Edit: 23/07/2014: I’ve just written an update for Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) XFCE. You can read this here.
Linux Mint 16 is out, and for me, the important version of this is the XFCE version.
This time around, it’s of even more interest to me, as I am now running it on my desktop, where previously, I had been running the Cinnamon version.
There’s nothing actually wrong with the Cinnamon (or the MATE) version, it’s just that I think that the XFCE version is now what I believe to be of acceptable desktop quality. And therefore, I don’t really need the Cinnamon version anymore.
Previous readers of this blog may recall that I had Mint 15 XFCE installed to my then new ASUS x202e laptop, with great success. Following on from that, is this post.
Note: The following tips are for the 64bit version of Linux Mint 16 (Petra) XFCE. Certain things might be different for the 32bit version.
1. Turn the firewall on
This had me confused, this time around. As soon as I had things up and running, I just did a search for “firewall” and…
Search for “ufw”?
I’m not really certain what the idea is of not installing a firewall as standard with this distro, but it’s not here. So we need to install one. You can either go looking for “gufw” in the Software Manager, or alternatively, paste this into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install gufw
I’ll put terminal commands for all this stuff all the way through this list. It makes things a bit easier.
To turn your firewall on, search in your Whisker Menu for “firewall” or “gufw”. Firewall Configuration will come up. Click on that, turn it on, and you’re away.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. Once upon a time, I would have too from referring you, but it looks like this offer tops out at 10 GB, so I get no more. But still a good deal. For you.)
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) 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. To install the indicator, run these:
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. You should see a cloud-shaped indicator in the tray. 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! Incidentally, 2 GB is standard, but you can pay for more, or refer, like I do.
There isn’t a version of Dropbox that is fully 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. 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
and offensively arrogant attitude to viruses from many Linux users and as a result, there are not many anti-virus or anti-malware solutions. A rather good article on viruses and Linux may be found here.
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.
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, sadly.
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. Configure XScreenSaver
The XScreenSaver installation is now, by default, amazingly comprehensive. Still, it needs more, so here everything is.
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-screensaver-bsod electricsheep unicode-screensaver
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 inserting any spaces:
GL: electricsheep –root 1 \n\
And that’s it: You’re done.
8. 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.
One thing that annoys me this time around is the icon in the tray for the battery under Faenza. It’s now unreadable except with a microscope.
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.
10. Add more stuff
Banshee is the default media player and it seems to talk to my personal music playing devices rather nicely. I use VLC in a ‘surgical strike’ capacity with random music and video files. Clementine is still my media player of choice, however, and I will be installing it alongside these.
I don’t need Xfburn on my Vivobook as it doesn’t have an optical drive, but I can confirm that it’s rather useful on my desktop. I’ll remove that later from the Vivobook, though.
There still doesn’t appear to be a decent dedicated Twitter client for Linux anywhere, ever. This is a disgraceful 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 (and additional soundfonts);
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 musescore-soundfont-gm
All good stuff.
11. Add users
Returning once again to the “what were they thinking” department, I find that the package necessary to add additional users is not installed.
This can be immediately fixed with the following:
sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools
“Users and Groups” is the name of your newly installed app that will allow you to make these changes.
12. Install codecs
You should have most of these by now. But you may need more. Note that a lot of these are not free formats and it may be a good idea to check to see if your jurisdiction allows you to install these.
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.
And hopefully, all these suggestions should help out with your shiny new 64bit installation of Linux Mint 16 (Petra) XFCE. Enjoy!