Saturday, May 25, 2013

Linux Mint Cinnamon install and Dual screen swap

Doesn't seem that long ago I was raving about Arch Linux. And honestly, if I had more time to fiddle with it, I'd probably stick with it. But as things stand now, I swapped distros yet again. This time, I moved to Linux Mint.

Switching to Mint

I went deployed to Afghanistan with my Windows 7/Arch dual booting laptop. Since there was no way I was going to pay for the a internet in my quarters ($90/month for less than dial-up speeds!), both Windows and Arch went without updates for the 8 months I was away from home. I mostly used it to watch movies, and played a few games as well. I did browse Arch Linux news from work and saw the major changes that would be affecting me when I got back, but thought little of it.

When I finally got home, I ran yaourt to update everything. And that's when I started seeing some issues, mostly with yaourt and pacman yelling at me about prereq's for new packages. They were issues I could have resolved with some research and time, which I did finally get the right order of updates so everything got updated. But then I rebooted, and was left staring at the command line login prompt, not my Window Manager as I has previously set up. It had taken me a few hours just to get to this point and honestly, I called it quits there. It might have been a simple fix to be back into my GUI, but I was done. This hasn't been the first time I've had to do some serious research to get things working again after an update, and yes, I kept a close eye on the Arch News for these potential problems and workarounds. But I shouldn't have to do that, and so I stopped using Arch.

I had been eyeballing Linux Mint for a while, and decided to give it a go. I also decided that I didn't need Windows on my laptop anymore. So I downloaded Mint 14 Cinnamon, booted it up, and overwrote my hard drive with my new Mint install. Now I am not an Ubuntu fan, which Linux Mint is based off of. But Mint looks nothing like Ubuntu, and it runs like a dream. My only hiccup was loading the BCM4311 wireless drivers, which from my experience in Arch taught me the easy way to do so: Install the firmware (b43-fwcutter), and install the driver (bcmwl-kernel-source). Mint even goes the extra step and lists the driver in the "Additional Drivers" tab of the Update program.

Going Full Linux

I had recently purchased a new Samsung Chronos 7 laptop with Windows 8 installed. This was because my old laptop refused to run Guild Wars 2. It was a purchase to replace my 6 year old desktop tower. After installing Mint on my old laptop, I got the itch to install it on my new laptop. However, I had read many articles, forum posts, and blogs that spell out the woes of trying to dual boot on a UEFI laptop. I followed what steps people claimed to have worked for them, but ended up with nothing working, even with the rEFInd boot loader. So I used Clonezilla to backup my hard drive, and then installed Mint solo. Now that I got PlayOnLinux giving me my Guild Wars 2 goodness, I may never need to have Windows on this laptop again.

Dual Screen swap

I have an HDMI cable plugging into my 22" monitor, creating a dual screen environment to play Guild Wars 2, and have web browsers up to read the Wiki, watch how-to videos, etc. With Windows 8, I obviously played Guild Wars 2 on the 22" monitor. But Mint kept starting it on the smaller laptop screen. I went researching how to make the monitor my primary display. I found a simple fix:
  1. Open ~/.config/monitors.xml
  2. Locate the monitor you want to be primary, and change the <primary> setting to yes.
  3. Change the same tag on the monitor you want to be secondary to no.
  4. Save the file.
  5. Log off, log back in. Done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can also change the primary monitor from GUI, the black bar at the top of one of the monitors (inside the "display" menu, from general settings) represents the primary monitor. You can move it to the other screen just dragging it.