Sunday, May 19, 2013

[To do] Top things to do after installing Linux Mint 15

Top things to do after installing Linux Mint 15

¿De qué está hablando? Versión en español

Not running Linux Mint? Check my previous post for Ubuntu 13.04

Planning to install Linux Mint? This post explains how to do it with partitions (it's more secure and very useful)

So I installed Linux Mint, what now?

In this post I will show the top things that I recommend you to do in order to make your computer run like a champ.

I strongly recommend the use of the (a) Terminal except in a few cases, like when you first update, you should update with the "Update Manager" because you'll have to install new kernel revisions.

Updating packages and upgrading

The first thing that you absolutely want to do, just after installing Linux Mint is to update your packages. To do this, you will need to search for the "Update Manager" in the application list

It will atomically check for updates, after all the packages are updated you can click in "Install Now.

Or you could launch a Terminal and put the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

The first time you do this it could take a lot of time.

Installing proprietary drivers

If your computer has a graphic card like nVidia or AMD or a wireless connexion you must install some drivers to make it work properly. If your wireless doesn't work you might want to install the driver using a wired connexion.

After searching for the "Driver Manager" go to the application and choose the driver that you want to activate. You need to restart your computer afterwards.

Enabling proprietary packages and installing proprietary software

If you want to install some proprietary packages like libraries to play MP3, or to install software developed by Microsoft, like Skype, you don't need to enable repositories. LinuxMint enables them by default.

You can see the Software Sources if you want.


For legal reasons Linux Mint is not allowed to include some codecs, fonts, software automatically. You have to enable Medibuntu packages. You just use this command for doing that:

sudo -E wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

That way you can have access to all (or almost) the propietary packages that you may want/have to use

sudo apt-get install app-install-data-medibuntu apport-hooks-medibuntu

I don't like Cinnamon, show me something else

If you get tired of Cinnamon you could try some other desktops. Here I will show you some other options.

Warning: Don't do this with the Cinnamon version, it will break your desktop.

Gnome 3: the Gnome team recently released version 3.8.1 which many people seem to like. And let's admit that New is always better... Maybe not...

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

KDE 4: the KDE recently released version 4.10.3, this desktop is my second choice after Unity. I used it for a while and is fast, stable and the graphics with OpenGL are sick. With this command you're actually changing the flavor of your Ubuntu to add Kubuntu:

sudo apt-get install kde-full

MATE: it started as a fork of Gnome 2. Very interesting and pretty nice too.

sudo apt-get install mate-desktop mate-common mate-core

There are many other options out there in the wild but I haven't given them a long try. Here are some examples: XFCE, LXDE, Awesome, Xmonad... among others.


Google Chrome o Chromium: if you don't like Firefox you can install Google Chrome by going to their download page.
After you installed the right package for your distribution you can use this command (adapt it with the name of your package:

sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

or you could just open the folder where you save the file and double-click it. But the command line is more fun, let's admit it.

If you want to install Chromium instead:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser


If you want to download some files from the Internet using a Bit Torrent client there is one installed by default with Ubuntu. Transmission is a light-weight bit torrent client that will do just the job. You can set it up as you want but it doesn't have a lot of options.

There are many options for Linux, like KTorrent, Deluge...


If you want to install another client for your e-mail I think you could try to install Geary. Here is how it looks:

To install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install geary


There are some interesting programs to play multimedia, audio, video... But before doing some installation we want to make sure that we have the right codecs installed.

sudo apt-get install non-free-codecs libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0

A frequent problem you find in different forums is how to play DVDs in Linux Mint/Linux. DVDs use a special encryption protocol, you have to install a library for decryption, run this command that will install this library and execute a configuration file:

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./


VLC is a great media player that can read EVERYTHING, and I really mean it.

sudo apt-get install vlc


If you're looking for an alternative to Rhythmbox because you don't like or if you miss some functionalities like an equalizer or a little more personalization; Clementine is a great option.
Go to the Download Page of Clementine and choose the latest version for Ubuntu and the architecture that you use (in my case Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit). Then from a Terminal try to install it, you will run into some errors of dependencies, but just use the second command to solve this, and you are good to go.

sudo dpkg -i clementine_1.1.1~quantal_amd64.deb

sudo apt-get install -f


If you like photography and you don't want to spend a lot of money in Photoshop you can try out GIMP. I use it every day and it comes with a lot of functionalities.

Just run the following command:

sudo apt-get install gimp

If you want to edit RAW files from your camera you will need this extra package:

sudo apt-get install gimp-ufraw

This will let GIMP edit the RAW file after it imports it.


If you want to do some vector drawing Inkscape is a great piece of software, very easy to use. Here is an example I made in a free sunday.

sudo apt-get install inkscape


If you want to do some video editing in Linux, I think the best option right now could be OpenShot.

sudo apt-get install openshot

Just heard Steam came for Linux?

That's right boy, Steam launched its client for Linux a few months ago and it looks pretty awesome.

If you want to install it the easiest way is to download the .deb from Steam.
Then run the following commands:

sudo dpkg -i steam_latest.deb

You will run into some dependencies errors. Just correct them with:

sudo apt-get install -f

Then Steam will launch and it will update.

This is how it looks, pretty sweet if you ask me:



I have tried Empathy but I had some troubles with my MSN account. Pidgin is a great alternative and it supports many protocols, like MSN, Facebook, Google Talk...

sudo apt-get install pidgin


In order to install Skype in Linux Mint you have to install the independent packages  as seen at the beginning of this blog.

sudo apt-get install skype

Cloud and backup


Most people have a cloud account with some server. You can share files, make a backups in the cloud, or just have your files available from anywhere you want. You have to go to the download page and again you can run this command (adapting it to your distribution):

sudo dpkg -i dropbox_1.6.0_amd64.deb


Something that I love about Linux Mint (and other distros) is that they have their own backup manager. You can setup your backups to put them in the Cloud or in a FTP server or simply put it in a hard drive.
You search in your applications for "Backup"  and then you can configure
your backup as you like.

Some tools and indicators for your system


An interesting tool that allows you to save some energy of your laptop. It also indicates you the state of the computer.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install jupiter

Archive Management Apps

If you frequently download files from the internet and you want to uncompress or compress here is a command that has everything you may want to install.

sudo apt-get install unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar

Note: If you install the rar, unrar package you will be able to read comic books in .cbr format with Evince.

I still need some Windows programs


If you need to install some Windows software that isn't available for Linux you can use Wine emulator. It is not going to work for everything but you can do a lot of stuff like installing Microsoft Office.

sudo apt-get install wine

Virtual Box

If Wine doesn't work you may want to create a virtual machine and install some programs in it. The problem is that you must have a Windows ISO.
Download the package from Oracle's site, choose the installer for Ubuntu Raring and again from the terminal (adapting it to your own):

sudo dpkg -i virtualbox-4.2_4.2.10-84104~Ubuntu~raring_amd64.deb

Programming (a.k.a "Why don't you compile?")

For people who use their machine for writing code, here is a list that you use for installing some basic packages for programming:


First of all you want to install some basic packages that allows you to compile, this packages include gcc for example

sudo apt-get install build-essential

¿gcc is too old school?

Clang is a great compiler for C and C++, it has the same syntax that gcc but it has a nice output:

sudo apt-get install clang


A simple IDE that recognizes some languages.

sudo apt-get install geany


For programming with Java the only thing that you need to do (because it will install Java at the same time) is install Eclipse.

sudo apt-get install eclipse


If you're planning to do some programming using OpenGL you must install the "freeglut" package:

sudo apt-get install freeglut3-dev

Cleaning everything that you wont use anymore

After you're done installing everything that you always wanted run this commands to clean your packages and to uninstall everything that you don't need anymore:

sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get autoclean

And you're good to go. Enjoy your new install!

Did you like this post? Here is what you can expect from my blog. Don't forget to add me to your circles in G+ or to follow me on Twitter: @RobertoXMed

If you can and if you want, don't forget to Donate so I can keep up the good work. 


  1. Thanks a lot ! Truly genuine advices here !

  2. gj , careful recommending people install gnome-panel as it has been know to break Cinnamon if not installed correctly.

  3. Very nice man. Good job ;)

  4. Ok I installed gnome 3 as instructions and no errors worked for a while and rebooted... and once I got the login screen and logged in its all just black screen with a mouse pointer no matter how long I leave it

    it was too late before I read Jagged Wraiths comment if only I had read I wouldn't have bothered installing Gnome I am stuck in a black screen with just a mouse pointer after installing gnome... this happens once I give the login credentials... can anyone suggest me on how to reverse it or get it working

    I tried a few google tricks and this is what I get
    1 I got CTRL+ALT +F1 and then login and press w and enter

    Output is :

    username tty from login tdle jcpu pcpu what
    name tty1 14:42 31:24 0.9s 0,00s w
    name tty7 :2 14:59 31:23 1.90s 0.04s gdm-session-wor

    now I did the next step

    2) export DISPLAY=:2.0

    no errors or no output.. just back to the prompt.

    then on to next step
    3)gnome-shell --replace

    tada - login screen pops again but once I login still the same black screen with just mouse pointer.

    when I go to CTRL+ALT+F1

    I see these 2 lines after I gave the command gnome shell replace

    Out put or error is :

    JS LOG: IBus version is too old
    window manager warning: Log level 16: gnome-shell: fatal IO error 0 ( success) on X server : 2.0.

    Could some one help me to get into the Desktop environment if not gnome atleast back to Cinnamon

    Thanks all help is appreciated!!

    1. I'm really sorry to hear that. The problem with Linux Mint is that the Cinnamon version uses some packages from Gnome, the previous versions, so the desktop will break if you update some Gnome packages.
      Maybe you can try this
      Hope it will work.

  5. hi...Im student from Informatics engineering nice article,
    thanks for sharing :)

  6. Someone once posted in Google+ forum (not sure which one) that if you wanted KDE to use the command you also recommend:

    sudo apt-get install kde-full

    well I did that and guess I could no longer access my system after the reboot...I had a new logon screen but no matter how many times I put in the CORRECT userid and PASSWORD it wouldn't allow me back in...the only way I was able to get back into my system was by doing CTRL-ALT-F2 and running: startx from the command line...then I was able to get back in but the system would be running under the root ID and Chrome would refuse to load because of that...the solution for that was I had to upload everything I didn't want to lose to my Dropbox account, burn a recent image of Mint15, and do a new complete install...prior version was Mint14...I've been on Mint15 since and everything's working fine!!

  7. BTW...I ran that command (sudo apt-get install kde-full) on 3 different laptops all running Mint14 and the same thing happened...I had to re-image them with Mint15 in order to be able to use them once again...