Using Linux Mint is a great way to get the most out of your computer, but there are a few important things to remember when utilizing it. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when using Linux Mint to ensure you make the most of it:
Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions in existence. Far from simply recycling what comes from Ubuntu, the derivative has been able to develop its own approach and ecosystem that have given it a strong identity and consolidated it, in the opinion of many, as the best alternative to Windows.
The success of Mint is based on putting almost all the meat on a grill that has not always been taken care of in the Linux spectrum: the design. Linux Mint, at least in its default edition, employs a desktop (graphical interface) called Cinnamon.which is a fork of the popular GNOME and stands out as a balance between the constrained nature of the original project and the almost infinite possibilities of KDE Plasma at the configuration level.
The user will find in Cinnamon a desktop with a Windows-like layout and a simple, familiar and easy to understand presentation. It also has powerful customization possibilities, but without becoming saturated, thus providing a more tailored experience to the average user coming from Microsoft’s system.
In addition to a well-designed desktop with a powerful yet simple configuration, Linux Mint preinstalls a significant amount of generally easy-to-use applications and tools. and providing features such as snapshots, a driver manager (drivers) and a firewall, which we will discuss in more detail below.
To its own virtues is added the fact that it is derived from Ubuntu, so Linux Mint benefits in high percentage from third-party software available for the distribution developed by Canonical. However, it is important to note that the derivative has openly opposed one of Ubuntu’s flagship technologies, the Snap universal package format, so instead it uses Flatpak, whose origin is officially community-based and is mainly driven by Red Hat.
After exposing a bit the key points of the success of Linux Mint and the main discrepancy it maintains with its mother distribution, I will mention five aspects that the user should take into consideration when using this operating system (or Linux distribution, which is ultimately both).
Remember to enable codecs in the installation process.
In the installation process of Linux Mint there is step that allows you to install codecs for multimedia. This step is very important if the user wants to have support for playing content rendered in proprietary formats such as H.264 and H.265.so it is recommended to check the checkbox. If not, the user can obtain the codecs through the welcome screen, after clicking on the “Let’s go!” button, or by installing the following metapackage, which can be found with the Synaptic application by using the word
install mint-meta-codecs, searched with the phrase “Multimedia Codecs” in the Software Manager or installed with the command just below.
sudo apt install mint-meta-codecs
Enable snapshot management with TimeShift
TimeShift is a graphical tool that is dedicated to the. creation of incremental snapshots of the file system. at regular intervals, thus providing a way to restore previous system states and undo applied changes. It bears some similarity to macOS Time Machine and Windows System Restore. Its presence by default gives a lot of value to Linux Mint, more seeing that the use of this type of mechanism is not very standardized in Linux.
TimeShift is capable of taking snapshots via RSYNC or using the native snapshot feature of the Btrfs file system. Because Linux Mint uses EXT4 by default, only RSYNC can be selected in the steps to configure automatic snapshot generation.
Other important steps are the selection of the partitions the user wants to backup, the snapshot periodicity and the selection of user folders. The configuration is done in a similar way to the installation of a Windows application, so the user, as long as he understands what he is reading on the screen, will be able to complete the process without major complications.
Check the driver manager
The driver manager is one of the main virtues of Ubuntu and that Linux Mint inherits. The Linux kernel, due to its pure monolithic nature, does not make it easy when it comes to install drivers additional drivers, so the presence of a tool like this is very welcome.
Linux Mint’s (and Ubuntu’s) driver manager is mainly responsible for looking for the. driver NVIDIA’s official driver, which is necessary even for basic computer use on most occasions.
The user just has to open the “Driver Manager”, wait for the tool to do the. search process and then install the drivers suggestedif there are any. In case you want to play or use a recent model of an NVIDIA graphics card, it would be convenient to configure the Graphics Drivers repository, which provides access to a very recent version, if not the latest, of the official driver of the green giant.
Checks for and applies updates
There is nothing here that is not common among operating systems. Applying updates is critical to receive the latest patches both to fix software bugs and vulnerabilities that have been discovered, so it is advisable to open the corresponding tool from time to time to make sure that everything is in order.
Getting and applying updates is as easy as clicking the Reload and “Install updates” buttons.buttons, in that order. However, the first time you open the tool, you may see a warning that a new version of the update manager is available. In this case, you should follow the above step and click on the “Apply the update” button.
Another aspect to take into account is the suggestion to change to a local server, to which it is advisable to answer ‘No’ at least from Spain.
Enable the firewall
And as the last important point is the activation of the firewall, a very important component to block mainly incoming traffic as a barrier against the possibility of it being malicious. Linux Mint uses Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) for this purpose.which translates as uncomplicated firewall and is just that, a simple and easy to use firewall.
UFW is managed through the command line, but fortunately it has an official graphical interface, called GUFW (GUI for Uncomplicated Firewall), which makes it much more user friendly. The user can with GUFW employ a preconfigured rule that covers a large number of applications and games, set a simple rule for a specific port or an advanced rule that allows to deal with a number of ports. In addition to allowing or denying incoming or outgoing traffic, it is also possible to block explicit ports.
But firewall configuration, even a simple one such as UFW, becomes a complicated task for the user, so we will limit ourselves to recommending at the very least enablement via the “Status” switch.. That way at least you get protection via the default settings, which is better than nothing after all.
As we can see, Linux Mint is an operating system that tries to make things easier for the user, even in many aspects it is simpler and better designed than Windows itself, so getting comfortable with it is only a matter of time if the hardware responds as it should, and is that, unfortunately, Linux is still incompatible with a large number of components today.
However, and despite the good work of those responsible for the distribution, the project has a major Achilles tendon in the lack of plans to adopt Wayland, the graphics protocol that for fifteen years has been trying to succeed Xorg. Wayland brings some improvements in security, in particular the fact that applications using Xorg have access to the entire contents of the screen and that applications running on top of Xorg can record all keystrokes, regardless of the window being typed on. Another aspect is HDR, whose possibilities of coming to Linux are, for the moment, through Wayland.
Linux Mint, like any human creation, is not perfect, but in the overall computation it is today one of the best operating systems in existence.