2012-08-03

My Installation of Linux Mint 13 "Maya" Xfce

Old: [Customized] Mozilla Firefox + Desktop Cube
Well folks, this is it. After many months of looking for a suitable replacement for my setup of Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora" GNOME, I have found one and have followed through with it. There were two reasons why I wanted to make this upgrade/switch: I wanted to stay up-to-date and take advantage of the support promised in the latest LTS release, and I needed to either reinstall my current OS or install something else because my present installation of Linux Mint stopped recognizing my laptop's ethernet card when I accidentally pulled out the power adapter cord from the laptop about 2 months ago. I got by with wireless Internet, but it was painful, and it had become so painful in the last few weeks that I couldn't stick with it for much longer. The following is a log of my experience installing and customizing Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce on my laptop. As of the moment that I write this sentence, this will simultaneously be the last post that I write with the old version of Linux Mint and the first that I write with the new version. I have to confess that I've become somewhat attached to the way that I've customized the old version (and that's what made finding a suitable replacement so difficult), but given that it looks like I can do the same things in the new version, I eagerly anticipate having the new version installed. Follow the jump to see what happens.

Old: Gedit + Linux Mint Menu + Customizations
The first thing that I did was copy over all the important personal files from my home folder to my external hard drive. This is actually the first time that I've had to worry about such a thing; previously, when I installed or reinstalled Linux Mint, I had very few small files that were already copied onto a small USB flash drive, so wiping the hard drive partition and starting from scratch (and copying over those few files from the USB flash drive) were no big deal. This time, though, I have a lot of large video files that require a storage medium larger than a typical USB flash drive, and these files are actually pretty important to me, so it's more important now that I don't mess this up.

And with that, I actually managed to mess something up right away. After the files were done copying, I clicked on the external hard drive label in the sidebar of Nautilus and tried to safely remove it. I waited for a few seconds afterwards and then unplugged it. Unfortunately, though that had worked a few times before that, it decided to give me an error this time telling me that I had unplugged the drive too soon, and that because the main partition of the drive was NTFS, I would need to go to Microsoft Windows and check the disk for errors there. I did that yesterday, but the whole process took 8 hours (I am not kidding, and that is not a typographical error). Thankfully, most of the files remained intact, though it complained about a few (not more than a number countable on my hands) music and image files. Furthermore, the last video file that I had copied over had become slightly corrupted, in that even though it was 10 minutes long, the last 2 minutes were no longer accessible. I went back into Linux Mint and was able to mount and use the files there; I also copied back the original versions of the few deleted and corrupted files found in Microsoft Windows, and those worked fine in Linux Mint, so I don't know what the tools in Microsoft Windows were complaining about. After that, I rebooted to do another disk check for good measure, but this time rather than using the GUI tool, I loaded the command prompt and typed "chkdsk /f f:" (because my external hard drive is labeled "F" in Microsoft Windows). While thankfully no other errors were found, the tool once again removed the same music and image files as before. At the same time, I also decided to defragment the two partitions used by Microsoft Windows. One of them took no time at all because it's basically empty anyway. The other one didn't take much time despite being rather filled because about a week ago, I anticipated needing to modify the hard drive partitions so I devoted basically the whole day to defragmenting that partition. After that, this one didn't take much time. I decided to go back to Linux Mint and copy over those files to the external hard drive once more for good measure. Finally, I decided to take one last look at whatever other settings and customizations I had before proceeding to the installation.

New: [Customized] Mozilla Firefox + Desktop Cube
The installation itself went much as it did in the long-term review, so I won't go through that very much. I've stated in the upcoming long-term review of the KDE edition as a side note that I would be using Marlin as the default file browser given that Xfce seems to respect changes in the file manager preference (unlike GNOME or MATE). Well, there has been a change to that; when I was using the live session, I also had my external hard drive plugged into the laptop, and Marlin didn't give good options to safely remove the drive if I so wanted. At that point I decided to go with Nautilus, because its interface in GNOME 3 is pretty nice too, it has features like tabbed and split-view browsing modes (though those will be going away with future versions of GNOME, but thankfully said changes probably won't make it into Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" and its derivatives), and it definitely has better options for mounting and unmounting storage devices. Anyway, that aside, the whole installation process only took about 10 minutes from start to finish. After that I applied updates and then made many of the same customizations that I made in the long-term review, so I won't go over that again; after that I was able to use my desktop as normal.

New: Gedit + Linux Mint Menu + Customizations
There are a few issues I'm having. The first is that LightDM doesn't seem to recognize the background image I have specified in its configuration file, which is odd, because other components of the desktop recognize it fine (and it is in the directory "/usr/share/backgrounds/"). The second is that Adobe Flash video playback is slightly jumpy, but it only happens once in a while and it isn't that easy to notice anyway. The third is that some plugins in Compiz, like the one to set a background for when the desktop cube rotates, are buggy; I've just turned those extra effects off and kept the ones that I want, and that has worked fine thus far. The fourth is that Conky doesn't load; this isn't a huge issue because while before I was able to conveniently see the time and computer resource usage on the right side of the main desktop screen, I have no problem looking into the panel and the GNOME System Monitor (which I installed myself because I don't particularly care for the Xfce Task Manager) for that information. The last, and perhaps most important, is that during the first two booted sessions of this installation of Linux Mint, the Linux Mint Menu that I had enabled through the Xfce XfApplet panel applet was using 100% of the resources of one of the processors (as my laptop has a dual-core processor). This is a bit worrisome given how that could adversely affect the lifespan of the hardware components, and while the noises coming from the computer were not truly frightening, they were a little louder than what could be considered normal in Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora" GNOME. Thankfully, as of the two most recent booted sessions, this problem appears to have gone away, and the laptop makes the normal [generally minimal] amount of noise and heat.

Aside from the last one (which now seems to be under control anyway), these issues are pretty minor on the whole. Overall, I really like Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce because I have been able to customize it just the way I want. I intend to keep using this for another few years from now unless serious issues pop up before then; that said, if something like SolusOS 2 turns out to recreate my preferred GNOME 2 experience even better than this does, I won't be as reluctant to look into switching, now that I have an external hard drive of my own. But I won't think about that now; I'm just going to focus on getting accustomed to the remaining minor differences and then using the desktop as I have been for the last couple of years.

8 comments:

  1. Innocent BystanderAugust 4, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Someone trying to discover the installation of LM14 XFCE would have hard time to learn anything from this article.

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    1. @Innocent Bystander: That wasn't the intention of this. The intention was to simply write my general thoughts about this process. If you want details, I have written in this article to see the long-term review. Finally, Linux Mint 14 "N[...]a" isn't even out yet.

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    2. Innocent BystanderAugust 4, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Sorry I meant LM13 XFCE. In the article "Long-Term Review: Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce" http://dasublogbyprashanth.blogspot.ca/2012/07/long-term-review-linux-mint-13-lts-maya.html

      There was too much emphasis about the attempt to replace MDM by LightDM. Although I understand your motive but I was expecting to see if LM13 XFCE is worth a move, in terms of software and "habits" compatibilities. Speaking of MDM, I wonder why a "friendly & design focus" distro like LinuxMint would opt for the inconvenient MDM. Do you know why?

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    3. @Innocent Bystander: I see that you're new here, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you want to see how well the distribution works in general (e.g. "software and 'habits' compatibilities"), you should check out the normal review. If you want to see whether any bugs or other quirks came up when I used the distribution in an installed setting for over a week, that's why the long-term review is there. The reason why I emphasized replacing MDM by LightDM is because that's really the only outstanding issue I encountered, as everything else was just fine. As for why Linux Mint would use MDM, it's because it is easier for developers to customize as it is a fork of GDM 2.20, but from my perspective, I find LightDM and the latest versions of GDM to be easier to customize. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. It is nice that you have settled with an Xfce distribution. Though, may I ask why it is Linux Mint, not Xubuntu?

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    1. @DarkDuck: There are two reasons for this. The first is that I prefer the way Linux Mint packages the Xfce desktop more, I like the tools (like the Linux Mint Update Manager), and I appreciate the out-of-the-box inclusion of the Linux Mint Menu and the other packages required to make it compatible with Xfce. The second is that Xubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" will only officially be supported for 3 years, whereas all editions of Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" are supported for the same time as Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" (i.e. 5 years) as all editions of Linux Mint are built from Ubuntu rather than siblings of Ubuntu (e.g. Linux Mint with KDE is built from Ubuntu and not Kubuntu). Thanks for the comment!

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  3. how to install linux fedora 8 etape par etape

    http://electro-media.blogspot.com/2012/08/presentation-et-installation-linux.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @mohammed louzi: Thanks for the tip!

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