HP Pavilion dm1-4010ez - Installing Cinnamon

HP Pavilion dm1-4010ez - Installing Cinnamon

Summary: My lovely new HP sub-notebook is now happily running Linux Mint 12, and dual-booting Windows 7 Home Premium, as explained in the previous post on this subject. The desktop is Gnome 3 with the Mint Gnome Shell Extension (MGSE):I will note here that although this has been the standard desktop in Mint 12, and it is certainly more comfortable to use for those who are accustomed to previous Mint (and Gnome) releases, it is not without its drawbacks and unpleasant side effects.

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TOPICS: Linux
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My lovely new HP sub-notebook is now happily running Linux Mint 12, and dual-booting Windows 7 Home Premium, as explained in the previous post on this subject. The desktop is Gnome 3 with the Mint Gnome Shell Extension (MGSE):

HP Pavilion dm1-4010ez

I will note here that although this has been the standard desktop in Mint 12, and it is certainly more comfortable to use for those who are accustomed to previous Mint (and Gnome) releases, it is not without its drawbacks and unpleasant side effects. One that particularly bothers me, because I use netbooks with small screens quite a lot, is the fact that it has both top and bottom panels, neither of which can be hidden or moved! I hate giving up screen space for decoration, and here I am stuck doing it twice! In addition it feels like there is a general disarray of icons scattered across both panels, none of which are in the places that I really expect them to be. Finally, although the Mint Menu looks similar to previous versions, it doesn't take long to discover that it doesn't work the same way. My point here is not to complain about MGSE, it is to say that although MGSE was better than the alternatives available when it was released, it certainly can be improved upon, and that is the objective of Cinnamon. Anyway, we'll get to all that shortly.

The next thing to do is make sure all the latest Mint updates are installed. This is easy enough, just click on the check-shield icon at the right side of the top panel. This will bring up the Mint Update Manager, which will automatically refresh all of the software lists and then will present a list of updates to be installed. It has been a while now since Mint 12 was released, so there is a pretty extensive list of updates - but don't worry, it is fast and painless. Just click the Install Updates icon at the top of the window and off it goes, downloading and installing. It will finish in about 15-20 minutes, without requiring multiple runs through the update utility or multiple reboots (too bad Microsoft can't learn how to do this...).

Once the updates are done, I'm ready to install the Cinnamon desktop. All that is necessary to do this is to install the package "cinnamon-session", which will then bring with it the base package "cinnamon". There are three ways to do this - start the Mint Software Manager, which is the star-shaped icon at the left of the Mint Menu panel, or start the Synaptic Package Manager utility, either through the Gnome 3 application search or the Mint Menu search. Then enter cinnamon in the Software Manager or Synaptic search box, and when the list comes up select "cinnamon-session" to be installed. This installation only takes a minute or two, then you need to log out, and on the login screen click the "gear" icon to the right of your name and choose Cinnamon. Then login normally, and you'll get this:

HP Pavilion dm1-4010ez

Ah, that's more like it - that looks a lot more like the desktop we have been used to in previous releases! The top panel is gone, the icons are in their normal places on the bottom panel, and the Mint Menu looks better too. A bit of poking around will show that it behaves a lot more like it, too. Here's a very small example, but one which a number of people had already commented on. Find an application or utility in the Mint Menu hierarchy that you frequently use, and right-click on it. You will get a drop-down menu that says "Add to panel / Add to desktop / Add to favorites". Hooray! I can finally reconstruct the panel, menus and desktop the way I want them!

HP Pavilion dm1-4010ez

This was just a brief look at installing and using Cinnamon, and a way to gain a bit more time and experience on the lovely new HP Pavilion dm1-401ez. There are other customizations possible, and more on the way according to the Mint blog. Load it, try it, keep it up to date and be happy!

jw 6/1/2012

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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7 comments
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  • You can get rid of bottom panel in gnome 3. You can add and takeaway features at
    https://extensions.gnome.org/
    Use firefox and you can do it all in the browser
    anonymous
  • Just an observation on psychology, and a question for a the closest person I know who is an expert on MintLinux:

    As you know, one of M. Lefebvre's mantras regarding upgrading Mint is that if you're happy with what you're running, then there's no need to upgrade. And, of course, he's right, no matter what endeavor you're involved in (I'm agonizing as we speak about a very expensive auto repair to an otherwise perfectly acceptable unit, vs. a much more expensive new purchase. Strictly a defect in human nature.

    I was booting Mint 11 LXDE last evening on my Aspire One AO751, when it occurred to me that I was choosing it from a dual-boot menu, the other option being Mint 9 which was installed after being disappointed by Ubuntu 9.10, and after reading one of my first of your articles on Linux Mint. I had forgotten how clean and intuitive Mint 9 is, and after installing the 458 upgrades which have accumulated, I am seriously thinking about keeping this as my main workhorse, after I upgrade FireFox and to LibreOffice. It is just SO snappy and user-friendly.

    Is there any practical way of achieving this, with the strictly-necessary occasional upgrade? Please tell me all the down-sides of this pipe-dream.

    I have always been of the "to heck with upgrades for the sake of upgrades" disposition. Just one more data point to bolster this position, for me anyway. Try out Mint 9 with all its latest upgrades. It's a pleasant surprise ('course I just KNOW that I'm missing something VERY obvious; that's why I'm asking for your opinion and advice).

    As always, warmest regards...
    bakerdriver
  • @zdnetukuser. I wanted to stick with Ubuntu 9.04 and did so for as long as possible., However the constant changes to KDE, Gnome and now Unity have undermined my commitment to Linux and Ubuntu in particular . No doubt I will get over this but since then I've been somewhat unsettled in my choice of Linux distribution or even my commitment to Linux. Indeed, I will now feel Linux much harder to recommend to my target audience.

    I feel the rush to emulate the touch and social nature of phones and tablets is not for me - in the short term, at least, and maybe not for everyone. There should, at least, be a genuine choice.

    In the preview of Windows 8 there is, at least, the opportunity to escape the 'Tiles' to the more traditional, and functional, desktop with a simple registry tweak.

    I remember, not so long ago, many discussions about having a clean desktop. Now the trend seems to be for a cluttered desktop.
    The Former Moley
  • Moley, I hope you don't give up on the very wide world of Linux versions because of the recent trends in GNOME 3 and Unity. Linux is much more than the user interface. I don't know what your target audience is, but they may not care about all the controversies that we read about while keeping up with Linux news.
    I have a co-worker using Mint 10, who is aware that it isn't Windows but knows nothing about the different desktops. I put her on LXDE and she seems very happy (It's a secondary laptop, to be fair, but she does use it daily).
    We have more choices than we ever did in Linux - yes, GNOME 3 is in its early stages and lacks much from GNOME 2, however from that need has come the MATE project and now Cinnamon.
    I am not deluded into thinking the "year of the Linux desktop" will come any time soon, but there is a lot more to be happy about than to be upset about, in our Linux community.
    No one needs to follow the trend. Changing distros costs nothing at all.
    anonymous
  • "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    @Moley: you are correct regarding the clutter syndrome. Chalk this up to market forces. After all, where would Mint be if they had stood still.
    @Thomas Gelhaus: you are also correct: we have a LOT more to celebrate than users of other OSs.

    One of the most impressive Linux demonstrations I've ever seen (other than plain-vanilla Ubuntu 9.04 running twenty desktop machines; Vista ground to a halt as the professor added the sixth machine to the same setup powered by Microsoft), was when the prof asked if anyone would like to have a cleaner desktop. At the request of several people, in a few steps he got rid of the Ubu 9.04 desktop and substituted an X-desktop. Simply mind-boggling how much custom work can be done to Linux.

    Warmest regards to all...
    bakerdriver
  • It is perhaps worth being clear about the difference between upgrades - as in major structural OS changes, new applications or features and updates - as in security and bug fixes.

    Upgrades tend to happen with OS new version releases and updates occur during the life cycle of individual releases.
    In practice it is not always possible to draw a neat line between the two and, although I know it seems an annoying chore for many end users, ignoring security updates, with todays network connected machines, is just asking to be hacked and ignoring bug fixes is not a good strategy for long term productivity. At some point your favourite version will cease to be supported and any remaining security holes will not be addressed. This has been proven to be a security issue in practice with mass attacks succeeding because many people were still using very out of date versions of some applications.
    All of todays major operating systems and applications have updates on a regular basis and in my opinion it is foolish to try and ignore them.
    As far as major version change upgrades are concerned I find these are necessary if you add new hardware peripherals to your system, otherwise they often just don't work.
    terry@...
  • @zdnetukuser et. al. - Most of what needs to be said about upgrades and updates in general is already in the above comments. I will add just a few personal observations:

    The single most important purpose of updates/upgrades is security fixes - and those you can not live without, period. As long as the whatever version of Linux you are using is still being supported with regular updates, that should be sufficient. In your case, Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu, so it has 18 months of updates for normal releases, and 3 years for desktop LTS releases (until now - but that is set to increase to 5 years with the next LTS release).

    What generally hasn't been included with Ubuntu (and often Mint) updates is new versions of applications and utilities. Firefox is the best example of this, as Ubuntu users usually had to wait for the next major release to get a completely new version of Firefox. Since Mozilla decided to join the arms race with Google and Microsoft, and release new "versions" on a roughly hourly basis, this is no longer true in their case, but it still happens with other packages - digiKam, for example, going from version 1.9 to 2.x.

    The other thing that upgrades include is new drivers and other hardware support, but of course if you are talking about running on a specific, stable machine and you are not adding new hardware to it, then this is also not going to be a critical issue for you. This can, however, become an issue if you have multiple systems, as newer ones might require a newer Linux release to support their hardware (wireless network adapters are a good current example), and ending up with two different Linux versions on your systems is not a very pleasant situation either.

    So the bottom line in my opinion is that as long as the version you are running is still getting updates, there is no problem in staying with it and skipping "upgrades" until you find that it either doesn't support some newer hardware, or there is a new version of something within the operating system that you really want/need.

    Thanks to all above for reading and making very useful comments.

    jw
    j.a.watson@...