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The Three Faces of Linux Mint

The next release of Linux Mint -- Linux Mint 12, aka Lisa -- will feature three different takes on theGNOME desktop. GNOME 3.2, GNOME 3.2 adapted to look and work like GNOME 2.x and MATE,a GNOME 2.x fork.
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Here, we see Mint "MGSE" (Mint GNOME Shell Extensions) a desktop layer that sits on top of Gnome 3 that makes it possible for you to use GNOME 3 pretty much as if it were using Mint 11'sGNOME 2.32 interface.
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And, why would you want to do that? Well, as you can see, GNOME 3.2's interface looks quite different. Many users really dislike this interface.

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Mint with MATE, a GNOME 2.x fork, looks a lot like Mint with MGSE, but under the hood it takes its own path.
 
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In use, Mint MGSE uses a familiar primary window with menus and icons to allow you to use applications.

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GNOME 3.2 is another matter entirely. It uses a left-hand bar for primary applications and a combination search and display window for tracking down programs you may want to run.

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Mint with MATE, of course, uses menus and icons on a single display to enable to start applications.
 
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An application, in this case the Evolution e-mail and groupware program, looks and works the same as ever on the MGSE version of GNOME.

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And Evolution also works and looks pretty the same as ever on GNOME 3.2

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But, it's an entirely different story for this mainstay GNOME e-mail program on Mint with MATE. Here's MATE's early stage of development trips it into the first of what would prove to be numerous errors.

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On MSGE, turning off your computer is easy. Why shouldn't it be?

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With GNOME 3.2 though you have to not just mouse over to the appropriate spot, you'll also need to press the alt key to turn that 'suspend' to shutdown. This is easier!?

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Mint, however, includes numerous GNOME 3.2 shell extensions that forces the GNOME 3.2 shell to act more like most users would expect. In the case of 'fixing' Shutdown you can use the Shutdown Menu Extension to make GNOME 3.2's shutdown
 
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MATE, as you would expect, uses the old shutdown routine.
 
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Let's take a final look at GNOME 3.2 in Mint. Here's the main GNOME 3.2 display for Windows. Note the two windows on the right side. You can click on either one to bring it into focus.
 
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With GNOME 3.2, you can also bring active programs and directory displays to the main GNOME display.

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