Linux Mint 5 Elyssa Final is OUT!

Posted: June 9, 2008 in OS Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hello, fellow bloggers.  Today I will be doing Yet-Another-Distro-Review; this time however, I will be reviewing from a more biased side than usual…..I feel my reputation taking a hit as we speak.  Yes, I am known for my impartiality on most subjects but Linux Mint is a subject near and dear so they say…

Linux Mint has been my distro of choice for a while now (okay about 8 weeks; I just “converted” to Linux 3 months ago).  Prior to Mint, it was PCLinuxOS and then Debian, which started it all…I was patiently waiting for Linux Mint 5 to be released as I was excited about some of the changes Clem et. al. were making.  With no further ado:

As per usual, I downloaded the iso file for Linux Mint via a mirror.  I do not like torrents; some find them faster but it never fails I find them slower…(let the digressing begin)…After a suitably forever period of time, I had my nice little iso image and used Brasero to burn that image to a disk.   After checking the integrity and finding it good as always, I rebooted the computer and ran the CD.   Although I knew I would be installing it, just for amusement I messed around with the Live Disk for a few.

First of all, wow on the new artwork!  There is a talented Linux Mint fan out there who just started making his own artwork and it just had that perfect Minty look–polished and elegant..and minty!  There are all new wallpapers which is a nice change (sorry but I just didn’t like most of the default set on Daryna) and a new gtk engine-Aurora.   Every wallpaper is available in wide-screen.  Gion icon set comes installed by default now.  A couple of new themes are Carbon and PepperMint…also there is a WildMint but the Windoze blue border horrified me on sight.

The hard drive install is the same as ever so I proceeded on with it.  (For those of you who don’t know, it is an Ubuntu install process)   Then, I started to have some fun!  The first thing I looked for (and used) is the uninstall feature built in to the MintMenu!  So far, this is far and away my absolute favorite, favorite feature on Elyssa.  I am a tweaker by nature.  No distro on the planet would ever come with exactly what I want and not what I don’t…so anytime I install a new OS, I am stuck in Synaptic right off the bat, using the search over and over…ugh!  This uninstall from the MintMenu feature is so wonderful because it spares me much of the hassle of removing programs I don’t want.  Additionally, some great news on the Mint Menu is that it is using far far less resources memory-wise than in Daryna.   I actually had MintMenu on Daryna removed because of the load it placed on my memory.  No longer!   Mine went from 100MB to about 29MB!!  Good enough to make me happy because I had always liked the MintMenu (some do, some don’t; I know!)

Of course, as usual the MintInstall is a great application for installing packages quickly and painlessly.  In addition to it just being a good package to begin with, Clem and gang improved on this as well by making options for installing deb and apt packages through the MintInstall as well!  Dependencies aren’t always resolved but it is still a way to get the latest and greatest in the bleeding edge world.

Another nice feature is being able to open an application in root, all with a right-click!  That’s right, just right click on a menu item and you are given a choice in the context menu whether or not you want to open as root!  This is a vast improvement.  One thing I always hated was being made to feel like an idiot because I wasn’t “allowed” to be root.  Of course I know that’s not actually the case.  I just said feel like an idiot.  From what I hear, I am not alone in that feeling and that some desert Ubuntu in part due to that.  To help folks remember they might be working in root now, a different browser comes up..Xfe…It looks a fright but it is supposed to be nothing like Nautilus so one can remember they are in root.  Good plan for now…hopefully in a release or two that quietly disappears.

Changing Applications:  Serpentine and Sound Juicer were both replaced.  Now Brasero is installed (which I love) and so is Rhythmbox (which I despise).  Kudos for installing Brasero but Rhythmbox just had to go..and fast.  I have never had anything but problems with it all four times I have tried it, on four different distros…and if I remember right, it was a different issue each time too! lol…It’s just buggy as all get out and it crashes so much, SafeAuto wouldn’t insure it.  Guess what I tested out the “uninstall” feature on first! lol

GnomeDo now runs in the background.  Nautilus is somehow faster, not sure how but I like it!  There is a new Envy version to replace the old one..EnvyNG or some such I believe..not an app I need so off with its head.  Transmission is the new bit torrent client if you use such..

Firefox 3 is the default webbrowser (of course, accompanied by Thunderbird)  I am an Opera fan myself but I could sure appreciate the lower memory consumption and better speed on this fox.

And last but probably first with cube lovers everywhere…The Compiz-Fusion settings GUI is installed by default..wobble your windows to your heart’s content.

There are some issues known (they haven’t affected me yet and hopefully won’t but they are, quoted straight from the website to avoid any misconceptions or errors:

Known issues

Upstream issues:

  • GDM: It takes a while to open the “Login Window” configuration tool. Just be patient, it will come up eventually.
  • GDM: In “Login Window”, if you select another theme.. even though it will tell you everything is fine, it will actually select to show other themes randomly. Open “Login Window” again and set the theme again.
  • GDM: On shutdown, usplash doesn’t show properly and is interrupted by network manager error messages. This is a known bug in GDM. You might be able to fix it by changing the GDM theme “twice” (in “Login Window”).
  • GDM/Gnome: The shutdown/logout sound isn’t played. This happens because Pulse Audio is shut down by Gnome before it gets the chance to play it. You could install “esound” to fix that problem but then that would break PulseAudio altogether. Another workaround would be to use aplay to play the sound before the event, as described here.
  • Gnome: Turning on/off the Gnome Compositing Effects (in gconf or in mintDesktop) can freeze your computer. Make sure to save all your data before activating/deactivating this feature.
  • Gnome: The first time you launch the “Users and Groups” configuration tool, it might not find any users and consequently it won’t work properly. Close it and launch it again.
  • Gnome: The color of the window borders doesn’t always refresh when you select or customize a Gnome theme. This is because some GTK themes refer to the same metacity theme but with different colors, and unless the metacity theme itself is changed Gnome doesn’t refresh it.
  • Gnome: You might see an error message saying the “Gnome Settings Daemon” could not start. It usually only happens once and either doesn’t affect anything or affects the look and feel (the default Gnome theme is applied instead of the Mint one).

Mint specific issues:

  • Widescreen support: If usplash doesn’t fill your screen an alternative is to install usplash-theme-mint-black (which comes with a black background). All wallpapers come in widescreen format and GDM also has a widescreen version of the Elyssa theme.
  • Localization: Not all translations (for the Mint tools) were included in the release. We had to code-freeze at some stage. The missing and future translations will come in as level 1 updates.
  • MintMenu: mintMenu doesn’t always refresh (or doesn’t always refresh fast enough). To force it in doing so, right click on the “Elyssa” button and select “Reload Plugins”.

Warning about upgrades:

  • Be cautious with level 3 upgrades. As these notes are written, applying the Gnome related upgrades break the ability to change your wallpaper!
  • Prefer level 1 and 2 upgrades to be safe and only apply level 3, 4 and 5 upgrades selectively and after you made sure they fixed a bug you needed fixed.
  • Always use mintUpdate to perform package upgrades, avoid to do so with APT or Synaptic; these tools are not aware of the stability level related to package upgrades

Hopefully soon there will be updates to fix these issues and all will go merrily on in the mint world lol…

  1. […] Linux Mint 5 Elyssa Final is OUT! There is a new Envy version to replace the old one..EnvyNG or some such I believe..not an app I need so off with its head. Transmission is the new bit torrent client if you use such.. Firefox 3 is the default webbrowser (of course, … […]

  2. […] Linux Mint 5 Elyssa Final is OUT! After a suitably forever period of time, I had my nice little iso image and used Brasero to burn that image to a disk. After checking the integrity and finding it good as always, I rebooted the computer and ran the CD. … […]

  3. Clem says:

    Hi Pariah,

    Thanks for the nice review. It’s great to get some feedback. You’ve risen a few points so I’ll go through them and see how we can improve on them. I’ll be away for a week but I’ll post on the Mint blog about this as soon as I come back.

    PS: Opera 9.50 was added to the repositories yesterday. It comes as a level 2 update and brings a lot of improvements (although I was disappointed to see that the mouse gestures were deactivated by default). Enjoy 🙂


  4. Clem says:

    Actually.. what am I talking about? 🙂 I’ll see if I can activate them by default and if so I’ll repackage Opera again when I come back.

  5. Wow, you have a nice flow to your writing, Pariah, and thanks for the great review. I like (and will install) several other distros each year, but Mint is my rock and where I spend the bulk of my day. I prefer Opera over FF, too. It’s easier to customize and mimics any Windows installation I encounter on others’ systems.

    Look forward to seeing more of the blog over time.

  6. McLovin says:

    As the head of the Mint Art-Team, I would to extend a thank you from entire Art-Team for you positive words on the artwork that is in Mint. Mint has always had some great art work, and since the formation of the team, some standards have been set, and as such, all official wallpapers are available in both wide screen, and full screen formats, also, most are available in both main Gnome editions, and KDE CE editions as well.
    Also, I would like to say that Mint has recently joined the community, and acquired a community site similar to, that can be found at to download everything for your Linux Mint desktop.
    We are also working on getting all the official art work into the default repositories, so it will be easier for users to get, and install new themes and wallpapers for their system.

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