Linux round-up: A bunch of Mints for Christmas

Linux round-up: A bunch of Mints for Christmas

Summary: All the Linux Mint Editions have arrived just in time for the holidays - Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) with Cinnamon, MATE, KDE and Xfce dekstops, and Linux Mint Debian Edition Update Pack 6 with Cinnamon and MATE desktops.


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  • Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) and Linux Mint Debian Edition

    The elves in the Linux Mint development team have been very busy the past few weeks, and just in time for Christmas they have produced new and updated relases for all of the Mint distributions.

    The main branch, Mint 14 (Nadia), derived from Ubuntu 12.10 with the Gnome-based Cinnamon and MATE desktops came out in November, then Linux Mint Debian Edition Update Pack 6 at the beginning of December.

    That was followed last week by the release of the Xfce version, and the set was completed this weekend with the release of the KDE version. In the following gallery I will show the default desktop and menus, and give a brief description of the content and some of strengths of each version. But there is no substitute for trying it for yourself.

    All of these distributions are "Live" images, so you can download and burn them to a DVD or copy them to a USB stick, and boot it up on your own computer without changing anything on your disk. Running the live image you can see whether all of your hardware is supported - don't believe all of the FUD that people spout about having to find device drivers, compile kernel modules or whatever.

    The screenshots in this gallery were taken on six different laptops, with a variety of Intel and AMD cpu and graphics, and Wi-Fi adapters from Intel, Broadcom, Atheros and Ralink - and they all worked from the base installation. If the live distribution works for you, the Mint installer will help you get it installed on your system alongside Windows.

  • Linux Mint 14 KDE

    Starting with the most recent release first... This version of Linux Mint 14 is based on KDE 4.9.3, and Linux kernel 3.5.0. This distribution is not derived from Kubuntu, it comes from the main Ubuntu distribution with the KDE desktop and features integrated by the Linux Mint developers.

    The standard KDE desktop, shown above with hierarchical menus and Plasma workspaces for desktop icons, has gained a lot of users who are disenchanted with the Gnome 3 and Unity desktops.

    As with all of the Linux Mint distributions, it includes a long list of applications and utilities. Firefox 17.0.1 for web browsing, LibreOffice with Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw, and the Okular document viewer for PDF files.  Multimedia playing with the excellent VLC player, Kaffeine and the Amarok audio player.

    For graphic image editing it includes GIMP 2.8.2, plus Gwenview for photo viewing and basic editing, and the excellent digiKam 2.8 for complete photo and album management, editing and exporting to a variety of online photo services.

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Reviews

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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  • loving Cinnamon

    I've tried all desktop flavors of Mint & all are great! I was torn between Mate & Cinnamon for a while but have come to accept Cinnamon as my true love. Cinnamon in my opinion is the most fluid, efficient, intuitive desktop environment ever created.
    • Efficient ?

      ...Try Enlightenment.

      Intuitive, well that's Cinnamon. Like XP if you cleaned up the menus.
      • Nope

        There is no intuition but only familiarity on everything after baby has started to suck nipple.
    • Cinnamon is a firend, yet better friend is KISS

      Mate is king. Cinnamon would sometimes need newer hardware and is capricious about video acceleration, that includes the proper software support (so nVidia chips might be problematic, for instance). Mate is not that demanding. It is more flexible and configurable with more choice of applets and widgets.
  • the 1 billion $ question

    Why does almost nobody wants a OS that comes for free but rather spend up to $100 for a Windows version ?
    Why do many private users spend a couple of hundreds for MS Office despite there are free alternatives ?
    Don't customers normally vote with their purse ?
    • There's no single reason

      It's partly familiarity. People are used to Windows and need a credible reason to learn a new system to make a change. You'll notice in mobile markets where MS does not have the same presence, competing technologies do quite well.

      It's partly integration. MS makes a wide variety of products, and they tend to integrate with each other. Products made by companies that make multiple products which integrate sell very well.

      It's partly backwards compatibility. One thing MS got right with Windows 8 is they insured backwards compatibility while still moving forward with new technologies. People and especially businesses need to use their old programs and file formats while they adjust to newer systems, and normally that adjustment can take years.

      It's partly inertia. All of the above reasons contribute to MS's inertia.

      It's partly ideology. As much as I am a fan of F/OSS, the fact of the matter is that most developers and almost all quality content creators want to place restrictions on their product to insure profitability. The Linux platform makes that difficult because it is against their ideology.

      There are dozens of other reasons. I will continue to use Linux (Mint KDE is where I've settled lately) for much of my computing needs, but I will also use Windows and other MS products where it makes sense. I made the switch to Linux 12 years ago because I felt MS's quality of product was inferior, but that is no longer the case. I imagine I would not be using Linux at all now if not for my personal inertia in being a Linux user. As it is I'd very much like to limit my Linux use to within a Hyper-V VM, but driver issues (especially audio) still keep me on Linux as my primary OS.
      Michael Kelly
      • strange vocabulay

        "It's partly integration. MS makes a wide variety of products, and they tend to integrate with each other." It's neither integration, nor differentiation, it's a clear book vendor lock-in-ization.
        " I felt MS's quality of product was inferior, but that is no longer the case. " Tell us please about WIn8 RT superiority with the initial 12gb of disk use (Office included).
        As to the quality of software and how my own experience goes, a non-free software is almost always inferior to free alternatives. Just recently, installed Mint LMDE on the Dell Optiplex 740, a pretty good machine. Unfortunately, it's tainted with an nVidia chip. the free nouveau drivers improved so much for the past years despite nVidia's idiocy. So the latest 3.7.1 stable kernel I built had an almost flawless nouveau performance.. Alas, an old nvidea hardware mouse disappearance bug had resurfaced.. I reluctantly and painfully switched to the proprietary nVidia's own bloaty driver... You think it was better? Now some of the fonts get garbled with the visual effects, mouse pinter does not disappear, overall performance is indeed inferior to that of nouveau
        So, "Dear nViidia, f@#ck you!", -- as the saying goes...
        • Oddly enough...

          I just tried Mint from USB. It seems like it was created for an Etch a Sketch. But it's light years ahead of Ubuntu.

          I don't think your machine was 'tainted' with a nVidia chip. It's more likely your HDD is infected with crapware. nVidia seems to do fairly well for itself.

          Have fun writing your own drivers. You must have a LOT of free time.
          • couldn't have been smarter

            a comment. Wait a minute, HDD is infected with crapware? How's about a fully formatted HDD, even if it didn't, how would a healthy drive impede the video performance? The chip itself is not a culprit.
            Had always had little bad things nvidia doesn't give a damn. Nvidia is crap, you might have failed to decipher my message, don't believe, ask Linus Torvalds.
            I don't write drivers, nvidia is doesn't publish the necessary specs to help the community write better driver, just like that famous wicked/stupid dog lying in a manger full of hay.
          • I was with you until...

            You know, I was siding with you, up until that last sentence. Now I couldn't care less if you're "right". The other guy's got my vote.
        • Really?

          Free software is *almost* always inferior to paid software, and that's coming from a Linux fan.

          There are thousands of amazing OSS, but lot's of them have paid alternatives that are much better because of the simple fact they have many more thousands of hours of development and testing.

          Don't go misconstrue what I'm saying, but there are few rivals to software such as Office 2012, Photoshop, Oracle DB, etc. that are F/OSS and don't involve significant sacrifices.

          At the same time, Java is the best language, Apache *everything* is simply awesome, GIMP is great, PostgreSQL and MySQL are wonderful, etc.

          Both ecosystems are necessary, but your statement was just simply false and/or unrealistic.
          • Nope

            Free software (Open Source) isn't contrary to paid (proprietary) software.

            Free software can be under license and support fee. It can be more expensive but gives freedom and better results than proprietary.
          • Open Source better under Linux

            I've found that most open-sourced software runs better under Linux for whatever reason. That's not just because of
            Windows' higher requirements. LibreOffice runs very slowly in Windows for me, but faster in Linux, for example.
        • nvidia's idiocy?!

          The lack of a stable ABI so nVidia doesn't have to release its drivers open-source (hint, not everything should, needs to be, or will be FOSS) suggests the kernel community is at fault here. If you really think nVidia chips are 'tainting' your kernel, then go ahead and write your own driver for them to improve things - never complain that nVidia is making its own choice, never complain that they should do things differently just to suit your ideology, that ability to choose is what OSS is all about.
    • Mostly inertia

      It takes a lot more work to find a Linux preload, than it does to find a Windows one, and then if you're a Windows user, you have to learn a new system. Most people find it easier to stick with the default.
      John L. Ries
    • Answer: They don't

      When an average consumer actually considers the OS that comes on their computer, they overwhelmingly choose a Mac.

      PS: OSX is a lot more like Linux that Windows, but it's as easy to buy Windows. What does that tell you?
      • Dissent

        I would respectfully disagree. When I buy a computer that has a pre-installed OS, I overwhelmingly choose Windows. Why? More support. I don't particularly care for the company that makes OSX either. Of course, I will install a dual-boot Linux set-up soon after recieving the computer.
    • Because, first ...

      When you go to the store to buy a computer, you have to pay the Microsoft tax.

      When you buy a phone, you have a choice. You see what happens when Microsoft competes in the free market.
      • Microsoft and phones

        We both know their poor performance has little to do with a poor product. It has more to do with their bad name. They have a bad name, the tech group that make phone trends don like them.

        It is halfway their fault, though, due to past practices
        Michael Alan Goff
    • Here's a Jewish anecdote about this

      When you go to most stores and would find GNU/Linux together with MS Windows preinstalled PC's, without any illogical price tags, when free Linux turns out more expensive than the bloated Windows, consumers would most probably start making a very different choice. Here's almost verbatim parable on the status quo
      Isaac had a dream to win a lottery one day. Before every lottery, he would pray to God and beseech: "O God, please give me just one chance! Let me win a lottery!" ... Time after time, year after year... 40 years later the irritated Creator unprecedentedly responds "Isaac, just give me only one chance, go and do buy that ...lottery, please, just only once!"

      Likewise, when Schools and Universities stop promoting MS products and start promoting the actual IT education, how consumers would respond? (see "1. Poisoning Education")