Thursday, April 7, 2011

Linux Mint Xfce (201104)

Some may notice that there is no "release number" there, for example - Linux Mint Xfce 10
That is because this the the Debian base, as opposed to the Ubuntu base.

Going back a little bit, I was very happy when Linux Mint began the Debian based branch. For one thing, it is lighter and faster. I had played around with different distributions to find lightweight ones that I liked, but always came back to Linux Mint for my "main" system, if you will. (Zenwalk has been good to me and I will always give props to Slax.) ["Props?" Really?] {whatever. hush.}

Another reason for wanting the Debian base, was the rolling distribution. There is no "system release" as such. No need to "Reinstall" to get the latest. In other words, the distribution as a whole is "update-able" just like the applications. There is an XKCD png illustrating a weakness here, but.... pfffft.

So, only the Gnome "edition" was available in the Debian tree here with Linux Mint, I installed it. All was good, but I was never a big fan of Gnome - favouring thinner desktop managers like Xfce, Fluxbox and LXDE. Not a problem, I simply installed Xfce and I could choose between Gnome and Xfce at login.

"Okay, Elqueue," you may be saying, "I thought you wanted to avoid doing re-installs, but you just did that for... what - loosing gnome?"

Kinda. I am rather quite fickle.

First step was DL'ing the iso. I torrent it whene'er possible. And that took much of yesterday. I then left the torrent running through the night to help seed. Then there was the backup. FORTUNATELY, my porn folder was kinda small. That was a joke. There were things I had to back up, but for a large part, the media (music and movies) are on a file server, scripts that are NOT part of... well, never-you-mind that... are kept in sync with an on-line backup. And google docs has most of my fiction and whatnot.

Backing up would have, more or less, been a bit of a technicality as I did not /have/ to format my /home - it is on its own volume - but it is good practice. AND I planned on formatting /home too so I could get the "clean" experience. (Yes, I could have gotten the "clean" experience by installing it in a VM, but this was good for me. Really. In ways I could not begin to describe.)

Okay - backups done and final tweeting ... tweeted ... time to boot up to the live DVD.


Yes, this is a good thing; installing from a Live media - I was tweeting and whatnot during the installation.

Okay, so install done, rebooted, next thing, as always, is the update/upgrade. Yes, I use apt from the command line. This took a long time too. I may set up my display /before/ doing this in the future because I was stuck at a low rez until that was done.

Then there are the screen tweaks - UI this and that which will be poked at for a while. Not a requirement, but fun nonetheless.

Let us look at that more slowly - the process was so slick and easy that it kinda went by you there, didn't it.

-Download the ISO. Yea! What fun!
Booted to it on a usb stick. More like a tiny postage stamp, but it still gets called a stick, right?

-Backed up. Okay, cool. I have been good about keeping the backup fairly current anywho.
This is like a one click action because I have already had it set up. I /could/ have just copied /home/lq/what.I.want* to the network share, but that is not always the best practice.

-The Live DVD. Yep, plenty to have fun with while the install is going, but that was not that long anywho.
Click install, select English, time zone, keyboard, user name, computer name, password, select the volume mount point (and hey, they already expect / and /home and swap, so that is just confirmation. And I did click the checkbox to format my /home - it does not by default.) Then there was the grub install option and away it went.
Launch FireFox and surf away.

-First boot. Sure, the updates took longer than the install, but my connection is not that fast. Would have been the same no matter the distro.
Again, FireFox was available for this. And creating other mountpoints, ln -s's, and whatnot while all that was going on.

-Set the display, reboot, start with my add-ons. Including getting the media, that was like, 5 painless steps.

Well, obviously, I cannot count for diddly, but you get the idea.

Now, one of those things that needed setting up after the updates was the on-line backup sync. My "toolbox" folder is in there with all my little scripts for doing other things (like tweeting #fortunes and building slideshows out of image directories, and... well, all my scripts). So they take a moment to make sym-links into a bin dir. But all this stuff is "fun" anyway when you do not have to do it often and it is by choice.

Another was google-chrome. It syncs up as well so all my bookmarks and settings and addons are all there.

And, to be fare, there were a few apps I removed and daemons to turn off.

Then the blog. I /could/ have been working on it during the process, but I did not feel so ambitious.

Will I install gnome libraries on top? Well, I am sure that sooner or later some app that I install will need some piece of gnome or KDE. And that is not a big deal.

Was all this worth it? Sure, yeah.

What about all kinds of extras and addons and devices and drivers and things? Not a biggie for me, anywho. I attach very little and that what I do is very plug-n-play friendly.

Will it be this easy for everyone? Meh - I am not everyone. But for just about any standard user (gamers notwithstanding) with any reasonably resent computer (and this is a netbook for mercy's sake) this really should be about what you experience. If this "review" seems to be lacking detail, it is because this is just so simple and easy. Sure, I /could/ have gotten rather verbose about it. (I am typing in my desired username now: l followed directly by a q. Now I am entering my password... twice. I received a message that my password was strong. That is good. My hostname must be all lower case... careful now... Okay. I manged to type it all without hitting the shift key.)

If you really want a blow-by-blow because "I am a windoze user and I want to quit getting viruses - what exactly do I need to do?" Let me know and I will make a step-by-step walk-through. from start to finish - how to make a bootable usb device with Linux Mint Xfce (201104) on it and everything. Because, OBVIOUSLY I have no life. =^_^=

Simply send one 2GB (or more) flash drive to the [hey, let me just take that back out] Airport c/o me and if you get it back - ever - then you did not send it correctly.

But seriously, I will post a walk-through if I get feedback requesting one.

Oh, and it is snowing, so I am posting this "early" rather than taking a bike ride. I am not even scheduling it to post later.

Take Care.


  1. Hi there LQ. Great review! Very entertaining, and well written. I really enjoyed reading it. Humor definitely helps! I would love to see LM KDE go to a rolling release, even though I just upgraded my main machine to Kubuntu 11.04 without issue, other than the long download time.

    I know you like the lightweight DE's, but I'd love to see you give Kubuntu 11.04 a review! Who knows, maybe you could contribute to The Blue Mint one day :)

  2. I saw your comment said the review was entertaining and humorous. I really do not know about that, it was just kind of spilling out from my head, but looking back, I suppose so.

    Kubuntu 11.04, eh? We shall see about that. =^_^=

  3. It's more of an appreciation for your writing style than anything else. You make it very enjoyable to read what you are saying - a rare thing in software, to be sure.

    Hmmmm Kubuntu 11.04?... :)

  4. Well, thank you, and yes... I did do a Kubuntu 11.04 review.