Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon (Sarah) Post-install Tuning

These are my notes and observations taken from a full, bare metal installation of Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon (Sarah). This version of Mint is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I’ve now migrated my main workstation to Linux Mint 18 after spending weeks wrestling with KDE Plasma 5 (Kubuntu-16.04). I still like the new Plasma (5) but it still has bugs and missing features. Maybe the missing features and increased stability will be present in 18.04… So after spending a full week with Mint 18, it is my opinion that Linux Mint is THE best DE (Desktop Environment) for Linux.

This document assumes that you have a working Linux Mint 18 install.

First, apply recent updates:

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade  

Install restricted packages “ubuntu-restricted-addons” and “ubuntu-restricted-extras”. Ubuntu-restricted-addons includes GStreamer, GStreamer plugins and libdvdread4 (library for reading DVD’s) ubuntu-restricted-extras includes the Adobe Flash plugin, ffmpeg, lame (MP3 encoding library), and Microsoft TrueType fonts.

$ sudo apt-get -y install ubuntu-restricted-addons ubuntu-restricted-extras

Enable DVD playback.

$ sudo apt-get -y install libdvd-pkg

Firefox comes installed as the default browser, however I like to keep Chromium handy.

$ sudo apt-get -y install chromium-browser

I use two e-mail clients Thunderbird and Claws Mail:

$ sudo apt-get -y install thunderbird claws-mail claws-mail-plugins claws-mail-tools

Install utils to mount exfat file systems

$ sudo apt-get -y install exfat-fuse exfat-utils

Install some multi-media apps VLC, WinFF, and Devede and Handbrake:

$ sudo apt-get -y install vlc vlc-plugin* winff devede handbrake soundconverter

My workstation sometimes serves files over the LAN so additional Samba/CIFS utilities are helpful

$ sudo apt-get -y install samba cifs-utils fusesmb

Install other favorite utilities

$ sudo apt-get -y install p7zip gimp gcolor2 agave filezilla putty zim gwenview geeqie

Install developer/code and documentation tools

$ sudo apt-get -y install geany bluefish retext 

Install Skype, which is included in offical Linux Mint repos

$ sudo apt-get install skype     

Install Bittorrent clients Transmission and qBittorrent, however Transmission is installed as the default BT client.

$ sudo apt-get -y install qbittorrent  

Install (Oracle) Java The easiest way to get Java (8) and to keep it updated is via ppa.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java 
$ sudo apt-get update  
$ sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer

Desktop Eye Candy – Desklets!


For those of us (like me) who have come from the KDE universe, Desklets are like KDE Widgets. On my rig I like to have a nice analog clock, a picture frame slideshow app, and a weather app. KDE4 had these but sadly the widgets available under KDE4 are not (yet) part of Plasma. Bummer.

On Linux Mint 18 the default included Desklets includes a nice picture frame app. So I needed to hunt down an analog clock and a weather app.

Analog Clock Desklet
CobiAnalogClock 1.5.2
We’ll need to install a dependency:

$ sudo apt-get install gir1.2-rsvg-2.0  

Download the zip file:
Extract zip file –> “”
Copy “” to: ‘$HOME/.local/share/cinnamon/desklets/’
To activate: Go to Desktop | (Right-click) Add Desklets

Weather Desklet
My favorite: Accuweather Applet/Desklet
Source: Accuweather
Full list of Accuweather city codes:
Example: Location: Berkeley, CA

Install utilities needed for compiling apps

$ sudo apt-get install cmake build-essential debhelper fakeroot checkinstall

Add Thumbnail Icons for Nemo (File Manager)

By default, there are no thumbnail icons for mkv/avi/mpeg files in Nemo. To get this functionality, install ffmpegthumbnailer.

$ sudo apt-get install ffmpegthumbnailer  

Modify Edit:* /usr/share/thumbnailers/ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer* Save the original

$ sudo cp ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer-orig    

Now, edit ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer. Modify the second line (Exec=…) to look like this one:

$ sudo nano ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer  

[Thumbnailer Entry]  
Exec=/usr/bin/ffmpegthumbnailer -s %s -i %i -o %o -c png -f  

Save and quit Nemo

$ nemo -q 

Delete the existing thumbnail cache:

$ rm -r ~/.cache/thumbnails/  

Restart Nemo, and now you’ll have video thumbnails!