Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

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Bgarland
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Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Bgarland » Thu May 19, 2016 3:03 pm

Hi, I just installed Linux Mint 17.3 on an old 32-bit HP Pavilion laptop that really just needs to browse the web and do word processing. It belonged to a friend, so already has Windows Vista on it.

I followed directions to do the install from a DVD I burned. Once it was installed, I read an article online called "10 things to do first in Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon," https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... rst%20text.
That's where I got into trouble.

(Forgive me, but as a newbie, I am not sure of all of the correct jargon)

It had instructions to install a text/notepad program called Leafpad via command line so I could add some text that would decrease the swap use. (which I don't know much about). It's 1.6 in the online article. It did not work via the command line, so I went to the Software Manager, found the software packet for Leafpad and installed it. Unfortunately it uninstalled Cinnamon. confused.

Now I can only get as far as a command prompt. I looked up some fixes and tried reinstalling cinnamon from the command line, but too much else was erased as well, it appears.

I though my best bet might be a complete reinstall, since I don't have any data store on the machine. Before I uninstall and go through that again, is that my best bet?

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Cosmo. » Thu May 19, 2016 4:05 pm

In this case (no user data or settings) definitely the best and quickest way to go.

You don't need anything to uninstall, simply install again using the old partitions, but reformat them (if you use the "Something else" method for installing.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by deleted » Thu May 19, 2016 4:11 pm

FWIW, installing leafpad on cinnamon does not uninstall cinnamon.
-Hinto

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killer de bug
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by killer de bug » Thu May 19, 2016 4:50 pm

Bgarland wrote:Once it was installed, I read an article online called "10 things to do first in Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon," https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... rst%20text.
Forget about this, this is totally unnecessary. Just reinstall your system and don't try hack you found on the web. You will save time and your system will work perfectly without these hacks. If not better.

Also please note that you have gedit installed for text edition. No need for leafpad. :wink:
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by jimallyn » Thu May 19, 2016 5:03 pm

killer de bug wrote:Forget about this, this is totally unnecessary. Just reinstall your system and don't try hack you found on the web. You will save time and your system will work perfectly without these hacks. If not better.
I suspect Pjotr and a lot of other forums members would disagree with you.
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Fred Barclay » Thu May 19, 2016 5:12 pm

jimallyn wrote:
killer de bug wrote:Forget about this, this is totally unnecessary. Just reinstall your system and don't try hack you found on the web. You will save time and your system will work perfectly without these hacks. If not better.
I suspect Pjotr and a lot of other forums members would disagree with you.
Me too. I've always found good info on that site. :) I personally reduce system swappiness just as Pjotr describes.

OP: your "jargon" is fine. ;) Welcome to Mint!
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Bgarland » Thu May 19, 2016 5:24 pm

Thank you, everyone so far! I will just go ahead and reinstall, then, based on suggestions here.

As for the title of my question stating "...can't boot up in Windows, either," that was resolved earlier. Glad no one has put energy into that, yet. :D

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by killer de bug » Thu May 19, 2016 5:54 pm

jimallyn wrote: I suspect Pjotr and a lot of other forums members would disagree with you.
Let's imagine a total newbie that destroy his/her system by following this link. The situation has never occurred, it's only a hypothetical situation.
How many hours lost for reinstalling/setting a new system compared to the gain resulting by applying this tutorial?

If you are a little bit more experienced and know what you are doing, feel free to try these hacks. But for a beginner, I don't see the point. Your system will work perfectly well out of the box, where is the point in messing with stability?

I have never changed the swappiness settings on my system, I have 4Gb of RAM and swap is never used. What is the point of messing with swappiness when you start with Linux? :wink:
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Cosmo. » Thu May 19, 2016 6:08 pm

jimallyn wrote:I suspect Pjotr and a lot of other forums members would disagree with you.
In case of Pjotr there should not be a suspicion needed; something would be very strange, if Pjotr would not disagree.

Other forum members have definitely different opinions. For my part: I agree with KDB.
It happened to be nearly precisely one year ago, when I asked Pjotr by PM, why Leafpad. His answer: Suggesting to install Leafpad has the simple advantage for him, that he can write his advices in an easier way, as after the Leafpad-installation the users of any DE can use the same command (in this case to open a text-editor).

This is a valid argumentation for making his advices a little bit easier to compose; but it also means, that the user does not have a real advantage by installing Leafpad. There is none. The problem with these "10 things to do at first" is, that the newbie user - and they are addressed at first - cannot judge on his/her own, if the advice does really improve on the system or not.

I think we all do agree, that the Cinnamon problem has nothing to do with the Leafpad-"trick"; there was definitely any other cause for this. But it makes clear, that unnecessary tips can lead to unnecessary problems because of unexpected user mistakes. In this sense KDB is right IMO. I also think, that the right newbie tip regarding such a basic thing like the text editor would be, to learn how to find and how to use (also via command-line) the pre-installed text-editor in the respective DEs. If such absolutely basic knowledge is missing, how shall the user manage far more complicated things?

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Cosmo. » Thu May 19, 2016 6:28 pm

killer de bug wrote:I have never changed the swappiness settings on my system, I have 4Gb of RAM and swap is never used. What is the point of messing with swappiness when you start with Linux? :wink:
I also agree in this point. I left swappiness at its default value. I have a hardware monitor installed as applet in Cinnamon, which - besides more important things - shows me permanently the usage of swap; so I do see this not only on some occasions, but permanently. Fact is, that this display is always empty. But how in the world shall changing swappiness do any good, if no swapping happens?

My machine has 8 GB RAM. I see minimal swapping (about a few 100 MB at most, only recognizable in the tool tip of the hardware monitor, but not in the graphical display) only in the case, when I launch numerous virtual machines, which occupy more than 7 GB RAM. The average user will not do this. If his / her system should start to swap, than there must be a special reason, which would be worth to investigate into it. So here is again an example, where something gets "optimized" with the risk, that the user does any mistake, which might harm his / her system much more, than the change will ever do good.

I also did play with swappiness some time ago out of curiosity: As expected the reaction of the system did not change at least. IMO changing swappiness is a task, that might be needed on a dedicated server, where the amount of used RAM (inclusive caches) can vary dramatically. But Mint is a desktop OS and (nearly) no newbie will use it as server.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Pjotr » Fri May 20, 2016 11:39 am

Cosmo. wrote:I think we all do agree, that the Cinnamon problem has nothing to do with the Leafpad-"trick"; there was definitely any other cause for this. But it makes clear, that unnecessary tips can lead to unnecessary problems because of unexpected user mistakes.
Some user mistake that was.... :shock:

I'm afraid there's no remedy for user errors like this. I'm a bit curious what really happened here: it's PEBKAC of course, but what did the OP *actually* do?

Anyway. Many people have told me over the years, that my tips were useful to them and have helped them a lot. Without any problems whatsoever. Those tips are the result of my personal experience with Linux Mint and Ubuntu, in a decade of (nearly) fulltime Linux use. For what it's worth, I can vouch for their soundness.

I don't think it's a good idea to say to a Linux novice: "just use your Linux Mint and don't change anything, because you might make a mistake and break something". We're not Apple, we're Linux.

I think it's better to help beginners to get to know and understand their Linux Mint. If they make mistakes in that learning process, well, that's instructive for them as well. And we're here to help.

As a sidenote: decreasing the swappiness on a system like yours with a whopping 8 GB RAM, with Leafpad or with any other text editor, isn't likely to have a perceptible benefit in most use cases. That doesn't mean that it's a superfluous tip for all machines. Most machines have far less RAM, in which cases decreasing swappiness can help a lot.

More information about the usefulness of decreasing swappiness:
https://rudd-o.com/linux-and-free-softw ... o-fix-that

This is a good read as well: http://askubuntu.com/a/475465
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Cosmo. » Fri May 20, 2016 6:45 pm

Pjotr wrote:decreasing the swappiness on a system like yours with a whopping 8 GB RAM, with Leafpad or with any other text editor, isn't likely to have a perceptible benefit in most use cases. That doesn't mean that it's a superfluous tip for all machines. Most machines have far less RAM, in which cases decreasing swappiness can help a lot.
The last one is a matter of some statistics. I have none at hand, probably you don't have also. But in 2016 I think you will hardly find a new machine with less than 4 GB. And for this case I forward you to the post of KDB.

But that alone is not the question. The question is, how changing swappiness will do any good, when there gets nothing swapped.
For reference reasons I have here a virtual machine with 1.5 GB (definitely a comparable low amount) with LM 17.3 Cinnamon 64 bit installed. The purpose of this machine is to check whatever questions do come up with a nearly original Mint system. For this purpose this machine has since installation no accommodations, except a second user account. That means, that there is no package removed or added since the first install, no settings have been changed anywhere, only the update level 1 to 3 have been applied. After that a snapshot has been created, so that the machine gets reset after each usage and will be in original state for each test. Only once in a month i boot it up, do the available updates and nothing else, power it down again and do a new snapshot.

What I did now is: I opened in this VM a number of applications besides each other: FF, LO Writer & Calc, Gimp, VLC, Tomboy and System Monitor. Result: No swap usage. How shall changing the swappiness do any good? To force swapping I had to open the second account in parallel and open some applications there also. Something what very most user don't do at all.

Result: Changing swappiness as a general advice produces only the risk, that the user does any mistake, but the machine will not behave better after that. Life tells, that if mistakes can be done, than the will be done; especially if the user does not have a real understanding about what he does (see my argumentation below). That is my point.

Pjotr wrote:I think it's better to help beginners to get to know and understand their Linux Mint.
Exactly that. But it seems, that we have different opinions, how to do that. IMO the user shall learn - to stay with one example out of this discussion - how to handle the default text-editor of his DE instead of spreading Leafpad all around. Not because Leafpad is somehow wrong, but because the user should "know and understand his Linux Mint". And their file manager and so on. (You surely know how often newbies come up with the question, where do I find the file-manager, when you tell him, that he shall open it. ("I don't see Nemo / Caja / ...) in my menu; I cannot find something named file-manager anywhere in my system" and so on. Or they search for an "Explorer" and must needlessly fail.)

I don't say, that your advises are wrong in general. (If we disagree in the one or other point we always discussed it out in the past.) But it appears to me, when I read some questions in the forum, that numerous tips get used like by a person, who has absolutely no idea about cooking and takes a receipt book to create a meal. That means, that there is no real understanding involved, and therefor it lacks the learning experience.

Coming back to the swappiness theme: How shall a user learn, if and how this will give him an advantage, if he changes this value with the help of a receipt book, without knowing, what he does? Quite obviously he cannot. IMO it would be a far better approach, if a user complains about a slow acting system, to tell him (besides other things), where he can check, if the system swaps at all and if it does what to do (at first changing swappiness only for the current session to find out, if this solves his problem).

As you might know I give in many cases my advises also like a receipt book (press this key, click that button). I do so, because I have learned with the time, that even some vocabulary like clipboard creates for the one or other confusions. But I give those receipt book advises in cases, where I read in the posts of the users, where they have a problem, not as a general receipt book. (I could also post somewhere a collection of my advises and simply post links to that post, or even worse in my signature. That would safe me much time, but it would leave the questioner confused.) Later and dependent, how far the user is interested in some background knowledge I tell him, what those advises mean and where the correlation exists.
As an example: Instead of asking the user about his system specs and telling him, how he can find out that information, I could also tell him how to install Leafpad, so it would not matter, which DE he uses, if he has to use a text editor. But alone the way to learn to know the version and DE (something, what often does not get understood and gets replied with "Mint" as answer) does give some learning experience about the users own system - at least I think so.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Pjotr » Sat May 21, 2016 5:19 am

About installing Leafpad: well, I consider it worthwhile for a new Linux Mint user, to learn how to install a new application by means of the terminal. Like Leafpad, why not?

I think that installing applications by means of the terminal, is a basic thing that every Mint beginner should learn. So I can't see harm in my advice.

About the swappiness reduction: note that my tip starts like this:
Decrease the swap use (important)

1.6. This is especially noticeable on computers with relatively low RAM memory (1 GB or less): they tend to be far too slow in Linux Mint, and Linux Mint accesses the hard disk too much. Luckily, this can be helped.
....Which is a clear indication that it's only useful for computers with relatively little RAM.

However, for the sake of clarity, it's maybe better to add that there will probably be no perceptible benefit when a machine has 4 GB RAM or more. At least not in most use cases. I'll think about adding such an extra sentence.
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Moem » Sat May 21, 2016 5:21 am

Cosmo. wrote:The problem with these "10 things to do at first" is, that the newbie user - and they are addressed at first - cannot judge on his/her own, if the advice does really improve on the system or not.
This is true, and they are presented as 'the best things to do' in a very absolute and objective sounding way. I think this is a crucial weakness in what is otherwise a pretty helpful and usable site. I will certainly never advise newbies to follow all these tips! :?
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Pjotr » Sat May 21, 2016 5:26 am

Moem wrote:
Cosmo. wrote:The problem with these "10 things to do at first" is, that the newbie user - and they are addressed at first - cannot judge on his/her own, if the advice does really improve on the system or not.
This is true, and they are presented as 'the best things to do' in a very absolute and objective sounding way. I think this is a crucial weakness in what is otherwise a pretty helpful and usable site.
As I've said to you before, on that page, like on every other page of my website, there is this disclaimer link:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... disclaimer
The disclaimer starts with this text:
Practical part

- There's rarely an "absolute truth"; often there are several ways to do something in Linux. Usually, I describe only one of them.

- I have my own preferences, which are relative and personal.

- I do my best, but I may be wrong. So there might be an error in a how-to. Have you found an error? Please report it and help to make this website better!
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Moem » Sat May 21, 2016 5:32 am

Pjotr wrote: As I've said to you before, on that page, like on every other page of my website, there is this disclaimer link
Yes, you have. There is. And I stand by my opinion.
I doubt that anyone ever sees and follows that link, as it is intentionally very small, and I think the rest of the site sounds waaaaaay too absolute. And I believe that real first timers should take their time to learn to use the software manager before they need to learn about installing through the terminal. I also do not have Leafpad installed. So there! :P
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by itsme4401 » Sat May 21, 2016 6:12 am

Partly off-topic and FWIW.
Pjotrs' tips made me familiar with Ubuntu Lucid and Precise, Mint Maya and Rosa, Debian Jessie and, most important: what I can and CANN'T do on my own in Linux.
So I have amongst others a well running Betsy, Rosa and Precise and I enjoy the triple boot together with my farewell to MS.
So Pjotr: keep on with the good work please!! And thank you for introducing and familiarizing me with the Debian/Ubuntu-tribe of Linux.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by Pjotr » Sat May 21, 2016 6:30 am

@itsme4401: thanks for the compliment. :)

@Cosmo. and killer de bug: as I already indicated in a previous message of mine, I've considered to add a qualification to my swappiness reduction tip, for machines with lots of RAM. This is what I've just added:

Note: does your computer have 4 GB RAM or more? Then you can skip this item, because with so much RAM you probably won't notice any benefits from applying it.
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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by killer de bug » Sat May 21, 2016 6:36 am

Pjotr wrote: I don't think it's a good idea to say to a Linux novice: "just use your Linux Mint and don't change anything, because you might make a mistake and break something". We're not Apple, we're Linux.
If we consider that 50% of the new users just want it to work and don't care about the motor, then your tips are not worth it for them. I am in total agreement with Cosmo and this should not come as a surprise to you. I have already given my opinion on your website. It's good, but not for everyone.
Seeing in the list that you should play with swappiness just after installing Linux Mint is not normal when you know that you target beginners.

I will take a different example. Your first tip in the list is "apply all updates". It may be wise or not. Here is not the question. The thing is, it is in total disagreement with the official statement from Clem: viewtopic.php?f=143&t=168782&start=60#p871748
Today on LMDE2, I discovered that Nemo 3.0.1 is segfaulting on my system. It came as an official level 1 or 2 update. But it crashes. I have installed Nemo 3.0.2 from git and the problem is solved. But once again, the point is that it was an official level 1 or 2 update. Even these updates can have unexpected results.
Moem wrote:And I believe that real first timers should take their time to learn to use the software manager before they need to learn about installing through the terminal. I also do not have Leafpad installed. So there! :P
I agree at 100%. Again, most new users don't care about terminal and how the motor works. And we should respect this.

Some people just want a working system. It's better for them to leave it unoptimized rather than gaining 1% performance at the cost of instability or risk of destruction. Imagine a total newbie, applying some tips from a website just after the installation. It results in a bad move and the system doesn't boot anymore. The discussion that follows:
- Yesterday I wasted 4 hours for nothing trying to install Linux. At first it installed. Then I applied some tips advertised on the official forum and since that moment the computer refuses to boot.
- what kind of tips?
- I don't know, some command lines that were advertised as first things to do...
- ah yeah Linux is for geeks. These guys love to break and fix their systems. But it is just not ready for public usage.
- yeah I agree nothing was working, what a waster of time... At least with Windows everything is working out of the box!

(I have already heard this kind of discussions ;) )
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

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Re: Accidentally uninstalled Cinnamon desktop, can't boot up in Windows, either

Post by prestonR » Sat May 21, 2016 6:46 am

In the 'Newbie forum' we see plenty of 'Played around and shot my system' posts. Newcomers will try things and it will go wrong occasionally. That's fine because we learn; the one looking for help and the one helping.

I followed most of Pjotr's tips and fared well. If used as intended the page allows new users to familiarise with their new system and the tips are a good way to practice to follow detailed instructions at a stage where an install is fresh and easily replaceable.

Unlike the information accumulated within a forum, a private page can be kept current and Pjotr's is; after I posted about a Crucial SSD firmware bug here at the forum I noted that the paragraph 'setting up Trim manually' was re-written, warning of the risk of data loss.
Search the forum here for 'trim SSD' and you'll find many posts where the 'discard' tweak is unreservedly recommended by senior members. Shall we blame them if we blindly follow their by now outdated instructions and things go pear-shaped?

Fact is:
- Installing 'leafpad' will not uninstall the 'Cinnamon' desktop
- People who use Mint 'as is' won't end up on Pjotr's page
Last edited by prestonR on Sat May 21, 2016 12:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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