Strange MX encounters

My recent excursion into MX21.2.1"ahs" has unearthed a number of “surprises” - ie things I have not encountered in other distros.

  • When I open a terminal window , the current working directory is ~/Desktop not the home directory


  • The documentation is loaded as part of the installed distro - no net access needed . There is a User Manual , and an FAQ. Sample page from User Manual

  • Did you notice the Manual is displayed with qpdfview . That is a Qt based pdf viewer, a strange choice for Xfce which is GTK based. One would normally use evince or ocular, at least in my experience.

  • MX has its own package installer, in addition to the standard Debian one (Synaptic), and one can of course use apt and dpkg. The MX package installer looks as folows

Two things, there is access to various repos and to flatpacks, and I have set it on browser so you can see it all the usual browsers plus Waterfox and LibreWolf .

That is what I have jumped at so far. Other things, like the File Manager (Thunar) are entirely conventional
I am just putting it here to let people see that MX is a slightly unusual twist to Debian. I did not choose it for that. I desperately needed the “ahs”(Advanced Hardware Support) version to drive my new graphics card. What I got was a very nice mix of old Debian and new ideas…
There are about 40 of these apps called MX Utilities, I cant mention all of them, but one of the most interesting is the ‘bootable iso maker’.


Did you notice during the install if their was as option to not install grub?

I did not use it but PCLinux had that option.

Yes, it has that option. I was also able to use pre-made partitions. It seems quite a safe installer.
If you choose to install grub, you can click on uefi or legacy… it doesnt try to guess what you want.

I avoided telling it about swap partitions, and by doing that I seem to have avoided having the uuid of my swap partitions changed. It came up without any swap, then I added swap partitions to /etc/fstab.
That seems to be the best way to handle swap partitions.

I think Mint has a bootable iso maker too.

About the CWD being set to Desktop…

Is there an option about that in the Terminal preferences?

I only mount a swap partition with the distro that controls grub, which in my case is Gentoo.

Just to add my 2 cents here. Not really a guess, but how you boot up the installer.
If you boot the installer in leagacy/BIOS mode, the install goes in that way, but if you boot the installer in EFI mode, the install will be an EFI install. This is the case with Debian, Ubuntu and I think most derivatives, surely including Linux Mint.
No doubt, having such a choice seems to be comfortable.

Yes, Mint Cinnamon has that option and it works great.
I have MX loaded (dual boot) as a guest Linux on my desktop. MX would be the my choice if something happen to Mint. Who knows, I may one day switch to MX.
I let Mint and MX use the same swap partition.


You mean during the install? Yes that seems to be the best thing to do.
Any distro can use a swap partition while running. You dont need one for each distro.

Yes, guess was a poor choice of words.
I like installers to tell me what they are doing, but I suppose some people like it all automated.

Yes, you only need one swap partition.

Mint is Ubuntu with some new ideas
MX is Debian with some new ideas
They both work well

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Yes, mounted the swap partition with Gentoo at install.

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Yes, there is an option called “Working Directory”
I set it to /home/nevj
It required a reboot, before taking effect.
Thank you


You are welcome. Though this should not have been set to the desktop by default but I guess strange things happen as you already mentioned.

The “Working Directory” in Terminal preferences was blank.
I cant find where it got ~/Desktop from. It is not in any of the dot files.

BTW, what is ~/Desktop supposed to be used for? I never use it.

~/Desktop is basically what you see when all the windows are minimized. It’s coming from Windows XP/7 era when people kept application shortcuts and documents on the desktop screen for quick access.

Yes, I remember Win3/DOS6 had it.
Not a good idea working in there!

Well, the MX Waterfox package is a disappointment. It is G3 and incompatable with itsFOSS. So I shall install my own and get G5. Meanwhile I am exploring LibreWolf. It works with FOSS… thats a good test BTW.
At least MX has browsers as packages.

Yep I have backup ISO’s of MX dating back to 2017. Nice to have a nostalgic look from time to time. MX is the only one I know offering to make ISO’s of your installed system? Mint has Time Shift, which is alright if you have another drive that is formatted to ext4 to backup your system, but would prefer a ISO backup, as it’ll save time after the install, of either customising or installing apps.

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I do believe that PCLinux has this option.

Also Antix… that is where MX gets it from.
And I think Mint has it too.