Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
Last edited 12/16/2008
This tutorial shows how you can set up a Linux Mint 6 (Felicia) desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. Linux Mint 6 is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 8.10 that has lots of packages in its repositories (like multimedia codecs, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Skype, Google Earth, etc.) that are relatively hard to install on other distributions; it therefore provides a user-friendly desktop experience even for Linux newbies.
I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!
1 Preliminary Note
To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Linux Mint 6 desktop to have the following software installed:
The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
F-Spot - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
Google Picasa - application for organizing and editing digital photos
Flash Player 10
FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
email and news client
Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
OpenOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
OpenOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application
Sound & Video:
Amarok - audio player
Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
Rhythmbox Music Player - audio player, similar to Apple's iTunes, with support for iPods
gtkPod - software similar to Apple's iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
dvd::rip - full featured DVD copy program
Kino - free digital video editor
Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
VLC Media Player - media player (video/audio)
Helix Player - media player, similar to the Real Player
Totem - media player (video/audio)
Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
Brasero - CD/DVD burning program
K3B - CD/DVD burning program
KompoZer - WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
Bluefish - text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
Quanta Plus - web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor
VMware Server - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirely abandon Windows
Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions
Lots of our desired applications are available in the Linux Mint repositories.
You might notice that I'm installing lots of similar applications here (e.g. two browsers and two email clients, multiple audio players, etc.) - this is just a choice. Of course you are free to install just the apps that you really need - just leave out the other ones.
I will use the username falko in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.
2 Installing The Base System
The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Linux Mint installer doesn't offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.
The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the Linux Mint installation CD is also a Live-CD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how Linux Mint works on your hardware before you finally install it.
This is how the Linux Mint desktop looks. Double-click the Install icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:
The installer starts. First, select your language: