27 December 2012

15 things to do after installing Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) XFCE

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

When I did the last one of these after installing Maya, I got way more traffic to that post than pretty much most of this blog any time ever.

For those of you who are visiting for the first time, I don't actually normally blog about tech stuff.  I blog about politics, religion, consumer affairs, pretty much stuff that is totally un-tech.

But I've just installed Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) XFCE on my little old Eee PC, so enjoy my guide to the first 15 things to do after installation.  Please excuse the liberal copying and pasting from the previous version.

This time, for fun, I did an update to my father's netbook as well.  Things went swimmingly for both and I'm pretty happy with how things turned out.

1.  Change software sources

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 Linux Mint 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. This time around, I was having issues with my father's cable (!) broadband which wasn't playing ball.  So it took a little while - I had to let it run over night.

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.

I don't know why I didn't, but I would save time immeasurably if I set up Firefox Sync on my mobile phone.  Stuffing around with the sync key caused a bit of grief.

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-control-panel-qt
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.

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
It's worth doing a scan after this.  And frequently afterwards, of course.

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 to go from here.

9.  Install and configure XScreenSaver

Once upon a time, XScreensaver was installed as standard.  No more.  For some stupid reason, they've gone with GNOME Screensaver instead. Naturally, one's blood may be boiling at this idiocy, but help is at hand.

First we have to remove GNOME Screensaver. Paste this into your terminal, first:
sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
Then, we need to install XScreensaver.  I'm also going to do my usual thing of installing Electric Sheep and fitting it to work in XScreensaver as well.  Paste this into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xfishtank xdaliclock 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.  Install Faenza icon pack

I was largely unimpressed with the fonts that came as standard in the last version of Mint XFCE.  I'm a bit happier with them now, although fonts in Linux Mint are still not as smooth as they could be.

This time, I'm not thrilled with the default icons.  So I'm resorting to the rather spiffy, yet still pretty conservative Faenza icon set.  Strangely, a few of the apps use Faenza within them, already.

Plug this into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install mate-icon-theme-faenza
You can select the new icons from the Appearance option of what is now labelled your 'Control Centre' in your 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.  Make changes

Since last time, I've noticed that there have been a few changes made.  The number of media players has been drastically reduced.  Banshee has been left in, but Rhythmbox and VLC have been taken out.

Whilst I don't really like Banshee, I'm going to try to like it.  But I will install VLC, since I use it in a 'surgical strike' capacity with random music and video files.  Just not all the time.  I'll deal with that in the next section.

Another odd change is the one where they've go rid of Brasero and replaced with Xfburn.  It's probably very good, but I don't need a burner in a PC which doesn't have an optical drive.

Lastly, I'm kinda over Hotot as a Twitter client.  So, I'm not gong to be installing that.  Instead, I'm going to install Turpial.

So.  Just like last time, I'm going to install:

Gparted: Partition editor;
Vuze: Torrent client;
Skype: VoIP client;
Musescore: Music notation editor;
Calibre: E-book library manager;
Clementine: My music player of choice;

I found myself using Abiword and Gnumeric less and less this time around, so I'm giving them a miss.  Plus, I ran out of time to play with Bristol (analogue synthesiser emulator) so I'm putting that on as well.

Plugging this shopping list in looks like this:
sudo apt-get install calibre clementine gparted skype vuze vlc turpial monobristol musescore fluid-soundfont-gm fluidsynth timidity fluid-soundfont-gs pmidi

14.  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-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-schroedinger gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer-dbus-media-service gstreamer-tools

15.  Add new users

Adding new users is still not supported out of the box, at least in proper GUI form.

So we still 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.

Can't believe I missed this.  Users and Groups has been added from MATE and it's excellent.  Users and Groups can be found under Administration in the MintMenu.

Before I go, also check out the new MDM features as well.  Logins look so much better under this and the default is wanting.


M.Smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dikkii said...

Thanks M. Smith

LaizureBoy said...

Not going to lie, I'm definitely going to use these! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nice, many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Using default MATE desktop on Mint 14 and the default screensaver manager, for electricsheep to show up as an available screensaver I had to edit this file

I added ";MATE" so it looks like this

Dikkii said...

Thanks Anon.

I didn't have to do that - I'm using the XFCE version of Mint 14, not the MATE version and I'm using xScreensaver, not Mate-Screensaver.

Anonymous said...

Can u tell me how you install linux mint nadia on eepc please. thanking u.

Dikkii said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm not planning to do a post on how to install Linux Mint to an EeePC at this point, but I may in the future - I will have to see how I go for time.


Yousuf said...
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jason haris said...
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John Michle said...
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Eduard said...

After using Gnome 2 for many years, now I am using XFCE. I think it is such a great desktop.

However, I needed to tweak it a little. I wrote a simple tutorial explaining the changes I did to adapt it to my own taste:


I wish it is useful to someone else.

Anonymous said...
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