Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, September 12, 2016 at 18:57

We provide 8 suggestions about after installing Linux Mint 18 LTS "Sarah" for any edition (Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, XFCE). We write this article for new users in GNU/Linux especially first timers in Linux Mint. We also include here a suggestion to install some educational software to fill the gaps in education field. The 8 things here are just suggestions, so perform any of them with your own risk.


1. Reload

Generally, the first thing to do is doing synchronization between our Linux Mint system and the repository server it uses, or simply call it reload*.

To do it, firstly check your software sources settings. You may do it from console or from GUI program called Software Sources. Check whether they are already completed or not. The example of complete software sources shown below from two files: official-package-repositories.list and ubuntu-defaults.list files inside the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory.

After checking, you may do reload directly from the GUI Software Sources program by clicking the "Update the cache" button. If you want the console way, perform the command sudo apt-get update. By doing either of them, you reload your software sources.

Reloading from GUI

Reloading from Console

*) Reload here is merely downloading repository server content index files, not downloading nor installing any software package.

*) Software sources is a term to call /etc/apt/sources.list file; and also files inside /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory; which contain list of URL addresses of the repositories, the source of software. Anyhow, there is a GUI program named also Software Sources to help end users setting those sources list files easily.

2. Change Repository Server

If you prefer to use the nearest repository mirror server, change it from GUI Software Sources program. You can change the default server into local server available in your own country, or even your city, so the download speed can increase. There are 2 types of repository you can change in Linux Mint:

  1. Change the main (Linux Mint) repository: click the button > select one server from the list.  
  2. Change the base* (Ubuntu) repository: click the button > select one server from the list. 
  3. Press "Update the cache" button. It is the same with Reload.

*) Base: Linux Mint is an operating system and software distribution derived from Ubuntu. So, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and Ubuntu repository is compatible with Linux Mint. So, Linux Mint gives the users two repositories at the same time: main repository (Linux Mint own repository) and base (Ubuntu repository).

3. Install Multimedia Codecs


Starting from version 18, Linux Mint is no longer containing multimedia codecs (for proprietary multimedia formats) by default anymore. Instead, every edition of Linux Mint brings a shortcut to install them right from desktop menu.

  • Linux Mint KDE: menu > Applications > Add all the missing multimedia codecs
  • Linux Mint Cinnamon: menu > Sound & Video > Install Multimedia Codecs.
Or you can do it by command line (it costs around 53 MB in Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon):

sudo apt-get install mint-meta-codecs 

And now you can play any audio or video file format.

3. Upgrade

Upgrade means installing new version of every software in the system. In this term, upgrade is the same thing as apt-get upgrade, and not apt-get update. Doing upgrade in Linux Mint is very simple. You may choose the GUI Update Manager or the console method.

IMPORTANT: upgrading a Debian-based distribution with GUI are often resulting in broken packages. So consult Linux Mint community or technical supports first before doing so. Be careful.

Update Manager

Open the update manager from menu > Update Manager. Press "Refresh" button > press "Install Updates" button. By doing this, you install the updates available.


Do the command lines below:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

IMPORTANT: if you are facing broken packages or errors after upgrading, do some search like this "linux mint upgrade broken" or more.

4. Arrange Desktop Icons

Among things desktop users usually do is re-arranging their desktop icons. For example, adding LibreOffice and GIMP icons to desktop and panel. To do that, simply open desktop menu > drag one icon > drop into desktop/panel.

KDE: to move an icon on desktop, press and hold it then move it.

5. Fix Font Hinting (for KDE)

Only for KDE edition, there is a known issue with its font hinting (e.g. the ugly appearance of all text) for specific application such as LibreOffice. If it happens in your Linux Mint, open desktop menu > System Settings > Fonts > select Use antialiasing: Enabled > select Configure: Sub-pixel rendering=RGB; Hinting style=Slight > press Apply.

6. Install Popular Desktop Software

If you have some must-install desktop software, the easiest way to install them is by using Software Manager program available in desktop menu. It provides easy to understand user interface, just search and click to install software. In Linux Mint 18, there are about 50.000 packages available to install. Of course you need internet connection to do every installation.

If you prefer console to do installation, then there are some popular suggestions and their respective command lines for you:


Graphic design software for vector images, a replacement for CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator. It costs around 13 MB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install inkscape


Desktop publishing software, a replacement for Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. It costs about 21 MB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install scribus


Screenshot taking and editing software (feature rich), a replacement for ScreenshotCaptor. It costs about 4 MB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install shutter

Note: there are three options to do software installation in Linux Mint 18: by console, by GUI Software Manager, and by GUI Synaptic Package Manager. If you want the best control but you don't want console, we recommend you to use Synaptic instead.

7. Install Education Software

Linux Mint provides very large numbers of free software for educational purposes. We recommends few of them here, as interesting programs for teacher and students. You may install them from the easy GUI Software Manager or from the detailed console.


Interactive mathematics and algebra studying program, including 2D and 3D graphics plotting. It costs around 700 KB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install kalgebra


Interactive geometry 2D and 3D drawing tool, suitable for teachers e.g. in creating 2D geometry drawings. It costs around 2 MB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install kalgebra


Complete and interactive game-based educational program for children 2 to 10 years old. It helps children to understand letters, vocabulary, basic math, science, and even computer. It costs around 134 MB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install gcompris


Interactive 3D earth globe software. Similar to Google Earth, except Marble can be used without internet connection. It costs around 21 MB in Linux Mint 18 KDE.

sudo apt-get install marble

8. Install Communication Software

There are many free software for communication available from Linux Mint or from a third party. The most trending now is Telegram Desktop from (third party). And for the sake of VoIP or video conferencing, there is Ekiga Softphone evailable directly from Linux Mint repository.


Download the desktop GNU/Linux version from  Extract the archive file and just double click the `Telegram` file name.


VoIP client and modern video converence software. It costs around 18 MB in Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon.

sudo apt-get install ekiga