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Linux Mint – Launching applications

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As discussed earlier, MATE’s application launcher is one of the bigger differences between it and Cinnamon. The application launcher consists of four main sections. The first section, Places, on the upper-left corner of the window, lists filesystem locations, such as Computer, Home Folder, Network, Desktop, and Trash. Clicking on any of these items will open the Caja file manager with the contents of the chosen item. Directly underneath the Places section is System, which gives you quick access to managing your software, accessing the Control Center, opening a terminal, and ending your session.

In the middle section of the window, we have a section of the launcher dedicated to Applications. Installed applications are categorized into sections such as Internet, Office, Sound & Video, and so on. The topmost category, All, displays all of the installed applications in a single list in case you’re unsure which category it falls under. As you peruse the categories under Applications, the section on the right-hand side of the window will display the applications included in that category. The following screenshot shows MATE’s application launcher:

Another feature of MATE’s application launcher is the ability to store favorite applications for easy access. On the upper-right corner of the launcher, there’s a button you can use to switch between Applications and Favorites. To add an application as a favorite, first locate it in the menu, right-click on it, and click on Show in my favorites. To remove one, switch to the Favorites view, right-click on an application, and then select Remove from favorites.

Applications will appear and disappear from the panel along the bottom of the screen as they are opened and closed. Running applications are handled in the same manner as in other desktop environments, allowing you to minimize/maximize windows and close applications right from the panel from the right-click menu. The right-most area of the panel will display the date/time and battery charge (if your system has a battery) and will also allow you to adjust the speaker volume. Basically, all the standard features you’d expect from a desktop environment.

The MATE edition of Mint includes many of the same applications discussed throughout this tutorial. Despite the desktop environment being different, you’ll still find Mint’s staples, such as Backup Tool, Software Sources, Software Manager, USB Image Writer, and USB Stick Formatter. Also, the default browser is the same for all of the editions of Mint (that is, Firefox). The following are some of the noteworthy applications that are included under the following categories:

  • Graphics: GIMP, gThumb, Simple Scan, and LibreOffice Draw
  • Internet: Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird, Transmission, and XChat IRC
  • Office: LibreOffice Base, Calc, Impress, and Writer
  • Sound & Video: Banshee, Brasero, Videos, and VLC

As you can see, despite the fact that the environment is different, most of the same applications we’ve used throughout this tutorial are all present, so you’d be able to choose MATE instead of Cinnamon and still follow through all the non-Cinnamon-specific chapters. The software included in this edition is typical in regards to most Linux distributions. For example, quite a few distributions include LibreOffice, Firefox, and Brasero. The familiarity you build with these applications will certainly follow you if you decide to check out other distributions down the road.

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