Posts Tagged ‘Mint’

Linux Mint 7 review

Posted: August 5, 2009 in OS Reviews
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Time for another Linux distro review!  It should come as no surprise that this review is on Linux Mint 7, codenamed Gloria, at least not to anyone who knows me.  I have been quite a fan of Linux Mint, with its ease of use and reputation for being “Ubuntu done right.”  However, with Linux Mint 6 (Felicia) I had grown a bit discontent with the ever-prevalent issues with Wireless Network detection and use.  Additionally, for some odd reason or another, I had problems with some things mounting, such as my cellphone. 

So, now I review Linux Mint 7.  The first thing I noticed upon starting up the Live CD I made (with no problems whatsoever) was that it took a little longer to load than previous versions but not long enough to make me want to scream (i.e. Fedora).  It loaded into a nice, new desktop theme, called Shiki-Mint which is one of the things users anticipate from release to release.  (There is always at least one new theme each release)  Another anticipation of Mint releases is the backgrounds, which are always beautiful and classy to look at, unique and elegant.  This time it was a green background with a very nice new logo pic and ‘raindrops’ on the screen.  It’s simple but a neat effect.  There are also a few new backgrounds..the close up of the fly is kinda icky lol.  There are two “flowery” ones that, despite the fact that I am not the flowery type, I thought they were beautifully done and very nice to look at..I have the dark one as my background even.  This version of Mint also incorporates the Gnome-colors icon theme.

Okay, enough aesthetics.  The first item I check on Mint is the MintMenu.  Very nicely done!  The infamous MintMenu has outdone itself again.  MM can show upon startup either the 3 column menu or the favorites menu first, which is a small section one can use to put his/her favorite applications in (up to 12, I believe.)  There is also a filter for quick searching of the menu (nice!) and one of my favorite items, the uninstall option in the context menu..so glad that made a return in this release.  Also, every item in the MM is supplemented by a comment line, to give more information about what the item is and what it does.  This is amazingly newbie friendly.  In addition, in the favorites section, the Screen Resolution is hanging out, for those who wanted a quick way to get to it.

A new appearance this release is the application titled Computer Janitor.  Apparently this app is supposed to help one by recommending packages that one no longer needs and suggests configuration changes that may be useful.  This would be quite the help for someone who decides not to upgrade to a newer release for a while or for just a cluttered computer.  This is a great idea.  All the usual applications are present, OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Tomboy Notes, GIMP, Rhythmbox and MPlayer.  On a side note, I used to hate Rhythmbox but they have improved VAST amounts since the last release. 

Now for probably the most major change to this release of Linux Mint.  The infamous MintInstall.  Two releases ago, Mint Install consisted of a little window where one could look up a package and do a “one-click” install from the online Software Portal.  It was a nice feature.  Then, in Mint 6, it was changed drastically into a complete user-interface that listed all the applications, installed and available and the option of going to the Software Portal online.  This was a nice feature in theory, but it took just this side of forever to load the information lol.  For this release, the MintInstall is now pretty much its own Package Manager, where the available packages are listed, with the awesome options of clicking on more info and getting a very detailed description about the package and what it does.  There is also a changelog to keep track of changes from one app release to another.  One can also get screenshots (wow!) and install right from the window.  Of course, it’s one app at a time but at least this way one can’t screw it up.  Of course, Synaptic is still there but for newbies, the MintInstall is going to be very much a best friend.

As I stated earlier, the two issues I had when I had Linux Mint 6 were that of Wireless detection, which didn’t detect and a problem with mounting devices, which wouldn’t mount.  The steps I had to take in order to transfer pictures from my Nokia would make a grown man cry.  These were what we in the Linux world call “deal breakers.”  This refers to any issue with a distro that makes a person go get a different distro, usually after swearing vehemently and throwing things.  As soon as I started up Mint 7, I checked my connections..wired right off the bat, and guess what..there are the wireless networks detected right out of the box!! EXCELLENT JOB!  This is exactly what I was hoping to see.  Then, I tried my Nokia and it mounted right up and transferred anything I wanted.  Even better!

The fact of the matter is, for the last couple of months, I have been using Mandriva Linux..being highly unsatisfied with Linux Mint 6.  This was quite strange, as I have used Mint since Mint 4.  But as I said, those two issues were deal-breakers.  After reviewing Linux Mint 7, I have come to the conclusion that Gloria is simply Glorious!  I loved the looks, the performance, the speed is good and everything I need works out of the box.  I give it an A+ overall

...So, congratulations to Clem Lefebvre and the rest of the Mint team; you have successfully lured me back to Linux Mint with this release.  (I just finished installing it about a half hour ago lol)  Of course Mandriva Linux is a great distro but I missed being Minty Fresh!!  So it’s back to being a Mint user for me…Thank you Clem and team!!

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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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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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Linux Mint 6, codenamed Felicia, is in the release candidate stage.  If there are major bugs to be found, there will be another release candidate but barring that, this means the Stable release will be out in as little as 2 weeks!!!  For us Minty fans, this is great news!  There are a few changes to be mentioned that Felicia is going to come with.

First, there is going to be a software manager, where one can access the Software Portal to get .mint files and now get them offline.  Scrolling through available packages will now be available.

mintUpload is getting the additional feature of now being able to use ftp with one’s own server. 

I believe Xfe, the open as root file manager is being replaced with Nautilus using a red background.  In addition, Nautilus will have tabbed browsing *drools*.

There will be a very basic parental control application.

As usual, can’t wait for the stable release so I can download and review it!!  (And most likely, install)

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Okay, seriously, what is up with these Windows Vista commercials??  Everyone I know says, “Gee, I wish I could go back to XP”  Of course, when Windows XP came out, everyone I knew was saying how much they hated XP…So I guess Microsoft is getting worse with every edition.  So, their solution?  According to the quite amusing Mac commercials, the Microsoft solution is to sink all their money into advertising and none whatsoever into the fixing of Windows Vista.  Now, while (of course) Windows advocates are “outraged” over these claims by Mac, the simple fact is that they may not be wrong.

For there, on the telly, many more times than I would like to see it..commercials about the “Mojave Experiment” where they show “real people” exclaiming their wonder and delight over the ability to make panoramic pictures.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  Microsoft is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to have people extoll the virtues of panoramic pictures???  Did the majority of these users know what panoramic meant before they tried out this super-great-awesome feature???  Seriously, trying to use panoramic picture making (which is likely available on an image manipulation program) to sell a joke of an operating system like Vista is tantamount to trying to sell cars by going on and on about how great the color is!!

For that matter, who are these people you see on the commercials saying how awesome Vista is for being able to make a panoramic picture??  I really, really hope that these people were just commenting on the panoramic pics themselves, not on Vista’s ability to come up with them.  If I was on that commercial I would sue.  But, in the sad chance that these people were really converted to Vista because of this one ability..think about this…How many times do you need to take a panoramic picture in your life??  10?  Maybe?  I mean, come on…if you are converting to an operating system that was thrown together by a bunch of 10 year olds on crack, then maybe you are just too stupid to own a computer.  Sometimes I wonder…panoramic pictures.  Ye Gods, what a waste of money that could better be spent on something productive, like making Vista not suck.

A real operating system is one that…well, OPERATES!!  I find it sad that Microsoft would try to appeal to people purely on aesthetics and not quality.  Those Mac commercials are on to something.  Face it, Windows Vista is like Computers for Dummies.  If you have computer knowledge, put it to good use..like Linux, Mac, UNIX or BSD

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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…