Getting started

December 1, 2017

To create a blog from scratch, you must first create a blog. This post covers what I did to set things up initially.

First up, installing the basic tools for this site. The shopping list looks like this:


Not going into details on this one, other than to say I updated to the latest version The netbook already had an old version of MXLinux on it

$ sudo bash
$ cd /etc/apt/source.list.d/
$ nano /etc/apt/*.list
(changed wheezy to stretch and mx15 to mx16)
$ apt-get update
$ apt-get autoremove
$ apt-get upgrade
(followed a blog post from some kind MXLinux dev 
about the Y / N answers to the prompts )
$ apt-get dist-upgrade
$ reboot


Luckily I get that as the default text editor. However, I did grab a nice config file for markdown syntax highlighting from to drop in /usr/share/nano.

For some reason my version of nano doesn’t like hekt’s horizontal rules regexp, so I’ve very slightly tweaked it to escape the underscores:



A nice easy install this one:

$ apt install tmux


Jekyll is written in Ruby, so we need that on the system. However, it appears that although there is a Debian package for Jekyll, which does install Ruby, that doesn’t work so well overall. So instead I ended up installing Ruby first and using Ruby gems to install Jekyll.

$ apt install ruby
$ apt install rubygems-integration
$ apt install ruby-dev


With Ruby installed, Jekyll can be installed as a Ruby gem (plus a shedload of other dependency gems). This gives us a fairly recent version of Jekyll pretty easily.

The Jekyll docs Check out the Jekyll docs for all the gory details. suggest that the minima and jekyll-feed gems should have been pulled in automatically, but they weren’t for me. No big hassle - just installed them separately when the first “jekyll build” failed.

$ gem install jekyll
$ gem install minima
$ gem install jekyll-feed

Tufte theme

Since the default Jekyll theme is pretty minimal (clue is in the name) and I’m no great creative force, a better theme was required as the starting point for the site style.

The name Tufte caught my eye, because I’m a big fan of his work and he makes a lot of sense about designing things to work well while looking elegant. Some kind soul has done a Jekyll theme, The Jekyll Tufte theme also includes notes on how to use it based on someone else’s CSS ruleset designed to roughly follow the style used in Tufte’s books. That’s got to be worth trying.

The theme is “installed” by just downloading and unpacking the zip, which then becomes your new Jekyll site. A bit of editing in _config.yml and you’re all set.

Getting started - December 1, 2017 - Adam Carless