Thursday, July 22, 2010

Linux Mint 9 (Isadora)

I finally got around to installing Linux Mint 9 (Isadora), and then I went back and looked over the Dedoimedo review of it that I'd mentioned earlier ("dedoimedo review of mint isadora").

Dedoimedo didn't encounter many problems with Isadora, and I didn't, either. Installing and setting up the main (GNOME) version of Isadora went pretty much without a hitch.

Dedoimedo said, "The bottom panel lacked several important applets, including the workspace switcher and the window list." When I installed Isadora, I had to add a workspace switcher. I think I had to add a window list, too, but I can't quite recall. In any case, he's right, both of those things probably should have been there and working from the start.

He said, "The download of language packs was very slow and it took almost 40 minutes to complete. Skipping it seemed like the best idea, but I did not want to do this." Bad internet connection? I did think that the downloading of language packs seemed to take a while, but from the time I clicked on the "Install Linux Mint" icon to the time I was ready to boot into Isadora, the total installation time here was 11 minutes!

In the end (post-installation), he said, "No problem with the panel applets." True, but I did encounter a problem with the panel that's been bugging me about GNOME panels for a few years now. When the panel is not fully expanded (the default is a to have it fully expanded across the bottom of the window), the panel icons, applets, whatever you want to call them, don't stay put when you start a new session. I had to go through and make sure each item was locked to the panel to keep them in place for when I start new sessions.

My problems with Isadora all centered around KDE apps that I later added to the the main (GNOME) version. That's something that Dedoimedo didn't touch on, and perhaps it's not a fair thing to even mention in a review of of a GNOME distro.

I use Synaptic to install software in Mint instead of the Mint tools that are provided. I don't know if this affects things, but I don't think it should.

Anyway, I installed Krusader and Konqueror. Konqueror brought in Dolphin. I also installed Amarok. In addition, I installed a handful of other KDE apps, but no problems with those, so let me discuss Krusader, Konqueror, Dolphin, and Amarok.

At first, I could not get Krusader, Konqueror, or Dolphin to work. After looking at the error messages and doing a few searches around the internet, I found that the ownership of my ~/.kde directory was set to root instead of to me, the user. I finally fixed this with the following command:

$ sudo chown -R steve:steve /home/steve/.kde

That command changes the ownership and group of ~/.kde to "steve," recursively.

I had to run a similar command to do the same thing for the ~/.ICEauthority directory.

As for Amarok, I couldn't get it to build a collection, even though it seemed to scan my music directories fine. Amarok also wouldn't shut down properly, and it didn't play .mp3 files out of the box (although Rhythmbox did, which is curious!) (in fact, I should mention that I've had no problems at all with Rhythmbox).

I fixed the first problem by adding the Kubuntu PPA with the following command, and then upgrading to the latest Amarok version there:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports

After doing that, no problem building a collection, and no problems with shutting Amarok down.

For .mp3 files, I had to go to Synaptic and install the libxine1-ffmpeg package. Problem solved.

This was my first time dealing with grub2. I am using Mepis 8's grub-legacy to boot my distros, but Mint Isadora comes with grub2. I referred to Dedoimedo's excellent grub2 tutorial for help on this. I simply edited Mepis 8's /boot/grub/menu.lst, adding the following lines:

title Mint 9 (Isadora) at sdb1
root (hd1,0)
kernel /boot/grub/core.img

Then, when I installed Isadora, I installed it's grub2 to /root (you have to use the "Advanced" option when setting up the bootloader installation). This allowed me to boot Isadora (whose / partition sits on my 2nd hard drive, 1st partition).

Not much else to report. I went to the Mozilla site and downloaded Firefox, preferring to go that route instead of using the Firefox that's provided by the distro, but that's my normal approach. Everything else I've done so far involves tweaking the desktop and system and installing applications. Basic stuff, and no real problems.

Overall, Isadora is another nice Mint version. Since it's an LTS version, I'm looking forward to a few years of happily using Mint Isadora!

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