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Old 13th January 2016, 21:39   #1
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Cool My Desktop Linux Setup!

My Desktop Linux Setup !(Jan 2016)

Mods please move my post to the Linux thread if you see fit. I have started a new thread as it showcases a Linux desktop so it is somewhat unrelated to the Linux Support thread.

Ever since Windows 10 has been launched there have been a series of moves done by Microsoft to make Windows more akin to Google's services. Microsoft is switching to a cloud first world based on subscription of services and offering Windows 10 for free to users of Windows 7 and 8. Jackpot right ? Unfortunately, this move also means that Microsoft will collect data (telemetry, usage data and data for purposes of advertising) from it's users. What's more you ask ? According to the updated EULA Microsoft owns everything that you do using a Windows 10 desktop. This is the same as how Facebook owns everything you post on their services or how other cloud based services own the data you create using their services. So, I was happy not making the switch from my Windows 7 setup even though it made me feel old and grumpy. Like the good old days when dads never switched from Windows XP to 7 cause XP did everything they needed to. But in terms of security this was not a good move. Though Microsoft has promised to support Windows 7 security with updates for some years it would still be vulnerable to zero day exploits as legacy software is the last priority for MS (they really want you to upgrade !). So I waited it out. I certainly would not go back to buying a Mac after the nightmares I had with over priced hardware breaking down. And then suddenly after giving my GMAT exam when my mind was off things for a while, I decided why not Linux ! It has all the good qualities of a UNIX based OS like Macs but it is free and open source.

To be clear, I have gone back and forth with Linux for a while now so it was not something new for me. But, I am not a software engineer or anything. I am a commerce graduate so all this experimentation with systems is like Team-BHP for me, a hobby which enables me to learn new things. I am just an enthusiast. I decided finally I would try Linux full time and optimize it to my needs and see where the setup stands. Kind of like taking a test drive except here I had to make sure everything worked. Linux is like that it makes you work. After all, it's free !

Among the thousands of distributions, debates between GPL licenses and EULAs, proprietary drivers for hardware etc, I decided to settle for a distribution within the Debian family. (I tried and loved Arch more, but I was not ready to complicate things on a day to day basis). Ubuntu was scratched out because of the unity interface. I hate it, there are no two words about it. I loved XFCE but many bugs in Xubuntu kept me away. So the ultimate decision was between Ubuntu MATE and Linux Mint XFCE.

The only reason I chose Ubuntu MATE over Linux Mint XFCE was the absence of intel-microcode drivers on Mint. (I might be wrong about this, please correct me if you think so) Of course, I tried configuring it manually and also installed tlp for heat reduction but the constant heat from my processor made me paranoid. I do not want to fry my system ! I have to still get through two years of MBA with my HP Probook. So there it was Ubuntu MATE.

Ubuntu MATE 15.10 is a lovely distribution. It is stable for the most part. The only crashes I have observed are the GNOME menu apart from the occasional application crash. But for the most part it is stable. The following application packages were installed by default -
Firefox (I use Chrome)
Thunderbird
Libreoffice 5
Rhythm-box (un-installed later)
VLC
Pluma txt editor (MATE)
Caja file manager (MATE)
MATE terminal and Tilda Terminal
There was no default package manager like Synaptic or Ubuntu software center. I ended up installing Google Chrome, Quod Libet and Ex Falso (music), Calibre (for books), Zim (create .txt wikis) and synaptic package manager among other useful packages.

For customization, I downloaded Numix icon and GTK themes and promptly edited the desktop menus and shortcuts to look like what you would see in the attached screens below. The setup was completed with a wallpaper of one of my dream cars the BMW M3. I hope there are Linux fans within the Team-BHP community. Open source is a wonderful thing that has made things like Android, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress possible. If you are a motivated enthusiast like me all you need is Virtual-box and a copy of the distribution you like go ahead, try Linux. If you need help, I will try my best to clear your doubts !

My Desktop Linux Setup!-screenshot1.png
Plain jane desktop with dark panels supported by Numix GTK theme. The M3 wallpaper brings another level of minimalism IMHO.

My Desktop Linux Setup!-screenshot.png
Output of uname -a and lsb_release -a commands on the terminal to show current OS version etc.

My Desktop Linux Setup!-screenshot2.png
Preview of Caja file browser. I have assigned root / to my SSD and /home to a 500 GB hard disk. ODD was thrown out.


My Desktop Linux Setup!-screenshot3.png
The Ubuntu MATE welcome screen greets the user after logging in. You can directly access documentation, get involved in the Ubuntu MATE community and install essential software using Gdebi with the click of a button from here.


My Desktop Linux Setup!-screenshot4.png
MATE control center has everything you need to tweak your Linux experience. In the background you can see the excellent Pluma txt editor with it's dark theme applied by Numix GTK.

Thanks for reading if you have come this far ! I wanted to try and make this post a little less technical but for non-Linuxers who are unfamiliar with the topic anyway it would be a stretch to explain everything which is why I uploaded screens to 'show' how one can tweak their experience on Linux unlike Windows or Mac.
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Old 13th January 2016, 21:57   #2
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Originally Posted by RocketRaccoon View Post
My Desktop Linux Setup !(Jan 2016)
Excellent! Welcome to Linux
Can you post the h/w specs of your Desktop.

My 2 cents, if you get bored with this distro do try Xubuntu.
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Old 13th January 2016, 22:35   #3
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Excellent! Welcome to Linux
I am using an HP Probook 4540s laptop. The specs are as follows - Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge) with Intel HD graphics. 8 gigabytes of memory. Samsung Evo 120 GB SSD. Toshiba 500 GB HDD. I used a ODD caddy to plug the HDD to the SATA port in the ODD drive and swapped the primary drive for the SSD. The board has 2 USB 3 ports, 2 USB 2 ports, HDMI, VGA. The screen is not so great at 1366*768 but then again I bought this laptop some years ago. I tried Xubuntu some time back (14.04 LTS) but the default selection of packages included Abiword etc and honestly I was too lazy to remove packages I didn't want and install ones that I wanted so I did not commit, thus UbunutuMATE is the one for me. I do find XFCE better than MATE any day but Linux Mint XFCE is running on a very high temp. I tried using tlp etc but nothing worked. Maybe I missed something. Do you run Linux ? What distro do you use ?
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Old 13th January 2016, 23:28   #4
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Default re: My Desktop Linux Setup!

Welcome. I'm currently using LMDE 2 on the desktop, which is a Debian stable (Jessie) with mint mix. Overall, it is good. However, I feel Desktop Linux is slowly dying considering Desktop market share also is slowly dropping for portable devices which uses Android. Linux can be now regarded as a server OS rather than Desktop OS. Still, I'm using Linux for 14 years almost exclusively - that says it is possible if your work does not really dependent on Windows software.
If Apple can create a mass market move like the launch of iPhone with the OS X powered desktops, laptops - This is the best time, people will really want to switch if they can afford a Mac (more so than Linux).
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Old 14th January 2016, 01:02   #5
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Desktop Linux is slowly dying
I agree with you completely. Desktop Linux is dying and it has become a server OS. But, Android could also be considered a Linux distro (if one is to go by the Linus Trovalds route of defining Linux) and needless to say it has won over BSD (OSX and iOS) and Windows NT kernal. Obviously hardliners like Richard Stallman would never consider Android opensource as it has non open source wrappers around open source centers. Linux is also running traffic signals, robots in factories, ECUs on cars and the International Space Station ! All in all its a good opensource feel when I use Android and now when I open my laptop.
I have tried vanilla Debian (wheezy) with XFCE but never with LXDE or openbox. I have to say there is no OS on the planet more stable that Debian. As you must have heard, sadly the creator Ian Murdock recently passed away.

Last edited by RocketRaccoon : 14th January 2016 at 01:06.
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Old 14th January 2016, 12:11   #6
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I do find XFCE better than MATE any day but Linux Mint XFCE is running on a very high temp. I tried using tlp etc but nothing worked. Maybe I missed something. Do you run Linux ? What distro do you use ?
High temperature because of xfce? it is supposed to be a light one from what I recollect. I dont like it & hence never use it. I always prefer cinnamon and have it running on my other laptop with Ubuntu 14.x.

In case you want to try it out: http://ubuntuhandbook.org/index.php/...8-ubuntu-1504/
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Old 14th January 2016, 12:20   #7
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Perfectly happy with Linux Mint cinnamon for a long time now. Itching to try out elementary OS. Maybe one of these days...
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Old 15th January 2016, 14:57   #8
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High temperature because of xfce?
High temperature is not because of the desktop environment but due to poorly written opensource ACPI drivers for my particular hardware config. This is one of the bad things about opensource. Hardware drivers are almost never as good as proprietary ones. As I stated in the post, absence of intel-microcode in Mint (maybe I am wrong about this)is probably why it is overheating on me. XFCE is actually my favorite DE. I tried cinnamon but prefer light flavors like XFCE, LXDE, MATE over KDE, Cinnamon and GNOME3.

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Originally Posted by WindRide View Post
Perfectly happy with Linux Mint cinnamon for a long time now. Itching to try out elementary OS. Maybe one of these days...
Elementary is based on Ubuntu so you should have no problems using apt-get and ppas. eOS environment is more akin to MacOS X while Mint Cinnamon is more akin to Classic Windows.

On a side note, I was wondering what do I do with my genuine copy of Windows 7 now that I have turned into a Linux Jedi , so I installed Virtualbox and sideloaded Windows 7 using guest addition addons. Now, I can access Windows for one of those times when Linux alternatives are unavailable.
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