Installation of Mint 17.1 Cinnamon on VMWare

It's been 2.5 years since I posted an installation guide of installing Ubuntu 12.10 on VMWare Workstation but the release of Linux Mint 17.1 has prompted me to write an updated guide. This is the third of my guides, acting mostly as a memo for a quick install of new distros on VMWare, my first one written in 2009 (Linux on VMWare with later additions of other posts full of little hints and reminders (e.g. fonts, keymaps)).

Ingredients

Please note that these instructions work for most distros, although this post focuses on Mint 17.1

  • A downloaded ISO image of your favourite distro (Mint, Mint LMDE, Ubuntu, Debian)
  • A newly created virtual machine with 2-8GB of RAM, a 40-60GB disk and a couple of CPU cores.

Installation

Mount the ISO image to your VM's optical drive and boot it up, then follow the instructions to install your distro selecting your preferences (timezone, keyboard layout, etc.). For accessing your VM via ssh from your host, it helps if your Linux account has the same username as the one on your host OS (Windows, OS X)

Once the installation finishes and the VM boots up, log in with your newly created user account and password and admire the new clean desktop. It won't last long.

Change the Screen Resolution, Keyboard and Mouse speed

At this point I always change the screen resolution from the default 800x600 to something more appropriate that fits in your monitor (I assume you don't have a CRT from the late 90s), even though this is short-lived as we are installing VMWare tools with automatic screen resizing a bit later.

What I also do at this point, is set up the keyboard's repeat keys delay and speed, and the mouse's acceleration and sensitivity to my preferred values.

Terminal

Hit Ctrl+Alt+T to start the terminal. Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon also has a shortcut to the terminal on the bottom panel. Now, here's a good prompt and a quick alias to start with:

export PS1="\n\[\033[1;32m\]\u\[\033[1;37m\]@\[\033[0;32m\]\H\n\[\033[0m\][\[\033[1;33m\]\w\[\033[0m\]] "
alias l="ls -lFa"

Enable root account (optional)

To enable the root account (disabled by default) type:

sudo passwd

Type your own password first, then choose a really difficult one for the root user (type it twice).

Log in as root if you can't be bothered to sudo all the time for the rest of the process:

su - root

Update local apt package system and install ssh

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ssh

Install additional packages

This is my preferred list of packages to start with, some are automatically added but I'm listing them here for completion:

sudo apt-get install zip mercurial git curl apache2
sudo apt-get install vim vim-gui-common vim-runtime

Install VMWare tools

Before installing VMWare tools we need to make sure that we have "make" and the gcc compiler, so quickly type:

sudo apt-get install make
sudo apt-get install gcc

On the latest Mint/Ubuntu these are installed by defaults, but it doesn't hurt it you just ensure they are there.

Install vmware tools by choosing VM -> Install VMWare tools... from VMWare Workstation's menu. This will mount a virtual DVD-ROM image that contains the VMWare tools tar archive. Right-click on the file named VMwareTools-x.x.x-xxxxxxx.tar.gz, and extract it on your desktop. Open a terminal window and type:

cd Desktop/vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

Follow the prompts, accepting all default directories. When it comes to options like "shared folders" etc. use your judgement.

When the VMWare tools are installed, restart your VM and log in as your user. You can now resize the desktop by using VMWare's menu View -> Autosize -> Autofir Guest, and you could always go full screen if you prefer.

Download and Install Chrome

Mint comes with Firefox, so time to get Chrome. Go to the "Chrome download page", choose the right version (64-bit .deb for example), download it and install it using the package manager (Open with gdebi-gtk).

Note that you can also install Chromium, the open source version of Chrome (if that's your thing), using the "Software Manager" application in Mint.

Install Sublime Text 3

Sublime Text 3, even though still in beta (Mar 2015) is available in Mint's repositories so you can install with apt-get:

sudo apt-get install sublime-text

Launch it and enter your license details, if you have a license. If you don't, don't be a fool; go and buy one! Why wait?

Configure Sublime

Next, choose Preferences -> Settings - User from the menu. I usually have the following settings:

{
  "bold_folder_labels": true,
  "font_face": "DejaVu Sans Mono",
  "font_size": 9,
  "highlight_modified_tabs": true,
  "rulers": [80,128],
  "show_tab_close_buttons": true,
  "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true,
  "tree_animation_enabled": false,
  "trim_automatic_white_space": true,
  "trim_trailing_white_space_on_save": true,
  "use_tab_stops": false,
  "save_on_focus_lost": true,
  "ensure_newline_at_eof_on_save": true
}

If you don't know what else to put in the User preferences, you can see a full list with explanatory comments in Preferences -> Settings - Default, but be careful not to edit that file as those settings will be lost if you upgrade to the next Sublime patch.

For key bindings I leave everything as is, with the exception of two keystrokes taht stayed with me from the 80s. As I was too young and innocent I haven't managed to get over them no matter how many text editors and operating systems I've changed. From the menu again, choose Preferences -> Key Bindings - User and edit to your heart's content. I do this:

[
    { "keys": ["ctrl+t"], "command": "delete_word", "args": { "forward": true } },
    { "keys": ["ctrl+y"], "command": "run_macro_file", "args": {"file": "Packages/Default/Delete Line.sublime-macro"} }
]

Mercurial, Bitbucket and Dotfiles

For my dotfiles, I use a Bitbucket private repository. First, I clone my repo on my home directory:

hg clone https://bitbucket.org/...your_username_goes_here../dotfiles

Then, I have some scripts to create my dotfiles, links, etc. Usually my workflow looks like this:

cd dotfiles
./create_dirs.sh linux
./create_shortcuts.sh linux
cp hgrc ~/.hgrc
chmod 600 ~/.hgrc
vi ~/.hgrc                    # enter your Bitbucket password here
cp linux/bashrc ~/.bashrc
cd

All done, close this terminal window and open a new one with Ctrl+Alt+T.

Install root's .bashrc and environment

Occasionally I work with the root user and I have a set of files to setup manually (no scripts yet). My workflow is something like:

su - root       # enter password here...
cp /home/ksymeon/dotfiles/linux/root/bashrc .bashrc
cp /home/ksymeon/dotfiles/linux/root/bash_aliases .bash_aliases
cp /home/ksymeon/dotfiles/linux/root/bash_env .bash_env

Next steps

Install:

Comments

On Mint 18 you can install Open VM Tools instead of the VMWare ones:
apt-get install open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop

Do a restart and everything will work.

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