General Linux Setup Notes

Install these:

  • Putty (or remember to use ssh -l loginName)
  • Install freerdp-x11 before installing KRDC (Remote desktop client)

Foobar2000 requires snapd to install. It doesn’t have a GUI package manager (either use “sudo snap install” or use Snap Store to find the app and click ‘Install’ directly from there)

There’s a chicken-and-egg problem with snap store though. On Linux Mint, snap-store needs to be installed with command line before the button on the web page works correctly. So there’s no way around doing this command line once: “sudo snap install snap-store”

You’d be better off just doing “sudo snap install foobar2000” if you are not going to use SnapCraft store again later.

My other favorite Windows app Notepad++ is also on snap store. Unfortunately, these are both Wine applications that Cinnamon doesn’t scale them properly with HiDPI mode. I’ll use NotepadQQ instead.

It’s a pain in the butt to deal with snap store because it won’t automatically create shorcuts on the panel or desktop. Then you cannot directly run it in the command line either because the apps are install under /snap/bin and it’s not in the path either! Add it in /etc/environment and RE-LOGIN!

There are websites that teaches you to extend the path in /etc/profile.  It’s not necessary if you did /etc/environment already. Doing both will have the path added twice!

Finally, the icons files are hidden in: /var/lib/snapd/desktop/applications and the panel icons can be anebled by linking the .desktop folders:

sudo ln -s /var/lib/snapd/desktop/applications/ /usr/share/applications/snap 

Geeze! A windows program this broken these days are not the norm. They never work right out of the box for the most natural and common use cases!

Only Evolution Mail Client supports Google accounts from GNOME online account services. Install Evolution first before adding accounts or they will be called “Unnamed” and there’s no way to change it until you remove the account and re-add.

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Input Methods (IME) in Linux: Fcitx

IBus is considered as retiring, but it’s still the default in MX Linux. Because the only Cantonese IME in Linux that allows me to swear is Andrew Choi’s CAP, which runs on fcitx, I settled for fcitx as my default IME engine.


  • Cantonese: Download the debian package for CAP
  • Japanese: Mozc is already installed
  • Simplified Chinese: Pinyin is already installed

Shortcuts (Very much like Windows):

  • Ctrl + Space: turn it on/off
  • Ctrl + Shift: switch between languages
  • Shift: in and out of temporary English mode (inactivate) within the language

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Two numbers for Google Voice

By default, Google voice ties the number to your Mobile phone, which enables text forwarding, but you cannot have two Google voice numbers forwarding to the same phone.

If only voice forwarding is needed, each Google voice account can link to your Home and Work phone numbers instead. Since they are not considered a Mobile number, you are treating your mobile number as a landline number, which obviously doesn’t have text messaging.

Therefore at most you can have 3 Google Voice numbers going to the same phone, but only one of them (the account where the target number is set as Mobile) can forward text messages.

The tricky part is that this designation can only be changed through the classic setting page here:

The solution came from this forum.

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Cantonese IME for Windows 10

There are not many decent Cantonese IME around. The best option for Windows 7 and before are CPIME. It borderline worked for Windows 8/10 (desktop mode only), but I heard recently Windows 10 broke it in its 1903 update.

Dr. Choi kindly wrote another Cantonese IME called CAP, which I came across while looking for Cantonese IME for Linux. This is the only option that works with Windows 10 natively (apps and desktop).

Unfortunately the installer failed on a fresh Windows 10, saying that “CAP.dll” cannot be registered. I looked at the error code and it usually suggest a missing dependency for the DLL. I used Dependency Walker to look at what’s broken and noticed those are Visual C++ 2015 DEBUG runtime DLLs. Since debug builds aren’t suppose to have a redistributable runtime (it’s actually called NonRedist), the only solution is to install the community edition of Visual C++ 2015 to obtain these DLLs.

Note that “Common Tools for Visual C++ 2015must be included (installed) so the IME won’t be broken (grayed):

The cause is the missing UCRTBASED.DLL. The files are located at:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin

It’s under the (x86) variant of Program Files regardless of whether it’s 32-bit or 64-bit.

The missing link to API-MS-WIN-CORE-PATH-L1-1-0.DLL is not important.

After you installed the IME after installing Visual C++ 2015 (any flavor, minimal is OK), you can remove Visual C++ 2015 without breaking the IME, EXCEPT you need to back up the UCRTBASED.DLL first and put it next to the core CAP.DLL file for the IME:

C:\Program Files\Sixth Happiness\CAP\x64



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Locale Emulator replaced pAppLocale / AppLocale

I have an ancient SONY NW-507 MP3 player (I still love it because of the 60hrs battery life) that the MP3 Manager software just interpret ANSI names encoded in the ID3 tag based on whatever system language the program started on.

I used to use AppLocale for that. There was a better variant called pAppLocale (or paip Applocale) but it’s no longer maintained anymore. Today I discovered a modern, much more powerful equivalent called Locale Emulator.

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Windows 10 setup notes

  • Microsoft Edge does default search provider is set using opensearch: you need to go to first before the Google option is available in the “Change Search Provider” lists. Otherwise all you’ll see is a disabled option
  • EasyBCD messes up the boot menu under UEFI. VisualBCD Editor is too low level. Use BootICE instead: it’s simple and free. It was designed for up to Windows 8.1, but it works for Windows 10.

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Linux Mint Setup Notes

Open Keyboard settings and add application/custom shortcuts:

Thunar file manager has the location/address shown as buttons. Use shortcut Ctrl+L to enable typing.

To move along GUI tabs, use Ctrl+PageUp/Down in Linux instead of Ctrl+(Shift)+Tab in Windows.

To expand/contract GUI trees, use Shift+Left/Right instead of simply Left/Right in Windows


Most Linux come with Samba Client (smbclient) installed that allows you to access Windows shares, the Samba Server is typically not installed by default, therefore you will need to do more work to share Linux folders with Windows. Here are the tools for a more complete experience:

  • Smb4k for viewing network shares (or use smbtree)
  • Nemo-share enables right-click to share in Cinnamon’s default file manager (nemo)

For some reason, after installing and uninstalling samba and smbclient a few times, Linux Mint stopped connecting to Windows computer (yet other SMB running MX linux can be accessed fine), despite this worked fine out of the box.

Turns out it’s this flaw (not in MX linux) that it cannot negotiate with newer SMB versions that might have been addressed but it can stuck being unable to negotiate with Windows 7 (it has SMB1 and SMB2 enabled) under certain conditions. After placing “client max protocol = NT1” in smb.conf and reboot, it worked, then I removed the line and reboot and it still worked afterwards. Weird!

Linux Mint 19 also does not resolve local hostnames from DNS right out of the box (also the live CD boot) because it came with systemd-resolve which does not handle local hostnames resolution right away.

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Windows 10 computers accessing file shares from Windows 2008 / Windows 7 Negotiations between different versions of SMB that came with different Windows

Windows 10 cannot access network file shares of older Windows (7 and before) out of the box, and I’m not impressed that Microsoft let millions of users waste their productivity to figure it out.

The issue is caused by SMB negotiatons. Basically at the time of writing, there are 3 major versions of SMB:

Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 Windows 7 / 2008 Windows 8 / 10
SMB v1 (No encryption) Default Default (for backward compatibility) Need to turn on SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support
SMB v2 X Enable SMB2 in registry (for 2008) Default (for backward compatibility)
SMB v3 X X Default

More accurately, this blog post provides the negotiation chart for up to Windows 8 (think of Windows 10 is the same for now).

Turn on SMB 1.0 in newer Windows (8, 10 and above):

The SMB v1 does not have encryption, therefore a security risk. Makes sense to disable it unless there’s a compelling reason (like obsolete industrial computer under tightly controlled network).

SMB v2 might need to be enabled by registry in Windows 2008 if not already done so:

SMB2 (DWORD): 1 for enable, 0 for disable

This web page tells you how to turn on/off each SMB version individually.


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