*Linux Guide

A month with Linux Mint 14 'Nadia' MATE


My readers knows that Linux Mint is one of my preferred distro, so i could not exempt myself to download, and use the last version, officially released on november 20, 2012.
Linux Mint is an important distro, a very important distro in the Linux desktop world. Its goal is to make Linux an easy, usable, "human", logic, relyable and useful operating system. Since its first versions it reached this goal. Its popularity is very high.
I decided to use 'Nadia' for a month, every days and for all needs. Let me show you this experience.

Technical Sheet

  • Name: Linux Mint 'Nadia'
  • Version: 14
  • Type: live/installable
  • Orientation: Desktop
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Derived: Ubuntu/Debian
  • Desktop environment: MATE
  • Kernel: Linux 3.5.0-17-generic
  • Minimal system requirements: a 64-bit x86 processor, 512 MB RAM (recommended 1GB for a comfortable usage), 6.2 GB of disk space to install the system, graphic card with at least 800×600 px resolution support, CD/DVD drive or USB ports
  • Releasing cycle: Usually a month after the last released Ubuntu version
  • Updating: With Update Manager, or with Apt or with Synaptic


My experience was completed totally after installation. In live session i only run the installer. The Pc in which i installed 'Nadia' has these characteristics
All peripherals and hardware was correctly recognized and configured, except for my damned Lexmark s305 multifunctions printer that don't work at all, even with the installed drivers. As this happened with all my distros, i presume that is the printer that don't works.
The system boot automatically, but there are few options if you click a key when you are in the boot screen.

  • Kernel loading = OK
  • X server loading = OK
  • Screen resolution = OK
  • Devices Automounting = OK

Options and loading time

Boot screen is graphical and there are no settings options.
In the live session loading time take about 2 minutes, while once installed the system end the loading in about 30 seconds.
On desk there is a welcome dialog with lot of utilities, expecially useful for newbies (i ask myself why there isn't the same utility in Ubuntu for instance).

System Installation

Installing Linux Mint is the same for Ubuntu, so a game for kids...smart! Installer has a graphical interface, and even a monkey can use it. I allways suggest having an already partitioned hard drive (at least a 10-20 GB free partition for the system, and a 1 GB free partition for swap memory. It's very recommended having a Data partition in which you can store all your data, that can be shared with other systems in the computer). Also i suggest a total data and system backup.
Following pictures show you how easy is system installation.

  1. Welcome and language selection - Just scroll the list to find your own language, then click on "Continue".
  2. Preparing to install - There are two requirement to satisfy. First there are at least 6.2 GB of free disk space, and that the PC is connected to internet.

  3. Choosing installation type - if in your computer there are other operating systems, installer ask you which installation type you want to perform. There are three options:
    • Installing Linux Mint along an already existent system (like Windows®);
    • Erase all disk and install Linux Mint as the single system (suitable choice for computer with no operating system inside);
    • Other, choosing a specific partition, changing the partitions table, etc. (suitable choice for those that know what they are doing)
    In my case i choose the /dev/sda7 disk partition

  4. Choosing the partition - Just selected the preferred partition, clicking on it twice

  5. Setup partition's parameters - In this window i selected the file system type, the mount point and the option to format partition. Click on OK to change the partitions table

  6. Checking the partitions table - As you can see in the below image, parameters are changed. Click on "Install" to start installation

  7. Choosing your time zone - While installation go ahead, you can setup the time zone, poining the cursor on your own country. When finished click on "Continue"

  8. Choosing keyboard layout - Just scroll the list to your own layout, then click on "Continue"

  9. User and password Setup - In this window you must insert the user name, the computer name, and the root password. You can also setup the autologin, or if you want to encrypt the /home directory

  10. Import an account - This is an interesting option, because allows the user to import settings from another operating system in the computer, so you don't need to re-configure the system. Select the account in between that are available. Then click on "Continue"

  11. Installation - The installation will complete in about ten minutes.

  12. Finished! - You can reboot the system or to continue in the Live session.

The GRUB 2 bootloader has recognized all my 8 operating system.
Installation has required about 15 minutes without issues at all. excellent!

Desktop environment and look

I chose the version with MATE because I think it's the version that uses less resources. Cinnamon is cute, but it seems a bit more complex than MATE.
The distro is shown with an interface that the whole Linux world knows. Perhaps for this coherence Mint is so popular; versions passed, the zodiacal ages changed, Gnome changed, government changed, but Mint does not change his way, and this is very comforting. The pleasure of the coherence is expressed in the bottom panel (such as Windows®), in the two icons on the desktop, in the usual placid wallpaper. In short, his appearance is what you see in the first picture in this article. I tried to acclimatize me with MATE in its default configuration, but after a couple of days I tried to change it to my habits, with the panel on top, and a dock at the bottom, as in systems based on Xfce. It's an ergonomic configuration for me. Just moving the panel on top:

and installing Cairo Dock:

Lo sfondo della scrivania non è di mio gradimento, anche se devo ammettere che identifica molto la distro, indicandone il nome e la versione, per cui ho preso uno sfondo dal web e l'ho piazzato al suo posto per ottenere quindi questa scrivania The desktop background isn't my preferred, so I took a background from the web and I placed to his place to get then this desk

I used the Main Menu only to launch applications that are not in the dock (Transmission, gFTP, xxxterm, mainly). It's the classic, exceptional, inimitable Mint menu that is a powerful control center.
Application windows are soberly decorated with the "Mint-X" theme. It is a very discreet theme. Working with Mint is a relax, the eye is not affected by useless frills.

On the third day of work I had MY desktop with what I needed and I felt myself just fine.


Mint 14 'Nadia' with MATE, has a great software collection.
For the Office tasks there is the monumental LibreOffice suite.
For Graphics there is the famous, precious GIMP in 2.8 version, there is gThumb and Eye of MATE for pictures management/visualization, to view PDF file there is Evince, and SimpleScan is for your scanner.
To surf the web, and to communicate there is Firefox to browse websites, Pidgin to message to your friends, XChat, Thunderbird for email and Transmission to manage torrent files. I immediately removed what i don't use and only Firefox and Transmission remained.
Multimedia is granted by the presence of codecs for the most common formats. There is VLC for audio and video, Banshee to listen to music, GnomePlayer and Totem as multimedia player, and Brasero to burn CDs and DVDs.
Linux Mint has many other useful tools, like following:

  • Tomboy to apply notes on desktop

  • Pluma, as simple and very light text editor

  • GDebi to install .deb packages
  • APTonCD to perform a preferred packages backup

  • UFW to start the FireWall

  • MintUpdate to keep the system update through a useful and nice graphical interface

  • MintInstall to install new packages through a nice graphical user interface

  • Synpatic to manage, install, remove, update, fix, and lock software packages

  • MintBackup to perform a system backup, also incremental. Excellent tool to save the system

  • Network Manager to manage web connection, and so on

Manage, install, remove, upgrade, repair and lock packages versions are functions that can be completed in three different ways. With the Applications Manager you can install and remove software easily and is a tool for beginners.
With the Package Manager you can install, remove, upgrade, repair, and lock packages with a graphical user interface and is a tool for intermediate users.
With the terminal and APT you can do everything on packages, even very specific actions, but it can be managed by advanced users.

What I removed/installed?
First, I removed what I've never used: Thunderbird, Pidgin, XChat. Then I've installed what I need and what I like:
  • Audacious that is a lightweight music player
  • Audacity for editing audio tracks and for gapless playlist
  • Rhythmbox that i installed because i don't like Banshee. However Banshee is a great tool.
  • Xfburn as a tool for burning CD and DVD. It 's more efficient and lighter than Brasero
  • gFTP is my preferred FTP client
  • Opera my preferred web browser
  • UGet as download manager, which I used only once in a particular case
  • xxxterm, a web browser really light and fast.
  • Bluefish, xhtml and CSS editor that I use to write my articles, like this
  • Cairo Dock, a very interesting Dock

Apart the web connection setup, that I quickly completed with the excellent Network Manager, I haven't changed any settings. Linux Mint is suitable for immediate use and is a system that facilitates the user in any way. The Control Panel is a real control center and allows you to do everything.


There is not much to say about it. You can use Linux Mint immediately, quickly and for all tasks. The main menu gave the idea of ​​what is a priority for designers, user comfort. I think that Linux Mint is currently the Linux desktop more usable and friendly available today.
It is an honor and a privilege to be able to use a system like that, and I think that today is the Gold Standard to be achieved by any other available distro in the Free Software world.


Mint 14 MATE is a system not suitable for computers with less than 1 GB of RAM, although the release announcement indicating as adequate the presence of only 512 MB. With 1 GB you can use the system very smoothly, also if the processor is not archaic, the system responds very well. With Caja file manager, xxxterm web browser, Banshee, Bluefish, Transmission, and System Monitor in action, the RAM consumption is around 640 MB, with a CPU load at 13%.


  • Reliability and stability
  • Usability and friendliness
  • Ubuntu at the base
  • Easy installation and package management


  • Booting a bit slow
  • Version upgrading a bit complex

Why using this distro?

  • Ideal for all newbies
  • The system do what we ask to it. Nothing else.

Useful Links


Even this time Mint has convinced me of his goodness. With its reliability, its amenities, its ease of use, and its usability is even boring. But for those looking for a reliable operating system with which to pursue their work and their important things, it's important to turn on the computer, ask for things and get them without having to do anything. Well, Linux Mint does everything and does it well, very well.
Linux Mint is recommended for all people, for everything you need. Nothing else to say.
Thanks very much to the developers, and to the whole community that supports such project.

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