I have three computers which run Linux Mint. Recently I moved them from Mint 19 to Mint 20, in stages – and a made a few changes in how I do things along the way. The first was a ‘desktop’ (tower… really, are there are real desktops anymore?) which was backed up, powered down, cleaned out (byebye dust!) and then re-partitioned. I used to distro-hop or dual-boot versions and so had things set up with multiple partitions for each distribution, sharing only the swap. I realized that had ended some time ago so I might as well use all the drive for one distribution.
One thing I saw on either Slashdot (doubtful nowadays as Slashdot has really declined – heck I often moderator points there now. Wow.) or DistroWatch someone mentioned moving personal data to a /data partition and using /home just for config files and the like. That was really appealing. Less likely to be clobbered by a new install, and the backup would back up the needful, not the clutter. Alright, the Geany dark theme might take a hit, but always does anyway. Really, Geany needs to have a light and dark theme in the default install, I say.
So backups were run, partitioning was done, the install was done… and the driver update hosed the video beyond repair. That is weird, as my normal experience is that installing an nVidia driver makes things work right, not wrong. Well, the two video-intensive applications I had been using I seldom if ever use anymore (so much where I used to go on Second Life either just is not there anymore, or pulled so hard to the left that Vladimir freakin’ Ilyich Ulyanov (aka Lenin) would have to turn his head left to see.), so I just reinstalled and stuck with the open source nouveau driver. Seems it’s mature enough to be tolerable and useful, at long last. It took a while to figure out how to get /data properly writable for me rather than only root, but it was done. Updates run, various installs run. Vivaldi’s sync is wonderful. I know other browsers have synchronization, but I know what I like. I also found that Geany themes are now much easier to set up than they once were. It should still have a right proper dark option with the default install, however.
The laptop (akak the kitchenputer) took a bit more doing. Even on the USB boot things went stupid dim. Seems that’s a problem Ubuntu and derivatives have had for ages, but I’ve only ran into now. Adding “acpi_backlight=vendor” after “quiet splash” in the boot sequence put things right. In the installed version, grub needs that and to be updated. After finding the fix, backups were done, repartitioning was done, and the install run. Further configuration.
A couple common things…
I like Xfce, but loathe the imbecilic “touch edge of screen and the window maximizes” so Settings – Window Manager Tweaks – Accessibility (tab) ‘Automatically tile windows when moving towards screen edge’ gets UNchecked. And thus is some sanity restored.
I like the Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse trackball and am used to using the functions of a “middle” mouse button. Thus in /usr/local/bin this gets put:
#!/bin/bash # # Leave main (LEFT, RIGHT) buttons alone, but make small right # button into MIDDLE button for pasting, etc. # Since the small buttons are 8 and 9 and gpointing-device-settings # only goes to 8, 9 is used for middle, leaving 8 available for # such things as scroll mode. xmodmap -e 'pointer = 1 9 3 4 5 6 7 8 2 10'
And made executable, and added to autostart.
On the laptop I found the easy way to deal with /data was to launch thunar from root and just change permissions there.
What do I have besides those and the base install?
Discord, Signal, Geany, Vivaldi, TeamViewer, Grpn (RPN calcultor. Not an HP-48, but it’ll do), Flameshot, Audio Recorder, joe, gftp, megasync, mkchromecast.
The main machine, which has no issues with the nVidia drivers (which seem to handle dual monitors better or at least in a manner I find more sane than nouveau) was the last to get changed over – after a few days delay just to see. It also got a good cleaning, and a noisy fan replaced.
The Warpinator file transfer tool? Seems alright, but from my first little experience it’s best for trivial file transfers where there’s a person at each machine or you don’t mind walking from one to the other to send and confirm receive. Or set up a remote desktop tool (e.g. TeamViewer. A couple versions ago Mint had an easy setup for xvnc or such, but one party or another screwed that up and now it’s hot garbage at best.) For bulk transfers, ftp or samba would be better. Or, yes, even hoofing it with an external drive. When other distros (esp. raspbian) get it, it will be more useful. An android version, even if ONLY ‘send from Android’ would be nice, too.
I’m debating if all machines will get CHIRP (BaoFeng radios…) since the easiest way to get it is use a snap, and snap has become An Issue for Mint. That might be only that chrome does a “stealth root install” of it, so it might not be an issue with snap itself. I’ve not looked into that closely so far. Perhaps just the laptop, due to portability.