Mike's Land of Linux

I'm still what you call a linux noobie but after almost three years of using Linux Mint (Cinnamon) I guess I'm not so noob. Currently I'm using Mint 20 Cinnamon on three desktops and one HP laptop. Two desktops are dual boot Win10/Linux.

I started out with Linux by accident. I had an old 2 core desktop that I advertised on FB but nobody wanted it and I was a day from bringing it to the local recycling station when I read a FB page done by a computer teckkie who wrote about giving your old computer a new lease on life by installing linux and Mint in particular. That caught my curiosity and I looked into Mint, downloaded the .iso file and burned that onto a DVD and installed it. The rest is history.

I have a Dell Optiplex 7010 (i7) and another Dell Optiplex 7020 (i5) both with 8gb ram. The 7020 has two HDDs; one for Mint 20 and one for Windows 10. The 7010 i7 runs strictly Mint. And then I have an HP laptop also running Mint 20. Down in the basement is an old HP6000 dual core desktop with one HDD split between Mint 20 and Windows 10 (dual boot).During the past three years I've also dabbled with some other distros. I've tried Ubuntu 20, Manjaro XFCE, Linux Lite, Mint XFCE, Zorin XFCE and MX Linux but no thank you to all of those. They were not what I wanted. looking back now, if I were not using Mint on my machines, I'd probably be most happy with Ubuntu. More about that later.


Linux Mint 20 is now out and rather than wait for the upgrade option, I decided to do clean installs. My first install was on a Dell dual core desktop. The install went flawlessly. So, after the good experience with that, I did a clean install on my HP Elitebook laptop. That one also went flawlessly. And so, to build on that, I did another clean install on our Dell i7 desktop. That also went perfectly. Finally, for my last install, I went back to the first Dell dual core desktop, wiped the disk, installed Windows 10 2004 and then installed Mint 20 Cinnamon and converted its 160GB drive to a dual booter. It was a quick and easy install which installed effortlessly. And I'm glad I took the time to do this instead of waiting for the official upgrade instructions because I'm reading that some users have had problems with it. It was tempting to just wait for the upgrade because upgrades generally go much faster than clean installs, but I learned a few things about MBR and GPT formats and just how easy dual booting can be, at least in a desktop and one laptop.

I still have a Dell i5 with two HDDs, one for Mint 20 and a larger HDD for Windows 10. I have two software defined radios (SDRs) that I can't run on Linux, so I need to keep that one TB drive for those. Also, in those cases where I need Adobe Acrobat or MS Office and LibreOffice or WPS Office won't do, I have them on Windows. I try to not use them unless it's absolute necessary. On this particular computer I had Ubuntu 20 installed for about a month, then I decided I liked Mint 20 better, so I went back to Mint Cinnamon. I did want to keep Ubuntu but it was just annoying enough that I ditched it and went back to Mint.

The annoying thing about Ubuntu Desktop concerns the desktop itself. We're all familiar with placing shortcuts on the desktop and we're all familiar with dragging icons from a folder to the desktop or from the desktop to trash. With the Ubuntu desktop, the process is different. You can drag and drop icons from window to window. You cannot drag an icon from a folder to the desktop. It just won't work. What you havd to do is copy or cut the file in your document window, for example, and past it to the desktop. Instead of desktop icons to launch from the desktop, save your files, etc as favorites, which addes them into the Favorites dock. You can then set that dock either vertically or horizontally. Make it vertical and it looks a bit like Mint or Windows. The files in the dock launch with a single click. This drag and drop thing is something you'll need to just get used to since this is just one of the things that makes Ubuntu unique.

So, one day I was bored and wondered to myself what Ubuntu Mate (Ma-tay) would look like. My answer was that I probably wouldn't like it since I tried Mint Mate once and was underwhelmed by it. But I downloaded the ISO, put it on a USB drive and installed it on a spare HP dual core I had laying around. Sure enough, it looked like Ubuntu with the panel on top and the power button on the top right, the dock on the left side and a bottom panel with a couple of applets on it. Could I make it look like Mint Cinnamon/Windows? Had I not done this with Mint I might not have attempted it, but I gave it a try. It took maybe three hours on two different evenings to play with it and I have it looking pretty similar with Mint, to the point where a Windows user could feel comfortable using it, just like with Mint Cinnamon. Here is a screengrab of Mint 20's desktop. And here is a screengrab of Ubuntu 20 Mate's desktop. Mint is just a tad darker because of the Plata-Noir theme, which I love. If you are a Windows user, would you have any problem using either one of these operating systems? I doubt it. And dragging and dropping files from folder to desktop or trash works as it should.

Although I'm a die hard Mint user, I would consider placing Ubuntu 20 Mate on any of my computers here. I really like the theme, which is the traditional theme and the color style, both included as choices on the OS.

One of my other hobbies is DXing, or tracking down TV, FM and AM stations from far away. Because of that hobby I have a real interest in software devined radios, or SDRs. If I can find anything that will help me or others to track down these stations using linux Mint, I will post the information here. These two programs will work with either Mint or Ubuntu 19.3 but Not Mint or Ubuntu 20, unfortunately. If you need them, use 19.3.



7-Zip for linux is called p7-Zip. Get it from Software Manager, just look for p7zip-full. Or go HERE to download it.

Android phones.
When you connect an Android phone to a computer running Linux Mint and go into DCIM and then camera, you normally see icons instead of thumbnails, even though you'll see thumbnails in your picture folder. To see thumbnails when you connect your phone, go to MENU-->ACCESORIES-->FILES->EDIT-->PREFERENCES-->PREVIEW and change show thumbnails to YES instead of Local Files Only. Why Mint doesn't make thumbnails the default with an android phone, who knows. Note: I cannot get this to work in Mint 20.

MS Paint!!
Well, you can have one that's pretty darn close and just as easy. You can now uninstall GIMP or any of the other way-to-complex programs. What you want and need is Kolourpaint and you can get it from your neighborhood Software Manager. You'll like it! As a matter of fact, the graphic at the top of the page was made with Kolourpaint. Not too shabby, either.


neofetch This is a neat little utility I think everyone should have on their computer. Download it from the Software Manager. You can launch it by typing "neofetch" (without the brackets) in your terminal. What you find listed is your Operating System, Kernal Version, Shell type, Screen resolution, Desktop environment, your theme types, CPU type, graphics and amount of RAM in your computer and. Neofetch tells you much about your system.

Snipping Tool for Linux!
The screengrab program I like the most is called Shutter. It's simple and easy, but you no longer find it in the Mint 20 repositories. I almost gave up on ever finding this program again, until recently. Here is how to find it. Just enter the following three lines into the terminal, one line at a time:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linuxuprising/shutter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install shutter
There you have it. Type Shutter in the search box in your menu. It will come up.What I do is right click on the name and add it to the lower left panel where it launches with just one click. Note: The three sudo lines above may not work now. I couldn't get it to work on my last Mint 20 installation and ended up using Flameshot instead.

(c)2020 M.Bugaj

Last updated 09/02/2020