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I am a computer science student and we often get tasks which involve installation of various applications which I only use for a couple of weeks. I don't want to trash my tidy system with installing, configuring and removing. What would be the best way on Linux (Mint) to deal with this? Something like a disposable user account which I could delete and all programs/deamons/configs would be removed (with no impact on my real account). Virtualbox?

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I hear you. Is there anything speaking against VirtualBox in your situation? – slhck Oct 21 '12 at 19:59
Not really, just wasn't sure if there are any alternatives (which I like to know about) :) – Primož Kralj Oct 21 '12 at 20:01
Kind of stupid question - but might help others to decide when in similar situation. – Primož Kralj Oct 21 '12 at 20:04
why someone downvoted on the question? The thing that is obvious for one may be completely hidden for another one, not a bad question :( – Serge Oct 21 '12 at 22:06
Forgive me for laughing, but you're a CS student who is afraid of installing and configuring software? – Ярослав Рахматуллин Oct 22 '12 at 13:22
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes to VirtualBox.

When I am testing different things I tend to use virtual machines. You have a completely separate operating system with its own virtual hard disk. You can take snapshots of the state of the VM at any given point, and (very easily) restore to that state when you have finished wrecking it.

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VirtualBox it is then :) – Primož Kralj Oct 21 '12 at 20:04

When you create an account, all settings go to the $HOME folder. This is the default behavior on any linux system. I'll be frank and admit to have never touched Mint, but my intuition tells me the situation is the same there.

in short:

useradd fake
*install whatever*
userdel fake; rm -rf /home/fake

Sureley, it's not as cool as a VM, but the overhead is not worth it. YMMV

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Thanks for suggestion! – Primož Kralj Oct 22 '12 at 18:34

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