Linux Mint – Using the Mint Software Manager

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As mentioned earlier, there are GUI package management tools available in various distributions. Not all distributions ship with GUI tools to manage installed software, but all of the distributions aimed toward entry-level to intermediate users do. In Debian-based distributions, Synaptic is a very popular GUI tool (and is also available for use in Mint) and there are also other distribution-specific tools, such as the Ubuntu Software Center. Mint takes it one step further and includes its own GUI application for package management that is very easy to use; the Mint Software Manager is that tool, and it makes package management a breeze. The Mint Software Manager is available in your Applications menu. Go ahead and launch it. The following screenshot shows the main window of Mint’s Software Manager:

Before you dive into the Software Manager, first you will be prompted for your password. The password that you’ll enter is the same as the one you used when you logged in. If you recall, you were asked to create a login password when you first installed Mint. But the password you set is more than just something to facilitate logging into your computer; it also doubles as your sudo password. This means that the user account you create during installation is able to use the sudo command, which essentially means that this user account is similar in concept to the administrator on Windows machines. Don’t worry if this confuses you, as we’ll discuss this in more detail later in Chapter 8, Managing Users and Permissions. For now, the thing to take away is that users with sudo rights are able to modify things on a machine that normal users cannot, such as using the Software Manager to install packages.

Once opened, the Software Manager will display a list of categories, which include available applications sorted into Graphics, Internet, Sound and Video, and others. If you’re looking for a specific type of application, you can usually find it under the category you’d expect to find it. For example, if you were looking for a new web browser, you should be able to find what you’re looking for under Internet, exactly as you may expect. The following screenshot is an example of one of the categories available:

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