Episode 72: Getting Things Done in Linux Mint!

News & Personal Updates

Main Topic

  • 0:23:04 Working in Linux Mint


Boston Peng – Synaptic and flash drives
Christopher Patric – Apple, app store, Amahi, and Amazon

Website of the Week

Tip of the Week

  • To help fix the power regression issues Phoronix posted a temporary patch, just add ‘pcie_aspm=force’ to the boot entry for you 2.6.38 >> kernel. If you want an east way to add the command ‘ pcie_aspm=force ‘ to the /etc/default/grub file under the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line.


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    The best logos and designs will win a free T-Shirt, so send in your designs by July 31th.

More info

Hosts: Rob, Scott, James, Harrison
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Podcast Entry and exit music provided by Mark Blasco. http://www.podcastthemes.com/ The podcast’s bumpers were provided by Oscar.

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28 Replies to “Episode 72: Getting Things Done in Linux Mint!”

  1. Howdy Doodie

    Sorry folks, but as someone who spent 40 years as a professional UNIX software engineer, I cannot recommend Mint 11 to the audience it is targeted for. Otherwise, I would be ignoring my professional responsibility.

    Admittedly, Mint 10 was damn-near perfect. Mint 11 is pretty much a complete regression as a distro. It does not “just work” anymore. Debian 6, never known for being user-friendly, is better than Mint 11. So is Kororaa. There are others.

    I have enjoyed listening to your podcast up to now, but if you are going to be nothing more than cheerleaders for your favorite distro, I think I have other things to do.

    • JamesC

      Look dude we’re not “cheerleading” for Mint. I have had problems with it, like I have said video drivers suck on Mint 11, the battery life sucks, but after some tweaking it isn’t half bad. The battery is almost as good as Mint 10 but performance is definitely improved. I haven’t recommended Mint 11 to anyone either!! So don’t say that I’m a cheerleader for anything! Sure Mint is great and Mint 11 is pretty good but it’s not fu***ng fantastic or anything!

    • Harrison

      Hi Doodie, In what way does it not “just work”? If it is in the user interface (aka Gnome doesn’t start-up properly, etc) then I would point upstream, I know we have been pining Ubuntu a lot but I have to say the whole Unity thing and all hasn’t made it any easier on the Mint team. If it’s in another area then please ether post back or send us an email about it as I would like to hear in detail what you think of Mint 11.

      As for us praising Mint all the time, that’s not what we are trying to convey, when we picked up the Podcast from Charles and Rothgar around Ep. 50 they were getting accused that there wasn’t enough Mint in Mintcast so we tuned the tables and now Mintcast is all about Mint, so have we gone to far the other way? Plus when you hear the Name Ubuntu UK podcast don’t you think that podcast is all about Ubuntu and what it can do? well why then can we not have the same thing with Mintcast?

      Just something to think about.


    • Rob

      Howdy Howdy,

      First, congrats on getting such a great reaction from James!

      Second, I think it’s fair to say I’m partial to Linux Mint and unlikely to change much from that position. I’m not really trying too hard to give an unbiased review of Linux distros. Hopefully I’m not completely blind to Mint’s faults, but you shouldn’t expect much criticism from me. You can find plenty of critical reviewers elsewhere on the web if that’s what you’re after!

  2. mockturtl

    There’s a typo in the feed — rhythmbox pulls down Episode 71.

    Also, I see the HTML5 player in the page for last week’s episode, but it looks like the “audio” tag is missing this week?

    Looking forward to listening, as always.

    HTML follows:


    If your browser supports HTML5 try the HTML5 player here:
    <!– I think this should go here

    Your browser doesn’t support the HTML5 audio element
    <!– –>


  3. rad_sci_guy

    Hi guys. I enjoy listening to your podcast but I’m having problems playing your mp3 files. They are not recognized by my car stereo which plays every other podcast I listen to. It’s been since the episode with Larry Bushey. The files also have a delay on my sansa clip+ which eventually will play the file but takes an awfully long time to load it. There must be something in your file that is causing this. It does play normally on my computers. It’s becoming very frustrating especially since I mainly listen to podcast in the car on with my sansa. Is anyone else having this issue?

    thanks for your hard work on the shows and for taking over the podcast when Charles and Rothgar left.

    • mockturtl

      rad_sci_guy: Maybe something changed with the encoding? Episodes 68, 69, 71, 72 give me this:

      “~/Podcasts/mintCast $ file mintcast072.mp3
      mintcast072.mp3: Audio file with ID3 version 2.4.0, contains:”

      … whereas Episode 70, 67, 66, 65 give:

      “~/Podcasts/mintCast $ file mintcast070.mp3
      mintcast070.mp3: Audio file with ID3 version 2.4.0, extended header, contains: MPEG ADTS, layer III, v1, 128 kbps, 44.1 kHz, JntStereo”

      Just shooting in the dark, but can you confirm whether Episode 70 (“Package Management”) works?

  4. DT Brown

    I’ve listened to your podcast for several months and am most disappointed with Episode 72. What a Mint FANBOY
    waste of time.. Those new to Linux should be encouraged to try different distros not just Mint!!!! How can you say Mint is THE flavor of Linux to use to get things done??!! How about PCLOS, FUDUNTU, MAGIA, and a dozen other really good Distros????? Maybe some users would be better served with a “rolling release” Distro ….You do a disservice to Linux when you push your Distro exclusively!

    • Rob


      I must respectfully disagree. Suggesting that new Linux users should try different distros is EXACTLY the Linux-insider problem I was talking about. Advice like that is what causes new users to shy away from Linux as being too hard to use…after all, you have to do a bunch of trial-and-error stuff just to get it working! Nope. New users should pick a straightforward distro like Linux Mint and stick to it.

      I do understand that there are lots of really good distros available that are suitable for new users. I just happen to think that Mint is one of the best I’ve come across. I would be doing a disservice to Linux if I didn’t tell people what I’ve found.

      • henry dubb

        I agree. One things that drove me batty about this show in the past was it was too broad. If I want a general Linux podcast I will go elsewhere, what I want to hear about is Linux Mint. I appreciate that Linux mint is front and center in a Linux Mint podcast.

  5. JamesC

    We’re always talking about other distros if I recall I’ve talked a lot and recommended a great Arch based distro called Chakra

  6. JonathanD

    I can’t believe what I’m reading here. This podcast is called ‘Mint Cast’. So if folk want to talk about their favorite distro in terms of ‘Mint gets things done’ then more power to them. And it’s important too in noting that I’ve heard the guys talk about a number of distros. I think a few of the posts here just highlights a certain problem which exists amongst the Linux community.

  7. bonesTdog

    On a different topic… Will you take another look at your Tip of the Week. First you state the fix is pcie_aspm=force and the second time you state pci_aspm=force. The linked article says pcie… but want to make sure people aren’t led astray.

  8. Doughbury

    Since you asked, I do use Mint to Get Things Done. When I’m in front of my computers, I’m usually in front of Open/LibreOffice. I write for a hobby, so I use Writer mostly, but I also use Calc to keep track of which markets are reviewing my work, and I use Base to keep track of where my work has been in the past.

    I like Open/LibreOffice (I’m slowly upgrading to LibreOffice exclusively) because it is extensible. I can customize it to fit my needs. Like a lot of FOSSware, it is also multi-platform, which allows me to work pretty much anywhere there is a computer. I also prefer it over MS Office because I don’t have to worry about licensing issues. I am free to install Open/LibreOffice on whatever the hell I want, when I want, as many times as I want. I love that.

    To keep track of deadlines and submission periods, I use Thunderbird with the Lightning and Provider for Google extensions. This allows me to keep track of dates and sync them with Google Calendar.

    I also use an open source program called KeepNote (keepnote.org) to manage outlines, notes, research, and other odds and ends.

    Finally, I use Tasque to keep track of what needs get done. I particularly like it because it syncs with the service Remember The Milk, which allows me to keep my task list with me on my Android equipment.

    I am a tinkerer by nature, and the drive to customize is largely what led me surmount the learning curve of Linux. I agree that like a lot of Linux users, I’m a geek at heart. My wife, on the other hand, is very tech savy, but not quite a geek. I have tried to get her to switch to Linux many times with several different distros, but every time she goes back to Windows because she has stuff to get done too, and she just wants to get it done. She doesn’t want to be bothered learning something new when the old way works just fine. Perhaps I am enabling her by keeping her Windows machine maintained, but I can see her point. For someone who is fine with defaults, the productivity software on Linux doesn’t offer much more than what Windows does. I think Linux would attract more new users if the software offered to average users boasted features and functions that could not be had on Windows–features that were worth switching for.

  9. Sid32

    Speaking of getting things done, does anyone else use http://torrific.com???

    There was a mention of using Deluge as a torrent client on last episode, but I find torrific is a great help and a great tool. When I am at school or using my netbook and I find a .torrent I need I just copy the link into Torrific and I have the file already to download directly when I get home. Plus I can stream VODO video files right into vlc or totem, instead of waiting to have all the file.

    Its kinda hard to explain, but it saves hours of waiting off my day.

  10. byron

    Hello Gentlemen,

    I think that I might be useful to include someone in your show that is a user only and has little knowledge of the of the inner workings of a system so they can say things like “umm… what?”

    love your show.

  11. BostonPeng

    I’m glad to hear my comments are being helpful. Since my comp died earlier this year it’s been really frustrating to try and be a contributing member of the Linux community, especially since I have maybe a couple of hours a day to borrow a friend’s comp and fire it up with my LiveUSB.

    My comment last week was pretty terse since I was trying not to be long winded but I see I should explain exactly how I use Linux Mint. The last few computers I’ve had made their way to me when my friends upgraded their own systems (I really hate being on such a limited fixed income, damn my disability) and last year I got a slightly faster system that I was able to trick out a bit with a better video card, more RAM and about three hard drives in total. Unfortunately the box itself finally gave up the ghost earlier this year and there’s no new comps in the pipeline to get to me so I pulled my hard drives and put them in storage for whenever I am finally able to use them again. (I want to get external drive kits for one or two of them but the budget is way too tight lately to be able to pull it off yet.)

    Since I have a pair of 4GB flash drives I turned one into a LiveUSB for Mint 10 KDE. It’s not the best solution because I keep finding myself having to recreate the drive because settings disappear (damn them cheap drives) and just yesterday I had to redo my Mint 10 KDE drive yet again when the flash drive refused to mount my iriver E100 8GB media player.

    My frequent need for Synaptic is because when I fire up my LiveUSB for the first time I install Chromium, my default web browser. Since Chromium has the ability to sync my settings (as does Firefox thanks to a pair of sync extensions) I am able to keep my browser settings from USB to USB. The problem is that when I try to install anything the Software Manager can’t get online to get the apps until I run an update. Usually I do that by refreshing the repos with Synatpic, although I know I can also do a sudo apt-get update in a terminal. I usually reach for Synaptic because I haven’t got Yakuake running and tweaked yet when I want to install Chromium and Kid3 (my tag editor, which I use every day when I get podcasts from my local NPR station’s shows). Getting Chromium is also easier because I can easily forget I want chromium-browser rather than chromium-bsu (the shooter game).

    I hope this clarifies things for y’all about why I run Mint from a flash drive. If you have any questions just let me know.

    I hope everyone is having a nice weekend and your weather is at least as nice as Boston is getting today.

  12. Degenerate Newb

    Kudos to Rob for talking about what most people want from their computers- to get stuff done…and I agree that calling Mint a distro for “beginners” is misleading and patronising. Mint is elegant, useful and unobtrusive. I feel this is evidence of the designers’ considerable skill, rather than any plan they have to “dumb the distro down”.

    But listen, enough with the high fives already! I have one giant grievance that keeps me dual booting.

    Stop kidding yourself Rob! We suck! Tell me What linux program will play music rip/ burn cds download a podcast, sync to your ipod? That is, without making your brain bleed! It’s miserable! We all know it! We have no iTunes. Banshee with Ubuntu One and the Miro plugin comes closer than ever before. But still, look through the eyes of a mac or system 7 user and we’re not there yet. I Can’t Just Get Stuff Done!!! This causes me great emotional pain, Rob.


  13. drhu

    [quite=Howdy Doodie] July 4th, 2011 at 19:55
    Sorry folks, but as someone who spent 40 years as a professional UNIX software engineer, I cannot recommend Mint 11 to the audience it is targeted for. Otherwise, I would be ignoring my professional responsibility[/quote]
    [color=maroon]I cannot recommend Mint 11 to the audience it is targeted for..[/color]
    If you mean it is targeted at beginners of Linux and fails to deliver a ready to roll experience with few problems, I might agree; if others weren’t just as bad (Windows, Apple OSX)

    Unix had just as many issues when it was being deployed, with their various forks and competing companies

    I would agree that Unix had a more logical delivery system, than just get it out (more real testing and more series development, just like IBM’s famous RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability)
    –however the forks available from the two preeminent companies (going in their own direction) and the developemnt of Linux, as well as Microsoft intransigence which put the end to many erstwhile competitors(even if they were more reliable, stable and delivered the performance)

    Like anything else we can all get suckered into believing propaganda/marketing cliches

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