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Linux Mint 11 Saves the Day September 19, 2011

Posted by rm42 in Computers, Linux.

A friend of mine brought me his computer for fixing, a Compaq Presario with XP Home. It was in a reboot loop. I told him about Linux, and all its advantages, and he agreed to try it. I grabbed my PCLinuxOS CD and installed it in a matter minutes. Everything was working, but something about that particular hardware was not sitting well with it. It kept freezing. This is the first time I see this, as all other machines I have installed it on have been very stable. My guess is that it has to do with the graphics. The machine has and old built-in Intel graphics adapter. I did not have a proper graphics card laying around to give him, so I figured I wouldn’t fight it.

I went online and downloaded Linux Mint 11 (Gnome).

LinuxMint 11

I was disappointed only by one thing, my Belkin USB wireless card would not connect to my network. A quick search online showed that several other people had the same problem and I could not find any with a working solution. I was in a hurry, so I just picked up the box and placed it next to the router in order to connect it with a network cable. Everything else was rather smooth.

I like the look of Mint. I certainly give it props on the looks department. The “Software Manager” is well designed and newbie friendly.

LinuxMint 11 Software Manager

I was a bit disconcerted by the fact that all users have permissions to access other users home areas. But, since it was not for me, I left it alone.

I didn’t get a chance to test it thoroughly, but it seems to be a very nice distro. (I’ll try to play with it a bit more latter.) PCLinuxOS handles my Belkin USB wireless completely out of the box. So, it is too bad that Mint didn’t. But it is too bad that PCLOS had such trouble with that particular hardware. I didn’t spend the time needed to get to the bottom of it. But, I guess the lesson is that if one distro is giving you trouble, go ahead and try a different one. Use what works. šŸ˜‰


1. EDB - September 19, 2011

The newer X11/xorg does not play nice with older video……………

rm42 - September 19, 2011

The Xorg version that comes with Mint is 1.10.1. The one in PCLinuxOS is 1.10.3. So, I guess what you say is plausible. I wonder if that is all there is though. I have heard of people complaining about KDE crashes that leave the machine completely locked and the user is forced to kill the session with the power button. I had not seen one until now. I guess I could have been able to remote into the machine and power it down more gently, but I was not about to go through the trouble. I could not Ctrl+Alt+Backspace out of it either. Weird.

2. mookiemu - September 19, 2011

That’s good strategy. I’ve done that before. I had version of Ubuntu that wouldn’t allow me to use the 5GHz spectrum on my wifi. I just thought that was the norm. Then I tried Mint and it allowed me to use the 5GHz spectrum!
A quick modprobe allowed me to find the driver that mint used and I was able to use it with Ubuntu!

3. wassup - September 19, 2011

Nah, Linux Mint 11 is mostly for PC’s having DVDs, not for the many of us who only have the standard CDROMs or CD-R/Ws.
Better to use MEPIS or PCLinuxOS for PCs with standard CDROMs or CD-R/Ws.

4. Fred - September 19, 2011

I would’ve used CrunchBang Statler Xfce edition instead (it’s what I use, BTW). It’s based on Debian Stable AND, at least with my wife’s Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop, it properly detects the Broadcom wireless card in it. Can’t comment on Belkin though, but I think that it certainly would’ve been worth a shot.

5. tracyanne - September 20, 2011

chmod -R 750 /home/[my home directory]

6. been there - September 20, 2011

You should not recommend or comment any software with so little testing. It’s quite common that software seems to be ok when first launched but does not work in real usage.

rm42 - September 20, 2011

Linux Mint, as well as PCLinuxOS, are long time, well known, established Linux distros. They have both earned a reputation for quality. That is why I feel justified in talking briefly about my findings with Mint. I am simply reporting what I found. But, if I was to recommend a Linux distro, it would still be PCLinuxOS, for most situations. šŸ˜‰

7. Lamont - October 26, 2011

I’m a johnny-come-lately to this post but!? LM11 is precisely what I use now on my Acer laptop. Before now, I had actually been a Fedora fan, but the new gnome experience was a big turn off for me (believe me, I tried to like it). As a recourse, I defaulted to my favorite Desktop Environment lxde but for some reason it was too choppy on my Acer.

LM11 is a better fit for me than the commerical-Ubuntu. So it shares a comfortable spot next to Windows 7 on my partitioned Acer. Unfortunately, I’m not as proficient at manipulating the cml of the linux OS as I’d like to believe. So I’m going back to the drawing board on this one and learning from scratch. This distro is my ticket there.

8. mookiemu - October 27, 2011

I agree with Lamont and Linus Torvalds. The new gnome sucks. I really wanted to like it too, but it’ think it’s so hard to like. I think it’s a debacle as big as the kde 4 debacle.
On the other hand, I’m finally adapting the unity desktop. I hated it in 11.04, but in 11.10 they’ve managed to fix many of the things that bothered me. It’s really beginning to mature and I think it’s beautiful.

9. tim - January 8, 2012

I installed Mint 11 32 bit on a Compaq Presario R3000. It didn’t freeze while on the desktop, it just gave me the black screen after reboot. So restarting Mint in safe graphics mode, no changes made, it would boot normally as long as I didn’t have any usb devices plugged in. One more thing, the Broadcom wireless didn’t work, I didn’t want to update Broadcom firmware (there were workarounds that way) so I use my tp-link TL-WN722N wireless usb adapter. It was plug and play: almost. If TP wireless is plugged in during boot, it’s hit or miss. So this laptop works fine if I boot up the laptop, then plug in the TP usb wireless adapter. I’m novice to fixing this kind of issue in Linux. Am still working on it.

mookiemu - January 8, 2012

I believe the the fix for the black screen is to set noapic/nolapic in grub2.

Open a terminal and type gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub
or if you prefer to use nano text editor
sudo nano /etc/default/grub

find the line that says GRUB_CMDLINE_INUX_DEFAULT and edit it to read:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”noapic nolapic nomodeset splash quiet”

save, exit and then type the following into the terminal:
sudo update-grub2

The wireless problem is related to the broadcom chipset. But I’m curious about why you don’t want to update the firmware? It’s pretty easy to do and can be done with the following command:
sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer

However you might want to read this page before you do that. It for Ubuntu, but since mint is basically ubuntu, I think the info is relevant:

Hope that helps šŸ™‚

10. Gerard - January 18, 2012

I have found PClinux to have terrible support. They break updates. Only allowed 6 months during 2011 to update 2010 versions which was of little use to me as I was in hospital for 9 months during this period. Asked them for help as I do not wish to go thru full install. All they said was “Sorry!”. Not trustworthy. Linux Mint better supports product and I will be changing to Linux Mint Debian. As a new Linux user I feel PClinux really gives Linux a bad name.

rm42 - January 18, 2012

Sorry to hear about your hospital stay. Hope your health is improved now.

As for PCLinuxOS, it is a very nice distro, but it is not for every one, and it is certainly not perfect. It tries to accomplish something that no other distro is doing. That is to provide a rolling release distro with the least amount of disruption to the user as possible. Most of the time, they have done just that. But, yes, there have been times in which that inevitably breaks. Sometimes the updates are too deep or extensive to be able to smoothly roll them out. Other times, user intervention is needed, which means that the user needs to be somewhat knowledgeable, or at least be a forum user. Those of us that have enjoyed “the good times”, when PCLinuxOS is just purring along, which on some occasions have stretched for years at a time, know that no other distro provides as a good an experience as PCLinuxOS.

But yes, there have been some rough times. For example, there was a period of time when “Textar” was on leave. Right now, PCLinuxOS is experiencing “growing pains” as they prepare to migrate to 64 bit. I am sure that when they are done, they will have a great product. But, even then, I am sure PCLinuxOS won’t be perfect. There is no perfect distro. Just use what works, when it works. šŸ˜‰

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