The Linux Mint Beginner's Guide by Jonathan Moeller - Read Online
The Linux Mint Beginner's Guide
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The Linux Mint Beginner's Guide will show you how to get the most out of Linux Mint, from using the Cinnamon desktop environment to advanced command-line tasks. In the Guide, you will learn how to:

-Install Linux Mint.

-Use the desktop environment.

-Manage files and folders.

-Manage users, groups, and file permissions.

-Install software on a Linux Mint system, both from the command line and the GUI.

-Configure network settings.

-Use the vi editor to edit system configuration files.

-Install and configure a Samba server for file sharing.

-Install SSH for remote system control using public key/private key encryption.

-Install a LAMP server.

-Install web applications like WordPress.

-Configure an FTP server.

-Manage ebooks.

-Convert digital media.

-And many other topics.

Published: Jonathan Moeller on
ISBN: 9781301815807
List price: $0.99
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Book Description

The Linux Mint Beginner's Guide will show you how to get the most out of Linux Mint, from using the Cinnamon desktop environment to advanced command-line tasks. In the Guide, you will learn how to:

-Install Linux Mint.

-Use the desktop environment.

-Manage files and folders.

-Manage users, groups, and file permissions.

-Install software on a Linux Mint system, both from the command line and the GUI.

-Configure network settings.

-Use the vi editor to edit system configuration files.

-Install and configure a Samba server for file sharing.

-Install SSH for remote system control using public key/private key encryption.

-Install a LAMP server.

-Install web applications like WordPress.

-Configure an FTP server.

-Manage ebooks.

-Convert digital media.

-And many other topics.

***

The Linux Mint Beginner's Guide

Copyright 2012 by Jonathan Moeller

Second Edition published August 2017

Cover image copyright andresr Imaging | istockphoto.com

Published by Azure Flame Media, LLC

All Rights Reserved.

Trademarked names may appear in this book. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every appearance of a trademarked name, this book uses the names only in an editorial fashion and to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark.

The information in this book is distributed on an as is basis without warranty. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this work, neither the author nor the publishers shall have any liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this work.

***

Introduction

Welcome to the second edition of The Linux Mint Beginner's Guide. If you are a new Linux Mint user, you've come to the right place. Linux Mint is a powerful and versatile modern operating system, and you can use its desktop edition to perform a wide variety of tasks, ranging from office work and Internet browsing to listening to music and playing games. In this book, we'll introduce you to the basics of using Linux Mint and working with its interface.

WHAT IS LINX MINT?

What exactly is Linux Mint, though?

Linux refers generally to a family of free operating systems based upon the Linux kernel (a kernel is the core component of any operating system). The history of Linux is long and complex, but we can provide a brief sketch here. In the late 1960s and 1970s, AT&T’s Bell Labs developed the UNIX operating system, which was soon used in university computer labs across the United States.

However, AT&T retained the rights to the UNIX code, which meant that people could not freely alter or distribute it. In response to this, computer programmer Richard Stallman launched the GNU Project in 1983. (GNU stands for GNU’s Not Unix.) Stallman’s goal with the GNU Project was to create a UNIX-like operating system that was nonetheless free to alter and distribute under the principle of Free Software, a philosophical position which argued that software should be free to distribute and alter without legal restrictions. The GNU Project and Stallman himself produced a large number of software tools and programs. Unfortunately, the GNU Project lacked a viable kernel, the necessary core of any operating system.

This changed in 1991 when a Finnish university student named Linus Torvald became frustrated with the academic licensing for Minix, a UNIX-like operating system restricted to educational use. Torvalds wrote his own kernel, named it Linux, and released it under the GNU free license. Combined with the GNU project, the Linux kernel provided a freely available operating system – an operating system that people could modify and distribute however they saw fit.

Linux had been born.

(Many people insist that the proper name of Linux should in fact be GNU\Linux, in recognition of GNU’s vital role, and many GNU programs are used in Linux to this day.)

Under the terms of GNU’s General Public License (GPL), anyone could modify and distribute Linux. Today, Linux and Linux variants run on every different computing platform, from smartphones to desktop computers to high-end server systems. (Even Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader devices are powered by custom versions of Android, a version of Linux designed for smartphones and tablets.) These different flavors of Linux are called Linux distributions. Some distributions are commercially supported endeavors, like Red Hat Linux or SuSE Linux, while others are free and community-supported, like Knoppix or Fedora.

One of the more venerable distributions is Debian, started in 1993 by a German programmer named Ian Murdock. Debian is well-known for its stability and its strong devotion to free software principles. Unfortunately, Debian also has a famously slow release cycle. Because of this, Debian is frequently forked – a fork is when the code of an open-source project (which is free to share and distribute) is used as the foundation for another open-source project.

Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu, one of these forks. Started by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth through his company Canonical, Ubuntu focused on providing a smooth experience for the end users, offering a version of Linux for people with little experience with Linux or even with computers in general.

Linux Mint began as a fork of Ubuntu in 2006, founded by a developer named Clement Lefebvre. As Ubuntu made some controversial design decisions in 2011 and 2012, more and more users began migrating to Linux Mint. Currently, Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux desktop distributions, and releases a new update twice a year.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK

The purpose of this book is to give the reader a basic introduction to using the Linux Mint operating system. This book is not intending as a comprehensive overview, but as an introduction to Linux Mint – enough information to get you started and to get you comfortable using Linux. In this book, we'll focus first on using the graphical interface, and then the command line itself.

If you have more interest in learning the command line itself, you can check out my other book – THE LINUX COMMAND LINE BEGINNER'S GUIDE.

(As an aside, Linux Mint is closely based on Ubuntu, which means many of the command-line operations described in this book will also work on most versions of Ubuntu.)

ERRATA

I have done my best to make sure all the information in this book is accurate and timely, and tested every command and procedure described in the following chapters. However, I am only mortal, and undoubtedly I have made mistakes. If you notice any errors, you can email me at jmcontact @ jonathanmoeller.com to let me know. The advantage of ebooks over paper books is that ebooks are vastly easier to update and revise, and I can quickly introduce a revised and updated edition to correct any mistakes. (Another advantage of an ebook is that you can have it open on your computer screen as you work, rather than having to look down at a paper book on your desk.)

A NOTE ON SCREENSHOTS

Since Linux Mint is a graphical operating system, this book includes many screenshots to illustrate the descriptions of the graphical user interface. However, if you are using a grayscale eInk reader, the screenshots may not be easy to view. If you have difficulty viewing the screenshots, I suggest reading the book on a tablet device, or on a PC screen using an ebook reading application.

NOTES ON THE SECOND EDITION

After five years, I am pleased to issue the second edition of the Linux Mint Beginner's Guide! Several chapters have been added, dealing with ebooks, media, and gaming, and all the existing chapters have been updated.

***

Chapter 1 – Installing and Upgrading Linux Mint

You can't use Linux Mint without first installing it on a computer, and in this chapter we'll show you how to install Linux Mint on the computer of your choice. Additionally, we'll also show you how to update Linux Mint after it has been installed. Both Linux Mint and the various software packages included with it are being continuously updated and improved, and updating makes certain you have the latest, greatest, and most secure versions of your software.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Before installing Linux Mint, make sure that your computer meets the system requirements. The term system requirements only means that Linux Mint requires computer hardware of a certain speed and storage capacity to run well. Fortunately, Linux Mint's system requirements are not demanding, and definitely lower than those of Microsoft Windows.

Linux Mint first requires a processor running at a speed of 700 megahertz or higher. (The processor is the main computing chip in a computer, and its speed refers to how many clock cycles of calculations it can perform per second.) Most processors manufactured since 2001 or so run at a speed of 1 gigahertz or higher, so only very old processors will not run Linux Mint.

Linux Mint also requires 512 megabytes of memory and 5 gigabytes of free hard drive space. Memory refers to the amount of information the computer can load into its working memory at any one time. (Since this kind of memory is technically called Random Access Memory, RAM is a common shorthand for the computer's working memory.) However, when the computer shuts down, the information in the memory is lost. To prevent this data loss, information that needs to be stored long-term is written upon the hard drive. Since hard drives are much cheaper to manufacture than RAM chips, hard drives can store much more information than RAM. Virtually every modern computer comes with more than 512 megabytes of RAM and 5 gigabytes of hard drive storage space; only computers older than nine or ten years will have smaller quantities of storage.

Linux Mint also requires a computer with a video adapter and a monitor capable of displaying a screen resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. Again, most modern computers are capable of that. You might run into problems if your video adapter is incompatible with Linux Mint. Fortunately, you can test this using the LiveCD mode, which will discuss in the next section.

Finally, your computer needs either a CD-ROM drive or a USB port to install Linux Mint. You can install Linux Mint using either a CD-RW disc or a USB flash drive, and we'll discuss both methods.

USB OR CD?

To install Linux Mint, you'll first need to download the ISO file of Linux Mint, available at http://www.Linux Mint.com/download/desktop. (An ISO file is the term for an image file of a disk.) Once you have the ISO file, you can burn it to a CD, or prepare it on a USB flash drive for installation.

Burning to a CD is the most common method. Once you burn the Linux Mint ISO to a CD, you can then use that disc to boot up a computer with an optical drive and run the installer for Linux Mint. The advantage of this approach is that most computers have optical drives, and can therefore boot off a burned Linux Mint CD. The downside is that optical drives are comparatively loud and slow. In addition, on older computers, I've noticed that optical drives have a disturbing habit of breaking down when attempting to install Linux Mint.

Creating a bootable USB Linux Mint drive is a bit more work (to do so, download the installer from www.pendrivelinux.com), but it is has many advantages. First, a USB flash drive is usually faster and more reliable than a burned CD. Second, it's quieter than a CD drive, and it's far easier to carry a USB flash drive with you if you need to install Linux Mint on a regular basis. However, not all computers support booting from a USB flash drive, especially older computers. For those systems, you might have to use a CD.

INSTALLING Linux Mint

Once you have decided on a CD or a USB flash drive, you're ready to install Linux Mint.

Boot your computer using the CD or the flash drive. For some computers, you might have to hit a particular key when the manufacturer's logo flashes on the screen to access the boot menu. (For Dell computers, for instance, it's usually the F12 key, and on Asus computers it's often the ESC key.)

Once your computer has booted from the CD or the USB flash drive, you should see this screen:

This screen lets you select your language, and also allows you to select between trying Linux Mint and installing Linux Mint. The Try Linux Mint button boots you into the full Linux Mint environment, running off the CD or the USB flash drive, with access to all of Linux Mint's included software. This is useful for troubleshooting (for instance, if you have a computer that will not boot), and it's also useful for testing before you install Linux Mint. This allows you to make sure that hardware such as your graphics adapter or wireless network card will work properly with Linux Mint.

For now, we'll focus on installing Linux Mint. Click on the Install Linux Mint button to begin the installation process. You will then see this screen:

This screen reminds you that you will need 4.4 gigabytes of free drive space (five is better) to install Linux Mint. It also reminds you to connect your Linux Mint system to the Internet for the installation. This isn't strictly necessary, but it does allow the installer to download the latest updates in the background while you install Linux Mint, which you can enable by checking the Download updates checkbox.

The second checkbox, the Install this third-party software one, allows Linux Mint to install various multimedia codecs. This will allow your Linux Mint system to play MP3 audio files. Once you have made your selection, click on the Next button to continue.

The installer will then ask you how you want to configure your computer's hard drive for Linux Mint. What options you see here will depend upon how many hard drives your computer has, and whether or not you already have an operating system installed. Generally, you will have a choice between wiping your disk and installing Linux Mint, or splitting the disk between the previous operating system and your new installation of Linux Mint. (Advanced users can also select more complicated configuration options here.) For now, we'll assume that you want to wipe out your hard drive and install Linux Mint on the blank disk, so select the option