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Mint 17 Xfce: After First Boot Configuration

Install Notes Context

  • These are Summary Notes that I would use when going over how I load Mint 17 Xfce or Mint 17.1 Xfce with someone else.
  • As the page title makes known, these instructions are everything I go through after the Linux Mint installer has run, and the system has rebooted at the end of that– to run the Mint OS for the first time.
  • Any Instructions that are “Only for Mint 17 Xfce (not Mint 17.1)” are set apart in a note block and clearly labeled as such.

Software Sources & Updates then Drivers

Software Sources Configuration

Linux Mint uses .deb files to install packages and updates. So for any location that uses multiple Linux computers, downloading these .deb files once, then storing them locally on the network, can make a tremendous difference to how fast installing programs or doing updates happens. (Must wait for a file to downoad only the 1st time it is needed.)

Note: Using a .deb proxy can make downloading the needed files amazingly quick – but then the installing part will happen at the same (slow) rate – with or without a .deb proxy.

  • enable using a squid-deb-proxy server – if there is one available on the local network
    → In the Terminal window run (copy & paste) the following command:
  • sudo apt-get install squid-deb-proxy-client
    • Make certain “-client” is at the end of the above command! (Don't install a 2nd .deb proxy server!)
  • Use the below PPA to update Gimp to the current (stable) version
    → In the Terminal window run (copy & paste) the following command:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
  • Use the below to update LibreOffice to the current (stable) version (LibreOffice 4.4)
    → In the Terminal window run (copy & paste, 1 line at a time) each of the following commands:
    sudo apt-get install python-software-properties 
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-4-4

Only for Mint 17 Xfce (not Mint 17.1):

  • Use the below PPA to update the Mint 17 Xfce Menu (Whisker Menu) to the current (stable) version
    → In the Terminal window run (copy & paste) the following command:
    sudo sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gottcode/gcppa

  • The below PPA is needed to Install the Audio Recorder program (to replace Sound Recorder found in Mint 13)
    → In the Terminal window run (copy & paste) the following command:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:osmoma/audio-recorder
  • Finally command Mint 17 to use these updated Software Sources
    → In the Terminal window run (copy & paste) the following command:
    sudo apt-get update

The Mint Update Manager

  • Open the Update Manager → The “Shield” icon in the bottom right corner (that will have a blue symbol in the centre)
  • Enable installing all Security Updates, and set the system to set this to Check for Updates only once per day.
    • Configure Update Manager Settings →top of window menu » Edit » Preferences
      • on the “Levels” tab → ENABLE “Always select and trust security updates”
      • on the “Auto-Refresh” tab → Change the time interval from 30 min. to 1 day
      • SELECT the “Apply” button
  • Now Install all Pending Updates.
    • Select “Install Updates” ← to update the Mint Update Manager
    • Select “Install Updates” again ← to install the available updates

“Standard Answers” to use with the Mint Updater : (what I recommend using)
→ click ”Ok” to any additional changes pop-ups
→ click ”Replace” to any “Replace configuration file” pop-ups

  • Once all the updates are completed, close the Update Manager window.
    • The “Shield” icon in the bottom right corner should now have a Green Check-mark symbol in the centre.

Additional Drivers & Firmware

Linux does NOT have the same “Rollback Drivers” capability of other Operating Systems such as Windows. So if a Proprietary Video Driver “fails spectacularly” – that can leave Linux Mint with no video at all on the display. Or if a Wi-Fi driver “fails spectacularly” that could take out all the networking. (both Wired and Wireless)

If that happens, it can sometimes be simpler to “start over & reload Linux”. Or an experienced user can use a Live Boot DVD/USB – to then use text commands to set a driver back to something that worked.

Proprietary Video Drivers (drivers provided by the manufacture) are often needed to get acceptable performance on older ATI® or NVIDIA® Video Cards. (Hopefully an older card has a Proprietary Driver available.) For the above reason, any drivers should be tried as early in the load process as possible

  • load the Proprietary Video driver (if there is any) – then do the below before trying to load other drivers
    • “Menu” icon » System » Driver Manager → let it search, then load drivers as appropriate
  • Using the Mint Software Manager (“Menu” icon » Software Manager) do the following:
    • Install linux-firmware-nonfree ← Search for “firmware” to find this

RESTART SYSTEM

Intel Chipset Graphics

If you have an Intel Core CPU (Core2 Duo or newer) – and that uses the Video provided by the motherboard Intel Chipset Graphics– then installing the Intel Linux Video Drivers might be a good idea. Just DO NOT use this if you are using the Ubuntu Low-Latency Kernel. (Which Ubuntu Studio does use.)

  • The Intel Chipset Graphics supported by the Intel(R) Graphics Installer are listed at:
    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=13815
  • For Mint 17, run (copy & paste, 1 line at a time) the following – to add this to the Software Sources – so the Update Manager can install the proprietary Intel Video Drivers:
    echo "deb https://download.01.org/gfx/ubuntu/14.04/main trusty main #Intel Graphics drivers" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/intellinuxgraphics.list
    wget --no-check-certificate https://download.01.org/gfx/RPM-GPG-KEY-ilg -O - | sudo apt-key add -
    sudo apt-get update

Broadcom "B43" Wi-Fi adapter

If a laptop uses a B43 series Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter, then you will need to know what Broadcom chipset that is using.

  • From the Software Manager run one of the following:
    • Install either firmware-b43-installer or firmware-b43legacy-installer ← search for “b43”
      • both of these list the Broadcom chipsets that they provide firmware or drivers for.

RESTART SYSTEM

  • If trying to run the above just hangs and will not install – possibly with the loss of the wired network that was working – then the Driver Manager has unsuccessfully attempted to install the bcmwl-kernal-source firmware that does not work.
  • When this happens, use a Live Boot DVD or USB to Reinstall Mint 17 or Mint 17.1 – then in the Driver Manager do not reinstall the bad “fails spectacularly” driver. (Use the Software Manager to Install 1 of the above instead.)

Desktop Configuration

  • Using the Mint Software Manager (“Menu” icon » Software Manager) do the following:
    • Install xubuntu-community-wallpapers ← Search for “community wall”
    • Install shimmer-themes ← Search for “shimmer”
    • Install ubuntustudio-icon-theme ← Search for “ubuntustudio”
    • Install ttf-mscorefonts-installer ← Search for “ttf” to find this
      • Pop-Up window → CHECK the “Do you accpet the EULA license terms?” box, then select “Forward”
      • Note: this will take noticeably longer to finish installing, compared to the other packages
    • Install hunspell-en-ca ← Search for “en-ca” to find this … provides Canadian English dictionary support
    • Install audacious

Optional MultiMedia Programs

  • Still using the Mint Software Manager
    • Install smplayer ← an excellent “plays everything” Media Player … that remembers where you left off viewing
    • Install audio-recorder ← This needs the “audio-recorder PPA” (installed above in Software Sources)
  • “Menu” icon » Multimedia » Audio Recorder
    • Audio settings » Additional settings → Set “Auto-start this application at login.” to OFF
  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Session and Startup » “Application Autostart” tab
    • UNCHECK “Audio Recorder (Easy-to-use audio recording tool)”

Now finish configuring the Xfce Desktop Environment in the following manner:

Only for Mint 17 Xfce (not Mint 17.1):

  • right-click the “Menu” icon » Properties
    • “Appearance” tab » CHECK “Position categories next to the panel button”

  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Desktop
    • Background → SELECT some Desktop Wallpaper that you like
    • Note: The 1st time this is opened, the selection of available wallpapers could take fairly long to load & suddenly show
  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Appearance
    • “Icons” tab → Select “elementary Xfce darker”
  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Power Manager
    • General Options
      • When the power button is pressed → set to “Shutdown”
    • On AC » “Monitor” tab
      • Switch off Display → Never
      • Put Display to Sleep → Never
  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Screensaver » “Display Modes” tab
    • set Mode: to “Only One Screen Saver”
    • In the scroll box below that SELECT “XMatrix”
    • Note: low resource usage screen saver to not “just blank the screen” … so no “unexpected event” for a new user.
  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Removable Drives and Media » “Multimedia” tab
    • Set the Command for Audio CDs to:
      audacious cdda://
    • Set the Command for Video CDs/DVDs to:
      vlc -f dvd:///dev/sr0
    • Leave the Command for Portable Music Players set to:
      banshee
  • “Menu” icon » Settings » Workspaces » Number of Workspaces
    • Change to 1 Workspace
  • Programs Panel » Audio icon » Sound Settings… » check/configure the audio controls/settings

Internet Applications Configuration

  • “≡” menu icon
    • General → Set Firefox homepage to https://www.google.ca
    • left-click on the “Star” icon (beside the search box) to Bookmark this page
    • Again left-click on the “Star” icon to edit this link
      • Edit the bookmark Name: to just “Search engines
      • Change the bookmark Folder: to “Bookmarks Toolbar”
    • Click on the “Google” icon at the very bottom of this page
      • While on the “Google in Linux Mint” page, follow the “How can I add Google to Linux Mint?” instructions.

For any Linux Downloads directly from Google, you need to know if you are running a 32bit or 64bit version of the Linux Mint … As it is up to the end-user to ensure that the corresponding 32bit or 64bit .deb files are correctly selected to install any Google program or plug-in. (Occasionally the “best guess” by Google is wrong.)

  • http://www.google.com/linuxrepositories/ → “Google Voice and Video Chat”
    • Download the correct (32bit or 64bit) .deb file for the “Hangouts” Plugin
      • let Firefox “open with gdebi-gtk” » “Install” button

Optional: Install Google Chrome

    • Download the correct (32bit or 64bit) .deb file for Chrome
      • let Firefox “open with gdebi-gtk” » “Install” button
    • run Chrome (“Menu” icon » Internet » Google Chrome)
      • UNCHECK Make Google Chrome default browser → “OK” button
    • run Chrome again → select “Don't ask again”
    • Leave the sign-in window, and open another tab to finish configuring Chrome
      • “≡” menu icon » Settings » select “+ show advanced settings
        • Down near the bottom, UNCHECK “use hardware acceleration when available”

Laptops: Installing TLP (for better Battery Life)

References:
http://sourcedigit.com/12715-install-tlp-ubuntu-14-04-reduce-overheating-increase-battery-life/
http://www.webupd8.org/2015/02/advanced-power-management-tool-tlp-sees.html

The configuration I most often use is as follows:

  • Ensure that laptop-mode-tools is not installed:
    sudo apt-get remove laptop-mode-tools     # a "nothing to uninstall" message is expected
  • Install TLP:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
    sudo apt-get install smartmontools ethtool

RESTART SYSTEM

Note: Some Thinkpads and other laptops need a more involved setup. Refer to the above linked article for more information about that.