Cheap VPS & Xen Server

Residential Proxy Network - Hourly & Monthly Packages

The Perfect Desktop – Linux Mint Debian 201009


This tutorial shows how you can set up a Linux Mint Debian 201009 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. While the “normal” Linux Mint editions are based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint Debian 201009 is a Linux distribution based on Debian Squeeze (testing); its aim is to look identical to the main edition and to provide the same functionality while using Debian as a base.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Linux Mint Debian 201009 desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa – application for organizing and editing digital photos

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird – email and news client
  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule – P2P file sharing application
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Bittorrent client
  • Vuze – Java Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Xchat IRC – IRC client

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok – audio player
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino – free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player – media player (video/audio)
  • RealPlayer – media player
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia Codecs

Programming:

  • KompoZer – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages

Other:

  • VirtualBox – lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions

All desired applications are available in the Linux Mint repositories.

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).

I will use the username falko in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.

 

2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Linux Mint installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Linux Mint Debian 201009 iso image from http://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php, burn it onto a DVD, and boot your computer from it:

1

The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the Linux Mint installation DVD is also a Live-DVD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how Linux Mint works on your hardware before you finally install it.

This is how the Linux Mint desktop looks. Double-click the Install Linux Mint icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

2

The installer starts. First, select your language:

3

Then choose your time zone:

4

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

5

Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. If you don’t see any devices/partitions on the next screen, click on the Edit partitions button:

6

Now GParted should start. Mark your hard drive and then go to Device > Create Partition Table…:

9

Click Apply on the next screen to confirm that you want to create a partition table on the hard drive (select msdos as the oartition table type):

10

Next click on the New button to create a new partition (for the sake of simplicity, I will create one big partition for / and a small swap partition; of course, you can create a different partitioning scheme):

11

On the next screen, please specify how big the new partition (in this case it is the / partition) should be (you can drag the right arrow to shrink or enlarge the partition). Also select a file system (e.g. ext4). Then click on Add:

12

Now mark the unallocated part of your hard drive and click on the New button again, this time to create the swap partition:

13

Again, please specify the size of the partition (you can select all space that is left on the hard drive) and choose linux-swap as the file system. Then click on Add:

14

Click on Apply afterwards to write the new partitions to the hard drive:

15

Click on Apply again to confirm that you want to write the partitions to the hard drive:

16

The partitions are now being created:

17

Click on Close afterwards:

18

Now that we have left GParted, you should see your new partitions in the Linux Mint installer. Mark the / partition…

19

… and right-click it. Select Assign to / from the menu:

20

The swap partition can be left as is. Afterwards click on Forward to continue with the installation:

21

Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click on Forward:

22

You don’t have to change the GRUB settings. Click on Forward:

23

The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on Install to start the installation:

24

The Linux Mint system is being installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

25

After the installation is complete, we must reboot the system to use it. Click on OK:

26

To restart the computer, select Quit from the menu…

27

… and then select Restart:

28

The Live-CD desktop shuts down. At the end, the Linux Mint CD is ejected. Remove it from the CD drive and hit the <ENTER> key to boot into your new Linux Mint desktop:

29

Your new Linux Mint system starts. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during installation:

30

31

When you log in for the first time, you will see the following help window. Click on Close:

32

This is how your new desktop looks:

33

Now the base system is ready to be used.

3 Update The System

When you log in for the first time, you will most likely see a notification icon in the lower right corner which means that updates for the installed software are available:

33a

Open the main menu and click on the All applications button:

34

To install the updates, go to Applications > Administration > Update Manager:

35

Type in your password:

36

The Update Manager tells you which updates are available. Click on Install Updates to install them:

37

The updates are being downloaded and installed (this can take a few minutes):

38

Click on Close when you see the changelog window:

40

During the installation of the updates, you might be asked if you like to replace some old configuration files with their new versions. To do this, click on the Replace button:

42

43

44

If GRUB is being updated and you’re asked on which devices to install GRUB and you’re unsure about the correct device, you can simply select all devices and click on Forward:

45

When the update is complete, click on Close and leave the Update Manager window:

46

The lock icon should now be closed. The system is up-to-date.

 

4 Flash Player And Java

Linux Mint installs the Macromedia Flash Player by default. To see if the Flash plugin is working, start Firefox (Applications > Internet > Firefox Web Browser). Then type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 10.1 r85) among them; you should as well see the Java plugin:

47

5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let’s browse all menus under Applications to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

48

You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, where [ ] is an application that is missing):

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[ ] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[ ] Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[ ] Skype
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[ ] Amarok
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[ ] gtkPod
[ ] XMMS
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[ ] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[ ] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[ ] Xine
[x] Brasero
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Bluefish

Other:
[ ] VirtualBox
[ ] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Linux Mint Debian 201009.

6 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, open the Synaptic Package Manager (Applications > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager):

49

Type in your password:

50

In the Synaptic Package Manager, we can install additional software. You can use the Quick search field to find packages:

51

Select the following packages for installation (* is a wildcard; e.g. gstreamer0.10* means all packages that start with gstreamer0.10):

  • filezilla
  • evolution
  • amule
  • vuze
  • acroread
  • gnucash
  • scribus
  • amarok
  • audacity
  • banshee
  • sound-juicer
  • gtkpod-aac
  • xmms2*
  • dvdrip
  • kino
  • vlc*
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • k3b
  • normalize-audio
  • sox
  • vcdimager
  • w32codecs
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • kompozer
  • bluefish
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • sun-java6*
  • gdebi
  • virtualbox-ose

There are also lots of other applications available that you can install as well if you like.

To select a package for installation, click on the checkbox in front of it and select Mark for Installation from the menu that comes up:

52

If a package has a dependency that needs to be satisfied, a window will pop up. Accept the dependencies by clicking on Mark:

53

After you’ve selected the desired packages, click on the Apply button:

54

Confirm your selection by clicking on Apply:

55

The packages are now being downloaded from the repositories and installed. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

56

The packages are now being downloaded from the repositories and installed. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

57

After all packages have been installed, click on Close:

58

You can leave the Synaptic Package Manager afterwards.

 

7 TrueType Fonts

To check if the TrueType fonts have been installed correctly, open a word processor like OpenOffice. You should now find your new Windows fonts there:

61

8 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far by browsing the menus again:

60

Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[x] Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[ ] Skype
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[ ] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

9 Opera

Open a browser and go to http://www.opera.com/browser/download/; select Debian as the distribution (because Linux Mint Debian is based on Debian) and then default package and click on the Download Opera button:

62

A download dialogue should come up automatically. Select Open with and then select Other… from the drop-down menu:

63

Select /usr/bin/gdebi-gtk from the Choose Helper Application window:

64

In the Firefox download dialogue, you should now see Open with gdebi-gtk – select that option and click on OK (you can also check Do this automatically for files like this from now on. to start gdebi-gtk automatically whenever you download a .deb package):

65

A Package Installer window comes up. Click on the Install Package button to install Opera:

66

Opera is now being installed. Afterwards, you can close the Package Installer window:

67

68

10 Skype

Open Firefox and go to http://www.skype.com/download/skype/linux/. Click on the Download now button:

69

On the next page, click on the Debian Lenny link:

70

Then install the package exactly as shown for Opera:

71

11 Google Picasa

Open Firefox and go to http://picasa.google.com/linux/download.html#picasa30 and select the right .deb package for your architecture (i386 or amd64):

72

Then install the package exactly as shown for Opera:

73

12 RealPlayer (For i386 Systems Only)

(RealPlayer is available for i386 systems only. If you are on an x86_64 system, please skip this chapter.)

Open Firefox and go to http://www.real.com/realplayer/linux. Click on the Download the DEB Installer link:

74

A download dialogue should come up. Select Open with gdebi-gtk:

75

Then install the package exactly as shown for Opera.

 

13 Inventory (III)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[x] Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Xchat IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

 

  • Linux Mint: http://www.linuxmint.com/

 

 

 

Comments

comments