Recommended first steps after installation

Assuming you've got your installation media ready, have read and understood the user manual and installation guide to the Linux distribution you are installing and are okay with wiping out the content of your hard drive (or SSD). You have, of course, made sufficiently redundant (sufficiently redundant meaning at least 2 copies on separate media/computers) backups of all the important data that may have been on the machine you are going to install to. One can never be safe enough with these things.

Follow the steps in the installation manual. If anything goes wrong, chances are you will find the answer on the forums. You can, of course, always ask a friend who is an IT pro to do the installation for you, there is absolutely no shame in that.

If all went well, you have managed to install Linux successfully. Congratulations!

Now, turn off Bluetooth and wi-fi, unless you need them. I seriously can't fathom why they are enabled by default.

Go to the Firewall section in the System Settings and make sure it's set to Incoming Deny, Outgoing Allow.

Disk encryption was an option during installation. I'll leave it to you to decide whether you need it or not.

Go to the Firefox preferences pane to enable anonymous browsing and instruct it to delete Cookies upon quiting.

Set up your mailbox in Thunderbird. It's fairly intuitive.
(I may, however, devote one of the future articles to a step-by-step guide on moving e-mails between computers.)

Play with the visual appearance settings to change the desktop background, the colour schemes, icon shapes and sizes, possibly also the default system fonts to your liking.

You may also need to tweak the date and time zone settings.

Unless you have purchased or downloaded a localized version of the distribution, you may need to add language packs to LibreOffice and change your keyboard layout.

You will also want to add (remove) software packages, either through the Synaptic package manager or in the command line.

You will certainly want to install support for playing proprietary multimedia file formats and extensions for playing videos in your browser. Most non-commercial distributions do not contain them by default.

It is indeed possible to run individual programs, your absolute favourites you can't live without that are not compatible with the Linux system, and even an operating system as a whole, either as a parallel structure or an embedded virtualisation in your existing software ecosystem. I will get back to these topics in the following articles.

In most of the steps mentioned above you will be asked to enter the root password that you were supposed to create in the course of installation.

It goes without saying that you were supposed to pick a user name that anyone who doesn't know you can't easily identify as you. It is possible to change the user name later, of course. Just create a new user with root privileges, log in as this user, change the other user's name, restart the computer and log in again as the original user. You can delete the other one.

Now that you have all the basic settings done, you can migrate your data into your user folder that you've optionally encrypted for extra security.

Don't forget regular backups. Linux Mint is extra stable (I haven't really needed the backups feature since I started usind it two years ago), but one never knows.

And you're all set. Unless you've got Linux to play with it 24/7, learn to program it and become a pro, you can now get back to your lives. :-)

copy left Johanka Piskovská, 2020