What to do when the GETDEB repository is down

Logo Linux Mint
Logo Linux Mint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If during an update in either Linux Mint or Ubuntu you get error messages from apt, about failing to fetch data from the GETDEB repository (which happens a lot, I’m afraid), here’s a brilliant solution I found at askubuntu.com. Use a mirror!

Here are the steps:

  1. Comment out your existing sources for GETDEB
  2. Add the following sources instead:

deb http://mirrors.dotsrc.org/getdeb/ubuntu quantal-getdeb apps
deb-src http://mirrors.dotsrc.org/getdeb/ubuntu quantal-getdeb apps

Replace «quantal» with your edition if necessary; also, you can add the games repo just by repeating the above two lines with «games» in the end instead of «apps».

  1. Import the mirror’s security key:

sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com A8A515F046D7E7CF

  1. Refresh your sources and you’re done:

sudo apt-get update

Setting up Debian for Android Development

After almost 9 months of beating around the bush, I finally started experimenting with developing Android Apps. I’m using Linux Mint Debian (based on Debian Testing), so after some googling, I used this excellent guide over at howtoforge.com:

Setting Up An Android App Build Environment With Eclipse, Android SDK, PhoneGap (Debian Squeeze)

Of course, I used the latest available version of every software mentioned (binary packages, not .deb as they were somewhat outdated in Testing). The only things I changed during the process of setting up was to edit nss.cfg so that I would not get the «nss initialization» error message on my 64-bit system:

[code]sudo gedit /etc/java-6-openjdk/security/nss.cfg[/code]

and changed its content into the following (thanks to java.io.FileNotFoundException: /usr/lib/libnss3.so error on Debian Wheezy):

[code]name = NSS
nssLibraryDirectory = /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
nssDbMode = noDb
attributes = compatibility[/code]

I left may main user as owner of /etc/eclipse and I made sure that I used the right java, by:

[code]sudo update-alternatives –config javac

sudo update-alternatives –config java[/code]

That’s all!

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Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!

Linux Mint
Image via Wikipedia

After I tried the December 2010 edition of Linux Mint Debian 64-bit, I had come to the conclusion that it was not for me, as it was, and that I would rather stick with the Main edition of Linux Mint, built on the current Ubuntu base distribution.

Two things made me change my mind and try it again: First, I tried Ubuntu 11.04 and I really did not like the new launcher! Second, I really could not put up with Mint’s Main Edition requirement, to have to back up and re-install from scratch with every new version…

So, I thought I should give LMDE 64-bit another try; and I’m glad I did!

Continue reading «Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!»

Fine-tuning Linux Mint Debian 201012 64-bit

Updated, November 2011.

My LMDE desktop
My LMDE desktop

Although I thought I had come to terms with the fact that I wanted to use Ubuntu-based Mint, instead of Debian-based Mint, I finally could not resist the temptation of installing Linux Mint Debian 201012. One of the reasons was that a 64-bit version was available for the first time. Another reason was that I had used Mint 10 for over two months, I had finished polishing it, it was pretty stable and… I was getting itchy again!

In this post, I will focus on how I fine-tuned the installed system, in order to resemble Mint Main Edition, as much as possible.


Unlike the issues I encountered in my previous post, with the first incarnation of LMDE, this time the installation went pretty smooth; the installer had evolved quite a bit. However, I did not see an option to encrypt the home folder. Did I miss it? Maybe.

Update, Oct. 8, 2011: You should now download the latest (at this time) LMDE 201109

Continue reading «Fine-tuning Linux Mint Debian 201012 64-bit»

Getting Canon Pixma MP560 to work in Mint 12 amd64 (and Ubuntu 11.10)

canon pixma mp560
canon pixma mp560

Update, December 2012

Moving forward to Mint Nandia (based on Ubuntu 12.10), Michael’s drivers in canon-trunk suport two-sided printing! At last!

Update, May 2012.

Moving forward to Mint Maya (based on Ubuntu 12.04), I found that Michael’s Canon repository did not have a driver version for Precise and that the previous ones used in Oneiric, would not work.

In order to solve this problem, you need to follow these steps:

  • Uninstall the existing canon drivers
  • Remove the existing canon repository from your sources
  • Add the new repository:

[code]sudo add-apt-repository ppa:michael-gruz/canon-trunk
sudo apt-get update[/code]

  • Re-install the drivers corresponding to your printer, with Synaptic. You may have to use the i386 packages if amd64 ones are not available. They will still work!

Continue reading «Getting Canon Pixma MP560 to work in Mint 12 amd64 (and Ubuntu 11.10)»

Linux Mint Debian v1.0 (LMDE 201009) is out!!!

Linux Mint Debian

(Update, Dec 29: Fine-tuning LMDE 201012 64-bit)

This article comes a few days after the original release of Linux Mint Debian edition, but the actual testing was made on the day it was released… 10 minutes after the iso image was posted online, actually. I happened to browse Linux Mint‘s blog just when the image was released.

Installing the image on a usb stick via unetbootin was pretty smooth! I booted right afterwards and then tried to install on a usb hard drive, so as to leave the computer I was using at that time intact. That was not particularly smooth…

Continue reading «Linux Mint Debian v1.0 (LMDE 201009) is out!!!»

The perfect linux desktop (part 1): Distribution & Task Bar

It's been a few many years since I started using Linux exclusively, as a desktop OS at home. I started out with the legendary InfoMagic 5-CD set in December 1995. It included Redhat 2.5 and a version of Debian dubbed 1.0 (evidently prematurely so, resulting in the first official Debian project release to be named 1.1 instead of 1.0).

I first used Redhat, then Redhat with Enlightenment, then Mandrake (because it was Redhat with KDE), then Mandriva. I  started using KDE as soon as it came out and stayed with it, but that changed with Ubuntu. I have consistently used Ubuntu with Gnome since 2006, actively participating in user support groups and mailing lists. And then, in 2010, I switched to Linux Mint, for which I also participated in the Greek translation project for release 9, code named Isadora (based on Ubuntu 10.04).

Linux Mint uses Ubuntu's repositories as a base, but it has some unique characteristics, which make it special. MintMenu is one, the package manager and also the Control Center are a couple others… add to that the look & feel, the choice of pre-installed apps,  and the magic of the first impression you get when you boot this OS… Everything just works, and with a lot of finesse, at that! During the first half hour of use, I don't remember how many times I went "ah, at last, someone thought of that"! As an added bonus, you get a very involved and enthusiastic community of users. When you log on to the desktop, you get a pop up window with support links. One of them is on-line support. I only had to use it once, but still I was thoroughly impressed when I got a definitive reply in under 60 seconds!! Maybe it was just luck, but that sealed the deal for me…

So, this first post is going to be very simple. It's just about how to come to this starting desktop screen (click to enlarge):

Stratos' Isadora desktop

First of all, go to the Linux Mint download page and download the version that best suits your system. If your system's memory is 4gb or more, then you may be better off with the 64bit version. Otherwise, go with the 32bit one, usually it runs more smoothly. Mind you, that goes for all distributions and it has to do with 3rd party vendor 64bit support, not Linux itself. And, just to be on the safe side, run the live version on your machine, before actually installing it. That way you'll know beforehand that everything will work after installation.

You'll notice that Linux Mint only has one taskbar, on the bottom of the page, with the amazing MintMenu embedded, which is a good thing. Having only one main taskbar saves some precious vertical space on wide-screen laptops, which is also a good thing. MintMenu is an intuitive, advanced, well organized, feature-rich and easy to use main menu, and you'll never go back once you've tried it  (originally forked from SLAB, the Gnome main menu developed by Novell for Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop). As you can see, I have added a few items to the taskbar, such as "language indicator", "force quit", "tomboy notes", "system monitor", etc. I also removed the window list, since it is embedded in… what comes next:

Now, I do like how streamlined and smooth Linux Mint is, but I also I like my desktop to be just a little bit fancy, so I can't go without Cairo-Dock!! Cairo-Dock, or GLX-Dock, is the king of Linux docks. It started out along with all other similar projects in Linux, which imitated the functionality of… yes, the Mac OS X Dock! And why not? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! However, this one really surpassed them all, but that's just my own humble opinion.

So, we want both Mint's taskbar and GLX-Dock, together. GLX-Dock will not waste vertical space, since it auto-hides itself if the active window overlaps it. In the screenshot above, you see the Mint main taskbar on top and GLX-Dock on the bottom.

Second (group of) step(s) is:

Right click on Mint taskbar, hit "properties" and change its position to "top". That was easy.

Now, you can go to the GLX-Dock installation instructions page, on which you will also find some very helpful usage advice. You can spend hours and hours of experimentation and joy, fine tuning GLX-Dock and its plugins, themes and modules, using the very helpful in-line instructions. However, as I have come to realize, the standard setup is just fine. So, you can just follow the instructions to install it from the package manager, and you're good to go!

However, if you are, as I am, an upgrade freak, you can use the weekly repository, which is quite stable, but still cutting edge, so beware (use the instructions for Ubuntu and mind the note for Linux Mint).


Update November 2010

Linux Mint 10, codenamed Julia is out. Mint continues to be my favorite distribution and Julia has been improved quite a lot. So, the post still holds true.!

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