In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most interesting and cool things you can do with Linux Mint.
Cool Things to do with Linux Mint
1. Updating the system
Any Linux distro is made out of thousands of software packages. All these packages are constantly updated to provide bug fixes, security patches, improved features, and more. Linux Mint streamlines package management with the APT package manager. For those who prefer to use a graphical interface, Linux Mint brings its own graphical update manager MintUpdate.
Most of the time, all the packages from the official package servers are deemed stable. Running on a metered connection? You can configure so that Linux Mint doesn’t automatically download and install the updates at the oddest time.
Check out this guide on how to update Linux Mint.
Linux is a platform that offers the utmost freedom when it comes to customization. With the right knowledge, anyone can customize every single part of the system.
Linux Mint is rich in available customizations. It comes with the Cinnamon desktop by default. However, it also has support for Xfce and MATE desktops. All of them use GTK as the theming engine. Themes can significantly impact the user experience. Learn more about changing themes in Linux Mint. Check out the best GTK themes for Linux Mint.
Static wallpaper is now a common feature in any GUI-based operating system. How about spicing things up with live wallpaper? For Linux, there are a bunch of tools to make it happen. This guide explores on the best tools for wallpaper slideshow.
Backup is important for data protection. It’s simply keeping a copy (or more) of your important files in a different location, be it physical, local storage, or cloud storage. Having data backup is the best defense against calamities like system crashes, malware infection, storage hardware failure (HDD/SDD crash or corruption), etc.
Keeping that in mind, Linux Mint comes with Timeshift, a dedicated tool for data backup. Timeshift is a free and open-source software for creating file system snapshots. It can work with rsync, Btrfs, and much more. This guide demonstrates using Timeshift on Linux Mint.
Linux, because of its nature, it’s very compatible with education. Because it’s available free of cost, anyone can download and install Linux Mint on their computer.
For learning, Linux is an excellent solution. Using Linux will require you to learn certain aspects of the operating system. Of course, this additional step introduces a slight learning curve. However, it’s absolutely worth it.
If you’re interested in software development, then Linux is also probably the best choice. Distros like Linux Mint support all the major programming languages. Learn more about installing Java, Python, Go, and PHP, etc., on Linux Mint. As for the code editor, you can either use console-based text editors like vim or use UI-based editors like Atom or VS Code.
You may have heard that Linux is one of the most secure platforms of all. Well, that’s only partially true. Linux has its own security threats but definitely less than Windows. One factor behind this discrepancy is that fewer people use Linux. Moreover, the Linux architecture is very restricted to outside users.
Linux Mint comes with all the inherent security features of Linux. Because it’s Ubuntu-based, it also regularly receives security updates, bug fixes, and patches. All the packages you download and install are generally from the official package servers, reducing the chance of getting infected software.
By default, Linux Mint (or any other Linux distro, for that matter) doesn’t require any additional security software. Keeping the system updated and browsing the web with common sense should be more than enough to protect you from security threats. For advanced users, using the built-in firewall (UFW) will provide tight control over what traffic goes in and out of the system.
6. Software collection
Because Linux Mint is based in Ubuntu, it comes with the most available software packages. As for the package server, Linux Mint uses the default Ubuntu servers as the source. It’s very likely that whatever you need, it’s already available from the default server.
Here’s a shortlist of software that you should check out.
- Media player: VLC Media Player
- System monitoring: Stacer
- Photo editing: GIMP
- Web browser: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome
- Communication: Zoom, Discord, Franz
Check out this guide on some of the popular and essential Linux apps.
When it comes to gaming, Linux is often not the platform of choice, and it’s for good reasons. Most of the popular games are developed keeping Windows in mind. However, gaming on Linux has become a more viable option in recent years.
For gaming, Linux Mint is a perfect choice. It’s based on Ubuntu LTS releases, offering the rock-solid stability necessary. Steam with its Proton API allows playing the majority of the Windows games without much hassle. Learn more about installing Steam on Linux Mint. ProtonDB is a project that tracks the stability and performance of games run by Proton API.
8. Using the terminal
In Linux, the terminal is one of the most iconic features. It’s the most powerful tool in any Linux system. With the right knowledge, you can do everything from the terminal: working with files/directories, sending emails, configuring network connections, monitoring system performance, managing disks and partitions, and much, much more.
It may seem like a daunting task at first, but the terminal is actually not so difficult to understand and master. For beginners, I recommend starting with learning package management using APT.
Next, you can start learning console text editors like nano (simple) and vim (advanced). On LinuxHint, we’ve got tons of guides on using various tools in the terminal, for example, using the cd command, copying and pasting files/directories, using SSH for remote connection, etc.
Linux Mint comes with tons of options for productivity. Thanks to its immense library of available tools, it can probably do almost everything. The only downside is because Linux isn’t popular as a platform, it isn’t supported by big software companies like Adobe, Autodesk, etc. Of course, there are alternate tools to fill in the gap. However, you may have to learn a completely new tool.
- Office: LibreOffice, the perfect in-place replacement of Microsoft Office.
- Photo editing: GIMP, a powerful alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
- Video editing: Multiple tools available. Check out the best video editing tools for Linux Mint.
Linux can be a portable operating system. You can install Linux distros like Linux Mint on a portable drive (a USB flash drive or portable SSD, for example), boot from it on any computer, and your system is ready to go! It’s a less used feature because it sounds inconvenient and weird. Anyway, it’s a completely viable option that you can enjoy (given the proper situation).
The trick is simple. Make a bootable USB flash drive containing Linux Mint, connect the portable drive to your machine, and install the operating system on the portable drive. You can now carry this drive to any computer, boot from it, and voila!
For this purpose, it’s recommended to use a dedicated portable device. Moreover, the drive should be partitioned properly so that it can handle the majority of the systems. Learn more about partitioning and partition managers.
Linux is the most popular operating system when it comes to the server market. Almost all the major servers are powered by various Linux distros. While Linux Mint isn’t a server OS by itself, there’s no one stopping you from experimenting with your own local server.
For general web services, the Apache webserver works fine. If Apache isn’t up to your taste, then NGINX is a popular lightweight and performance-oriented alternative. If you’re going to learn web development, however, you need multiple tools combined, for example, a web server (Apache or NGINX), a PHP engine, and a database server (MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc.). XAMPP is the perfect all-in-one package that combines all these elements together to start learning and building your own web project.
Linux Mint is a powerful operating system. It contains everything out of the box to satisfy your everyday needs. For your extra needs, it provides an elegant way of fulfilling them. It’s a great distro to learn the basics of Linux itself. For Linux newcomers, Linux Mint is one of the best options with a simple learning curve. You can also try it out in a virtual environment before making it your default OS.