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.
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.
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.
Screenshots: Linux Mint 12 Screenshots