Archive for December, 2008

Linux Mint 6

Posted: December 31, 2008 in OS Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have been quite busy lately transferring my website to a new host, one that will actually be up and running most of the time!  (yeah, grrr is the word for those of you with similar experiences)  Additionally, I wanted a blog and website integrated, so I have transferred my Angelfire website to Weebly, a nice little beta host that has very promising features and so easy, a cavema…oh, I shouldn’t go there…

So, how about that Linux Mint 6?  The latest release of Clem and the gang is codenamed Felicia, a nice elegant name for a nice elegant OS.  Of course, I have a minty bias but on the whole I have just not found a better OS for my needs.  I am often far too busy doing insane things online (see above) that I don’t have time to manage my operating system as well.  I find that with Linux Mint (in general) I don’t have to take my focus away from my work in order to “figure stuff out.”

Again, with Felicia, the same standard has applied.  In this installation of Linux Mint, I have noticed (to my utter delight–I am doing a happy dance right now) that I am not having the usual Flash Player issues as I usually am.  As a matter of fact, when I first installed Mint 6, I downloaded Opera (<—seriously the best browser out there) and opened it up to discover the Flash Player worked right off the bat!  Ever since I had started with Linux, I had been having issues getting the flash to play with Opera nicely.  Then imagine my chagrin when I opened Firefox to discover the Flash Player was NOT working!! lol..after a while of failed attempts, I actually removed Firefox completely and then reinstalled it from the Software Portal.  That solved that problem so now I have a working Flash Player in all three of my browsers (I hear angels singing as I write this)

Another thing that makes me happy in Felicia is a configurable firewall application in the menu as well as mintNanny, a very basic “parental control” center that can block certain websites from being viewed by the kiddies.

The other really big change in this edition of Mint is the software manager.  Opening the software manager gives one access to the software portal, which is still present and also a place from which software can be downloaded and installed in the mint repos.  This is a great idea…in theory.  In actuality, the software manager takes just this side of forever to load the list (why I have no idea) so I don’t ever use it except to access the software portal.

On the upside, I have discovered, to my delight that Rhythmbox does not, in fact, suck.  For whatever reason, this version of Rhythmbox is working flawlessly as it never has on any version of Linux I have had.  I am now happy to recommend it as a useful application.

There are now separate icons for logging out and shutting down and when I shut down, wow, is that fast!  No more hangs, lags or drags on that score!  About 3 seconds is what I figure it took to shut down Mint.

Giver is a new app for fast and easy file sharing.

The Avant Window Navigator (also known as AWN and “that amazing dock thingie”) now comes out of the box with applets..no more trying to add the repo!  Good news for the “terminally challenged” such as myself.

All in all, this version of Linux Mint is yet another great distro that just keeps improving with age.

As a later edited note, I have noticed that as once again, I forgot and copied text from one browser and tried to paste it into another that it actually worked this time..is this Mint’s doing?  If so, thank you a million times over!!

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Simply put, I liked SimplyMEPIS (although typing that is a pain!)  You see, when I did the original review I posted it to my website.  Well, turns out that the webhost I was using was crap and I had to move my website..unfortunately the last 4 reviews weren’t updated..yes, I suck, to the extreme.  So I had to write those over again, which was fine as I had 3 of them already done on here (thanks to whatever gods, fates, or wood sprites that are listening) so I just have to redo the SimplyMEPIS one.  As I no longer have access to that distro, here goes the crappiness that is this review based on my sorry ability to remember details.

First, I remember it was super-fast to load from the live CD..I always love that.  Then I remember logging in, which sorry I find ridiculous on a live CD.  I come to a really pretty and classy desktop which is KDE.  Hmm, interesting..a Debian based distro with a KDE desktop..lol..okay, it’s different but it works just fine.

I had no problems with stability, internet detection or any of the apps.  I remember that there wasn’t anything that I hated about it. Mostly I remember it was fast.  Ugh, this is not going to be one of my more impressive reviews…

Okay just the other day, I reviewed Ubuntu’s latest in their schedule, Intrepid Ibex, with what I considered mediocre results.  So this time, I decided to review a distro that I had never tried out before.  I popped in my Live CD of Fedora 10 and awaaaaay we go.

I said..awaaaaaay we go…..Away?….Hello?….Um, is this thing on? 
It took almost 10 minutes for the live CD to boot up.  ugh!  I have never waited that long on ANY distro I have ever tried on Live CD.  Okay I finally get to a beautiful blue splash screen with a big planet on it and stars and such..quite the thing for the amateur astronomer such as myself.  So then I wait for the desktop to load…..

And wait.

Still waiting.

Okay, seriously…almost 10 minutes for the desktop to load up.  Again, far longer than any other distro I have ever tried.  When it finally does, I (rather anti-climatically at this point) see a typical Gnome desktop.  The first thing I always do of course is check out the Main Menu to see what goodies are offered or missing.  I was not surprised to see Firefox as the web-browser but I was mildly surprised to Not see Thunderbird as the email client.  GIMP was there while OpenOffice was not.  There was a very simple GUI for Enhanced Desktop Effects, which once clicked..did nothing.  Big white screen. 

I did like the option of “about this computer” that Micro$ always had.  It accurately reflected the specs of my box.  The system monitor was also very remniscent of Windows and their Task Manager.  There was also an add/install programs <—programs?  uh..Linux here!  anyhoooo…I tried to view the list but I received an error and it claimed to not have fetched the repositories.  Hmm..

There was a feature called SELinux Manager Tool that confined processes to specific requirements and users.  I am unfamiliar with this per se, as I have not reviewed Fedora before but it seemed to me like some kind of “parental control” with perks?  Not sure, but it seemed very handy. (yes, I am aware that sounded completely uneducated).  Overall, I didn’t see a whole lot of difference between Fedora and Ubuntu  except that Fedora was vastly slower at…well, everything…

Then, pretty much the last straw was when I shut down my computer, it actually shut down with my optical drive open!!  That was a grrrr moment right there.  I know other people love this distro, but I wasn’t having it.  Sorry folks…

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Today I tried out the live CD of Ubuntu 8.10, codenamed Intrepid Ibex.  I had meant to try this latest Ubuntu offering before, but I had made a live CD of it and had given it to someone to install on their computer and therefore did not get it back until the other day.  So here, then is my belated offering on a review of Ubuntu 8.10.

First of all, I had no trouble whatsoever with the Live CD boot.  Sometimes (and for several distros) I am unable to completely try out a distro and in some cases, unable to boot the live CD at all so it was nice that it started up very smoothly.  Upon booting, I was taken to a nice, simple and clean desktop featuring the new Intrepid Ibex.  It was a vast improvement over the Hardy Heron look, which was horrifying at best.  This latest desktop look was understated and classy and of course, I have always loved the brown that Ubuntu is famous for.  The usual themes are there including a new, dark theme that accented the brown quite nicely. 

All the usual applications were present such as OpenOffice, GIMP, Totem and Brasero.  Everything ran smoothly except for F-Spot, which freaked out and crashed, nearly freezing the Live CD with it.  I felt that there were very few applications and wondered at the reason for it.  A few of the games could surely have been sacrificed for the cause? 

My network connection was present without so much as a peep.

All in all, I didn’t see much difference between Hardy Heron and Intrepid Ibex, with the noted exception that Ibex seemed to me as a far more stable and efficient release.  All right, it was faster too.

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