11 things to do after installing Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) XFCE |

Linux Mint 17 is now out.  Previous readers know that I install the XFCE version on my laptop

I was running the XFCE version of Linux Mint 16 on my desktop, where previously, I had been running the Cinnamon version.  This time around, I’m going to try the MATE version  on my desktop to see what it’s like.  I’m planning another post similar to this one on that, but I’m not sure when I’ll get there to type this in.

There’s nothing actually wrong with the Cinnamon (or the MATE) version, but for my laptop, the XFCE version of Linux Mint is, in my opinion, just as good.

Obviously, with a new version of an operating system there are glitches.  Hopefully, most of these have been ironed out, but in case there are any, I apologise if things here don’t work.  The fine print of my apology, unfortunately, is that this apology only applies in the empathetic sense: I certainly am in no position to take responsibility for changes that you are making to your computer, and would expect that you understand that I am not a computer wizard, and that you are reading this as part of a broader program of research where you consider several online articles, and not just this one.

That out of the way, let’s get started.

Note: The following tips are for the 64bit version of Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) XFCE. Certain things might be different for the 32bit version, as well as the Cinnamon, MATE or KDE versions..

1. Change software sources

This should be done first. Simply go to the Menu, run your mouse up to Settings and select ‘Software Sources’.

The main feature of this, is that you can select the software server closest to you for fast updating, or in the case of a cheapskate like me, cheap updating: My ISP houses a considerable amount of stuff in a “free zone” which doesn’t add to my download limit, and a Linux Mint update mirror is one of these.

The Software Sources screen has had some changes in Linux Mint 17. You should be in the Official repositories tab. Under ‘Mirrors’, I recommend that you select your ISP from both the Main and the Base options if available, however, if you are on an unlimited plan, consider utilising the speed rating system that is there and selecting fast mirrors. You won’t regret this.

I also like to select the tickbox for backported packages (under ‘Optional components’), which is left blank by default.

Software sources screenshot LM 17

Before exiting, click on the ‘Update the cache’ button in the top right hand corner. It should automatically update and tell you that you need to run an update.

2. Run an update

You can access your update manager from the Menu, under the ‘System’ submenu.

Alternatively, if you go to the systray area near the clock on the bottom right (the taskbar is called the panel in XFCE), you’ll see a little shield-shaped thing with a blue exclamation mark. Click on that.

Run your update and have a break for a cup of tea.

3. Sync Firefox and move your files back

Same thing if you use Chromium/Chrome or another browser, you’ll be looking to have your bookmarks and stuff back. We’ll deal with installation of Chromium/Chrome later, but get Firefox sorted now. You should already be using Firefox Sync, which is available in your Firefox Preferences, in the Sync tab. It makes the process wicked fast.  You may need to set up an account if you haven’t done so already – the new Firefox Sync has done away with using codes from other running instances of browsers.

Your old files should be moved back at this point as well. This would include your old emails which you might move back if you insist on using an email client. I don’t use one of these. I’m happy enough to go through my browser.

Your files may take a little while, but you should be able to work on other stuff while this progresses.

Lastly, I recommend getting your privacy under control in Firefox. I’m planning on updating this soon, but in the meantime, you can read about what you can do to improve your browser privacy here.

4. Install your cloud memory

I use as much cloud space as I can find, but in the wake of PRISM, I’m being careful about what I store where.  SkyDrive is inconvenient for Linux users anyway.  I don’t use Google Drive for much at all, but if I have to, I have a solution for that, too.

My current preferred provider is SpiderOak which is where I keep my ‘emergency files’, but I also use Dropbox, hubiC, Wuala and Copy.  I’m only going to look at these in this post – if you would like more options with regards to cloud memory, click here.

Let’s get to work on installing them.

(a) SpiderOak

I mentioned in my previous post about privacy that SpiderOak does front-end encryption to ensure that your privacy is maximised.

SpiderOak should be installed from here. 2GB is standard, but you can pay for more, or refer like I do.

(Disclosure: If you click on this link, you should get an extra gigabyte of storage data. Once upon a time, I would have too from referring you, but it looks like this offer tops out at 10 GB, so I get no more. But still a good deal. For you.)

If you already are set up to use SpiderOak, just go straight to the Download page. Important – for Linux Mint 17 XFCE, be sure to select the Linux OS 64-bit Debian based version.

You should be right from here.

Caution: If you are an existing user of SpiderOak, I might just take this opportunity to check your SpiderOak Hive folder to see that everything has copied over.  SpiderOak has a tendency to delete everything if you are re-setting up a hive for an existing computer in your account.  If this happens, go into your SpiderOak settings, elect the deleted items and restore them.

(b) Dropbox

Not yet a user of Dropbox? Here’s your chance. Sign up here and (disclosure) you and I (apparently – this link hasn’t been working for me, so I hope it works for you!) both get 500 MB each extra, up to 16 GB! Incidentally, 2 GB is standard, but you can pay for more, or refer, like I do.

Installation of dropbox is rather easy in Linux Mint.  It’s already in Linux Mint’s repositories, so open up a terminal and enter:

Search for Dropbox in your menu and log in. You are done.

(c) Copy

Copy has a name that makes it a bitch to search for online. Nevertheless, at a whopping 15GB of data as standard (i.e. free) this is a rather awesome deal.  You can pay for more, but frankly, it’s so easy to get your hands on huge amounts of space with Copy, why would you?

Download the archive for Copy from here:

https://www.copy.com/install

Double click on the archive and it should open up in Archive Manager. I recommend extracting the entire contents to your Downloads folder.

If you haven’t already signed up as a Copy user, click here and get an additional 5 GB (!!) of extra space. (Disclosure: I too, will get that also rather large 5 GB extra)

Navigate into the folder that you extracted the archive into, and into the x86_64 folder inside that and run the CopyAgent file. You should, again, be good to go from here.

Lastly, I recommend logging out and then back in again.

(d) Wuala

Just like SpiderOak, Wuala is said to be encrypted, however Wuala make no claims regarding whether their employees can read your files in the cloud.  Still, it’s extra space, so I say go for it.

Click here to sign up.  You should get another 1 GB of space. (Disclosure: I will also get another 1 GB of space)

The client can be downloaded here.

Download, log in and off you go.  One note – unlike the others, Wuala does not sync automatically on log in unless you go into Wuala’s preferences and set it to start on login.  Unfortunately, this also means that Wuala’s interface will also start-up on login.  This could be annoying.

(e) Google Drive via Insync

I don’t use Google Drive for much, but there are an increasing number of people who will share stuff with you via this device.

And while there isn’t an official client for Google Drive for Linux, there is Insync.

Insync costs about $15 for one licence.  You can get it initially for a free use period of 15 days, and if you refer someone you get another 15 days.  If you refer 10 people, you get to keep it for free indefinitely.

You can download Insync here.  Important – for Linux Mint 17 XFCE, be sure to select the Linux OS 64-bit Debian based version, and not the headless one.

If you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll need one of those too.

(f) hubiC

HubiC is a new one that I’ve only recently become aware of.  I don’t have any special promotional deal, but you don’t really need one as hubiC’s pricing for extra storage is astonishing.

HubiC can be downloaded here.  Important – only the first .deb file needs to be downloaded.

Once you’ve installed this, you will need to get it underway from the command line, as a GUI version of hubiC is not available.  I recommend creating a folder in your home folder called “hubiC”, but you can call this whatever you like.  To do all of this, enter the following commands in a terminal:

It’s now running. Unlike the others, hubiC doesn’t generate an icon on the panel, but trust me, it is running.

5. Configure XScreenSaver

The XScreenSaver installation is now, by default, amazingly comprehensive. Still, it needs more, so here everything is.

I’m also going to do my usual thing of installing Electric Sheep and fitting it to work in XScreenSaver as well. Paste this into your terminal:

I used to also install Electric Sheep as well.  I haven’t been having much luck with that of late, so I’ve left it out this time, but if you want to persevere with it (because it does look pretty good), enter this into a terminal.  I recommend that you do not proceed with this, as several people report problems:

And then you will need to follow the steps contained here to install Electric Sheep in XScreenSaver. Key this into your terminal:

At the bottom of the file, you’ll see lines that look a little like this:

GL: photopile -root \n\
GL: skytentacles -root \n\
GL: rubikblocks -root \n\

Insert this line in directly after it. Don’t worry about inserting any additional spaces:

GL: electricsheep –root 1 \n\

And that’s it: You’re done.

6. Install Faenza and Evolvere icons

I’ve rather liked the spiffy, yet still pretty conservative Faenza icon set. But this time around, I’ve also discovered the Evolvere icon set as well, which I’m pretty impressed with.

The Faenza icons are relatively easy.  Plug this into your terminal:

You can select the new icons from the Appearance option of what is labelled your Settings Manager in the menu.

For installing the Evolvere icons, you will need to download them first.  You can download those from here:

Evolvere

Evolvere Green

Evolvere Black

Evolvere Blue

Evolbuntu

This is time consuming, and will be even worse if you click anywhere other than the green “Download” button in the centre of the screen as the page is full of an incredibly large number of ads.  Do not click anywhere near these.

Some times, you may be asked for a Captcha to be entered in.  In this case, you’ll need to, after entering the Captcha, click on the red “Authorise download” instead.

All downloaded?  Good.  Now on to the long part.

Open up a terminal and then navigate to the folder that you downloaded your icon sets to. Mine go into my Downloads folder, called Evolvere, which is the default, so let’s go there first:

Then, for extract your files using the following commands.

The file name may vary.  This will build icon folders in your Downloads folder.  Do that for each one and then, finally, move them over into your fonts folder.  I recommend that you enter:

into your command line.  Then, navigate to your Downloads folder, hold down your shift key and cut the files you wish to move and then paste into your /usr/share/icons folder.

You should now be able to use these immediately.

7. Chromium/Chrome

Chromium is available in the Software Manager, and is worth installing. Chromium is the open source base for Google Chrome and has most of the functionality that Chrome has. I use Chromium in place of Firefox when I’m in a screaming hurry, however, I’ve never really warmed to it as my browser of choice.

You can also install Chromium from the command line in the terminal:

If you want, you can install Google Chrome from Google’s website. There is a .deb package and everything for easy installation. I don’t really know why anyone would bother, though. Having said that, I did read once that this guy installed Chrome to get the more colourful Chrome icon, rather than the ‘bluescale’ of the Chromium icon. To each their own, I suppose.

8. Add more stuff

Banshee is the default media player and it seems to talk to my personal music playing devices rather nicely. I use VLC in a ‘surgical strike’ capacity with random music and video files. Clementine is still my media player of choice, however, and I will be installing it alongside these.

I don’t need Xfburn on my laptop as it doesn’t have an optical drive, but I can confirm that it’s rather useful on my desktop. I’ll remove that later from my laptop, though.

In addition, like last time, I’m going to install:

Gparted: Partition editor;
Vuze: Torrent client;
Skype: VoIP client;
Musescore: Music notation editor (and additional soundfonts);
Calibre: E-book library manager;
Clementine: My music player of choice;
Bristol: Analogue synthesiser emulator.

Plugging this shopping list in looks like this:

All good stuff.

9. Install codecs

You should have most of these by now. But you may need more. Note that a lot of these are not free formats and it may be a good idea to check to see if your jurisdiction allows you to install these.

Run this in the terminal:

You shouldn’t need anything else.

10. Modify the desktop

I’m very happy to see that in this version of Linux Mint, they’ve recognised that the panel was getting, perhaps a little too small.

Still, I like to change my panel size so it’s slightly larger.  To do this, right-click on your panel somewhere and then select Panel > Panel Preferences.

You should be in the Display tab.  I like to set the row size slightly larger than the default.

I also like to set the panel slightly transparent as well.  If you go to the Appearance tab, you can vary this by changing the Alpha setting.

Close to save your changes.

Which should be everything that you need.

11. Security

Security through obscurity is one of Linux’s great strengths.  It’s also a source of a staggering amount arrogance in the Linux world, with just the very mention of firewalls, virus checkers etc being a catalyst for some of the worst troll tendencies in Linux users.

I’m not going to say too much about this, except that a rather good article on viruses and Linux may be found here.

If you want to install a firewall, a virus checker and anti-rootkit software, I might recommend the following:

Gufw: Firewall
ClamTK: Antivirus
Rootkit Hunter: Anti-rootkit
Chkrootkit: Anti-rootkit

To go ahead and install these, put the following into your terminal:

You will need to start the firewall to turn it on.

More ideas on what to do with your new installation of Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) XFCE?

Check out this rather awesome page.

And hopefully, all these suggestions should help out with your shiny new 64bit installation of Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) XFCE. Enjoy!