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

What happened to my touchpad?

I bet that’s the first thing someone will notice. No, it’s not broken. Debian has disabled left click by default. Who knows why. Just go to the Control Center, Hardware, Mouse, then Touchpad tab; enable click with touchpad. Right-click with the touchpad (bottom-right corner) will still not work, though…

Update, July 2011: I accidentally found that, on my laptop, a tap with two fingers (multi-touch) will bring up the right-click menu! Thouroughly impressed!

Yikes! The fonts!

This must be the second thing one notices. WTF?

You can always try to reconfigure fontconfig by starting up a terminal and typing:

[code]sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig[/code]

Update, Oct 8 2011: Leave the fonts as they are, they look kind of better!

Hello, I’m bilingual!

Well, no change in this one since my last take on LMDE in September:

Don’t bother looking for “mint menu – system – administration – language support”… It’s not there, that was an Ubuntu thingie. In order to get a different Gnome language environment, fire up a terminal and follow the instructions at Debian Wiki:

Get root and type

[code]dpkg-reconfigure locales[/code]

and select the locale(s) you want to generate. At the end, you’ll be asked which one should be the default.


My LMDE Repositories

I am using the more frequently updated repo, namely the “incoming” one. Copy-paste the following into your sources, replacing the existing default ones. If you don’t feel comfortable being on the bleeding edge, replace “incoming” with “latest”, for a smoother and more stable ride.

[code]deb debian main upstream import
deb testing main contrib non-free
deb-src testing main contrib non-free
deb testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb testing main non-free[/code]

Then, make sure you install mintupdate-debian and you’re good to go.

BTW, I really miss the “add-apt-repository” command, but I guess that’s to do with Ubuntu and the Launchpad. What a great idea this is, though.

Latest Firefox release

Until recently, you’d have to add this to your sources:

[code]# latest iceweasel
deb squeeze-backports iceweasel-release[/code]

However, since November 2011 that I checked, the latest Iceweasel release is available in debian Testing, so there’s no need to change anything.

By installing Iceweasel, you have the latest release of Firefox available, at any time, only it will be named Iceweasel. This is Firefox without the Firefox logo and it is maintained by the Debian community. You may go to their website for further info.

Where did visual effects go? (Nvidia & Compiz)

Nope, no window will pop up to ask you if you want to install Nvidia drivers automatically, and no, you don’t get wobbly windows out of the box. Why? Because nothing is there by default, you have to do it by hand.

Don’t panic.

Go to Synaptic (or use a terminal) and install the following:

[code]sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx  nvidia-kernel-source  nvidia-kernel-dkms  nvidia-xconfig nvidia-settings[/code]

After installation, run from a terminal:

[code]sudo nvidia-xconfig[/code]

Reboot. Done. For me at least! 😉

As for Compiz (visual effects), according to the Debian wiki, just install the following packages (plus the *extra, I’d say):

[code]sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-gnome compiz-gtk compiz-fusion-plugins-extra[/code]

In order to get it running, you’ll have to run this in a terminal:

[code]compiz –replace &[/code]

And then you can have it replace the standard gnome window-manager by default. Go to the Control Center and add the above command (without the “&”) in the Start-up Applications.

Please, please, fix the sound!

Thanks to Scott’s post, I can enjoy high quality sound again! Careful, though, by following the next actions, you’re purging pulseaudio (e.g. that Amarok uses) and you’re reverting to the good-old alsa sound system (why would anyone need to change something that’s working so well?)

[code]sudo apt-get purge pulseaudio pulseaudio-utils gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio libpulse-browse0 paman pavumeter pavucontrol

sudo rm /etc/asound.conf

sudo apt-get install libalsaplayer0[/code]

If anything breaks, you can always re-install the above packages and you’ll be right back where you were…

I’d like a fancy dock, please

I like to use GLX-Dock, a.k.a. Cairo-Dock, and I like to use the weekly repository. That means it’s updated weekly (dah), but that also means it’s likely to be somewhat less than stable at times. Instructions from their homepage:

Update, May 2011:

Much better to go with the package that comes with Debian Testing repositories, so just install “cairo-dock” via Synaptic or apt-get!

I would move the Mint taskbar to the top of the screen and have glx-dock on the bottom of the screen, as I have written in another post.

Any questions?

I have some. Why does LMDE exist? I mean, Ubuntu has become mainstream, but it’s still innovative; and it’s based on the deb packaging system, which is great. It has many-many-many repositories. Most new applications are customized to run on Ubuntu. So, why go back to Debian?

On the other hand, yes, Debian is faster and more robust. But, it seems to be soooo slow in coming out with new releases. And why is it so backwards in User Experience? Is it me or is Debian a tiny bit detached from “simple human beings”? Are we missing something, or are they missing something?

Maybe the guys at Linux Mint have figured it out and that’s why LMDE exists. Whatever it is, I hope it works.

Update, May 2011: I answer my own question in Linux Mint Debian is now usable by almost anyone!


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Stratos Laspas

Stratos Laspas

O Στράτος Λάσπας είναι Certified Eating Psychology & Mind-Body Nutrtition Coach. Η προσωπική συμβουλευτική υποστήριξη στην ψυχολογία της διατροφής (Eating Psychology Coaching) είναι μια συναρπαστική και καινοτόμος προσέγγιση που αντιμετωπίζει με αποτελεσματικότητα θέματα βάρους, αδηφαγίας (binge eating), υπερφαγίας (overeating), συναισθηματικής υπερφαγίας (emotional eating), προκλήσεις σε σχέση με την προσωπική εικόνα που έχουμε για το σώμα μας (body image), τις αιώνιες, ατελείωτες και επαναλαμβανόμενες δίαιτες (yo-yo dieting), καθώς και ποικιλία ζητημάτων υγείας και σωματικών συμπτωμάτων που σχετίζονται με τη διατροφή, όπως η λειτουργία της πέψης, η αίσθηση κόπωσης, η πεσμένη ή ευμετάβλητη διάθεση, η λειτουργία του ανοσοποιητικού και άλλα.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. javierr.talamantes

    Thank You man, i had the touchpad problem, I fix my problem just 5 minutes before I read your publication, but this information will be useful to people that doesent had the same lucky as me.


  2. Ben

    thanks man, the heads up with compiz made my day .

    1. Ben

      in addition, after installing all the required packages mentioned above regarding nvidia and compiz, when I run compiz –replace I lose the task bar and gui controls from the display save for the wallpaper and mouse pointer. I would need to force restart to be able to use my desktop. any advice would be greatly appreciated, cheers!

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