Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon on Dell XPS

After two years of using Linux Mint 12 Cinnamon 64-bit on my Dell XPS desktop I finally decided to wipe LM 12 and install a newer version. With the release of Linux Mint 15 I was hearing widespread good news about this version so I decided I was finally going to upgrade. It is worth mentioning, though, that in the two years I was running LM 12 on my desktop that I never had any issues; it was all very stable except for the couple of times I made the mistake of attempting an Nvidia driver update. My plan for the upgrade was to install Linux Mint 15 on my Dell Vostro laptop first to see how things would go. Well, if you read my previous post you know that I had a real headache. With that catastrophe behind me I still decided I would attempt an install of LM 15 on my XPS desktop just so that I could get to Cinnamon 1.8. I booted up into the LM 15 Live USB thumb drive on my XPS and immediately ran into some performance issues, my mouse completely froze and I had no response from the keyboard. Essentially, my computer froze. I didn’t give up just yet. I so happen to have a spare Dell XPS desktop lying around; my nephew had also used the same XPS machine but had recently shelved it since we had built him a new, powerful gaming machine. I powered it up with the same LM 15 Live USB thumb drive and experienced the exact same issue. Still I didn’t give up. Just for the heck of it I decided to burn a DVD of LM 15. Same thing happened. It was then that I determined that my system just couldn’t handle Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon for whatever reason. It was then that I decided that it looked as if LM 14 would have to be installed on my desktop also.

I proceeded to install Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon 64-bit without any hassle and even found a means to upgrade Cinnamon to 1.8 thereafter by simply selecting the check for Backported packages from the Software Sources.

SoftSource

I re-installed most of my usual applications including, of course, Conky. I have found that Conky, for me, has become a necessity. With a theme I had used in the past called Next Gen I decided to customize the Next Gen theme some more based on a Tron wallpaper I had found. Because there were so many lines in the wallpaper I couldn’t see the metrics within Conky so I decided to create some transparent rectangles to insert into the Conky theme for the metrics to lay on top of for visibility. And this is what I came up with:

ConkyDesktop

So far these past few days have been great with the new install of Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon 64-bit. It’s been running smooth and I am very happy. Of course, I will be much happier when I can afford to build a more powerful machine like we did for my nephew.

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More On Linux Mint 12 using Cinnamon and Conky

From previous post I have stated that I had an issue with the Conky theme running under Cinnamon in Mint 12. I am glad to announce that I have found a fix. I posted my problem over at the Linux Mint forums but unfortunately no one posted a reply to my particular issue. I then decided to see if the Ubuntu community could help me so I posted over at their forum here. Luckily, someone was able to help me. The main issue that needed to be changed in the Conky config file was this:

own_window_type override

to this:

own_window_type normal

I’m not sure why the Cinnamon environment would cause this particular Conky config to act this way. I’m just glad someone was able to assist in the fix.

Since then I’ve made some updates to the configuration from the last time I posted my Conky desktop. Here is a screenshot from my primary monitor.

And here is a screenshot from my second monitor.

I found the above Conky weather config from Teo Bigus Geekus post over at the Ubuntu forums. I have to give much credit to Teo Bigus Geekus for being so helpful in getting my configuration exactly like I wanted it based off his original script.

Something else I wanted to state an improvement from Linux Mint 10 to Linux Mint 12 is the dual monitor setup. Before, I had an issue in Mint 10 with dual monitors that every time I wanted to view something full screen, be it a You Tube video or any other video, it would always expand to the second monitor, never the primary monitor. This no longer occurs in Mint 12. I’m not sure if it is a fix in Mint, the kernel, the video drivers, or Flash. Whatever it is I’m excited it’s not a problem any longer.

Linux Mint 12 on Dell XPS 410

Well, I gave in. I loved Mint 12 with Cinnamon so much on my laptop I decided to install it on my desktop replacing Mint 10. On initial install everything worked, no configurations needed. I still kept the dual boot of Windows 7 for gaming (as explained here) and what was wonderful was the ease of installing Linux Mint and keeping that Windows 7 install in pristine condition. I simply created a bootable USB thumb drive with Mint 12 64-bit using Universal USB Installer, booted into Live Mint 12 from the USB thumb drive, deleted the Mint 10 swap and partition using GParted from within the Live Mint 12 and ran the Mint 12 installer from the Live boot. Mint 12 simply took it from there giving me the option to install side-by-side with Windows 7. Simple.

The only minor problem I am having now with Mint 12 on both my laptop and desktop is with Conky. I was running a custom Conky theme called Conky Lunatico Rings, as explained here, but completing the same setup in Mint 12 running Cinnamon doesn’t produce the same results. I get a bunch of garbage spit out within the terminal and nothing displayed on the desktop. I’ve been in investigative mode for the past couple of days but so far I haven’t found a fix, yet.

I have to say, though, that Linux Mint 12 is far superior to Mint 11. The alternative Cinnamon interface is so much better than Gnome 3. I love it.

Desktop System Monitor on Linux Mint 10 and OS X

Hello. My name is Ed and I’m a tech geek.

I thought I would get that confession out of the way first. Of course, those close to me already know that about me. This post will be evidence enough that I really am a tech geek. Desktop system monitoring is something that can be used as a badge to show off just how geeky you are but in all actuality, it can be very useful. Behold the badge of my geekiness with this screenshot of my MacBook OS X desktop using GeekTool.

MacBook desktop with custom text embedded with GeekTool

And more recently:

MacBook desktop with custom text embedded with GeekTool

As you can see there are some useful monitors on my desktop that gauge my memory, CPU and drive space. Just in the past few months since that last Tron Legacy screenshot I have also added a fan speed monitor of my MacBook. The calendar portion at the bottom, though, is not part of GeekTool and can be found here as a free download. The easiest way I have found to configure GeekTool is by installing Geeklets. Basically, they are preconfigured scripts to add to GeekTool to give you the monitors you see on those screenshots. Now as you see above I have a pretty basic desktop on my MacBook. There are some guys and gals out there that have done some AMAZING desktops as evident on this page. I especially like the comic book strips toward the middle; more so, the desktop monitor story as told by the Buffy comic. Look closely at the dialog.

Now over on the Linux side we have something called Conky. I had heard of the utility before but had never used it until today. The guys over at Web Upd8, the Ubuntu/Linux blog, posted a really cool article on Conky Lunatico Rings that someone created over at  Gnome-look.org. I followed the instructions posted on Web Upd8 and configured my own version with a green color scheme instead of the orange using Andrew’s ‘no wireless’ tweak found in the post and posted a brief video to display my desktop.

The video quality isn’t so great, I know, so I apologize. Here is a closer screenshot to get a better view.

Conky Lunatico Rings using Conky on Linux Mint 10 http://www.webupd8.org/2011/06/conky-lunatico-rings-displays-system.html

Other than the color, I was also able to change the position as the default was more toward the middle of my display and I changed the disk monitor from used space to free space.

For Windows users out there you are probably wondering if there is anything like this for you, and there is. I’ve not used them so I’m not too familiar with them but go check out Rainmeter and Samurize.