LMDE Squeeze Setup (Complete)

  10 years ago

**NOTE - This applies to the 201012 and 201101 ISOs ONLY ... this would not be practical for any ISOs following these releases. Downloads provided below.**


**UPDATE - it should be known that, with UP4, there very likely will be some conflicts with many of the packages that are in the Linux Mint repo. If you want to maintain GNOME 2 in its glory but also want an up-to-date system, be VERY mindful of what you update, or just keep it as-is. Squeeze-backports will handle all of the important system stuff, just not proprietary software like Firefox, so if you want you could switch to Iceweasel (support open-source!) or something. But just know that after UP4, doing unminded updates will likely bork your system and fry your cat.**



amd64 - http://mirror.yellowfiber.net/linuxmint/debian/linuxmint-debian-201012-gnome-dvd-amd64.iso

i386 - http://mirror.yellowfiber.net/linuxmint/debian/linuxmint-debian-201101-gnome-dvd-i386.iso


Alternative 1

amd64 - http://mirrors.secution.com/linuxmint.com/debian/linuxmint-debian-201012-gnome-dvd-amd64.iso

i386 - http://mirrors.secution.com/linuxmint.com/debian/linuxmint-debian-201101-gnome-dvd-i386.iso


Alternative 2

amd64 - http://linuxfreedom.com/linuxmint/linuxmint.com/debian/linuxmint-debian-201012-gnome-dvd-amd64.iso

i386 - http://linuxfreedom.com/linuxmint/linuxmint.com/debian/linuxmint-debian-201101-gnome-dvd-i386.iso


LMDE based on the Debian Squeeze repositories (rather than the traditional Testing) is a fantastic way to provide a more safe, stable, and user-friendly version of LMDE; this is due to less breakages and less initial updates. The following details a step-by-step process to obtain the (in my humble opinion) ideal LMDE Stable setup directly after installation.


  1. Change respositories


Before any updates, type this command into the Terminal:


gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list


And edit the file to look like this:


deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import backport

#deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ testing main contrib non-free

#deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-updates main contrib non-free

deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main contrib non-free

deb http://www.debian-multimedia.com squeeze-backports main non-free


This changes the included repos to stable instead of testing, but includes two more repos that incorporate more stable updates and backports for the stable edition. I've kept in the testing repos to update the kernel for the future (more details below), just commented them out. When updating Save and close out.


  1. Change repository preferences


Certain repositories get priority, and by default LMDE gives Mint repos the preference in packages. To ensure the most recent version overall, you must balance the preferences by typing this command into the Terminal:


gksudo gedit /etc/apt/preferences


And then scroll down to where it lists the Debian repo. You should see the value 500 on this repo; simply change it to 700 (matching the value of the other repos). Also, add these to the bottom of the file:


Package: xchat-common

Pin: version 2.8.8-3

Pin-Priority: 1000


Package: xchat

Pin: version 2.8.8-3

Pin-Priority: 1000


This will prevent the one breakage of xchat from occurring (thank you mads for this solution). Save and close out.


  1. Purge Openoffice


Why would we do this? Well, later on we will install Libreoffice 3.4, and we don't need to update Openoffice if we are just going to toss it, right? So, type this into Terminal to remove it:


sudo apt-get purge openoffice*


This will remove all files associated with Openoffice.


          4.   Run first update


Now its time for the first big update! Type this into terminal:


sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade


At a couple of points it should ask you do you want to install the package maintainer's version or keep the current one on your system. This is up to you, of course, but I always install the package maintainer's version. Also, at one point it asks you where to install the new version of grub to; this goes onto /sda (not /sda1 or anything with a number). You press space bar to select this option (it should be the first one), and then tab to move to "OK", and then space bar again to select "OK".


  1. Install new kernel


Now that the update is complete, you can install a faster kernel: the .39-2 kernel. It just happens to sit in the Testing repos, so we need to quickly change it back for the install. In terminal:


gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list


And edit the file to look like this:


deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import backport

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ testing main contrib non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free

#deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free

#deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-updates main contrib non-free

deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main contrib non-free


Now to the install:


Click on “Search” and type in “linux-image”. Hit search.

Scroll through the list until you find the right kernel headers for your machine

   - “linux-headers-486” for single-core 32-bit machines

   - "linux-headers-686-pae for multi-core 32-bit machines

   - "linux-headers-amd64” for 64-bit machines

Click the box next to it to mark it for installation.

Scroll through the list until you find the right kernel image for your machine

   - “linux-image-486” for single-core 32-bit machines

   - "linux-image-686-pae" for multi-core 32-bit machines

   - "linux-image-amd64” for 64-bit machines

Click the box next to it to mark it for installation. (Important to install this, as if you don't, then GRUB will not see the option on the menu and boot to it.)

Now, search (the same way you did before) for "firmware".

The list of results should pop up, and you should see a number of options with boxes that have exclamation marks in them. For these boxes only (not the empty boxes), click on the box and select "Mark for Upgrade". Just scroll down the list until you've marked all the exclamation point boxes.

Hit Apply to install the packages. It will stop a couple times to modify some configuration files; just keep clicking OK or Forward to continue.



While the repos are still set to testing, search in Synaptic for "nvidia" (without quotes). Install the following three packages:


 nvidia-glx, nvidia-settings nvidia-xconfig


If you have and older nVidia card, you may need to install the legacy version of glx ... do a bit of Googling to figure out if you do (all nVidia cards I've tried, new or old, work fine with the aforementioned packages, but no guarantees with your system!).


After you install those packages, open up a root terminal and enter the following:


gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf


Once inside gedit as root, simply type the following:


# Blacklist nouveau

blacklist nouveau


Save and exit gedit. Still in root terminal, enter the following:




This will create a new nVidia profile to boot to. Upon your next reboot, you should see the nVidia splash screen and be running the nVidia proprietary drivers!


After the install, just modify /etc/apt/sources.list to look as it did before the kernel update.


  1. Reboot.


You should reboot and now be fully up and running into the .39-2 kernel, and all its wonder. The next step is to configure the system to run as efficiently and quickly as possible.


  1. Speed up this puppy.


First, reduce the level of swappiness (defaults to 60; great for servers, not so hot for desktops). Type this command into the Terminal:


gksudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf


Scroll down to the bottom, and go to a fresh line (without a # on it) and type:


vm.swappiness=10 (if you have less than 2gb of memory)

vm.swappiness=1 (if you have 2gb or more of memory)


Second, eliminate unnecessary startup pacakges. This can be done by:


Menu => Preferences => Startup Applications


Uncheck (don't delete) all packages that you don't need to start up. I personally unchecked Bluetooth, Evolution Alarm Notify, GNOME Login Sound, mintUpdate (since I check for updates myself), mintWelcome, Remote Desktop, and Visual Assistance. Of course, depending on what you use, yours may be different, and do not uncheck something you don't understand. But, by doing this, it reduces boot time and increases available memory (at rest, my memory used is under 300mb on a machine with 8gb total … insane).


Next, lets install Compiz correctly.


  1. Install and setup Compiz


Open terminal and type in this command:


sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install compiz compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra


This will install Compiz. Next, you must configure it by going to:


Menu => Preferences => CompizConfig Settings Manager


You can customize it however you like, however I personally checked:


Gnome compatibility, Desktop Cube, Rotate Cube, 3D Windows, Animations, Animations Add-On, Window Decoration, Wobbly Windows, JPEG, Png, Crash handler, Dbus, GLib, Workarounds, Place Windows, Ring Switcher, Move Window, and Resize Window.


This only sets up Compiz: now we must activate Compiz as our window manager. Most people would just tell you to use Compiz Fusion icon, but this slows down boot time and uses precious memory. Therefore, the much cleaner way to activate Compiz is to open Terminal and type out this command (all one line):


gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager compiz


This basically sets the default Window Manager on boot to be Compiz instead of Metacity. Now, once you reboot, you should have full Compiz capabilites. Finally, lets install Libreoffice.


  1. Install Libreoffice


Go to www.libreoffice.org/download/ and make sure that you select the correct version for your computer:


Linux x86 (deb) = for 32-bit machines

Linux x64 (deb) = for 64-bit machines


Download the LibO_*X.X.X*_Linux_*version*_install-deb_*language*.tar.gz.

Once downloaded, open the file with Archive Manager, and extract it to your home folder.

Once extracted, open your home folder in nautilus and find the folder. Rename the folder “LO”.

Open up Terminal and type these commands:


cd ~/LO/DEBS

sudo dpkg -i *.deb


This will install the programs themselves, but you must still set up the menus to show them. For this, type these commands into Terminal:


cd ./desktop-integration

sudo dpkg -i *.deb


Once completed, you now have the full Libreoffice 3.4 suite. So thats about it … after all this, you should have an up-to-date, fully-functional, fully-featured LMDE stable system that is absolutely rockin.




Here are some additional packages that I use and love that you may wish to consider (all available in the stable repos):


cairo-dock (Genius bar-like dock thats incredibly customizable)

unetbootin (LMDE doesn't include a USB Startup Disk Creator like LM 11)

xbmc (AWESOME media center)

midori (lightweight browser, great for streaming flash)

banshee (Debian Stable still uses Rhythmbox, I like Banshee better)

acidrip (DVD ripping software)

sound-juicer (music CD ripping software)

skype (internet video conference service)

chromium-browser (open-source version of google chrome)

smbfs (tools to mount Windows SMB/CIFS share)

nfs-common (tools to mount NFS shares)

readahead (speeds up boot time through profiles)

preload (automatically loads most-used application binaries for quicker startup)

syslinux (linux kernel boot utility - useful for unetbootin)

extlinux (derivative of syslinux)

gtkorphan (GUI to remove orphaned files - make sure you understand how to use before doing so)

anacron (helps all cron jobs run correctly)

bluefish (fantastict text editor, great for PHP)


Type this command into terminal to get the full lot:


sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install cairo-dock unetbootin xbmc xbmc-standalone midori banshee acidrip sound-juicer skype chromium-browser smbfs nfs-common readahead preload syslinux extlinux gtkorphan anacron bluefish




LifeInTheGrey 10 years ago


Debian-multimedia squeeze-backports added to the list of repos
Note explaining the possible borkage with UP4

This tutorial is rapidly becoming deprecated, as LMDE has (as-of UP4) moved entirely away from GNOME 2. If you want a more carefree LMDE GNOME 2 experience ... you may be better off with MATE. If you want to cling to GNOME 2 just a little longer, you still totally can ... it just needs a little TLC.

mr_e 10 years ago

I follow this how to, and now 2012/04 Update Pack 4 is out and I wonder if I can change the sources so my LMDE can use the mint repos OR I need to wait for the new CD and reinstall/upgrade with it.

This is my sources.list (I take out the deb-src):
deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import backport
#deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ testing main contrib non-free
#deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-updates main contrib non-free
deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main contrib non-free
I believe that I found my answer here:


LifeInTheGrey 10 years ago

I make it a general policy to install firmware-linux, firmware-linux-nonfree, and linux headers for the kernel. You can run aptitude search firmware to see if there are any extra firmwares you need.

But you shouldn't install the backported kernel, modify your sources to testing to get the full 3.2 kernel. Or install the liquorix kernel.

Sorry to be short, on my phone.

Crownvic 10 years ago

Ok, I tried installing the 3.2 kernel again. This time I got the following message:

"This system is currently running Linux 2.6.32-5-amd64 and you are installing Linux 3.2.0-0.bpo.1-amd64. In the new version some of the drivers used on this system may require additional firmware files:

radeon: radeon/SUMO2_me.bin, radeon/SUMO2_pfp.bin, radeon/SUMO_me.bin, radeon/SUMO_pfp.bin, radeon/SUMO_rlc.bin, radeon/PALM_me.bin, radeon/PALM_pfp.bin, radeon/CAYMAN_rlc.bin, radeon/CAYMAN_mc.bin, radeon/CAYMAN_me.bin, radeon/CAYMAN_pfp.bin, radeon/CAICOS_mc.bin, radeon/CAICOS_me.bin, radeon/CAICOS_pfp.bin, radeon/TURKS_mc.bin, radeon/TURKS_me.bin, radeon/TURKS_pfp.bin, radeon/BTC_rlc.bin, radeon/BARTS_mc.bin, radeon/BARTS_me.bin, radeon/BARTS_pfp.bin

Most firmware files are not included in the system because they do not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. You may need to reconfigure the package manager to include the contrib and non-free sections of the package archive before you can install these firmware files."

Maybe that's explaining my problem. I was looking around in the package manager after the firmware files, but didn't see them. How do I reconfigure the package manager to update the radeon firmware?

Crownvic 10 years ago

The problem I had with the 3.2 kernel was, when I moved a window around the content went away. It just got blank and I wasn’t able to get it back without closing and reopening. I did not try to solve it. I was more focused on getting the kernel you suggested installed. Maybe I should try getting the 3.2 kernel to work instead. Do you have any ideas why the windows would behave like that?

LifeInTheGrey 10 years ago

well, my friend, you are delving deeper than necessary into the kernel. the latest kernel is in fact the 3.2 kernel, however if it wasn't stable, you can just use the backports version of it (backports actually got the 3.2 kernel before debian testing did). if THOSE aren't to your liking, you could install linux-image-2.6, which should install the correct 2.6.39 kernel (although I've never actually done it myself, it should work fine).

in my experience, the .38 and .39 backported kernels were incredibly unstable. if you wouldn't mind, how was the 3.2 unstable on your system? ive been running it and been quite pleased.

Crownvic 10 years ago

Thanks for writing this tutorial.

Now I'm running LMDE squeeze :) However I got stuck when trying to install the new kernel.
When I search for linux-image, I don't see the 2.6.39 kernel listed. Besides 2.6.32-5 I see a but it wasn't stable at all on my system.

However I was able to install the source (I think) linux-source-2.6.39_2.6.39-3~bpo60+1_all.deb with synaptic pacakage manager. There is now a link in /usr/scr to linux-kbuild-2.6.39, but the linux-header folders are missing.

Then after looking around for what more to do, I tried typing make menuconfig, but get this:

“/usr/lib/linux-kbuild-2.6.39/arch/x86/Makefile: No such file or directory “

The folder /arch/x86 is not there. What I'm I missing or doing wrong?

Thanks for any help

LifeInTheGrey 10 years ago

Updated the tutorial to reflect installation of nVidia proprietary drivers. This is ONLY to be done if you have an nVidia video card ... the new kernel alone should fully support all the fancy Compiz effects for either Intel or ATI cards.

LifeInTheGrey 10 years ago

Glad you're digging LMDS, and thanks for the note about xchat-gnome, I added that in there too.

sdam 10 years ago

Thank you so much! I am writing this from my LMDE Squeeze now. The only issue I had was installing xchat as you have pointed out in the guide, but I searched Synaptic and found out that there was another similar Debian package called xchat-gnome. I installed it and it works just fine. I had to manually configure it using this guide: "How to use the IRC" (http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/12)

LifeInTheGrey 10 years ago

I had to update the download links due to MU's demise (very sad), so now they point to Yellow Fiber networks' downloads. Also updated some of the verbiage to be more lasting in term of time (the .39 kernel is out of testing and actually in stable backports now, and libreoffice wont be at 3.4 for long). I also tried to clarify some of the differences in the kernels.

tomast 11 years ago

Maybe a slightly faster upload than the Megaupload....
Also you can use an upload manager with these.

Found at Distrowatch.com

Distribution Release: Linux Mint 201012 "Debian"



LifeInTheGrey 11 years ago

My apologies if that was unclear ... the first part of step 5 was merely changing the apt sources, and the second part was the actual install of the new kernel. The step has several sub-steps of its own, but yes, this tutorial is meant to be done entirely in terminal.

arboon 11 years ago

When writing "Now to the install" in step 5, you mean that mintUpdate should be run? Otherwise I don't get it. The rest is done in the Terminal.

Elisa 11 years ago

Ok, meanwhile you answer, I uploaded the .torrent file of that .iso. If anyone would like to upload to any servers where it is possible - see:
www.multiupload.com, just send me a mail here or in forums.linuxmint.com. But I downloaded the .iso from the FTP server below due the megaupload sux - speed 18 kB/sec is a bad joke :-(

Don't forget to check the md5sum, see the tutorial :) =>

Yep, here is the torrent file:

md5sum of the "linuxmint-201101-gnome-dvd-32bit.iso.torrent" is:

Md5sum of the .iso is the same as you can see on the ftp server: http://ftp.heanet.ie/mirrors/linuxmint.com/debian/


Elisa 11 years ago

II. From the comments below - I got it that tha megauploaded .iso (i389) is the same as it is at:
and exactly this one?
=> linuxmint-debian-201101-gnome-dvd-i386.iso 31-Dec-2010 16:05 1.0G
with md5sum:
daeabb182b016cd62bfced5483441b5a linuxmint-debian-201101-gnome-dvd-i386.iso


Elisa 11 years ago

Hey, nice tutorial, gonna test it ;)
BTW, you've forgotten to write the md5sum :O OMG :-))
And I'm trying to download it but the speed is just 18 kB/sec :O :O
WTF? Is that link (386) overloaded? (I can download up to 1.5 MB/sec and this is terrible :-\)
If so and if I'll have so much patience to let it download 986 MB with such "speed", I'll upload it to other/faster servers, even make a .torrent.
But let me know the md5, to be sure, it's not been hacked ;)

LifeInTheGrey 11 years ago

@subhranath - I mean I won't guarantee anything (mainly since this tutorial covers neither death, nor taxes), but it logically should as long as you update the headers, the image, and all associated firmware files.

@boerlum - good call ... I've modified the tutorial to reflect it.

I've also added MegaUpload downloads for the older ISOs, just in case clem takes down the current downloads when they are updated. This way, people can perform this setup in the future if they so desire it.

subhranath 11 years ago

i mean with the newer versions that's coming in...

subhranath 11 years ago

@LifeInTheGrey: is it safe to keep upgrading the kernel as mentioned in step 5 and 6, without breaking anything else?

boerlum 11 years ago

You are the MAN! :-D thanks a lot

However - I just commented out the testing repos, so it is easy to get them running again.

subhranath 11 years ago

@LifeInTheGrey: Okays. now it's clear to me. thnks!

LifeInTheGrey 11 years ago

As I mentioned below, you can still perform all of these tasks, however with an updated ISO based off of a recent version of Debian Testing, it is likely that a vast majority of packages and libs will have been updated past the version that Debian Squeeze uses. As a result, you would simply be pointing to the stable repo, but using more updated packages, resulting in not getting any updates for a LONG time (probably until the next stable release in two years). As a result of this, it would be essentially the same system as not updating from a fresh install of a new ISO.

In contrast, the current ISO was released BEFORE Debian Squeeze, so you would be updating to Debian Squeeze and remaining on it from there. In this scenario, it would be practical to use this method.

subhranath 11 years ago

I'm curious why this setup won't be possible for further LMDE ISOs. Could anyone please explain.

LifeInTheGrey 11 years ago

Clem, thanks for the kind words. Made the changes you requested and also added a few extra packages I find quite useful.

With this Squeeze option only being possibly based on the 201012 / 201101 ISOs, would it be possible for you to retain them so that, if someone were to desire this setup in the future, they could attain it?

clem 11 years ago

Nice tutorial!!!

Two things:

- Specify squeeze instead of stable (for the reason explained by @LifeInTheGrey)

- Specify the version of the LMDE ISO (201101 and 201012), because this won't be possible with further LMDE ISOs.

LifeInTheGrey 11 years ago

For all the repos, you can accomplish the same end result with using the word "squeeze", however that refers to a specific version. By using stable, it will update as Debian versions update. The backports repo specifically NEEDS to refer to squeeze-backports (there is no "stable-backports"), so that is the only one that would require altering in future versions ... all others will simply resource whatever version is the most recent stable branch.

subhranath 11 years ago

nice... but i've one question... going forward do we need to update the repository list once a major debian stable release comes in?

LifeInTheGrey 11 years ago

blueXrider --

Appreciate the feedback, and understand the concerns. To address them:

1) The advantage is for those that (a) have an issue with the immense number of updates and potentially broken packages, and (b) want a guaranteed stable system that will be rock solid for years without the need to be an experienced user. In regards to screenshots, since pretty much the entire tutorial resides within the terminal (which is text-based), you should be fine without it.

2) I know its not separated out in giant bold letters, but in the last line of the opening paragraph, I specify that these steps are to be performed directly following a fresh installation (since this tutorial is for LMDE stable, it should be inferred this is for a fresh installation of LMDE).

3) Not sure its even possible to switch from Katya to LMDE without a fresh installation. Most assuredly this would break the system (because one is Ubuntu-based, and the other is Debian-based), but simply the act of performing this attempt shows a lack of understanding of the differences between the Ubuntu-based Katya version and the Debian-based LMDE. Such an explanation is outside the scope of this tutorial; it assumes you understand the difference between the two.

4) If you have a current, up-to-date testing version of LMDE, it won't break your system at all ... however expect to remain at the exact system you have for a long, long time. Because Debian stable uses older packages compared to Testing, what you have is most likely a more recent version of those packages and will therefore not be updated. But either way, all this is doing is modifying where the system resources information for updates, installing new programs, and making a couple tweaks to very minor system functions. I kind of believe its impossible to break it with any of these functions, however I will say that I have performed this step-by-step process at least 20 times without fail or problems of any sort. This is why there are no warnings or advisories ... there is no need.

This tutorial is based on the current ISO (from Dec 2010), which was before the release of Debian Squeeze. As such, this tutorial is considered depreciated upon the next ISO release, because the packages installed will be more recent than those of the Debian Stable branch. You can still do it, of course, it just won't have much impact.

In regards to your recommendations involving a changelog, known problems, user guide ... this is a tutorial. On a community website. This isn't modified enough for a changelog, has no known problems, and this IS a user guide for a specific problem. I think what your thinking of is what application developers do, and I don't feel that applies here.

blueXrider 11 years ago

I know you took a lot of time to write this but a few suggestions.

Are there advantages to this particular set-up, if so what are they?
It would be nice to include some screen-shots in the tutorial.

Something missing here. Is this adding on to a current installation of LMDE or switching from...say, KATYA.


Changelog> a link here
Known problems> advisory
User guide> recommended

k2MD 11 years ago

Fantastic!Thank you.

gerinho 11 years ago

Nice one!