Introducing mint-dev-tools, a collection of tools for Linux Mint developers
by clem 28

A new project was started. It’s called “mint-dev-tools” and its purpose is to make it easier for people to quickly get set up and compile and run the very latest Mint projects.

Mint-dev-tools is primarily made by and for the Linux Mint developers, but it can also be used by people who want to get involved, or even by users who want to check out what we’re working on, or to troubleshoot an issue (running the latest version for instance to see if a particular bug was fixed).

The package mint-dev-tools is available in Qiana, Rebecca and Betsy. By installing it and running a setup command you can get your environment ready and you’re then all set to compile and run the very latest Linux Mint source code.

Installing mint-dev-tools automatically installs the following development tools on your computer:

  • git tools (git, gitk, gitg)
  • meld (a nice visual diff tool)
  • sublime-text (a great development text editor)
  • packaging tools (devscripts, git-buildpackage, dpkg-dev, debhelper)
  • search/replace tools (regexxer, pyrenamer)
  • development tools/resources (glade, gdb, awf, gnome-dbg, devhelp)
  • monitoring/configuration tools (d-feet, gconf-editor, dconf-editor)

As for the mint-dev-setup command, well it sets up the following for you:

  • Creates your Sandbox (that’s where you code, download source code, compile..etc)
  • Configures your Git profile and SSH key
  • Sets up APT sources repositories

After that, you’re ready to build any Mint project with the mint-dev-build command.

Typing “mint-dev-build” shows the list of available projects on the screen:

Select the number of the project you want.. and mint-dev-tools does the following:

  • It downloads the source code in your ~/Sandbox
  • Installs any build dependency you might need to compile it
  • Compiles the project
  • Installs the resulting packages onto your machine

Next thing you know, you’re running the latest Git version of whatever project you just built.

It goes without saying that this is mostly aimed at developers, that Git versions are by definition unstable and that you should be careful when using tools like these…

In any case, it never got easier to set up a new box for Linux Mint development or to join the development team or compile Mint projects without any prior knowledge.


28 thoughts on “Introducing mint-dev-tools, a collection of tools for Linux Mint developers

  1. James Mar 27,2015 18:54

    Why did you opt for what is basically a shareware text editor? :-/

    • clem Mar 28,2015 00:26

      It would be better if it was free and even better if it was open source. Still, it’s definitely amongst the best editors at the moment and one many of us use very often. Atom is another alternative which does a great job.

  2. KDB Mar 27,2015 18:58

    Powerful! Great job!

  3. plata Mar 27,2015 20:46

    clem, will this description be on Github? Would fit nicely in the wiki there.

    Can you give a more detailed description of what “Installs the resulting packages onto your machine” means? E.g. if it will stay within the sandbox and how the built packages can be run.

    • clem Mar 28,2015 00:28

      No, the tool cleans up after installing the packages, so they’re not left there.. only the source code stays in your Sandbox. Basically, it git clones, then apt build-dep, then dpkg-buildpackage, and then sudo dpkg -i ../*.deb. Once it’s compiled once though, you can dpkg-buildpackage manually.

  4. sizonov_stas Mar 27,2015 21:57

    Thnx, Clem!

    meld is a great thing.

    • clem Mar 28,2015 00:29

      Meld is brilliant. It can even recursively diff directories and you can visually browse file diffs within the result. It’s also integrated with nemo if you install nemo-compare.

  5. jeremi360 Mar 28,2015 16:19

    Wow, grate job, and I pretend that in next year you will surprise as with Mint-IDE :D

  6. Christopher Patrick Apr 10,2015 01:21

    When I try to install mint-dev-tools I get follow error message

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    mint-dev-tools : Depends: sublime-text but it is not installable
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    • mtwebster Apr 10,2015 12:21

      If you’re not in Mint 17/LMDE2, sublime-text probably isn’t available by default in your repositories – try adding --ignore-missing to the apt command.

  7. Christopher Patrick Apr 11,2015 00:56

    sublime-text should be removed from the list of dependency packages

  8. Frt Apr 12,2015 11:26

    After “mint-dev-setup” is asking for a password. Is this the password from your Git account or protection off the Key that is made?

    Best Regards


  9. Isaac May 21,2015 05:03


    This is beyond amazing what you put together. Thank you so much for doing this. I been lost on how to get a test environment together for Mint development. Really appreciate it.

  10. Alain Aug 8,2015 19:10

    Tengo la version 17.1 rebecca . Es bueno que instale el paquete de herramientas?, recomendacion por favor. Gracias.

  11. Alain Aug 8,2015 19:13

    rebecca have version 17.1. It is good to install the toolkit please ?, recommendation. Thank you.

  12. Raul Aug 9,2015 01:20

    I have installed the version 17.2.Es linuxmint advisable to have this package herramintas but not install? .Necesito Advice I am an amateur

  13. Dr. Tyrell Oct 22,2015 15:35

    Well done. Clem, thanks for your continued dedication.

  14. dada Feb 14,2016 17:17

    Hi Clem,

    Thanks for these tools, that’s really nice when first trying to get our hands in the Mint source code.

    But maybe your post misses a last small section about how to Quick Start compiling and testing our changes.

    That’s what I have done, assuming you have modified sources of Muffin project, and want to test them:

    # Compile and build Muffin
    cd muffin
    sudo make install

    # Install the packages to your system
    sudo dpkg -i ../*.deb

    # Clean builds
    make clean
    rm ../*.deb

    # Restart Cinnamon with your changes
    # Go on a TTY (CTRL+ALT+F1)
    sudo service mdm stop
    sudo service mdm start

    # Cinnamon is starting with your changes!

    • JosephM Feb 17,2016 12:13

      You don’t need to run the ./configure, make, make install steps when using dpkg-buildpackage. If you have only changed muffin or Cinnamon you can simply use Alt+F2 and “r” to restart cinnamon without ever leaving it.

      • dada Feb 20,2016 17:26

        @ JosephM
        Yes I was quite wrong when writing this comment.

        The “./configure && make && sudo make install” should be replaced with:
        apt build-dep muffin

        If someone can edit my first comment, I agree. It aimed to give a clear procedure for beginners to test the code changes, and it is confusing…


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