Linux Mint–Initial Configuration

Posted on Updated on

I’ve finally bitten the bullet and installed Linux natively on my laptop. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and I’m very glad to say that I have.

The first question to answer was that of distribution. There are so many out there, which one should I use? I’ve been a casual Linux user and system administrator for several distributions and my experiences there have led me to one conclusion: a Debian variant. RedHat is a decent distribution, but it uses RPM for packages and I’ve always felt that they’re a little clunky. I’ve experienced most of my package installation problems when dealing with RPMs.

Now that the Linux distribution family is chosen, which variant should I use? Debian is OK, but since it’s a little more difficult to use out of the box, I typically use it only for a server. Ubuntu has been my “go to” distribution since it’s based on Debian but is definitely designed for at least a techy, if not an end user. I recently heard about Linux Mint (an Ubuntu derivative) and how it supposedly takes Ubuntu to the next level with UI. Since I’ve had an Ubuntu installation on a VM at home for well over a year, I decided to go with Linux Mint.

Extra Software Installation/Configuration

Right out of the box Linux Mint has everything most anyone will need: Firefox and OpenOffice. I, however, need my Bible software e-Sword, and my Bible Quizzing software QuizMaster.


Using Linux Mint’s package manager to install Wine was a breeze. Afterwards, I navigated to the directory where I have the e-Sword install files, right-clicked on the main setup file and chose “Open with Wine Windows Program Loader” and clicked through the installation.

An icon for e-Sword was created in my Wine programs folder and so I tried to launch it. Nothing.

How to obtain the Visual C++ 6.0 runtime components

Visual Basic 6 runtime components

Many missing packages can be obtained by using winetricks, including the elusive mfc40.dll. Corefonts is also an important winetricks install.

Bad Fonts

After starting my Bible software, Some of the fonts were looking pretty awful. A forum post has the simple solution:

Create a file named ‘settings.txt’ with the following contents :

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Wine\X11 Driver]

and then run ‘regedit settings.txt’.


Requires mfc40.dll prior to installing.

Terminal Server Client

Install tsclient package via Synaptic Package Manger


VPN to a Windows Network

My employer’s computer systems are entirely Windows based, and so is the VPN to access company resources remotely. After much trial and error and several hours of scouring the web looking for the answer to how to make the VPN connection work, I found a post that provided the solution:

Install the PPTP packages via Synaptic Package Manager: pptp-linux and network-manager-pptp

Here’s how to get it working in Ubuntu Intrepid for a Windows home network. Before trying this, be sure your router allows PPTP service.

Open Network Configuration (Start, System, Preferences).
Highlight your VPN connection, hit Edit.
At IPv4 Settings Tab: choose method Automatic (VPN).
At VPN Tab:
1 – input the IP address of the target computer.
2 – input your user name. Leave all else blank.
3 – hit Advanced button.

At Authentication:
1 – UNcheck PAP (because PAP means to allow unsecured passage – this is the source of “no shared shared secrets”)
2 – Check CHAP, MSCHAP and MSCHAPv2.
At Security and Compression:
1 – Check Use Point-to-point encryption (MPPE)
2 – Select 128-bit (most secure).
3 – Check Allow stateful encryption.
At Echo: check Allow PPP echo packets.
Leave all else blank. Hit OK, OK to save and get out.

Note: Your password is requested on VPN startup. I did not try to add it to the keyring.

Miscellaneous Issues

Vim missing

By default, Debian-based distributions come installed with vim-tiny, which is OK, but frankly vim-tiny is too restricting. Here’s the quick fix for full-blown vim (reference, reference):

sudo apt-get install vim
sudo update-alternatives --all

Noisy DVD drive

Just to see what would happen, I threw a DVD in my drive. Immediately I discovered that it’s really noisy. A quick Google search returned a forum discussion topic on with a great solution. A quick download of setcd (sudo apt-get install setcd) and a little testing has revealed that 7x is a perfect speed for my drive. Anything more and I get lots of vibrating. sudo setcd -x7 /dev/cdrom is all I need to get my drive under control.

Now the issue is that of how to automatically set the speed when the system boots and how to make it “stick” as the system seems to forget the setting when it wakes up from sleep.

Outstanding Issues

How do I make the area for showing which programs are running bigger? — Grab the drag handle and drag it to the right.

One thought on “Linux Mint–Initial Configuration

    Linux Mint–Initial Configuration « Smitty's Thoughts said:
    December 13, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    […] original here: Linux Mint–Initial Configuration « Smitty's Thoughts Рубрика: Разные рубрики | Метки: a-decent-distribution, always-, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s