The Perfect Desktop - Linux Mint 8 (Helena)

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Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Mon, 2009-11-30 17:42. :: Ubuntu | Desktop

The Perfect Desktop - Linux Mint 8 (Helena)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
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Last edited 11/30/2009

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Linux Mint 8 (Helena) 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 8 is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 9.10 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 8 desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

  • 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

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird - email and news client
  • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule - P2P file sharing application
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client - Bittorrent client
  • Azureus/Vuze - Java Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin - multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • 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
  • Multimedia Codecs

Programming:

  • 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

Other:

  • VirtualBox - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions

All desired applications are available in the Linux Mint repositories.

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).

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.

Download the Linux Mint 8 iso image from http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it:

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 Linux Mint 8 icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

The installer starts. First, select your language:

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Erase and use the entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you're doing. Erase and use the entire disk will create one big / partition for us:

Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click on Forward:

The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on Install to start the installation:

The Linux Mint system is being installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

After the installation is complete, we must reboot the system to use it. Click on Restart now:

The Live-CD desktop shuts down. At the end, the Linux Mint CD is ejected. Remove it from the CD drive and hit the <ENTER> key to boot into your new Linux Mint desktop:

Your new Linux Mint system starts. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during installation:

When you log in for the first time, you will see the following help window. Click on Close:

This is how your new desktop looks:

Now the base system is ready to be used.


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Submitted by boB (not registered) on Mon, 2010-03-15 04:25.

Firefox goes to bottom of screen and won't activate.  The system refuses to put any shortcuts on desktop.  Difficult to find programs to activate to work with.  Having used Ubuntu since 6.04 this Mint 8 is frustrating.  Not surprising though.  I have been buying LXF for several years and have yet to get a usable program disk.  Would like to give Mint 8 a fair shot so need a comeback on this issue.  Printed out your Official User Guide and am thinking of downloading Mint from source.  Credible idea or no.  LXF needs to stay in England, maybe.  Won't be buying another one of their over-priced magazines; that's for sure.                                               Always liked and respected Ubuntu.  Just thought of trying something new.                                                                                                               Thanks for letting your ears or ear.    boB