Monday, February 28, 2011

Desktop icons

I love having icons on my desktop, not hunderds of icons, but having a shortcut to Trash is handy. I could not find a setting to do this and set out in search of a solution.

Thank you to Chaos from the Peppermint forum (to view the full article, go to

For your home folder, right click on your desktop and scroll to new/blank file and create a blank file on your desktop, open the blank file with leafpad and copy the code below,
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]

and save to desktop as home.

For root folder, similar to Windows' 'My Computer':
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=pcmanfm /

For network:
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]

For Terminal:
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]

Trash Can:
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=pcmanfm trash:///

I only put a shortcut to Trash on my desktop, but this is a great tutorial. A lot of things are not as "easy" to do when you come from a Windows background. I am glad that there are people out there who are willing to share their knowledge.

Deleting Web Apps

Web apps are great when you have WIFI or ADSL with no Internet cap. However, in South Africa Internet of this kind is not cheap, so few people have it. I am currently one of them.

I don't use Web Apps on Peppermint. I installed Claws mail, Gpaint, VLC, etc. and don't want all the shortcuts in the Menu.

Navigate to the folder:
Run PCManFm and go to
/home/tienie/.local/share/applications (replace tienie with your username)
remember that to view the .local folder you will have to click on View > "Show hidden"
and delete the shortcuts you no longer want to have.

The change is almost immediate and your Menu is a lot neater having less unused icons.

I have not figured out how to move icons from one section of the Menu to the other, if anyone has any hints please post them in the comments below, thanks.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to remove flash drives

On Windows there is a little button on the taskbar (bottom right) where you can click to safely remove a flash drive.

I never worried about it, until I unplugged my flash drive and lost a whole days worth of work (in Windows). For some reason it had not saved properly, and I am not talking about just one file lost either. The files were simply not there.

In PCManFm you can right click on a flash drive and click on "Eject removable media", this however nevers works for me. I have also lost files when simply unplugging the flash in frustration on Peppermint.

Here is a safer ( and much longer) way to do it:

Click on Menu > Preferences > Disk Utility
(right click on disk utility if you want to add a shortcut to your desktop, you will need it later)
Click on your flash drive
On the bottom, towards the left is "Unmount flash drive"
(but if like me you have a 7" screen you can't see that part of the window, what now? hold down Alt, then click and drag the window higher, now you can see and click it!)
Higher up, and to the right is "Safe Removal" click it, you have now safely removed your flash drive, hard drive, cell phone, etc.

If there is an easier way, please post it in the comments.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Running Windows programs on Linux

I need to run a few Windows programs. Programs like Corel Draw or E-Sword do not have versions (that I know of) on Linux.

I have tried wine before, and after installing E-Sword and setting the resource folder (so that it could load the other Bibles, etc.) I was left with an empty window which was pretty much useless.

Enter PlayOnLinux you install the debian package, which installs wine and a few others things with it. I double clicked on the E-Sword install file and it worked. E-Sword installed and worked perfectly. Instead of installing each package, I copied the installed files from someone else's E-Sword installation folder (Windows PC) and copies them to my wine/e-sword folder.

Finding that folder was a different story as clicking on Menu > Wine > Browse C: does not work. Here is the location:

/home/tienie/.wine/dosdevices/c:/Program Files/e-Sword/

Substitute your username for tienie and you should have it. I can not tell you how happy I am to finally be able to use E-Sword in Linux. There are a few minor bugs, but at least it works, and it works well enough for me to get done what I need to do. Not being able to run E-Sword has been one of the key reasons I have formatted and re-installed Windows XP, now it is no longer necessary.

What are the Windows programs that you cannot live without?

How to save on precious HDD space

If you have installed peppermint on a spacious 80 GB HDD this tip may not seem like a big thing to you. However, if like me you are running Peppermint on a eeepc with a 4 GB (or 2 GB) HDD you will want to save as much space as possible.

First things first, considering that DropBox has a default of 2 GB of disk space (or more if you have invited people and they accepted the invites) you might not want to configure it (not that I could get DropBox to work either, but just as well considering the small HDD).

The second tip comes from my friend, Quintin, check his blog at . I understand it like this: when you update or install new packages the package files are downloaded to this location: /var/cache/apt/archives , and after installation they stay there. Jealously hogging what little disk space you have available. The solution? delete them! (so far this has not harmed my Peppermint Linux, that I can tell)

But this is easier said than done. Firstly you need to be root to delete files from here, so here follow the steps:

go to folder: /var/cache/apt/archives
look at all the .deb files
right click on them, then click on delete
error message - you are not root!
OK, so click on Tools > "Open current folder in terminal"
type in sudo rm *.deb press
(be very careful what you do as root user, you have been warned)
Enter the password for root user
The files are now gone! If you deleted them without using Terminal, (ie. Tools > Open current folder as root) they would have been sent to /root/.local/share/Trash/files folder , then you would have had to log into that folder via Terminal and delete them. As even when logged in as root user I was not able to delete the files through PCManFm.

Don't think your temp files mean very much? After 3 days of updates and installing OpenOffice, VLC and a few other programs I had over 300 MB of package files! That means that 13% of my HDD was occupied by files I did not need ...

So if you are running low on disk space, check this out.


I love system monitors (I use Statbar in Windows XP) and I really enjoy looking at all the numbers and stuff go by.

Type sudo apt-get install conky in a terminal window and you will have conky installed. It is small, text based and works well without draining the resources on my eeepc.

Here is my .conkyrc script (it is a hidden file in the home folder)

background yes
use_xft yes
xftfont HandelGotD:size=8
xftalpha 0.5
update_interval 2.0
total_run_times 0
own_window yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_color black
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
minimum_size 170 5
maximum_width 195
draw_shades no
draw_outline yes
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders yes
default_color green
default_shade_color white
default_outline_color black
alignment top_right
gap_x 5
gap_y 5
no_buffers yes
uppercase no
cpu_avg_samples 2
override_utf8_locale no
format_human_readable yes


SYSTEM ${hr 2}
PC Name: ${alignr} ${nodename}
User Name: ${alignr} ${user_names}
CPU: ${cpu cpu0}% ${alignr}${cpubar cpu0 8,60}
${cpugraph F57900 FCAF3E}
CPU Frequency: ${alignr} $freq MHZ
CPU Temp: ${alignr} $acpitemp degrees
RAM: $memperc% ${alignr}${membar 8,60}
SWAP: $swapperc% ${alignr}${swapbar 8,60}
Uptime: ${alignr}${uptime}
Battery: ${alignr}$battery_short

Running Processes: $alignr $running_processes
Running Threads: $alignr $running_threads
$alignr PID CPU
${top name 1} $alignr ${top pid 1} ${top cpu 1}
${top name 2} $alignr ${top pid 2} ${top cpu 2}
${top name 3} $alignr ${top pid 3} ${top cpu 3}
HDD ${hr 2}
Root: ${alignr}${fs_bar 8,60}
Partition Size: ${alignr}$fs_size
Free Space: ${alignr}$fs_free

NETWORK ${hr 2}
Up: ${upspeed eth0} kb/s ${alignr}${upspeedgraph eth0 8,60 F57900 FCAF3E}
Down: ${downspeed eth0} kb/s ${alignr}${downspeedgraph eth0 8,60 F57900 FCAF3E}
Upload: ${alignr}${totalup eth0}
Download: ${alignr}${totaldown eth0}
Local Ip: ${alignr}${addr eth0}

This script is a mix of things I found from another person's conky file (a great coder borrows code, not steals it) and stuff that I added later. It is not perfect, more like a work in progress. The eeepc has a very small screen and it's not always possible to do what you want to with it.

Do you use conky? Or a similar / different program?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Linux & Chromium: Multiple User Profiles

Creating a Different User profile in Chromium Browser on Linux

I have recently started to use a Linux Operating System (Peppermint Ice).
It came with Chromium pre-installed.

Now, on Windows, I use the Multiple User Profile trick to create more than one instance of Chrome.
This is very useful if you have other people using your computer.
Simply create a Profile for each user.

On Linux, using Chromium, it is not that simple.
I have searched, but I found no instructions on how to do it.

So, I messed around until I managed to do it.
(Disclaimer:  It seems to work, but use this at your own risk.)

01.  )   Click "Menu".
02.  )   Go to "Internet".
03.  )   Right Click on "Chromium Web Browser".
04.  )   Click on "Add to Desktop".  (This will create a Browser Item on the Desktop.)
05.  )   Open your File Browser.
06.  )   Navigate to your Desktop.  (For me, it is "/home/lantere/Desktop")
07.  )   Make a Copy of that Browser Item.  (This is just for Safety.  You can skip it.)
08.  )   Open the Browser Item in Leafpad.  (Under "Accessories" in the "Menu".)
09.  )   Make the following Changes:
09.1)   Name=My Chromium Web Browser   (Give it whatever Name you want.)
09.2)   GenericName=My Web Browser   (Give it whatever Name you want.)
09.3)   Comment=Access My Internet   (Give it whatever Comment you want.)
09.4)   Exec=/usr/bin/chromium-browser %U --user-data-dir=/home/lantere/Documents/Test
09.5)   Save the Item and close Leafpad.

That's it.
Double Click your Modified Browser Item.
It *should* start with your New Profile.
(I have used the folder "Test" in my "Documents" as my new Profile.)

Read this for Chrome installation in a Multi-User Environment.
Do this before you use the Multiple User Profile trick on Windows with Chrome.

Getting 3G to work

Networking and especially being connected to the world wide web are especially important to Linux systems.

I have loads of install files and programs on my flash drive that I can install Windows applications from, but Linux needs to download things from the web the first time you install it. There are updates and essential apps that you need to download, you also need access to the forum for when things go wrong or when you need help.

My next item was getting 3G connectivity, as I do not have ADSL at home. I have a Huawei E160g data stick and a Samsung M3200 (which has a modem in) and neither worked as a modem in peppermint.

I am used to plugging in my data stick in Linux Mint or Ubuntu and it telling me that a new broadband device has been detected. I tell it which country I am in and which network I am on and presto, I have a broadband connection.

Not so with Peppermint. I read somewhere that peppermint detects the card reader, mounts that and the virtual CD ROM (in my case) and ignores the modem (I don't know why).

A nice person on the peppermint forum gave me the solution:

go to lxterminal
type in :

sudo leafpad /etc/etc/modules

you will be prompted for a password.
After it opened, enter the following 2 lines at the bottom of the document:


Save the file, close leafpad and reboot.

Go to network manager and set 3G to connect automatically and set up your connection.

Those 2 lines, usbserial & option make a world of difference. My Huawei data stick and Samsung M320 now work perfectly for Internet connectivity.

How frustrating: Well, I don't particularly like sending email from my phone, it's difficult and tiresome. So I would prefer to use the data stick or modem on my eeepc. Needing internet connectivity to get help on internet connectivity problems seems redundant, but it is exactly the problem that I was having. I give it a 5/5.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting started with Peppermint ICE

I installed Peppermint ICE on Saturday 19 02 2011.

I used a Windows tool called Unetbootin to create a Linux startup / install disc from the Peppermint ICE CD that my friend Henry gave me. It installed rather quickly. The 4 GB HDD in my eeepc 704G is now an ext4 drive and Peppermint lives there.

The first problem I had was that the desktop would not sit, it would change every time I unplugged a flash drive (which I was unmounting wrong) or when I restarted.

To fix it: go to the folder /home/username/.config/pcmanfm there are two files and a folder there. Delete the file that is not main.peppermint-ice , I think the file has "backup" in it. I can't check it now as I have deleted the file and emptied the rubbish bin.

How irritating: Not having my desktop wallpaper stick as very irritating, I give it 5/5

The next problem I had was that there was no "arrange icons" option when I right click on the desktop.

To fix it. Right click on a file then check "stick to current position" then right click it again and click on "snap to grid" do it for every icon you have on the desktop. The icons you add after this should be right, but there is no guarantee.

How irritating: Very, a desktop with icons not lined up looks horrible, I would rather not have not have icons on my desktop that icons littered willy-nilly all over the place. I give it 5/5.

Next time we take at look at more problems, more questions more irritations and more solutions. "Ithink I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Peppermint ICE rather than Peppermint One

Well, that's an interesting question. I have actually had Peppermint One for a few months on my PC (lying around as an ISO file). I have tried various distros on my eeepc, and eventually have to uninstall Linux as the 4 GB drive is too small to install stuff like Ubuntu or Mint on (together with apps like Wine).

I have spent years trying to get to the point where I can actually use Linux for more than just browsing the web, to where I can work on it.

There are a few programs I can't live without you see. They are (in no particular order):
Office (be it Microsoft Office or

Seems straight forward as Audacity, VLC and each have linux versions. The problem comes in with E-Sword. There is no Linux version and I absolutely need this application as it is the best I have found at what it does in ten years. So E-Sword is not negotiable.

Having a 4 GB HDD meant that with Ubuntu & Wine installed there was no space for E-Sword. Ubuntu after all, installs with loads of applications that fill up your hard drive and which I never used. It is after all a netbook, so I do not need CD burning software. Using synaptic to remove stuff always moaned that the software I was about to remove was an integral part of the system and used by some other software somewhere.

So back to the question, my friend Henry gave me a CD with Peppermint ICE on, after showing me how it looks. I was hooked. It is a small distro, which has the ability to download local applications. So far I have installed gpaint, gmountiso, OpenOffice (writer & Calc), Claws mail, Audacity, VLC, Play on Linux, E-Sword and I still have 1 GB of free space.

On this journey that we will undertake together, I will share with you the joys and frustrations of working on Peppermint Linux. At this point I must compliment the Peppermint OS forum, as everyone there that has answered my questions have given great answers (that worked too!).

This is my story, read it if you are at all considering using Peppermint Linux (One or ICE).

ps. ICE has Chrome loaded with a blue theme to the folder icons, while One has Firefox with a red theme and uses Mozilla Prism.