Mint Cinnamon, add useful help (or do not redirect yelp for help)

  8 years ago
  Under dev. review

As a non-technically inclined Mint user, I've never dared to post an idea in the community before, but this is an issue that I feel is important,and no one seems to have addressed it.

I love mint, and cinnamon. I wouldnt like to give up either,
but one thing that often cripples my ability to use my applications or mint well, while using cinnamon Is the lack of useful help. (I'm still using Mint13, so if this has changed in Mint14, let me know And I'll be extremely happy to switch.)

At this moment, every time I click on a help link in most applications, or type yelp in the console, My browser opens and takes me to the mint website.
Not even the Mint manual in the community...just the mint website.
This is severely unhelpful, annoying, and frustrating. Applications I know have good help files in yelp will tell me nothing because All yelp help links are redirected.

I think it would be a very good idea to change this.
Even experienced users need access to existing help documentation, but its essential for new users. Many may not think yelp is relevant to Cinnamon users, but because application help files that are readable are often added only to yelp, it is still useful.

About Man:
Man pages are all well and good, but they are difficult to read and search, and many applications that have at least brief help files in yelp, do not supply man pages.

Feel free to comment, but please be tolerant. This Is my first attempt at sharing an Idea with the community.
Latest comments
RjBradlow 8 years ago

My Blog on HOW-TO FIX this issue (in Cinnamon - Olivia):
url update since my previous post link is now broken, here's the new link:

Linux Mint 15: Help Not Working / How-To Fix.


RjBradlow 8 years ago

Well I finally finished my blog post on how to fix this annoyance until the Mint documentation is fixed and a update presumably comes down the pike.

If the Mint teams solution of sending you to the website bugs you too;
Here ya go:

RjBradlow 8 years ago

Stumbled upon this juicy litte admission here:

which ironically is comment # 101.

Vincent Vermeulen Says:
May 17th, 2012 at 3:14 am

Help is broken in all Gnome applications in both releases. Opening the Help>Contents menu in a Gnome application, opens Firefox at

Running yelp directly does the same. I hope this is a bug and not intentionally? (I think we want access to the applications’ help files.) The help files seems to be installed on both releases, for example I found the Gedit help files in /usr/share/help/C/gedit. Tested with Gedit, Nautilus, Pluma and Caja.

Edit by Clem: No, it’s by design. Help is a real mess at the moment. Gnome apps assume you’re running Shell, Ubuntu patch it with Unity content and in the end it doesn’t properly integrate with either MATE or Cinnamon. We talked about this in the MATE dev. team and decided to make mate-help point to Within Mint itself we’re pointing people at our user guide, which we’re planning to update. Going forward we’ll need to assess how we provide quality help that is relevant (i.e. we can’t use help contents which assume you’re running Shell or Unity).


So Let's Just Break the Whole Damn Yelp Thing! ... Cuz we're going to 'get around to writing our own documentation - Later.

In the meantime, there is no Application Specific help at all!!

Great one guys!

RjBradlow 8 years ago

Hi all,
I'm using v15 and this ignorant 'Help' menu problem has yet to be fixed as of this current release (and by this posting: June 27, 2013), so this is a rolling oversight or bug.

Every other Distro I've used* installs and Links to the locally stored Documentation (/usr/share/doc) or a particular package's online documentation .. But Not Mint!!
...or is it another upstream Ubuntu stupidity thing?

Either way, Mint being what Ubuntu should be (supposedly) in that it is a super shiny refined Ubuntu with super awesome minty features and bug fixes... eh hem ...

Why in the bloody world would the Mint Dev team make the HELP menu of every single app goto the Mint Website to download a thin PDF that has nothing to do with the application from which you clicked 'HELP' in ???

Even Ubuntu has thicker PDF's and documentation... I'd rather be directed there than Mint's website if Mint cannot figure out how to fix the 'Help' links to the local documentation system.

Well then... Off I go in continuing my search for learning how to repair yet another Linux world class blunder... Common Sense is no longer Common!

Related NOTES:

*Mind you that I stopped upgrading at Ubuntu 10.4 Lucid because of the whole force fed mentality of the new Gnome, KDE and ... ludicrous Apple spawned** touch interface for desktops direction that most distro's are heading in dung.
Until late where Mint had refined things enough for me to actually decide to make it my primary desktop... as a last choice since it's still based on Ubuntu which I'm not happy with.
But after the latest fedora et al. / Anaconda install blunders, I've no 'simple' choice short of rolling my own from scratch, which I'm not in the mood for right now... But! it is on my todo list.
As a result of my latest round of Distro testing, fedora now tops my 'Worst Distro Ever' list.

Q: Why did I choose Mint?
A: Because of their fantastic job of making a Gnome2 like D.E. which AFAIK nobody else is doing.

** Yet Another reason I'm looking for other distros; To get away from the totalitarian Appelian society.

After all.. FOSS and all of it's derivatives are all about personal Freedoms Right!?


Hammer459 8 years ago

To some degree I think you are right. But... first, man-pages should be all but mandatory as that has been standard for the last 30 years or so.
Second it is recommended that all programs have a manual/help locally. Beeing directed to Mints website is not very helpful at all.

Having said that.... Mint does not maintain most of the software available in the distro nor in the software manager and thus the development team is not responsible for the quality of the documentation. Also documentation is a big task with few volounteers....
The efforts to make that more transparent by means of wiki have been sabotaged as @sunewbie points out.

It is a difficult problem. I lean towards promoting, but only for the parts that Mint actually maintain. With the caveat that I have NO clue of where to get the volounteer manpower to create this help/manual.

sunewbie 8 years ago

I am also an end user. Not many end users are active as they go for forums only for troubleshooting.

Earlier there was a Mint Wiki. But due to a lot of spam, it was discontinued. Please click on the first link. It is user manual of old version. If you scroll down to merlwiz's second post, you will find a link ... ur_Live_CD

Older manual of Mint 5 was even more extensive to Mint 11 manual.

Now, Cinnamon is fast evolving and maintaining wiki is very painful in the sense that it is very time consuming. Due to this fact, wiki is not maintained.

for Cinnamon help, you can visit a tutorial from Tech Support

Community members have tried to create an unofficial Mint Wiki, but nobody is willing to volunteer. thread is made sticky.

I will promote this idea, in a hope that it is necessary even though it is time consuming. This issue is also sometimes raised in forums. You will also find similar ideas. So this idea may be mostly marked as 'considered' if found duplicate of an existing idea.

A stop gap solution is to create small how-tos and FAQs. I even tried to create TOC, but did not find time. I wanted to add it to my Linux Beginner Search website, but do not get time to create how-to. You can find a well documented wiki of PCLinuxOS, but I am unable to create it.

Mods and admins have tried to create threads covering How-ts, which are found in newbie and installation section of Mint Forums as sticky threads. Xenopeek has created some threads like

How to install software on Linux Mint -in newbie section
Solve boot problems with AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards - in installation and boot section
Trouble updating? Solution provided here. - n installation and boot section

sujitnag 8 years ago

I really don't able to understand it. If u give specific example.