Perfect Desktop Using Linux Mint 9 Isadora: Post Install Guide

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If you like green then you ought to like Mint Linux. It is certainly one of the good looking Linux distros out there and being an Ubuntu spin-offs makes it reasonably stable and reliable too.  There is more to Mint than merely the “green” color, it sports a redone Start Menu with Windows 7 style search features and comes pre-installed with flash  and a different set of default application, also the canonical package repository is already enabled by default. Installation is standard Ubuntu type installation, if you need any help with dual-booting. You can look at this post, which describes how to dual-boot Ubuntu with Windows 7.

Now that you have Linux Mint up and running, its time to install all the additional packages that would obviate the use of Windows or proprietary paid softwares. Free software ROCKS! Goal is to setup a desktop system which would be self sufficient, without the need to reboot in Windows.

I am going to list out the most essential packages that one would be typically needing for the day to day needs. All the package names of applications not yet installed on a default Mint installation has been labeled in bold. You can install them one by one by searching from them in Synaptic Package Manager (can be found in the Administration menu) and installing them one by one, or by installing them from command line by doing

sudo apt-get install package_name

At the end of this guide, I have listed out all the packages in a single command, so if you don’t have the patience to do the selection just use it to install all the typical application in one go.


  • flashplugin-installer: Adobe Flash Player: already installed
  • Firefox: web browser:  already installed
  • chromium-browser: web browser by Google: to be installed
  • opera: web browser: to be installed
  • thunderbird: An email and news client: already installed
  • evolution: e-mail/calendar – Outlook style application: to be installed
  • transmission: A BitTorrent Client: Bittorrent client: installed already
  • empathy IM Client: multi-platform instant messaging client: to be installed
  • skype: VOIP software: to be installed
  • googleearth: Map software by Google: to be installed


  • gimp: replacement for Adobe Photoshop: already installed
  • f-Spot: feature rich personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop: to be installed
  • Google picasa:  application for organizing and editing digital photos: to be installed


  • Writer: replacement for Microsoft Word: already installed
  • Calc: replacement for Microsoft Excel: already installed
  • Impress: replacement for Microsoft Powerpoint: already installed
  • acroread: Adobe Reader: to be installed
  • scribus: open source desktop publishing (DTP) application: to be installed

Sound & Video:

  • audacity: free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor: to be installed
  • audacious: Winamp like music player: to be installed
  • banshee: media management and playback and synchronize music with Apple iPods: to be installed
  • gnome-mplayer: media player (video/audio), supports practically all formats: already installed
  • vlc: media player (video/audio), supports practically all formats: to be installed
  • Rhythmbox Music Player: audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods:  already installed
  • gtkPod: iPod manager, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini: to be installed
  • dvdrip: full featured DVD copy program: to be installed
  • dvd95: dvd shrink like program to convert DVD9 to DVD5:  to be installed
  • kino: digital video editor: to be installed
  • sound-juicer: CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs: to be installed
  • Totem – media player (video/audio):  already installed
  • xine-ui: media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs: to be installed
  • Brasero: CD/DVD burning program:  already installed
  • k3b: CD/DVD burning program: to be installed


  • emacs: Feature rich extensible self-documenting text editor: to be installed
  • vim: Terminal based power text editor: to be installed
  • kompozer WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver: to be installed
  • bluefish: HTML editor: to be installed
  • quanta: web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor: to be installed


  • virtualbox-ose: run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows: to be installed
  • VMware-Player: Similar capabilities as Virtual box: to be installed separately
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer: TrueType fonts available on Windows: to be installed
  • sun-java6-bin: Sun Java Platform Standard Edition Runtime Environment: to be installed
  • ffmpeg: Useful video conversion application

Home Theater (HTPC):

  • mythtv: State-of-art Home Theater and Personal Video Recorder (PVR) application.
  • xbmc: Awesome easy to use Home Theater (HTPC) application for playing videos, music, photo slide show etc., no PVR though!

Command to install all the applications listed in bold font in one go (except Mythtv and XBMC, which might not be relevant for most people, for XBMC install you can look here and for MythTV here)

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg sun-java6-bin ttf-mscorefonts-installer virtualbox-ose quanta bluefish kompozer vim emacs k3b xine-ui vlc sound-juicer dvdrip dvd95 kino gtkpod banshee audacious audacity acroread scribus picasa chromium-browser googleearth skype f-spot empathy opera evolution transmission

Feel free to remove the package names that you don’t want to install. Beware: running the above command would take a while to download over 400MB of data, so start it only when you have enough time at your hands. 🙂

Feel free to suggest any important package which I might have missed. Thanks!

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About the Author

has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

4 Comments on “Perfect Desktop Using Linux Mint 9 Isadora: Post Install Guide”

  • Randy wrote on 11 July, 2010, 17:28

    I like this version of Linux Mint better than the previous. Between it and vanilla Debian, I’m pretty happy usually. It’s weird how a Ubuntu derivative is so much different that Ubuntu.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


  • securitywonks wrote on 2 September, 2010, 20:56

    few changes, I wish to suggest, thank you

    transmission – installed by default in Isadora

    may be adding Putty (ssh client), wine (windows compatibility layer) and Filezilla (ftp/sftp client) in the list helps, even though they were not installed by default but as “to be installed” in the list, thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


  • lifehacker wrote on 3 September, 2010, 10:24

    @securitywonks – Thanks for pointing out the mistake in status about transmission. But why would you need to install putty or any sftp client, these things are built into every unix / linux system out there. Those things are for windows machines.

    You can ssh from any terminal just by typing ssh user@domain. Similarly you can access any fpt, sftp, samba share just using the Connect to server option from the Places menu. You can hardly get anything to work with wine, with VirtualBox who needs wine. 🙂

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  • securitywonks wrote on 3 September, 2010, 11:35

    I use those tools, putty, filezilla, just a preference, I thought, they may be helpful, no problem, thank you

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


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