After many years of using various Linux Distributions, I have finally settled for Linux Mint KDE edition. The stability and just work attitude of Linux Mint make it far better than any other distro. With the decision to release based on the Ubuntu LTS edition the stability of Mint has significantly improved and the usage of Linux Mint 17.2 KDE edition has been a true pleasure.

However, even with these great improvements there are still a few changes that need to be made to make it the perfect distro. I have outlined the changes I make straight after installing Linux Mint below.


  1. Enable the the root account. Which moron thought it was a good idea to enter sudo before every root command you enter at the terminal. This is just ludicrous. Enter the following command in the terminal (in KDE the terminal application is called Konsole) and then enter a password for root:
    passwd root

  2. In the terminal log in as root. Now that we have a root account which we know the password to, we may as well flaunt our power. Enter the following in the terminal followed by your root password:
    su -

  3. Upgrade the system. This could take some time, so after entering the following in the terminal you may want to go and get a cup of tea (note that there are two commands, wait for the first to complete and then enter the second before going to get a cup of tea (you may also have to accept the updates after entering the second command)):
    aptitude update

    aptitude upgrade

  4. Change the search options in Firefox. Now that we have a fresh updated system, lets browse the web. Open up Firefox and be prepared to be disgusted. The first thing any sane person does in Firefox is to search for something, however through to some ludicrous reason, the default search is set to Yahoo. Yahoo, do they even do search any more? Well let us quickly change that to google, through a cumbersome and difficult process. Head over to this site:
    http://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php
    Scroll down to the 'Commercial engines' and click on google. Then click on the search button on your Firfox search bar, which will now have a plus on it:
    Finally click on add google search. Don't worry, we are not done yet, next up click on the same search menu and select 'Change Search Settings'. Delete the search engines you don't want and set the default search to Google:
    Finally, we have made it! Or have we? Enter something in the search bar, and to our delight there are no search suggestions. Okay, lets add these. Go back to the terminal and edit the Firefox Google search file. I am going to use vim to do all my editing, if you can't use vim it's about time you learn, go take a look at this lovely little guide. Enter the following in the terminal, changing MY-USER-NAME to your user name:
    vim /home/MY-USER-NAME/.mozilla/firefox/mwad0hks.default/searchplugins/google.xml

    Add the following line of code just before the </SearchPlugin> tag:

     <Url type="application/x-suggestions+json" method="GET" template="https://www.google.com/complete/search?client=firefox&amp;q={searchTerms}"/>
    

Save the file and exit, then restart Firefox. We are now really and truly and finally done with this. Ensure the search suggestions work.

  1. Decrease swap usage. Next we want to make a small change to speed up the computer. We want to decrease the usage of swap memory as much as possible. Enter the following line in the terminal:
    echo vm.swappiness=10 >> /etc/sysctl.conf

  2. Uninstall Junk. Lets clean the computer next. Linux Mint, whilst great, comes with far too many crappy applications that we are never going to use. Lets remove them. I have provided a description of the applications I am removing and the reason I am removing them so you can decide if you may actually want to keep some of them:
    BlueDevil - Bluetooth support. Ummm, my computer does not have bluetooth, why on Earth would I want this.

    KPPP - Connect to the internet with ppp. Seriously, how many people don't use modems and routers these days.

    Amarok - Music player. I can't stand Amarok's do everything attitude. I much prefer the lighter and much better Clementine.

    Dragon Player - Video Player. Are you having a joke, this video player sucks, to put it nicely. VLC is also installed by default, so this is redundant.

    Jovie - KDE text to speech synthesiser. Don't need this.

    Kmag - Screen magnifier. Don't need this.

    Mono - Allows you to run Microsoft's .NET Framework in Linux. Why would I want to run any of this crap.


    Okay to remove these, enter the following in the terminal, editing as you see fit:
    aptitude purge bluedevil kppp amarok dragonplayer jovie kmag mono-runtime-common

    and accept the solution to resolve the dependencies.

  3. Optimise Firefox. I find Histories and Cookies quite worthless, so I ensure I have Firefox clear these when I close the browser. Here are a few of the changes I make to the settings. Start by opening the preferences page from the menu:

  4. Change the home page to the Firefox default page by clicking 'Restore to Default':

  5. Set the Privacy Settings as follows:

  6. Disable Firefox snooping:

  7. Install adblock plus. Life does not feel worth living when there are ads on the web, so lets make it liveable again by removing those pesky ads with adblock plus. Go to this page and clik on 'Add to Firefox'. After installing you will be presented with a small configuration page, scroll to the bottom and adjust the settings accordingly:

  8. Speed up LibreOffice by disabling Java. Open up LibreOffice Writer and click on Tools, Options. In the options menu, under Advanced, remove the tick for 'Use a Java runtime environment':

  9. Install Clementine and call it a night:
    aptitude install clementine

That's all I have for Linux Mint improvements. Simple changes like editing wallpapers and themes have not been covered here, as these are obvious.

Let me know if I have missed any critical steps.