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back to article Mint Linux gifts Unity haters with 'Nadia' ... plus her Mate

Ubuntu users with a hankering for Gnome can take comfort: the latest version of Linux distro Mint has been released. Mint 14, codenamed Nadia, is based on Ubuntu 12.10 comes with Mate 1.4, an updated version of the Mint user interface with greater stability and bug fixes. Mint continued the Gnome 2 look with Mate 1.x, but it …

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Mint is definitely going in the right direction, unlike Ubuntu, which is aiming to make a splash in tablets, but won't. Mint also isn't baking Amazon ads into its desktop.

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Kubuntu also

Well that is the really great thing about Linux - if you don't like the direction a company is talking the desktop - just jump ship to another desktop - Unlike say Windows or Mac you have a choice.

I think Kubuntu is fine - all the applications you have for Ubuntu will still run (being the same underlining base). The default look is a bit crap but if you spend about 20 seconds you can sort that out.

It you spend most of your day logging into Linux servers your missing out by not using desktop Linux - Putty is just crap in comparison.

Kubuntu, which uses the extremely stable KDE desktop is a very nice 'workhorse' - in our office about 70% of people are running Kubuntu - Windows 7 on the same machine is slower at pretty much all tasks I do (and you can;t do a lot of things I want to) - the more you use KDE the better it becomes - unlike gnome3//unity where the most you use it the more you realise they your prevented on using the desktop as you like - unlike the other 2 KDE allows you to tweak most settings (if you can be arsed)

Cinnamon is pretty and is far better than other gnome3 based desktops but for working with KDE is the best desktop I have used on any OS , each release since about 4.2.x has been just that little bit better than the previous one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kubuntu also

Unlike say Windows or Mac you have a choice.

.. because you need one? One of the principal issues with Linux is exactly choice. Technical people see that as a benefit, end users see that as a problem because they don't know what to choose and on what parameters.

Originally, this is what Ubuntu brought: a sense of direction. Until they totally went the Microsoft way in ramming a concept down people's throat without any option to back out. Please don't tell me that there is Kubuntu et al, because you're just telling me you missed the point..

Although I like Mint (Xfce) and use it for quite a few things, my personal preference is the way the (Open)SuSE people solved the issue. It must be hard work to keep it in sync, but they made it somehow possible to switch between the various desktops as if they were merely themes - things still work. As a consequence, it's OK if your initial decision of which desktop to use wasn't optimal - you can change without too much pain.

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Amazon ads are not baked into the desktop. You have a shopping lens that sends your search query to Amazon and returns search results based on what you typed in the dash. It takes 2 clicks in the privacy settings to disable it and it's been packaged as a separate package so that you can completely remove the shopping lens without affecting anything else (search for shopping lens in the software center). If you don't trust Canonical, you're welcome to go have a look at the code, it's on Launchpad: https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity-lens-shopping

If you don't like the way Ubuntu is going with Unity, that's absolutely fine. But please stop spreading FUD.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 11:04

"end users see that as a problem because they don't know what to choose"

"ramming a concept down people's throat without any option"

So, do people want choices or not?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 11:04

Good point :)

I think the option people want is NOT having to change what they got used to, and you mess with their way of working only if you can offer something that is better by some distance.

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Re: So, do people want choices or not?

They want choice, but the default option to be good enough that they don't feel obliged to learn about all the options before the system becomes usable.

Sticking with the defaults makes it easier to get help on forums and it makes it far more likely that you are using a configuration that plenty of other people have tested. But if the default is Unity or Metro, people want a choice.

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Lubuntu too

For those trying dists, if you quite like Mint then try Lubuntu as well. They are both fast and minimalist and being Ubuntu/deb based it is very easy to install stuff.

Two advices for newbies setting up a system.

1. Partition your system with a boot partition (eg 125MB), swap partition (eg 8GB), / partition (eg 20GB), /home (the rest) so you can change Linuxes by just telling the new install to reformat the / and install there.

2. Keep a text file with all the info you need to setup the system next time, eg:

# Install Samba, Samba Server configuration Tool

apt-get --yes --quiet install samba samba-common system-config-samba

# Install Application Configuration Editor, LIBREOFFICE, RHYTHMBOX, TCL and WISH, Gdebi command line

apt-get --yes --quiet install gconf-editor libreoffice rhythmbox tk8.5 gdebi-core

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Boffin

Re: Kubuntu also

Well, my problem with KDE is that it's a major CPU and memory hog. It and it's programs takes noticeably longer to start up, and I noticed that my graphics cards (and mind you, this is a SLI-enabled box) were being taxed to the point where their fan spins at full speed all the time. I've since switched to XFCE. The fans no longer spins full speed unless I run some 3D game. Some people may not like how XFCE doesn't have bling like those fancy cube desktops and stuff, but will, I don't want bling. I just want to get things done.

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Re: Kubuntu also

>> Unlike say Windows or Mac you have a choice.

> .. because you need one? One of the principal issues with Linux is exactly choice. ... end users see that as a problem because they don't know what to choose and on what parameters.

So you are saying that the world would be a better place is _all_ computers were the same with, say, Windows 95, and all cars were Ford Pintos. I read a book like that once, it had a number as its name.

> Although I like Mint (Xfce)

Mint defaults to MATE which is Gnome 2 fork.

> but they made it somehow possible to switch between the various desktops

Almost *ALL* distros can have any of the several desktops. apt-get install xfce* kde* ... and then in the next login you can choose whichever you want.

It happens that XBuntu has the default of XFCE, KBuntu has KDE etc, but you can load these from the repository and switch to your preference.

You can't do that easily with Windows 8 because Microsoft wants to remove that choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kubuntu also

"my personal preference is the way the (Open)SuSE people solved the issue. It must be hard work to keep it in sync, but they made it somehow possible to switch between the various desktops as if they were merely themes - things still work."

You can do this at the login screen on pretty much every major distro...

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Re: Kubuntu also

"Well, my problem with KDE is that it's a major CPU and memory hog. It and it's programs takes noticeably longer to start up, and I noticed that my graphics cards (and mind you, this is a SLI-enabled box) were being taxed to the point where their fan spins at full speed all the time. I've since switched to XFCE. The fans no longer spins full speed unless I run some 3D game. Some people may not like how XFCE doesn't have bling like those fancy cube desktops and stuff, but will, I don't want bling. I just want to get things done."

Another thumbs up here for XFCE. The Xubuntu interface is laid out like the old Ubuntu interface circa 10.10, though it uses its own light grey theme. I've got a custom theme running which copies the old dark Ubuntu Ambiance theme (though with the minimise, maximise and close buttons on the right side where any sane person would have them). I've been happily pretending Unity doesn't exist for over a year now.

The built in XFCE compositor does do some eye candy (window shadows, transparency, etc.) but if you want the cube desktops and such that you mention you can always install compiz.

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Don't know if the author of this reads the comments but. He brings up about how the interface has been updated blah blah blah. Could you not perhaps put in a screenshot of the updated interface? Not everyone uses linux, and not all linux users use (or have even looked at) mint.

That and the post is so damn short it would make it look a little better at least.

I mean, I can't even summarize this post, the entire thing is a summary.

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FAIL

El Reg seems to be going that way at the minute. That and never proofreading. The number of silly little mistakes (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc) which have been popping up recently do seem to have massive increased. Then again, I'm not sure if it's just me but the number of articles and breadth of topics covered does seem to have increased of late - maybe I should just stop moaning!

Back to the point, I agree. I'm a Kubuntu user (since Unity fecked me off) but would have appreciated a screenshot without having to go and search for it myself. Even a link to an example would have done - I had a very brief browse of the MintBox (just for pictures) but still don't know what the UI looks like! I know it's only 30 seconds to look, but it's more effort!!

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Unhappy

Well that's a Hyphen FAIL!

"to have massively increased"

"topics covered do seem to have"

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Have to agree

Been using Linux on and off for quite a while now (I just wish certain large corporations would release Linux releases of ALL their software, not just bits of it) and I have gravitated towards Mint as a clean, consistent and easy to install/use distro.

Clement and his team seem to be VERY prompt in responding to comments both positive and negative which is very much in the tradition of the linux concept.

I just hope with people like Valve finally looking at major game titles on Linux we may actually get a real choice in desktop OS for both work and home.

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Linux

Re: Have to agree

This is actually what I'm hoping to get up and running on my new computer this weekend. Its a standard but high end desktop with an Nvidia GTX 670 as I understand Nvidia has marginally better Linux support than ATI. From what I gather, the Linux version of Steam has only been tested on Ubuntu but given Mint is a spin off of Ubuntu without the crapware, I shouldn't have too many problems, right?

It's the first time I'm using Linux on a desktop so any pointers would be appreciated (I have Windows 7 as a back up OS for the more system hungry stuff like Planetside 2).

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Re: Have to agree

> but given Mint is a spin off of Ubuntu without the crapware, I shouldn't have too many problems, right

As far as i'm aware that's correct...

However you will find FPS faster in KDE if you disable desktop effects (something you cannot do in cinnamon 3d) - however the new driver (not in Ubuntu yet) has apparently sorted issues with compositing desktops (and thus doubled users fps. - as I already did 2 simple tweaks (suspend desktop effects for fullscreen apps and disable VBLANK in nvidia-settings byy FPS were already doubled from a normal user)

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Linux

Re: Have to agree

Mint is good. I have had a few problems installing the 13 release and there seems to be a bug in it somewhere - the panels thing crashes occasionally - but its highly configurable and doesn't have to look like it does when you first install it.

Its good because its a later general release than Debian which I used to use, and the Mate desktop is gnome 2 with bugs being worked out. If you like gnome, you will like this. OTOH if you dont like gnome, its probably not a distro you would bother with otherwise.

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Re: Have to agree

"I understand Nvidia has marginally better Linux support than ATI"

At work we recently had a kind-of-trial (but in frontline service) project which required the use of very small form factor boxes stuck to the back of monitors on the VESA mount. We went for Acer Aspire Revo machines. All running Linux (Ubuntu/Debian).

Really nice machines to work with, Nvidia Ion chipsets, did everything we wanted. 25 of them in service, everyone happy.

This month we were asked to extend the trial to 10 more locations. Could suddenly no longer purchase the Ion-based machines, and the only thing we could get our hands on had ATI cards onboard. OK, we expected some issues.

So they arrived, set them up, they didn't do the graphics processing out the box we required for the project. Downloaded, compiled, installed the official ATI driver. We were then left with a FUCKOFFMASSIVE box in the lower right corner of the screen saying we were using an unsupported driver. HOURS of Googling failed to resolve this. Same on both available choices of Linux flavour.

In the end we stole small PCs from elsewhere and hid them in the ceiling... :-(

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Bronze badge

"Nvidia, f@$k you!", as the saying goes

I understand Nvidia has marginally better Linux support than ATI.

Thought this way 4-5 years ago too. Now what I see is that the AMD/ATI cards are pretty comfortable with the FOSS radeon driver. If you experience a problem with a current Ubuntu/Mint etc kernel, the chances are pretty good you get them fixed in the mainline latest upstream kernels, say from here (BTW, was very impressed with e300 amd apu's -- several hrs of watching hd youtube {mplayer+youtub-dl} @45 degrees)

As a comparison I am stuck with the constant memory leaking Xorg on nvidia chip I have on one of my machines.

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Re: Have to agree

as I did the switch recently too. My most troubles was to understand "linux update", the little shield in the bottom right, and "programs" (synaptic). the frontier between the two is blurry. Apart that I seldom lost time with mint, the occasional "where's that setting? how do I do that'?"

As it's new and fresh, you will want to play with it and install strange stuff. But beware, it's not because it's linux it's unbreakable, personally I got some funny version of "Kinnamon" after trying to install the kde file manager.

For me the best update from nadia is the ability to thin the panel bar. Nothing can beat even more empty space on your desktop.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Or someone like Stardock writes something that replaces the start menu. Or you can do it yourself with an open source project. Or just by configuring Windows 8. Or this? This? Or write your own?

So yeah...that's the beauty of any-source software. But well done for the weird bias!

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Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Win 7 is already legacy? Eh?

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Headmaster

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Not Bias. Try doing the same on an iPhone.

While some closed source software allow changes via mods and other programming APIs, open source by it's nature is more "open". :P

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Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Am I the only person in the world who likes Gnome 3? I'm on Ubuntu 12.10 / Gnome 3 and not about to go to Mint.

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Trollface

Nine developers trapped in Mint

@Eadon Here,l let me fix that for you:

This is the beauty of open source, if developers think something sucks...an alternative that satisfies developers always appears...

As a developer I love open source. But as developers we cater for own needs - and, increasingly, our own reactionary prejudices. I certainly don't have time to rewrite every tool that is less functional than I would like (and God I try). Maybe sometimes we should spend a little bit more time adapting to new stuff and trying to see why people have changed stuff, rather than retreating into the past. But clearly, Mint have found a niche and I wish them the best.

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Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

yes

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Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Sorry Eadon, your assumption that everyone hates Unity and left Ubuntu because of it, which is completely untrue, makes any other point you put forward suspect.

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Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

You're not alone. I love Gnome Shell too. Didn't, at first, took a few days to get used to it but now it's so seamless and fast and responsive that Unity and MATE and Cinnamon all feel really clunky by comparison.

I use the Gnome remix of Ubuntu, just for laughs. I have used Mint in the past, and I particularly like their Debian edition - but on my current machine Ubuntu is a bit more happy for some weird power-management related reason I haven't bothered to figure out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Or someone like xxx writes something that replaces the start menu

Yes, that is a benefit of Windows that Open Source lacks - the massive cottage industry it feeds fixing its problems. As far as I know it started with TSRs on MS-DOS to handle foreign characters or line drawing on US layout keyboards, progressing into anti-virus pretty quickly.

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Bronze badge

Win 7 is already legacy? Eh?

Given the current version is Windows 8, it looks like it.

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Unhappy

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

I do, but I'm kind of a freak... For one I loved Google Buzz.

And while I do like Gnome 3, I recognize the amount of tweaking needed to get it to suit my tastes would put many a user off. It's sad really: the software is good, but the way it's delivered kind of sucks.

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Happy

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

No, you're not alone. I like it too. There's still work to be done, but there's a very nice desktop growing there. We all have our preferences, but alongside that there are plenty of people who just don't handle 'change' very well, and they shout long and loud whenever it happens.

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Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

No I was about the say the same thing. I've got ubuntu 12.04 and gnome 3 all on my desktops and laptops and home and at work. I find it very nice and fast to use. I don't like unity the big side bar wont get out of my way.

I dont get why people moan about whatever desktop environment comes with ubuntu, it;s so easy to change why worry about it? It's easier than someone with a windows pc having to install acrobat reader to read PDFs, or RAR to open rar archives...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Am I the only person in the world who likes Gnome 3? + answers..

Aww .. a public group hug

/me hides quickly :)

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Linux

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

Many of the people leaving Ubuntu did so because of Unity (One of the most Divisive UIs ever?).

Some of us just loaded up MATE. My Ubuntu Studio actually sports XFCE, which is not bad, but I wanted to stick with my existing desktop layout, and my Compiz/Emerald tweaks.

The permutations are many, there is no unity, and no need to abandon Ubunity because of Unity. No black and white here, not even on the penguin.

Mind you, I don't like Shuttleworth's ideas, and things could get worse than Unity in the future. But hey, Mint is a stone's throw away.

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Gold badge

Re: Win 7 is already legacy? Eh?

My thoughts entirely. If I had to place a bet, I'd say that it is Win8 that is already legacy, following .NET into the black hole where Microsoft dump all their attempts to "re-invent" the Windows API.

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Linux

Re: Mint forced gnome 3 guys to introduce .... Gnome 2!

>>Yes, that is a benefit of Windows that Open Source lacks - the massive cottage industry it feeds fixing

>> its problems. As far as I know it started with TSRs on MS-DOS to handle foreign characters or line

>> drawing on US layout keyboards, progressing into anti-virus pretty quickly.

Windows never supplies anything useful by default, for example Explorer, Media Player.

So you have to chance downloading some piece of malware to to the job properly.

I have everything I need for free on a Linux box without the need of paid or dodgy apps.

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Bronze badge

Re: Win 7 is already legacy? Eh?

Its nowhere near legacy Corporate or Government side, so I'm not certain what you mean. Windows XP isn't even legacy (though it should be and should have been if Vista hadn't been a complete debacle) in either environment yet.

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Mint is great

apart from the bit where a major version upgrade means you have to back everything up to external HDD, reinstall from scratch and then restore. That sucks.

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Trollface

Re: Mint is great

That's what you get for trying to be Windows-compatible.

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Re: Mint is great

Protip: When you next install, make a 20GB (or thereabouts, bigger if you want - make it ext4 and you can easily resize it anyway) partition for / and another much bigger one to mount as /home

Then when you reinstall the system to the small partition - don't format the /home partition, just tell the installer to mount it as /home - and when you boot up your fresh install all your files and settings (if not the actual apps which go with them, but that's easy to fix) will all still be there. It's slightly odd, and cool, installing a fresh copy of Firefox and booting it up to find all your bookmarks already there, even the tabs you had open before you reinstalled.

You can even have multiple systems installed sharing a single /home partition - I currently have a day-to-day-use Ubuntu, a messing-about Debian and a just-trying-it-out Fedora partition sharing the same /home partition on one disk. It's all fine.

Obviously keep backups of your stuff, but that goes without saying regardless of whether you're installing a new OS or now. Did I mention I make external hard disks which are perfect for the job of backups? http://etsy.com/shop/BeautifulComputers

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mint is great

> It's slightly odd, and cool, installing a fresh copy of Firefox and booting it up to find all your bookmarks already there, even the tabs you had open before you reinstalled.

? I'd find it very odd, and very uncool, if my configuration *wasn't* there after an upgrade. On every decent OS I've ever used.

Those of us used to using network fileservers just take this for granted, I suppose. I have one /home shared between Solaris (SPARC & x86), Debian, Redhat and SlugOS, and that's just my home network.

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Re: Mint is great

> I'd find it very odd, and very uncool, if my configuration *wasn't* there after an upgrade. On every decent OS I've ever used.

Well played sir. Of course, with a proper modern operating system it's not that odd or surprising. I've been doing this sort of thing for years myself too. I was, however, assuming the OP was a recovering Windows user, in which case this kind of thing can come as a bit of a shock.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slightly odd?

Use Firefox Sync, and all your bookmarks and passwords can be there even on a brand new installation.

I go one step further. I keep my data files on yetanother partition, and that includes Thunderbird and Firefox profiles. By linking (ln -s) those directories to the ones that FF and ThB expect to find in my $HOME, I can have my browser and mail in any installation, even a temporary one.

There is just too much distribution/version-specific stuff in $HOME these days. I've moved out, and left it to the config files,

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Re: Slightly odd?

Yes, of course. I use Chrome and I do use sync as well. Again, I picked Firefox as an example of a piece of software a recovering Windows user might recognise. If I'd said OH HEY MY KDENLIVE CONFIGS ARE ALL THERE it might have added confusion.

I softlink all my things like .fonts .vimrc, .bashrc and custom .desktop files in from a Dropbox'd folder, which also contains a script to make all the links and then install all my preferred apps, run a few gsettings commands and suchlike. So on a new install I install Dropbox, let it sync, run a script and that's install/setup done. Next stage is really a Puppet server, but I think that might be approaching overkill-land..

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