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New Mint User - Help Needed

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎20-07-2007

New Mint User - Help Needed

Hi all
I've been thinking of dabbling with Linux for some time and have just acquired an old laptop so thought I'd give it a go. After browsing this forum, I've decided to start with Mint Gloria and I've just installed it from an ISO file burned to CD. I've done a clean install and overwritten XP which was previously on the laptop. I've also downloaded all the updates.
First impressions are very positive although as a Windows user I'm still learning how it all works.  This leads me on however to my first (of potentially many) questions:
1. I seem to have a problem with help. Clicking on  help menu items or buttons brings up an error. The attached screen-shot 1 is an example when  I right click on the bottom panel (menu bar in Windows) and select the help icon. It looks like something hasn't installed properly although I didn't notice any errors during the installation process.
2. I've currently only got a wired connection as the laptop doesn't have a wireless card. Before I buy one, are there any limitations with PCMCIA wireless cards or can I just buy a cheap one off eBay?
3. If I go in to  “Appearance Preferences” in the “Control Centre” and try and change the “Visual Effects”, I get a “desktop effects could not be enabled” error (see screen-shot).
Any help gratefully received?
Thanks - Bob
42 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 6,805
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

bob,
Not too sure on 1 & 3 since I'm a Ubuntu  rather than a Mint person myself, you'll have to wait for poppy, she's a Mint user I think. However AFAIK Mint is based on Ubuntu and so the underlying guts is similar, this https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/WirelessCardsSupported should help decide which PCMCIA card will work.
 
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

1. Kinda looks like the GNOME User Guide isn't installed. On Debian the package to install is simply gnome-user-guide; look for the same (or similar) in the package manager.
3. The graphics driver probably doesn't support the 'desktop effects'. Usually some degree of hardware acceleration is required for that and may mean using proprietary drivers.
What graphics chipset is the laptop using?
Not applicable

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Biker is the regular Mint user - I'm with Ubuntu now as I prefer it. However, it is largely the same under the skin.
With regards to the graphics, open up the terminal (in Ubuntu it is under Accessories) and type in lshw - this will list the hardware in your computer (the equivalent of Device manager). Post back the results and I  am sure that Biker or someone experienced will be along to give further advice.
The wireless link is quite a comprehensive one and I wish that I had seen it when I first started to play with Linux.
The native wireless card in my laptop didn't work at first so bought an external USB dongle because my computer has an Express card slot - 35 or 55 mm and it was (at the time) a bit problematical to find one that worked with Linux. To be 100% sure that it was compatible I bought the Edimax from LinuxEmporium. Probably paid a bit over the odds but it had an extension cable and service was good. It worked a treat - just stuck it in the USB port and was instantly working wirelessly. Now I have the laptop working  on its own card (it took nearly 6 months though).
Welcome to the world of Linux - hope that you enjoy it - worth the effort IMO.
*Re the Help problem - no relevant posts in the Mint forum seen (you could try the Ubuntu one).
Googled it and it seems that this is a known bug - sadly can't locate the cure as yet. I had a bug in Mint although could clear it reasonably easily when it occurred. It was one of the reasons why I now use Ubuntu.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
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Registered: ‎20-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Wow, thanks for the fast replies.
@MisterW, thanks for the link. I'll have a look through and see if I can pick up something cheap on eBay. So far this project has cost me zero so I guess I can afford to spend a few quid.
@Waldo, I downloaded the GNOME User Guide and problem solved – thanks. You'd think that providing help would form part of the standard install though!
You're probably right about the graphics driver not supporting the desktop effects – the laptop is over 5 years old. I'm not too bothered about this so I won't worry about it.
@Poppy, thanks for the welcome. Your previous posts were one of the reasons I opted for Mint so I might take your recommendation and give Ubuntu a go next.
Thanks all for your help.
Bob
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 6,805
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Quote
@MisterW, thanks for the link. I'll have a look through and see if I can pick up something cheap on eBay. So far this project has cost me zero so I guess I can afford to spend a few quid.

bob , what about a USB dongle?. This is where I get most of my bits from ( but then its just down the road from the office! ) http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Peripherals/Network+Products/Wireless/?x=12&p_order=price_asc&p=cF9zd...
The tp-link tl-wn321G is pretty cheap there and is on the compatibilty list as 'works out of the box'
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎16-02-2009

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Quote from: MisterW
The tp-link tl-wn321G is pretty cheap there and is on the compatibilty list as 'works out of the box'

Strangely I just acquired one of those. It doesn't work OOB on my machine it needs the firmware
rt73usb 1-8:1.0: firmware: requesting rt73.bin

As to Bob's other issues everybody seems to have covered them already  Wink
If there is an icon on the bar showing Restricted driver available then I would install that. Or as poppy says send us the output and we will see if we can enable compiz on it (Desktop effects) Although I know it doesn't work on Via Crome/(some)S3 cards/on-board video. It does work on Intel video though.
Bob I have a "spare" pcima card that does work, however it is only 'B' rated. If you want it drop me your address.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
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Registered: ‎20-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Hi Biker, nice to hear from you again - I've been following your E65 problem in the Broadband Phone forum with sympathy/interest !
I'll I think I'd rather have a PCMCIA card as the laptop only has 1 USB port so that would be left free for other things. I'll happily give you something for your spare - what do you mean by "B rated" though?
Bob
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
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Registered: ‎16-02-2009

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Hi Bob, the B rated one is 11Mbs only. (Wireless has several "modes" A/B/G/N B is 11Mbs works fine for surfing etc but no good for file transfer, a bit like your adsl line Cheesy)
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎20-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Quote from: poppy
I'm with Ubuntu now as I prefer it.

Hi Poppy, out of interest why did you switch from Mint to Ubuntu? I'm thinking that maybe I should switch before I invest too much time in Mint.
I'm looking for a version that I can use instead of Windows on a low powered/old laptop. A version without too much technical knowledge required but well supported. I'm open to a bit of under the cover dabbling but not too much.
Thanks - Bob
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎20-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

@Biker, sorry I did know that, I was just being thick !
11Mbps is fine - I'll send you a PM.
Bob
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Posts: 6,773
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Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

YMMV as they say on the net. Mint comes with a few extras like OOB media playback. You can do the same in Ubuntu you just need to install the medunbuntu repository and install the codecs, not a real show stopper but I like Mint, however I also have a Netbook using EEEUBUNTU and an other pc running XUbuntu 9.04
How much ram does the laptop have? If it is less than 512Mb then a lighter desktop like XFCE or LXDE would make it faster.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
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Registered: ‎20-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Quote from: biker955
How much ram does the laptop have? If it is less than 512Mb then a lighter desktop like XFCE or LXDE would make it faster.

It has 512Mb of RAM, a 2GHz processor but only 20Gb of disk space.
Bob
Not applicable

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Bob - Ubuntu was the first distro I tried because one of the staff at PN advised me to use Wubi.
I wasn't enamoured of it at first whereas with Mint, I liked the look of it instantly.
However, there was that little glitch which irritated me, but the main reason for changing was that there is just something simple and straightforward about Ubuntu that I now like. It seems to me that everything is where it logically should be and can be found qjuickly and easily. I like the separate categories and the top toolbar - not so keen on the Mint menu.
Also, there is a great deal of documentation and support for Ubuntu.
http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/index_main.html
The above link is the Ubuntu pocket guide which is full of information.
There is a little quiz on psychocats http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/ which points you to the most suitable distro for your needs. Did it the other day and it came up with the Debian distros - Ubuntu at the top 100% with Mint a bit further down although still scoring highly so it is really down to personal choice.
From what I have read, Biker is, of course, correct - Xubuntu is recommended for low powered machines. Have run it on a live CD and it is quite straightforward and very like Ubuntu except for the XFCE desktop.
I think that Puppy is also suitable - have tried it briefly via live CD and that is all so no real knowledge of it.  
Installation of Ubuntu is not as intuitive as Mint (it seems to me) but you shouldn't have any problem as you are using the whole disk anyway - a distinct advantage.
With regards to Compiz it's nice but might be best to get used to things first and explore that when you are more comfortable with things.
Glad you got the Help thing sorted - didn't think of that as it all came complete when I used Mint - wonder if it is something to do with the download location?
Highlighted
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,139
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Registered: ‎20-07-2007

Re: New Mint User - Help Needed

Thanks Poppy, that's an interesting quiz. My top recommendation was OpenSuSE (100%) followed by Mandriva, Ubuntu and Mint (all 95%)
I'll give it some though and let you know how I get on.
Bob