I woke up yesterday, and got really irritated at Kubuntu. I suddenly hated its bulkiness, its looks, its bugs and all. I wanted something minimalistic. I wanted GNOME. Dunno why. It was just an urge. I checked out Ubuntu Gutsy. After a while, I got a bit tired of anything *buntu-related. I wanted something new, and I required simplicity. I wanted things to work out of the box. After some checking, I found a new distro that is quickly rising to fame. Linux Mint. I wanted to try it out, the distro that claims "with freedom came elegance". Nice slogan. So here's my nooby review of Linux Mint. I got Linux Mint 4.0: Daryna.

Linux Mint is essentially based on Ubuntu, running kernel 2.6.22-14, and GNOME as interface.

~700MB later, I had my new distro ready. I booted into it via LiveCD. Yikes! Gripes. Dunno why, but it didn't boot at first. It just showed me a nice black wallpaper, and my cursor. GNOME was not starting. Reboot! Again, but this time, I saw the GNOME bottom panel, but blank, and no icons! WTF! REBOOT! Poof! This time, for a weird reason, everything loaded fine, and I got my desktop and all icons and all. Strange...


Desktop and Menu

After this rough start, I wanted to try it out, to see if it lives up to its name. At first sight, I really really liked its minimalism. No longer did I have to see a large KDE panel at the bottom. The sleek GNOME panel was awesome. The wallpaper, and the default theme gave an incredible look.

From the menu, I could see a whole bunch of applications already installed, most notably Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, GIMP, Totem, Mplayer, Amarok, Open-Office 2.3 and Serpentine. All the awesomeness of Linux already there! These are really useful, and I didn't have to install those. Overall, I had what I needed out-of-the-box.

Regarding drivers, I was amazed. My WiFi (Intel Pro Wireless 4965) worked directly, prompting me for ESSID and the other usual settings, and minutes later, I was on Google. Same for my graphics driver (Intel GMA 965), giving me my 1280x800 native resolution. Sweet!

What really amazed me in Mint was its support for formats. Most audio I threw at it worked, directly out-of-the-box! Same goes for video. I tried mp3, avi, mov, rmvb, flv and wma. Anything I tried, Mint ran them all! This is superbly great! I had a whole portable media player system directly from LiveCD. Flash plugin was also installed by default! Here I come, Youtube!


Media support (Rmvb playing)

So much awesomeness prompted me to rapidly discard my bulky and buggy Kubuntu Gutsy install, to be replaced by Mint.

Install went on smoothly, with the usual questions of language, keyboard, timezone, partitioning and all. 15 minutes later, I had Mint installed and running fine.

File browsing is handled by the quite heavy Nautilus, but I didn't complain. I might try Thunar some time later.


File Browser - Nautilus

What I want to say is that Linux Mint is really great for users that want a simple and clean system, that is fast and efficient, and that works without hours of configuration. Judging from what it offers, I confidently say that I'm moving away from Ubuntu, towards Mint. It's that good, and I tend to be very exigent. Even then, it manages to satisfy me very well. I didn't have to set permissions for my File Browser to run. I didn't have to ndiswrapper anything (note that there is a GUI front-end to ndiswrapper in Mint - useful for beginners), and did not have to install anything to get an almost complete system. My devices were all recognized out of the box, and I can say my sound is better on Mint than on Vista! I hear bass more clearly now. Dunno why.

In fact, till now, I only installed gkshutdown - to shut my pc automatically at desired times, and the updates being offered. Nothing else was required till now.

Aside from all this goodness, there is also a control centre, sort of control panel where you can do all your system setting changes and customization. It's pretty useful if you want to tinker with loads of settings.


Control center

Note that for eye-candy lovers, Compiz is already installed and usable. Unfortunately, I am unable to use it due to issues with the GMA 965. Maybe later, when the issues are resolved. I've seen guides to make it work, but I'm not in the mood to be downloading Xserver packages and all. Maybe later..

Mint is a complete Linux system, with added support for media formats, already installed goodies and apps. It also has the generic features of linux, like workspaces, terminal and everything you might expect to see in any decent distro. And it has this with GNOME: Custom panels. This is extremely useful.


Custom Panels

To conclude, I'm heartily recommending Mint to anybody who wants a simple and sleek Linux distro that works. It easily handled all my media, detected and ran all my devices and has all the apps that I commonly use. What more can I ask? Apart from the initial booting problems of LiveCD, I have no complaints. I think that after loads of searching, I finally found my soulmate distro. For now.. :p

Anyways, whatever I say here might seem great, or bland, depends on you. The best way to get to know Mint is to go download it and give it a try. Even if you don't install, check out the LiveCD. I can say it's one of the most usable ones out there.

Btw, this also qualifies for Theme #3 of ThemBB Weekly Themes! This is my review of Linux Mint.

As always, comments appreciated! Thanks for reading.

15 comments:

  1. MBB said...

    By the sound of it, I might find my soulmate too! :D  

  2. $€|v3n said...

    it sounds ok.  

  3. Infinity said...

    I'm still getting on with it. I'll try to post feedbacks as I get more familiar with Mint.  

  4. carrotmadman6 said...

    Sounds awesome... built for me. I'll try the LiveCD! :P  

  5. morinn said...

    sounds awesome! :D  

  6. Infinity said...

    It is awesome!

    But for some obscure reason, I can't seem to make iwlwifi driver use static IP to connect to my router. I think I'll have to reset it to see. I'm currently using WiFi via DHCP, which is not always great, and posting this from Daryna,

    If I find a fix, I'll let you know.  

  7. bbZuSh said...

    Moi je dirais, pa mal :P  

  8. Slasher said...

    I think I found what I was looking for. I just got my Kubuntu gutsy, but didn't even put the cd in my pc.
    lol

    I always have sound problems on ubuntu :S  

  9. Yashvin said...

    thats a nice review!

    congrats, my first visit here!

    interested to exchange links?
    check out my blog ; http://blog.yashvin.net/ and drop me some words if u interested!

    a +  

  10. Infinity said...

    Thanks all for reading btw, and for your comments.

    Yashvin: Gladly accepted! :P  

  11. kevster3500 said...

    This is, by far, the best Linux Mint review I have seen. Great work, my friend. I hope to see more reviews from you in the future.  

  12. Ron G said...

    I agree . best one I have found, of many trials, mostly all were spin offs of Ubuntu, and none were really bad, just too fat. As I was trying to escape microsofts overstuffed product, all linux distros have it beat. Mint however, is sleek, fast, lean, and is customisable to my taste. I love it so far. Just got it setup today, and it took less time than any of the others.  

  13. Ron G said...

    I now have a major criticisum,( even though I can't spell it), I have tried in vain to register with the mint forum with two completely different email addresses, and user names and no verification email has EVER been sent to me, and now when I try to login in or re-register, it say user name, or email address already in use. How frustrating is that?  

  14. Sami said...

    Just want u 2 know: its based on ubuntu...
    its sorta tweaked out ubuntu with a bunch of extra codecs and drivers preinstalled  

  15. razmus said...

    I tried over 50 distros. This ones the best for a workstation  


 

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