By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO
Most people coming from Windows and using Linux Mint for the very first time will be surprised how quickly they adapt to using the new operating system.
The menu system is accessed just where you would expect it to be in Windows: in the lower left corner of the panel.
No surprises from the desktop either for double clicking on an application icon launches the app. A single click launches the app that has been added to the panel.
So, the Cinnamon desktop is very “Windows like” in operation. Upon install, Linux Mint contains LibreOffice which is fully compatible with Microsoft Office 365. You also get Evince, a PDF reader, and Celluloid which can play audio and video files. Firefox is the included browser, but Chrome or the open source Chromium can easily be installed for reading emails and browsing the internet.
With so much compatibility, what can’t you do?
You can’t natively install Windows software with .exe or .msi extensions. The files were created to install programs in Windows, not Linux.
But even that’s not completely true. The people at WineHQ have long created a method of installing Windows apps in Linux and it’s only been getting better over time. Follow these directions to install WINE 8 in Linux Mint. CodeWeavers offers CrossOver, a paid version of WINE that makes it easy to install in MacOS, Linux and Chromebooks.
I have WINE 8.0.1 on my Linux Mint computer and it runs small Windows applications like Irfanview, Notepad++, PDF Editor 5.5 and even ScanScore just like they were running in Windows.
Failing a WINE install, one can also install Virtualbox 7.0 and install a full version of Windows in a virtual machine. You do need a computer with plenty of RAM and storage for this option.
Instead of Windows software, there are many alternative software that can be installed in Linux Mint. Software Manager is the preferred method to install software for new users. Software installation and removal is simple. What software is available?
Want to read and annotate PDF and EPub files? Install Okular instead of Adobe Acrobat.
Want to draw or modify images and photographs? Use GIMP, Inkscape or many other types of graphics software instead of Adobe Photoshop. Just be aware that each graphics software has its own learning curve. The concepts of graphics editing are similar, but the methods vary greatly in each program.
Want to edit videos? Install OpenShot instead of Adobe Premiere. The same learning curve warning applies to these types of programs as well. Optimally, the computer used to edit videos will have a more powerful processor and plenty of storage.
Need to control money? I use Moneydance instead of Intuit’s Mint. Moneydance’s compatibility relies on JAVA for desktop use, while Mint has Android and iOS versions on smartphones.
Want to game? Linux Mint has tons of fun software for entertainment available in the Software Manager. In addition, Steam can be installed to run many popular game titles. Gaming computers have high end processors with graphics processing cards such as Nvidia.
Want to create greeting cards? Well, that one has me stumped. I cannot get a working version of Hallmark Card Studio to work using WINE. Instead, I have had some success using graphics layout software like LibreOffice Draw or Scribus. In LInux Mint, a half fold card includes adding your own downloaded graphics – it is definitely much simpler to use a card program like Hallmark Card Studio in Windows.
Many of the suggested software with links in this article also have versions for Windows and MacOS.
My wife is dual booting Windows and Linux Mint on her COOFUN mini pc. I think it says something that she prefers to stay in Windows 11 only to create cards and print a few labels on our ancient Brother QL-500. Then she quickly goes back to using Linux Mint for the rest of her computer tasks.
I’ve been using Linux for over 20 years now. I can do anything and more that I could do in Windows by using alternative software. Software Manager makes it easy to install software, but the only thing I can’t do easily is create greeting cards. I’ll gladly sacrifice greeting cards to avoid working in Windows. Thank you very much.