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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 184.108.40.206 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.
Linux Mint 14 KDE Netbook
With KDE you not only get the standard desktop, you also get the netbook desktop. Simply go to System Settings, then choose Workspace Behavior. From the list at the left of that window choose Workspace, and then from the Workspace Type drop-down choose netbook.
This screenshot was made on an Acer Aspire One 522 (AMD C-60 CPU, 1024x600 screen). The netbook desktop places a quick-start bar across the top of the screen, for easy launching of commonly used applications, and places menu icons on the lower portion of the screen, with each icon having only a single level of application icons grouped below it.
New windows always start full-screen, and window navigation is handled through the panel at the top edge of the screen. The top panel auto-hides when another window is active, in order to maximize the screen space available for applications.