Linux Mint Notes

Russell Bateman
20 May 2013
last update:

Linux Mint 13 (Maya) with Cinnamon. In general, I've been very pleased with Mint as compared to Ubuntu Precise, even with Cinnamon on the latter.

My present policy is not to move ahead with subsequent releases of any Linux distro, but stay behind on LTS releases until the next LTS appears. This is because I got sorely burned by installing Maverick (10.10), whose support ran out a year before Lucid's. As it was an important development host with software very hard to duplicate at the time, I couldn't risk upgrading it and so it became a virtual cul de sac. As I make this note (December, 2013), I'm still a few weeks being able to junk that installation.

See notes for general Linux here.
See notes for Debian, Ubuntu and Unity here.
Or, see the Permuted Index.

Quirks

There is no resolv.conf. Instead, there's a more complicated, probably newer-thinking, configuration involving a subdirectory tree, /etc/resolvconf. See here for a solution.


Linux Mint support username

If you forget your Mint forum username, you won't find it using your password. So, don't forget it. Mine's russellbateman.


Installation quirk

Installing behind a firewall (behind a proxy) created a problem for Mint. Here's the installation process as it worked for me.

  1. Boot from CD.
  2.  
    If behind a proxy, do this...
    1. When desktop appears, open a console (Ctrl+Alt+T or click an icon that does it).
    2. Express your proxy, i.e.:
          [email protected] ~ $ export http_proxy="http://web-proxy.austin.acme.com:8080"
          [email protected] ~ $ export http_proxy="http://web-proxy.austin.acme.com:8080"
      				
    3. Right-click the Install Linux Mint icon and choose "Properties".
    4. Scrape what's in Command: and paste into open console window; for me this was:
          $ ubiquity --desktop %k gtk_ui
      				
    5. Press Enter and wait a while for the Mint installer to launch.

    What does this do? It sets up your Internet proxy before running the Mint installer so that it can reach files it needs on the Internet.

     
    If not behind a proxy, simply double-click the Install Linux Mint icon.
     
  3. Welcome: Choose your language, click Continue.
  4. Preparing to install Linux Mint: If Mint can see its files on the Internet, there should be a grey checkmark near is connecte to the Internet (instead of a red circle with an X). Click Continue.
  5. Installation type: Choose desired installation, click Continue.
  6. Click Install Name.
  7. Do install (timezone, keyboard, owner/user, hostname, password, etc.)...
  8. Reboot when prompted.

Dead launchers in Cinnamon panel...

Once, I had the situation where clicking on launchers in the panel didn't launch anything. See Panel launchers don't launch when clicked.

A family member put me on to this link: Applications won't launch from panel applets. Neither the response to my question nor this bug report were particularly cogent, however, the latter did put me directly on to the solution:

  1. From the command line, launch dconf-editor. If not installed, install it.
  2. In the left-hand column, expand org.
  3. Click on (no need to expand) cinnamon.
  4. Scroll down to panel-edit-mode and uncheck it.
  5. Click the close box to dismiss dconf-edit.

This resolved the problem in a way that, per the bug report, could not be solved except by mindless combinations of changing the setting in the GUI manager for Cinnamon Settings.


How to make /etc/resolv.conf work the way it used to...

By default, /etc/resolv.conf is no longer a file, but a subdirectory on Mint distributions. This can get in the way of some incidental consumers of this file such as my own employer's VPN script, my inability to consume which a) put Mint at a disadvantage as a viable developer platform and b) forced me to keep another host running Maverick (or Precise, etc.) in order to perform deployments and other work.

I stumbled upon a solution to this. Answer affirmatively to all interaction this installation proposes:

    $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure resolvconf

I have observed no ill side-effects after doing this on two hosts at this point.


How to fix Aptitude proxy issues

Create a new file, /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/95proxy with these contents:

Acquire::http::proxy  "http://web-proxy.austin.acme.com:8080";
Acquire::https::proxy "https://web-proxy.austin.acme.com:8080";
Acquire::ftp::proxy   "ftp://web-proxy.austin.acme.com:8080";

How to fix Firefox proxy issues

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection -> Settings...

    Manual proxy configuration:
    HTTP Proxy: web-proxy.austin.acme.com  Port: 8080
               x Use this proxy server for all protocols

Final proxy solution

Once everything is set up, these settings are available from the panel icon (that looks like a little computer with monitor), click it, then Network Settings, then Network proxy -> Manual, etc.


How to relocate bottom panel to top

Menu -> Preferences -> Cinnamon Settings -> Panel -> Panel Layout -> Flipped


How to install a new launcher in the top panel

How to install a newly obtained application in the menus?

(Note made in October 2016:)

Now using Cinnamon on Fedora, CentOS and Mint, and details having changed, I found this link useful on CentOS 7:
How to add shortcut to Cinnamon taskbar. Also, alacarte is installable on Red Hat systems:
sudo yum install alacarte

  1. Open a console.
  2. Install alacarte if absent.
        [email protected] ~ $ sudo apt-get install alacarte
    
  3. Right-click Mint menu, choose Preferences -> Main menu.
  4. Select one out of Applications Group for the new application.
  5. Click New Item.
  6. Fill in Name, Command (path to the executable), and Comment (if desired), just as you would when setting up a panel launcher for Gnome.
  7. (Usually, the icon will auto-fill, but if not, go download a suitable one from any page with something nice for the application you're insalling; it can be GIF, PNG, anything.)
  8. Click OK.
  9. Go to the Mint menu, find the application you just installed, right-click it and choose Add to panel.
  10. Reorder the icon that shows up on the panel.

Then, in the menus, if you right-click the new application, you'll have the option to put it on the top panel, desktop, etc.


The compose key (accents)...

...whatever has been chosen (Menu -> Preference -> Keyboard Layout > Layouts -> (keyboard language) -> Options... -> Compose key position -> (whatever you've chosen) doesn't work quite like Ubuntu. Instead, you must maintain the compose key while pressing both the diacritic selector AND the character to receive the diacritic.


Screenshot on Mint Cinnamon...

...is in Menu -> Accessories. You can pin it to the top panel.


How to make console window title bars show active/inactive

To make the active console window appear different than inactive windows, do Menu -> Preferences -> Cinnamon Settings -> Themes -> Other Settings -> Window theme and choose Adwaita. It's subtle, but it does produce a slightly different title bar in the active console window.


Window tiling...

Using Window Tiling preference, turn off Enable Window Tiling and Snapping or...

  • Maximize, instead of tile, when dragging a window to the top edge OFF
  • Show snap on-screen-display OFF
  • Show tile heads-up-display OFF
  • Legacy window snapping OFF

How to restore the Gnome workspace switcher to the panel

I disengage the hot corner because I keep hitting it all the time.

  1. Go to Menu.
  2. Look for the icon with the gears in it (Cinnamon Settings).
  3. Choose Applets.
  4. Scroll way down to Workspace switcher.
  5. Check the box.
  6. Dismiss by clicking Close.
  7. The old, old-style switcher will reappear (though it will not have any graphical representation of activity in it, but this is better than
    1. The Hot corner.
    2. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow.
    3. Pressing Crrl+Alt+Right/Left Arrow.

How to add a workspace in Cinnamon

This can't be done if, as I do, you've disabled the workspace hot spot. Re-enable it, then put the mouse into it (usually the upper, left-hand corner) and then you'll see, to the right of the rightmost workspace thumbnail, a plus (+) sign. Click it and it will add another.


How to get wireless working on Mint 13

This promised to be a big mess, but really, it was all a matter of receding back into the days before plug and play and being okay with that. I've gotten altogether too lazy about expecting distros to do this sort of thing for me. It is a perennial problem with Ubuntu (and, to be fair, all Linuces). I Googled using the string "mint 13 won't enable wireless". The symptom had been that I couldn't enable my wireless.

De fil en aiguille, I got this link: No Wireless linux mint. It was suggested to a poster that he try this command (and you see what I got afterward—really import what's in bold):

    $ sudo mintwifi

    -------------------------
    * I. scanning WIFI PCI devices...
      -- Intel Corporation Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (rev 35)
          ==> PCI ID = 8086:4238 (rev 35)
    -------------------------
    * II. querying ndiswrapper...
    -------------------------
    * III. querying iwconfig...
    lo        no wireless extensions.

    wlan0     IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:off/any
              Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=off
              Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
              Encryption key:off
              Power Management:off

    eth0      no wireless extensions.

    tun0      no wireless extensions.

    -------------------------
    * IV. querying ifconfig...
    eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 88:ae:1d:ae:37:b1
              inet addr:16.86.193.103  Bcast:16.86.195.255  Mask:255.255.252.0
              inet6 addr: fe80::8aae:1dff:feae:37b1/64 Scope:Link
              UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
              RX packets:439098 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:46544 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
              RX bytes:57210957 (57.2 MB)  TX bytes:9162863 (9.1 MB)
              Interrupt:20 Memory:d7500000-d7520000

    lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
              inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
              inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
              UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
              RX packets:596 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:596 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
              RX bytes:48254 (48.2 KB)  TX bytes:48254 (48.2 KB)

    tun0      Link encap:UNSPEC  HWaddr 00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00
              inet addr:10.19.252.209  P-t-P:10.19.252.209  Mask:255.255.255.255
              UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST  MTU:1406  Metric:1
              RX packets:4644 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:5478 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:500
              RX bytes:816830 (816.8 KB)  TX bytes:384646 (384.6 KB)
    .
    .
    .

Then, I Googled for "intel corporation centrino ultimate-n 6300 linux driver" and got this link: http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/iwlwifi, clicked on the "Download" link, downloaded and exploded the tarball. I also noticed their advice of how to install the driver:

    $ sudo cp iwlfifi-*.ucode /lib/firmware

I ensured myself that /lib/firmware existed and contained drivers (it did) and followed these instructions. After copying the adapter, I clicked the network icon in my top panel and enabled wifi producing the following including some nearby wireless access points:

Previously, I had not been able to move the switch control for Wireless from OFF to ON. Then, I reissued the mintwifi command and got the following; the important differences are in bold, though I didn't tried to connect to these unknown points to get an address for wlan0:

    -------------------------
    * I. scanning WIFI PCI devices...
      -- Intel Corporation Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (rev 35)
          ==> PCI ID = 8086:4238 (rev 35)
    -------------------------
    * II. querying ndiswrapper...
    -------------------------
    * III. querying iwconfig...
    lo        no wireless extensions.

    wlan0     IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:off/any
              Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=15 dBm
              Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
              Encryption key:off
              Power Management:off

    eth0      no wireless extensions.

    tun0      no wireless extensions.

    -------------------------
    * IV. querying ifconfig...
    eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 88:ae:1d:ae:37:b1
              inet addr:16.86.193.103  Bcast:16.86.195.255  Mask:255.255.252.0
              inet6 addr: fe80::8aae:1dff:feae:37b1/64 Scope:Link
              UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
              RX packets:466445 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:57224 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
              RX bytes:88141997 (88.1 MB)  TX bytes:9966593 (9.9 MB)
              Interrupt:20 Memory:d7500000-d7520000

    lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
              inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
              inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
              UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
              RX packets:596 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:596 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
              RX bytes:48254 (48.2 KB)  TX bytes:48254 (48.2 KB)

    tun0      Link encap:UNSPEC  HWaddr 00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00
              inet addr:10.19.252.209  P-t-P:10.19.252.209  Mask:255.255.255.255
              UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST  MTU:1406  Metric:1
              RX packets:4687 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:5521 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:500
              RX bytes:825292 (825.2 KB)  TX bytes:387309 (387.3 KB)
    
    wlan0     Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:24:d7:43:68:1c
              UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
              RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
              RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
    .
    .
    .

How to set up a printer on Mint 13

First, do not use the totally useless printer set-up dialog at Menu.

Launch the real one, installing it if need be, and use it instead. It's pretty self-explanatory once you launch it.

    $ sudo apt-get install system-config-printer
    $ system-config-printer

How to set up rdesktop

rdesktop works on Ubuntu post Unity fisco. And on Mint. So I'm no longer bemoaning the fact that Remmina can't be configured; I'm just ignoring it. Here's how to set up rdesktop.

  1. sudo apt-get install rdesktop
  2. Create a launcher.
  3. Configure by modifying the Command property in the launcher to the appropriate arguments geometry, connection, username, domain, something like
        rdesktop -g1200x1080 op2-winrds1.hpd5.aus1.snapfish.com -u russellbateman -d AD
    
  4. Launch rdesktop and fix whatever you didn't get right.

Screensaver on Mint

There isn't one, except GNOME's, but the solution is the same for Unity. This is done by root:

$ apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
$ apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra
$ ln -s /usr/bin/xscreensaver-command /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command

To reverse (restore default functionality):

$ apt-get remove xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra
$ rm /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command
$ apt-get install gnome-screensaver

Upgrading Mint

How to upgrade to a newer release.


Burning an ISO

Use Brasero. If absent, install as root:

# apt-get install brasero

Find in Menu → All Applications. Use option, Burn an image.

Frequently, Brasero gives the message at the end, "Please eject the disc from (device) manually."


Booting directly to console prompt, no X Windows GUI

The major problem I have with these instructions, which I got here, is that if they fail, and I'm struggling with my display support (why I'm doing this in the first place), the only choice I've found so far is to reinstall.

  1. Save off a copy of /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
  2. Make this file writable.
  3. Edit the file and search for the section named, ### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###.
  4. Search again for "quiet splash" under this section and add " text" (minus the quotes) just after those words.
  5. Important note starting with Mint 17 LTS
  6. At least by Mint 17, you must...
    1. Look for GRUB_CMD_LINE_DEFAULT="quiet splash".
    2. Add "text" to the end of that command.
    3. Exit the editor (with update).
    4. Run update-grub to integrate these changes.
    5. Cross your fingers.
    6. Reboot the system.

Setting static IP address on Mint

This sort of worked the same for Mint 13.

  1. Find and launch the Network setting manager.

  2. Choose Wired and click Options.

  3. Click the IPv4 Settings tab and enter the desired values.

  4. Make the General tab look like this and click Save....


Time and date settings

This worked a little differently in Mint 13 where there was a Calendar setting in Settings.

How to change date format properly in Mint 17:

  1. Menu → All Applications → Applets → Calendar (or Settings → Applets)
  2. (Select Calendar.)
  3. Click Configure button.
  4. Use custom date format.
  5. Change Date format: to %a %e %b %Hh%M to get Mon 11 May 15h12"

...or:

  1. Right-click at upper right, the date and time displayed,
  2. Choose Configure,
  3. Do as above.

Thawing Cinnamon...

Sometimes Cinnamon freezes, though in fairness, it's only happened when I've screwed around with the computer case or something.

  1. Switch tty. I usually try Ctrl+Alt+F6.
  2. Log in, get root.
  3. Type w and press Enter to see the number of the display in use, for example :0.
  4. Type export DISPLAY=:0 ; cinnamon &
  5. Go back to the graphic displays, to find the one you were on, just start doing Alt+Fn, where Fn is successive function keys, until you "get back" to the screen that froze.

A link to peruse is How do I restart Cinnamon from the tty?.


Mounting a network drive in Cinnamon...

I found this here, but these are the steps:

  1. Launch whatever passes for the GUI filesystem explorer (Nautilus, etc.).
  2. Under the File menu, find Connect to Server....
  3. Type in the server address or name if you've got that in /etc/hosts.
  4. Select Type: SSH and (likely) Port: 22.
  5. Add your username and password.
  6. Click Connect.

This should do it.


Microphone on Cinnamon

Plugged my microphone into the backplane of my computer and headed for the adjustment:

Once I found that I had to install pavucontrol...

~ $ sudo apt-get install pavucontrol
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
pavucontrol
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 35 not upgraded.
Need to get 116 kB of archives.
After this operation, 1,041 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty/universe pavucontrol amd64 2.0-2 [116 kB]
Fetched 116 kB in 0s (136 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package pavucontrol.
(Reading database ... 167955 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../pavucontrol_2.0-2_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking pavucontrol (2.0-2) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.6.7.1-1ubuntu1) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.54ubuntu1.1) ...
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.10.1-0ubuntu2) ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1ubuntu1) ...
Setting up pavucontrol (2.0-2) ...
~ $ pavucontrol

(This launches pavucontrol:)

Skype

Reputedly, one must never leave in a checked state the box Allow Skype to automatically adjust my mixer levels at Skype → Options → Sound Devices.


Chrome/Shockwave Flash freezes

This began happening to me in August 2015 on Mint 17 and on Fedora as soon as I upgraded from 20 to 22. It drove me back reluctantly to Firefox. Here's what I did at work where I'm on Fedora 22.

I Googled "linux hang chrome flash" and saw this:

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/internet/how-stop-shockwave-flash-crashing-in-google-chrome-3332967/

I went here from a link in that article:

http://www.adobe.com/products/eula/tools/flashplayer_usage.html

  1. I clicked on Downloads near bottom.
  2. I clicked on Adobe Flash Player under Downloads at the right.
  3. I selected .rpm for other Linux (there is an option for Debian apt*).
  4. I clicked Download now and saved the file in ~/Downloads.
  5. I went to ~/Downloads and did this:
    $ sudo rpm -Uvh flash-plugin-11.2.202.540-release.x86_64.rpm
    

* However, at some point, this had already made it onto my Mint 17 box.

After that, I bounced Firefox completely. Back up, it was then able to run France2 news, YouTube and Classical 89 streaming. I don't think it can do those without this plug-in.

I bounced Chrome and looked at its plug-ins. It has only the PepperFlash plug-in, which I'm pretty sure is at the root of my system freezing.

I ensured Shockwave Flash disabled in Chrome:

  1. Launch Chrome.
  2. Type "about:chrome".
  3. Scroll down to and click chrome://plugins.
  4. Scroll down to
    Adobe Flash Player - Version: 18.0.0.233
    Shockwave Flash 18.0 r0
    /opt/google/chrome/PepperFlash/libpepflashplayer.so
    
    and click Disable.

My theory is now to use Firefox to play content while still being able to use Chrome for normal work (not including playing content).


Programming menu missing in Cinnamon start

When you install Linux Mint fresh, you'll usually find some menus you're used to seeing have gone missing, like Programming. This is because, fresh, there are no items for that menu. Once you add some, the menu will show up. The easier one (or ones) to add are Python (e.g.: v2.7 and v3.5) because they're installed, just not items in the menu yet.

Here's what to do:

  1. Ensure alacate is installed because, usually, Main menu won't be found in the Preferences menu unless this program is installed and it doesn't come by default:
    [email protected] ~ $ sudo apt-get install alacarte
    
  2. Go to and select Menu → Preferences → Main menu.
  3. Click on Programming in the left pane.
  4. Check at least one program from the center pane.
  5. Likely, you'll find Programming now shows up.

Ensuring ssh and scp working on new installation

Likely, openssh hasn't been installed. Do this (on the new system you're trying to get into):

$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Change hostname (permanently)
$ sudo hostnamectl set-hostname new-hostname