Friday, January 21, 2011

Linux Mint 10: a easy to use and newbie friendly distro

I have been using Linux Mint for the past year and it has become my favourite Linux distribution.

Unlike what its critics say it is not simply just a remaster of Ubuntu. It has its own unique features like its great menu which is much better than the default GNOME menubar.

Also there is even a version of Linux Mint based on Debian.

True I could add these features to a normal Ubuntu installation by adding Mint's repositories but I prefer to have these features out of the box.

Linux Mint comes in various editions with different desktop environments.

A good thing is that the Mint editions are all called Mint and not named after they desktop environment they use as is the case with Ubuntu (which is good since Kint and Lint sound ugly).

As is the case with Ubuntu the main Mint edition uses GNOME.

There are other editions using different desktop environments like Linux Mint KDE and Linux Mint LXDE

Linux Mint is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

This article will cover Linux Mint GNOME.

The latest version of Linux Mint is version 10 codenamed "Julia", which you can download from here:

You can also download a user guide for Linux Mint from the same page.


After booting from the CD the live desktop will boot

Click on the Install Linux Mint icon on the desktop to start the installer.

It will ask which language you want to use, select English.

It will recommend you ensure the 3 things before continuing. While the first 2 are necessary the installation will work fine without Internet connectivity.

It will ask about the partition setup to use. In this case we will erase and use the entire disk.

It will tell you the partitioning setup it will use.

It will ask you the country and city you live in.

It will ask for your keyboard layout. If you are unsure what your keyboard layout is select USA.

It will ask you to type your name and a hostname for your computer, as well as a username and password for your user account.

It will ask if you want to login to your user account automatically or require a password to login, as well as if you want to encrypt your home folder.

I chose require password and not encrypt home folder.

After you click forward while it continues the rest of the installation it will show a series of splashes showing what Linux Mint is as well as some of its features.

After some time the installation will finish and it will ask if you want to continue using the live desktop or restart and boot the newly installed Linux Mint.


When you restart the newly installed Linux Mint will load. Select your user and type your password to logon to your desktop.

When your desktop first loads a welcome window will load which links to Linux Mint resource websites. You can untick "Show this dialog at startup" to stop this window from appearing again.

Click on the Mint menu. It shows all the locations on the system and all the installed applications as well as configuration and software installation tools.

Before we get onto the internet we should enable the firewall. Linux Mint comes with a preinstalled firewall configuration tool called Gufw. By default the firewall is disabled so we have to enable it.

Type gufw in the Mint menu search bar and it will show gufw. Click on the gufw icon to launch gufw.

It will ask you to enter your password. Enter it and Gufw will load.

As you can see the firewall is disabled. We have to enable it. Under Actual status click enabled. Now the firewall is on.

If you want to let an application through the firewall gufw can help you do that.

In this example I will allow the Transmission bit torrent client access through the firewall.

Choose Transmission from the list of applications to allow in and then click add.

As you can see now the ports for Transmission are opened and can receive data from anywhere.

Now that our firewall is on we can safely use the internet.

Mint comes with most audio and video codecs as well as Flash out of the box.

Here is Firefox playing a movie trailer on Youtube.

Here is the default movie player playing a video on my disk.

Overall I think Linux Mint 10 is one of the best Linux distributions available today.

It has ease of use, speed, beauty and performance.

I give Mint 10 a 10/10.   

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