Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 22:59

Linux Mint 19 LTS has been released a while and still, this is the traditional recommended things to do (with new stuffs!) after installing it, particularly for Cinnamon Edition. For new comers especially those with MS Windows prior experience, this list will help you check up what you need in starting Mint 19. You will find here usual stuffs like switching repository and installing themes, as well as making a "System Restore" (ah yes, this is a new feature) and applications recommendation, plus some other stuffs. I hope this list will be useful as a simple guide for you all. Enjoy Linux Mint!

Subscribe to UbuntuBuzz Telegram Channel to get article updates directly.

Read also about Mint 19: download links and easy installation guide.

1. Change Repository Mirror

Local mirror often faster than foreign ones. Go to main menu and find Software Sources to switch both Main and Base repositories to local mirrors. The Software Source program including speed test to show you which mirror faster than the others.

The Software Sources to change mirrors

2. Install More Themes!

You will find so many Cinnamon Themes available in the official website Once downloaded, you get file in .tar.gz format, extract it, and put the extracted folder into ~/.themes folder. Just create the folder manually if you don't find it.

Cinnamon Spices website

To switch theme, go to menu > System Settings > Themes > Desktop > select the theme you just installed.

Selecting theme which is manually installed

3. Adding Applets and Desklets

It's like Widgets on Kubuntu: a cute little thing that is useful you put on wallpaper area ("desklet") or panel ("applet").
For developers: if you're interested to create applets for Cinnamon desktop, refer here.
To download applets or desklets, go to System Settings > Applets or Desklets > select Download tab > search interesting applets or desklets you like > press down arrow button to download > select Manage tab > enable it.

The place for you to install/setup them both

Interesting applets:
  • Download and upload speed: [install] as its name says.
  • On-screen keyboard: [built-in] useful if you have touchscreen display or have difficulty typing with physical keyboard.
  • Weather: [install] as its name says.
  • CPU Temperature: [install] as its name says.
  • Cheaty: [install] for developer: shows cheatsheets of Git, SQL, Docker, Shell, and Markdown. It's a real good innovation to integrate it with Cinnamon.

From left to right: Cheatsheets, CPU Temperature, Keyboard, and Scale View

Interesting desklets:

  • Weather: [install] of course, to show weather info of your city. If you wonder what is your city ID number, just click the desklet, find it manually in the BBC website, and add it into the desklet configuration.
  • Crypto Coins Ticker: [install] show the current BitCoin currency info!
  • Calendar: [built-in] show calendar in desktop, always.

Tip: press Super+S to show up all desklets. Press again to hide them.

4. Enable MP3/MP4 Playback

In fact, Mint 19 does not include MP3/MP4 codecs so it cannot play that formats by default. Fortunately, we can install it manually by command lines:

MP3 codec (playback in Rhythmbox):
  • $ sudo apt-get install gstreamer1.0-fluendo-mp3

MP4 codec (playback in Media Player):
  • $ sudo apt-get install gstreamer1.0-libav gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly

Or if you want all-in-one solutios, of course you can install VLC Media Player:
  • $ sudo apt-get install vlc

5. Panel Customizing + Net Speed Applet

Panel in the Linux Mint Cinnamon can be added, removed, re-positioned, as well as combined with Applet onto it. In other words, you can have double panel top-down like GNOME 2 era, or vertical single one like Unity 7, or other style as well. To edit panel, just right-click > Modify Panel > Add Panel, for example.

Similar to many of my reviews, here I recommend volume-based internet user to have Download and upload speed applet on their panel like this.

A similar stuff to GNOME's NetSpeed extension

Where to get the speed indicator...

6. Enable Redshift & Change Startups

Redshift (a program) is a display temperature reducer, it runs in background to automatically adapt display color so it won't hurt, it helps people with sleeplessness as well as eye-strains. If you use Linux Mint in a long duration every day, you will need Redshift to keep your eyes healthy. Fortunately, now Linux Mint includes it by default. Just run it from menu > Redshift > right-click its icon on the panel > enable Autostart.

Redshift on your panel

Also, Linux Mint provides a way called Startup Applications for user to adjust what programs running at booting. Run it from menu > System Settings > Startup. You see, there are many items on it by default and it's easy to add new item by plus button and disable any active one by toggle button.

Where to control your startup items

7. Viewing System Details

To see you computer system information, go to menu > System Info.

Viewing basic info about CPU, RAM, VGA, and OS version

8. Making a Bootable USB

You don't need any other tool because USB Image Writer is already installed. It's a simple tool to do the same job as Unetbootin (GNU/Linux) or Rufus (Windows).

No need to install additional software to burn ISO image

9. Change Language

To switch language, go to menu > System Settings > Languages. You can, for example, change the language to French, then click Language (the first button) > select French, France > OK > logout and login again to see your desktop turned into French. To add more languages, there's available Install/Remove Language button.

Change desktop language

10. Change Time Zone

If you install Mint quickly, you may missed the time zone setting. You can configure it after installing by going to System Settings > Date & Time. Just change the Region and City. Personally, I love to display complete date and seconds to you can do it doo by enabling both below.

Change time zone easily

11. Update the System Security

Go to menu > Update Manager or simply click the blue shield icon on the panel. First you may want to Refresh it and then finally press Install Updates. Notice the total size to be downloaded at the bottom-left corner (i.e. 270MB on picture below).

Update Manager

12. Have A System Restore Point

Have you ever used "System Restore" feature on MS Windows? If you have, then here in Tara you have same feature as well. Open up Timeshift from menu and create a "Snapshot" (its own term to mean "Restore Point") and determine a partition with enough free space to store it. If something bad happens with your Tara system, i.e. having broken upgrade, then you can "restore" it to known-healthy snapshot you've created.

To create snapshot, just press Create button > choose the default "Rsync" method > and go. You may need to patiently wait until whole system being backed up. After finishing the process, a snapshot should looks like below.

This is your new System Restore in the Linux Mint

13. Setup Email in the Desktop

Thunderbird is installed by default. With this, you can setup your Gmail account in POP/IMAP mode, to read inbox and to send mails on desktop.

Email in the desktop

14. Privacy Pack

These recommended program + Firefox addons aside of protecting your privacy, may also helping to reduce internet bandwidth.

  • KeePassX: [application] stores your accounts credentials with a secure password only you can open; have it in your Mint system by invoking command: $ sudo apt-get install keepassx
  • uBlock Origin: [addon] denies all kind of ads in all websites including their stealth online trackers.
  • HTTPS Everywhere: [addon] forces your browser to use the secure HTTPS in every connection. For example, it forces login to be protected with HTTPS completely instead of with the insecure HTTP.
  • Privacy Badger: addon: denies all kinds of internet trackers in user-friendly way.
  • User-Agent Switcher: [addon] helps you to switch your browser/OS identity online without the need to switch computer. It's also strongly useful for you to fight internet discrimination (i.e. unethical bandwidth limiting) based on user-agent.
  • Easy Image Blocker: [addon] denies all kinds of images in every website, or the opposite, with custom exceptions you may edit as you wish. This in combination with u.O. and P.B. above will saves you a lot of bandwidth.

15. Multimedia Pack

For multimedia editing or just playback, here's some good stuffs:

MP3/MP4 playback codecs
  • $ sudo apt-get install gstreamer1.0-libav gstreamer1.0-fluendo-mp3
WinFF (easy video and audio converter)
  • $ sudo apt-get install winff
OpenShot (easy to use nonlinear video editor, with many effects)
  • $ sudo apt-get install openshot
Audacity (professional audio waveform editor)
  • $ sudo apt-get install audacity

16. Image Editing Pack

Ever imagined resizing many JPEG photos in one click? You can do it with Linux Mint file manager, Nemo, by installing a certain plugin. Here's it and more recommendations:

Nemo Image Converter (needs system restart)
  • $ sudo apt-get install nemo-image-converter

Inkscape (vector editor, CorelDRAW or Illustrator replacement)
  • $ sudo apt-get install inkscape

Scribus (desktop publishing, PageMaker replacement)
  • $ sudo apt-get install scribus

Tupi 2D (2D animation maker, Macromedia Flash MX replacement)
  • $ sudo apt-get install tupi

17. Internet Pack

For most part (browsing, emailing, chatting, and torrenting) the default programs are all complete. But for casual downloading and YouTube, here's suggestion:

uGet Download Manager
  • $ sudo apt-get install uget

  • $ sudo apt-get install youtube-dl

18. Utility Pack

Utilities like CD burner, partitioning tool, and even file recovery tool can be installed by these command lines:

K3B (fast CD & DVD burner)
  • $ sudo apt-get install k3b

File Recovery
  • $ sudo apt-get install testdisk

Partition Editor
  • $ sudo apt-get install gparted

RAR Extracting Support
  • $ sudo apt-get install unrar-free

Wine, to run Windows binary applications
  • $ sudo apt-get install wine-stable

19. Browse Flatpak!

More about Flatpak itself in its website and in the repository, Flathub.

Yes, in the Mint Software Manager we can browse Flatpak applications from Flathub! We don't need to open a browser, manually go and find out and click the install button on, but all available in the Manager.

The Software Manager with vast amount of software

Enjoy Linux Mint 19!

Further Resources

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.