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Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:01 pm
by RayLRiv
Greetings from the Bluegrass (KY.) This newbie's had enough of Windows and I'm taking the plunge into Linux Mint. Please be kind and patient!

Just bought a Dell XPS 13 9300 laptop to be delivered on 7/20. It'll have a 512GB SSD, 32GB memory onboard, Ubuntu Linux 20.04 but I'd like it to run Mint.
I've downloaded onto a thumb drive

linuxmint-20-cinnamon-64bit
sha256sum.txt.gpg
sha256sum

(all three downloaded from the same Purdue Linux Users Group)

I also bought a Dell USB-C to USB-A 3 adapter to plug the thumb drive into the laptop (I hope that was the right adapter!)

Dumb Question No 1: when I start the laptop it'll attempt to boot the onboard Ubuntu - but will it also eventually recognize (and give me the option) to install Mint from the thumb drive?

Dumb Question No 2: I'm eventually going to need a multi-port USB-C to USB-A dock that (ideally) I can pull out of the shipping box, plug into the laptop and work with my laptop running Mint 'right out of the box?" Is there such a multi-port dock that's Linux Mint friendly? I've heard of Thunderbolt docks but don't know if they would be 'plug and play'.

Thanks for your time and patience. These won't be the last questions I have!

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:57 pm
by JoeFootball
RayLRiv wrote: Dumb Question No 1: when I start the laptop it'll attempt to boot the onboard Ubuntu - but will it also eventually recognize (and give me the option) to install Mint from the thumb drive?
I can answer your first question (which is not dumb). Once you verify your ISO download, you're going to create a bootable image on your USB drive. Once done, you can reboot your system to the Linux Mint image on the USB drive (not Ubuntu on the hard drive).

From there, you can test out Linux Mint via the live session, and install it to the hard drive if you choose to do so. You'll be given the option to install it along side with Ubuntu, or replace it completely.

More info: Linux Mint Installation Guide

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:15 pm
by JoeFootball
RayLRiv wrote: [from email received] Is this my ISO image? linuxmint-20-cinnamon-64bit ?
Correct. I have a feeling that whatever you're viewing the three files with is hiding known file extensions, so they're missing from your list of files above.

They should be ...

linuxmint-20-cinnamon-64bit.iso
sha256sum.txt.gpg
sha256sum.txt

... and you can also see them here, on the Purdue Linux Users Group mirror which you downloaded them from. :)

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:27 pm
by Dark Owl
This will be a bit of repetition on the previous answers, but sometimes it helps to say the same thing but differently:
RayLRiv wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:01 pm
Dumb Question No 1: when I start the laptop it'll attempt to boot the onboard Ubuntu - but will it also eventually recognize (and give me the option) to install Mint from the thumb drive?
You can't boot straight from the .iso file - first you need to use the .iso to "burn" a USB image. To do that you need a program such as Etcher (there are versions for Windows and Linux, so you could install and run it on Ubuntu). The .iso can also be used to burn a DVD and boot from that.

In order to boot from a bootable USB, you will have to interrupt the boot process (instructions will flash up on the screen briefly, typically press DEL or F12), then go into the boot options and force it to boot from USB.

From there, the PC will boot your Mint from the USB, and be useable without installing and without affecting the existing Ubuntu. When you are ready, you can then click "install".
RayLRiv wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:01 pm
Dumb Question No 2: I'm eventually going to need a multi-port USB-C to USB-A dock that (ideally) I can pull out of the shipping box, plug into the laptop and work with my laptop running Mint 'right out of the box?" Is there such a multi-port dock that's Linux Mint friendly? I've heard of Thunderbolt docks but don't know if they would be 'plug and play'.
I'm not sure what you mean by "dock", I think you are talking about a USB hub (in other words a USB port multiplier, usually with its own separate power supply). Hubs are part of the USB hardware specification, and are intrinsically "plug & play". You can even connect hubs to hubs. The operating system will see each socket as another USB port without any setting up, the only drawback being the data rate will be shared between all the ports.

PS: It's a Windows thing to hide the file type from users, and opens the way not only for dumbing down but also conning the user into clicking malicious files that are not what they appear to be. Find your Windows setting "hide file extensions" and turn it off - you will be much better off, and you will see that your Mint download is indeed a .iso.

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:54 am
by kc1di
Hello RayLRiv,
Welcome to Linux Mint Forums, enjoy! :)

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:09 am
by AndyMH
When you install mint, by default it installs a usb image writer application, I would be surprised if ubuntu did not do the same. So there should be no need to install a third party application like etcher.

I would take an image backup of the ubuntu installation before installing mint - just in case!

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:42 pm
by Dark Owl
AndyMH wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:09 am
So there should be no need to install a third party application like etcher.
Fair enough, but I'm familiar with Etcher from the Windows domain. I checked my LM20 install, and there is indeed "USB Image Writer".

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:14 pm
by RayLRiv
I downloaded balenaEthcher.exe onto my work PC (running Windows) and I've got linuxmint-20-cinnamon-64bit, sha256sum and sha256sum.txt.gpg on my SanDisk 8GB thumb drive. When I click Flash! I get a 'Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?' prompt in a User Account Control window.

It's asking me to enter an admin name and password.

Since this is a Windows box AT WORK I suspect I'm being restricted / prevented / warned by our I.T. Dept from converting the three files on my thumb drive.

I think on any OTHER Windows box (not linked to a network) clicking Flash! would just convert the cinnamon file into a bootable file, correct?

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:26 pm
by Dark Owl
RayLRiv wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:14 pm
I downloaded balenaEthcher.exe onto my work PC (running Windows) and I've got linuxmint-20-cinnamon-64bit, sha256sum and sha256sum.txt.gpg on my SanDisk 8GB thumb drive. When I click Flash! I get a 'Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?' prompt in a User Account Control window.

It's asking me to enter an admin name and password.

Since this is a Windows box AT WORK I suspect I'm being restricted / prevented / warned by our I.T. Dept from converting the three files on my thumb drive.

I think on any OTHER Windows box (not linked to a network) clicking Flash! would just convert the cinnamon file into a bootable file, correct?
I think there are some misconceptions here.

First, you don't need the SHA stuff after you have used them to verify the download. In fact, I don't usually bother.

Second, you can't use a .iso file to burn a USB drive the .iso is on. The .iso is a compressed image of a file system, and it is read and decompressed to build a bootable file system on a USB stick (or whatever).

So what you do is run "sha256sum.exe" on your download, and it produces a (IIRC) 32-digit hex signature which you check against the signature published for the .iso.

Then you copy Etcher and the .iso to your PC, run Etcher, select the .iso, and tell Etcher where to burn it.

If you have a version of Etcher which has to be installed (ie the .exe is actually an installer), of course you will be promoted for the admin password. What you need is the "portable" version - those run direct from the .exe without making any alterations to the OS.

Re: Taking the Linux Mint plunge

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:43 pm
by bob466
Welcome to the Forum. :D