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Taking Mint/KDE for a spin

Posted 08-30-2013 at 09:17 AM by rainbowsally
Updated 09-03-2013 at 03:09 PM by rainbowsally (addendum)

[Added a PS about kubuntu getting 'harvested' by mint and openSUSE.]

[Rant at the top this time. Skip down to the dotted line to see if any of these tips are useful to you if you are a mint user. The links at this blog are all now broken. I will correct them with an explanation in a while.]

I used to be a suse/opensuse fan. It's no longer possible to continue with the suse distros though. The last usable version (for me) was 11.4, and that took a bit of effort.

13.1 lost my previous linux partitions, as is typical of suse of late. And the previous linux I had that I wanted to keep was -- you guessed it. Open suse. When you do something that causes you to lose several years of data that used to be called "dangerous".

OpenSUSE from 11 on up 1 13 get along great with Windows but for some reason can't live in the same system with a previous version of openSUSE! One wonders how they compile their sources in such a world. In fact it seems unlikely that they compile their own sources anyway. 2/3rds of the alleged source packages are broken or don't match what is in the system.

So it is not with too much sadness that I bid fairwell to openSUSE though you cannot beat Yast though things are getting shaky for yast lately too.

There were a few problems with mint and I might as well mention them here in case anyone has mint especially mint/kde and has noticed slow booting or any of the other issues here.


For KDE users and former SuSE hot-rodders tired of having your hands tied:

[For moderate to advanced users.]

* Install won't create your /windows/C mount point?

mount windows at /windows-C (a dummy we change later).

After your first boot...

install kwrite, konqueror

[Maybe back up /etc and /var (tar as superuser) just in case you need to back out.]

To create a mount point for windows/C you may have to create a dummy mount point like windows-C during installation and change that to windows/C in /etc/fstab once you're in the system. And create the mount point (mkdir) /windows/C as superuser. The installer's mkdir apparently doesn't use the -p switch. Run 'sudo konqueror 2>/dev/null' to create the right folder(s) and to remove the dummies, and 'run sudo kwrite 2>/dev/null' to edit fstab. Finally 'sudo mount -all' to refresh and mount the correct drives once fstab is modified. Verify that your windows and/or other partitions are now accessible.

* Boots too slow? (Not just for KDE users)

run 'sudo kwrite /etc/fstab 2>/dev/null' # or sudo gedit /etc/fstab
# change bit 1 of last flag to zero and 'errors=<blah>' to 'defaults'.


* Can't login as root from the kiosk/greeter?

after login as your default user (set during install)
run konsole as root (from the main menu)
verify home folder "echo $HOME" # -> is /root
run (i.e., type in the terminal) 'systemsettings'
in Users and Groups
show system accounts
select user named root.
add groups (e.g., adm, and probably your first user as a group, and users (55% down list) )
adjust as required depending on need and security. (Maybe not allow internet connections.)
in Account Details
Verify "Paths" settings eg. Desktop [/root/Desktop, not /home/root/Desktop]

For your default user, in Account Details, change primary group to 'users'.

Root Desktop login
Alt-Ctrl F6 # -> generally unused at this point
login as root # -> 'pwd' should display '/root'
startx # -> and voila! The root desktop

Set wallpaper to something like (get wallpaper) 'bombastic' as a warning you will notice
when you're working as root.

Verify desktop switching. Hit alt-ctrl-F8 to switch to your user desktop and
alt-ctrl-F6 to get back to root. (Note: alt-ctrl F7 is NOT the first desktop in
mint. No prob, the alt-ctrl-<kwys> work and you can fish around for the right one
which is proably vt8, the alt-ctrl-F8 key.)

Log root out (returns to terminal) AND exit -- play safe. Then alt-ctrl to your
user's desktop again.


* Old shell programs getting syntax errors? CMake can't find pthreads library?

cd into /usr/bin
run 'ln -sf bash sh' # to make sh = bash. Dash won't work with apps such as CMake and many other programming tools.

* Got executables in your ~/bin folder you'd like to be able to run?

Add to ~/.bashrc
export PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH # windows, or rather DOS users might also want to add ".:" to the PATH for '.' = current dir, wherever you are.

If you need root (su) to access these files change /root/.bashrc to point to the same location (not with $HOME but with the full path to the bin folder).

* need a pager with lots of desktops in more than one row? Is KDE moving the pager up so it doesn't show right?

Momentarily unlock the widgets and the taskbar, resize the height of taskbar panel and lock the widgets again. Log back in and see if the correction stuck.

* need to fix your bootloader?

UBCD can boot any operating system on your drives. If you can't boot it any other way boot the partition using UBCD hdd -> boot management -> SuperGrub2 -> Find all installed operating systems an boot the partition.

BUT UBCD can't fix the boot loader.

Use mint.

[scarfed from another mint user's tips]
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair

* Need to lauch a text file link on the taskbar using a particular editor?

This takes two steps. One to create the executable desktop file and the second to create the icon on the taskbar.


Create a folder on your desktop named ".hidden". The dot prefix will make it hidden too. Enable viewing hidden files and folders and cd into that directory and

create new -> link to a url

and browse to the file you want to have on your taskbar.

Open the resulting 'folder' with a text editor and
change the icon to 'text'
change the type to "Application" (case sensitive).
change the url stuff to "Exec=<appname>" changing <appname> to your preferred application.
And add '.desktop' to the name of the resulting file.,

Example: msg.desktop
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=kate -n /<yourpath>/msg.txt

That might seem like a lot of work, but it's not that hard and it works.

Then the second step is to add it to your taskbar so 'msg' shows with a text file icon on your taskbar.

Unlock widgets.
Unlock the taskbar.
Drag <name>.desktop onto the taskbar and find a hole it can go into. You can move it later once it's inserted.
Lock the taskbar

And there it is. A custom widget on your taskbar with the name you choose and that runs a commandline of your own choosing.

Note: Simply dragging an icon onto the taskbar may work too, but then you can't change the icon or the application to run it. Type 'locate text.png' to see where that icon comes from. There are tons of others in the same folder.

* Compiling qt4 apps thinks you need to add explicitly?

I don't know how the dev files got messed up, the actual package containing libQtCore has the correct symlink, but if you get this error, as sudo make a new pointing to the actual binary ( rather than to another symlink (

libQtCore.4.N.N is libQtCore.4.8.4 in the current release.

The Computer Mad (but not THAT mad) Science Team.


PS: It seems that both openSUSE and mint/kde are using kubuntu binaries. In openSUSE (as of 12.3) if you use seamonkey (browser) and hit the home button it takes you to, in mint/kde if you you open konqueror directly and hit the home button in goes to as well. Konqueror should probably have as its default home. openSUSE got that right. But the problem with openSUSE is that they apparently haven't actually compiled any of their binaries on their own system and in fact cannot do so because the source packages are so fouled up. The debian packages and directory structures are at least the same in mint, but mint/kde may in fact BE kubuntu.

Hats off to Kubuntu! This is a usable system.

The Computer Mad Science Team.
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