Things you can do to optimize your Mint operating system.

Questions about other topics & discussing non-support related topics related to LMDE 2.

Things you can do to optimize your Mint operating system.

Post by lmintnewb2 » Tue May 30, 2017 5:30 pm

Posting this to give a fair idea of some things you can tweak in all things Linux Mint to make it more responsive and lighten system resources overhead.

I installed Lmde2-cinnamon 64bit recently and then turned around and installed a windows manager called openbox and a taskbar called tint2 to it. After some tweaking it was using all of 151mbs-ram, it goes without saying the 32bit Mint version(s) would've been even lighter on system resources and would/could be blazing on lower spec systems. Personally it doesn't matter 64 or 32bit, high or low-spec hardware, I always have and always will tweak anything gnu/Linux I have installed. Simply doesn't make sense to me to run a resource hogging OS period.

Estimated tweak time taken, probably an hour or less. Depends upon you and your skill level obviously. Tweaks applied, the one's I've found which are easiest and provide the most gratification ? On Sysv init systems, in the Mint control settings, disable unwanted/needed startup daemons and services. Also install bum and disable some others which aren't available to do so via the Control center's settings. If you like learn the ways to use stuff like cli to further find/disable anything else which survives the former two.

On systemd, again in the control center disable bloat startup services, then use the "systemctl" command to find and disable others that you don't want/use leeching off system resources. There's a gui frontend for systemd called systemd-ui though haven't really used it and can't endorse it. Brief dorking around with and it seems kinda buggy, so use cli.

All such disabled daemons and services can be started via run dialogue or terminal when/as needed and then killed off when they're not. They don't need to automatically start everytime your Minty goodness boots-up and are just adding bloat and overhead when running and not doing anything useful.

At some point lower the default swappiness on the OS. Open the /etc/sysctl.conf file with gksudo or root priv's and add this line to the bottom of the sucker.

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# Adjust swappiness to a more reasonable level

Disable features and unwanted visual effects in your Desktop of choice or better imo as mentioned install a windows manager instead and at some point if you like remove the packages on the system related to the desktop too. Though do be aware it WILL remove plenty of packages that you'll have to turn around and re-install during the process. To keep a good and working system.

Though you can also keep your desktop if you so prefer and logout/in to whatever others you have installed using mdm = The display manager Mint is currently using.

The last thing and this is ABSOLUTELY necessary once you've trimmed down, lightened and tweaked your Mint OS. Which is PROFIT and ENJOY ! :D
Last edited by xenopeek on Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: doesn't qualify as tutorial so move to open discussion; cross-post in other forum deleted as per the board rules and left this one in place as it already has feedback

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Re: Things you can do to optimize your Mint operating system.

Post by jimallyn » Tue May 30, 2017 10:05 pm

I emailed that to myself so I can bookmark it on my own computer when I get home. Never messed with installing a window manager as opposed to a desktop environment, but a google search turns up a few articles on the differences and the pros and cons of both, so I will read those and learn.

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Re: Things you can do to optimize your Mint operating system.

Post by karlchen » Wed May 31, 2017 6:19 am

lmintnewb2 wrote:I installed Lmde2-cinnamon 64bit
Hm, not the Linux Mint main edition, but LMDE 2, moving post accordingly ... Done.
Linux Mint 19.2 32-bit xfce Desktop, Total Commander 9.22a 32-bit
Linux Mint 18.1 64-bit Cinnamon Desktop, Total Commander 9.22a 64-bit
Windows? - 1 window in every room


Re: Things you can do to optimize your Mint operating system.

Post by lmintnewb2 » Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 pm

Good deal jimallyn, I'm biased towards openbox and tint2 as the taskbar. Though there's no shortage of windows managers to choose from. Probably have 5-6 others installed too.

@Karlchen ... this applies to anything gnu/Linux. Of course including LM main editions. Not that it matters if it's moved either.


Re: Things you can do to optimize your Mint operating system.

Post by lmintnewb2 » Wed May 31, 2017 7:59 pm

Ok part 2 to this nonsense and again, yes it absolutely applies to Mint main editions or anything else gnu/Linux for that matter. This is also a DO AT YOUR OWN RISK proposition. Very basic but for people really newish to gnu/Linux, inept or too lazy to learn how the following is done, then if you break it, you get to keep all the pieces and it's only x-nixers own fault.

With that out of the way :P say you've already harvested the low hanging fruit above and you still want to tweak, here's some other things a person can do along those lines. That being to try different default applications and utilities in the OS, other than those which were selected default by the distro devs and maintainers. In gnu/Linux you've got options, have seen some actually complaining there's too many options. *shakes head. :)

You may want to fiddle with different and lighter packages to do things like networking, a different display manager or whatever else. Plenty available which are/could be lighter than the ones LM uses. Not that I'm saying there's a single thing wrong with their choices, the stuff Mint HQ picks is fine stuff and known to work well, thus why they picked them etc. Anyway ... starting with display manager, in a recent thread someone was asking if they could replace mdm with lightdm in Mint and yes of course you can. I did so in Lmde-cinnamon and just to review set up an Lmde install in KVM and did it in virtual machine to re/confirm.
Note: Apparently LM HQ is planning a switch over to lightdm in future releases. At least think I've seen forum scuttlebutt mentions of it.
To get some idea of what it is/does in terminal "apt-cache show lightdm" and it'll give you some useful info, as will "man lightdm". If you feel like it take the time to look such over.

Install lightdm,

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sudo apt-get install lightdm
It should give you the option of choosing the default display manager, choose lightdm. After it's installed and ready to go, disable mdm with systemd's systemctl command. I advise not removing it, up until you've ensured everything on your system is working well. If you leave it installed and at some point wanted to revert back to mdm it's simple to do so. Disable lightdm with systemctl, enable mdm and then use "sudo dpkg-reconfigure mdm" just to ensure it goes back to being the default used.

Disable mdm.

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sudo systemctl disable mdm
If your Mint is still using Sysv/Upstart as the default init, just google about enabling/disabling services. Many easy ways to do so. Such as this or that type of stuff.

Ok one I've long since taken to replacing cause it's bloaty and much lighter alternatives which do a great job in it's place are readily available on gnu/Linux. Though it works really well as is and is also convenient. So assume that's why Mint HQ opted for it. I DO NOT advise attempting to even remove NetworkManager, it will also want to remove a ton of other packages along with it if someone proceeded. While they could turn around and reinstall the one's they need, advise just masking it to prevent it from ever starting after you've installed an alternative networking util.

Again someone can always quickly revert to using it by disabling whichever network util they elected by using the systemctl command to unmask and enable it again. Again if needed use the "dpkg-reconfigure" command though shouldn't be.

Mask NetworkManager (after installing an alternative)

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sudo systemctl mask NetworkManager
One option is wicd ( and you can also install it's graphical frontend wicd-gtk) are other good options for interfacing with wicd too, ie: wicd-cli and one I recently tried and liked the wicd-curses package, it's launched in terminal with "sudo wicd-curses". Gives a nice curses (somewhat graphical) interface to play with your networking settings. Personally have long liked and used a networking util called "ceni". I don't know if there's a ubuntu package or ppa for it. Wicd always worked well enough when I've tried it too.

Anyway there are TONS of options available to Linux Mint and gnu/Linux users. So if somebody feels like it they can give some of their options a try and hopefully get some joy out of it. Worth it for the learning and experience and in my experience also worth it to shave some nice chunks of system overhead off and get a gnu/Nix OS running faster and lighter.

As always and mentioned in previous post, if in doubt and your hardware is capable, do your tweaking experiments in a virtual machine before applying whichever tweakage to your actual everyday OS's.


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