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JMRI Install Guide: Mint 20 (Cinnamon) Linux

Mint 20 (GNU/Linux) is based on Ubuntu/Debian and is recognized as being a very user friendly distribution.
Is it free and it is also suitable for loading onto older 64bit machines which may no longer have a viable commercial OS. It is also far less resource hungry than current Windows distributions.

Mint 20 is only available for 64 bit computers. If you need to install JMRI on a 32bit computer Mint 19.3 is the most recent version available, these instructions can still be followed for 19.3 but there will be differences in the display.

Download Linux Mint.

This instruction deals with installing JMRI on a Mint 20 Cinnamon desktop (which has Java 11 installed by default), using only Point and click GUI commands (no command line use needed) .

Installation Procedure

  1. Installing JMRI
  2. Download a Linux version of JMRI, either the latest "production" version, or a "test version".

    Select 'Save File' then 'OK'

    Open the containing (Downloads) folder

    Right click on a blank area in the folder. Select 'Open as Root' in the popup menu.

    This will ask for a password then open the folder with Elevated Privileges.
    Double click on downloaded JMRI file.

    Click the 'Extract' button.

    Select 'Filesystem root' in the left pane.
    Use the right pane to navigate to where you want to install JMRI (I have used 'usr').

    Click the 'Extract' button.

    Close the 'Extraction completed' popup.
    Close all the open windows.

  3. Start Icons
  4. Next we make a start-up launcher icon.
    Right click on the desktop, Select 'Create Launcher Here'.

    Select 'Other Locations' in the left pane.

    Open the folder where you installed JMRI (usr).

    Open the JMRI folder.

    Seclect one of the files with a 'type' of program (commonly 'DecoderPro' or 'PanelPro').
    Click OK.

    To give your launcher an icon too, click on the icon.

    Click the Browse button, Browse to the JMRI folder as before.

    Open the Resources folder.

    Select one of the .gif files (I suggest one of the 48x48 pixel versions).

    Click OK.

    You will then be asked if you want to add this to the Menu as well, make your choice.

  5. USB access

    From the start menu go to Administration/Users and Groups.

    Select the user.

    Select Groups.

    Find 'dialout' in the list, click to add a tick to it.
    Then click OK.

    You now need to Logout for the change to take effect.
    Log back in.

Starting JMRI

To start JMRI,double click the icon.

The first time JMRI is run it will open a Setup Wizard to guide you through setting up your hardware.

More on this on the JMRI Setup help page.

The JMRI Hardware help page lists the various types of layout equipment that JMRI can connect to, and gives links to instruction pages. Go there next to complete your setup.

When PanelPro and DecoderPro are first run, they look for a hidden directory ".jmri" in the home directory. If they do not find it they will create one. To see this hidden directory in the file browser select "View" and then "Show Hidden Files".
This directory holds the Preferences. If you are experiencing difficulties with JMRI failing to start up, removing the relevant Config2.xml file from this directory should fix it.


Installing Mint 20

Details on installing Mint can be found at Mint Documents
Which gives advice on how to download the ISO image and then create a bootable DVD or USB stick to install Mint.

More info

You can find some more specific information on the "JMRI Linux FAQ page".

(Mint 20 install instruction provided by Mark Waters Jul 2020)