45 Tips and Tweaks for Linux Mint - PART THREE

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45 useful tips and tweaks for Linux Mint (PART 3).

Contents of this page:

This is part three of the Tips and Tweaks. You can find part one here and part two here.

Memory confusion: checking how much of the RAM memory is being allocated to the graphics chipset

1. It can be confusing: the RAM of your laptop doesn't appear to be fully used or recognized. Usually, this is just a wrong impression and all is well.

Because on a machine with no separate graphics card, part of the RAM is being dedicated to the video chipset. Which makes that part of the RAM unavailable for general use.

You can check how much of the RAM of your machine has been dedicated to the video chipset like this:

a. Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

b. Copy/paste the following command line into the terminal:

glxinfo | grep -E -i 'video memory'

Press Enter.

An example of the output on one of my machines:

pjotr@ideacentre:~$ glxinfo | grep -E -i 'video memory'
    Video memory
: 512MB
video memory: 512 MB
    Currently available dedicated
video memory: 414 MB

Rebooting the system straight into the BIOS settings

2. Only for modern UEFI, not for old-fashioned BIOS nor for UEFI running in CSM!

With this terminal command you can reboot your system straight into the UEFI (BIOS) settings:

systemctl reboot --firmware-setup

Press Enter.

Using the right place for manually installing tarballs (apps in .tar.gz format)

3. Installing applications that you receive in .tar.gz format, is not easy. One of the things you need to pay attention to, is where to put them.

Installing in your /home folder has two disadvantages. First of all it leads to the result, that only you (and not another account) can make use of the software. This might or might not be problematic for you.

But a much more serious second problem with this is, that the binaries in your /home are not shielded then by the built-in protection of root permissions. This makes you more vulnerable.

Putting something in the /usr folder solves both problems, but there is another issue: this folder is being used by the package management (APT). So you can never be sure that the package manager doesn't make a change which you're not aware of and which you don't want....

So use /opt. It has all the advantages of /usr without its disadvantages. Actually /opt is made just for that: installations outside the scope of the package management.

Copying over the Favorites from Microsoft Edge

4. You don't even need to launch Edge itself, for copying over its favorites to another Edge in another operating system. This is how:

The Favorites of Microsoft Edge for Linux, are stored in a hidden directory in your home folder (hence the dot before the name of the directory). Namely:


First make the hidden directories and files in your home folder, visible in the file manager (for example by the key combination Ctrl h). Look for a file called Bookmarks.

For viewing or editing your bookmarks ("favorites") with text editor Xed, copy/paste the following command line into the terminal:

xed ~/.config/microsoft-edge/Default/Bookmarks

Press Enter.

Knowing that, you should be able to simply copy over the Edge bookmarks ("favorites") in e.g. Windows, to Linux. Because in Windows they are also in a file called Bookmarks, which is exactly the same as in Linux. In Windows 11 you you can find it in:

C:\Users\Your-User-Name\App Data\Local\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\

Replace Your-User-Name by, well, your user name (duh...).

Both in Linux and in Windows, in that hidden directory you should also find Bookmarks.bak and Bookmarks.msbak, which are backup copies of the Bookmarks. Perhaps they can be of use to you some time.

Now I wonder what Microsoft developer had the bright idea to call them Favorites in the GUI, but Bookmarks under the hood....

Terminal command for changing the text scaling factor in Cinnamon

5. If you switch regularly between displays of different sizes for your machine, then it's rather a tedious job to have to set the right text scaling factor for each display over and over again. Each time you have to dive into the menu, choose Font Selection etc.

This boring task can be speeded up if you do the text scaling by means of a terminal command. This allows you to utilize the memory of the terminal, so changing the text scaling factor becomes much quicker. In fact, you can even use that command in a launchable script....

This is the command for scaling the text in Cinnamon with a factor of 1.4 (use copy/paste to transfer it into the terminal):

gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface text-scaling-factor 1.4

And with this command you reset it to the default of 1.0:

gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface text-scaling-factor 1.0

Checking the changelogs of kernel updates

6. Linux Mint gets its Linux kernels, unaltered, straight from Ubuntu. By means of a meta package, which unfortunately means that in Update Manager you can see little or no information about the changes and fixes in a kernel update....

Here you can find out what the new kernel fixes:
Ubuntu kernel changelogs

Want more tips? This is part three of the Tips and Tweaks. You can find part one here and part two here.

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