Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

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Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby StratosJL on Thu May 19, 2011 2:09 pm

Source: http://url.laspas.gr/3g


After I tried the December 2010 edition of Linux Mint Debian 64-bit http://url.laspas.gr/2m, I had come to the conclusion that it was not for me, as it was, and that I would rather stick with the Main edition of Linux Mint, built on the current Ubuntu base distribution.

Two things made me change my mind and try it again: First, I tried Ubuntu 11.04 and I really did not like the new launcher! Second, I really could not put up with Mint’s Main Edition requirement, to have to back up and re-install from scratch with every new version…

So, I thought I should give LMDE 64-bit another try; and I’m glad I did!


Setting up

Screenshot here: http://laspas.gr/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Screenshot.png

First, I downloaded the latest DVD image and istalled it on a usb stick using unetbootin.

After the first boot, I enabled all repository sources. [Be warned, that's just me, I'm risky If you're not comfortable with console tweaking in case something goes wrong, just leave the sources as they are]

Then I executed the two magical commands you’ll have to use about every couple weeks with a rolling distribution like LMDE:

sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Then, I followed all the fine-tuning tips & tricks described on my previous post on LMDE. http://url.laspas.gr/2m

I also installed most of the applications described in my “perfect linux desktop” post http://url.laspas.gr/8. [NB: I installed without adding any extra repositories! The instructions for adding extra depositories are not applicable (not needed, actually) for LMDE, because almost all packages are already current in the main repository and most packages one would want already exist in the main repository.]

I additionally installed the package “ttf-mscorefonts-installer” via synaptic, in order to get some really nice and free Microsoft fonts.

Incidentally, if the fonts on this blog look ugly, then you’re missing the font “Georgia” from the abovementioned package!

To get the desktop look that I preferred, I moved the taskbar to the top: Right click on Mint taskbar, hit “properties” and change its position to “top”.

Since I have moved to Chrome as my browser of choice, I went to the Google Chrome download page http://www.google.com/chrome/, chose the 64-bit deb version and installed it with

sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

By the way, this will also automagically install the Google stable repository, so you’ll get the new Chrome versions as soon as they get out!

Finally, I installed the stable version of GLX-Dock, or “cairo-dock”, again from the main repository, via synaptic.

Setting up Canon MP560 multifunctional printer

In case you have that printer, this will help you. I followed the instructions from a previous post in order to get my Canon MP560 scanner/copier/printer to work wirelessly. http://url.laspas.gr/4

By all means, do follow all the instructions in the mentioned Moritz89′s Blog. I have to say, they did not work for me, but it is esssential to install the package he has prepared. In order to get the printer recognized by linux’s CUPS printing system, I installed the ia32 (x86 compatibility) libraries and then rebooted. Then it worked by adding the printer via the web interface. I typed:

http://localhost:631

in the browser and logged on as “root” with “my account’s password”. I pressed “Administration” –> “Find new printers”, and that was it.

I don’t know if it was the reboot or the ia32 libraries, or both, or something else that did the trick.

Regarding the scanning part, I followed the instructions on the bottom of the abovementioned post. What I did differently was that I downloaded the current “debian testing” x86 version of libgimp http://packages.debian.org/wheezy/i386/libgimp2.0/download, decompressed it and then copied (with “sudo”) the files of the directory “usr/lib” from inside the package, into my linux system’s “/lib32″.

After creating a launcher for scangearmp (see post), I started the program and it found the scanner right away! After that, I installed the excellent scanning program “xsane” via synaptic.

Conclusion

Don’t panic. It’s not as bad as it seems! If you think you can manage the above, the experience you get from using LMDE is “mostly indistinguishable” from that of the Main edition, which is a great thing! Plus you get the bonus of lower memory usage and faster responsiveness.

Just remember to do a “dist-upgrade” at least a couple times a month. LMDE is based on Debian Testing, which is a rolling distribution. This means that there is no “fixed” version of it; and there will never be one, ever. It is always under development, always updated and upgraded, always current; but also, and this is very important, it is always tested thoroughly enough to be usable, stable and not to crash all the time – there’s Debian Sid for that, which is the cutting edge, unstable Debian version.

In retrospect, to answer my own question from the LMDE 201012 review, I’m glad LMDE exists:

It gives me the choice not to have to use Ubuntu’s Unity project right now. Maybe later Unity will be very fast and very intuitive and very light and not in the least limiting in choices, customizations and shortcuts. But for now, I’ll pass.

Additionally, LMDE gives me the choice not to have to use Mint Main edition and then to have to back up and re-install from scratch, every six months when a new version comes out. Don’t get me wrong, I back up my home folder every week. It’s the re-installation and setting up of every application that I don’t like.

Lastly, it now (as of May 2011) gives me a user experience that is easily at par with the Main Edition, give or take a few geeky tweaks in the initial setup. Anyway, that’s my personal view, YMMV!

Given the fact that Ubuntu seems to be boldly going where no man has gone before (except Apple, perhaps ), and until it gets there, at least, I will stick with LMDE, which is a brilliant flavour of Debian and a pleasure to use on its own right. At this moment in time, I would personally see the “Mint Movement’s” future mainly tied to Debian’s, and I can’t wait to see how the Mint team will incorporate Gnome 3‘s vision (currently in Sid) into their own!…
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby tdockery97 on Thu May 19, 2011 4:56 pm

I think under the right circumstances, with slight modifications, it IS usable by everyone. I have a neighbor who is "computer challenged". I installed LMDE as a dual-boot with his Windows 7. All I had to do was change the sources.list to the Squeeze repos and turn off automatic updates. For 6 months he's been happy as a clam and has not had to come to me once with a technical issue. :mrgreen:
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby lmintnewb on Thu May 19, 2011 6:13 pm

^What I was thinking too.

Feel there's probably nothing wrong with lmde .. etc as is. Though haven't had the pleasure of trying them yet. Planning to soon ...

Believe many of the problems people encounter with those releases is due to user error. Could be wrong in that. But with most things a lil common sense goes a longggggg wayyyyy. Think many of the people running Mint's Debian based stuff aren't handling it the way they should. With the end result being the breakage blues. Could be wrong o course, that's just a theory and gut instinct about the topic.
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby craig10x on Thu May 19, 2011 7:15 pm

I ran with LMDE for several months as you probably already know and am back on Mint 10 main edition...The breakages can be quite daunting and fixes aren't always that fast in coming...you really have to be INVOLVED with the system on an intimate basis....trying to figure out how to undo something that got messed up..either on your own (if your technically competent enough) or through feedback with other minters...After awhile i started to feel like it was a big pain in the A__ :lol: and threw in the towel...

Sure the idea appealed to me about never having to install a newer edition....but i decided that the grief wasn't worth the advantage...your mileage may vary :roll: :wink:

I think my new game plan will be to stay with Mint 10 until Mint 13 (i believe that would be the next long term release) and from that point, just re-install every 2 years when the next LTS release comes out...That will minimize my re-installs and yet still give me a very stable system without a lot of extra fuss and work...

I would have went the debian stable route but it just stays too old for me...i prefer something a bit more contemporary :mrgreen:
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby rosswmcgee on Thu May 19, 2011 8:45 pm

I thought Mint nine was the only Stable Version til 2013? We run two mints, a 9 and a ten. On an experimental machine I installed debian 6.0 a stable release until 2013. I am inclined to agree that for a while tinkering is fun, but gets to be old after awhile, right now I am thankful to have two stable distros, mint 9 and debian 6.0, plus a mint 10
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby craig10x on Thu May 19, 2011 9:09 pm

rosswmcgee wrote:I thought Mint nine was the only Stable Version til 2013? We run two mints, a 9 and a ten. On an experimental machine I installed debian 6.0 a stable release until 2013. I am inclined to agree that for a while tinkering is fun, but gets to be old after awhile, right now I am thankful to have two stable distros, mint 9 and debian 6.0, plus a mint 10


Actually, that isn't the case...to clarify...The Long Term Releases receive updates for 3 years (2x as long as a normal ubuntu release)...
However, each new LTS (Long Term Release) comes out every TWO YEARS (not three)...

Ubuntu 8.04 released in April 2008 was followed by Ubuntu 10.04 in April 2010...So...next Ubuntu LTS (and thus Mint's next LTS) will be in April 2012...
And that of course would be Mint 13 (lucky number? :lol: )

So, my thought was to have a long run stable system (with no breaks in getting updates) would simply be to install the latest LTS every 2 years...
And get off the 6 month cycle....You will get far more updates (as well as having newer apps) in an ubuntu LTS then you will running Debian Stable.

Any new applications i was just craving to have, i could simply add the PPA's for :wink:
Or re-install with a deb file...

PS: I agree with you 100%...to me tinkering gets "old" after awhile...give me stable and dull anyday :mrgreen:
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby StratosJL on Fri May 20, 2011 12:03 am

lmintnewb wrote:^What I was thinking too.

Think many of the people running Mint's Debian based stuff aren't handling it the way they should. With the end result being the breakage blues. Could be wrong o course, that's just a theory and gut instinct about the topic.


It seems to me that LMDE does not need to be tweaked a lot. In fact, it should be used almost as is, because it is already a distribution "under development". That's why I used only automatic installs from the main repositories. This way, you avoid many "extra and unneeded" breakages...
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby StratosJL on Fri May 20, 2011 12:11 am

craig10x wrote:I ran with LMDE for several months as you probably already know and am back on Mint 10 main edition...The breakages can be quite daunting and fixes aren't always that fast in coming...you really have to be INVOLVED with the system on an intimate basis....trying to figure out how to undo something that got messed up..either on your own (if your technically competent enough) or through feedback with other minters...After awhile i started to feel like it was a big pain in the A__ :lol: and threw in the towel...


I agree with you for the most part. The breakages can be minimized, however, by NOT using the Mint update manager and just doing a dist-upgrade every couple weeks. And if some "uresolved" message comes up, just stop there and try again in a couple weeks. That's from my own experience.

It is also true, as I posted in the article, that people who are uncomfortable with manual repairs, say, such as people who have just come over from Windows and are not technical, or people who just want something that works and don't care for a little "excitement" with their OS, may find this... well, quite daunting as you say, which is perfectly understandable.
Last edited by StratosJL on Sun May 22, 2011 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby loukoumas on Fri May 20, 2011 10:49 am

LMDE is a great distribution,I use it and i love it.Fast as Debian Testing and beautiful as Mint!
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby lmintnewb on Fri May 20, 2011 11:05 am

To point out summin obvious too.

BACKUP your OS ... when it's running well and there is no breakage. Make a copy/clone of your lmde and periodically as ya go folks. Then if breakage happens due to whatever reasons. Bing, bang ... boom. Restore the backup in 15mins and get on with your life ... Sheesh.

Then you always have a perfectly stable lmde to return to if the breakage blues come callin. Whether it's due to user error or something else ... There ya go ... lmde perfectly manageable.


:D
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby craig10x on Fri May 20, 2011 12:02 pm

What might make LMDE more stable is the new monthly snapshot updater that Clem was talking about implementing and is going to work on right after Mint 11 final release comes out...But i think it would depend on how it is going to work...is it simply a snapshot of a month of updates, bugs and all?
(with possible fixes but not necessarily) or is it a monitored snapshot that makes sure everything is ok that will be installed...

That aspect is not clear (i couldn't tell based on the information he reported about it)...

And there are still some rough edges...like touchpad tap not being enabled by default, certain icons of newly installed programs not appearing in the menu...no auto driver installer and very importantly there is still no option to have LMDE automatically installed (without manual partitioning) as in Mint Main Edition...

So it is far from as smooth as mint main at this point in time...
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby asymmetros on Fri May 20, 2011 2:33 pm

It seems to me that LMDE does not need to be tweaked a lot. In fact, it should be used almost as is, because it is already a distribution "under development". That's why I used only automatic installs from the main repositories. This way, you avoid many "extra and unneeded" breakages...


That's quite true. My only "tweak" was to remove python-gi and all the applications i do not want, installed my favourite apps, setting keyboard layout, select icons, etc.. and adding a couple of "Debian" repos. Then, i keep watching the updates coming :)
I do not believe that you can categorize Mint Debian as a distro for experienced users; for how many years you are supposed to run Main Editions in order to acquire such a title :wink:
The key is how you are used to work with your system, any system, and how ready you are to change the usual routine. For example, do not messing with Ppa's repositiories, or change your "upgrading attitude", etc..
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby rhodry on Fri May 20, 2011 6:36 pm

Thought I might just add a word of caution to this interesting discussion; directed to those who encourage taking LMDE and converting it to "Stable" repository base.

Do not lose your current CD/DVD/USB medium for your starting point!!! You should remember that the current medium snapshots for LMDE were produced during the 'testing freeze' before Debian Squeeze became Debian Stable. What this means is that the difference between 'testing' and '(new) stable' was miniscule. However, if you were to take a snapshot of 'testing' ( LMDE) right now and try to convert that to "Stable" by changing the repos and doing a dist-upgrade, you would more likely end up with a nightmare of elm street proportions!! :D

As the gap between "testing" and "stable" gets wider and wider, I suggest this strategy will become more dangerous and likely to produce a borked system! Personally, I think you would be better off starting with a copy of Debian Stable ( Squeeze) and Mintify it. Dist-upgrade is fundamentally designed to go forward not backward.

Anyway, just food for thought from someone who thinks LMDE-Xfce (as is) is the best desktop operating system I have EVER used.

cheers,
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Re: Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Postby StratosJL on Sat May 21, 2011 5:02 am

rhodry wrote:Thought I might just add a word of caution to this interesting discussion; directed to those who encourage taking LMDE and converting it to "Stable" repository base.


This is an interesting point, actually! The notion never crossed my mind. However, by installing the current "LMDE live usb", you get the "testing" repositry in your sources, so in that respect, your valid points thankfully do not apply. This guide/testimony was specifically addressed to the Testing branch, and in order to make up for the time gap between "current Testing" and "Mint usb medium Testing", the first thing I advise people to do after the first boot is a "dist-upgrade". I would rather trust the official Mint team to "mintify" debian, that take a snapshot of "Stable" by myself and try to "mintify" it...
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