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Elite Dangerous on Linux

Headless servers? I’m a Debian, or more recently an Ubuntu, person. But way back when my old operating system of choice became untenable, I had to make a decision; use the Windows desktop I supported at work, or find another option. The Linux desktop back in 2003 wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be and I found myself wishing there was some other operating system with UNIX underpinnings, maybe a nice Bash shell, but with a really polished user interface…

I’ve been a Mac user since then and have watched as desktop Linux has slowly closed the gap between its commercial rivals. Though Windows 10 is one of the more polished releases in years, it’s not without its problems and there are so many great distributions of desktop Linux these days it’s hard to ignore the pull of open source life.

I’m a goal-oriented sort of person, so I looked at why I found myself booting my Mac into Windows more often these days. One reason is driver support for some capture hardware I use. The other is Elite Dangerous. I’d wanted to investigate the Wine compatibility layer to get this working, but my first solo attempt ended badly. There are some great instructions out there, but after making my own way through them I like to slim things back as far as possible, so this is what I came up with.

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Prevent Automounting on macOS

With huge external drives being far more affordable these days I usually have one hooked up permanently to my laptop dock for Time Machine. But I don’t need all that space dedicated to backup, so it gets chopped up into a backup partition, an encrypted APFS storage container and a bunch of 20 GB partitions which hold a bootable macOS backup, plus a couple of recent macOS installers – just in case I end up having a really bad day.

However, in common with many Mac users I’m sure, I can’t be dealing with all that clutter on the desktop or Finder sidebar when so many partitions are mounted. What a mess! Luckily, /etc/fstab is still a thing you can use in macOS Mojave, so there’s a quick and easy way to prevent these emergency-use volumes from mounting automatically.

First of all, plug in the drive and let everything mount, then fire off a diskutil list in Terminal. You’ll see all of your drives and their identifiers. In my example the external drive shows up as disk2 with various partitions being disk2s1, disk2s2, etc.

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Failed Core Storage Conversion

We have a Mac mini connected to an external storage box via FireWire. In a reasonably sensible manner, someone pointed Time Machine at one of the volumes on the DAS, thinking they should back the machine up to this location. They also thought also it would be best to encrypt the backup; very laudable.

However, this triggered a conversion process into an Apple Core Storage volume, which did not complete successfully. Luckily, OS X stopped trying and remounted the volume as HFS+. All appeared to be well, but after a reboot things were much less cheerful.

On restarting the machine, the volume was missing. Checking with diskutil list returned this layout:

/dev/disk1
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *17.6 TB    disk1
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk1s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Backup                  2.0 TB     disk1s2
   3:          Apple_CoreStorage                         15.6 TB    disk1s3
   4:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk1s4

But diskutil cs list returned this:

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