Featured Articles
All Stories

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Introduction

The year finally seems to have come to life with regards to Linux and this week saw the release of the latest long term support release of Linux Mint.

I am glad that Linux Mint 18 has been released because it puts it back on a level playing field with Ubuntu with regards to kernel versions and software updates.

Read on to find out the new features and my experience with Linux Mint.

I have started with the new features first. The main review and my experiences with Linux Mint are highlighted later in the article.

New Features

Linux Mint 18 comes with the following new features.

Version 3.0 of Cinnamon

A video has been produced highlight the improvements to Cinnamon.

Here is a short summary.

There have been windows management improvements on tiling, mapping and unmapping windows.

Windows can be snapped easily by dragging them into position.

Favourites and system options can be disabled in the menu applet.


Animation effects are enabled by default on menus and dialogs.


Improved touchpad support.

More options for selecting default applications for different file types.






Panel launchers now give menu options for each item such as open in terminal.

Improved support for Spotify 0.27, Viber and GTK 3.20.

X-Apps

A new project has been created to make applications which currently do not work well except for in a specific environment work well on all environments.

For example imagine application A was built for the GNOME desktop environment and it worked fine there but when implemented in other environments it looked quirky.

X-Apps is designed to turn applications like application A into something that will work anywhere with familiar menus and toolbars etc.

It is a nice idea if it works.

Some applications which have been given the X-Apps treatment include Xed which is based on the Pluma text editor. There is also XViewer which is based on Eye Of Gnome. XPlayer is based on the Totem video player and Pix is based on GThumb.

Other Changes

Improvements have been made to the update manager and a new theme called Mint-Y has been produced to make Mint look more modern.

Kernel

Linux Mint 18 is shipped with kernel version 4.4.0-21. This is much better for people with modern hardware.


How To Get Linux Mint 18

You can download Linux Mint from https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

If you are looking for an installation guide then this one shows how to dual boot Linux Mint 18 with Windows 10.

If you just want to create a Linux Mint 18 USB drive to try it out follow this guide.

You can also buy a Linux Mint 18 USB drive.

After downloading Linux Mint you should check the MD5 to make sure you have downloaded the correct version.

First Impressions






















Linux Mint 18 looks really very modern. When you first boot into the display screen you get a rotating background image before you log in.

After logging in you are presented with a stylish dark background and a dark theme.

There is the standard welcome screen which has the following options:

  • New features
  • Documentation
  • Apps
  • Drivers
  • Forums
  • Chat Room
  • Getting Involved
  • Donation

The general look and feel is the same as previous versions of Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.

There is a single panel at the bottom with a menu icon in the bottom left corner.

The menu has a number of key items on the left side which let you log out, open a file manager, a terminal window and a browser. This is followed by a series of categories such as accessories, games, graphics, sound & video etc. When you click on a category the list of items in that category appear.

You can also search for items using the search bar within the menu.

Next to the menu icon on the panel are some quick launch icons which again provide instant access to a file manager, browser, terminal window and show desktop.

In the bottom right corner there are panel items which let you connect to the internet, adjust audio settings, adjust power settings, bluetooth settings and there is also the clock. Next to the clock there is a little icon which when clicked will show all the open windows.

For those of you completely new to Linux you will find Linux Mint very intuitive and there isn't a big learning curve jumping from something like Windows to Linux.

Unlike the Windows desktop however the Linux Mint desktop can easily be customised to look and feel the way you want it to be.

This guide will show you how to easily customise the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop environment.

Connecting To The Internet

For most people connecting to the internet will be as simple as clicking on the network icon in the bottom right corner.





















If you have an ethernet connection it will automatically connect you to the internet.

If you need to connect to a wireless network you will see a list of available networks. When you click on a network you will be asked for the password.

If you don't see any networks to connect to and you think there should be one available then check the following things.
  1. Check that the wireless slider is set to on.
  2. Check that there isn't a button on your laptop for turning on the WiFi.
  3. Read this guide which may help you troubleshoot WiFI issues.

Additional Drivers

It is worth clicking on the "Additional Drivers" button on the welcome screen.

If you have closed the welcome screen you can find it again by clicking on the menu icon and searching for "welcome" using the search bar.

Alternatively you can get straight to the additional drivers screen by typing "driver manager" into the search box.


You will see drivers for audio, graphics and WiFi if they are available. If the item says "not working" it is better not to use them. If however you see the word "recommended" next to an item you should choose the option and click "Apply Changes".

If you have an NVidia graphics card you will get much better performance by using the official NVidia drivers.






Documentation

Whilst the welcome screen is still open it is worth checking out the documentation option.





























You will see user guides for a good number of different languages. It is worth downloading the documentation for your language because it has some good instructions and keyboard shortcuts.

Applications





















Linux Mint comes with everything you will need to get you up and running.

The LibreOffice suite comes pre-installed with a word processor, spreadsheet package, presentation tool, drawing package and database package.

For listening to music there is the excellent Banshee audio player. With Banshee you can import your music that is local to your machine, download podcasts, import audiobooks, listen to online radio and watching videos.

You can edit images with GIMP and view photos using XViewer which is the same as the Eye Of Gnome picture viewer but created as part of X-Apps.

For watching videos you can use either VLC or XPlayer.

The default web browser is Firefox and the mail client is Thunderbird.

Other tools include a PDF viewer, note taking tool, CD/DVD writer, USB image writers, calculator, Bittorrent client, instant messenger and an IRC chat client.

Install Applications

Linux Mint has a decent software manager compared to certain other Linux distributions.

It looks reasonably good but more importantly, it works.

To start the software manager click on the menu icon and choose the package manager icon. (it is under the firefox icon on the left side of the menu bar).

The software manager has a series of categories which can be used to browse for packages. To search for games, click on games and a list of games or emulators will appear.

You can also search for software using the search tool.

Guess what everybody. It works!!!!


I can search for Steam and steam appears. I can search for Dropbox and Dropbox appears. I can search for Skype and Skype appears. I can search for Chrome and .... actually no it doesn't but you do get Chromium.






The next question of course is how easy is it to install the software? When I used PCLinuxOS I had significant issues with installing Steam on this very same machine.

When I installed Steam on this machine this is what I got.



First of all I get the option to install Steam.


After clicking install a license agreement appears. When I accept the license agreement the Steam client installs.





















The Steam client then downloads what seems to be the obligatory 250 megabytes of updates.

Then finally this happens:






It works without any errors whatsoever.

I can also confirm all the other major programs such as Dropbox, Skype etc also work fine.

Hardware

USB devices like my mobile phone and MP3 audio devices like a Sony Walkman are instantly available to Linux Mint and can easily be paired up with applications such as Banshee.

Setting up a network printer was also incredibly easy. To set up a printer click on the menu, choose the administration menu and then click on printers.





To add a printer click the "Add" button.



Click on the network printers option to bring up a list of options. As you can see my printer appeared straight at the top of the list.

When you click on forward a search will be made for drivers for the printer.






Choose the driver, click forward and that is it.

What about network storage?

I have a WDMyCloud device and it has to be said that this is possibly the worst product I have ever bought. It loses connectivity all the time whether you are using Windows, Android, Linux or anything else.



However with the latest version of Linux Mint I am yet to have any issues connecting to the device.

As you can see from the image above Linux Mint sees the WDMyCloud device (and believe me that is half the battle won). Clicking on the icon shows a list of all the files.


Brilliant. Linux Mint can do what so many other distributions and operating systems seem unable to achieve.

Issues

I had the same wireless issues with Linux Mint 18 that I had with other Linux distributions and the previous version of Linux Mint on this computer.

On my other computers I haven't experienced the same issue.

I managed to get the wireless working by blacklisting the ideapad_laptop module.

Other than that it has been a breeze using Linux Mint. Everything pretty much works as you would expect it to.

Summary

Every 2 years I fall in love with Linux Mint, which coincides with the new long term support release.

Linux Mint always feels a little bit out of date by the time the 2 year cycle comes to an end.

As of this moment though Linux Mint 18 is nice and fresh. The theming is absolutely brilliant, the kernel is pretty much up to date, the software all fits together nicely and the hardware works.

Linux Mint is incredibly easy to use and there is no pfaffing around to jump through hoops to get software downloaded and installed (with the exception of Google Chrome).

It is exceedingly easy to recommend Linux Mint to all new users of Linux and I definitely recommend it for the Everyday Linux User.

The developers have done an extremely good job with this latest release.

Thankyou for reading




An Everyday Linux User Review Of Linux Mint 18 - Back To Its Very Best

Introduction

The year finally seems to have come to life with regards to Linux and this week saw the release of the latest long term support release of Linux Mint.

I am glad that Linux Mint 18 has been released because it puts it back on a level playing field with Ubuntu with regards to kernel versions and software updates.

Read on to find out the new features and my experience with Linux Mint.

I have started with the new features first. The main review and my experiences with Linux Mint are highlighted later in the article.

New Features

Linux Mint 18 comes with the following new features.

Version 3.0 of Cinnamon

A video has been produced highlight the improvements to Cinnamon.

Here is a short summary.

There have been windows management improvements on tiling, mapping and unmapping windows.

Windows can be snapped easily by dragging them into position.

Favourites and system options can be disabled in the menu applet.


Animation effects are enabled by default on menus and dialogs.


Improved touchpad support.

More options for selecting default applications for different file types.






Panel launchers now give menu options for each item such as open in terminal.

Improved support for Spotify 0.27, Viber and GTK 3.20.

X-Apps

A new project has been created to make applications which currently do not work well except for in a specific environment work well on all environments.

For example imagine application A was built for the GNOME desktop environment and it worked fine there but when implemented in other environments it looked quirky.

X-Apps is designed to turn applications like application A into something that will work anywhere with familiar menus and toolbars etc.

It is a nice idea if it works.

Some applications which have been given the X-Apps treatment include Xed which is based on the Pluma text editor. There is also XViewer which is based on Eye Of Gnome. XPlayer is based on the Totem video player and Pix is based on GThumb.

Other Changes

Improvements have been made to the update manager and a new theme called Mint-Y has been produced to make Mint look more modern.

Kernel

Linux Mint 18 is shipped with kernel version 4.4.0-21. This is much better for people with modern hardware.


How To Get Linux Mint 18

You can download Linux Mint from https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

If you are looking for an installation guide then this one shows how to dual boot Linux Mint 18 with Windows 10.

If you just want to create a Linux Mint 18 USB drive to try it out follow this guide.

You can also buy a Linux Mint 18 USB drive.

After downloading Linux Mint you should check the MD5 to make sure you have downloaded the correct version.

First Impressions






















Linux Mint 18 looks really very modern. When you first boot into the display screen you get a rotating background image before you log in.

After logging in you are presented with a stylish dark background and a dark theme.

There is the standard welcome screen which has the following options:

  • New features
  • Documentation
  • Apps
  • Drivers
  • Forums
  • Chat Room
  • Getting Involved
  • Donation

The general look and feel is the same as previous versions of Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.

There is a single panel at the bottom with a menu icon in the bottom left corner.

The menu has a number of key items on the left side which let you log out, open a file manager, a terminal window and a browser. This is followed by a series of categories such as accessories, games, graphics, sound & video etc. When you click on a category the list of items in that category appear.

You can also search for items using the search bar within the menu.

Next to the menu icon on the panel are some quick launch icons which again provide instant access to a file manager, browser, terminal window and show desktop.

In the bottom right corner there are panel items which let you connect to the internet, adjust audio settings, adjust power settings, bluetooth settings and there is also the clock. Next to the clock there is a little icon which when clicked will show all the open windows.

For those of you completely new to Linux you will find Linux Mint very intuitive and there isn't a big learning curve jumping from something like Windows to Linux.

Unlike the Windows desktop however the Linux Mint desktop can easily be customised to look and feel the way you want it to be.

This guide will show you how to easily customise the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop environment.

Connecting To The Internet

For most people connecting to the internet will be as simple as clicking on the network icon in the bottom right corner.





















If you have an ethernet connection it will automatically connect you to the internet.

If you need to connect to a wireless network you will see a list of available networks. When you click on a network you will be asked for the password.

If you don't see any networks to connect to and you think there should be one available then check the following things.
  1. Check that the wireless slider is set to on.
  2. Check that there isn't a button on your laptop for turning on the WiFi.
  3. Read this guide which may help you troubleshoot WiFI issues.

Additional Drivers

It is worth clicking on the "Additional Drivers" button on the welcome screen.

If you have closed the welcome screen you can find it again by clicking on the menu icon and searching for "welcome" using the search bar.

Alternatively you can get straight to the additional drivers screen by typing "driver manager" into the search box.


You will see drivers for audio, graphics and WiFi if they are available. If the item says "not working" it is better not to use them. If however you see the word "recommended" next to an item you should choose the option and click "Apply Changes".

If you have an NVidia graphics card you will get much better performance by using the official NVidia drivers.






Documentation

Whilst the welcome screen is still open it is worth checking out the documentation option.





























You will see user guides for a good number of different languages. It is worth downloading the documentation for your language because it has some good instructions and keyboard shortcuts.

Applications





















Linux Mint comes with everything you will need to get you up and running.

The LibreOffice suite comes pre-installed with a word processor, spreadsheet package, presentation tool, drawing package and database package.

For listening to music there is the excellent Banshee audio player. With Banshee you can import your music that is local to your machine, download podcasts, import audiobooks, listen to online radio and watching videos.

You can edit images with GIMP and view photos using XViewer which is the same as the Eye Of Gnome picture viewer but created as part of X-Apps.

For watching videos you can use either VLC or XPlayer.

The default web browser is Firefox and the mail client is Thunderbird.

Other tools include a PDF viewer, note taking tool, CD/DVD writer, USB image writers, calculator, Bittorrent client, instant messenger and an IRC chat client.

Install Applications

Linux Mint has a decent software manager compared to certain other Linux distributions.

It looks reasonably good but more importantly, it works.

To start the software manager click on the menu icon and choose the package manager icon. (it is under the firefox icon on the left side of the menu bar).

The software manager has a series of categories which can be used to browse for packages. To search for games, click on games and a list of games or emulators will appear.

You can also search for software using the search tool.

Guess what everybody. It works!!!!


I can search for Steam and steam appears. I can search for Dropbox and Dropbox appears. I can search for Skype and Skype appears. I can search for Chrome and .... actually no it doesn't but you do get Chromium.






The next question of course is how easy is it to install the software? When I used PCLinuxOS I had significant issues with installing Steam on this very same machine.

When I installed Steam on this machine this is what I got.



First of all I get the option to install Steam.


After clicking install a license agreement appears. When I accept the license agreement the Steam client installs.





















The Steam client then downloads what seems to be the obligatory 250 megabytes of updates.

Then finally this happens:






It works without any errors whatsoever.

I can also confirm all the other major programs such as Dropbox, Skype etc also work fine.

Hardware

USB devices like my mobile phone and MP3 audio devices like a Sony Walkman are instantly available to Linux Mint and can easily be paired up with applications such as Banshee.

Setting up a network printer was also incredibly easy. To set up a printer click on the menu, choose the administration menu and then click on printers.





To add a printer click the "Add" button.



Click on the network printers option to bring up a list of options. As you can see my printer appeared straight at the top of the list.

When you click on forward a search will be made for drivers for the printer.






Choose the driver, click forward and that is it.

What about network storage?

I have a WDMyCloud device and it has to be said that this is possibly the worst product I have ever bought. It loses connectivity all the time whether you are using Windows, Android, Linux or anything else.



However with the latest version of Linux Mint I am yet to have any issues connecting to the device.

As you can see from the image above Linux Mint sees the WDMyCloud device (and believe me that is half the battle won). Clicking on the icon shows a list of all the files.


Brilliant. Linux Mint can do what so many other distributions and operating systems seem unable to achieve.

Issues

I had the same wireless issues with Linux Mint 18 that I had with other Linux distributions and the previous version of Linux Mint on this computer.

On my other computers I haven't experienced the same issue.

I managed to get the wireless working by blacklisting the ideapad_laptop module.

Other than that it has been a breeze using Linux Mint. Everything pretty much works as you would expect it to.

Summary

Every 2 years I fall in love with Linux Mint, which coincides with the new long term support release.

Linux Mint always feels a little bit out of date by the time the 2 year cycle comes to an end.

As of this moment though Linux Mint 18 is nice and fresh. The theming is absolutely brilliant, the kernel is pretty much up to date, the software all fits together nicely and the hardware works.

Linux Mint is incredibly easy to use and there is no pfaffing around to jump through hoops to get software downloaded and installed (with the exception of Google Chrome).

It is exceedingly easy to recommend Linux Mint to all new users of Linux and I definitely recommend it for the Everyday Linux User.

The developers have done an extremely good job with this latest release.

Thankyou for reading




Posted at 17:01 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Introduction

When I first bought the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 a few months ago I wrote a guide showing how to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10 on the computer. I have just updated the guide so that it is relevant for Linux Mint 18.

There were a few extra issues with Linux Mint 17 on this machine that I needed to fix to get it working correctly at the time.

The NVidia GTX 960 graphics card caused the screen to go black when booting and the wireless card did not work properly.

At the time I planned to release 2 guides showing how to resolve the issues but I only got around to writing the one about the wireless graphics card. I'm deliberately not going to link to that guide because it is longer relevant.

I am pleased to say that the NVidia issue has now gone away because Linux Mint ships with a newer version of the kernel.

I have still come across issues with the wireless card. The instructions to fix the problem are slightly different however.

My guide below gives an overview of the sort of thing you will need to do. It is fairly specific from machine to machine as to what the issue might be but hopefully this guide will set you in the right direction.

The Symptoms





















You boot Linux Mint 18 and click on the network icon in the bottom right corner and no wireless networks appear.

Analysing The Issue

Open a terminal window and type the following command:

rfkill list all
 
You will see something like this:























As you can see there are 4 items listed:

  • ideapad_wlan
  • ideapad_bluetooth
  • hcio: bluetooth
  • phy0: wireless_LAN
The ideal situation is for the soft blocked to be set to no and the hard blocked to be set to no for all of the options.

If you have any soft blocked items you can try the following:

 rfkill unblock all

Now try clicking the network icon again to see if you have wireless networks appearing.

If this works you can edit the file /etc/rc.local and add the above line to it. This will then hopefully solve the issue on subsequent boots.

The hard block generally means there is a hardware switch for turning on the option. For example the WiFi might be turned off because there is a button on your laptop that needs to be pressed to turn it on.

Unfortunately this isn't always the case and sometimes it is down to conflicting modules.

In my case above the hard blocked items are caused by the ideapad_laptop module.

To resolve my issue I entered the following into the terminal:

 sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

In the file that loads I added the following line to the bottom:

blacklist ideapad_laptop
I then rebooted the laptop and the problem was solved.

Now obviously you aren't all using an Ideapad so it could be an Acer module or some other module specific to your computer brand that is causing an issue.

It is worth running the rfkill list all command to find out which options are hard blocked and then search for the specific hard blocked item in Google. Somebody will almost certainly have hit the issue before and will be able to say which module to blacklist.

Summary

I am sorry this is fairly vague but hopefully it will have set you in the right direction as to fixing your Wi-Fi issues.







How To Fix Linux Mint Wi-Fi Issues

Introduction

When I first bought the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 a few months ago I wrote a guide showing how to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10 on the computer. I have just updated the guide so that it is relevant for Linux Mint 18.

There were a few extra issues with Linux Mint 17 on this machine that I needed to fix to get it working correctly at the time.

The NVidia GTX 960 graphics card caused the screen to go black when booting and the wireless card did not work properly.

At the time I planned to release 2 guides showing how to resolve the issues but I only got around to writing the one about the wireless graphics card. I'm deliberately not going to link to that guide because it is longer relevant.

I am pleased to say that the NVidia issue has now gone away because Linux Mint ships with a newer version of the kernel.

I have still come across issues with the wireless card. The instructions to fix the problem are slightly different however.

My guide below gives an overview of the sort of thing you will need to do. It is fairly specific from machine to machine as to what the issue might be but hopefully this guide will set you in the right direction.

The Symptoms





















You boot Linux Mint 18 and click on the network icon in the bottom right corner and no wireless networks appear.

Analysing The Issue

Open a terminal window and type the following command:

rfkill list all
 
You will see something like this:























As you can see there are 4 items listed:

  • ideapad_wlan
  • ideapad_bluetooth
  • hcio: bluetooth
  • phy0: wireless_LAN
The ideal situation is for the soft blocked to be set to no and the hard blocked to be set to no for all of the options.

If you have any soft blocked items you can try the following:

 rfkill unblock all

Now try clicking the network icon again to see if you have wireless networks appearing.

If this works you can edit the file /etc/rc.local and add the above line to it. This will then hopefully solve the issue on subsequent boots.

The hard block generally means there is a hardware switch for turning on the option. For example the WiFi might be turned off because there is a button on your laptop that needs to be pressed to turn it on.

Unfortunately this isn't always the case and sometimes it is down to conflicting modules.

In my case above the hard blocked items are caused by the ideapad_laptop module.

To resolve my issue I entered the following into the terminal:

 sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

In the file that loads I added the following line to the bottom:

blacklist ideapad_laptop
I then rebooted the laptop and the problem was solved.

Now obviously you aren't all using an Ideapad so it could be an Acer module or some other module specific to your computer brand that is causing an issue.

It is worth running the rfkill list all command to find out which options are hard blocked and then search for the specific hard blocked item in Google. Somebody will almost certainly have hit the issue before and will be able to say which module to blacklist.

Summary

I am sorry this is fairly vague but hopefully it will have set you in the right direction as to fixing your Wi-Fi issues.







Posted at 20:54 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Introduction

This week's article is going to be a bit on the technical side. 

I currently received dozens of comments every day via the blog or through the Everyday Linux User email account.

Many of the questions I receive are directed towards dual booting Windows 10 and either Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

I have written a number of guides showing how to dual boot Ubuntu with Windows 10 and Linux Mint with Windows 10.

Whilst the majority of people are able to follow the guides and get the desired outcome there are many people who come across issues.

The reason that some people have instant success and others have problems is down to a couple of factors. The first issue would be the hardware that is used to install Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Each hardware manufacturer has a different implementation of UEFI and with all the will in the world I haven't got the capacity to try each and every combination of them. (Unless hardware companies want to sponsor me to do so of course in which case feel free to get in touch).

The second issue is to do with the way Windows was installed on the system in the first place. Sometimes a user will install Windows in UEFI mode and Ubuntu in Legacy mode. This is not best practice. 

Other people have the issue whereby they have upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and whilst their machines have UEFI available, Windows was initially installed in BIOS mode and therefore installing Ubuntu in UEFI mode makes it hard for Windows to see Ubuntu and for Ubuntu to see Windows.

The general outcome of all this is that users either don't see the install alongside Windows option or they reboot to find that there is no GRUB menu for choosing between Ubuntu and Windows.

In this guide I am going to provide some information about getting into the UEFI settings screens as well as making suggestions as to how you might fix issues with dual booting.

As much as I like to use tools like EFI Boot Manager, BCDEdit or Yannus Boot Recovery tool to fix boot issues sometimes it is just easier to go straight to the systems own settings screen and fix it from there.

Selecting A Boot Option























So you have installed Ubuntu alongside Windows and you think you have done everything correctly but when you reboot your computer it goes straight into Windows.

On a Lenovo machine you can actually press a function key to bring up the boot manager which lets you select a boot option.

As you can see from the screen shot above, I have options for Ubuntu, Windows and network booting. If I were to insert a USB drive or DVD both of these would come up as options as well.

The key to press on a Lenovo to bring up the boot manager is F12.


To save you opening that page though here is a quick list:

  • Acer - Escape, F12, F9
  • Asus - F8 or Escape
  • Compaq - F9 or Escape
  • Dell - F12
  • EMachines - F12
  • Fujitsu - F12
  • HP - Escape or F9
  • NEC - F5
  • Packard Bell - F8
  • Samsung - Escape or F12
  • Sharp - F2
  • Sony - assist or F11 or F10 or escape
  • Toshiba - F12
It is worth trying the boot manager option to see if Ubuntu (or any other version of Linux) shows up. If it does try booting it to make sure it works.

UEFI Settings



If you are happy to use the boot manager to pick the operating system you wish to use then just remember the key and press it on each launch.

Most people however will want to fix the boot order so that it works correctly. What I will show now will help those people who have installed Ubuntu and can't get it to show up and it will also help people who can't get the USB drive to boot.

To get into the UEFI settings screen press the relevant key on the keyboard. So what are the keys?

On my Lenovo the key for accessing UEFI settings is F2.

The site linked earlier in the article also shows the keys you need to press to get into the UEFI settings for most manufacturers.

The following list will hopefully help:

  • Acer - F2 or Delete
  • Asus - F9, F2 or Delete
  • Compaq - F10
  • Dell - F2
  • EMachines - Tab, Delete
  • HP - Escape, F10 or F1
  • Lenovo - F1 or F2
  • NEC - F2
  • Packard Bell - F1 or F2
  • Samsung - F2 or F10
  • Sharp - F2
  • Sony - assist button or F1, F2, F3
  • Toshiba - F2, F1, F12 or escape
Isn't all this annoying? Why can't all the manufacturers come up with a standard key. Some manufacturers can't even use the same key across all of their models.

What you will see when you get into the UEFI settings screen is something akin to the screenshot above.

Now the screens I will you won't be the same across all systems and so I am going to show you what to look for but the options may be in slightly different places and on some systems won't be there at all.

My settings screen has 5 tabs:

  • Information
  • Configuration
  • Security
  • Boot
  • Exit
The important screens are Security and Boot.

It is worth noting though that on my configuration screen you will see that Wireless LAN is enabled. If for some reason WIFI isn't working on your computer it is possibly worth looking in your UEFI settings screen to see if it is disabled. 

To change a setting simply press the enter key on the option and it will either show another menu or toggle the state. (i.e from enabled to disabled).






















The above screen shows my security settings. There is one setting on this screen which you should think about changing if your USB drive will not boot into Linux and that is "Secure Boot".

Toggle the secure boot from enabled to disabled.

Most of the major Linux distributions are setup to work with secure boot enabled but not all of them.






















The boot screen is where the real action happens and there is a lot to talk about here.

First of all if you are struggling to get your USB drive to boot into Linux check the setting of the "Fast Boot" option. Set the value to disabled.

In addition to this check to see if there is a "USB Boot" option. Not all computers will have this in the settings and you can pretty much assume if they don't then your computer will be set up to boot from USB.

If there is a "USB Boot" option change the setting so that it is enabled.

You will note at the top of the screen that there is a "Boot Mode" option. On my computer this has 2 settings:

  • UEFI
  • Legacy
I will deal with the UEFI options first.

In the bottom half of the screen you will see all of the potential boot options:

  • Ubuntu
  • Windows Boot Manager
  • EFI PXE Network
Again if I had a USB drive plugged in or the DVD drive plugged in these would show up as well.






















By default my computer is set to boot from Ubuntu first and that is why on my computer I get the GRUB boot screen first. Windows is set to boot only if Ubuntu can't boot.

If on your screen Windows Boot Manager is first and Ubuntu is second, select the Ubuntu option and press the relevant function key to move it up the list so that it is ahead of Windows. You should move your USB drive ahead of Windows as well as it will allow you to boot from the USB drive without messing around.

If you look at the bottom of the screenshot above you will see F5/F6 is equal to "Change Values". If I press F5 the option moves up the list and if I press F6 the option moves down the list.

If you have installed Ubuntu alongside Windows and you see both options on this screen then this is the most likely reason your computer boots straight to Windows.

If you don't see Ubuntu on this screen then the next option comes into play. It is highly likely you installed Ubuntu in legacy mode.






















To switch to legacy mode click on the boot mode option (which is currently set to UEFI) and then choose another option. In my case it shows "Legacy Support". On other machines it will simply say "Legacy".


The legacy mode settings differ from machine to machine. For example on this Lenovo if it can't boot from legacy mode it will switch to UEFI, although it is quite a slow process.

On other machines like my Dell it tries to boot into legacy mode and if it can't it just gives up.

If you switch to legacy mode and your installed version of Ubuntu suddenly boots then you know you have installed Ubuntu into legacy mode.

How do you fix this? Personally I wouldn't even attempt to. I would wipe the partition you created for Ubuntu, make sure the UEFI settings are firmly set to UEFI and run through my installation guide again.

It is highly likely that if you have installed Ubuntu in legacy mode then the option to boot into Windows doesn't appear in the GRUB menu.

There is of course another scenario whereby Windows was installed in legacy mode but Ubuntu was installed in UEFI mode. If this is the case then when you enter the UEFI settings you will only see Ubuntu as an EFI boot option and not Windows. Switching back to legacy mode will give you the option to boot back into Windows.

How do you fix this? There are 2 ways. You could install Ubuntu in legacy mode as well as a dual boot to Windows or you could re-install Windows in UEFI mode and then reinstall Ubuntu in UEFI mode as well.

Summary

The whole UEFI settings thing has become a bit of a minefield but hopefully this has put you in the right direction when it comes to dual booting.

Going forward I think it would be beneficial for hardware manufacturers to standardise on function keys.

It might be worth them dropping the legacy support options as well as the major Linux distributions are able to boot via UEFI. All other distributions just need to catch up now. UEFI is not a new thing anymore.

I downloaded the latest version of Point Linux yesterday and found that it only booted in Legacy mode and the kernel was down at 3.16. Great perhaps for older machines but not for anything released in the past 3 to 4 years.









How To Access And Adjust UEFI Boot Settings

Introduction

This week's article is going to be a bit on the technical side. 

I currently received dozens of comments every day via the blog or through the Everyday Linux User email account.

Many of the questions I receive are directed towards dual booting Windows 10 and either Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

I have written a number of guides showing how to dual boot Ubuntu with Windows 10 and Linux Mint with Windows 10.

Whilst the majority of people are able to follow the guides and get the desired outcome there are many people who come across issues.

The reason that some people have instant success and others have problems is down to a couple of factors. The first issue would be the hardware that is used to install Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Each hardware manufacturer has a different implementation of UEFI and with all the will in the world I haven't got the capacity to try each and every combination of them. (Unless hardware companies want to sponsor me to do so of course in which case feel free to get in touch).

The second issue is to do with the way Windows was installed on the system in the first place. Sometimes a user will install Windows in UEFI mode and Ubuntu in Legacy mode. This is not best practice. 

Other people have the issue whereby they have upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and whilst their machines have UEFI available, Windows was initially installed in BIOS mode and therefore installing Ubuntu in UEFI mode makes it hard for Windows to see Ubuntu and for Ubuntu to see Windows.

The general outcome of all this is that users either don't see the install alongside Windows option or they reboot to find that there is no GRUB menu for choosing between Ubuntu and Windows.

In this guide I am going to provide some information about getting into the UEFI settings screens as well as making suggestions as to how you might fix issues with dual booting.

As much as I like to use tools like EFI Boot Manager, BCDEdit or Yannus Boot Recovery tool to fix boot issues sometimes it is just easier to go straight to the systems own settings screen and fix it from there.

Selecting A Boot Option























So you have installed Ubuntu alongside Windows and you think you have done everything correctly but when you reboot your computer it goes straight into Windows.

On a Lenovo machine you can actually press a function key to bring up the boot manager which lets you select a boot option.

As you can see from the screen shot above, I have options for Ubuntu, Windows and network booting. If I were to insert a USB drive or DVD both of these would come up as options as well.

The key to press on a Lenovo to bring up the boot manager is F12.


To save you opening that page though here is a quick list:

  • Acer - Escape, F12, F9
  • Asus - F8 or Escape
  • Compaq - F9 or Escape
  • Dell - F12
  • EMachines - F12
  • Fujitsu - F12
  • HP - Escape or F9
  • NEC - F5
  • Packard Bell - F8
  • Samsung - Escape or F12
  • Sharp - F2
  • Sony - assist or F11 or F10 or escape
  • Toshiba - F12
It is worth trying the boot manager option to see if Ubuntu (or any other version of Linux) shows up. If it does try booting it to make sure it works.

UEFI Settings



If you are happy to use the boot manager to pick the operating system you wish to use then just remember the key and press it on each launch.

Most people however will want to fix the boot order so that it works correctly. What I will show now will help those people who have installed Ubuntu and can't get it to show up and it will also help people who can't get the USB drive to boot.

To get into the UEFI settings screen press the relevant key on the keyboard. So what are the keys?

On my Lenovo the key for accessing UEFI settings is F2.

The site linked earlier in the article also shows the keys you need to press to get into the UEFI settings for most manufacturers.

The following list will hopefully help:

  • Acer - F2 or Delete
  • Asus - F9, F2 or Delete
  • Compaq - F10
  • Dell - F2
  • EMachines - Tab, Delete
  • HP - Escape, F10 or F1
  • Lenovo - F1 or F2
  • NEC - F2
  • Packard Bell - F1 or F2
  • Samsung - F2 or F10
  • Sharp - F2
  • Sony - assist button or F1, F2, F3
  • Toshiba - F2, F1, F12 or escape
Isn't all this annoying? Why can't all the manufacturers come up with a standard key. Some manufacturers can't even use the same key across all of their models.

What you will see when you get into the UEFI settings screen is something akin to the screenshot above.

Now the screens I will you won't be the same across all systems and so I am going to show you what to look for but the options may be in slightly different places and on some systems won't be there at all.

My settings screen has 5 tabs:

  • Information
  • Configuration
  • Security
  • Boot
  • Exit
The important screens are Security and Boot.

It is worth noting though that on my configuration screen you will see that Wireless LAN is enabled. If for some reason WIFI isn't working on your computer it is possibly worth looking in your UEFI settings screen to see if it is disabled. 

To change a setting simply press the enter key on the option and it will either show another menu or toggle the state. (i.e from enabled to disabled).






















The above screen shows my security settings. There is one setting on this screen which you should think about changing if your USB drive will not boot into Linux and that is "Secure Boot".

Toggle the secure boot from enabled to disabled.

Most of the major Linux distributions are setup to work with secure boot enabled but not all of them.






















The boot screen is where the real action happens and there is a lot to talk about here.

First of all if you are struggling to get your USB drive to boot into Linux check the setting of the "Fast Boot" option. Set the value to disabled.

In addition to this check to see if there is a "USB Boot" option. Not all computers will have this in the settings and you can pretty much assume if they don't then your computer will be set up to boot from USB.

If there is a "USB Boot" option change the setting so that it is enabled.

You will note at the top of the screen that there is a "Boot Mode" option. On my computer this has 2 settings:

  • UEFI
  • Legacy
I will deal with the UEFI options first.

In the bottom half of the screen you will see all of the potential boot options:

  • Ubuntu
  • Windows Boot Manager
  • EFI PXE Network
Again if I had a USB drive plugged in or the DVD drive plugged in these would show up as well.






















By default my computer is set to boot from Ubuntu first and that is why on my computer I get the GRUB boot screen first. Windows is set to boot only if Ubuntu can't boot.

If on your screen Windows Boot Manager is first and Ubuntu is second, select the Ubuntu option and press the relevant function key to move it up the list so that it is ahead of Windows. You should move your USB drive ahead of Windows as well as it will allow you to boot from the USB drive without messing around.

If you look at the bottom of the screenshot above you will see F5/F6 is equal to "Change Values". If I press F5 the option moves up the list and if I press F6 the option moves down the list.

If you have installed Ubuntu alongside Windows and you see both options on this screen then this is the most likely reason your computer boots straight to Windows.

If you don't see Ubuntu on this screen then the next option comes into play. It is highly likely you installed Ubuntu in legacy mode.






















To switch to legacy mode click on the boot mode option (which is currently set to UEFI) and then choose another option. In my case it shows "Legacy Support". On other machines it will simply say "Legacy".


The legacy mode settings differ from machine to machine. For example on this Lenovo if it can't boot from legacy mode it will switch to UEFI, although it is quite a slow process.

On other machines like my Dell it tries to boot into legacy mode and if it can't it just gives up.

If you switch to legacy mode and your installed version of Ubuntu suddenly boots then you know you have installed Ubuntu into legacy mode.

How do you fix this? Personally I wouldn't even attempt to. I would wipe the partition you created for Ubuntu, make sure the UEFI settings are firmly set to UEFI and run through my installation guide again.

It is highly likely that if you have installed Ubuntu in legacy mode then the option to boot into Windows doesn't appear in the GRUB menu.

There is of course another scenario whereby Windows was installed in legacy mode but Ubuntu was installed in UEFI mode. If this is the case then when you enter the UEFI settings you will only see Ubuntu as an EFI boot option and not Windows. Switching back to legacy mode will give you the option to boot back into Windows.

How do you fix this? There are 2 ways. You could install Ubuntu in legacy mode as well as a dual boot to Windows or you could re-install Windows in UEFI mode and then reinstall Ubuntu in UEFI mode as well.

Summary

The whole UEFI settings thing has become a bit of a minefield but hopefully this has put you in the right direction when it comes to dual booting.

Going forward I think it would be beneficial for hardware manufacturers to standardise on function keys.

It might be worth them dropping the legacy support options as well as the major Linux distributions are able to boot via UEFI. All other distributions just need to catch up now. UEFI is not a new thing anymore.

I downloaded the latest version of Point Linux yesterday and found that it only booted in Legacy mode and the kernel was down at 3.16. Great perhaps for older machines but not for anything released in the past 3 to 4 years.









Posted at 20:54 |  by Gary Newell

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Introduction

I have been waiting for a while for some of my favourite smaller distributions to provide a new release and then they all do it in the same week.

This week saw the release of Peppermint OS 7, SolyDXK and Point Linux. I had to toss a coin to decide which one to review first. Unfortunately Point Linux was given a much smaller chance than the other 2 as Peppermint got heads, SolyDXK got tails and Point Linux was given the unlikely event of it landing on its edge.

I really like Peppermint OS and I am glad that a new release is out. For weeks now I have been limited as to which distributions I can review on this new Lenovo Ideapad as I needed one which has a recent Kernel so that I don't have to backport drivers.

Yes, yet again I am subjecting a distribution to the ultimate test. Will it work with newer hardware.

What Is Peppermint OS?






















Peppermint OS is designed to be lightweight, yet fully functional. It is easy to install and easy to get up and running.

There aren't many applications installed by default but you have all the tools at your disposal for installing exactly what you need.

There is also something called the ICE tool which lets you set up web applications so that they look like desktop applications.

Version 7 of Peppermint OS is based on Ubuntu 16.04. The kernel is therefore set at a respectable version (4.4.0). The desktop is a mixture of LXDE and XFCE. The XFCE panel is used which has enabled the developers to include the Whisker menu which is lightweight but more modern than the LXDE menu.

The default browser has been switched to Firefox and there is a new Peppermint settings panel.

How To Get Peppermint OS

You can download Peppermint OS from https://peppermintos.com/.

There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

You can use Win32 disk imager to copy the ISO onto a USB drive and you can follow any one of these guides for a creating a bootable Peppermint USB drive.

First things first it is always a good idea to backup your computer first. You will then need to create some space for installing Peppermint.




Finally boot into Peppermint OS live and run the installer.


Choose your installation language






















You are given the option to connect to the internet. If you connect to the internet you will be able to download updates whilst installing Peppermint OS.

This is either a good or a bad thing depending on how fast your internet connection is.






















You can now choose to install third party drivers and install multimedia codecs.






















Options will now appear which will enable you to install Peppermint alongside other operating systems, over the top of other operating systems or something else which is for the more advanced user.






















A message will appear telling you that partitions are about to be created and wiped. If you are sure you have done everything correctly go ahead.






















Choose your location from the map.






















Choose your keyboard layout






















Create a user






















And Wait.

First Impressions

















A really nice desktop wallpaper image always sets a good tone when you first boot into an operating system.

It has to be said that all the wallpapers that are pre-installed with Peppermint OS 7 are stunning.

As well as a nice wallpaper there is the XFCE panel at the bottom of the screen. 

In the bottom left there is a menu icon which displays the Whisker menu which is new to Peppermint OS.




















Peppermint OS is built to be lightweight so the Whisker menu whilst an improvement on the LXDE menu is not as stylish as the one that comes with Linux Mint Cinnamon or the KDE menu.

(By the way if you are fed up with acronyms or there are terms you don't understand checkout the Jargon Buster link in the menu. 

The Whisker menu is fully functional and provides a really nice search option. The main thing to note is how quick it is.

As well as listing categories and items within categories there are also quick link options to settings, lock screen, switch user and logging out.

The panel has a few quick launch icons which open a terminal window, launch the file manager and launch Firefox.

In the bottom right there are icons for the clock, audio settings, network settings and notifications.

You can easily customise the look and feel by choosing the look and feel option from the preferences menu.






















You can change the desktop wallpaper by right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Change desktop background".






















At this point it is worth mentioning the Peppermint Settings Panel because you can access both of these items from there and more.






















The Peppermint Settings Panel has 4 categories:

  • Personal
  • Hardware
  • Network
  • System
The personal settings are cosmetic such as wallpapers and themes. You can  also choose your language and decide on a Firefox theme.

The hardware settings lets you set up printers, add additional drivers for things like graphics cards, adjust sound settings and power settings.

The network settings lets you manage network, bluetooth, Samba shares, Advert blocker and the firewall.

The system settings lets you set up new users, change date and time settings, choose default applications, use the disks utility and run the update manager.

It all looks very clean and the themes throughout Peppermint OS work very well.

Connecting To The Internet























I have installed Ubuntu, Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS on this computer thus far and all of them have given me slight issues with the WiFi. Linux Mint was the worst because it required backporting but I expect that to change when the new version comes out next month. Ubuntu hard blocked the WiFi driver and PCLinuxOS soft blocked it.

Peppermint OS gave me no issues whatsoever. It just works. 

Simply click on the network icon and choose the network.

MP3 Audio






















I chose to install the third party tools whilst installing Peppermint and therefore MP3 audio worked out of the box.

Applications

Peppermint comes with very few applications installed by default. This is all part of the plan however. The Peppermint team leave it for you to decide which applications you want installed.

You certainly have all of the utilities you need installed such as archive managers, disk managers, file managers, a text editor and a terminal.

You also have access to Dropbox, Firefox and Bittorrent.

There is a PDF viewer and an image viewer as well as the VLC media player.



That is pretty much it except for the ICE tool which I will come to later.

Under the games section you will find a few games including solitaire, Mahjongg, Chess and Tetris but there are all examples of what can be achieved using the ICE tool.






















The ICE Tool






















The ICE tool provides a method for turning web sites into desktop applications. 

You simply need to enter the name of the application and a web address to the application, specify the menu category and choose an icon. There is also an option which lets you decide the browser the application opens in.

You can now launch the site via the Whisker menu and the window opens like a standard desktop application.

The ICE tool is great for commonly used web applications like GMail, Skype, online banking and Youtube.
This tool gets better with every release of Peppermint OS. It is quite a simple concept but it is done very well.

Installing Applications

You can of course install applications for yourself.






















There are two graphical tools installed which allow you to install software.

The software manager has a stylish, modern interface with icons for categories and a search bar.

There is also the Synaptic package manager which is less attractive but 1 million times more useful than most other graphical package managers.

When I first ran the Software Manager applications like Steam didn't show up as options. I had to run sudo apt-get update first and this had the desired effect of showing the additional drivers for my Nvidia card as well as the Steam installer.






















So last week I had a little bit of a rant about Steam because quite frankly the deployment of Steam annoys me. 






















Peppermint seems to have got something right however because it shows up in the installer and after the rather tedious update it simply loads without any errors at all. Makes last week's rant make me look a bit of a mug. Hey ho, well done Peppermint OS.






















Issues

It is very early days. It really has just been released. I can say however that I haven't had any problems at all at this stage.

The installation was seemless. The installation of drivers was seemless. The audio settings worked straight away. I was able to connect to the internet.

I have been able to install all the software I require.

Summary

I like to watch videos by the Linux Help Guy who has changed his Youtube channel to English Bob. He has always been an advocate for 2 distributions and they are Peppermint OS and Manjaro. 

I have to say he is going to be over the moon when he tries this out for the first time. 

It has been such an easy experience thus far and the theming is excellent. There isn't really all that much to review software wise but the way Peppermint integrates web applications with desktop applications is really nice.

I highly recommend this. One of the best distributions that I have reviewed recently. 


An Everyday Linux User Review Of Peppermint OS 7 - Nice Ice Baby

Introduction

I have been waiting for a while for some of my favourite smaller distributions to provide a new release and then they all do it in the same week.

This week saw the release of Peppermint OS 7, SolyDXK and Point Linux. I had to toss a coin to decide which one to review first. Unfortunately Point Linux was given a much smaller chance than the other 2 as Peppermint got heads, SolyDXK got tails and Point Linux was given the unlikely event of it landing on its edge.

I really like Peppermint OS and I am glad that a new release is out. For weeks now I have been limited as to which distributions I can review on this new Lenovo Ideapad as I needed one which has a recent Kernel so that I don't have to backport drivers.

Yes, yet again I am subjecting a distribution to the ultimate test. Will it work with newer hardware.

What Is Peppermint OS?






















Peppermint OS is designed to be lightweight, yet fully functional. It is easy to install and easy to get up and running.

There aren't many applications installed by default but you have all the tools at your disposal for installing exactly what you need.

There is also something called the ICE tool which lets you set up web applications so that they look like desktop applications.

Version 7 of Peppermint OS is based on Ubuntu 16.04. The kernel is therefore set at a respectable version (4.4.0). The desktop is a mixture of LXDE and XFCE. The XFCE panel is used which has enabled the developers to include the Whisker menu which is lightweight but more modern than the LXDE menu.

The default browser has been switched to Firefox and there is a new Peppermint settings panel.

How To Get Peppermint OS

You can download Peppermint OS from https://peppermintos.com/.

There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions available.

You can use Win32 disk imager to copy the ISO onto a USB drive and you can follow any one of these guides for a creating a bootable Peppermint USB drive.

First things first it is always a good idea to backup your computer first. You will then need to create some space for installing Peppermint.




Finally boot into Peppermint OS live and run the installer.


Choose your installation language






















You are given the option to connect to the internet. If you connect to the internet you will be able to download updates whilst installing Peppermint OS.

This is either a good or a bad thing depending on how fast your internet connection is.






















You can now choose to install third party drivers and install multimedia codecs.






















Options will now appear which will enable you to install Peppermint alongside other operating systems, over the top of other operating systems or something else which is for the more advanced user.






















A message will appear telling you that partitions are about to be created and wiped. If you are sure you have done everything correctly go ahead.






















Choose your location from the map.






















Choose your keyboard layout






















Create a user






















And Wait.

First Impressions

















A really nice desktop wallpaper image always sets a good tone when you first boot into an operating system.

It has to be said that all the wallpapers that are pre-installed with Peppermint OS 7 are stunning.

As well as a nice wallpaper there is the XFCE panel at the bottom of the screen. 

In the bottom left there is a menu icon which displays the Whisker menu which is new to Peppermint OS.




















Peppermint OS is built to be lightweight so the Whisker menu whilst an improvement on the LXDE menu is not as stylish as the one that comes with Linux Mint Cinnamon or the KDE menu.

(By the way if you are fed up with acronyms or there are terms you don't understand checkout the Jargon Buster link in the menu. 

The Whisker menu is fully functional and provides a really nice search option. The main thing to note is how quick it is.

As well as listing categories and items within categories there are also quick link options to settings, lock screen, switch user and logging out.

The panel has a few quick launch icons which open a terminal window, launch the file manager and launch Firefox.

In the bottom right there are icons for the clock, audio settings, network settings and notifications.

You can easily customise the look and feel by choosing the look and feel option from the preferences menu.






















You can change the desktop wallpaper by right clicking on the desktop and choosing "Change desktop background".






















At this point it is worth mentioning the Peppermint Settings Panel because you can access both of these items from there and more.






















The Peppermint Settings Panel has 4 categories:

  • Personal
  • Hardware
  • Network
  • System
The personal settings are cosmetic such as wallpapers and themes. You can  also choose your language and decide on a Firefox theme.

The hardware settings lets you set up printers, add additional drivers for things like graphics cards, adjust sound settings and power settings.

The network settings lets you manage network, bluetooth, Samba shares, Advert blocker and the firewall.

The system settings lets you set up new users, change date and time settings, choose default applications, use the disks utility and run the update manager.

It all looks very clean and the themes throughout Peppermint OS work very well.

Connecting To The Internet























I have installed Ubuntu, Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS on this computer thus far and all of them have given me slight issues with the WiFi. Linux Mint was the worst because it required backporting but I expect that to change when the new version comes out next month. Ubuntu hard blocked the WiFi driver and PCLinuxOS soft blocked it.

Peppermint OS gave me no issues whatsoever. It just works. 

Simply click on the network icon and choose the network.

MP3 Audio






















I chose to install the third party tools whilst installing Peppermint and therefore MP3 audio worked out of the box.

Applications

Peppermint comes with very few applications installed by default. This is all part of the plan however. The Peppermint team leave it for you to decide which applications you want installed.

You certainly have all of the utilities you need installed such as archive managers, disk managers, file managers, a text editor and a terminal.

You also have access to Dropbox, Firefox and Bittorrent.

There is a PDF viewer and an image viewer as well as the VLC media player.



That is pretty much it except for the ICE tool which I will come to later.

Under the games section you will find a few games including solitaire, Mahjongg, Chess and Tetris but there are all examples of what can be achieved using the ICE tool.






















The ICE Tool






















The ICE tool provides a method for turning web sites into desktop applications. 

You simply need to enter the name of the application and a web address to the application, specify the menu category and choose an icon. There is also an option which lets you decide the browser the application opens in.

You can now launch the site via the Whisker menu and the window opens like a standard desktop application.

The ICE tool is great for commonly used web applications like GMail, Skype, online banking and Youtube.
This tool gets better with every release of Peppermint OS. It is quite a simple concept but it is done very well.

Installing Applications

You can of course install applications for yourself.






















There are two graphical tools installed which allow you to install software.

The software manager has a stylish, modern interface with icons for categories and a search bar.

There is also the Synaptic package manager which is less attractive but 1 million times more useful than most other graphical package managers.

When I first ran the Software Manager applications like Steam didn't show up as options. I had to run sudo apt-get update first and this had the desired effect of showing the additional drivers for my Nvidia card as well as the Steam installer.






















So last week I had a little bit of a rant about Steam because quite frankly the deployment of Steam annoys me. 






















Peppermint seems to have got something right however because it shows up in the installer and after the rather tedious update it simply loads without any errors at all. Makes last week's rant make me look a bit of a mug. Hey ho, well done Peppermint OS.






















Issues

It is very early days. It really has just been released. I can say however that I haven't had any problems at all at this stage.

The installation was seemless. The installation of drivers was seemless. The audio settings worked straight away. I was able to connect to the internet.

I have been able to install all the software I require.

Summary

I like to watch videos by the Linux Help Guy who has changed his Youtube channel to English Bob. He has always been an advocate for 2 distributions and they are Peppermint OS and Manjaro. 

I have to say he is going to be over the moon when he tries this out for the first time. 

It has been such an easy experience thus far and the theming is excellent. There isn't really all that much to review software wise but the way Peppermint integrates web applications with desktop applications is really nice.

I highly recommend this. One of the best distributions that I have reviewed recently. 


Posted at 21:34 |  by Gary Newell
Blogger templates. Proudly Powered by Blogger.
back to top Google