Linux Mint 18 Upgrade on my Dual-booted Macbook Air, part 2.

Customizing and twiddling with Mint 18.

So, after getting a successful install of Mint 18 Cinnamon, I proceeded to twiddle with all the settings and software. I am a slightly obsessive twiddler, and can’t help but try out random things. I did the initial install with the Cinnamon desktop. It serves me well, but I wanted to try out other desktops too, to see how they compare.Screenshot from 2016-08-10 10-04-07.png

Booted with Cinnamon.

I am such a fan of Krita and KMyMoney, crucial in my workflow, so I wanted to try all the other KDE software, including the desktop. It is available in the Mint Software Manager, but when I installed it and rebooted, I was never able to boot into KDE Plasma. It would boot into Cinnamon or Mate instead, but show no mouse cursor, and lock up frequently. Very strange. After that, the Cinnamon and Mate desktops were unstable too, and would lock up fully or partially. I’m sure it works great if you use the dedicated KDE version of Mint. I know that when you have multiple desktops they have overlapping functions and software such as terminals and file managers, which can clash and create issues. I decided I had messed it up too far, and so I did a clean reinstall.

One of these days I’ll set up a dedicated partition for test driving assorted distros, and try again with a KDE destkop.

I also installed the Mate desktop, which worked just fine, installed through the Software Manager. (Perhaps because I was drinking yerba mate, the desktop’s namesake, while installing? Hard to know.) I also attempted to install both LXDE and XFCE through the Software Manager, but never got them to boot. XFCE seemed to install but wasn’t listed in the desktop selection menu on the login screen. LXDE would hang at a black screen with mouse cursor. This was not so crucial to me that I needed to spend all day debugging. I tried it, didn’t work, with no quickly googleable solution, so I let it go. I did as thorough an uninstall process as I could to clear them out again, using Synaptic to root out all visible packages. My system runs well now, so I assume it worked okay. Mate seems a little speedier and lighter thanCinnamon, and I use it interchangeably, depending on mood.

A note about this: It has been helpful doing this install on a new partition, with the old install partition still intact on the drive. So I could fiddle with the install, and set up the software, but still have the original and all data and files handy in case I mess anything up and want to start over. Obviously a good backup is essential to any partition fiddling you do. I especially liked copying over the web browser and email profile config folders, instead of doing imports and exports for the programs. Once everything is set up and solid I’ll delete the old partition and expand the main one to utilize that drive space.

Stability

Stability seems pretty okay overall, if not quite as solid as 17.3. It was a little glitchy at first, with some random lock ups, but it seemed to smooth itself out. This is no longer beta, but still a new version, so I expect things to smooth out further over time.

The one issue that is still problematic is waking up from sleep. Sometimes it works well, and other times it locks up and needs a reboot. Mate desktop is better than Cinnamon in this way. I’m trusting this to be fixed in an update at some point, and it’s a minor annoyance, not a huge problem.

Making it pretty

I’m partial to the Ultra Flat orange icon set, personally and have used that for a while.

This link to Noobslab has particulars for the install:
http://www.noobslab.com/2015/01/make-linux-more-elegant-with-ultra-flat.html

The options for Mint Y regular, Darker and Dark are nice too.

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 18-21-31.png
Desktop in Mate with docks via Docky, and Ultra Flat icon theme.

Notes about software:

Docky and Cairo Dock.

On Mint 17.3 I used Docky for a few months, and then it spontaneously stopped launching. I tried to fix it and failed, so I gave up on that and started using Cairo Dock. Cairo worked well, and is more customizable than Docky. But now on this new install, Docky works perfectly, and I enjoy the simplicity of it and prefer it to Cairo, so I’m stocking with that for the time. Both are in the software manager.

I have a list of favorite software going too, and most of those installed on this system easily. The one missing piece is Uberwriter, which doesn’t seem to be updated for Mint 18/Ubuntu 16.4, so I’ll have to wait for that to come around. I hope it hasn’t been abandoned, it’s a lovely little piece of software.

One more note on a minor bug in KMyMoney:

KMyMoney is my favorite finance manager, but when I installed it from the software manager, some of the icons in the program were missing, so it didn’t look quite right.

Roberto (calderonroberto) wrote on 2016-06-23: #11

Well, in case someone else needs it in the future. The issue is because the icons on the theme are not yet created. So depending on which theme you’re using some icons will not exist. In the case of Ubuntu 16.04 some icons (specially the skip transaction) don’t exist. A temporary fix:

Execute `kcmshell4 icons` in a console and select `Oxygen`. This theme seems to have all of them.

source: http://askubuntu.com/questions/637051/ubuntu-15-04-change-kde-applications-icons

More info in this forum post:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/kmymoney/+bug/1521689

Mint 18 Overall

Honestly, I don’t notice any big differences between Mint 17.3 and 18, aside from the addition of the Mint Y theme, which is just cosmetics. I’m sure there are differences under the hood, that a moderate user like me wouldn’t notice. I use Mint Y theme and it looks nice with no problems, so that’s great. Mint was the distro that convinced me to go to Linux as my primary OS, so I’m a bit of a fangirl. I assume that with a little more time this distro will smooth out the rest of the way.

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