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Linux Mint from an IT Manager's Perspective (Installation)




Installation - 10th April 2014

I've dug up an old laptop - HP 550 Celeron, Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2 x 1.4Ghz, 2GB ram, 150GB HDD. Not especially good. Would run Windows 7 OK'ish, but Windows 8 might be a different matter.

The version of Linux Mint I'm using is 16 64 Bit.
Installation is pretty painless.
I put in the DVD - started the laptop and was presented with a Linux Mint desktop after about 5 minutes.
If you like, you can run Linux Mint from the DVD, but you won't be able to save anything after a reboot.
I obviously didn't want this, so I chose the install option from the desktop.
I get asked a series of questions -
-Location
-Keyboard Layout - which also had a handy test field below. This allowed me to check the usual British/US keyboard transposition of the @ and " symbols.
-Drive Encryption - this is pretty neat I thought, drive encryption built in. I guess you'd compare this to bitlocker on the later versions of Windows. I decided to enable this option, with a thought for later as to whether I can centrally manage this.
-Partitioning - standard stuff. Do I want to overwrite windows, create a new partition, etc
And then we're off!

The install didn't take long, about 10 minutes.

First Bug Found! - Even though I chose a UK keyboard layout as one of my installation options, when the machine boots up and asks me for my encrypted drive password, which has an @ symbol in it, the keyboard has reverted to a US keyboard, with a moved @ symbol.
An annoyance.

First Impressions

I'm in!
First thing - The desktop I'm presented with looks nice and crisp. Resolution is good, so I'm assuming it found a driver for GPU.
Layout of the desktop is familiar. Task bar on the bottom, "menu" button in bottom left. Battery level, volume, clock, updates.
The update icon had an alert in it, so I clicked.
I'm told I need a single update, which I install, but that single update seemingly was a core update that it needed in order to then present me with a load more...about 80 I think. I let them install.
This took about 10 minutes.

So performing a fresh install of Linux Mint and then getting it completely up to date, took around 30 mins.
This is impressive.
Even more impressive when you consider Windows 7 was taking me about 30 mins to install and then a further 3 hours to update.

Hardware

Now I'd like to check all my hardware is working and relevant drivers installed.
In fairness to Linux, most stuff does appear to work - graphics look good and my ethernet card is working.
However - I have no WiFi.
I go into system settings and click on networking.
I'm presented with a box that shows wired, wireless and proxy. Wired lists my NIC and IP settings - all good. Wireless, however, shows nothing - my assumption is because it has no driver for my WiFi card.
I try flicking the OFF/ON switch in this window for the wireless connection, but it just flips back to OFF and refuses to stay ON
After doing some more digging through the menus, I come across "Driver Manager". After clicking this, I'm presented with a rather boring grey box with nothing in it...and some words at the bottom "No proprietary drivers are in use".
Hmmmm...I'm thinking to myself - where is the familiar Windows style "Device Manager?"

I feel a bit sad that I'm now Googling how to install driver in Linux Mint. I wanted it to be intuitive, but it isn't.

My search gave me a hint - to run this in the command window "inxi -N".
After doing this I'm shown two drivers - one for my wired, the other for the wireless. So I'm thinking that Linux knows about my WiFi card and has installed it...so why won't it turn on?!
After some more digging I find another command "sudo rfkill list"
This lists all your Radio devices and tells you whether they're hard or soft blocked.
Hard blocked means the hardware has disabled the device.
Soft blocked means the OS has disabled the device.
My WiFi card is "Hard Blocked" - ah ah, there's the problem.
I just need to work out why. I've already checked it's enabled in the BIOS...and I've pressed the WiFi hard switch several times now.
Something else is blocking it!

Revelation!
I've discovered that Linux Mint disables the WiFi when an ethernet cable is plugged in. I guess this is it to prevent confusion with routing when multiple IPs are available.
Anyways - I unplugged the ethernet and now WiFi is enabled.
So back into the "networking" screen to connect to my WiFi router...but no wireless networks listed! Why is that? Am I out of range? I don't think so. Or is there some other issue? I don't know.
Fixed it.
All I did was close the "networking" window and re-open it and there they are - all the WiFi networks in range. I chose mine and off I go.
I am a bit perturbed that I had to refresh this screen by closing and opening it. Surely it should update itself periodically? Is this a bug I wonder?
So all now looks to be working from a hardware point of view.
Next thing - get my Windows Domain File Shares, email, web apps, etc







Next - Linux Mint in a Windows Domain



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