From Ubuntu to Linux Mint with Cinnamon

I’m becoming a technology curmudgeon. For as long as I can remember I’ve used a traditional window manager on Linux. Maybe I’m just stuck in my ways but I’m convinced that the combination of Focus Follows Mouse (with a 450ms auto-raise delay), the ThinkPad TrackPoint, and middle-click scrolling is the most efficient way to navigate windows. So Ubuntu’s neglect of that paradigm in favor of something that feels too much like my wife’s Mac has caused me to seek greener pastures.

It seems that all of the cool kids are switching from Ubuntu to Linux Mint. So I decided to give Linux Mint 16 with Cinnamon a try. It took some tweaking but now I’m pretty happy with the setup. I’ve switched from the “can’t let go of the past” desktop environment to the “I’m not dead yet” one. Besides some minor UI annoyances the only big downside seems to be worse battery life.

As with all Linux distributions I had to make some changes to the default system. For my future reference and possibly for others, here are the changes I made:

  • To install Chrome I created /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list containing:
    deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main

    And then installed the key:

    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys A040830F7FAC5991
  • Out-of-the-box dnsmasq completely breaks things when connecting to Wifi networks that muck with DNS so I disabled dnsmasq and now networking works great.
  • There is a bunch of unneeded cruft which I removed:
    sudo apt-get remove banshee brasero tomboy vlc xchat casper modemmanager simple-scan mintnanny mintbackup mintupdate sox
  • I had to install some other stuff:
    sudo apt-get install xcursor-themes powertop vim skype git trash-cli
  • Also I setup git to use the Gnome Keyring so things are copacetic with GitHub’s 2-factor auth.

Now I can happily continue with my old-school ways.