Since I did my last post on stuff to do after installing Linux Mint 14 XFCE, two things have become obvious. First of all, I needed to set up a new blog for this sort of stuff, because Dikkii’s Diatribe wasn’t really an appropriate venue for this.
But secondly, my ageing ASUS EeePC 1008HA Seashell finally gave out and I went about getting a replacement. I ended up settling on the ASUS x202e Vivobook – the US version, which is the Core i3 powered version. For whatever reason, the version of this that we get in Australia is the Celeron powered version.
I actually think that I may have settled on the exact right sized laptop PC. This is 11.6, making a large netbook, but absolutely portable in all the right circumstances. Of course, it came with Windows 8 installed, but I immediately went about putting Linux Mint on.
It reminds me that one day, I really should do a post about installation itself – it’s reasonably easy, but there are a couple of tricks.
And there are a couple of great new things in Mint 15. The new menu, for example, is great, and I don’t think that I’ll bother installing MintMenu this time around.
Here’s a few things that I think should be done immediately after installation.
1. Turn the firewall on
The new menu in Linux Mint makes searching for applications a breeze. As soon as I had things up and running, I just did a search for “firewall” and UFW (“Firewall Configuration”) came up as an option immediately. Unlock, switch on and exit.
On to the next step.
2. Change software sources
This should be done next. Simply go to the Menu, run your mouse up to Settings and select ‘Software Sources’.
The main feature of this, is that you can select the software server closest to you for fast updating, or in the case of a cheapskate like me, cheap updating: My ISP houses a considerable amount of stuff in a “free zone” which doesn’t add to my download limit, and a Linux Mint update mirror is one of these.
The Software Sources screen has had some changes in Linux Mint 15. You should be in the Official repositories tab. Under ‘Mirrors’, I recommend that you select your ISP from both the Main and the Base options if available, however, if you are on an unlimited plan, consider utilising the speed rating system that has just been installed and selecting fast mirrors. You won’t regret this.
I also like to select the tickbox for backported packages (under ‘Optional components’), which is left blank by default.
Before exiting, click on the ‘Update the cache’ button in the top right hand corner. It should automatically update and tell you that you need to run an update.
3. Run an update
You can access your update manager from the Menu, under the ‘System’ submenu.
Alternatively, if you go to the systray area near the clock on the bottom right (the taskbar is called the panel in XFCE), you’ll see a little shield shaped thing with a blue exclamation mark. Click on that.
Run your update and have a break for a cup of tea.
4. Sync Firefox and move your files back
Same thing if you use Chromium/Chrome or another browser, you’ll be looking to have your bookmarks and stuff back. We’ll deal with installation of Chromium/Chrome later, but get Firefox sorted now. You should already be using Firefox Sync, which is available in your Firefox Preferences, in the Sync tab. It makes the process wicked fast if you have Firefox installed somewhere else, rather than relying on the Firefox sync key.
Your old files should be moved back at this point as well. This would include your old emails which you might move back if you insist on using an email client. I don’t use one of these. I’m happy enough to go through my browser.
Your files may take a little while, but you should be able to work on other stuff while this progresses.
Lastly, I recommend getting your privacy under control in Firefox. I’m planning on updating this soon, but in the meantime, you can read about what you can do to improve your browser privacy here.
5. Install your cloud memory
I use as much cloud space as I can find, but in the wake of PRISM, I’m being careful about what I store where. Fortunately, I’ve never used SkyDrive
and Google Drive remains inconvenient for Linux users. Given the PRISM revelations, I probably will never use it in a big way, even if a decent Linux client is made available.
My current preferred provider is SpiderOak which is where I keep my ‘emergency files’, but I also use Dropbox, Ubuntu One, and Copy. So let’s get to work on installing them.
Edit 4 August 2013: Reader dstoler pointed out to me that it wasn’t really clear that you can start with quite different amounts as standard with these different providers. I’ve attempted to fix this with some quick “NB” footnotes throughout. Thanks dstoler!
Edit 5 May 2014: As can be seen at (e), below, Google Drive is a little more convenient for Linux users now that Insync is available.
I mentioned in my previous post about privacy that SpiderOak does front-end encryption to ensure that your privacy is maximised.
SpiderOak should be installed from here. (NB: 2GB is standard, but you can pay for more, or refer like I do)
(Disclosure: If you click on this link, you get an extra gigabyte of storage data
, and so do I. Looks like this offer tops out at 10 GB, so I get no more. But still a good deal.)
If you already are set up to use SpiderOak, just go straight to the Download page. Important – for Linux Mint 15 XFCE, be sure to select the Linux OS 64-bit Debian based version.
You should be right from here.
(b) Ubuntu One If you’re not already an Ubuntu One user, you’ll get 5 GB free when you start an account. Do you want an extra 500 MB? If you do, click here. (Disclosure: I will also get 500 MB if you click there) (NB: You can pay for more, or refer like I do) For all users, new or otherwise: Do not install this from the Software Manager. Run this from the terminal instead:
sudo apt-get install ubuntuone-control-panel-qt You can run this from Settings in the menu. Get this set up now. It will take you through the steps. This won’t install the indicator in the tray, which is a really cool cloud shaped icon. You don’t actually need it, but it’s cool to have. WARNING ON THIS STEP: There is a problem with the repositories, though currently. Installing the indicator hasn’t worked for me for a little while and maybe for a few people, as evidenced by this bug report. If you want to risk it, you can use these commands in the terminal to get these up and running:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rye/ubuntuone-extras
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install indicator-ubuntuone Log out and log back in again. Presuming that this is back up and running, you should see a cloud-shaped indicator in the tray. If you get an error, it might be best to go into Software Sources and disable the ryeone-extras repositories. Search for Ubuntu One in your menu and get it set up. Next is Dropbox.
Edit 11/04/2014: Canonical have shut Ubuntu One down. Very disappointing. You may be interested in Insync, below at (e).
Not yet a user of Dropbox? Here’s your chance. Sign up here and (disclosure) you and I (apparently – this link hasn’t been working for me, so I hope it works for you!) both get 500 MB each extra, up to 16 GB! (NB: 2 GB is standard, but you can pay for more, or refer, like I do)
There isn’t a version of Dropbox that is integrated with Thunar (XFCE’s default file manager) yet, so my suggestion is to go straight to Dropbox’ website and download the .deb file instead. It’s available here:
I recommend the 64-bit Ubuntu .deb file.
Search for Dropbox in your menu and log in. You are done.
Copy has a name that makes it a bitch to search for online. Nevertheless, at a whopping 15GB of data as standard (i.e. free) with an additional 2GB free for knocking out a tweet about it, this is wonderful stuff. (NB: You can pay for more, but frankly, it’s so easy to get your hands on huge amounts of space with Copy, why would you?)
Download the archive for Copy from here:
Double click on the archive and it should open up in Archive Manager. I recommend extracting the entire contents to your Downloads folder.
If you haven’t already signed up as a Copy user, click here and get an additional 5 GB (!!) of extra space. (Disclosure: I too, will get that also rather large 5 GB extra)
Navigate into the folder that you extracted the archive into, and into the x86_64 folder inside that and run the CopyAgent file. You should, again, be good to go from here.
Lastly, I recommend logging out and then back in again.
(e) Google Drive via Insync
I don’t use Google Drive for much, but there are an increasing number of people who will share stuff with you via this device.
And while there isn’t an official client for Google Drive for Linux, there is Insync.
Insync costs about $15 for one licence, however you (Disclosure: And me too) can get 15 extra trial days by clicking on this link and downloading the Insync client.
If you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll need one of those too.
End of edit.
6. Anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-rootkit
You need these. Don’t let anyone convince you that Linux is completely safe. Unfortunately, there does seem to be an all-pervasive bulletproof attitude to viruses from many Linux users and as a result, there are not many anti-virus or anti-malware solutions for Linux.
There really is nothing proper for Linux systems and it will probably take a disaster before something does come along. In the meantime, however, some laugh off even reasonably well thought out applications.
ClamTK is a case in point. Why? It’s a good viruschecker, however it really only looks for what could be a threat to Windows systems. Is that a bad thing? I would think not. Especially if you are dual-booting, or swapping media between Linux and Windows systems.
Edit 22 October 2013: If you want to see how the bulletproof attitude that I referred to above manifests itself, check out what is presently comment #27 below. A more balanced view on viruses and Linux may be found here.
The transition from 32-bit to 64-bit computing has also caught a few people out too, with things like AVG or Avast for Linux disappearing in the process.
There doesn’t appear to be a single dedicated anti-malware/spyware application for Linux that I have been able to find, yet. This is sad.
Finally, for anti-rootkits, there are two terrific options: rkhunter and chkrootkit.
Install this from the Software Manager, or type this into a terminal:
sudo apt-get install clamtk chkrootkit rkhunter
It’s worth doing a scan after this. And frequently afterwards, of course. But as I alluded to above, you have to stay vigilant. If better protection becomes available, go for it.
7. Add Medibuntu repositories The Medibuntu repositories don’t appear to be standard in Linux Mint 15 XFCE. So we’ll have to add these. You can access the Medibuntu repositories here: Follow the directions on the page, but not all of them – the last command on the page will remove non-free software and this could catch you out. I’ll be changing my mirror to the New Caledonia one – it’ll be closer and therefore faster for anyone in Australia than the main mirror, which is in Europe, somewhere. The instructions on how to do this are on the page, but this is slightly easier for Linux Mint 15 XFCE users:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list Then, in the document that is open, replace all instances of this text: With this: Where ‘nc’ is for New Caledonia. Germany (de), France (fr) and Korea (kr) are also available. Finish up by running:
sudo apt-get update from your terminal. Done!
Edit 22 October 2013: The Medibuntu repositories are no longer being maintained. So skip over this bit and go to step 8.
8. Configure XScreenSaver
XScreenSaver is back! No idea why they switched to GNOME Screensaver for the last version, but good sense has obviously prevailed.
I’m also going to do my usual thing of installing Electric Sheep and fitting it to work in XScreenSaver as well. Paste this into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver-gl xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra xscreensaver-screensaver-bsod electricsheep
And then you will need to follow the steps contained here to install Electric Sheep in XScreenSaver. Key this into your terminal:
sudo gedit ~/.xscreensaver
At the bottom of the file, you’ll see lines that look a little like this:
GL: photopile -root \n\
GL: skytentacles -root \n\
GL: rubikblocks -root \n\
Insert this line in directly after it. Don’t worry about insterting any spaces:
GL: electricsheep –root 1 \n\
And that’s it: You’re done.
Edit 2 August 2013: Reader ergon has pointed out something very interesting. The 32-bit version of Linux Mint 15 XFCE appears to have GNOME Screensaver, rather than XScreenSaver. Which means, if you’re running the 32-bit version, that you will need to do the following BEFORE you run the command above:
sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver
You may also need to run this at the end:
sudo apt-get autoremove
[End of edit]
9. Install Faenza icons
I have been largely unimpressed with the default icons that came as standard in the last couple of versions of Mint XFCE. So I’m resorting to the rather spiffy, yet still pretty conservative Faenza icon set. Strangely, a few of the apps use Faenza within them, already.
Plug this into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install mate-icon-theme-faenza
You can select the new icons from the Appearance option of what is labelled your Settings Manager in the menu.
Chromium is available in the Software Manager, and is worth installing. Chromium is the open source base for Google Chrome and has most of the functionality that Chrome has. I use Chromium in place of Firefox when I’m in a screaming hurry, however, I’ve never really warmed to it as my browser of choice.
You can also install Chromium from the command line in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
If you want, you can install Google Chrome from Google’s website. There is a .deb package and everything for easy installation. I don’t really know why anyone would bother, though. Having said that, I did read once that this guy installed Chrome to get the more colourful Chrome icon, rather than the ‘bluescale’ of the Chromium icon. To each their own, I suppose.
11. Make changes
Since last time, I’ve noticed that there have been a few changes made. The number of media players has been drastically reduced. Banshee has been left in, and VLC is back.
Whilst I don’t really like Banshee, it seems to talk to my personal music playing device rather nicely. I use VLC in a ‘surgical strike’ capacity with random music and video files. Just not all the time – Clementine is still my media player of choice.
I don’t need Xfburn as my PC doesn’t have an optical drive. I’ll remove that later.
Lastly, it appears that due to changes with the Twitter API, there is no decent dedicated Twitter client for Linux anywhere, ever. This is a pretty awful situation, but nothing I can do about that.
In addition, like last time, I’m going to install:
Gparted: Partition editor;
Vuze: Torrent client;
Skype: VoIP client;
Musescore: Music notation editor;
Calibre: E-book library manager;
Clementine: My music player of choice;
Bristol: Analogue synthesiser emulator.
Plugging this shopping list in looks like this:
sudo apt-get install calibre clementine gparted skype vuze monobristol musescore fluid-soundfont-gm fluidsynth timidity fluid-soundfont-gs pmidi
All good stuff.
12. Install codecs
You should have most of these by now. But you need more.
Run this in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder mpeg2dec vorbis-tools id3v2 mpg321 mpg123 libflac++6 ffmpeg totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 libjpeg-progs flac faac faad sox ffmpeg2theora libmpeg2-4 uudeview flac libmpeg3-1 mpeg3-utils mpegdemux liba52-0.7.4-dev gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 gstreamer0.10-gnonlin gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-schroedinger gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer-dbus-media-service gstreamer-tools
Which should be everything that you need. Note that a lot of these are not free formats.
And hopefully, all these suggestions should help out with your shiny new installation of Linux Mint 15 (Olivia) XFCE. Enjoy!