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Linux Mint - 32/64 bit

Posted

Pros: Custom packages make everything feel integrated

Cons: Anything not integrated doesn't feel welcome, and the general feel was too similar to Windows

I've tried two different versions of this on two different machines. I tried the LXDE x64 version on an Athlon 64 x2 with 2 GB of ram, and it was so slow that I uninstalled it in favour of Debian. I recently installed the Debian Edition on my main rig. The installer can't install across two or more disks, so I was forced to install to my SSD, then partition and configure a /home partition on my HDD manually. After I changed mirrors to avoid the ridiculously slow download times provided by their main server, and downloaded the slew of updates, I started using the OS for my daily routines as I would Windows. I found that the packages provided by the repos were integrated nicely, but if I strayed to outside software, it didn't fit with the rest of the system. Also, having three monitors + SLI, installing nVidia drivers was a pain. I prefer the last Ubuntu release I used (11.04 + GNOME 3) to Mint, because it felt more like a Linux system, and not like a Windows clone based on a Linux kernel. I wouldn't use the OS again, but I would recommend it to someone wanting something easy to use, without paying for Windows.

Posted

Pros: Easy to use, blazing fast, looks good

Cons: Trys to be all things to all people.

The biggest and most striking difference with Mint's latest release (Mint 12) is MGSE or Mint Gnome Shell Extension. As you might have guessed, it is a Gnome Shell extension built on top of Gnome 3 and, well, it rocks!

It looks fantastic. It has the bottom panel and ever-popular MintMenu. You can use Mint in the traditional way, without losing any of the functionality of Gnome 3.

The top left of the screen sports the infinity symbol which, when clicked, gives an overview of all open desktop spaces and widows - easier even that the alt-tabbing we're all accustomed to.

The rest of the top panel is taken up with open windows and the top right mimics Windows notification area with internet connections, time, date, battery (on laptops), volume, background software (such as TeamViewer / Dropbox)... the usual fare.

The bottom right of the screen has the workspace (desktop) switcher.

MGSE comes with a left shortcut sidebar where you can access your favourite apps such as your browser, Banshee, Terminal, Folders etc. This doesn't seem to be configurable though. Having ditched the pre-installed Firefox in favour of Crome, I can't seem to add a Chrome shortcut. A quick google suggests that it will be possible in the near future.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (so I'm told by HAF-X owners smile.gif) and, to me, Mint is stunning. The defualt theme is Mint-Z which uses a silveryish gray with shades of transparency for eye candy. It's not overdone and looks clean yet modern.

The software manager is similar to Ubuntu's, but more user friendly with better organisation. It also loads much faster than Ubuntu 11.10's and is generally snappier to use.

Banshee is the default music player. Popular software such as GimP, Pidgin, Gdei, Firefox and VLC come pre-installed. The default search engine is DuckDuckGo. Apparently for "commercial reasons". This search engine sucks (technical, I know), but is easily changed through your browser's preferences.


In conclusion, for anyone who doesn't like Unity, try Mint. I'm admittedly inexperienced with *nix distros. The advice I was given on OCN when I asked the "what distro for me" question was "try as many as you can". I have. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xbuntu, Fedora, Debian... I'd always liked Ubuntu, but not enough for me to move away from Windows. Even my laptops dual booted with Windows. Mint feels just right. Refreshing, one might say smile.gif
Linux Mint - 32/64 bit
Description:

The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use. Started in 2006, Linux Mint is now the 4th most widely used home operating system behind Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS and Canonical's Ubuntu.

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