Linux Mint FAQ

What is Linux?

When we say Linux on its own, we’re referring to an open-source operating system based around the Linux kernel. The Linux Foundation’s post, What is Linux?, goes into a lot more detail about basic technical details of what software makes up an operating system. When something is open source, that means the source code is made freely available for analysis or possible modification/redistribution, depending on the license.

The Linux kernel was developed in 1991 by Linus Torvalds.

There are currently over 300 actively maintained Linux distributions available. The website DistroWatch has an excellent list of all current distributions.

What is Linux Mint?

Rather than have us explain it, here’s the answer from their website.

Free Geek Toronto uses Linux Mint because it’s a full-featured operating system that is easy to use for both new and experienced computer users. We currently install Linux Mint 20.2 Cinnamon. 20.2 refers to the version of Linux Mint. Cinnamon refers to the desktop environment. Linux Mint can be installed with an XFCE, MATE, or Cinnamon desktop environment.

How can I change the password?

  • In the start menu, select Administration.
  • Find the Users and Groups settings. A new window should open asking for your current password. Enter it.
  • Select the user and click on the password, just below the user name.
  • In the new dialogue box, you will be asked for your current password before creating a new one. Enter your new password and then enter it again in the second box. If the password matches all requirements you can change it.

Do not delete the existing user! Doing this can cause errors to occur that are very difficult to fix. Please try changing the username, adding another account, or changing the password to personalize your computer.

When I first turn on the computer it seems to be running slow but after a while it’s okay. Also, this doesn’t seem to happen every time.

Free Geek Toronto set up Linux Mint to automatically check and run updates. It’s one of the first things the operating system (OS) checks for and does. The OS is using resources to get this done, so it slows down everything else while it’s completing this task. Keeping your computer up-to-date is very important. You can manage/turn off this feature in Update Manager, the software that monitors and runs updates.

Why can’t I connect to wireless / Wi-Fi?

A couple of things to check: Is there a physical switch or button? Is there a key on the keyboard that disables network connectivity (often there’s an indicator light)? Can you see the network when you click on the icon in the bottom right corner? Did the OS turn off the wireless connection? Is the network you’re looking for in range?

If these questions don’t lead to a solution, see if the Wi-Fi driver needs to be updated via the Driver Manager.

How do I find programs?

The Software Manager has a list of software available for Linux Mint. Preloaded software includes:

What if the program I want isn’t in Software Manager?

Linux Mint can run .deb files only; programs made for Red Hat Linux, Windows, Android, and macOS will not run in Linux Mint natively. Always be careful when downloading files from the internet. Only download files from trusted sources.

What about Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, or Adobe Creative Suite?

These programs don’t run in Linux Mint. There are alternatives like GIMP for image editing; LibreOffice can open, edit, and save as Microsoft Office files. Online services, like Microsoft Office 365 Web Apps or Google Suite will work on Linux Mint through the web browser.

Do I need anti-virus software?

No operating system is immune to viruses and computer viruses do exist for Linux but they mostly target Linux-based servers. While anti-virus software does exist for Linux operating systems, the best ways to stay protected are to have a firewall on, install software updates as they are released, only install software from official software sources, and use common sense when browsing the internet.

As part of our installation process, Free Geek Toronto enables the firewall and automatic updates in Software Manager. If you’d like to install anti-virus software, please be careful when downloading them from the internet.

How do I upgrade to a newer version of Linux Mint?

Please check with the Linux Mint official installation guide for more details. Please be careful when upgrading your computer as unexpected issues can occur.