Configuring a Basic Linux Mint 17.3 Xfce System (aborted)

A previous post describes how I installed Xfce on an old 32-bit laptop. This post describes another installation, on a 64-bit desktop. The previous post contains information not repeated here (on e.g., the initial installation process). Other posts cited below provide additional details on various issues.

I chose Xfce for its minimal nature. In this desktop computer, I wanted to do most of my work in virtual machines (VMs). I hoped that Xfce would place fewer demands on system resources, leaving more for the VMs. Since I didn’t plan to use this underlying Xfce installation too often in day-to-day work, I intended only a relatively basic installation.

To start, I downloaded the Xfce ISO, added it to my YUMI drive, booted the computer with that USB drive, and installed from there. Then I rebooted the computer, removed the YUMI drive, and began to tweak the installation.

I did not expect to need most of the Linux programs that I had learned how to install, as detailed in a separate post. The exceptions were Opera and VeraCrypt. I also looked in Synaptic Package Manager. (To get there, I went to the button at the lower left corner of the screen, which to a Windows user would be the Start button — and I will be calling it that here. Synaptic was in Start > System > Package Manager.) There, I saw that some if not all of the programs listed in that other post as pre-installed in Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon were also pre-installed in Xfce.

Next, I needed to configure my browsers. I had already configured them, as described in a previous post. Since then, I had signed up for synchronization in both Opera and the preinstalled Firefox. Synchronization had preserved my prior configurations on another machine. I was about to find that that worked better in Firefox than in Opera.

To bring those configurations into this new installation, I went into Opera > Menu > Settings > Browser > Synchronization. I hoped this would bring over the tabs that I had previously opened, and the extensions I had previously installed, in my last Opera session. Unfortunately, it didn’t. But its history (Ctrl-H) did remember some of the previously opened webpages. I went into Opera > Menu > Extensions > Get extensions > search for LastPass > click > Add to Opera > log in. In that same place, I searched for TamperMonkey. (This add-on was useful for enabling the classic WordPress editor interface. Most people would probably not need this. But I used Opera for most of my blogging, and needed it on the desktop in order to record observations about various VMs.) With TamperMonkey installed, I was able to install the requisite script. To prevent this tweak from being overwritten by updates, I tried the suggestion of adding –disable-update to the icon I used to start Opera (via right-click > Edit > Command). Next, when I started Opera (but, for some reason, not Firefox or other programs), I was confronted with a dialog that said this:

Choose password for new keyring.

An application wants to create a new keyring called ‘Default’. Choose the password you want to use for it.

I had options: Cancel or Continue. If I clicked Cancel, it would go away for now, but it would come back up every time I started Opera. If I clicked Continue, I got another message:

Store passwords unencrypted?

By choosing to use a blank password, your stored passwords will not be safely encrypted. They will be accessible by anyone with access to your files.

Clicking Cancel there was, again, a temporary fix, but clicking Continue spelled the end of that set of messages.

Now I turned to Firefox. I went to Alt-E > Edit > Preferences > Sync > Sign in. Firefox sync did not remember Alt-V > View > Toolbars > Menu Bar. It seemed to remember my extensions, but not their settings, so I went through those. I also had to reconfigure the buttons I liked to see in Firefox. Unfortunately, for some reason that reconfiguration was not saved. It appeared that some extensions were not working. I verified that this was a fairly recent version (43) of Firefox.

Other things did not seem to work in Xfce as they had worked in Cinnamon. For instance, Alt-Left Arrow did not resize and relocate a window to take up the left half of the screen, as it had done in Cinnamon.

At this point, I decided that there was merit in getting to know one Mint flavor well. I had not much used the previous Xfce installation, and at this point I was getting comfortable with Cinnamon. At the possible expense of some (hopefully minor) extra resource usage, I decided to terminate this installation and make it a new Cinnamon installation instead, as detailed in another post.

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