Fedora to Linux Mint – Major Switch

A major switch requires a major blog post. This will be a long one.

Five days before I changed my OS. I switched from Fedora – which I had been using for a really long time (i think five years) – to Linux Mint. Had a lot of thought, before choosing Linux mint. But in the end I did go for it. In this blog I talk about why I moved.

Linux is all about options. There are so many distributions out there that sometimes, it is not wise at all to keep browsing the web for new distributions and features. Because you will definitely get sucked in and want to switch. If all your work is in the cloud, then I think switching should not cause much irritation to you. Or if you are trying out distros on a virtual box. But if you are like me, with loads of post installation work to be done after getting a new OS, switching is not really a walk in the park. Sometimes it can be really frustrating. So, the point is, do not switch, unless you really have to or something about your distribution really bothers you. With that said, I was accumulating my grievances for a long time before I made the switch. I want to list those here.

Package Manager/Packages

Although dnf is really good and i liked it a lot more than apt because of the really nice way it summarizes the things you are going to install, i recently found out that there is a HUGE difference between the number of debian packages compared to rpm packages. This literally means that I will have more of the software that the rest of the world has been using under the debian/ubuntu umbrella.

I am not sure why. But there was a time when I had a lot of trouble installing a simple virtual box on fedora. Not sure what I did wrong. But I did not spend time on it to find out what happened. I left it after that. It could be my lack of knowledge.

Policies

There are a lot of policies that red hat based systems seem to have that hinder the installation and support of drivers and software. I am not really clear about this. But it annoyed me a lot in a lot of instances and, unless you are a sys admin, I think it is not worth to go learn these things as well. I did not have this much trouble with the ubuntu machines at work. The word SELINUX brings a lot of stress to me.

It was one of those things that bothered me a lot. I was installing a LAMP stack on a fedora machine to build a web app once. Through the period of time while I was developing this app I had a lot of SELINUX related stress. It took me a lot of time to learn those things. Although this is a good thing to do, I felt it was not necessary for me. I guess I wasted a lot of time on it.

Desktop Environment

Although gnome is the most widely used Desktop Environment for linux machines, I feel it might be the worst as well. I felt bloated when I was using gnome. I also felt that it is not suitable for a desktop or a laptop used as a desktop, as in my case. Why do I say this? Because of the design decisions they have made. Large proportions given to the menu bar and icons and everything, that use up valuable space on the screen. It felt like working on a laptop with lower resolution sometimes.

I switched to MATE Desktop sometime back on fedora itself, since it was a light weight alternative to Gnome 3, which was default with Fedora. It was really good. I liked it. It was in fact a fork from Gnome 2. But then, there is something I have noticed with desktop environments. I feel it is not a good idea to install a second desktop environment. It is a lot of work to make it look like as if you downloaded the Fedora MATE spin itself. I found the Fedora MATE spin to be more stable than the Fedora Gnome edition onto which MATE was installed. Similar thing happened when I installed cinnamon on my Fedora Desktop at home. Not a good idea. There is something missing. What I’m saying is: Download the distro with its native desktop environment to reap the most stability out of it, because I think that is where most of the focus is going.

Updates and Support

When someone says fedora, the word that comes to my mind is ‘cutting edge’. Fedora focuses on providing its users with all the latest technologies. But the downside of this is that it also stops supporting older OSes in 13 months. This bothered me a lot. By the time you get adapted to one, people are already on the next one. I did not like this. I was more of a Long Term Support guy. Took sometime for me to realize this.

Ubuntu does this, with its Long Term Support editions. But the linux mint folk are offering support till 2022 for the OS I am using right now. Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya. That is just amazing. If you are looking for something stable and you want to sit on it for a long time and most of your software are old anyway, then this is it!

User Experience

I tried linux mint via a flash drive a long time back (maybe 2/3 years?) and it was not something special. Just thought that it felt like a linux that looked like windows. I read somewhere recently that the linux mint community is focusing a lot on its cinnamon desktop and user experience. I sampled the new 18.2 version and it was SO evident. So many design decisions taken just right. Nothing more nothing less. You just feel the professional desktop feeling oozing out of cinnamon. I love everything about it, right out of the box! The way a company sets its default values for first use speaks a lot about their design team, I always say. Linux Mint with Cinnamon is just a very usable distro right out of the box.

The file manager Nemo is so good, compared to Nautilus which is the default in Gnome 3. It is miles ahead in terms of user experience. Again, right out of the box.

I also installed virtual box and installed windows on it and it runs really well.

Please do not get fooled by the fact that some people say, mint is for beginners. No. It is rather for people who want to focus on their work and worry less about the rest.

Conclusion

Decide what you want from a distro before you make a choice. Different distros do different things differently. Make a choice as to what is important for you and what is not. Do not ask your friend for a suggestion with a question like “Hey what is the best distro out there”. No that is not the right question. The question is “Hey, what do you think is the right distro for me” and tell him your needs. The more accurate you are with these requirements, the more closer you will be towards finding the right one.

Almost all major distros are great. It just depends on what you want.

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Overheat/ Over Power Consumption : Linux Mint, Solution

Problem:

After installing linux mint on my Dell Inspiron 15R, N5010. I had severe heating and battery issues. I could get only 50mins of battery backup, compared to the 2 hours i get with windows running. This really bugged me because there wasn’t any proper solution in any of the forums. I had the same problem with fedora also and i thought it was a problem with fedora. So i removed fedora from my laptop and installed linux mint.

Solution:

To put it in one line. I installed the proprietary graphics drivers.

Why?

Dell comes with an AMD’s ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470,1GB dedicated memory. Out of the box, When you install linux, you do not get the corresponding drivers and in turn it sucks out a lot of power for the graphics is what I feel. But i am not sure of it and i don’t have a proof or explanation to it. It just seemed logical.

How to install?

Click on the menu and go to Additional Drivers. It will search for the proprietary drivers that are available and will give you a list. Click on the corresponding driver and click Activate or Enable in the bottom of the window. This will download and install the necessary drivers. It will take some time if you have anything below 100KB/s download speed so be patient.

If you want a clear picture you can see this video. Which actually gives you a good picture of this particular installation and six other stuff that you might want to do in your new linux mint.

Click here for the video

I hope you see a difference after you do this.

I faced the same problem with fedora. I guess i did not install the proprietary drivers there too. Will check if it shows any changes and update.

Thanks for reading…

Joys

 

 

Linux Mint: Manual Partition (Common Mistakes)

Partitioning your hard disk for Linux Mint is similar to partitioning for Ubuntu. Since Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu.

Before I begin this blog I want to tell you that this is not a complete guide to partitioning. As there are many other blogs which beautifully give you a complete view of how to do it. Even I did my partitioning after going through such blogs to get an idea. But here I would like to point out some mistakes that i did which led to a lot of extra work, and hopefully you will not repeat the same.

If you want a complete tutorial of how to manually partition and dual boot along side windows. Take a look at this tutorial.

Basically you will need four partitions.
/
/boot
swapspace
/home

/boot will require about 500MB. This will contain the files that help you boot and shutdown. You must be careful with this. Because just below the partitioning table is a drop down menu where you need to specify the partition where you need the boot loader to be installed. “Device for bootloader installation”. As shown below

Courtesy: LinuxBSDos.com

You will need about 10GB ideally for the / or root partition. I run mine with 20GB root partition, which is not actually necessary. 10GB is more than enough according to most of the blogs. Sometimes people, even me, when i first installed Linux, partitioned the root finally at last and gave all the remaining space to it. How ever, it is advised that you do not do this. Leave the rest of the space to the /home partition. Which will contain all your user files. Meaning your documents, photos, videos etc.

Optimum Swap Space has always been a heated discussion in many of the Linux forums all around. Reading all these forums Ive come to my own conclusion which may or may not be the right thing to do according legacy Linux Users. But hey, It works for me without any trouble so I’m fine with it.

a) If the size of RAM is lesser than 2Gb. Then i allot a swap space that is double the size of the RAM.
b) If the size of RAM is more than 4 GB. Then the size of swap is same as the size of RAM.
If the size is anywhere between. You make a call.

I liked this particular link.

Just to give you a sense of satisfaction that even though you give more space it doesn’t matter. I will tell you my own configuration. I have 5GB of swap space for 4GB of RAM. I dunno Why I have that. But it somehow felt right at the moment I installed it and I did.

NOTE: Please be careful about specifying the Device for boot loader installation. This would be the most likely place that you would make a mistake. Because I did it too and my Linux would not shut down at all. It would just freeze with a terminal screen with a lot of errors. Then I found that the mistake was this and I had to reinstall Linux because all other trouble shooting failed. Besides reinstalling was the most straight forward thing to do..

Joys

How to fix: No sound in Linux Mint 13 Maya ~ Linux and Life

I recently moved on to Linux Mint Maya. The 13th version from Linux Mint. I was using Fedora 17 previously. I felt Fedora was consuming too much power from my laptop and the laptop was getting heated up so soon.

I had a problem with the sound in my laptop. I couldn’t hear any audio from vlc player or banshee. But I could hear the startup sound. So i surfed the web for a solution and this is what i found. The solution seemed to be pretty Simple.

How to fix: No sound in Linux Mint 13 Maya ~ Linux and Life.

 

Joys