I'm running multiple encrypted homes with
fscrypt. Install your system without encryption and use this guide to implement
fscrypt on your home.
Be sure to
chmod 700 your home and/or use
umask 077 because fscrypt does not automatically set permissions like
ecryptfs used to do.
The API to
fscrypt might change in the future, so make sure to back up your important files if you attempt to upgrade your system.
(This feature is not widely used on Desktop. Use at your own risk.)
TL:DR; You can try
fscrypt in Ubuntu 18.10+ or Linux Mint 19.1+
Looks like this was finally fixed. Here's a pre-emptive guide: http://tlbdk.github.io/ubuntu/2018/10/22/fscrypt.html
I'm not quoting instructions here because it does require some hacks and you can end up losing your home data.
Warning: A warning from user @dpg: "BE CAREFUL:I followed instructions from that "pre-emptive guide" (did it under tty), and got infinite login loop."
Consider this guide for educational purposes only.
Next is my original answer:
Original Answer 2018-05
TL;DR: Use classic home encryption with Linux Mint 19 Tara.
fscrypt for home encryption is still broken.
How do I setup fscrypt to encrypt my /home directory and decrypt when I log in?
This is something a lot of us want. It appears the Ubuntu team couldn't get
ecryptfs to work bug-free on Ubuntu 18.04, and couldn't fix the bugs in
fscrypt for a home-encryption option in time for the scheduled Ubuntu 18.04 release either.
fscrypt, is at least one critical bug that makes it unusable for home encryption at the moment:
Furthermore, we'd need a transparent way of authenticating/unlocking before it's a realistic alternative to the "old" ecryptfs-type home encryption. This is tracked here:
With these issues open, you can consider home encryption broken at this point. With that, my colleagues and I consider Ubuntu
18.04 18.04.1 unfinished at the moment, and hope that home-encryption will be brought back (using the new and much better
fscrypt method) in Ubuntu
Until such time, we're sticking with Ubuntu 16.04. We have switched all our machines to Linux Mint 19 Tara with the classic home encryption using
ecryptfs. Read the "known issues" section in the Release Notes for Linux Mint 19 Tara about the
ecryptfs limitations, and see if this is acceptable to you:
(...) please be aware that in Mint 19 and newer releases, your encrypted home directory is no longer unmounted on logout.
If you have tried
fscrypt and found it to be broken for your usage, you can vote "this bug affects me too" at the following launchpad bug:
ext4-crypt (future "encrypt home") is the fastest option, and
ecryptfs (old "encrypt home") is the slowest option.
LUKS ("encrypt entire drive") is in the middle.
For this reason, entire disk encryption is 'conveniently' recommended. Because if you have very big projects with many small files, use revision management a lot, make big compiles, etcetera, you'll find that the overkill of encrypting your entire drive is actually worth it compared to the slowness of the old ecryptfs-type home encryption.
In the end, encrypting the entire drive has multiple drawbacks:
- Guest account
- Family laptop with private accounts
- Using PREY-like anti-theft software
It's puzzling that Canonical decided that "we don't need this anymore" on their LTS version, which has come to be known as their more "serious" distribution.