Linux and open-source software blog.
Long Term Support is a blog focused on Linux and other open-source projects. I would like to encourage anyone reading this that is capable of flashing an ISO to a flash drive to do just that, and also check out Ventoy if you aren't already familiar with it. If you, a friend, or a family member has an aging, unused, unwanted (BSoD'd) PC then it's time to grab a 4+GB flash drive and get that thing fixed up for free. It's time we bridge the digital divide.
It's my goal to bring Linux and open-source software awareness to those without the means to afford or run modern software. It's also important to be mindful of all of the data that big tech companies are constantly stealing from us to profit from. Open-source software offers a level of transparency that is unheard of in the corporate propriatary software world. All of the source code is available for others to view, change, and use as you see fit. It's a collective manner of software development.
I've been interested in Linux since I got my start in IT, interning while I was still in high school (2006). My school had Windows, Mac, and Linux computers in the classrooms and library. Most of my life I've not had a ton of disposable income so open-source software has definitely helped me stay active and engaged with learning, exploring, and experimenting with computer technology. With open-source software money is much less of a barrier to entry for these vital tools of the modern age. There is no need to throw away perfectly good computers just because they are old and Windows is slow and outdated. With Linux you can give these devices a new lease on life.
According to the website:
"Not just a raw board, Quadra is a complete modern Linux computer that can be used as a server or light-use desktop. It includes the case, heatsink, power adapter and HDMI cable. Just plug into a TV or monitor and a keyboard/mouse. No SD card needed as the OS (Debian Bullseye 64-bit) is pre-flashed in internal memory. A great option instead of Raspberry Pi when you don't need the 40-pin I/O header or want something more affordable that doesn't require assembly."
The Quadra is basically a rebranded Android TV box that has been flashed to run an ARM port of Debian Linux, Armbian. If you're familiar with the Raspberry Pi brand of single board computers then this device would fall between the 3B+ and the 4 specification wise. Considering that the Raspberry Pi's have been harder to find the past several years and their prices have been inflated, the Quadra is a fantastic alternative. An additional plus is that the Quadra comes pre-built with a case, power cord, HDMI cable, and internal memory. The Pi doesn't come with any of these features unless you purchase them in addition to the Pi and put it together yourself.
Inovato even goes as far as to provide links on their site where you can purchase your own known compatible Android TV boxes that you can flash the Quadra image onto. This is great for those who are unable to purchase a Quadra in their area or for when the official Quadra's are in short supply. One of the compatible Android TV boxes is the T95m. My own home lab includes a T95m running the Quadra firmware as well as an Inovato Quadra proper. The Quadra features a customized XFCE Desktop Environment that includes an impressive array of software for only having 16GB of internal storage. I would recommend using either a USB 3.0 flash drive or POWERED external hard drive for storing media on one of these devices.
For convenience sake I tend to run my Quadra's headless sitting on a shelf out of my way. I use them to share media and host services on my local network and over Tailscale(more on that later). They're much cheaper to leave running all the time than a traditional PC or server. Before I decided to run my Quadra's headless I would leave them on my desk for a week or two to try using them as a daily use desktop PC. For the most part the Quadra gets by just fine as far as functionality goes. I can play music, browse files, write office documents, and other common tasks with ease. It can browse the web with Firefox, but this is where you will start to see the Quadra's limitations begin to show. I wouldn't recommend streaming HD videos or opening several tabs in Firefox at once or the Quadra can start to heat up and begin running out of memory. The Quadra has 2GB of RAM. Its OS takes about 700MB of RAM, Firefox takes about 400MB of RAM, and every tab consumes another 200 - 300 MB of RAM. A normal person may have accepted these limits and moved on, but I had other plans.
I decided to try lightening the GUI. I began by finding more lightweight software options. The Quadra features a surprisingly decent app store called Pi-Apps that included the lightweight Chrome based browser, Min. Min was noticeably easier on memory than Firefox. I also decided to look into some more lightweight desktop environment alternatives, I landed on JWM. I installed JWM and then removed the default XFCE desktop environment. Then I had to learn how to set up the desktop background, login screen, and add programs to the menu system manually. It was time consuming, but ultimately I found it to be a very enjoyable, rewarding, and educational experience. As a result of my experimentation I had gotten the Quadra's base OS memory usage down from 700MB with XFCE to around 400MB after switching to JWM.
All in all I think the Inovato Quadra is a fantastic product offered at a great price that is definitely worth the cost. It is a great tinkerer device, low cost home server, affordable starter computer for your children, and introduction to Linux. Inovato offers a practical solution to the Raspberry Pi supply chain shortage, repurpose cheap Android TV's into makeshift Raspberry Pi's. That's what Linux and open-source is all about and I love to see it!
OS: Armbian 22.08 Bullseye w/ Linux 5.15.59-sunxi64
Processor: Allwinner H6 quad-core A53 ARM v8 64-bit SoC, 1.7ghz
Memory: 2GB DRAM, 16GB eMMC (ROM)
WiFi: 2.4 Ghz 802.11n
Micro SD Slot: 1, can be used for storage, or the backup and recovery of the ROM
USB: 2 total (1x3.0, 1x2.0)
HDMI: 1 x standard HDMI, cable included. 1080p res for desktop. Video typical 360p.
Power: 5v 2a USA power adapter included
Size (with enclosure)
92mm x 92mm x 22mm tall
3.62" x 3.62" x 0.86"
LTS Wiki Page
Bitwarden is an open-source password manager that I have been using for about 18 months now. It has greatly helped transform my web browsing habits and online workflow for the better (like any good password manager will). Bitwarden doesn't only save your passwords and credit card information, it can also be used to generate secure passwords and usernames as well. The free account is great and for most people it's going to be enough to keep you satisfied, but if you want more more features they do offer a more robust paid version for a whopping $10 per year. Even though the free version more than covers my own needs I got so much value out of it that I decided to upgrade anyways. I predominantly use the browser extension for Bitwarden and it has made managing passwords much easier for me, though they offer many different ways for you to use it.
I use the desktop app for Bitwarden less often. It is great for signing into other desktop apps, but seeing as how most things I sign into on a computer are websites I get way more mileage out of the browser extension. They also offer a really great mobile app as well. Like my standard PC web browsing, Bitwarden has proven to be a game changer for app management on my phone. Transferring my workflow into a new device, PC or phone, is now ridiculously fast and convenient. No more wasting a ton of time remembering passwords or having to reset them again when you get a new device. Just log into a device, install Bitwarden, log in and there are all your passwords to start signing in. Sign into your web browser account and sync your bookmarks then the web extensions auto fill feature can handle the rest whenever you need to log into a site.
Being that Bitwarden is open-source their source code is freely available for anyone to view, it is regularly audited by 3rd party security firms.
Ways to use Bitwarden include:
Feather Wiki Repository
Long Term Support Feather Wiki
How to Install Feather Wiki on the Inovato Quadra
Donate to the Developer
"Feather Wiki is a lightning fast infinitely extensible tool for creating personal non-linear notebooks, databases, and wikis that is entirely self-contained, runs in your browser, and is only 55 kilobytes. The app and all of the content you create using it are stored within the single HTML file generated when you save your wiki. Publishing your content for the world to see is as simple as uploading that file to a web server, and updating is as simple as overwriting the file."
I've used Feather Wiki for several months so far and it has quickly become one of my favorite tools. It's open-source, very lightweight, easy to use, works on about anything that is capable of browsing the internet. Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc. Feather Wiki is great for note taking or other personal organizational tasks. You can use Feather Wiki locally on your devices by downloading a free copy from the site and opening it in a web browser. You can self-host it on one of your own computers. You can even set up a free account on Tiddlyhost to create private or public Feather Wiki or Tiddly Wiki sites. Sharing your Feather Wiki is as easy as sending the html file to another person via email, flash drive, bluetooth, etc. If your wiki is public then people can download a local copy themselves if you choose to leave those buttons visible.
I have tested Feather Wiki on Linux, Windows, and Android and had no issues with any of the platforms. While you are able to use it locally, I prefer to be able to access my Feather Wiki site from multiple devices so I tend to only keep local copies as backups of Feather Wiki's I have set up on local servers in my home lab or on Tiddlyhost. In the Links section you will find a guide I posted on the Inovato Quadra forum for installing a Feather Wiki Nest, which is the self-hosted server install that lets you access your Feather Wiki site over your LAN or VPN. The Tiddlyhost method is quicker and simpler to set up so this would be the recommended method for most use cases. Test it out locally, if you think it's useful and you want access to your wiki from multiple devices try Tiddlyhost. If you want to step out of your comfort zone a bit and try self-hosting it on your own hardware then try a Feather Wiki Nest.
I love how versatile and simple of a tool Feather Wiki is. Even if the internet shut down today you'd still be able to use it on virtually any device just by copying the file onto other devices. Simple and accessible open-source tools like Feather Wiki can be a great resource for people around the world that lack powerful modern hardware or are incapable of affording or running more robust website creating or note taking software.
If you use Feather Wiki and find it valuable please consider contributing to the developer here.
LTS Wiki Page
According to the site:
Tailscale is a free and open source service, based on WireGuard®, that helps users build no-hassle virtual private networks. Once you’ve created a Tailscale network (tailnet), you can securely access services and devices on that tailnet from anywhere in the world.
Though Tailscale has several great paid enterprise use cases, this blog isn't for enterprise so we're going to be discussing the free home lab use case instead. This is a service I had heard advertised on the Linux Unplugged podcast for quite a while before curiosity finally got the better of me. This is one of the rare occasions when the service advertised is actually as good as it sounds. With a free personal account you are able to connect up to 100 devices to your own zero config VPN.
Tailscale can be installed on Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. I have it installed on all my devices at home. A couple Linux laptops, my main Linux rig, Android phone, Raspberry Pi 400, and 4 Linux server mini PC's. With this set up I am able to install things like NextCloud (personal cloud server), Jellyfin (media server), and Feather Wiki on my devices then connect to them from anywhere even though I've not configured them to broadcast over the internet. Now my laziness has become a security benefit. Did I mention you can share your servers to others so your friends can have an account on your servers and view your media as well?
If you don't want to let big corporations handle your data and prefer a self hosted option or you're just looking for a simple and free tool to expand the functionality of your home lab then Tailscale will serve you well! I was surprised with how fast I was able to get it set up and running. I understand networking basics, but I don't enjoy networking nearly enough to try configuring and deploying a VPN on my own. With Tailscale you only need to create an account and install an app on your devices. Recently I was on a camping trip at a State Park and I was able to use my phone to SSH into my home lab servers and run my weekly updates on them while we were fishing from the bank of a river. That's a level of convenience I'm not sure my fiance totally appreciates, but thankfully she loves me nonetheless.
LTS Wiki Page
Proton AG, hereby referred to as Proton, is a Swiss tech company focused on online privacy and open-source software. They offer several different encrypted services including email, calendar, cloud storage, password manager, and VPN. They offer a free account to try these services, and different paid subscription options if you decide you like it well enough to pay. They may not offer quite the level of convenience as Google Workspace, they do provide a solid software environment that won't steal your data and sell it to the highest bidder. As a matter of fact, it's their mission to do the opposite. I've been using their free VPN service for years. When I used to work nights that was the easiest way to get my phones tethered internet to my laptop so I could play Civilization 5 online with my friends. Proton's services are offered online at proton.me as well as in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
I was excited when I found out that Proton offered other privacy focused services outside of the VPN, moreso once I learned they were utilizing open-source technology to provide these services. I've been using a Proton environment for my work with the blog. I predominantly use Proton Mail and Proton Drive with the LTS blog, but I've tried the other tools as well. The calendar functions as expected, this seems more like an expected part of the email service rather than it's own app. The VPN is probably the best free VPN service I've experienced thus far. The password manager seems promising, I've not spent much time using it yet. I've been a BitWarden user for over a year now. If I hadn't already been using BitWarden as my preferred password manager then I wouldn't have any trouble using the Proton Password Manager. The ability to keep all of these services housed under a single account is very convenient.
Proton Mail and Proton Drive are the main services used in my LTS workflow. The mail client is exactly what I expect a mail service to be. Sure it's not quite as advanced or convenient as Outlook or Gmail, but that doesn't bother me. The value they provide my peace of mind by protecting my privacy and not supporting huge corporations that steal our data are worth the mild inconvenience of less robust features. The email doesn't automatically sort out your spam and preferred emails into different categories like Gmail. The cloud storage doesn't provide productivity features, just a secure space to store files. None of these are deal breakers and it's possible new features will be added in later. If you value your privacy and want an easy to use suite of tools to protect your information online then Proton is certainly worth a look.
Pi-hole is an open-source network-wide ad blocker. It is a DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted ads without needing to install any client-side software. It is simple to set up and great for home use. If you happen to have an old computer, a Raspberry Pi, or similar Single Board Computer that needs something to do Pi-hole is a great starter project! You will need 2GB - 4GB of storage space and 512MB RAM available for Pi-hole to run on your server. It can be installed on the following Linux distro's and platforms or deployed in a Docker container.
If you're wanting to get started right away you can just run copy and paste the command listed below into your Linux terminal. Otherwise you can check out the install page located HERE.
One Step Automated Pi-hole install:
curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash
For my home lab I am running Pi-hole on a cheap little T95m Android TV box that has had Android removed and Armbian installed on it. If you are uncomfortable flashing an OS or searching for an appropriate Android TV box and compatible Linux distro you can check out the Inovato Quadra, that will take all of the guess work out of the process and won't break the bank. The web interface is very easy to work with and it has several themes available. I couldn't help but using the Star Trek theme on mine.
I realize this article is a bit short, but that's because of how simple the setup of this service has been. It takes a few minutes to install and then a small change on your router to set its DNS server to the IP of your Pi-hole server and then it just works for any device connected to your network via DHCP. It speeds up your network by blocking the ads from ever downloading. For a more advanced set up you can also set Pi-hole as your DHCP server as well. May your home lab Live Long and Prosper, readers!
Nextcloud is an open-source cloud storage, productivity, collaboration suite and more. You can self host it on your own hardware if you want or just sign up for an account from a provider. There are several free providers available if you would like to try out Nextcloud. With a free account you have access to whatever pre-loaded apps the provider has installed on the Nextcloud server, however, if you decide to self host then you will have a lot more apps to choose from. Nextcloud is accessible on Linux, Windows, and Mac on all major web browsers. They also have Android and iOS versions of several of their popular apps.
I have self hosted Nextcloud a few different ways now. First I tried NextcloudPi on my Raspberry Pi 400, this is a fun project to turn your Raspberry Pi device into a personal cloud server. This would probably be one of the simplest way to get started learning to self host and manage servers as it is well documented, much simpler than a standard server installation and relatively inexpensive to get started. Eventually I decided to repurpose my Raspberry Pi 400 into more of a workstation since it seemed a waste to use a computer built into a small keyboard as a server on a shelf I never touch.
Since my other Raspberry Pi's are currently tied up being retro game emulators running Batocera Linux I decided to try my hand at installing Nextcloud on a Linux server in home lab. Since this entailed me installing everything myself onto a server rather than installing a single image with everything already configured I thought it prudent to do some research online to see what my options were. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nextcloud offers an official Snap package on Ubuntu. Long story short a Snap is a fast, simple, and secure way to install apps on a computer running Ubuntu Linux. I tend to hear a lot of negativity about Snaps in the Linux community, but when it comes to installing Nextcloud I'm certainly a fan.
I would imagine most of you reading this will be much more interested in trying a free account from a service provider for simplicity sake. Nothing wrong with that, the standard set of apps included with your free account are great! The main function of Nextcloud is to store your data so of course there's a great File Manager app built in. Aside from simple file storage Nextcloud offers many other apps like Talk which is a text, voice, and video chat service similar to Slack or Microsoft Teams. There are also apps for Photos, Contacts, Calendar, Audio / Music, Notes, and Tasks.
Though it may not look readily apparent when you first log into your Nextcloud account there is indeed a built in office suite. You can access this by clicking the + icon on the top of the Files app. This will show options for uploading files, creating folders, creating simple text documents, and an integrated office suite based on Libre Office. This comes with a word processor (Word), spreadsheet editor (Excel), presentation editor (Powerpoint), and vector graphics editor (Visio) software. I've found the performance of these features to be a little sluggish to load, but overall serviceable. My personal experience is with home servers with very low specifications and service providers half a world away. I can't fairly judge the performance of these more robust tools until I've tried it on something closer and more powerful.
As previously mentioned, Nextcloud also offers mobile apps for some of their more popular apps like the standard Nextcloud app which is the file browser. They also offer an app for Nextcloud Talk which is the text, voice, and video chat app. Last but not least is the Nextcloud Notes app which was a welcome addition since the file browser mobile app did not feature integrated office support. Understandably so, those kind of programs generally warrant their own mobile app and aren't just additions inside another mobile app.
Whether you decide to go with a service provider or self host your own Nextcloud instance you get a ton of great features free. The service provider account is ready to go right away, but keep in mind if you decide to self host then out of the gate your server will only work on your home network. While you can certainly set up your home server to face the internet so you and others can connect to your server this also introduces your home network to all the dangers that come with the internet. As a simple workaround you may consider trying out Tailscale as this free tool allows you to connect to your home lab servers anywhere though a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with minimal setup. I definitely recommend Nextcloud and Tailscale for anyone interested in home labs and data privacy.
Click HERE to try a live demo of Jellyfin!
Jellyfin is a free and open-source media player and server. It is available on all major platforms including Linux, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire OS, Roku, Kodi, and more. In my home lab I run Jellyfin on an Ubuntu server to stream my music, videos, and books. I have used the Android app (TV and phone) web client to view Jellyfin on my LAN, but you can also install Tailscale on your server, phone, and other devices to securely connect with Jellyfin when you're away from home!
Setting up a Jellyfin server on Linux is a breeze. You only need to check their download page for instructions specific to your server OS. For this example I went with Ubuntu as that is what I use in my home. All you need to do is open a terminal then copy and paste the command from the Jellyfin site in.
From there the script takes over and sets everything up for you. Just sit back and be amazed as any passerby will mistake you for a hacker for the next few minutes.
Once the install is finished you will see a screen like the one listed below that will let you know that you can access your Jellyfin server on your LAN with a web browser at "http://YourServerName:8096".
Once you connect to the Jellyfin server it will have you go through a quick set up to add a user account and import your media.
There are quite a bit of settings you can dig into if you need to add more libraries, users, media, or more advanced options. I've not messed with anything more advanced than setting up the server with my media, making a couple user accounts so the kids wouldn't have access to mature content, and making sure I could access the Jellyfin server via my LAN and over Tailscale with both my laptop and cell phone.
If you have an old PC it would make a great Jellyfin server. I have also successfully installed the Jellyfin server software on the Inovato Quadra mini PC. If you do something like that where the main storage device has very limited space you will want to plug in an external hard drive, flash drive, or microSD card to expand the storage and place your media files on the extra storage. I had installed Jellyfin on the 32GB eMMC drive of the Quadra, but then plugged a 250GB flash drive to store my music and videos. I was then able to install Tailscale on the Quadra and I could watch and listen to my media from my home server while I was on my lunch break at work. I know, I know, I could have just had all this media on my phone anyways, but where is the fun in that?
The tool you use on a computer to navigate and work with files and folders is known as a File Browser. It can also be referred to as a File Explorer or File Manager, they all refer to the same thing. Let's explore the file browser that Linux Mint uses, Thunar. Below you will find a screenshot of where you can launch your file browser in Linux Mint and many other operating systems. You will find a button that looks like a folder at the bottom left side of your screen. You can also usually find shortcuts on the desktop or in the start menu (LM button at the very bottom left in the screenshot).
Clicking the File Browser icon will launch the File Browser application. This is the main (home) page for the file browser. There are several parts here you need to be aware of. Right away your are presented with icons for the different folders and files present in your Home folder. In the screenshots present in this article the Home folder is titled "mint", however on your own computer it will be named after your user accounts name. You can see from the screenshot that the "mint" folder on the left is highlighted in purple, this lets you know that is the file you are currently in. This means that the mint (home) folder contains all of the folders you see here: Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, etc.
You can also check where you are by looking at the directory bar, circled in red here. In this screenshot you are looking in a folder titled "test folder". You can see the file "test file (copy 1)" inside the test folder. By looking at the directory bar you can see that the test folder is located inside the "Documents" folder that is located inside the "mint" (home) folder. Clicking any of the folders listed on the directory bar will take you to that folder.
The Shortcut list is listed on the left side of the file browser window. If you click any of these shortcuts they will take you directly to the folder you selected. These are usually the default folders in your "home" folder. While you are in any of the folders listed in the shortcuts, that folders shortcut will be highlighted with whichever accent color you have set for your computer.
The Menu is located towards the top left side of the File Browser window. Many applications use this type of menu that includes options such as File, Edit, View, etc. Clicking these options will display a list of functions that you can perform. Some of the more relevant options will be discussed below.
The File menu in the File Browser allows you to perform some handy functions such as opening a New Window. With multiple file browser windows opened it becomes easier to copy and paste or drag and drop files to new locations. You can also create a new folder in the File menu.
If you select the option to create a new folder you will be presented with a window where you can choose what you want to name the new folder and then create the folder.
The Edit menu is located immediately to the right of the File menu at the top of the File Browser window. There are several useful options in the Edit menu such as Cut, Copy, Paste, Move to Trash, Delete, Select All Files, and Rename. These are all different ways you can Edit the files and folders on your computer.
The Cut and Copy options can be used along with the Paste option to move files around and make copies of them. You can select a file or folder by left clicking on it once. Then you can click Edit then click Copy. You may notice nothing has happened yet, this is because the file or folder you have selected has been copied in the background and is waiting for you to paste it to a new location. Now you can move to a new folder, click Edit, then click Paste. Now you will have a copy of your selected file or folder created in your current location. The Cut option works similarly to Copy, but instead of making a new copy of the selected file or folder it will move (cut) the file or folder from its original location to its new location. No new copy of the item will be created this way.
Click path to Copy a file: Edit -> Copy + move to target location + Edit -> Paste
Click path to Cut a file: Edit -> Cut + move to target location + Edit -> Paste
The Move to Trash and Delete options also have similar functions. Move to Trash will move any selected files or folders to special folder named Trash. The trash folder is where you send unwanted files. Files that are moved to the Trash folder are not deleted. They can be restored if you navigate to the Trash folder and choose to Restore any of the files or folders contained within. The Restore option can be found under the Edit menu while you are viewing the Trash folder and have one or more files and/or folders selected. Restore is also visible while in the Trash folder if you right-click on the files or folders contained there.
You can also find the option to Empty Trash in the File Menu while in the Trash folder. This will permanently remove all of the files and folders contained within the Trash folder. If you are inside a normal folder you can skip sending a file or folder to the Trash folder and delete it immediately by selecting a file or folder and the clicking the Edit menu and selecting the Delete option.
The Select All option can be found under the Edit Menu. This will select all of the files and folders contained within the current folder. Once this is done you could copy (+ paste), cut (+ paste), move to trash, or delete all of the selected items. You can also drag and drop the files to a new folder by left clicking and holding it down while you drag one of the highlighted files to the desired folder and releasing the left mouse button. That is another way of Moving files, not Copying.
The Rename option can be found under the Edit Menu as well. This selecting this option will allow you to rename the currently selected file or folder. You can also find the Rename option by right-clicking on a file or folder.
This is a quick tour of some of the features of the Linux Mint 21.1 operating system. Linux Mint is meant to be a similar work flow to that of the Windows operating system so it should be familiar to many people. If you're new to using a computer then don't worry, I will provide some basic computing skill videos soon.
This is what you are greeted with when you log into Linux Mint for the first time. It provides you with a quick jumping off point for you to begin customizing and setting up the operating system. You can change the theme from dark to light as well as choose your accent color. There are several useful utility programs listed as well, such as:
The Timeshift tool is available for taking system snapshots (backups) of your computer in case you experience a problem and need to restore to an earlier date.
There is a also a Driver Manager tool that is useful if your computer contains any specialized hardware that has proprietary drivers, such as graphics cards for gaming.
You are also able to quickly launch the Software Manager (App Store), System Settings, Update Manager, Firefall settings, and more.
Links to helpful documentation and the community forum can also be found here. There is also a link for you to contribute to the Linux Mint team if you enjoy the great work they do.
Much like Windows you will find your start menu at the bottom left side of the screen. Once clicked it will display a list of all of the applications installed on the computer that you can use. The applications are organized into like categories. The categories are listed on the left side of the menu and hovering the mouse over these categories will change the list on the right side of the menu to show the apps within that category. You can right click on these apps to get a menu for adding shortcuts for the apps to your desktop, task bar, or favorites list within the menu itself.
Applications will be added and removed from from these categories automatically as you install and uninstall applications from the Software Manager. This can also result in new categories being added and removed from the menu. Aside from the lists you can also use the search bar at the bottom to quickly find an app you need by name. There are even quick launchers for editing your account info, opening system settings, locking the screen, and opening the log out menu which will allow you to log off your current account, reboot, shut down the computer, etc.
The System Settings app is akin to the Control Panel in Windows. This is the home for all of the settings you can fine tune for Linux Mint with just a few mouse clicks. Here you can change your desktop background, choose new accent colors and themes, adjust the screen resolution and orientation, change the default applications that launch when you open files, etc. If you are using a laptop you may find it useful to check the touchpad settings out and adjust the sensitivity as needed.
If you didn't run the Driver Manager earlier from the Welcome app you can find one of it's other homes here in the System Settings. At its core this app is really just a convenient list of all of the other apps that can adjust the settings of Linux Mint. You will find all of these apps mixed into the System and Settings categories of the Application Menu as well. You are free to access them in whichever manner is easiest for you.
With Linux Mint there is no need to visit websites to download and install programs. There are thousands of applications at your finger tips with the Software Manager. You can search for the specific applications you want to install using the search bar at the top right side of the program. You can also browse through all the options by selecting a category to view. If you're uncertain where to start the Flatpak section has a lot of popular software available.
Once you find an application you would like to install you click on the app to bring up its page and then click the green Install button at the top right side of the applications page. From here you just type in your password and wait while the software is downloaded and installed. Once finished you can launch the software from the applications page in the Software Manager or by finding it in the Application Menu and launching it there. You can also remove applications with the Software Manager by clicking the menu button at the top right side of the application and selecting "Show Installed Application". This will list any applications that you have added yourself. From there you can click the application you would like to remove and then click the red "Remove" button at the top right of the applications page and inputting your password again.
Updating your system is also a breeze on Linux Mint with the Update Manager. Just open the application and hit the refresh button to check for updates. All of the updates will be selected by default, you only need to click the Install Updates button, input your password, and wait. You are also able to uncheck any updates you don't wish to download, this is not generally something you should do unless you know of a specific reason you don't want to update a certain application or package. Make sure to install updates whenever possible to keep you system safe and up to date with all of the newest software.
Greeting Keyboard Comrades! In this video I show you how to set up an Open-Source Privacy Focused Workspace with Firefox, Proton, Bitwarden, and NextCloud. Check out the other blog posts on these tools for more info. I'm using Linux Mint in the video to keep everything open-source, but this process can be done on any Linux, Windows, or Mac computer using Firefox.