The truth must be said, I’ve not tested Linux Mint yet, I’m somehow too comfortable with my two main OSs Slackware Linux and Arch Linux, using Debian from time to time.
But I’m reading good reviews about it all time, just like this one, what caught my attention on that reading was not only how good the author consider Linux Mint, but also how bad he consider Ubuntu.
It is also a long time since I do not try Ubuntu, but I’m looking forward to test ‘11.04’ with unity, I’ve run it in a Netbook some time ago, and I must said I liked it.
Talking about Ubuntu’s Unity
I don’t know if I should say Ubuntu’s Unity or Canonical’s Unity :). Well anyway, Unity is relatively new, and as far as I can understand it is here to fight the big ones Gnome and KDE. According to its site:
Founded in 2010, the Unity project started by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical has gone on to deliver a consistent user experience for desktop and netbook users alike. Putting great design at the heart of the project, Unity and its technologies such as Application indicators, System indicators, and Notify OSD, have strived to solve common problems in the Free Software desktop while optimizing the experience for touch, consistency and collaboration.
I do not know how to take this statement “…Unity…have strived to solve common problems in the Free Software desktop while optimizing the experience for touch, consistency and collaboration.” Are they criticizing the work on Gnome or KDE?, they may have some problems, but it seems that Unity has its own set of those too.
Like these ones from The wise men’s review
Let’s get something clear, from my point of view and my experience, if the product needs feature freeze exceptions, then most of the testing will be done after the final release. Which means that the product wasn’t really ready for a release. So, in my opinion, six months release cycle is not so bad, but Unity should be included as an option and not as a primary environment.
Does this means, Unity will be finished while already packed with a “stable” version of Ubuntu?
I already mentioned Dash, which will open if you click the Ubuntu button in the upper left corner. Dash is a blend of favorite programs, people and places. Honestly, people are still missing, but we?re getting there slowly. Right now it is an annoying place where you search for applications, because there is no other way of running them. Applications menu is gone, there is an icon in the Launcher to open Dash with a short list of applications. Then you have to click on a text button to see 72 more results. Oh, did I mention that searching for programs will show programs that are installed and programs that are available for installing? Highly annoying, when you realize that you just double clicked an application that is not installed and it will be downloaded.
Oh! a lot of work to do here too :).
This one could make me be away of Unity until they have it solved, I use to run a lot of instances of xterm, at any given time, read below:
If you want to open multiple instances of Terminal, forget about Launcher. Use terminal hot keys or move your mouse over global menu area and use menu. Launching multiple instances is still unsupported.
But, as I’ve read in Random pieces of Lint
how do you innovate without annoying long-time users who are used to the way things are done now? The short answer is: you can’t. Changes must be made that might seem awkward or even stupid at first to some, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
As a prologue on this, I think we should wait a little to see if Unity is here to success, or not. And while Canonical’s Ubuntu is making a lot of changes to the way we are used to know Linux Desktops, those may be good in the long term, meanwhile if you prefer to stay in the secured area, you may want to work with Linux Mint, just like Igor Ljubuncic from the Dedoimedo recommends.
Check Ubuntu Unity screenshot
Talking about Linux Mint
Going back to what started this article, let’s talk about Linux Mint, and as I said before I have not tried it yet, but I’ve read a lot about it.
Linux Mint was born based on Ubuntu, and its major versions are still based on Ubuntu, and following Ubuntu’s way you can find different “versions” of Linux Mint, you have:
- Linux Mint XFCE
- Linux Mint LXDE
- Linux Mint KDE
- Linux Mint Gnome (The default one)
- Linux Mint Debian Edition
The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use.
It seems they have achieved their goal, because:
Linux Mint is now the 4th most widely used home operating system behind Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS and Canonical’s Ubuntu.
Read what Distrowatch, has to say about Linux Mint:
There are a lot of things I like about the Linux Mint distribution. One is that they aren’t reinventing the wheel. Linux Mint is less an independent from-the-ground-up distro and has been more of the icing on the Ubuntu cake.
Linux Mint, is being faithful to its purpose, they are not trying to be revolutionaries, they just want to give us a modern and easy to use Linux Dekstop.
They are trusting on Ubuntu and Debian, to accomplish the task, they are picking the best tools from the GNU Linux community, and joining together to give us a wonderful Operating System, which is ready to use just out of the Box.
Linux Mint makes easier than ever to prepare your system for the daily use, watch movies, use restricted codes (where legal), it uses the Ubuntu’s software centre so it is easy to install new packages, also your hardware (thanks to Linux) is 99% discovered and properly configured right out of the box.
Take a look at this, from Mukware
- Adobe Flash: Linux Mint comes with the latest Adobe Flash “Square”, running in full 32-bit or 64-bit (depending on your edition of Linux Mint) native mode. This plugin is faster than its predecessor, especially in full-screen.
- Oracle Virtualbox: A new metapackage called “virtualbox-nonfree” was introduced. This package points to the non-open-source version of Virtualbox and provides USB support.
- Signed repositories: No more warning is given for the usage of signed repositories. Using unsigned repositories no longer issues a warning but a validation question.
- Highlight: The “highlight” command, used by “apt” is now faster and more reliable.
- Adjustment system: The mintsystem adjustment system is now LSB compliant.
- Changes in the default selection: Songbird, dansguardian and dragonplayer were removed. Python-rsvg, htop, choqok, moc, kmymoney, ofx, gimp, kftpgrabber, b43-fwcutter, linux-wlan-ng, linux-wlan-ng-doc, setserial and sl-modem-daemon were added
As you can see Linux Mint gives you the best of best, no matter if it is free-open software or not, Mint is not here to question if software is Open Source or not, it is here to give you (the final user) the best experience you may find while using Linux. If you do not like this, there are other distributions, yes Debian comes to my mind immediately.
I hope you like this “meshed” article, hope you do not find it hard to read, if yes, my apologies, I’ve not planned it, it just flowed through my fingers.
And to conclude it, let’s say that no matter how mad people could be at Ubuntu, the improvements they are doing are going to benefit the whole Linux community, yes Unity may seem hard to work with at the beginning but if not widely adopted it will certainly guide other project in a new direction.
In the mean time, if you still want to use a great Operating System but stay away from the changes Canonical is introducing until they have settled down, you can go with the great Linux Mint, choose the version you like the most.