02 September 2012

16 Things to do after installing Linux Mint 13 (Maya) XFCE

Edit 30/12/2013: 12 things to do after installing Linux Mint 16 (Petra) XFCE is now available here.

You may have just installed Linux Mint 13 (Maya) XFCE.  What next?

This is a list of stuff I did to get my Eee PC into a state that I can use after installing Mint XFCE.  It might not necessarily work for you, but hey.  It's a kind of sequel of sorts to a post I did earlier today, and again, it's unlikely to appeal to anyone except Linux converts.

One of the things that has struck me about Mint XFCE since I installed it on this machine is its sheer reliability.  XFCE has been around for a little while, now.  While some have regarded it as a bit of a poor man's GNOME, it doesn't have the baggage that GNOME is presently dragging around.

So here are 16 things I did after installing Linux Mint 13 (Maya) XFCE on my Eee PC.

1.  Change software sources

Now, the first thing that you're going to want to set up your software sources. Like a lot of Australians, I have a download limit, however, my ISP quarantines some stuff in a 'free zone' which doesn't add to your limit. Wouldn't it be great if your ISP housed stuff like updates to your OS in this area?

It just so happens that a lot of ISPs do provide this type of arrangement, usually for some (but not all) Linux and BSD distros. Like most Linux distros, Linux Mint allows for this very eventuality. Simply go to the Menu, run your mouse up to Settings and select 'Software Sources'.

The main feature of this, is that you can select the software server closest to you for fast updating, or in the case of a cheapskate like me, cheap updating. In the dropdown menu next to “download from” in the LinuxMint Software tab, I recommend that you select your ISP.

I also like to select the tickbox for backported packages, which is left blank by default, as well as selecting any unticked repositories in the Other Software tab, except for the bottom one (file:///etc).

Once I've done this, I hit close. It should automatically update and tell you that you need to run an update.

2. Run an update

You can access your update manager from the Menu, under the 'System' submenu.

Install all updates and continue on. I had three hundred and something, and am currently working on mobile (3G) broadband, so this took me a little while. I let it run over dinner.

3.  Sync Firefox, move files back

Same thing if you use Chromium/Chrome or another browser, you'll be looking to have your bookmarks and stuff back. We'll deal with installation of Chromium/Chrome later, but get Firefox sorted now.  You should already be using Firefox Sync, which is available in your Firefox preferences.

Your old files should be moved back at this point as well. This would include your old emails which you might move back if you insist on using an email client. I don't use one of these. I'm happy enough to go through my browser.

4.  Install Ubuntu One

I keep my emergency files in my Ubuntu One cloud account. Why don't I use Dropbox? I use that too – I use as much free cloud space as I can get my hands on.

You can either use the Software Manager, or run this from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install ubuntuone-installer 

You can run this from Settings in the menu. Get this set up now. It will take you through the steps. But it won't install the indicator in the tray. Use these commands in the terminal to get these up and running:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rye/ubuntuone-extras

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install indicator-ubuntuone

Log out and log back in again. You should see a cloud-shaped indicator in the tray.

5.  Install Xubuntu Restricted Extras

Ubuntu Restricted Extras is a popular set of non-free extras you can install.  You can find these in the Software Manager, however, we're running the XFCE version of Linux Mint, so look for the one named 'Xubuntu Restricted Extras'. Alternatively, run this from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-restricted-extras

Whilst there is already quite a few non-free stuff installed, this just adds to the set.

6.  Amend Medibuntu repositories

The Medibuntu repos should already be installed in Linux Mint. However, it will be for the main server. In Australia, it should speed things along a little to change this to the New Caledonia server. It should be a piece of cake to go into Software Sources and amend the Medibuntu repo to “http://nc.packages.medibuntu...”

Exit software sources and then type:

sudo apt-get update

into a terminal. The other Medibuntu server locations are available from Medibuntu's website.

7.  Firewall and antivirus

You need these. Don't let anyone convince you that Linux is completely safe. UFW is already installed but needs to be switched on. You can access UFW under Firewall Configuration in System.

ClamTK is a good viruschecker. Install this from the Software Manager, or type this into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

Not long after I installed this, I did a scan and picked up three suspect files from a shared Dropbox. See what I mean?

8.  Dropbox

Don't even try to install this from the software manager. It will tell you that it's the wrong version and insist on a new one. Go to Dropbox' website and download the .deb file instead. It's available here:


You should be right from here. 

9.  Configure XScreenSaver

Thankfully, this is installed as standard. But half the stuff is missing. So let's go get it. Paste this into your terminal:

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver-gl xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra xscreensaver-screensaver-bsod electricsheep

And then you will need to follow the steps contained here to install Electric Sheep in XScreenSaver.

10.  Enable MintMenu

This is very easy. It turns out that the fully functioning MintMenu that is available in the MATE version of Linux Mint is also available in the XFCE version. And it's already installed. So, let's get it operational.

Right-click on the bottom panel, or if you like, the taskbar. You should get, under 'Panel' in the first menu, an option for Add New Items. Select this and then select the Xfapplet option. Click on Add down the bottom and then Close.

You'll see a new Xfapplet icon appear at the far right end of the panel. Right click on this and select Properties. You will then get a window with only one option – MintMenu. Select this and OK. You'll see that it's ready to go. Right click on the Panel again and select Panel Preferences from the Panel menu. You will need to select the Xfapplet one (Items tab) and move it up to the top to get it to change ends.

Lastly, select Applications Menu and remove before hitting Close. Well done – you now have the MintMenu enabled.

11.  Play with the fonts

Linux Mint 13 XFCE has this disconcerting fuzziness around the fonts. This can be fixed, but you will have to change fonts. I changed mine to Droid Sans and enabled 'Slight' from the hinting menu as well as 'RGB' from the sub-pixel order menu. The Fonts tab is found in the Appearance section of what is now labelled 'Control Panel' in the MintMenu.

12.  Chromium/Chrome

Chromium is available in the Software Manager, and is worth installing. Chromium is the open source base for Google Chrome and has most of the functionality that Chrome has. I use Chromium in place of Firefox when I'm in a screaming hurry, however, I've never really warmed to it as my browser of choice.

You can also install Chromium from the command line in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

If you want, you can install Google Chrome from Google's website. There is a .deb package and everything for easy installation. I don't really know why anyone would bother, though. Having said that, I did read once that this guy installed Chrome to get the more colourful Chrome icon, rather than the 'bluescale' of the Chromium icon. To each their own, I suppose.

13.  Get rid of some stuff

It's probably worth getting rid of some programs that you'll never use here. For example, my Eee PC doesn't have an optical drive, so I can easily get rid of Brasero. It might be an rather nifty burner, but I'm simply never going to use it.

I use this opportunity to get rid of half the media players that I'm never going to use, as well.  I'm keeping Rhythmbox, but throwing Banshee, for example.

14.  Install some stuff

Now that you have MintMenu up and running, you can do some neat stuff when installing new programs. You simply can't do without a partition editor, and Gparted is a rather good one.

Try this: Click on the menu button, do a search in the search field for 'Gparted' and then, above the search field on the right, click on the 'Install package Gparted'. You should be able to follow the remaining bits from here. I've gone ahead and installed Vuze and Skype (in addition to Gparted) this way as well.

Something different, anyway.

Here's some stuff for me. I do like the LibreOffice suite, but I generally prefer Abiword and Gnumeric for their lightness, especially on this Eee PC. So let's install those.

I'm also going to install a few other programs, too. I like to use a music notation editor called Musescore. It's pretty darn good, although I do need to have my Eee PC plugged into a larger monitor to use it effectively. I’m also going to install a few extra soundfonts, as the default ones are pretty basic.

Calibre is absolutely necessary to manage your ebooks as well.

Although I like the default music players in Linux Mint, I cannot do without Clementine. I use different music players for different things – just like when I use Chromium for quick browsing, I use VLC for quick listens, but Clementine is my Firefox.

Hotot is my Twitter client of choice, these days. Hotot also supports Identi.ca as well. I used to quite like Gwibber, but successive updates have stripped functionality out of it.

I'm fooling around with a few analogue synth emulators at the moment. This one is called Bristol. I've used it a few times and it's great fun. It comes with a GUI called MonoBristol which I've never tried before, so I'll install that and see what cooks.

If this was my desktop, there would be a stack of other stuff I'd install, but I'll stop there.

Here it is for plugging this shopping list straight into the terminal:

sudo apt-get install abiword gnumeric calibre clementine hotot monobristol musescore fluid-soundfont-gm fluidsynth timidity fluid-soundfont-gs pmidi

15.  Install codecs

You should have most of these by now. But you need more.

Run this in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder mpeg2dec vorbis-tools id3v2 mpg321 mpg123 libflac++6 ffmpeg totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 libjpeg-progs flac faac faad sox ffmpeg2theora libmpeg2-4 uudeview flac libmpeg3-1 mpeg3-utils mpegdemux liba52-0.7.4-dev gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 gstreamer0.10-gnonlin gstreamer0.10-sdl gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-schroedinger gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer-dbus-media-service gstreamer-tools

16.  Add new users

In what appears to be one of the sillier moves, adding new users is not supported out of the box, at least in proper GUI form.

So we have to resort to the terminal for this one. Let's say I'm creating a profile for someone who we'll call 'barry'. Enter this in a terminal:

sudo adduser barry

It will prompt you for this user's password and then, it should be good to go. Enter through the other fields, and you should be good to go.

And that should have you up and running with a reasonably good setup.  Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

thanks... the site helped a lot.

Dikkii said...

That's great!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the advice you give.

Do I necessarily have to change the fonts through the mintmenu control panel?

I have found a way to do this through the xfce menu>settings>appearance>fonts.

But I do think that the last time I followed your advice and adjusted the fonts through the mint-menu there was an obvious improvement.
I am not sure whether the xfce start menu settings are working as well for the said purpose.

Dikkii said...

Sorry about the late response, Anonymous. I can't think of a reason why there should be a difference, but it's possible that someone reading this might be able to let you know.

Anonymous said...

Just to say, clamtk (clamav) is a virus checker that primarily checks for Windows viruses. It was designed to sit on servers dealing with mail on Windows networks. So yes, it may find stuff, but not stuff that's likely to harm your Mint installation. I'd leave off installing it unless you have to - specially on a low power netbook.

Dikkii said...

Thanks Anon. I have read this before and wish that you had left a reference as I have been unable to find confirmation of this point again.

Anonymous said...

For Laptops, I recommend to set up spin-down-time to at least 600 sec. Default-value is 60 secs. Means: after 60 secs your hdd is set off.
But the more often you switch on and off your hdd, the faster it crashes down.-/


Anonymous said...

On my Eee PC i with Linux Mint Maya have replaced ›gedit‹ by ›medit‹. Work's better for me...

Note: PIL-Lover? Okay, interesting sounds for your ears i think: http://kiwi6.com/file/d7tkq7c8s5 ... Have fun!

Dikkii said...

Thanks Anonymous. I haven't used Medit before, but I'll give it a go. Normally, I'm not to fussed about text editors - I think I might have been the only person who couldn't have cared about Leafpad when it was the text editor.

Thanks for the PIL link. I had to miss them when they were here last time, because I had an exam or something. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I also had issues with clamav/clamtk. It actually tore my Cinnamon desktop apart to the point of me having to reconfigure the system. It also left an active daemon running that would pop up in a virtual window running MS Office. Fixing those system configs and rooting out that daemon too some time.

Dikkii said...

Thanks Anon. I haven't actually tried installing clamav/clamtk on a system running Cinnamon, yet, but I might have a look at that in a virtual machine. It sounds frightening.

Hot Tin Cat said...

I agree that XFCE is very stable, and clamtk works well with it. In a computing environment that also includes Windows, I use Ubuntu/Mint for downloading, torrenting, etc. Maybe once a week or once a month I scan my downloads with clamtk. With such rare use, I don't want freshclam checking hourly for updates. So I set it to never update. I just do a manual update before scanning. Key points are:

sudo mousepad /etc/clamav/freshclam.conf

change Checks 24 to Checks 0
Save as, Replace.

In your browser, browse to:

Download daily.cvd to here:


main.cvd rarely needs updating. You can tell from the dates when it does.