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Linux Mint 12 desktop
Over the years, I've tried every shade of desktop — from the ridiculously complex to the overly simple, from the barely usable to the extremely useful. Recently, the push seems towards touchscreen technology, with little success. Nevertheless, some operating systems — such as Ubuntu Unity, GNOME 3 and Windows 8 — are persisting with touchscreen-friendly features. The problem is these desktops aren't particularly user friendly.
1. Smart desktop
The smart desktop is Linux Mint's strongest feature. Mint has a new desktop subsystem that lets you add or subtract features from GNOME 2 onto GNOME 3 so that you can create an incredibly user-friendly desktop. For example, you decide whether you want a Start menu or a bottom panel. The end result is that you end up with a customised desktop that suits your needs.
Image credit: Linux Mint
2. Package manager
Until now, I have argued that the Ubuntu Software Centre is the best package manager available. But Linux Mint has given Ubuntu Software Centre a makeover to produce a package manager that is at least as good as Ubuntu's. Not only does Linux Mint ship with the improved Software Centre, it also retains both GDebi and Synaptic. So you have three — four, including the command line — ways of installing software.
Image credit: Linuxconfig.net
Advanced settings in Linux Mint 12
3. Advanced settings
This feature is a repackaged Ubuntu Tweak, which offers some options not found in the standard configuration tools. In Linux Mint, one of these configurations is the enabling or disabling of the various extensions that make up the Mint GNOME Shell Extensions, or MGSE. You can also change themes and window behaviour. This settings tool is separate from the control panel settings window. Perhaps at some point it should be rolled into the settings tool to avoid confusion, but nevertheless it remains a welcome addition.
Image credit: TechRepublic