Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework. [SOLVED]

Questions about other topics & discussing non-support related topics related to LMDE 2.
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JohnBobSmith
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Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework. [SOLVED]

Post by JohnBobSmith » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:57 pm

Greetings everyone,

I have an old PC (Pentium 4 3GHz, 2GB RAM) that I want to setup for school and homework purposes. I plan on using this topic for questions I may have along the way, in addition to posting the results of my research. With that said, I'd like to discuss options as far as the following goes:
-Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc. processors. I need microsoft office compatibility, but I dont particularly like the Libre Office suite. What could I try instead?
-Multimedia and codecs in Firefox. When I tried watching some youtube stuff, the lag was unbearable. There is minitube (at least on Arch Linux) that should suffice as a youtube player, but ideally flash and youtube should work without hassle. So, how could I tweak browser performance, specific to firefox and LMDE 2?
-Network printing. I think that sums up everything right there. However, I have not had much luck setting up CUPS, let alone getting my Brother MFC-990CW to play nicely (though I have done it before, ages ago). I might setup my media server so as to also store documents on it, and then use that to print stuff. I say this because I feel generally more comfortable with Arch (my media server OS) and setting stuff up that way. Especially since my laptop now runs Arch. Though if there is a simple way to get wireless network printing going in LMDE 2, that'd be great.
-Multiple users. This should be a no brainer, however I do plan on letting my siblings use the desktop, and no one should have access to the others files/documents (except me, being root/admin of course :) ).
-General MATE desktop tweaks. If I had it my way, I'd just use i3 with dmenu. However, because my sibiling have expressed interest in this project, I feel that a desktop resembling Windows on the outside would be best. I'm specifically looking for performance, and cutting back on the excessive ammount of menu and settings entries.
-A Windows-ish file manager. I'll have to experiment with the default Dolphin (Dolphin??) one and see. Bascially a search function, more icons than lists, a simple way to access USB Flash drives, in addition to a "My Documents" and related folders. Shouldn't be too hard.

I think that's it. Obviously, a lot of this will come through my own research. My plan and hope is that my project will be useful to more people. Who wouldn't want a perfectly tweaked LMDE 2 install for work purposes? The idea with this thread is to discuss options, ask questions, and share any research done along the way.

Wish me luck! With my senior school year starting, here's hoping for an easy homework PC setup and that I will also ace my courses. :). Peace.
Last edited by JohnBobSmith on Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by kevinthefixer » Mon Sep 07, 2015 3:39 pm

Well I certainly wish you luck! That being said, most of what you are looking for simply works OOTB on LMDE2.

You seem to be especially worried about wireless printing and CUPS; well, CUPS is already installed, and to set up my wi-fi Samsung printer I had to click the "add" button, expand the "network printers" line, and click on my printer which appeared there. Couple of dialogs later I clicked the "print test page" button and all was fine, all manner of things was fine.

If you don't care for LibreOffice you might try Softmaker Office. There is a free version, I'm not sure what you give up there. Open Office is still around somewhere but it looks a lot like LibreOffice, because LibreOffice forked from it. If you need something a bit more lightweight, there are any number of word processors around (you might look at AbiWord, but I've had problems with it in the past), and Gnumeric is as good a spreadsheet program as any other. LibreCAD (not part of LibreOffice AFAIK) is a free CAD app, in case you couldn't figure that out. I'm sure there are other presentation programs out there but I don't know much about that, I have no use for them. Google is your friend here.

Try Chromium browser with Pepperflash rather than Firefox with Adobe Flash. Adobe no longer supports Flash on Linux, but Pepperflash is still maintained.

Good luck with your project and with your degree!

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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by JohnBobSmith » Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:56 pm

Oh, I'm not doing university. Just my last year before I take an adventure down that road. Grade 12 is fun. But thanks anyways!

Chromium and pepperflash might be the way to go. I don't mind firefox, but its rather bleh. It's good to know most of everything will work out of the box though. Save me a few headaches. Thanks for that, Mint and crew. :)
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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by kevinthefixer » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:03 am

Well good luck anyway. BTW if you seriously want to learn to code, look into getting a Raspberry Pi. They are designed for it, they run on Debian, and they're $35.

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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by JohnBobSmith » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:15 pm

So far so good, the majority of stuff works out of the box. A few tweaks to the monitor/TV and I'm rocking and ready to go...

...with the exception of printing. I thought it would be a pain, and itis. Once I got the darn thing (printer) hooked up to wifi, nothing I do can cause it to print. I've tried from control center, I've tried from cups localhost. Nothing. The printer seeems to have a password and require a workgroup (which I find odd) but otherwise I have no idea why it refuses to work. If I can't figure it out soon, i'll post another topic in hardware support. The printer is a Brother MFC990CW All in One Inkjet or something like that. If anyone has ideas, let me know.

Still, 95% of the pain is non-existent when setting everything up. I'm very happy about that.

Cheers,
JBS.
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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by kevinthefixer » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:34 pm

Odd. I went to menu>administration>Print Settings, unlocked the dialog with my system password, and clicked the "add" button, expanded the wireless printers section of the tree, and there was my Samsung. Three or four clicks later it was printing a test page. Never have I had an easier time setting up printing on any OS. AFAIK Brother printers are well supported also. Did you look on Brother's web site?

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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by JohnBobSmith » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:54 pm

I'll see if there is even anything worth looking at on the website. When I tried to, I didn't get very far. I suppose I will unleash google-fu on it and see if I can find anything.

When I clicked add, I get asked for a password. Root user/password doesnt work, varying combinations of "default" passwords (IE admin and blank, or administrator and admin, or just blank) yield nothing. There may be a password on the printer though I have no idea what it would be. Again, I find this step odd and also the WORKGROUP is odd as well.

Will post back if I get results, otherwise I'm opening a new topic in hardware support...
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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by Ranthe » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:04 pm

JohnBobSmith wrote:...with the exception of printing. I thought it would be a pain, and itis. Once I got the darn thing (printer) hooked up to wifi, nothing I do can cause it to print. I've tried from control center, I've tried from cups localhost. Nothing. The printer seeems to have a password and require a workgroup (which I find odd) but otherwise I have no idea why it refuses to work. If I can't figure it out soon, i'll post another topic in hardware support. The printer is a Brother MFC990CW All in One Inkjet or something like that. If anyone has ideas, let me know.
Here's how I got things working for my Brother MFC-J430W using the "Driver Install Tool" off the Brother website - it should be a similar process for your printer.

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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by kevinthefixer » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:40 pm

JohnBobSmith wrote:I'll see if there is even anything worth looking at on the website. When I tried to, I didn't get very far. I suppose I will unleash google-fu on it and see if I can find anything.

When I clicked add, I get asked for a password. Root user/password doesnt work, varying combinations of "default" passwords (IE admin and blank, or administrator and admin, or just blank) yield nothing. There may be a password on the printer though I have no idea what it would be. Again, I find this step odd and also the WORKGROUP is odd as well.

Will post back if I get results, otherwise I'm opening a new topic in hardware support...
You are in LMDE's Printer Settings dialog and your root password doesn't work? The one you created during installation? The one you use when you update with Update Manager? There is something wrong with your installation, I would try installing again. That password should get you into anything on the system.

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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by JohnBobSmith » Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:41 pm

@kevinthefixer
I think you may have misunderstood me. The root password doesnt let me log into the printer, which is what it looks like it is trying to do. Its like the printer itself has its own password on it, and I have no idea what it is. Running the printer config utility in different ways yields either hangs, crashes, or just nothing. Highly like I'm missing something really obvious, but I don't know what.

@Ranthe
I will try that now. Thanks!



I find my lack of printer knowledge disturbing...
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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by JohnBobSmith » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:31 pm

Many thanks Ranthe! What had stumped me for a few days took just a few minutes to setup correctly. I'm very happy about that! :D The test page worked, and so long as my homework prints and everything survives reboot, I'm now ready to start pumping out some science labs and essays.

As an overview of what I did...
-Setup swap, root, and /home as separate partitions from a clean install. I think this has helped the most, especially having the swap enabled. I have almost no lag anymore, and it makes saving my data easier
-Changed the MATE menu and default desktop icons (IE trash, computer, home) to my liking
-Added my sisters account, wallpaper, login picture, etc
-Setup correct permissions IE can access USB drives and printers by default
-Kept the Libre Office suite as my sister really likes it
-Used HDMI on the monitor. Doubles up as good audio, saves me a chord. It also seems to have reduced tearing and slightly boosted performance. It was really annoying having the browser chop itself in half when scrolling sometimes...
-Setup sound to use HDMI
-Changed the login theme to something with less visual effects. This really helped performance and boot times, and it still looks great.
-Set up printing (thanks again guys!)
-Kept Firefox's defaults for video. No hiccups there, youtube works great.

I'm actually surprised how fast this desktop is now. I think that swap had 95% to do with that, considering I only have 2GB of RAM. HDMI chord fixed some tearing issues, and works very nicely for audio too. I didn't have to do any harder tweaking either. Like mucking with programs/settings more, stripping components from the system, things like that. Which means overall, LMDE 2 is a solid base for my sister and I to do homework with, even on a Pentium 4 with 2 gigs of ram!

Peace and best wishes to all,
JohnBobSmith
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If you want to change the world, start by changing yourself.
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Re: Setting up LMDE 2 for school/homework.

Post by kevinthefixer » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:20 pm

Great you got it working! Seems Brother printers are not as Linux-friendly as I had believed.

Final word of advice, though: search the yard sales & such, and get your sister her own computer. So far I've gotten my better half three of them, plus a couple tablets. Makes life much better. WinXP machines are bargain-basement right about now, and Mint main (as well as LMDE) works well with most of them. Your sis would probably be happier with LM17.2, if it's another low-powered machine go with XFCE.

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