Mint and openSUSE: My take on four Linux release candidates

Mint and openSUSE: My take on four Linux release candidates

Summary: It says a lot about the health of Linux distributions that four of the latest release candidates from openSUSE and Linux Mint perform so smoothly


I spent the weekend looking at the release candidates for four — or two, depending on how you count them — upcoming Linux distributions. Perhaps it is a good commentary on the state of Linux distributions that the most important thing to say about all four is that they just work.

From installation to hardware detection and driver support, and the full range of packages and applications included, everything just works with no huge drama.

openSUSE 12.2 KDE RC1

openSUSE 1.2 KDE RC1

After a few significant rough patches, this distribution is starting to look good. I have been following it since the early Milestones and I've seen various images that wouldn't boot from LiveUSB media, wouldn't install properly, wouldn't boot after installing, and had various critical programs crashing.

This RC installed smoothly on everything I have tried so far and seems to work just fine. Wired and wireless networking, graphics and even the cursed Synaptics ClickPad on my HP dm1-3105 works properly.

Linux Mint 13 KDE RC

Linux Mint 13 KDE RC

This might be the most anxiously awaited of the group. In addition to those who are already dedicated Mint KDE users, there seems to be a lot of loyal Mint Gnome users who are now looking for an alternative to the Gnome 3, Cinnamon and MATE desktop choices.

As with the other members of the Mint 13 family, this one is based on Ubuntu 12.04, has a lot of additional and optional packages such as multimedia players and codes, and includes an array of very useful Mint utilities for system administration and management.

This RC also installed without problems on all my systems. When the final release comes out, it will get some serious consideration as a replacement for my current preferred distribution of Fedora 17 KDE.

Although it doesn't get the Synaptics ClickPad exactly right, as the openSUSE distributions do, with the latest X.Org updates installed at least it works reasonably well. As with other Mint and Ubuntu distributions, right-click is produced with two-finger tapping — not my favourite solution but better than no right-click at all — and two-finger scrolling works well.

openSUSE 12.2 Gnome RC1

openSUSE 1.2 Gnome RC1

Sometimes I feel like this is the overlooked distribution on both sides of its family tree — openSUSE seems to get a lot more attention for its KDE version, and Gnome seems to get a lot more attention on various other distributions, such as Fedora, Linux Mint and Ubuntu. That might just be my own prejudiced viewpoint, but in any case the openSUSE Gnome distribution is a very good example of the Gnome 3 shell.

Linux Mint 13 Xfce RC

Linux Mint 13 Xfce

Last on this list, but certainly not least important or least interesting, this one was a bit of a surprise to me. For the Mint 12 cycle we only got an LXDE distribution and then an Xfce version of the Mint Debian branch. This time we get an Xfce of the Ubuntu-based branch, and I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will be pleased about that.

Judging from the amount of disk space it requires and the list of included applications — such as LibreOffice, GIMP, VLC media player, Banshee and MPlayer — I would say that this is not a traditional lightweight, small-footprint Xfce distribution, but it is more of an, "I'm really tired of all the fuss and bother with Gnome and KDE, I just want a Linux desktop that works, doesn't radically change with every new release, and lets me get on with my work".

Final releases of all four of these are expected between now — I was afraid Mint Xfce would be released before I even got this written — and mid-September. If you can't wait, and want to test the latest and greatest right now, all of them are working just fine on all my systems, so pick one or more and give them a whirl.

Topics: Open Source, Linux, 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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  • Mint and openSUSE: My take on four Linux release candidates

    Kudos Mint and openSUSE.
  • Linux is the future...

    a former Windoze user :)
    • Monday morning blues?

      @shellcodes_coder, shouldn't you have posted this on Ed Bott's or Mary Jo Foley's blog?

      Are you on the record, by omission, that iOS and OS X have no future?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Yes, a former Windows user

      and a current troll :)
      William Farrel
      • And speaking of troll

        Wilie Farrel the proprietary tool is here, ready to impart 'wisdom' on an OS he's never used before.
      • LOL! ...and out come the currnet windows users and true trolls!

        So you are saying that a happy Linux user can't make a statement of sentiment even on a Linux article?

        Trolls go into forums and make inflammatory statements to troll the other participants in the forum but exactly who is being trolled here in a comments section of an article lauding the current state of Linux when a happy Linux user makes a sentimental statement that Linux is ready to become the future. Right or wrong in his opinion that "Linux is the future" he's only trolling if the other participants in the forum are mostly against such sentiment. And so here you come to overtake the comments section denouncing Linux and anyone who praises it as trolling. I haven't read the rest but I've read you before and I know that's exactly why you and Rabid Howler Monkey are here.
  • Mint XFCE

    Might have to give that one a try. Currently running Xubuntu, as I've found KDE bloated, and Gnome doesn't have what I want. With Xubuntu you can pick and choose a few necessary KDE app's and a few Gnome apps and run XFCE for anything else. (This way I avoided Unity when it came.)
    Simple, elegant, and customizable to meet my needs and preferences.
    • Mint LXDE will be my next distro

      I have realized that I have no use for a "Gee Whiz" desktop. XFCE is light, straight forward and stable. And , like all others, it disappears when I open the first application.
  • Mint and openSUSE

    I've tried a LOT of distros over the years, and have been quite satisfied with Mint.. it's been the preferred OS on almost all of my computers for several years. I also had the same problems with openSUSE - maybe I should give it another shot sometime soon.
  • Centos with Fluxbox

    I've found that Centos 6 (Free Red Hat Clone) makes a nice Desktop Linux distro, very stable and fast. I use it with Fluxbox, Thunar and RXVT to make a nice minimal system without any bloat. Its easy to install with Fluxbox and the system is refreshingly lightweight. Check out the tutorial at

    and you could be pleasantly surprised. Its also handy if for example you are studying for Red Hat Certification or you simply like to do things yourself as much as possible.
  • Question about Linux Mint

    Why did they use a screenshot of Windows 95?
    • I know its a Monday

      You can do better.....
    • WOW -

      but that was funny.
      • Of course he's funny

        He's one of your sock puppets.

        Care to log in as somebody else, now?

      • "WOW - but that was funny."

        No it wasn't. Only those who lack wit would think so.
  • Microsoft must be so afraid...

    They're launching the insane Windows 8 that will piss of all their users and their OEMs- while Linux distros are getting better and better and are working with vendors to get commercially available Linux hardware on board. Kudos to the SUSE developers (sorry Torvalds) and the Mint developers. BTW AMD cards are even worse than nV ones, so don't know what's with all the fuss.
    • Afraid, how old are you?

      MS is only afraid of a decrease in profits. I doubt even market share and market dominance is in and of itself the primary driving factor of their corporate strategies.

      MS is all about dollars, and the only time a C level panics is when s/he doesn't hit a performance marks.
    • You are the ball and the

      weeds are all around you.