Linux Mint 12

This article is presented for those with Intel Macs (and PCs) who choose to have an alternative operating system available. It is possible to install it as a Dual-Boot system, Virtual Machine, or just run it from the live DVD.

Late last month (November) Mint 12 was released to the public (free). Mint is a full multi-media distribution of Linux. There has been a lot of extremely positive press about this version. It’s almost as if someone hired the PR departments from both M$ and Apple. 😉 With all due respect, I disagree with their evaluation. I work with older computers and find it is barely usable. Here is why:

  • On a 32bit IBM Netvista running at 2.5GHz with 1GB of RAM it takes multiple attempts to install from the CD.
  • Once installed the default setting is to run Gnome 3.
  • The Gnome 3 desktop is very bare. There is no menu only the icons to access programs directly.
  • In order to access any sort of menu from Gnome 3 the user has to right click on the desktop and open a shell. From there they have to type “gnome-panel” every time they login.
  • The different system settings are spread across three different menu items.
  • In Gnome 3 I have yet to find a way to add items to the panels.
  • Most users have apparently stayed with Gnome 2 because most of the features they want are still there.
  • To change the panels in Gnome 2 the process has been changed from a right click to holding the <Alt> key while right clicking.
  • The whole system is slower than previous releases.
  • This release looks like it is becoming more bloated (still not as bad as as Windows or OS X).
  • The operating system is convinced my desktops are laptops. This means a whole lot of useless software gets installed.

There are a number of good reasons to consider this version:

  • IF it installs correctly, it is stable.
  • The eye-candy is appealing.
  • Under Gnome 2 all the previous software remains available.
  • Although I haven’t tried it, I have been told KDE works really well.
  • It includes newer programs than previous releases.
  • It installs very well in a Virtual Machine.
  • It is still faster than Windows and OS X.
  • The authors have bent over backwards to support laptops and netbooks. This is somewhat useless if it is installed on a desktop though.

My final impressions are the authors are telling the users what they want as opposed to listening to what the users want. Also that the new desktops resemble pre-OS X Macs or Windows 3.1 without the speed.

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BlankMike