[HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

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[HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:40 am

As Linux Mint doesn't currently off an alternate install disk I've would it much easier and faster to convert my installation. I know some people will think I'm crazy, but it's the best option for me right now.
So what were going to do is take a fresh installation of Ubuntu 12.04.1 (latest available at time of post) and convert it to Linux Mint 13. I will be using the official repositories and not a PPA.

This is a combination of several posts I found related to removing Unity and installing MDM and Cinnamon. Of course I added my own tweaks to it. I think this process is relatively quick and easy. I may have missed a couple things to remove from the "Ubuntu" installation. But basically we removed just about everything "Ubuntu" branded.

Through this process I will point out anything I would consider optional. But if you really want the full Linux Mint experience I recommend that you follow this tutorial to the letter. Depending on your system and connection speed this only takes approx 20 - 30 minutes. I tested and created this tutorial on a Virtual Maching with a single CPU and 2GB RAM. I am also runing my system live with these alterations. Haven't had an issue yet.

For up to date tutorial visit my blog: http://blog.shaffner.tk/how-to-convert-ubuntu-12-04-to-linux-mint-13/

Changelog:
09/26/2012 - First Posting
09/27/2012 - Revised layout, fixed typos, added Cinnamon & Mate dual install (still testing)
09/30/2012 - Updated link, blog crashed, had to repost to with a new link.
11/13/2012 - Removed instructions as they are outdated. Updated link as domain changed due to issues with .co.cc
Last edited by webslave on Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:52 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:01 am

Hello, webslave.

No, I won't call your idea crazy. Not at all.

There are scenarios where it may be more convenient or even necessary to convert genuine Ubuntu 12.04 into Mint 13 later on, instead of re-installing from the scratch.
One scenario has been mentioned by yourself: you have to use the alternate installer. But you would love to have the Linux Mint interface nonetheless.
Another scenario is this one: On my office notebook Pangolin has been setup and everything is working fine. Yet, I definitely prefer Cinnamon over Unity. - My taste. No-one needs to agree. - Wasting working hours on a complete new installation is hardly justified, just in order to switch from Unity to Cinnamon.

Anyway. This HowTo reads promising. I may feel like trying your steps one day soon ...

Cheers,
Karl
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:47 am

Hey thanks much. If it helps I tested in the VM twice, and I've been running live for a month or so now. No issues. I'll post an update sometime down the road when I have a chance to compair a stock Linux Mint install with a stock Ubuntu install, so I can figure out exactly which packages come with Mint.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby paranjr on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:18 am

I tried to follow instructions; but ran into a problem. When you say "Click session" to choose Cinnamon session, Where do I find "Session" to click?

I think my problem is MDM never installed. When I try to reinstall MDM install fails with following message:

Errors were encountered while processing:
/var/cache/apt/archives/mdm_1.0.4_i386.deb
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

When I reboot, I get an error: problem writing bytes but the boot succeeds.

How can I fix mdm install problem? Thanks for your help in advance.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:37 pm

paranjr wrote:I tried to follow instructions; but ran into a problem. When you say "Click session" to choose Cinnamon session, Where do I find "Session" to click?

I think my problem is MDM never installed. When I try to reinstall MDM install fails with following message:

Errors were encountered while processing:
/var/cache/apt/archives/mdm_1.0.4_i386.deb
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

When I reboot, I get an error: problem writing bytes but the boot succeeds.

How can I fix mdm install problem? Thanks for your help in advance.


Sorry about the delay in responding. I can look into it when I get home, right now I'm out of state so I don't have my computer available. But I'll be home Tuesday night so I'll see what I can figure out for you. My suggestion for now would be to try an reinstall men. Try sudo apt-get -f install mdm and see it that works. But as I said no computer available right now. Just using my Mom's tablet so I can't try to recreate your issue. Really just sounds like mdm didn't install properly. Let me know if that works for you. If not I can figure it out when I get home.

Oh as for the "click session" part. When you are in the login screen you'll see the icon for the session. Just below where you enter your username and password. I need to redo some screenshots to make things a little more clear. Kinda did the last ones in a hurry.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:53 pm

Hello, webslave.

karlchen wrote:This HowTo reads promising. I may feel like trying your steps one day soon ...
Some day soon was yesterday. Actually, I used your conversion instruction published in your blog in order to turn one of my Precise Pangolins into Linux Mint13 Cinnamon. It worked really great. :D
To tell the truth, I dared exclude the Linux Mint "Romeos" from sources.list thus making sure Cinnamon 1.4up3 would be installed and Nautilus would be preserved.
As far as I can tell 24 hours later, the biggest issue which has not been fixed, yet, is that when gnome-control-center is launched the "Appearance" icon is missing.

Image
(Gnome-control-center no "appearance" icon)

All in all absolutely great step-by-step instruction!

Cheers,
Karl
Last edited by karlchen on Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: replaced local screenshot file with link to upload on imgur.com
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby bimsebasse on Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:17 pm

Quality guide, mate, good job.

I think, though, with all the work that goes into it - you're better off simply backing up your files and do a clean install om Mint 13.
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:08 pm

bimsebasse wrote:Quality guide, mate, good job.

I think, though, with all the work that goes into it - you're better off simply backing up your files and do a clean install om Mint 13.


Yeah it definately is the easiest way. But as stated due to my complex system setup I can't use the standard install disc. I'm forced to use the Ubuntu Alternative disc.

My setup:
2 x SSD (primary drive) (RAID0) using software RAID as hardware RAID doesn't seem to cooperate with Ubuntu / Mint?
6 x HHD (storage drive) (LVM)

Although there are was tp setup RAID and LVM during the install with the standard disk, I just prefer to use the alternative disk, and convert my system to Mint this way. I think it's a much easier process.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:09 pm

karlchen wrote:Hello, webslave.

karlchen wrote:This HowTo reads promising. I may feel like trying your steps one day soon ...
Some day soon was yesterday. Actually, I used your conversion instruction published in your blog in order to turn one of my Precise Pangolins into Linux Mint13 Cinnamon. It worked really great. :D
To tell the truth, I dared exclude the Linux Mint "Romeos" from sources.list thus making sure Cinnamon 1.4up3 would be installed and Nautilus would be preserved.
As far as I can tell 24 hours later, the biggest issue which has not been fixed, yet, is that when gnome-control-center is launched the "Appearance" icon is missing.
Bildschirmfoto vom 2012-10-17 22-51-15.png

All in all absolutely great step-by-step instruction!

Cheers,
Karl


That's kinda odd, I never ran into that during my testing. But other then that it looks like you were able to follow the process without too many issues. Glad to see this helped.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:44 pm

Hello, webslave.

By now it turns out that inside the gnome-control-center and its sub-programmes a lot of items are displayed with an incorrect standard icon. (The one that can be seen in my screenshot to the left of the category title "Personal")

I am not sure whether this really means that the correct icons are not present on the disk. Maybe the issue is caused by configuration file(s) referencing icons that are no longer there or trying to pull them with the help of a theme which was removed together with Unity.
So far this icon problem seems to affect the gnome-control-center and the configuration programmes which it launches only.

As I have not figured out, yet, maybe never will, how the gnome-control-center and its sub-programmes determine which icons to use and where to find them, I have not been able to get to the bottom of the (visual) problem.

Maybe comparing folder contents between the converted Pangolin Unity installation and a genuine Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon desktop installation will put me on the right track some day ...

Kind regards,
Karl
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:13 pm

Hello, bimsebasse.
I think, though, with all the work that goes into it - you're better off simply backing up your files and do a clean install om Mint 13.
If the time needed were the only criterion, then weblave's conversion is much faster than a complete new installation from the scratch.

My Precise Pangolin which I used as the guinea pig was absolutely up-to-date, including kernel 3.2.0-32.
A small number of additional software, all coming from the official repositories, had been installed.
A little bit of personal tweaking and configuring has been applied.

If I install Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon from the scratch today, what I will get is a system as it was way back at the end of May 2012.
Next Linux Mint 13 will pull roundabout 400 updated software packages and install them. As my internet connection is limited to 5 MBit/sec. the update alone will run for more than an hour. Depending on the time of day and on the speed of the machine used the whole update procedure may take up to 2 hours.
Then I will have to add another 20 minutes to go through my list of extra software and install the programmes.
Finally I will have to restore my data backup and - more time - consuming re-storing my personal configuration.
So all in all an installation from the scratch will take no less than 4 hours.

Applying webslave's conversion took me 1 hour. And my system is still up-to-date and all of my personal settings which are independent of Unity vs Cinnamon are still valid and present.

So if it were a matter of time only, then converting would win.

Of course, however, there is a certain degree of uncertainty as to whether in the course of this conversion,
  • all the needed software packages have been added
  • only the no longer needed software packages have been removed
  • any garbage may have been left behind.
  • all necessary configuration changes have been applied.
It has still to be verified that the result of the conversion process is a consistent Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon system.

Therefore, if this system were vital or me, I would definitely take the longer way and install Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon from the scratch, apply all updates, re-install my additional software, recreate my personal settings and restore my data files.

Cheers,
Karl
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby bimsebasse on Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:39 pm

Well, not time spent in front of your computer - very little user input and active in-front-of-PC time is required installing and updating a system, at least compared to doing this. Also, there will always be Ubuntu leftovers, e.g. notifyosd, Ubuntu branding, icons, themes and stuff like that. You will still end up with a hybrid between Ubuntu and Mint with 2 software centers and two update managers etc. The only way to end up with Mint 13 is to install Mint 13.
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby squeezy on Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:49 pm

Or, start off with a 12.04 mini.iso then install the mint-meta-* packages you want :twisted:
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:26 pm

bimsebasse wrote:Well, not time spent in front of your computer - very little user input and active in-front-of-PC time is required installing and updating a system, at least compared to doing this. Also, there will always be Ubuntu leftovers, e.g. notifyosd, Ubuntu branding, icons, themes and stuff like that. You will still end up with a hybrid between Ubuntu and Mint with 2 software centers and two update managers etc. The only way to end up with Mint 13 is to install Mint 13.


As I do agree with the hybrid theory. I still find this to be my current best option. As I have more time I do plan to update this quide to remove all the remaining packages. I just haven't had the time to do a comparison between a fresh Mint 13 and Ubuntu 12.04 install. But once I have I'm sure I'll end up with basically Mint 13. But as stated previously you'll still have some stanglers. But from my experiance I haven't had anything affected.

As far as 2 update managers and software centers I've already addressed that in my guide.
I do understand that a fresh install is the best options, but when you have a complex setup then it get even more complex trying to install Mint. Trust me I tried, ended up making a couple mistakes and lost a lot of files (mostly my fault shouldn't play with partitions while half asleep).

But the whole idea was I figured out a pretty decent way to convert Ubuntu to Mint that works for me. I figured I should share my findings, and update as I figure out more. I'm not saying this is fail proof, or 100% complete. But if you hate unity as much as I do, and love Mint it works.

@karichen
Thanks for reporting your findings. Trust me it will help me in the end.
For your icon problem. Have you tried switching icon themes? Honestly I never paid much attention to that part as I switch out the theme almost immediately after install (not a fan of the stock icons). Or even have you tried to reinstall the icon theme package?
As stated before I was going from Ubuntu 12.04 so maybe theres something to do with going from Precise may be a small part of it.
But I'll definately look into and see what I can figure out. Just gotta squeeze in the time. I'm working on a site right now, and it's been taking up all of my free time. Doing everything from scratch, code, graphics, etc. Been a busy boy.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:33 am

Hello, webslave.

About my little icon problem affecting the gnome-control-center and its sub-programmes:
I have yet to verify that my memory serves me right, but:
  • On this machine where I am typing now, there is a genuine Linux Mint 13 x64 Cinnamon. It is as up to date as the Precise Pangolin (=Ubuntu 12.04.1) which has been converted into Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon. Nevertheless this Linux Mint 13 uses gnome-control-center 3.4.1 (1:3.4.1-1linuxmint1 as Synaptic says). No update available, though it also sees gnome-control-center 1:3.4.2-0ubuntu05 (version tab).
  • The other Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon, the convert, uses exactly that gnome-control-center 3.4.2.
Maybe this is the source of my little icon problem.

Have not tried to switch icon themes, yet. But of course, this might be a good option as well, switching to a different theme and switching back to the current theme. It is intended to pay extra attention to potential differences affecting the installed Cinnamon themes on both systems anyway.

Apart from these little visual annoyances the converted Precise Pangolin, now Mint 13 Cinnamon, seems to work perfectly well.

Please, do not spend too much time on minor problems reported only by me and not affecting functionality.

Kind regards,
Karl
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:07 pm

Hello, webslave.

Faster than expected, the "icons missing from gnome-control-center and sub-programmes" problem has been solved. :D

The following software packages were added to the converted Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon system:
  • gnome-colors-common 5.5.1-1ubuntu1
  • gnome-icon-theme-full 3.4.0-0ubuntu1.1
  • gnome-wise-icon-theme 5.5.1-1ubuntu1
As soon as this had been done the icons in gnome-control-center and its sub-programmes looked the same as on the genuine Lint Mint 13 x64 Cinnamon system.

It was not necessary to replace gnome-control-center 3.4.2 and its dependent packages by gnome-control-center 1:3.4.1-1linuxmint1.
The difference between the Ubuntu 12.04 gnome-control-center and the Mint 13 gnome-control-center is that Ubuntu offers an additional item in the "Appearance" sub-programme, "Themes", which is non-functional on Mint 13. Mint 13 Cinnamon offers the corresponding "Themes" configuration in the Cinnamon Settings, not in the gnome-control-panel.

Kind regards,
Karl
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:48 pm

Hello, webslave.

On the genuine Linux Mint 13 x64 Cinnamon
Code: Select all
dpkg-query --show > Maya_x64_installed_software.txt
was run. The file holds the names and version strings of all 1858 installed software packages in alphabetic order.
On the converted Linux Mint 13 x86 Cinnamon
Code: Select all
dpkg-query --show > Maya_x86_installed_software_01.txt
was run.
Then I used the built-in file compare function of my favourite file-manager in order to get a list of all the differences.

There are still quite a few. And only a part of them is easily accounted by the fact that some software has only be installed on one of the two machines like e.g. The Gimp, RabbitVCS and Remmina. There are quite a few packages which may have been installed by the Gimp, RabbitVCS or Remmina. They might as well be remnants of LightDM and Unity. Accounting for every single difference in the two software lists will be tedious, time-consuming and be done on some rainy boring afternoon I think.

At the moment I can tell that the following software packages were still missing on the converted Mint13 when compared to the genuine installation:
  • gnome-colors-common 5.5.1-1ubuntu1
    gnome-icon-theme-full 3.4.0-0ubuntu1.1
  • gnome-wise-icon-theme 5.5.1-1ubuntu1
  • gsfonts-x11 0.22
  • gthumb 3:2.14.3-0ubuntu1
    gthumb-data 3:2.14.3-0ubuntu1
    (++ further dependencies)
  • ++ sox 14.3.2-3
    (++ further dependencies)
  • ttf-dejavu 2.33-2ubuntu1
    ttf-dejavu-extra 2.33-2ubuntu1
  • unshield 0.6-2
  • vlc 2.0.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1
    vlc-data 2.0.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1
    vlc-nox 2.0.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1
    vlc-plugin-notify 2.0.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1
    vlc-plugin-pulse 2.0.3-0ubuntu0.12.04.1
    (++ further dependencies)
The listed software packages have been added.
In spite of the differences in the software lists, the converted Linux Mint 13 seems to run perfectly. I wonder if anybody would suspect that this Mint 13 was born as a Ubuntu 12.04.1?

Cheers,
Karl
--
P.S.:
Having added the software packages enumerated above and accepted to install the most current official updates offered only today, the command
Code: Select all
dpkg-query --show > Maya_x86_installed_software_02.txt
was (re-)run. Next
Code: Select all
diff Maya_x86_installed_software_02.txt Maya_x64_installed_software.txt > Left_Mint13converted_Right_Mint13genuine.txt
All 3 files can be found in the attached file Convert_Ubuntu_12.04_to_Linux_Mint_13.zip, in case anybody should be curious ...


<Added 25-Oct-2012>
  • ++ sox 14.3.2-3
    (++ further dependencies) ... sox is required for various system sounds to be played.
</Added 25-Oct-2012>
Attachments
Convert_Ubuntu_12.04_to_Linux_Mint_13.zip
Installed software lists compared
(40.08 KiB) Downloaded 167 times
Last edited by karlchen on Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:33 pm

Thanks karichen,
Much appreciated. That rainy day might be today, minus the fact it's not raining. I think I need a break from coding all day. So I'm thinking I might do some work on getting the guide updated a little more.

That will definitely help me out in my venture to make a true convert. No promises on finishing up today, but I hope I'll make some progress.
Actually I was thinking about doing as you suggested, just was trying to squeeze in the time to do the comparison.
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby karlchen on Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:49 am

Added to the list of still missing software on the converted Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon desktop:
  • ++ sox 14.3.2-3
    (++ further dependencies) ... sox is required for various system sounds to be played.

Currently, I am still wondering why the converted Linux Mint13 Cinnamon desktop uses so much more of my precious battery energy than Pangolin did:
+ Windows 7 will be able to run up to 5 hours on battery
+ Pangolin was able to run up to 4 hours on battery
+ Cinnamon will not even run 3 hours on battery (same as Ubuntu 10.04.4 on the same notebook)

I assume some settings which make Mint use less energy when running on battery must have been lost somehow somewhere ...
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Re: [HOW TO] Convert Ubuntu 12.04 to Linux Mint 13

Postby webslave on Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:23 am

Wish I had a good answer for you on that one. I don't have a laptop so I don't really have a way to test it. But as I said I'm working on the comparison between packages on fresh installs. I did manage to get them all installed in a VM. Just haven't sat down to compare them all, and work up a proper script. I don't have a day off until Sunday, so I was planning to do it them. I'm just too damn drained after work anymore. Plus getting closer to Xmas means I work a whole lot more. But Sunday sounds like a good day to at least get the comparison done.
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