How To Upgrade To Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint 19 came out recently, and it’s got people very excited. With this new release come dozens of improvements to the Cinnamon desktop, as well as enhancements to TimeShift, Mint Update, and more!

If you’re a user of Linux Mint but don’t know how to upgrade yo Linux Mint 19, we’ve got you covered. Follow along, and soon you’ll be using Linux Mint 19 “Tara!”

Note: don’t feel like dealing with the update manager? If you’re an advance Mint user, download and install an ISO of version 19 to get the latest version.

Create A Backup

Upgrading your PC can be scary. Even though Linux Mint is very safe, especially during these upgrades, bad things can happen, and that’s why it’s imperative to create a backup with Time Shift before continuing.

Note: if you do not already have Time Shift on Linux Mint, you may need to install it. To install it, open up a terminal and do sudo apt install timeshift.

Not sure how to use the Time Shift backup system on Linux Mint? Open it up on your PC and follow our guide to learn how to create a complete system backup.

Make sure that when doing the Time Shift backup that you do not do it on the same hard drive you’re upgrading Linux Mint on. If a problem occurs you could lose the backup. Instead, select an external hard drive, flash drive, SD card or another internal hard drive.

LightDM On Mint

On Linux Mint 18, as well as previous versions, Mint Desktop Manager has long been the official desktop manager, and the Mint project maintains it. As of version 19 of Linux Mint, MDM is not in use. Instead, it uses LightDM.

The LightDM desktop manager is much more sophisticated, lighter, and better looking. Before attempting to update to the new release of Mint, you must disable MDM and switch it with LightDM.

Start the MDM removal process by installing LightDM through the terminal.

sudo apt install lightdm

Running this command will force Linux Mint to re-evaluate what desktop manager it should use, and you’ll notice a dialog box with”default display manager” appear in the terminal.

Note: if the dialog box doesn’t appear automatically, try running sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm.

Select “lightdm” in the dialog box that appears. Picking the “lightdm” option will allow Linux Mint to transition to the new LightDM setup that Mint 19 uses.

Finish up the transition process by completely purging MDM from your system.

sudo apt remove mdm might-mdm-themes* --purge

Upgrade To Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu derivative. This fact allows the Mint OS to follow an Ubuntu-like upgrade system, which requires very little input from the user.

To start off the process, you’ll need to ensure your Linux Mint PC is entirely up to date. Thankfully, updating Linux Mint, like many other things on the OS, is quick and painless.

Open Update Manager, click “Refresh” and then select “Install Updates.” Alternatively, open up a terminal and use the following commands to get your Mint PC up to date.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Now that everything is up to date, it’s time to upgrade to Linux Mint 19. Upgrading happens with a terminal program known as “mintupgrade.”

The Mintupgrade tool is quite efficient and easy to understand, even if it’s text-based. Everything is automatic, and it takes the complicated things (like switching the Apt sources around, checking if upgrading is a good idea, etc.), and simplifies them.

The first thing Mintupgrade must do is check if there’s a new release available. Do this by running the check command.

mintupgrade check

The check command will refresh Mint, swap your current version of Linux Mint to the new Mint 19 software sources, and run an upgrade simulation (for safety’s sake).

Follow along with the on-screen instructions, and read them carefully. If you’re happy with the results of the upgrade simulation, continue with the process by executing the download command in the terminal window.

mintupgrade download

Running the download command will download all of the necessary upgrade packages (and other important files) to your Linux Mint PC. This process is mostly automatic, but you’ll still need to pay attention to the prompts that appear.

When the download command is complete, run the upgrade command. Upgrade, when run, will apply all of the downloaded packages, and perform the transition from Linux Mint 18 to the newly released Linux Mint 19.

Upgrading between versions of Linux Mint isn’t tedious, though it does take quite a long time. Be patient, and let the Mintupgrade program do its job.

When the process is complete, close the terminal and reboot your Linux Mint PC. After logging back in, you should be using the newest version of Mint!

Read How To Upgrade To Linux Mint 19 by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Upgrade Debian Linux To A New Release

Debian Linux doesn’t upgrade often. Usually, the distribution will stick with a single release for more than a year at a time. Since new versions are rare, many users don’t know how to upgrade Debian Linux to a new release.

The Debian upgrade process is painless and relatively quick. Though, it doesn’t work like other Linux distributions. Before you upgrade Debian Linux, you’ll need to understand what “codenames” and “branches” are.

Debian Codenames And Branches

Each version of the OS has a codename and a release branch. Codenames are nicknames that the Debian development team gives out as a unique identifier for each version of the OS. These codenames aren’t particularly important in the grand scheme of things and the release branch name matters a lot more.

What’s a release branch? It’s the way Debian developers can tell its users what types of updates they’ll receive, and how stable the OS is. On Debian, there are about four separate release branches. These branches are labeled Stable, Testing, Unstable, and Experimental. It’s easy to understand what these branches mean, without going too far into it, as they explain themselves.

When upgrading to a new version of Debian Linux, you’ll have to change the codename or release branch in the sources file. Doing this allows the system to start the conversion from the old version to the new version. However, please understand that sometimes it may not be enough to change the release branch, as the new version isn’t there yet.

For example, Debian 10 is about to be the new Stable release, but we still have Debian Stable (9), so just doing an update with “Stable” in the sources isn’t enough. Instead, users who want to use the new version of Debian need to switch “Stable” to “Buster.”

Change Debian Sources

On Debian, the apt sources are your best friend. Mastering this file will let you install all kinds of software quite easily even if it’s not available in the provided software sources for your installation. During upgrades, you’ll need to tinker with this file. Luckily, it’s not that difficult, and only a few things need modifying.

As of 2018, the Debian community is anticipating Debian 10, which will be the latest “Stable” release. The codename for this release is Buster, so this is the codename we’ll be working with for this tutorial. If you’re reading this in the future, replace “Buster” with the upcoming version’s codename.

The Debian sources file can easily be modified right from the terminal, as it’s a traditional text configuration file. To edit it, open up a new terminal window and switch from your user to the root user. Switch to root by executing the su command.

su -

Now that you’ve got su access, it’s possible to touch any part of the system with no limits — including the sources file. Launch the sources file with the Nano text editing tool.

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

In the Debian sources file, you’ll notice dozens of software repositories. These repositories are how your Debian PC regularly accesses updates and installs software. To upgrade, change all instances of “stable” to “buster.”

Now that the sources file has all instances of “stable”  set to the new “buster” codename look through and remove any third-party software sources from the file. While it might be annoying to have to remove links to software you need, doing this is a good idea, as you have no idea if the new version supports it yet. These third-party software sources can always be re-added after the fact.

In the sources file press Ctrl + O to save the changes, exit with Ctrl + X and run the update command to finalize the changes.

Note: it’s also possible to transition Debian from Stable to Unstable, Testing or Experimental. Instead of changing everything to “buster,” try changing it to your desired branch and follow the tutorial.

apt-get update

After running the update, Debian will have replaced all software available to you from Stable to Buster. Replacing the software sources is the first step before running the final upgrade. However, before doing the actual update, it’s a good idea to clean up stray files and packages. Clean everything by running the autoremove and clean commands.

apt-get autoremove

apt-get autoclean

Running autoclean and autoremove will uninstall orphaned packages on your system and clean up the package cache.

Upgrading to a new release of Debian requires two separate commands. Upgrade and dist-upgrade. Using the upgrade command will renew all of the software already on your system. The dist-upgrade command will change your current release of Debian to the new Buster release.

apt-get upgrade -y

apt-get dist-upgrade

The dist-upgrade command takes a while, but when it finishes your upgrade is complete. To finish up, restart your Debian Linux PC and re-login.

Read How To Upgrade Debian Linux To A New Release by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The 5 Best MP3 Tag Editing Tools For Linux

Streaming music services are increasingly popular, even with Linux users. Despite this, many people still prefer to forgo the streaming apps in favor of a local library of music files. Having a local backup is a decent solution, and it allows users to listen to whatever they want, rather than only what the app has officially licensed.

If you’re going to go the local file route on Linux, it’s imperative to keep your MP3 music files in order with the correct music tags. Failing to add the right tags will mess up your music player, and make it very hard to find music to enjoy.

The best way to keep music tags in order is to use an ID3 tag editor. These programs let the user quickly edit the metadata of any given music file to add artist information. Not sure what tag editor to use on Linux? We’ve got you covered! Here are the five best MP3 tag editing tools for Linux!

1. MusicBrainz Picard

MusicBrainz Picard is an open source, “next generation” music tagging application that can intelligently scan and apply data to music files by checking it with a database (users can also add tag information manually).

The program is a favorite for  Linux users as it has an easy to navigate user interface and it can not only tag music files but also automatically organize the data it’s editing into easy to manage folders.

Notable features:

  • MusicBrainz Picard can edit and read many different types of audio files, including AAC, MP3, Ogg, Opus, WAV and more.
  • Uses AcpistID technology to analyze and detect the correct tags for any given music file. This feature works, even if the music file has no tag data at all.
  • Can find tag information for entire albums, rather than one track at a time.
  • Has support for third-party plugins, enabling users to add in features not already a part of MusicBrainz.
  • Support for HiDPI ensures that MusicBrainz looks good even on the latest high-end displays.
  • MusicBrainz Picard can edit the tags in media files with ease, even if they’re on a remote file system (like a Linux home server).

2. Finetune

Finetune is a commercially available automatic MP3 tag editing tool for Linux, Windows, and Mac. It’s incredibly easy to use and is designed to take the tediousness out of adding information to music files.

While Finetune isn’t the first “automatic” tagging tool on Linux, it’s a great choice as it is cross-platform, meaning users will enjoy the same experience across operating systems.

Notable features:

  • Fully automatic, and requires minimal user interaction.
  • Finetune can read and write to all popular music file formats.
  • Uses AcoustID to fingerprint your music and identify the correct information, rather than just making the best guess.
  • Aside from being able to add the correct “artist” tags, Finetune can add composer and performer tags too, making the program perfect for scanning classical music.

3. EasyTAG

EasyTAG is an ID3 tag editor for Linux that specializes in giving users ultimate control for tag editing, rather than only adding data through an automatic scanning system.

This program is robust and has dozens of editing features. It is the ideal choice for those on Linux interested in adding media information manually.

Notable features:

  • EasyTAG can read/write metadata on dozens of different types of audio files like MP3, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, and more.
  • Lets users manually attach album art to individual tracks or albums.
  • Aside from managing file metadata, EasyTAG can rename and manage music filenames and folders.
  • Has an excellent autocomplete feature that makes entering the same information over and over much quicker.
  • Even though EasyTAG is mainly for manual media tag editing, it can also scan and add data automatically from databases like FreeDB and GnuDB.

4. Puddletag

Puddletag is an open source audio tag editing tool that takes massive inspiration from the Windows tool “MP3tag”, and has equivalent features.

The tool is mainly for editing media files manually in a spreadsheet, though it is also possible to scan media files against online track databases.

Notable features:

  • Is currently the best alternative on Linux for those that have made the switch to Linux from Windows and used MP3tag to edit music files.
  • Puddletag supports all popular audio formats.
  • The user interface is modifiable, and users can tweak it to better suit their own needs.
  • Puddletag lets users add album art to individual tracks, or in bulk by selecting multiple items at once.
  • The “preview” feature allows users to view the edits made to music files before saving them.

5. Kid3

Kid3 is a music tag editing tool for Linux. It uses the Qt framework and is open source. Like most editors, Kid3 can work with all of the popular media file formats, allows users to import information to files from various online sources (Amazon and others), and can manipulate playlists.

Kid3 is a useful tag editing tool for those that like the idea of tagging things manually, but also would like automatic features like browsing for cover art, auto-tagging, etc.

Notable features:

  • Kid3 can import data for use with music tags from many different places. Information sources include Amazon, Discogs, Gnu DB, MusicBrainz and more.
  • Kid3 lets users create, save and modify playlist files, in addition to editing music metadata.
  • The tool can scan filenames and use them to generate ID3 tags.
  •  Users can export existing ID3 tags as a CSV file, HTML file, XML and many other formats.
  • Users can use the “automate task” feature to make repetitive tasks more manageable.

Conclusion

Keeping track of your music file metadata is the difference between a good music library and a lousy music library. Without the correct information in music files, even the best music players that Linux has to offer won’t be able to offer up a good browsing experience.

Long ago, having music files with the correct information required a lot of effort on Linux. Thankfully, with modern editors like the ones on this list, it’s easier than ever to keep everything organized.

Read The 5 Best MP3 Tag Editing Tools For Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The 7 Best Webcam Tools For Linux Users

While the Linux platform doesn’t have as many webcam programs as Mac or Windows, there still are many webcam tools for Linux. If you’ve had some problems finding an excellent webcam viewer for your PC’s webcam, or webcam manipulation program for Linux, this list is sure to help!

Read on below to learn the seven best webcam tools for the Linux platform!

1. OBS (Open Broadcaster)

Open Broadcaster is a sophisticated tool that is highly popular with online video streamers. However, the app also makes an excellent webcam manipulation program and screencasting tool (especially since it allows users to add webcams on top of recordings/broadcasts).

Notable Features:

  • Open Broadcaster is an excellent tool for those on Linux who need to produce professional-looking content, as it can handle multiple webcams at a time, independently without difficulty.
  • In OBS, it’s possible to change the default audio input, meaning if your webcam has a lousy microphone, you don’t have to use it.
  • OBS can stream to the internet to a multitude of services, like YouTube, Twitch, and more, with only a little bit of setup.
  • Real-time audio/video mixing and capture feature mean your content produced on Linux looks excellent.
  • Open Broadcaster has support for an unlimited amount of scenes, which allows users to orient many different webcam shots and switch to them in realtime during a stream or recording.
  • Integrated webcam configuration tool lets users adjust and tweak how OBS handles each webcam.
  • OBS sports a modular user interface that is customizable.
  • Aside from excellent webcam support on Linux, Open Broadcaster supports various types of capture cards.
  • Recording video games on Linux with a webcam scene is possible, thanks to OBS’s stellar video game detection abilities.

 2. Kamoso

Kamoso is a simple webcam recording tool for the KDE desktop environment. With Kamoso, users can easily record videos directly from any webcam for YouTube, take screenshots, etc.

Notable Features:

  • Kamoso has a useful plugin feature that users can take advantage of to add in features that the main program doesn’t support.
  • The program has a pretty useful video settings tweak tool that lets users adjust how the video recording looks. Video tweaks include brightness, hue, contrast, saturation, and gamma.
  • Kamoso’s “Burst” mode lets the user take many photos in one go, rapidly. This feature is useful, especially for making animated GIFs of webcam recordings.
  • The built-in gallery browser feature lets users quickly view previously recorded videos and pictures.

3. Cheese

The Cheese webcam booth is a piece of software that allows users to record video easily, take pictures and even apply graphical effects on screen.

Cheese is part of the Gnome desktop environment, though many other GTK desktop environments use it too.

Notable Features:

  • Cheese is one of the only webcam applications on Linux that lets users add quick effects to their video recordings or pictures with relative ease.
  • The Cheese webcam app has a useful countdown timer that lets the user know when recording starts.
  • The “Burst mode” in Cheese lets users set the number of pictures to take in one go with a webcam.
  • Cheese has a Kiosk mode that lets the app record/take photographs with the webcam in full-screen. This feature is perfect for setting up an office webcam PC.

4. Motion

Motion is a webcam-centric security tool. Its primary function is to monitor footage for subtle changes, as well as movement.

Notable Features:

  • Motion has support for Video4Linux webcam devices, as well as network cameras.
  • With Motion, users are not stuck with a single streaming format. Instead, the application has support for a few different types of streams for the devices that can connect to it.
  • The Motion security monitoring tool is highly configurable, with dozens of settings tweaks and features making it perfect for those looking to take total control of their security using Linux.
  • Motion is accessible in the web browser, so if set up on a Linux server, anyone on the network can access the Motion security center.

5. Guvcview

GTK+ UVC Viewer is a webcam viewing tool for Linux. It isn’t a webcam booth or recording studio tool. Instead, GTK+ UVC Viewer’s primary function is to make capturing footage through webcams on Linux effortless.

Notable Features:

  • Dozens of configurable features, including camera brightness, contrast, saturation, white balance, picture temperature, gamma and more.
  • Guvcview has a built-in audio mixing tool which lets users easily adjust the on-board microphone of many webcams.
  • The program has an FPS counter in the title-bar for easy monitoring of video footage during video recordings.

6. Camorama

Need to take a picture with your webcam on your Linux PC? Do it with Camorama; a simple webcam picture taking app.

Though there are many webcam photo-taking applications for Linux, Camorama stands out by offering many image filters.

Notable Features:

  • Aside from capturing local video on webcams, the Camorama can connect and record video files to a remote location (as of now, this feature only supports FTP).
  • Camorama can save photo captures in both JPEG and PNG formats.
  • Automatic capture feature works similar to “burst” and allows users to take many pictures at one time.
  • Users can modify the white balance, brightness, color, and hue.
  • Camorama has an FPS counter that appears at the bottom of the user interface, which allows users to determine the quality of video they’re recording. The FPS counting tool also displays the average framerate.

7. wxCam

wxCam, a refreshingly simple webcam recording tool for Linux, offers users the ability to take video, photos and even connect to Philips webcams for work with astronomy.

Notable Features:

  • wxCam supports capturing photos via webcam with the Video4linux driver and can save pictures in various formats, like JPEG, TIF, BMP, PNG, XMP, and PCX.
  • With wxCam, users have access to many different video effect, like mirror mode, monochrome, and even a color correction mode.
  •  Video recording in the wxCam is entirely lossless, so recordings from webcams look excellent.
  • wxCam has support for the Philips webcam, including the ability to tweak shutter speed, FPS and more.

Read The 7 Best Webcam Tools For Linux Users by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The 6 Best Kodi Linux Distros To Use

Many people know that the Kodi media center is a program that is widely available to install on almost any Linux distribution. However, many Linux users looking to build a home theater PC loathe having to set it up manually and prefer something ready to go.

If you’re one of those people that would prefer a ready to go Kodi OS, you’ve come to the right place! Here are the 6 best Kodi Linux distros to use!

1. LibreElec

LibreELEC is a Linux distribution that is specially set up just for the Kodi media center application, with nothing else in the way that could sacrifice performance.

The main attraction to LibreELEC, and why it’s the most obvious choice for those looking to create an HTPC (home theater PC) is that it has support for many different devices and not just things like Raspberry Pi.

Notable Features:

  • LibreELEC has an easy SD card creation tool for Linux, Mac, and Windows for easy setup.
  • The OS supports a multitude of devices, including the Raspberry Pi 1, Pi 2, Pi 3, Pi Zero, WeTek devices,  SolidRun Cubox, ODroid, FiveNinja’s Slice, and Generic AMD and Intel PCs.
  • Automatically updates to new releases so users don’t need to fiddle with the operating system.
  • LibreELEC has a beta program for those looking for the absolute latest version of Kodi media center.
  • Pre-installed LibreELEC app with shortcuts to standard features like WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.
  • Initial setup process walks the user step by step into logging into the WiFi, etc.
  • LibreELEC has an excellent migration tool to help users migrate from OpenELEC to the latest release of LibreELEC on their device.
    Easy enabling of Samba and SSH during the setup process.

2. OSMC

OSMC is a heavily modified version of Kodi that centers around delivering an “appliance-like” experience like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and others.

The OSMC system looks nothing like Kodi, as it uses a different user interface. Even still, it has support for the same add-ons, codec support and more.

OSMC is very popular with people who want to get Kodi working on the first generation Apple TV.

Notable Features:

  • Appliance-like, elegant and easy to navigate with a beautiful skin that improves massively upon Kodi’s already top-notch default look.
  • OSMC is one of the only ways to get a full Kodi OS working on the first generation Apple TV.
  • Has commercial devices available for those that like OSMC but would prefer to have something pre-configured.
  • Along with being an installable OS for things like the Raspberry Pi family of devices and Apple TV, OSMC, like Kodi offers a downloadable application that users can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Adds in many tweaks to the Kodi OS by adding in things like “up next,” which tells users what video will play next, more delicate control over the menu system, a subtitle downloading add-on, and more!

3. Xbian

Xbian is a unique tool that, when set up correctly, can create an easy to use Kodi media center PC.

This operating system supports Raspberry Pi 1/2/3 as a bootable Linux-powered Kodi OS. It also works on traditional Linux, Mac, and Windows via a downloadable tool.

The Xbian media center operating system is Kodi, with a little something extra. Mainly, it has a fully functional Debian base that users are encouraged to mess with.

Notable Features:

  • Comes with an incredibly useful backup feature that lets users restore a previously configured Xbian installation right in the setup wizard.
  • Xbian’s startup and shutdown processes are useful and let the user know what it’s doing, rather than a blank screen or logo.
  • Xbian uses Debian, so if the user wants, it is possible to load in other packages to the system via the package manager, something that not a lot of media center distributions let users do.

4. OpenElec

OpenELEC is the original LibreELEC, though it doesn’t update as quickly, or support as many devices due to its slow development pace.

To be clear, OpenELEC and LibreELEC are virtually identical, and there’s not much difference. Still, if LibreELEC doesn’t work for you, and you still need a slim OS that runs Kodi with excellent features, this distro is a good choice.

Notable Features:

  • Support for the Raspberry Pi family, traditional Intel/AMD PCs and a multitude of other devices.
  • OpenELEC’s automatic update feature is handy, especially for new users.
  • O.E. has support for Samba file transfers and SSH and makes it easy for users to enable right away.

5. RecalboxOS

RecalboxOS is not a home theater operating system; it’s a Linux distribution that centers around emulating old video games on the Raspberry Pi (and other similar devices).

Even though RecalboxOS mainly focuses on video games, it manages to stuff in Kodi as a feature that users can use at any time.

Notable Features:

  • Can play all of your classic video games as well as manage media.
  • Even though the Kodi media center app isn’t front and center with RecalboxOS, it’s still fully functional with the standard features that everyone comes to expect.
  • Users don’t need to configure Kodi in RecalboxOS to use WiFi as it borrows connection information from the emulation app.
  • Though it’s version of Kodi media center isn’t the absolute newest, RecalBox OS manages to get users a relatively recent version of it, complete with add-on support.

6. GeeXboX

GeeXboX is a Linux HTPC OS that uses the Kodi media center as it’s primary media user interface. In addition to Kodi, users can interact with the system’s package manager to install other programs.

The OS has been around for a long time and supports many different devices, like Raspberry Pi, etc., as well as full support for traditional Linux PCs running either 32-bit and 64-bit.

Notable Features:

  • During the setup process, GeeXboX lets users configure everything from the remote control, the sound card, network connectivity, and more, making way for a super user-friendly setup process.
  • Despite GeeXboX’s age, the community is very active and works diligently to ensure that users get the latest support for Kodi.

Read The 6 Best Kodi Linux Distros To Use by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter