While I tend to use openSUSE with KDE on my main desktop, I’ve come to enjoy running Linux Mint on my netbook. The current gem of the open-source world runs smoothly on my Lenovo S12 with the Cinnamon desktop environment, but I’d love to squeeze out a bit of extra battery life between charges.
Here’s a nice installation video featuring 100% more Irish accent:
Smoothing the Rough Edges
Touchpad Tap to Click
Reading through the Debian Edition known issues, I noticed a couple items of interest. First, the Mint team were kind enough to include how to enable the “tap to click” function on the touchpad. I like having it enable, even though some don’t–but it’s nice to have the option. Edit your Synaptics configuration file by running the following command:
sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf
Find this section:
Identifier “touchpad catchall”
Add the following lines before the “EndSection”:
Option “TapButton1″ “1″
Option “VertEdgeScroll” “1″
Save and close the file. A quick log out and back in should be enough to activate the changes.
Also included in the known problems is a notice about a lack of multi-core support in the default 32-bit kernel for compatibility. If want/need multi-core or multi-processor support, but chose not to install the 64-bit version, you can install the 686-PAE kernel and reboot your computer through Synaptic, or apt-get. You may also want to include the 686-PAE kernel headers as well.
I’ve posted previously about properly setting up the wireless for the Broadcom BCM4312 chipset for Linux Mint, but the process is a little different on LMDE due to the Debian base. Many thanks to the Debian wiki here.
Note: Linux Mint 13 installed the drivers correctly without any extra configuration–which was a first!
Thanks to the excellent article by BoomerClan, my netbook hibernates like a proper little lappy.
MS Fonts: I tend to install a few extra items to round out my desktop after install, and one of them is the MS fonts, which can be found under ttf-mscorefonts-installer either through Synaptic package manager, or via the command line:
sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
Dropbox: Nautilus has a tendency to take over the desktop. A quick search in the forums turned up this post on how to have native support for dropbox in Thunar via Thunar-Dropbox. First, I”d suggest removing Nautilus. Then, you’ll need to download and install Dropbox either 32-bit:
cd ~ && wget -O – “https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86″ | tar xzf -
For the 64-bit version:
cd ~ && wget -O – “https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64″ | tar xzf -
You’ll also need to install nautilus-dropbox and python-gpgme before install thunar-dropbox. Finally, you can start the Dropbox daemon by running:
Desktop Font Colors
Having comfortably settled in after tackling the more prominent issues, I decided to go with a darker, black and blue theme. There was just one little problem: black fonts don’t show up on a dark background, and there’s no easy option within Xfce’s settings manager to change that. After a bit of quick searching, I came across this post, directing me to edit my .gtkrc-xfce. You’ll find it in your /home folder, but you’ll have to show hidden files to see it. Once you’ve opened the file, change the line that starts with:
fg[NORMAL] = “#000000″
And change it to:
fg[NORMAL] = “#ffffff” #this is white
You can change the color to anything you’d like, as long as you know the corresponding code.
After spending a few weeks with my newly “MInted” netbook, I have some mixed feelings about this spin of Mint Debian. My main intentions were to extend battery life and improve overall responsiveness. While Xfce felt snappy, the difference wasn’t as notable as I had hoped compared with Mint’s own Cinnamon desktop environment. The integration was pretty good, but not at the same level as Mint’s main offering, while requiring more manual configuration post-install to reach the same level of comfort. The battery life also fell a bit short of my expectations. It might be due to the power regressions not being fully backported/integrated into the 3.2-series kernel offered in LMDE. It may also mean that it’s time to venture on to Ebay to replace my battery. Either way, I’ve invested enough in to this install to keep it for the rest of the month.