkernel

Boot From USB-SSD

Shutdown the Raspberry PI, unplug the MicroSD Card and plug-in the power again to boot from USB SSD.

If it can’t find the bootloader the raspberry pi will default to PXE boot. In case the raspberry pi is unable to boot from the USB SSD try another USB – Port (e.g. USB 2 instead of 3 etc.)

A list of compatible / tested SSDs can be found here.


Android HowTos Journal Mobile

How to Clone any Application (Dual Apps) with EMUI’s App Twin Feature [No Root]

Huawei introduced the App Twin feature with Version 5.0 of Huawei’s EMUI, their Android skin. I believe that Huawei must consider this feature one of EMUI’s biggest selling points, since they present it in the topmost layer of the Settings application.

App Twin allows you to create a duplicate instance of an installed application so you can log-in to two different accounts at the same time. On Huawei Smartphones destined for the European Market with the Global Rom you’re able to clone WhatsApp or Facebook. On the equivalent Model for the Chinese Market you’re able to duplicate QQ or Wechat. Unfortunately these are your only options by default. I expect Huawei to add more applications to this list with upcoming version of EMUI.

When you duplicate one of those applications, a new app icon will be created on your home to start the cloned instance of the app. A small number is added to the original application icon to indicate which instance you’re using the cloned or the original application. Unfortunately, the duplicate application can only exist on Huawei’s stock launcher, and when the icon is cleared from the home screen, all the data associated with the App Twin instance is deleted.

The App Twin feature isn’t an innovative, never to be seen before concept on part of Huawei. There are several applications that perform the same function on the Google Play Store. Some of the most popular ones include App Cloner and Paralllel Space. In addition, Xiaomi’s MUI offers the same feature with greater compatibility and a larger selection of Applications. However, I would argue that by default, the third-party application alternatives are to some extent superior to Huwai’s implementation. Any application which you duplicate isn’t tied to Huawei’s stock EMUI launcher and even more importantly you aren’t limited to only 2 predetermined applications which Huawei has set.

In contrast, the third-party applications (with the exception of Xiaomi’s MIU implementation) have their own faire share of disadvantages. For example, App Cloner doesn’t work well on many applications including most Google Apps. Parallel Space is a pretty bloated application and quite the resource hog and is slow to launch any given cloned application.

I have to give Huawei credit to its implementation of the App Twin feature since it doesn’t suffer from either of this issues. However, for some odd reason Huawei decided to restrict the feature to a few apps. Despite their official claim that App Twin only works with WhatsApp/Facebook or QQ/Wechat it can actually work with pretty much any application on your device (with the exception of a few system application)

Clone any App with EMUI’s APP-Twin Feature

To clone any app you need access to the ADB shell and the application’s full package name.

First download the android SDK with the included ADB and fastboot tools or download the separate ADB binaries straight from Google:

Next install Huawei’s HiSuite which also installs the necessary drivers for ADB to work correctly. In order to be able to see the your Huawei smartphone you need to enable USB debugging in the developer settings:

Settings –> Developer options –> USB Debugging
(Tap on Build Number 7 times in Settings –> About Phone to unlock Developer options if you haven’t already done so)

Verify that ADB is set up properly by checking if adb recognises your device. Open up a command prompt and type adb devices . If you see your phone’s serial number and it doesn’t state ‘unauthorised’ then you’re good to go.

The first step in enabling the App-Twin Feature for your specific app is to find the package name of the specific application. The easiest way to accomplish this using an app like App Inspector From the Google Play Store

The package name is the first line underneath the app’s name e.g.

If you don’t want to install another app just to see the package name of an installed application you can also see a list of all installed application using the following adb shell command: adb shell 'pm list packages -f

With the package name we can now enable the App-Twin feature. Start an adb shell with adb shell

Once in the adb shell enter the following command:

settings get secure clone_app_list

If you are already using the App Twin feature, then you should see either one or two package names returned with this command. If you aren’t using this feature, this string will be empty. Now, we will either append to the existing list or create a new list of apps to clone.

settings put secure clone_app_list "PACKAGE#1;PACKAGE#2;PACKAGE#3"

where PACKAGE#1…PACKAGE#3…PACKAGE#N is the full semi-colon separated list of app packagesyou want cloned. Make sure that you don’t forget to put the package list in-between quotation marks, otherwise the command won’t work.

If you are already using the App Twin feature and you received a list of packages during the“get”command, then be sure to APPEND your list to the ones that were returned. Otherwise, the existing apps will be deleted.

For example, if I want to clone Gmail, Solid Explorer, Chromium, and Reddit is Fun, I would enter the following command:

settings put secure clone_app_list ";pl.solidexplorer2;;"

Immediately after entering this command, you should see a toast message telling you that a cloned app has been placed on your home screen.

HowTos Journal Linux

Upgrading Debian 8 ‘Jessie’ to Debian 9 ‘Stretch’


Debian 9 Stretch was released as the latest stable version of the Linux Distribution: Debian. While it’s always possible to install Debian 9 fresh from scratch, it’s also possible to perform an in-place upgrade from Debian 8. The following post describes the necessary steps to do so.

For a incredibly thorough documentation of the process, I suggest you also read through the official release notes.


  • Upgrading to Debian 9 Stretch is only supported from Debian 8 Jessie. If you are running a version older than 8, you must first upgrade to 8 before working through this process.
  • The upgrade involves a kernel update, so a reboot will be required toward the end of the process.
  • It is strongly recommended that you have a full system backup or backup of any important data before proceeding with the upgrade, ensure that you have a plan to roll back. In the case of a virtual machine, take a snapshot before starting.

Performing the upgrade to Debian 9 Stretch

Before proceeding with the upgrade, please read through the list of issues to be aware of when upgrading to Stretch.

  1. It is recommended that you have your Debian 8 Jessie installation completely up to date before starting, to do this run “apt-get update” followed by “apt-get upgrade” and install available updates.
root@debian8:~# apt-get update
root@debian8:~# apt-get upgrade
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

In this case all updates have been applied already, so it’s fine to proceed.

Edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file, my file is shown below. As you can see all of the lines are currently specifying “jessie”. Note that your mirror sources will likely be different which is fine.

deb jessie main
deb-src jessie main

deb jessie/updates main contrib
deb-src jessie/updates main contrib

# jessie-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb jessie-updates main contrib
deb-src jessie-updates main contrib

Change the instances of “jessie” to “stretch”, you can either do this manually, or automatically with the below sed command.

sed -i 's/jessie/stretch/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

You can either use “stretch” or “stable”, as Debian 9 Stretch is now the current stable version as of writing. However note that if you use stable instead of the specific release name, in future when Debian 10 is released that will be the stable version so you may upgrade to that unintentionally.

The recommended way to upgrade Debian is with the ‘apt-get’ command. First update the list of available packages with the below command, as we’ve just updated the sources.list file.

apt-get update

Use “apt list –upgradable” command to quickly see what will be installed, updated, and removed during the upgrade process without affecting the system.

apt list --upgradable

Sample Output:

unattended-upgrades/stable 0.93.1+nmu1 all [upgradable from:]
util-linux/stable 2.29.2-1 amd64 [upgradable from: 2.25.2-6]
uuid-runtime/stable 2.29.2-1 amd64 [upgradable from: 2.25.2-6]
vim/stable 2:8.0.0197-4 amd64 [upgradable from: 2:7.4.488-7+deb8u3]
vim-common/stable 2:8.0.0197-4 amd64 [upgradable from: 2:7.4.488-7+deb8u3]
vim-runtime/stable 2:8.0.0197-4 all [upgradable from: 2:7.4.488-7+deb8u3]
vim-tiny/stable 2:8.0.0197-4 amd64 [upgradable from: 2:7.4.488-7+deb8u3]

Now that the list of available packages has been updated from the mirror, run the below command to perform a minimal upgrade.

apt-get upgrade

This is known as a minimal system upgrade as it only upgrades packages that can be upgraded without needing any other packages to be removed or installed, so it’s a safe place to start. This upgraded 932 packages requiring 412MB on my system.

Now you’re ready to do the complete system upgrade, this will upgrade to the latest available version for all packages installed.

apt-get dist-upgrade

Ensure that you have enough free disk space to complete the operation, in my case it notes that afterwards 1,048MB of additional disk space will be used with 639 package upgrades and 479 newly installed packages.

During the distribution upgrade, services installed on your system needs to be restarted after up gradation of each service packages (ex. Apache, NTP) which may cause you the service interruptions. You can choose to restart automatically during upgrade or manually after the upgrade. Here, I opted to do “an automatic restart of services during the OS upgrade“.

Verify upgrade:

Reboot your machine after the distribution upgrade.


Verify the current version of Debian operating system.

lsb_release -a

Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 9.0 (stretch)
Release: 9.0
Codename: stretch