Today we’re looking at Linux Mint (www.linuxmint.com), another distribution derived from Ubuntu Linux. They claim it’s very user friendly but it’s also very appealing in looks. While most of the tips today were tested on Linux Mint, they will still run perfectly fine on your Ubuntu installations as well.
Rebooting an operating system to get changes to come into effect is irritating because it’s really slow and most of lack patience. When you’re busy tweaking and want Gnome to be restarted every few minutes, you can restart it without rebooting the entire system. Save your work first and then press [Ctrl] [Alt] [Backspace]. Gnome will restart and you’ll be returned to the login screen without rebooting within moments.
Automatically Logging Into Your Distribution
Linux Mint and even Ubuntu have the option of having your user name automatically logged in when your PC boots up. That way, you don’t have to enter your user name and password every single time. It’s also useful when you use remote desktop to login to Linux and the VNC server can’t be accessed until you login.
In Linux Mint, click on the Start button and then click on Administration > Login Window. Enter your password and then click on the Security tab. Check the box for Enable Automatic Login. Use the dropdown menu to select the user to be automatically logged in.
Changing The Login Screen Theme
There’s no denying that the login screen on Linux Mint looks very nice indeed. After a while, it gets boring and is always better to have a fancy theme greet you during login. Click on the Start button. Next, click on Administration > Login Window. Click on the Local tab and you can choose one from among the many themes in the list. A custom welcome message can be set using the text bar below.
A variety of login screen themes are present in Ubuntu and Linux Mint
Sites like www.gnome-look.org, http://art.gnome.org/ and www.customize.org have a large collection of themes, which you can download. Look specifically for GDM themes. New themes can be installed by clicking the Add button and browsing to the location of the theme. Click Close when you are done.
Enable Complete Previewing Of Files In Nautilus
When you’re using Nautilus to browse files, especially ones on a network, you may notice that some of the files do not generate previews like they do on your hard drive. This is because, by default, Nautilus only generates previews for local files. There is another limitation—only previews of local files smaller than 5 MB are generated.
To change these default settings, start Nautilus and then click on Edit > Preferences. Click the Preview tab. Here, you can change the values in the dropdown menu from Local Files Only to Always to Have previews generated for all locations. The limitation for files of certain sizes can be disabled by clicking on the dropdown for Only for files smaller than and Set the size from 5 MB to something larger. Click Close when done.
Remotely Accessing Your Linux Desktop
Say you’ve installed Linux Mint on a spare unused machine but don’t have 2 monitors, you can use remote desktop to access the machine through a network. Remote desktop runs on VNC, so you can use any VNC client to connect to your server. TightVNC www.tightvnc.com is one VNC server/client that can be downloaded for free. You can also choose to download just the viewer.
Remote Desktop can be set up to allow secure remote control of your Linux PC
To enable remote desktop, click on the Start button. Next, click on Preferences > Remote Desktop. Check the Allow other users to view your desktop checkbox and the one to Allow users to control it. If you want to have a password to be entered for security reasons, you can enable that too. By default, you need to authorise the user to be allowed access to the desktop, so disable the checkbox for Ask you for authorization.
Stop Your PC Speaker From Beeping
Speakers will beep and they will beep every time there’s an error or alert that occurs. These can be very disturbing to the user and others around. The speaker can be turned by a simple command that you can type in a terminal or at the console—modprobe pcspkr. Should you decide that you need the speaker again, you can turn it back on by entering rmmod pcspkr.
Using Better Smoothing
Like Windows, where LCD users choose ClearType fonts for LCDs, Linux too has a font smoothing option that can be used. Go to Start > Preferences > Appearance. Click the Fonts tab on the top and select the Subpixel Smoothing fonts on the bottom-right. Click OK. More advanced settings for the font smoothing can be changed by clicking on the Details button.
Moving The Mouse Cursor Using The Keyboard
There are those rare occasions when your mouse is not detected or stops responding. You can use the Num pad on the keyboard in Ubuntu, to move your mouse around. Press the [Ctrl] [Shift] [Num] Lock keys to enable this mode. Now use the direction keys on the Num pad to move the mouse pointer. Use the sign to single click, 0 to right click and [Enter] to execute a program. Press [Ctrl] [Shift] [Num Lock] again to disable it.
Restarting X And Killing Applications
If due to any changes that you make or any stability issues that you maybe facing, restart the X server. A quick way to do this is to press [Ctrl] [Alt] [Backspace].
Delete Files Permanently
Nautilus sends all deleted files to the Trash by default. Pressing the [Del] key normally sends files to the Thrash. To permanently delete files, bypassing the Trash, the best way is to hold the [Shift] key and then press the [Del] key or right click on the file and select Delete. If the option isn’t available, start Nautilus. Go to Edit > Preferences > Behavior. Make sure the box for Include a Delete command that bypasses Trash is enabled. Click Close.
Switching Virtual Desktops Quickly
Linux distributions have had virtual desktop from a very long time. They are useful to categorise and use each desktop for a different task. That way you can have all your messengers in one window, browser windows in another and so on. The quickest way to switch virtual desktops is to hold down [Ctrl] [Alt] left arrow or right arrow. The left arrow takes you to the previous desktop and the right arrow takes you to the next. You can also move applications from one workspace to another by right clicking on the titlebar of the application, choosing Move to Another Workspace and then selecting the workspace.
Quick Run Applications
Windows users know the [Windows] [R] shortcut all too well. It’s a quick way to run applications but Linux Mint and Ubuntu Linux users have a similar feature they can use. Hold down [Alt] [F2]. Here you can type in the name of an application or location of a folder. You can also choose from a list of applications to run. Click on [Show list of known applications] and you can choose one of the many installed applications to run.
The Run Application box allows applications to be executed quickly
Viewing Folder Trees
In Nautilius, files are displayed like in any other file manager. Nautilus has an option where all the sub-folders and the files can be displayed as a tree something similar to what Windows Explorer does to machines on a network. First, change the view mode to details by clicking on View > View as List or by pressing [Ctrl] . To open up a tree, click on the triangle on the left of the folder.
Installing A Splash Screen
A custom splash screen can be used where all the different modules load when you log into X. For this, you can do things the hard way but the simplest way to download a tiny application called gnome-splashscreen-manager.
gnome-splashscreen-manager let you set a custome splash screen
Start up the Package Manager through the Start button. Search for gnome-splashscreen-manager using the Search button. Check the box for it and choose to install the application. Any dependencies required can be downloaded too. When installed, press [Alt] [F2]. Enter gnome-splashscreen-manager. Click on the Install button and browse and select the image that you want to use as your splash screen. Click Activate after choosing the splash screen of your choice.
Autocomplete Search In Terminal Or Console
A complete history of all the commands is stored in a file in your home directory called .bash_history. Linux already has autocomplete that you can use by pressing the [Tab] key while entering a command. A more useful feature is the find feature, which gives you the closest search result from the history. That way, you can type large commands that you normally wouldn’t remember. To use this feature, press [Ctrl] [R] and then start typing the command. As you type, the closest result from your history will be displayed. Press [Enter] when you have the right command.
Adding Visual Tags To Folders In Nautilus
Nautilus allows you to tag folders or files using artwork called emblems. Start Nautilus and go to Edit > Backgrounds and Emblems. Click on the Emblems button and then drag and drop emblems from the list to a file or folder of your choice.
Tags can be added to any file or folder by a simple drag and drop action
You can also import your own custom emblems by clicking on Add a New Emblem. Enter a new keyword and click on the Image button. Choose from one of the existing images or click on Browse to select a different image. Click OK.