Category Archives: Linux Mint

[HOWTO] Bring back “Network”, “Services”, “Time and Date” and “Users and Groups” in Gnome Menu

If you have installed your system via netinstall or by selecting packages one by one, or if you somehow removed some gnome packages, you may be missing some menu items. I noticed that I did not have some entries in System>Administration menu, namely, “Network”, “Services”, “Time and Date” and “Users and Groups”. I tried to search for them in Synaptic and Apt-file but failed to locate the exact package. So, I did some hit and trial and found the package was “gnome-system-tools”. I just installed it via synaptic and the menu entries were back.

[HOWTO] Properly install VirtualBox 4 beta in Ubuntu/Debian/Linux Mint (and other Debian/Ubuntu derivatives)

I downloaded deb of VirtualBox beta 1 from the beta packages page of Oracle website and installed it. However, while launching Virtual Machines created with Oracle VirtualBox 3.x (closed source version), I got the following error:

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine [machine name].
A virtual device is configured in the VM settings but the device implementation is missing.
A possible reason for this error is a missing extension pack. Note that as of VirtualBox 4.0, certain features (for example USB 2.0 support and remote desktop) are only available from an ‘extension pack’ which must be downloaded and installed separately (VERR_PDM_DEVICE_NOT_FOUND).

Result Code:
NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
IConsole {515e8e8d-f932-4d8e-9f32-79a52aead882}

It was clear that it requires an extension pack. I went back to the download page and found an extension pack named “Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.0.0_BETA1-68572.vbox-extpack” (newer versions may be available now so name may be different) and downloaded it. I installed it by double clicking it. It opens with VirtualBox by default (if it doesn’t, open with and select VirtualBox). The following error popped up:

Failed to install the Extension Pack /path/Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.0.0_BETA1-68572.vbox-extpack.
Failed to locate load the main module (‘/usr/lib/virtualbox/ExtensionPacks/Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack/linux.x86/’): VERR_FILE_NOT_FOUND.

Result Code:
NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
IExtPackManager {8104df65-74d6-4e33-b374-50aa062b4afd}

When I tried to launch a Virtual Machine, I got the previous error. However, when I tried to reinstall the Extension, I got the following error:

Extension pack ‘Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack’ is already installed. In case of a reinstallation, please uninstall it first.

I learned from WebUpd8 that libstdc++5 was required for it. So, I just installed it by typing the following in terminal:

 sudo apt-get install libstdc++5

Then, after restarting VirtualBox, I was able to launch my Virtual Machines again.

[HOWTO] Enable “Mark All Upgrades” in Synaptic on Linux Mint

If you are using Linux Mint Gnome or Linux Mint Debian Edition, you will notice that Ctrl+G or Mark All Upgrades is disabled. This has been done to prevent users from installing upgrades that have not been tested and verified to work by Linux Mint team. Read more in this discussion.

However, if you can take care of your packages and the problems that may arise, you may want to enable the handy feature. It can be done by following the instructions below.

Open up the terminal and remove synaptic completely:

sudo apt-get purge synaptic

Then edit out the line in the following file or remove it completely. However, if you want to be able to enable it, it is recommended to just disable the line using a # in the beginning of the line.


To edit it, you can open in any text editor as root. For example, to edit it using gedit, you may press Alt+F2 and enter the following:

gksu gedit /etc/linuxmint/adjustments/10-mintsystem-synaptic.overwrite

Make sure the line looks like the following by adding a # in the beginning of the line:

#/usr/lib/linuxmint/mintSystem/adjustments/ /usr/share/synaptic/glade/

Save the file and exit.
Then, install synaptic again:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

While removing Synaptic, note the packages being removed and install them back:

sudo apt-get install aptoncd apturl jockey-gtk mint-meta-gnome mint-meta-main mintupdate

That’s it. Open up synaptic and you should be able to use “Mark All Upgrades” again.

If you wish to disable the mark all upgrades again, just remove synaptic and then remove the # from the same file and save it. Then, re-install synaptic again.

Hope it helps.

[HOWTO] Change Debian Testing to Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)

Linux Mint Debian Edition is a rolling release distro based on Debian Testing. It is currently only available in 32bit and not for other architectures.

If you already have a Debian Testing installation, you will not have problems changing it to Linux Mint, if you wish to. This can be achieved by changing apt sources and preferences and installing Linux Mint meta packages.

Open /etc/apt/sources.list as root and append the following line at the end of the file:

deb debian main upstream import

If you want real Linux Mint Debian, you will need to remove other software sources like Unstable repos but have the following at least:

deb testing main contrib non-free
deb testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb testing main non-free

Now, open up /etc/apt/preferences and add the following:

Package: *
Pin: release o=linuxmint
Pin-Priority: 700

Package: *
Pin: origin
Pin-Priority: 700

Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian
Pin-Priority: 500

The above change will make sure that Linux Mint repos will be favored over Debian.

First upgrade your installation:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Now, install the following packages:


by running:

apt-get install mint-meta-debian mint-wallpapers-extra mint-wallpapers-previous-releases

If some installed packages conflict with the new packages, remove them and try again.

Now, change the default theme to Shiki-wise, remove upper panel and add notification area, mintmenu to lower panel and you are done.

Ubuntu to become a rolling release distro

UPDATE: Rick Spencer, Ubuntu Desktop Development Team Lead, wrote in his blog:

Ubuntu is not changing to a rolling release. We are confident that our customers, partners, and the FLOSS ecosystem are well served by our current release cadence. What the article was probably referring to was the possibility of making it easier for developers to use cutting edge versions of certain software packages on Ubuntu.This is a wide-ranging project that we will continue to pursue through our normal planning processes.

The Register, OMG Ubuntu, Webupd8, Ostatic and a few other sites that feature articles about Ubuntu have recently posted articles regarding Ubuntu becoming a rolling release distro. However, it has not been officially announced, there has been quite a buzz.

Ubuntu has started as a release-cycle-based distro, in that a new version is rolled out every 6 months (and not daily). However, for a desktop based distro, it is not unrealistic to think the possibilities of a rolling release type distro considering the fact that it has been difficult to get the latest and greatest software in old Ubuntu installations. Currently, that either has to be done manually or via PPAs or it is not even possible in some cases due to dependency hell. Linux Mint has taken a step recently to explore this possibilities by launching Linux Mint Debian Edition, which is a rolling release type distro based on Debian testing.

When I used Ubuntu, I used to try and get the latest software by using daily builds or alpha/beta releases with a lot of PPAs, which made it almost like a rolling release – updated but unstable linux installation with a lot of manual work involved, just for maintaining the OS and of course the need to download latest versions of applications daily. This is what I have to do with Debian anyways, so I recently moved to Debian testing to see how it works.

Making Ubuntu a completely rolling release based distribution would make it either unstable or it will have to give up on latest software anyways and only let tested and stable software for upgrades. Both of these will mean that Ubuntu will either be unsuitable for Enterprise use or stale for Desktop use.

One option will be to start an unstable branch for Ubuntu which will be a rolling release and will contain the latest and greatest software and another testing branch, also a rolling one, which will have software which has been passed from unstable but still might have issues and a different branch for Enterprise use. Enterprises will also need that their software will not be changed on updates. So, they will need fixed release cycles for Enterprise Editions anyways. So, Canonical could decide to release Ubuntu stable versions every few years or so. Debian does this in a similar way. They could of course choose different names for the branches; something like Ubuntu Current, Ubuntu Standard and Ubuntu Enterprise version X (codename Y). They could also use animal names for the same, as they currently do.

However, I think there are better ways to do things so that the users are given a choice. That can be done by releasing standard editions at longer intervals. The base system shall be released every few years (like they release LTS) and it will have a standard softwares suitable for Enterprise use.  Ubuntu-base could consist of linux kernel, drivers and other base packages which will not get upgrades but only critical fixes. All other softwares will have their own PPA like repositories, which can either be maintained by Canonical or by software developers themselves. When a newer version upgrade is available for a software, users can be prompted to either stay with the current version or upgrade to the newer version. If a user chooses to stay with the current version, the users repositories for the software remains the same and the user will continue getting minor updates and bug fixes for the same unless the support ends. If a user chooses to upgrade, the repository for that particular software is changed and the older software is replaced with the newer one (with a choice to either remove the older version or to keep it). If the user wants development version of the package, the user may manually choose to upgrade to development version. Also, the user must be able to downgrade to the previous version without any problems.

This approach will fulfill the users needs. On a Enterprise front, the administrator may choose not to upgrade to the latest version, for stability and consistency. However, a casual home user may want to explore the latest version and may install it. A developer or a geek may choose to install development version too.

There might however be problems with this approach too. The problem is when it comes to libraries. If an application depends on one version of a library and the other depends on another version of the same, they may not co-exist. However, a workaround is to name the libraries with version names. That way, multiple versions of the same library can be installed. If this is allowed, multiple version of the same application can be installed too.

All of this is already possible with apt, so it can be done if they wish to. However, it will require a complete overhaul, it could be worth it.

[HOWTO] Install Virtualbox on Linux Mint Julia with USB Support and Shared Folders

There are many Virtualization solutions that run on Linux and of course Linux Mint. Oracle Virtualbox is a virtualization software available for Linux, Solaris, Windows and Mac, . It is available from the Linux Mint Julia Repositories and can be installed directly via Software Manager. However, if you install the open source version i.e. virtualbox-ose package, you will not be able to connect your USB devices and share folders between Guest and Host machines. File sharing can be set up in other ways, but if you wish to use one of your USB devices which has no Linux drivers, you may need to install Windows inside Virtualbox and connect your devices so that you can install drivers inside. In that case, you will need to install closed source edition of Virtualbox i.e. virtualbox-nonfree.

After you install virtualbox-nonfree, you will be able to run and install Guest operating systems inside. However, this version may nag you about updates being available. Linux Mint repositories will be updated regularly and you will be able to install latest version so you can disable the updates checking in Virtualbox>File>Preferences>Update.

Fixing Slow, Choppy and Laggy Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10)

A lot of Ubuntu 10.10 users have been complaining about Maverick being too slow, typing becoming laggy and video performance being choppy.   Here are few things you can try to make it fast again. These have been collected from the user experience discussed in this post in Ubuntu forums.

Update your kernel to latest Mainline kernel

Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat uses version 2.6.35 of Linux Kernel. A lot of users have solved their problems by upgrading to version 2.6.36. You can do so by downloading the deb files and installing them from the Ubuntu Kernel Mainline PPA: Open the latest version that is available (rc8 is the latest in the time of writing this, however only 64bit is available, if you have 32-bit, use rc7) and download the following files:

If you have 32bit, choose the ones that contain i386 instead of amd64 in the name.
Install them one by one in the same order as listed above and reboot.

Note that if that does not help and if you want to switch back to 2.6.35 kernel again, you can always remove 2.6.36 kernel from Synaptic Package Manager (Alt+F2>gksu synaptic). Also note that you will not get updates to 2.6.36 even if newer versions are out, so you should update manually later if you find newer versions of 2.6.36 kernels.

Clean install

If upgrading the kernel doesn’t help you, you may want to clean install in case you have upgraded from previous versions. That may not help most of you, but still might. If you have installed 64-bit version, you may even want to switch to 32bit version as many users have reported to have no problems with 32bit version. If you install 32-bit version and have 4GB or more RAM, you should install linux-generic-pae kernel from Synaptic Package Manager so that your system can make use of all of your RAM. Some users have also mentioned going to LinuxMint has solved their problems. Or if all elese fails, go back to Lucid (10.04) and wait for Natty Narwhal (11.04) to be released.

Hope this helps.

[HOWTO] Convert Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx to Linux Mint 9 Isadora

Since Linux Mint 9 Isadora is based completely on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, you can add Linux Mint repository to Lucid and make it look and feel like Linux Mint (additionally you may have to do more than just mint specific applications such as changing themes and tweaking panel but you get the idea). You may also like to install a few components that you like in Linux Mint, for example just the mintmenu or mint-flashplugin-64 (if you want a 64bit version of flash for your 64bit version of Ubuntu).

To do this, just launch Synaptic Package Manager from System>Administration menu and open up Settings>Repositories. In ‘Ubuntu Software’ tab, make sure you have Universe and Multiverse selected. Then go to Other Software and add the following lines one by one:

deb isadora main upstream import
deb lucid partner
deb lucid free non-free

Close the Repositories window and click Reload.
When done, you will get the following gpg errors:

W: GPG error: isadora Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 3EE67F3D0FF405B2
W: GPG error: lucid Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 2EBC26B60C5A2783

To get rid of these the next time you reload, search for linuxmint-keyring and medibuntu-keyring in Synaptic and install them. Next time you reload or try to install software from Linux Mint, you won’t get gpg/authentication errors.

To install a mint software, just search and install it. For example, to install mintmenu, search for it, mark for installation and apply. When done, just add the menu to panel (Right Click Panel>Add to Panel>mint-menu).

To install everything, just mark the meta package mint-meta-main (for 32 bit) or mint-meta-64 (for 64-bit). That should mark everything that Linux Mint has by default. That includes codecs, java and flash and much more. It also includes other default applications such as pidgin, thunderbird and gimp. You can go to ‘Custom Filters’ (low left hand corner in Synaptic) > Marked Changes (upper right pane) to unmark any applications you don’t wish to install. Also, click on ‘Mark All Upgrades’ and

After installation, tweak it to your liking to make it look the way Linux Mint does or just the way you like it.

Hope this helps.