Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca) cinnamon

Nowadays, I don’t use my personal desktop computer so much. However, when I use it, I expect it to be fast, reliable, secure, … and specially productive. Summarizing, it has to work well. For this reason, I am not that kind of users that really want to be updated to the “latest greatest” OS version Linux distribution available.

Linux Mint

The Ubuntu times, have come to an end! Long life to Mint. (K)Ubuntu was my base distribution since 2006 (Edgy Eft), and since 2008, I have been using only LTS editions in my desktop. The reason to move from Ubuntu to Linux Mint can be summarized in two words: Unity desktop.
For almost 3 years I have been stuck to my Linux Mint 13 (Maya) cinnamon edition, which is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin). Its support will end on April 2017 and most probably, my computer will die before that date. My best practices manual says: “Never touch a running system”. However, the lack of new features, minor issues with Flash player and java runtime environment, rose the desire on me to try the Rebecca, the newest LTS from the Linux Mint team.

Cinnamon or Mate? That’s “the Question”

I like modern tools with cool and fancy graphics, but I am not really using them unless they bring a plus in productivity. In addition, my computer hardware was manufactured on 2006 and has not received any upgrade (excepting an additional hard disk). Reading on-line reviews I was not sure how good Cinnamon might run on my desktop even if it was fine on Maya. Many bloggers recommend Mate for legacy hardware, but, is my computer legacy hardware? Some might think it is!

Hardware description

  • Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2400MHz
  • 4GB DDR2 1033 MHz
  • ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO (256MB dedicated memory)

Installation

After booting the Live CD and verifying that Cinnamon was responsive on my hardware (at least as good as Maya was), I chose to install it. Due to my partition layout, I didn’t have to spend any time backing up my data (best practice: always back up your data before updating the system!!) and a clean installation + later configuration shall be an easy task.

Installation issues

  1. The installation asks to configure my internet connection in order to download the latest packages. Unfortunately, the installer does not allow to connect to wireless networks with hidden SSID. ⇒ I decided to continue the installation in offline mode (I should have tried to connect before starting the installation)
  2. After the installation finished, the installer was not able to reboot my PC ⇒ after 5 minutes I did a cold boot.

First Impressions

  • This new version of mint includes a splash screen. In the past it was told that the target of Mint was to achieve such a fast boot, that the user won’t be able to see it. I my PC it takes ~47s to display the desktop
  • Setup of Wireless Network with hidden SSID worked fine in the network manager
  • The welcome screen is clean and allows to install must-have like “multimedia codecs”

Updading packages

After configuring my wireless connection, the update manager pop up with a list of fresh packages. Around 400MB of data were downloaded from the internet and installed without issues.
Linux Mint Update Manager Screenshot

Linux Mint Update Manager Screenshot


Customization

After the update, its time to install some software and customize the installation. I have explicitly used a new home folder to start with a clean installation.

The following paragraphs are meant to be a living post where I document all fine tuning tasks I will perform from now on, and document the software repositories I configure, to keep track of them

Drivers and HW related tools

  • mdadm (manages software RAIDs)
  • ffgtk (manages my Fritz Box router)
  • sane (manages my scanner)

My personal must-have Software

The following software packages are available from the standard repositories

  • audacity
  • easytag
  • gimp (already installed)
  • gparted
  • guayadeque
  • inkscape
  • skype
  • tilda
  • vim
  • vlc (already installed)

Additionally, the following software (not available in the repositories). See dedicated posts for some of them…

  • google chrome
  • filebot
  • plex
  • serviio
  • smartgit
  • virtualbox
  • transmission-gtk

My personal “I don’t need this” Software

  • banshee (I use guayadeque instead)
  • totem (I use vlc instead)

APT Repositories:

$ sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian trusty contrib"

Desktop Effects

Mapping Windows (none)

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