Mint 8 review: The Perfect Desktop

By now, you’re probably familiar with the series of articles called “The Perfect Desktop”. Falko Timme has be writing them for a while now and they’re quite popular. They show you how to install the major distributions, how to quickly add extra software and how to set them up to get a nice desktop environment. These articles are of very good quality, regarding the one about Linux Mint 8 Helena I don’t have many comments to make.

Link to the article:


Falko wrote: “Download the Linux Mint 8 iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it.

–> I don’t want to sound boring or anything, but it’s important that you check the MD5 signature of the ISO after you’ve downloaded it. Simply open a terminal and type “md5sum LinuxMint-8.iso”, this should return the same md5 signature as in here, and guarantee that the file you downloaded is in “mint” condition. Also, you should burn your CD at low speed. Let’s not discuss the reliability of packet transfers over the Net or laser lens technologies, let’s just say that many problems can be prevented by doing this. In most cases these are not necessary, the download usually is fine and so is the CD, but if any of the two are corrupted you could end up with really weird problems and a system which “appears” to run fine.

Falko wrote: “When you log in for the first time, you will most likely see an open lock icon in the lower right corner which means that updates for the installed software are available. Open the main menu and click on the All applications button. To install the updates, go to Applications > Administration > Update Manager.

–> You can click on the lock icon itself to open the Update Manager.

Falko wrote: “So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Linux Mint 8.

–> This used to be a specificity of Linux Mint back in the days when we provided the mintDisk tool, but NTFS is fully supported by most distributions nowadays. Also, in the list of applications written by Falko, Java is installed by default in the main edition of Linux Mint (I assume we’re talking about the JRE since only developers would be interested in installing the JDK).

Falko wrote: “To install additional applications, open the Synaptic Package Manager.

–> You could also use the Software Manager for this, in particular you can install the following applications very quickly by using its “Featured applications” feature: Amarok, aMule, Audacity, F-Spot, Filezilla, Google Earth, Microsoft TrueType Fonts, Opera, Picasa, Scribus, Skype, Songbird, Virtualbox and VLC.

Falko wrote: “To finish the VirtualBox installation, we must add the user that will run VirtualBox (falko in this example) to the vboxusers group.

–> As far as I know, recent versions of Virtualbox do that for you when you install the application.


  1. I need iso to be burnt onto a flash drive and boot from it.
    Couldn’t find anything about usb_boot_mint_8.
    Any suggestions?

  2. If you download using the torrent protocol, the integrity of your download is checked all along. No need to join md5sum or others.

  3. Unetbootin is an easy option indeed, but I am not shure if they have a linuxclient. However the USB startupdisk creator for Ubuntu should work fine.

  4. #################################################################
    HOW TO Install Linux MINT 8 onto a USB FLASH DRIVE go here:

    FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ## EXCEPT ## DOWNLOAD THE LINUX MINT 8 .iso and RENAME The LINUX MINT 8 .iso to what they say the Mint 7.iso is supposed to be… it will work perfectly using the LINUX MINT 8 .iso doing it that way… [ I did it ]

    Enjoy LM 8 ‘Helena,’ I love it. I installed “VirtualBox” and am running Linux Mint 8 on my laptop with Windows XP running in VirtualBox a must do!!!


  5. To answer Andrew, I used an application called unetbootin to convert iso to an usb img and install on a usb thumbdrive. It is quite simple. You just need to make sure that your bios is set to boot from usb.

  6. Fedora linux has a super-toy for creating bootable USB sticks..
    Might check it out, but I think it’ll only work from windows though.

  7. i burnt linux mint 8 to a usb. very easy.

    1)after you follow Clem’s recommended procedure of downloading and burning a cd, just boot it up until you are at the desktop. open a terminal and ‘sudo apt-get install usb-creator.’ this i think should have been installed by default (lots of netbooks out there).

    2)run usb-creator by pressing alt+F2 and typing in ‘usb-creator.’ the iso part (at the top of the box) will say ‘linux mint 8.’ at the bottom of the box, select your usb (you did plug it in didn’t you), format and install. takes about 10-15 minutes.

    3)unmount usb and shutdown/restart. the usb is now ‘Mint’ ready!! 😉

  8. i know the linux community loves to use the command line, but to check the md5 sum is so easy it’s stupid. if you download the iso to your current linux mint desktop, all you have to do is right-click on the iso icon on the desktop, scroll down to check md5 sum, and click it, and your done(this is all assuming that you absolutely have to check that md5 sum or you won’t sleep at night. after all, transmission checks it continually as it downloads, so it’s arguable as to how necessary it really is). then just compare the information that comes up to the hash on the linux page. this is just another reason why winbloze zombies, like myself, will really appreciate the ease of the desktop in linux mint. don’t get me wrong, command line is sometimes essential, but I have thoroughly enjoyed finding my way around the gui, and in so many cases, it is much faster than command line. If Linux mint continues on the current path, then the gui will be faster than the command line with about everything.

  9. This is what I love about Linux Mint. Other distributions ‘claim’ to pay attention to what people say, but very few actually do. It seems like most distros (Ubuntu and Debian included) send their versions with only the internal developers ideas in mind. Clem and the rest of the Linux Mint team actually implement ideas and changes that people want (usually).

    Here’s hoping The Gimp will be installed by default in Mint 9.

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  11. @Clem: As far as I know, recent versions of Virtualbox do that for you when you install the application.

    You must add the user, otherwise you will not be able to use USB by example (and restart the host). That’s my experience with VirtualBox 3.1 and Helena.

  12. Mint works but requires lots of tweaking up just like other linux releases. Skype is problematic for v.o.i.p. The update for Skype that installed some beta version of it ( up my audio so I have no microphone working now. It only allows “pulseAudio Server(Local)” as the option for “sound and audio”, but I need USB headset option. What can I do? Please, can I remove the update and still keep the 2.0 version of Skype that worked?

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  14. How do I install Mint 8 without having to reinstall all my data i.e .JPG, .MOV and documents. I have been useing Mint 7 and want to upgrade to mint 8 but I do not want to reinstall all my data again.


  15. My Mint 7 no longer boots from USB into gui mode. I get the splash screens as usual but it ends up in console. I have tried the following commands:


    sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart


    but no joy. Any suggestions welcome.

    I have to say Mint 7 has been the best Linux distribution I’ve tried to date. Not sure about upgrading to 8 as I simply prefer the clean green wallpaper in 7!

  16. Notice that creating the perfect desktop from Mint 8 only takes 3 pages to explain. No other distro can be “perfected” in that small amount of space. 🙂

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