Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 15:07

Few days ago Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" Cinnamon Edition has been released. Now after installing, you may need a short suggestion in having somethings for this Serena Cinnamon. As usual, I mentioned here some familiar and also educational software suggestions. This article is for everyone, especially every new user into GNU/Linux and Linux Mint.
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1. Reload

You need to download the Linux Mint repository "maps" so your system knows exactly where to download every software package. This action has many names, but I prefer to call it "reload". This action does not download any software, nor install any, it just downloads "the maps" of your repository. Open your Terminal and do this command line:

$ sudo apt-get update

By finishing this command line process, you enables Synaptic Package Manager, Software Manager, and apt-get to install any software package from Linux Mint official software repository. Synaptic and Software Manager are GUI applications similar to "Google Play Store" in Android, it helps the user search and choose application to install.

2. Install Codecs

Patents in software field are horrible obstacles for software developments. Starting in version 18, Linux Mint does not include free software to play MP3/MP4/another patent-covered formats anymore because of that. In other words, Linux Mint 18.1 does not include complete GStreamer software anymore (and some other free software for playing some formats). So now you should install them yourself. Open your Terminal and run this command line:

$ sudo apt-get install gstreamer1.0-libav gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly-amr gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly libgstreamer-plugins-bad1.0-0 gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad-videoparsers gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad-faad gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad libdvdnav4 libdvdread4

This long command line (consists of many packages) is my reduced version of a single package mint-meta-codecs. I removed from this command line all nonfree packages I know (such as adobe-flashplugin) so please tell me if I made mistake here. And yes, I removed vlc package too (it's free software) because I mentioned VLC sepearately below.

3. Show Detailed Date on Panel

It's better to always see the date and time right on your desktop panel. You avoid forgetting schedules by that. By default, the date information is hidden on Serena Cinnamon. You can show it by

  • right-click clock on panel > Configure
  • enable "Use a custom date format"
  • close the Configuration dialog

To show the second, change the date code %A %B %e, %H:%M into %A %B %e, %H:%M:%S. The only difference is the `:%S` code that represents the second. But I prefer to use this code %e %A %B %Y, %H:%M:%S to show the year because I love informative screenshots. You are free to choose one.

4. Add Download/Upload Indicator Applet

For some desktop users nowadays, it is important to know how much download/upload speed being used in real-time. For that purpose, while in GNOME we have Netpeed Indicator extension, in Cinnamon we have "Download and upload speed" extension (or, applet). This applet shows network download and upload speed every 1 second on the panel. It's good to have it.

To add Download and upload speed applet, you still need to install it first. To do it, right-click on panel > Add applets to panel > click Available Applets (Online) > search for "download and upload speed" > select the applet name > click "Install" button (on the bottom of dialog screen) > see it on your panel.

5. Install Daily Desktop Applications

Different user has different needs. But there are some popular free software applications for desktop you may want to install. Here are some applications already available from official Linux Mint repository, you can install them using GUI Software Manager or command line.

Inkscape (vector editor, similar to CorelDRAW)
$ sudo apt-get install inkscape

Scribus (desktop publishing, similar to Adobe PageMaker)
$ sudo apt-get install scribus

VLC (popular video player)
$ sudo apt-get install vlc

Shutter (screenshot tool)
$ sudo apt-get install shutter

Flowblade (advanced non-linear video editor)
$ sudo apt-get install flowblade

6. Check Your System sources.list

You should know where your repository setting saved. In Ubuntu, it is located at /etc/apt/sources.list file. But in Linux Mint, it is different, it is located at /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list file. To see the content, do this command line:
$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list
And in Linux Mint 18.1 the content of this file are 6 lines of configuration:

7. Install Development Applications

Linux Mint provides huge numbers software engineering tools, just like another GNU/Linux distributions. For example, you get compilers, interpreters, text editors, reusable libraries, and IDEs for almost all programming languages. Linux Mint supports C & C++, BASIC, Ada, Python, Perl, Pascal, PHP, Java, Ruby, and many others language through the tools available.

GNU Emacs (powerful text editor from GNU)
$ sudo apt-get install emacs

Vim (powerful popular console text editor)
$ sudo apt-get install vim

Geany (lightweight and user-friendly IDE)
$ sudo apt-get install geany

Eclipse (popular IDE for Java and Android)
$ sudo apt-get install eclipse

Netbeans (popular IDE for Java)
$ sudo apt-get install netbeans

Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
$ sudo apt-get install default-jre

OpenJDK (Java Development Kit, The Free Implementation)
$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk
$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-9-jdk

Codeblocks (a C/C++ IDE, lightweight)
$ sudo apt-get install codeblocks

Codelite (a C/C++ IDE, lightweight)
$ sudo apt-get install codelite

GNU G++ (C++ compiler from GNU)
$ sudo apt-get install g++

Qt Creator (official IDE for Qt Framework)
$ sudo apt-get instal qtcreator

8. Install Education Applications

Linux Mint as a GNU/Linux distribution provides many educational software packages ready to use. For you installing Linux Mint for schools, you can introduce the use of these free software examples.

KAlgebra (program to learn algebra, mathematics)
$ sudo apt-get install kalgebra

Kig (program to learn geometry, mathematics)
$ sudo apt-get install kig

Marble (offline 3D globe, similar with Google Earth)
$ sudo apt-get install marble

GCompris (educational games for preschool children)
$ sudo apt-get install GCompris

TuxType (rapid typing trainer game)
$ sudo apt-get install tuxtype

TuxMath (basic math game for kids)
$ sudo apt-get install tuxmath