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November 26, 2011

24

Linux Mint 12 Review

Linux Mint 12′s foundation is built on the base of Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions out there, not to say that Linux Mint isn’t popular but with this edition, things might change.

With the latest release in Linux Mint “Lisa”, there has been a shift in what it feels its users deserve in the desktop environment that they choose. When Ubuntu 11 came out there was a big backlash in the Ubuntu community about the desktop Unity, being used and not allowing those which are more familiar with Linux a full Gnome desktop.

But there’s nothing to fear here as Linux Mint is using a full Gnome 3 desktop with some addons which they call MSGE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) to give you a somewhat more elegant environment. There is some more technical stuff, but you can find it out on Linux Mint’s website. For those who do not have a new enough graphics card you can fall back on GNOME 2, which will have some of the advanced graphics stuff removed.

Installation of Linux Mint was just as simple as that of installing Ubuntu, there’s not much to really know in how to configure your install it is pretty much straight forward and after a reboot, you will be introduced a simple, yet elegant desktop. linuxmint-12-2011-11-26-18-26-31

If you have hardware that needs proprietary drivers, Linux Mint will indicate that there are drivers for you that are available to install. It is one thing that Ubuntu and Linux Mint have done to make things simpler for novice users to install the hardware drivers to provide a better user experience.

A bit of a run down for your software packages, Firefox and Thunderbird are your default browser and email applications, LibreOffice is your standard office suite which provides you tools to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more, Banshee for your music collection as well as GNOME MPlayer to play video. There is also the ever popular VLC media player as well which is one of my most used apps for media, The GIMP is your image editor and much more.

To make installing software much easier, there is a software program called Software Manager which splits up in categories the software you could choose to install. Once you find what you want to install, say, amaroK, all you do is click install and it will download and install the program for you, and also have it put into the kicker menu.

If you want to modify the look (I don’t know why you would want to), there are quite a few desktop background images you can choose from, or you can easily use one of your own images to use as the desktop. There are some themes as well you can choose, but I left everything as default.

Configuration of your newly installed Linux Mint is not that difficult, the administration panel has quite a few options for you to choose from such as configuring your network to adjusting the sensitivity of your keyboard and mouse. It is pretty straight forward and you do not have to be a Linux guru to be able to make changes as you see fit which is what I like about it.

Conclusion

What can I say about Linux Mint? It’s absolutely fabulous. The time spent on making sure the icons to the layout that looks elegant is what sets this distribution apart from others. Even the default background image of Linux Mint 12 is quite nice to see and I applaud their efforts in making simple things like icons stand out.

Obviously, looks isn’t everything about a distribution and it has come a long way from the days of old. Linux Mint is giving what more users want is the freedom of their desktop which as stated earlier, caused a rift between Ubuntu users and developers.

Quite frankly it is a job well done by Linux Mint, but I will forewarn those who use AMD/ATI videocards for the time being to not install the proprietary drivers as it will cause issues. It is not the fault of Linux Mint, but an issue that is currently being looked at, but that small issue does not take away from the experience provided in this distribution.

Linux Mint gave me a great first impression, and I’ll probably be saying goodbye to Ubuntu on my laptop and hello Linux Mint 12.

Homepage: LinuxMint.com

Screenshots: Linux Mint 12 Screenshots

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24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Question
    Nov 27 2011

    I notice all the screen shots of Linux mint 12 are of the fallback desktop, rather than the new gnome 3 with lmde extensions. I quite like the fallback mode look, but wondered what you thought of the new gnome desktop.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Nov 27 2011

      I like quite a bit the new Gnome desktop. Linux Mint put a great deal of effort to make look great as well with their addons. You are correct about the screenshots being in fallback mode but I will add more of Gnome 3 ones as well.

      Reply
  2. mark
    Nov 27 2011

    Sadly, I cannot get ANY of the Buntus and their derivatives working, including Mint on my A6 laptop with hybrid graphics. Fedora is about the ONLY Linux 3.xx distro I can get working.

    ahh well.. maybe someday it will get fixed…apparently not for yet another devel cycle though :(

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Nov 27 2011

      I was somewhat surprised myself when I installed the drivers without knowing the issue, normal habit of installing proprietary drivers. Some issues I had with Linux Mint 12 was writing on the menu fonts were messed up and the desktop crashing at times. Having a Llano based laptop doesn’t help matters and you’ll have to run without the AMD drivers in the meantime.

      Reply
  3. 高進先生
    Nov 28 2011

    ubuntu一直想要搶佔平板電腦的市場,為此開發了只適合平板電腦使用的Unity介面,為商業化鋪路,妄想成為Android的取代者,可是Ubuntu可曾想過適合平板電腦的觸控輸入介面不見得適合一般桌上型電腦的滑鼠鍵盤輸入介面,因此Ubuntu顯然大大忽略了一般PC使用者的需求,最終引起Linux社群的公憤,更失去原有的支持度,許多Linux玩家都跳槽到其他發行版了例如Linux Mint 或是 強大的 Arch Linux,總之,Ubuntu Sucks

    Reply
  4. bob
    Nov 28 2011

    The issue with ati/amd cards is more serious than you state.

    Mint12 is quite flaky with the open source drivers and unusable with the proprietary stuff.

    Given that ati/amd have a large market share this is not “a small issue”.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Nov 28 2011

      Bob, you are correct. It isn’t a small issue but just using default settings in Linux Mint 12 I didn’t experience any crashing. It is a serious issue especially when AMD’s Llano offering is gearing up to make it possible to have decent video without the need of a videocard it does cause issue for peopke buying a new laptop or building a new desktop. You avoid Intel due to integrated graphics there isn’t much else out there.

      Reply
  5. John
    Nov 28 2011

    Linux Mint 12 has a beautiful menu and navigation system but I have had three issues with this software.

    First is it would not install my microphone on my logitech camera no matter what I did and what option I chose, it worked with no problem in Ubuntu 11.10.

    Second, when I went to install my printers and opened up the printer menu it just showed that I had the PDF printer installed with no option to add a printer anywhere, again in Ubuntu 11.10 there were no problems.

    Third, when I did a fresh install on a new computer the computer wouldn’t boot up after installation even though when I did a fresh install with Ubuntu 11.10 and Windows 7 there were no issues, they booted up just fine.

    Anybody else having issues? Is linux mint 11 less buggy? That sidebar thing in Ubuntu is drving me crazy.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Nov 29 2011

      John, as for the printer issue, you have to click the lock on the top right side of Printers window and put in your admin password and on the bottom left side click the + and add your printer there. As for your microphone issue I don’t have one to test out.

      Reply
  6. Martin
    Dec 1 2011

    Linux Mint 12 is the perfect balance between Gnome 3 and Gnome 2 + being almost Ubuntu 11.10 it supports everything the Linux world has to offer.
    Fedora 16 would be 2nd choice, but it’s just not a easy to set up with codecs and java, so on. Furthermore Fedora ships with a totally clean Gnome 3 shell which just seems too futuristic to use on a daily basis. Believe me, I tried really hard getting used to not having any control over my open windows, but I definitely prefer the Mint 12 Lisa edition of Gnome 3 with MSGE.
    Hurray for the user-friendliness OS that Linux Mint brings to the user that just wants a Linux distro that always works and is easy to use.

    Reply
  7. Carson
    Dec 4 2011

    The live session went so well I added Mint to my HD and now… nothing but glitchy graphics. Unless I figure out a solution soon, I will gladly go back to Ubuntu/Unity.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Dec 4 2011

      I would assume that you are probably using an AMD card? It is a known issue with Gnome 3 but if you look at my One week with Linux Mint 12, I also experienced glitching with nVidia graphics only when waking the computer from suspend or hibernate state.

      Reply
  8. kazuya
    Dec 12 2011

    the lack of support for llano-based laptops is a major shortcoming of mint 12. it pretty much is my deal breaker. I know the installer is on, but screen is dark.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Dec 13 2011

      It is not an issue with Linux Mint for the issues with AMD based graphics it seems to be linked either with the kernel or Gnome 3. I have posted an image on the issue I have even with a nVidia based graphics card on my article of One Week with Linux Mint 12. Hopefully AMD and Linux community will resolve this issue quickly as Lllano based systems are pretty nifty if you want a good cost/performance platform.

      Reply
  9. kazuya
    Dec 15 2011

    As someone mentioned here,you better forget or ignore the amd/ati restricted drivers for now until issue is resolved.
    I was able to install mint 12 on the llano laptop using:
    (1)the second compatibility option >
    (2)hit the TAB key to add this text at the end of boot options: nomodeset
    (3)HIT Ctrl X or enter to boot up.

    This works and gets you to install successfully – remember not to install the restricted ati driver as this would surely cause you grief with trying to restart computer and see your install. I hope they fix this soon.

    Reply
  10. jscottu
    Jan 5 2012

    I use XP when I have to. Otherwise it is Mint 12 or Peppermint or Fedora XFCE or crunchbang or Mepis anti X . None of my machines are dual core…none cost more than $50. No ipads…iphones…I’m a happy camper.

    Reply
    • Mike L
      Jan 7 2012

      I’ve never tried Peppermint but will give it a shot. Looks like a nice alternative to Puppy Linux. Thanks for bringing it up.

      Reply
  11. Jan 10 2012

    Here is is another useful review of Linux Mint 12 Lisa

    http://linuxconfig.net/media/featured/linux-mint-12-lisa-review.html

    Reply
  12. Frank
    Mar 11 2012

    Hi Folks,

    It’s March 11, 2012 and still no luck with the proprietary drivers on Linux Mint 12. Looks like AMD has just released a new driver on March 7, 2012, but it looks like it still isn’t available through Linux Mint, just directly from AMD.
    I haven’t tried installing the driver through AMD because I find the installation process too complicated, and frankly, I don’t want to break my head, I’ve got other things to do.

    http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/linux/Pages/radeon_linux.aspx?type=2.4.1&product=2.4.1.3.42&lang=English

    Reply

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  3. Linux Mint 12 Review | Gnuman.com | Linux Blog
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