Review: The Linux Experience

Written by Clem on Monday, May 24th, 2010 @ 9:16 pm | Main Topics

Review:

On “The Linux Mint Experience”, Chema Martin wrote a long and interesting review of our latest release, Linux Mint 9 Isadora. His review raises very interesting points and gives us the opportunity to discuss some of the aspects related to this release.

Link to the review: http://cristalinux.blogspot.com/2010/05/review-linux-mint-9-isadora.html

Happy reading everyone!

Comments:

“Before you start reading the review, though, make sure you are ready for a healthy overdose of GREEN!”

Well… what can I say? We’re green indeed, the same way Fedora is blue and Ubuntu is brow…  hum… pink  :) This could change in the future but for now we’re sticking to the green/black desktop, expect other editions to come with the same artwork (except for the KDE one which is traditionally blue).

The installation wizard in Linux Mint 9 is almost identical to Ubuntu’s. There are some branding adjustments and some application information has been updated where necessary, but no significant changes.”

Most of the changes made to the installer relate to branding. There is one important difference though: Ubuntu sets the root account with a random generated password, Linux Mint gives both the user and root accounts the password chosen during the installation.

“As expected, the splash screen was not displayed correctly in Linux Mint 9, just like it wasn’t in Ubuntu 10.04.”

Plymouth isn’t a mature technology and it fails to render in high resolution in many cases, whether it’s on computers with ATI, nVidia or even Intel graphic cards. Yet, it’s a very important piece of the boot process. In the end, we made the decision to show different artwork depending on the detected resolution. In low-resolution only dots appear. In high-resolution the boot process also shows a Linux Mint logo. We also published a tutorial to help people tackle this issue.

“Other than that cosmetic little issue, the boot process was very fast, certainly benefiting from some fine tuning which was put in place for Ubuntu 10.04.”

Since the upstream adoption of upstart, Ubuntu has been focused on improving the speed of the boot process. Their latest improvements are quite significant.

“Aside from the default wallpaper, we can see that there is a single panel located at the bottom. The default icons on the desktop include Home and Computer. As you can probably tell, there is a subtle overall MS Windows flavor, which should help new users feel right at home from the start.”

I don’t think Windows deserves to be mentioned when it comes to a “traditional” desktop layout. Whether it’s the early use of the mouse device, the single panel at the bottom or the items on the desktop, none of these were invented by Microsoft. Popular Linux desktop environments have been using a bottom panel for years, FVWM, KDE, and even early versions of Gnome. Recently, the Gnome project and most of the distribution using that desktop switched their panel to the top (From a usability point of view, the rationale is that it’s easier to move the mouse pointer down when browsing lists than moving it up… though Linux Mint went away from list-menus and adopted filtering instead.). The layout used by Linux Mint certainly looks more similar to Windows than Mac OS or even Ubuntu, but it’s a traditional layout. It fits our idea of a comfortable desktop and if it helps for an easy migration from Windows to Linux, then great, but that isn’t the reason why our desktop looks like this. Linux Mint is designed with Linux Mint users in mind, it certainly doesn’t try to be similar to Windows. I’m sorry if I sound rude when I say that, but most of us switched to Linux in the early 90′s and since 2006 we’ve worked really hard on improving something that we feel is now a very good, if not the best, desktop operating system. Microsoft Windows certainly is better to some people, considering the market share, but not to us, and it’s certainly not something we’re trying to copy.

“The main character role clearly goes to the Linux Mint menu, though, which is quite a radical departure from the GNOME default one. I personally didn’t like it in previous releases, finding it a bit cumbersome and slow, but I must say I loved it this time around.”

The Linux Mint menu is huge. In fact, on a netbook it can take more than half of the screen… we’re aware of this and we’re trying to come up with a better layout. Most people are intimidated by it when they first use it. and since the menus they’re used to don’t provide the same level of functionality they don’t always understand why it uses so much space. It really deserves some attention though, whether it’s the filtering or even the fact that you can add and remove software directly from it, it’s an extremely advanced menu and one of the technologies we’re the most proud of on the Mint desktop.

“In fact, one interesting addition in this release is the improvement of the main menu configuration, which includes more options and the ability to tweak the menu opacity. In my opinion, this new feature would have been a nice addition if it was only the background of the menu that got transparent, keeping icons and letters visible. At its current state the whole menu becomes transparent, which makes this feature impractical in my opinion.”

Very good point. I’ll look into that and see if we can fix it in the near future.

“Instead of pushing for tons of window theme changes or changing the window buttons location, they have kept their signature Shiki theme as default and have concentrated on providing a great and very professional set of wallpapers. I believe this piece was outsourced to a third party and the quality is there.”

Although most people customize their desktop, the default artwork is very important to us. We changed the overall look and feel with the release of Linux Mint 6, going from a black background and light widgets to a green background with black widgets. Isadora is the 3rd release using this look and feel. In the future we’d like to experiment with a metallic look & feel, but until it’s completely ready we’ll stick to this. The community often produces quality backgrounds but this time around I didn’t feel we had enough and I was interested in getting more choice. We also gathered from the previous reviews and the user feedback that people wanted unbranded backgrounds. So we outsourced the production of desktop backgrounds and since it was successful we’ll probably continue to do this for future releases.

“There is one element that I found lacking in Ubuntu 10.04 and it’s also a miss in Linux Mint 9 as well: The default icon set leaves much to be desired. When you browse those gorgeous wallpapers, set up fonts to your liking and open the good looking main menu, you can’t help but notice how bad those icons actually look! I did find a solution which seems perfectly fitting: Get the Oxigen Green refit icon theme, which feels custom made and looks awesome.”

I’m not sure I agree.. but of course this is really subjective. I’d be interested to know what people think about the icons and the theme mentioned in the review.

“I very much like how Linux Mint 9 looks overall. The screenshots included are using only default wallpapers and window themes, even Droid fonts come pre-installed.”

I’m a big fan of Android phones, but the main reason the Droid fonts are installed by default is because they allow the system to show content in a large variety of languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese..etc without requiring too much space within the CD. They’re also a great addition for Netbook users who want to customize Linux Mint on lower resolution screens.

“Luckily, the Linux Mint developers kept a cool head and decided to pass on most of the new application choices introduced by Canonical on Ubuntu 10.04. Gwibber makes it into the application catalog, but Empathy is out in favor of Pidgin.”

The only reason to include Empathy would be to gain the ability to chat on the local network. This is something that usually only interests companies and it’s also something we’re planning to implement ourselves in future releases. Giver is using Mono and it’s not actively developed, so we’re planning to write an alternative in Python and to add local network chat to it. As for the other features, according to our tests, Pidgin is simply a much better application than Empathy at the moment.

“Thunderbird continues to replace Evolution, as has been the case in previous Linux Mint releases. Unfortunately, because Linux Mint 9 is derived from Ubuntu 10.04, it also suffers from Thunderbird lacking Lightning calendar functionality.”

Thunderbird is among the most popular open-source applications in the World. It lacks compatibility with Exchange but it represents a better personal alternative than Evolution in my opinion. Linux Mint traditionally comes with the lightning extension installed by default, but since Thunderbird 3 was released the Lightning project hasn’t released a stable version yet. As far as I know it’s in BETA now and you can download it from here.

“The GIMP is in, which should be good news for those who, like me, enjoy having it as part of the default installation. PiTiVi is nowhere to be found.”

There was never any question about removing Gimp or adding PiTiVi.

“Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint includes the full OpenOffice suite (v3.2.0), which is good for those who do use Base and Draw.”

Just a quick note about OpenOffice.org-Base: It’s only installed by default on the DVD version of Linux Mint 9. If you use the CD version, it gets installed during the installation if and only if you’re connected to the Internet.

“Another application I found interesting is the graphical Hardware Analysis tool. This application apparently provides a graphical interface to the lshw command, obviously making it very easy for unexperienced users to get to that information. In fact, I think this tool can be very helpful for troubleshooting hardware problems. It even includes a “Copy to Clipboard” function, which should prove useful when trying to get help from forums or IRC channels.”

This is great tool, though it’s probably better to use “inxi” (also installed by default) to paste your specs on the forums and the IRC.

“The user administration tool also got a nice new face, which I find simple and clean. Once again, I think this is just another feature which helps positioning Linux Mint 9 as one of the easiest distros out there.”

Credits go to the Gnome project for this.

“One other area in which Linux Mint departured from Ubuntu’s ways is the management of software. Linux Mint has been using a Software Center application for years, which I think is what inspired Ubuntu to do the same.”

It’s hard to say. Canonical never communicated with us and if they did get the inspiration from us, then why didn’t they go the whole way and provide an on-line catalog as well? They’re not using our code either and in many ways they reinvented the wheel. This is still an aspect of the desktop we do better and we won’t switch to what they’re doing upstream until it provides the same level of functionality. What we did though is take a deep look at their new Software Center and we reused everything we liked about it in the new Software Manager.

“When I first tested the Software Center and the Update Manager back in Linux Mint 7, I used to think they were awfully slow. I liked the overall concept, but its performance was terrible when compared to Ubuntu’s Software management tools. I am not sure if that was related to the Linux Mint repositories lacking resources or bandwith back then, or if it was related to a design problem, but the good news is that both applications performed very well this time around. It seems that whatever the problem was, it is fixed now.”

The Update Manager has been improved with every release. The new Software Manager is a complete re-write. There’s an on-going problem with its performance though. The more reviews are contributed the longer it takes for the Software Manager to start up. We managed to significantly improve its performance between the RC and the stable release of Linux Mint 9 but we’re still working on this. The application shouldn’t only be faster to launch, it should provide a visual indication of the progress being made during the launch… either in a way similar to the Update Manager, or in a way similar to OpenOffice.org (using a splash screen).

“I was glad to see that the Chromium browser made it into the Mint repositories. The search was simple, quickly returning all related packages. I must say this is something Synaptic or the Ubuntu Software Center don’t do all that well. You often find yourself getting results which have little or nothing to do with what you were searching for, so it was a nice treat to see my search results were spot on in Mint 9. Drilling down on one of the package entries shows more information, as well as user scores, which I find particularly useful.”

The search feature in the Software Manager only shows matching package names. This makes it fast and accurate. If you’re searching for a particular keyword you can extend the search to packages descriptions and summaries using the Edit->Preference menu. This will result in a slower search but it will find more results.

“I personally had my share of issues with Linux Mint in the past. I felt that many of its customizations were actually intrusive. I was so used to configuring Ubuntu to my own taste that Mint’s own customizations felt a bit alien. This time around, though, Ubuntu 10.04 has taken such radical twist that Linux Mint 9 feels like the more familiar now. No MeMenu, no window buttons on the left, no push towards social interaction… In short, I have found myself very comfortable using Linux Mint 9. It obviously does include applications such as Gwibber, Pidgin and Thunderbird, it’s just that it does not feel like you are supposed to use them.”

Web2 is great, it looks shiny, everything’s on the cloud, accessible from anywhere, any computer or laptop, we can share things with friends and even more than before everything is completely free. It’s perfect really, and it’s extremely handy. One of the reasons it’s so useful is because the content is generated by us and all the people using it. The problem with this is that websites aren’t more popular depending on how good they are… but on how many people they managed to attract. No matter how good a website can be, if it doesn’t have a lot of users, it won’t have a lot of content, and consequently it won’t be of much interest to us. The tragic consequence of this is that we stopped to be picky… it’s not a simple matter of preferring Gnome or KDE, it’s more like moving to Jabber and  losing all your MSN friends. Web2 is great “if” you’re connected to the same major websites everyone else is using. Say some great alternative comes up, it will only start to be a great alternative when everyone else migrates to it. Of course that’s how the world works… and that’s also why most people still run Microsoft Windows. As a Linux user, even as one that actively use Google Apps, and a few Web2 services, I feel uncomfortable if these “brands”, are chosen for me. A lot of people use Facebook, and so it’s convenient for them to have it installed or linked to… yet, how annoying is that to people who don’t use Facebook? I’m not even sure some Facebook users wouldn’t be annoyed by it. That fascination for brands, which is closely associated to Web2 services, doesn’t go well with the ethos of comfort and elegance we chose to follow. There was a lot of hesitation before including Gwibber, and in the end, it was because it interacted not only with one particular service but with many of them, that it was included.

“I have also noticed a very strong effort towards making the default Look&Feel convey a good and professional quality to it. A successful effort, I have to say.”

That’s great, I’m glad about this. Some people were upset to see us spend too much time on the artwork but the attention to detail is very important and after 6 month of hard work it’s nice to complement the new features with a look & feel that makes the release look both fresh and professional.

64 Responses to “Review: The Linux Experience”

  1. paul Says:

    Good review and I agree totally on the matter of the “MeMenue” in Ubuntu 10.04. It feels like I am obligated to use these social-networking technologies. But in fact I don’t really like them.

    But I was never a great Ubuntu user myself. Mint always had the better look and feel :-)

    A minor thing I have to complain about is the auto hovering in the MintMenue. I would be happier if you switch it off by default.

  2. Clem Says:

    Paul: I wouldn’t like to switch it off by default, but there was a question of changing the default hover delay to 100ms. You’re probably aware of this but I thought I’d mention it just in case: You can disable the hover altogether in the preferences to get the menu to act the way you described.

  3. Seventh Reign Says:

    As for the Menu Transparency and the problem with words/text. I read recently that there is a new GTK Transparency method which fixes that. But its not perfect yet, and kinda glitchy. I have a very strong feeling it will be ready for Mint 10 tho.

  4. paul Says:

    @ Clem

    I am aware of disabling the hovering. But I think the out of the box experience Linux Mint offers is disturbed by that. For example if you use the MintMenue for the first time with a track pad it can get pretty annoying when you always miss a desired program.
    Maybe delaying the default hovering to 100ms would be a good idea too.

    And I wish to apologize if my comment sounded like nagging around. I really do love Linux Mint. So thanks for the great work to you Clem and the whol Mint Team.

  5. Marcin Says:

    I agree about the icon theme, it’s the first thing I change after installing Mint. The current one looks dated IMO

  6. Clem Says:

    Paul: Not at all. Criticism is how we improve, it’s extremely valuable to us, please don’t apologize…

  7. Clem Says:

    Seventh Reign: Link to the new method?

  8. Verix Says:

    I really liked your stance on this review, Clem, especially concerning the Facebook issue. It makes me feel comfortable knowing the project is conducted with such careful considerations and high degree of professionalism. However, this review seemed rushed. An OS should be used for at least a few weeks before a fair judgment can be made, since many bugs/crashes take a while to happen. In any case, congrats on this release!

  9. ekv Says:

    The way user feedback is used in Mint is the most important feature keeping in mint :)

    Reg the reviews in software manager.. Can it be limited to few useful reviews. Some reviews are just couple of letters, or something like just “this rocks” or “this sucks”. That is not a very useful review and I will be happy if I find something that is little bit more descriptive. So is there a way to screen the reviews before they appear on the product.

  10. Tim Says:

    I downloaded the mentioned icon theme. My first impression was that I didn’t like it. The Desktop icons look great, but the icons for many other things look either out of place, or just plain bad.

    However, it did grow on me. I still think that it would need a bit of work before it could be used, but its not bad.

    I believe that empathy may need to be included in future releases due to its better support for voice and video chatting on many protocols. But I do still like pidgin better.

    The new software manager is a MASSIVE improvement on the old one. I am still not happy that there is not things like forcing the version, viewing dependencies, reinstall, complete removal, etc. But I think it is now at the point where I will use it, which is brilliant.

    I still don’t like how long the software manager takes to load. I wonder if this could be improved by using vala instead of python for programming? I do understand that python is more convenient though.

    I don’t understand why it takes longer to start up if there are more reviews though. Can’t the reviews be loaded on demand? I don’t know how it works, but this sounds like a serious problem to me (because there is going to be more and more reviews!).

    Thanks for a great distro!

  11. Vincent Says:

    I checked out the icon theme recommended by the reviewer and I must say that I like it a lot more than the default theme, with the sole exception of the Firefox icon (which I quickly switched back to the original version). I don’t mind aesthetics all that much though; I think priority should be placed on an usable, bug-free system which I believe Clem and the rest of his team does a great job at trying to accomplish. :)

  12. Euthymius Says:

    I totally agree with the “web brands” approach and I believe that it goes way deeper.
    Now, I think that a practical way to increase the speed of the software manager would be to include an option for manual deactivation of comment reviews. Something like “Hide user reviews” button.

    And please stick to green!

  13. Nixnine Says:

    Well, having tried many other distros before trying mint 8 I would like to say that I have had minimal problems with mint 9. These problems are much less than what I was used to in vista. I really enjoy mint, using it and changing it to fit me. There is much freedom in the use of 9 and still new to linux I am very pleased with it. The color scheme is exceptionally calming. The menu layouts easy to navigate. Update manager, a little glitchy but likable. Welcome screen very nice and useful. Couldn’t believe someone would need something like that, but guess what . . . I do. As for the icon theme in the review, tried it. It’s okay, but still like the default better.

    Mint 9 is great. I completely moved from vista to it. No drafty windows in the house at all. Just a cool mint sensation.

  14. Rovanion Says:

    @Clement The transparancy method is known as RGBA GTK. Here is a crash course on how to get it rolling in Ubuntu 10.04 from OMGUbuntu:
    http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/02/enable-rgba-window-transparency-in.html
    And here is a wikipage on it: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopTeam/RgbaGtkWithPPA/

    And about the icon theme, it is as said very subjective, I must say that I love it and it is one of the best icon themes I have seen in my days.

  15. Adam Says:

    “In the future we’d like to experiment with a metallic look & feel, but until it’s completely ready we’ll stick to this”

    My question is, when will this be ready! I would love to see it, everyone is trying to get the “mac” look because of that metallic finish. I think having a “mint” spin on this would really rock, and attract alot of attention.

    “The Linux Mint menu is huge. In fact, on a netbook it can take more than half of the screen… we’re aware of this and we’re trying to come up with a better layout.”

    Some ideas to help with this would be keeping the same layout, but having the third “application” pane opening on the left side after hovering for say 50ms, that way that pesky 3rd panel will just overlap the “places” and “system” menu that gets used maybe 10% of the time.
    Kudos on a great release, I’m officially done with M$ now thanks to “Mint”!

  16. manny Says:

    Clem, thanks for providing to the community with an excellent OS. Also for listening when there are discrepancies like the Java issue before the release. You guys made the best decision possible to accommodate everyone.

    About the review, excellent one however, here are some points I would like commenting.

    1.- I don’t see any problems on the menu transparency, I set it at 95% and looks awesome.

    2.- I may agree about the icons, mainly the ones at the system tray, if it can be improved would be great, if not, is not essential.

    3.- I may agree about the size of the Mint Menu been too big, mainly for netbook’s small screens. I like the menu idea in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Personally I would believe that a Mint version and functionality of the Remix menu or similar would be very welcome by many. It is possible to offer either one?

    Clem, you guys are at the right path, reviews are excellent in every release. I’m just waiting for Boo to release the KDE, I have high expectations for it and I’m positive that I will be not disappointed either.

    Linux Mint really rocks!!!

    manny

  17. Dale Says:

    I think it speaks volumes about the quality of Isadora that the issues mentioned above are relatively minor and or cosmetic in nature. I have one minor issue as well. My issue has been and remains audio. While I believe pulseaudio has made progress it has been at the expense or frustration of the majority of end users. After hours of research and attempted fixes following numerous on-line guides in Helena i finally got it to where it was barely acceptable but far from ideal. I had high expectations that pulseaudio would work out of the box on a clean install of Isadora but it did not. Pulseaudio related problems remained. However, I lucked upon a guide to remove pulseaudio and instantly audio worked particularly Skype but also in wine when playing games. I am now using plain old Alsa with qamix and it was like somebody cut the chain holding Isadora back. Is there any possibilty that the Mint Team might consider breaking from the pulseaudio herd mentality and exploring other default audio options. I’m hearing alot of talk that both Alsa and OSSV4 have improved and that there are some particularly exciting developments on the OSS front. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  18. Victor Says:

    I love the elegant green! That’s how Mint caught my attention and it’s stable and great quality is a great plus too :)

  19. qa_fan99 Says:

    Clem,

    This was a very good review and I really appreciate your time in responding as it was very informative.

    Mint 9 is a true testament to all the hard work many people have put in. Can’t thank you and the rest of the contributors enough for putting such a wonderful product out for so many to enjoy. The accolades in the review are well deserved!

  20. jwoulf Says:

    I must say. The Gnome version is done quite well. I was reluctant to try gnome but now I am hooked.

  21. casagec Says:

    The thing that impresses me the most about Mint (besides the great product) is the involvement of its creator; how one gets the feeling that suggestions from the user base are read, and considered. Mint is my choice, and my recommendation to others.
    Along these lines:
    Clem: as SSDs are becoming more and more prevalent (I have two in two netbooks), would it be possible to use the 2.6.33 kernel–with SSD TRIM capability–in the next Mint version, even if Canonical doesn’t? (Or perhaps even backport it into Isadora?)
    Thanks for all your great work, and warmest regards…

  22. wmbuRn Says:

    One day linux mint will rule the world haha :)

  23. Randy Says:

    The best thing about Mint (Using since 8) is I just works! You can change the Icon’s with ease! My desktop runs a mixture of lots of different icon’s! Custom all the way!!! Good work! Gnome is stable a works great!

  24. Sol Says:

    Love the new release, it shows miles of improvement over LM8, which I also loved.

    Boot times are super fast, the artwork is amazing, the software manager is vastly improved over last time. I haven’t used the revamped backup tool, but I’m looking forward to it.

    The only thing I really agree with from the review was the default icons leaving something to be desired. One of the first moves I made was to change my icon pack.

    The only other thing I wanted to mention was about Mint menu. Seems that some people think it’s too big or cumbersome?? I think its way ahead of what other people are using, and doesn’t necessarily need to be reduced or simplified. Maybe it has more stuff in it that other menus, but it’s easy to navigate. I personally loathe the type of menu that just lists everything together, it’s a total pain to locate something. With Mint menu and it’s categories, it makes doing that simple and quick. Plus, what other system can you install or uninstall a program right from the menu? Way to go Mint Team, you should be proud of yourselves, excellent work *thumbs up* !!

  25. Cory Silva Says:

    Yeah default icons look like cartoons. Something a little more elegant would help with branding.

  26. demonGeek Says:

    I have to say that I prefer Evolution to Thunderbird. The simple fact is that for most regular users Outlook sets the standard and Thunderbird, with its lack of built-in Calendar support comes up short every time. The Lightning add-on does not integrate seamlessly and the UI clearly shows that it isn’t a part of the core product not to mention the release disparity between the two products which is ridiculous.

    In the same way that OpenOffice replaces MS Word/Excel etc., Evolution makes a very good replacement for Outlook. Thunderbird requires the user to make compromises and that’s a real stumbling block.

  27. Andrew Says:

    I don’t see why windows doesn’t deserve to be mentioned whem I’m pretty sure that it does! Most people are going to use windows as a yardstick and I know Linux people like to call it windoze etc etc but like it or not it us likely to be the dominant OS for years to come so actually does deserve a mention!!

  28. Roberto Says:

    Chema Martin’s Mint 9 Review – Good – 3 stars

    New for me:
    Linux Com’ Mint 9 Review

    http://www.linux.com/distrocentral/distronews/311675-linux-mint-9-solid-simple-shiny

  29. steve Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this review this morning, Its a good review, I love the mint menu, In fact I love mint full stop, Why? Well I tried Ubuntu but never felt at home with it, Linux mint 9 on DVD packs a punch though and as the best way to start from a newbie perspective which I must say is a job well done, If it wasn’t for the Plymouth cosmetic problem I reckon this new release would almost be perfect, Which is why Ive made my donation :)

  30. Terry Says:

    First, I think this website needs to be fixed. It says cory silva posted at 6:20 am, and it’s 1:16am where I am, the post time should be modified by local time(I am not a web page developer, I’m not a pro on webpages, hell, I’ve never even made one, but seriously, is it that hard? to do that) . I know, whine whine whine… just thought I would mention it.

    Also, thanks for the “use the current driver” option in the Hardware Drivers section, although I am assuming that credit goes to canonical.

    Now to the important issue, DALE IS RIGHT!!!!!! Also/OSS should be alternatives, and it should not be so annoying to pick one or the other. Frankly, every time I install linux, it seems like I have one audio issue or another. I spend 90% of my time fixing audio problems, and usually the fix is switching to OSS or Alsa. This change should be easier. I really wish the ubuntu or mint community would give a ‘multiple choice’ setup to the audio. “check 1 for alsa, check 2 for pulseaudio, check 3 for OSS.” Every time I have had seriously annoying issues in linux, it has been audio or web page browsing issues. and as far as the web pages go, this is easily fixed by using a vbox and using windows firefox/IE. I use some pretty advanced security websites, that will never be fixed in linux untill oracle get’s off their butts, like the Siebel Portals, so I don’t complain, I just vbox it. But as far as audio issues are concerned, I really expect my sound to work. When it doesn’t I am almost tempted to dualboot into windows, but instead I usually find myself spending a few hours or a day “fixing” my linux mint by switching to Alsa or OSS. I am not an audio nut or anything, I just play a few games, use Ventrilio for group chats with friends, and I would like to respectfully DEMAND[while concurrently begging on my knees at your mercy] that you make the switch from alsa-pulse-oss easier. If nothing else, it gives a way for the beginner or even the advanced a chance to test other sound setups and see if the problem is their hardware or if maybe alsa/pulse/oss is the problem.

  31. oscar799 Says:

    A good review overall.
    The criticisms seem to be about cosmetic issues.
    There is a lot of good information available about customising Mint’s appearance.If a new user has questions about changing things or needs help with it they can ask on the Forum or in the IRC channels and more experienced users will assist.

  32. m1ch4el Says:

    New release looks very promising, I never liked the look&feel of LM8 :)

  33. Terry Says:

    Sorry to make a second post, for one, I can’t edit my posts[again a complain on the site, not your developers] . and second, I didn’t really read the whole review, mainly skimmed through it. I have read it all now, and it’s even more upsetting. You mention not wanting branding, yet you stick to only one alternative for audio. once again, I ask that you make oss and alsa options, not struggles. If you don’t want to be branded by one choice, then why offer only one choice for audio and require effort (painstaking effort if your new to linux or not used to major system changes-as many of my friends and co-workers are] simply to try out alternatives. I realize there are no other acceptable alternatives for some things, like grub2 is really the only option for a bootloader as nobody has come close to the options and abilities of it, lilo and other alternatives have become stale. On the other hand, Alsa and OSS are still live and kicking, but not easily switched between eachother. Please “fix” this. I have 17 computers at my workplace, and I can’t believe the trouble I go through fixing audio problems while everything else seems to work perfectly out of the box and long term. The one issue that always get’s me and my co-workers stumped is the audio, and as I said before, all it takes is (much) time to fix.

  34. Lermont Says:

    Desktop icons are not elegant. Gnome is stable and has great HIG (not like KDE), but it looks like Windows 98. I know, some things, like slow window-rendering in X.org you can`t fix, but you can make distro more elegant and modern-looking, like Mac OS X or OpenGEU. Sorry, I like Mint very much, but the icon pack in OpenSeuse is much more preatty. And about green color, it is true too: it will be more elegant and preatty, if you`ll use some other colors, not only green and black. The secondary colors, like gray, orange or some orher, some transparency in default (know, compiz require proprietary nvidia driver for effects, but if it is better, the is no sense to use open-source driver now as default) and modern 3d-like (web 2.0-like) ikons will make Mint look more modern.

    P.S. Sorry for my English, it is not my native language. Thank for great work! Good luck!

  35. GoustiFruit Says:

    - About the bottom panel, there are two glitches: first, it seems that the default theme draws a shadows under it but being located at the bottom of the screen, we don’t see it and the panel looks flater than it would if it was on top. Second, the “wireless notification bubble” pops at the top right of the screen and so looks “disconnected” from the panel which provides a bad visual feedback.
    - MintMenu: I don’t care the size, it could even cover the entire screen, what’s the problem ? It is not meant to be opened all the time, only when needed. And MintMenu is my favorite launcher, hands down.
    - I like the default icon theme. Could be better but at least it is quite complete, contrary to most others.
    - Giver potentially being written in Python instead of Mono: I fully agree, I’ve been wondering for long why you did write most of your tools in Python but made some exceptions for that *stupid* Mono framework ! You should really remove all those unnecessary Mono apps.
    - Ubuntu legacy: alas my favorite newsreader, Pan, is still the version provided by Ubuntu, buggy and untranslated. It has been patched for years on others distributions, Ubuntu (and Mint consequently) ignores it.

  36. tomas Says:

    Imho, current icons are better because they suite better for gnome desktop (most gtk applications use Tango icons).
    Anyway, I think you should try “Elegance” tango icon theme too -> http://mejogid.ohallwebservices.com/site/index.php?q=node/18
    The Tango generator -> http://linux.softpedia.com/get/Desktop-Environment/Tools/Tango-Generator-34035.shtml

  37. tdockery97 Says:

    I have been using Isadora since the RC release date, and am very pleased. It does not seem to be as buggy as Helena was, imo. Regarding Mint Menu, it is one of my favorite features of Mint. Much more pleasing to use than other distros I have tried. Theme is good also. The only thing I changed was wallpaper. I love Pidgin as my instant messenger. It has just the right amount of functionality and is not bloated like Yahoo! Messenger. The thing I was most pleased with when I first booted Mint 9 was that the sound on my HP laptop worked in both the headphones and the speakers. In Mint 8 I had to edit alsa-base.conf to get speaker sound. I don’t know if it is set that way by default or if the install set it based on my audio, but it will make a lot of HP owners happy when they try Mint. I look forward to many years of Mint getting better and better. Good job!

  38. Malisha Says:

    I’m a bit confused: reviewer says he used default theme in screenshots, yet it’s not what I had by default on my stable release? :/

  39. GoustiFruit Says:

    By the way, where is wallpaper-tray ??? Now one need to install Mono to get the same functionality, for such a small feature :-\

  40. Mik Says:

    Just a thought, why dont you auction off the name of the next build of Mint, (just make sure that companies names such as mcdonalds or ford cannot be used) for example I would be quite willing to pay $500.00 to have the name “Shaylyn”. I am sure other people would be willing to pay a lot more. By the way “Shaylyn” is my daughters name. this way the Mint crew get some needed funding.

  41. Ricardo Says:

    I still think that the most troubling issue in the ecosystem of Linux Mint, Ubuntu and others, is Openoffice.org. It gets really hard to work professionally with people that only use documents generated in Office 2007. The full compatibility is yet to be accomplished.
    And web apps like google docs, zoho, etc, still don’t get the job right.

  42. Cardin Says:

    I’m a newcomer to the Linux world, before Mint I’d used Ubuntu for 1 day, before I got annoyed with it and thought it the end of my Linux forays.

    Now I’m regularly booting into Mint for all of my Web surfing needs, and find it refreshingly Minty!

    Awesome work on Mint! I’ll definitely advocate it to anyone I see sitting on the Linux fence. =)

  43. zaphodb Says:

    @clem and other devs: thanks again for this wonderful distro, i use Mint since Bea…

    mentioned theme is no way better (imho), default is OK, everyone can change the desktop to his liking, so not that a big point…

    @Mik: nice idea, but next version should begin with “J” i think…
    so i would start the auction with Linux Mint “Jule” (my daughter) for 1€!!! :-)
    or I wait til “L”, then i would propose “Lea” and ofcource my favorite “Linux Mint Linus” (my other daughter and my son)
    but all of them doesnt sound that cool :-(

  44. Matt Says:

    Ricardo,
    _FULL_ compatibility will likely never be achieved since OpenOffice is always playing catch up with every ms release. If you need to use office, use virtualization technology such as VirtualBox, Parallels or vmWare. Virtualbox works well.

  45. BK Singh Says:

    The issue of AverMedia AverTV Super 007 M135A Pure Analog PCI card driver and support has not been provided in Linux Mint 9 also. It had been one of my biggest concerns in Ubuntu 9.10, 10.04 and now it’s again in Linux Mint 9 desktop amd64. Kindly provide some special support to AverMedia AverTV Super 007 M135A Pure Analog PCI card so that users like me can watch Analog TV and listen to FM using this device in Linux Mint. The manufacturers replied in a query that they provide driver and user interface software and support for Windows only and not for linux. Is there any way out by linux community? I’m a new user and don’t have much idea about all these kinds of technicalities. Please do suggest something positively if possible.

  46. Ricardo Says:

    @Matt Thanks for your comments.The last time I tried office 2007 in linux was with Wine.I’ll try with virtualbox and see if it works better.

    I really think that office suites have been neglected over OS’s.We don´t have a really good alternative for linux. Lotus symphony and Go-oo aren’t that good either.

  47. Stormtamer Says:

    i agree with most issues rewarding the new release.
    But there are a lot more compatibility-issues like for example “Inkscape”
    that does not load windows inkscape svg-files!?!

    How about focussing comp-layer?

  48. Stormtamer Says:

    adding: Saved svg-files do not render correctly
    and do not preserve page-Layout from MS under Linux!
    Same to openOffice.org Calc within its former Layout.

  49. Gabor Laszlo Says:

    I’ve been using Mandriva for the past few years, and set up a Mint8 alongside it when it came out, and now am in the process of migrating over completely to Mint9 on my new PC. My main reasons were my preference for Debian, and the friendly and simple UI, but as I settle in I have a few minor grumbles to share:
    - The Control panel feels less well-organized than that of Mandriva, specially the hardware handling and the user management. And I miss a partition manager – installing GParted is easy, but not having it by default seems an odd decision.
    - Speaking of odd decisions, no ntp installed by default?
    - Not having a Nautilus launcher feels odd, but having the Places on the Menu kindof makes up for it. But then I’d like my Bookmarks on the Menu as well… Anyway, fixable with minimal tinkering. And talking of Bookmarks, is it possible to insert more separators in the list? Also, how do I replace the path selector with a location entry field in Nautilus? I know, Go-> Location/Ctrl-L works, but still.
    I feel like Homer Simpson breaking in a new couch. “Marge, get me a beer, this will take a while!” :)

    All things considered, 960 stars out of 1024 :D

  50. Boris Says:

    Help… i cant find the driver printer canon pixma ip 1800

    thnx

  51. silicon_avatar Says:

    This is the first Linux install I’ve used that I actually like and will continue to use. I’ve been trying different ones on and off for over ten years now.

  52. sean Says:

    The icons are terrible? I hadn’t noticed – they’re icons. If they’re that ugly to someone, they aren’t that hard to change. I like the green, it is a sort of identity for Mint, and something else easy enough to change.

    Not a bad review (if this covered most of it, I did not follow the link to it), but it seems to focus entirely on the look of things. Yes, the menu is great, and one of Mint’s best features, as is the software manager, but there is more than that. What about the backup tool? It’s brilliant. And the “completeness” of codecs, etc. that Ubuntu doesn’t or can’t offer? Mint 9 is the best OS I have used, no doubt, and Mint is the first OS I can say I’ve actually liked, ever.

  53. Andy MSE Says:

    I always like the Mint’s codename… beautiful…
    http://andy.web.id/dari-kassandra-sampai-ke-escrava-isaura.php

  54. ancientrussian Says:

    As astrologer, i can say, that GREEN is the color of Mercury, the planet that gives intellectual abilities, logical mind and rational thinking, so the authors made a Great Choice for color. ;)

  55. ~sahil~nemisis Says:

    i switched to linux (ubuntu) on expereimenting purpose and trveled though fedora,sabayon but mint won my heart!!!mint 9 is too gud but the startup process looked little buggy…
    M LOVEING TO SEE LINUX IMPROVING IN SUCH A ACCELERATING POINT…

    HOPE CEDEGA improves and games benchmark cope up benchmark with windows soon….nightmares for MY-CROW-SOFT IS COOMING SOON

  56. ~sahil~nemisis Says:

    Y LINUX NOT DEVELOPING A REFERENCE STANDARD FOR AUDIO AND SOUND????
    X11 IS POPULAR ENUF SO NO PROBLEM ABT DAT BUT AUDIO???
    PHONON,ALSA,ETC????Y DARES A NO STANDARD..??GNU AND FOSS SUD THINK ABT IT.NO GAME DEVELOPER WANA APPROCH COZ OF DIS.DO REPLY IN MY EMAIL
    sahilshinesalways@gmail.com

  57. Jason Paisley Says:

    Mint is still the version i refer my dontknowanythingelsebutwindows customers to over Ubuntu although Ubuntu is more popular Mint takes the best of Ubuntu and makes it better. Vista has converted more people to LINUX than anything else since ME..no not Windows ME i mean ME..Jason.

    It’s called LINUX Mint what color would anyone expect you to use? Magenta? I just switched from 8 which i adored to 9 which i am taking a pagan lust towards…we’ll see if it keeps my obsession.

    Had i the millions i’d make ya commercials so the MS zombies all across the US would hear the LINUX gospel. Then get pissed because they have to learn a couple of new things.

  58. Frits Says:

    The Mint team deserves a good review because Mint rocks!

    I use 3 different Mint versions on different computers and they just do their work perfectly.

    Unfortunately the Lucid base in Isadora is giving me a problem with using wireless on my Asus 1000H. I hope Clem and his team will be able to solve this before the Ubuntu team does. Then Isadora will run on my Asus netbook as good as Helena does now.

    Look forward to it and Clem and team: Congratulations!

  59. pkoz Says:

    Personally, green is one of my favorite colors, and is such a nice break from the BizDevBlue that exists everywhere else (excepting Canonical’s dubious aesthetic). Please Keep the Green!

    I’ve been happily using Mint on an aging laptop for almost a year now, and love the near-complete array of applications and codecs that makes installation so much easier than standard Ubuntu or other distros. Mozilla doesn’t have an AMD64 port for Lightning, though, so I have to continue using Evolution for it’s calendaring and contact features. The ultimate usability test will be migrating my parents onto it now that their WinXP machine has died, so this should provide some interesting insights.

    I’m very grateful and happy with the work and design considerations the Mint team has put together. If I could make 2 requests, though, it would be to make the XFCE port green also (and prioritize releases to coincide closer to standard Mint, if possible), and find a way to simplify icon and window border handling. The default choices for creating a new launcher are abysmal, and I’ve burned more time than I care to admit manually digging through directories or wandering around gnome-look for themes, when I should have been doing more important things. While I do like the default theme (especially the wallpapers), sometimes it’s nice to mix things up a bit, and the current system (metacity?) makes it too cumbersome. It’s the paradox of too much control, I suppose.

    Anyway, great work everyone (*chapeau*), and aside from the obvious support here, I’m noticing some download sites recognizing Mint as a distinct distro, so it seems Mint is gaining more mainstream recognition and credibility as well.

    thanks again!

  60. rodrigian Says:

    the problem with the software manager is that as it has to load all the new data it takes too much. Personally i think that the text reviews should be taken out. First, they take a lot of bandwith to mantain, and then they are NOT localized, so they give the software manager a very unprofessional look. Another solution could be to be able to hide the text reviews.

    Besides that I think that the app is great and way better than Ubuntu’s software manager

    PD: icons should be implemented as they were in the gnome add remove app!!

  61. FlamingLemon Says:

    I’ve been using Mint since Felicia. But I must admit I’ve been a little lazy lately. I have Ubuntu 10 on my laptop, and it works fine. But now that I’ve read all the goodness that Isadora has to offer, I just have to install it now!

    See you, Lucid.

  62. Bruce R Says:

    You can only please all of the people some of the time, but I think that the Isadora release is close to pleasing most of the people most of the time, which is outstanding in the field of software, in my experience. I think that this is largely down to carefully including more than one way of doing things in a conservative way. For example, I’m not a lover of Terminal CLI, but can use it when needed, like scanning for sensors or tweaking Legacy GRUB Reversion, and I don’t miss the old Software Center, preferring the new Manager, but the Package Manager is still my favourite, very fast package customisation tool.
    Whilst appreciating the careful inclusion of plugins etc in the ’760M DVDs’ that make the addition of my favourite packages so very easy, I have become even more appreciative of the then customised product. Thoroughly enjoying its fast start/shutdown I have been very impressed by how it lets me do what I want to, when I want to, like running my preferred Exaile Jukebox on one virtual desktop with track changes appearing across desktops and being able to flip between Internet browsing and editing on other desktops, all whilst on yet another desktop ‘transcoding’ is going on without interruption, with only the new small shield discretely informing me of Update activity, not Demanding my attention and very rarely needing a Restart. All a far cry from another system on the same PC !
    If I were to be critical it would probably be about the Ubuntu-inherited installation process, that is still far from clear for the timid or new user, but in my opinion that could be very much improved for Mint in its User Guide/manual, with more words and screen-pics about the alternative methods ?
    However, all in all, I am very well pleased, thank you very much guys.

  63. Bruce R Says:

    Sorry, just have to add that, using the 32-bit ‘DVD’ as source, it’s a brilliant match with LiLi2.4, for ‘persistant Isadora’ on an 8GB or 16GB USB2 stick, leaving room for quite a lot of ‘unseen by Windows’ files in an extended partition logical drive. It’s proving to be a popular gadget and tool, particularly when some other packages are added from the repository !

  64. uiri Says:

    You know, I run Linux Mint 9 on a laptop with a decent sized screen and the mint menu never seemed to be very big to me. Using my fingers to compare it’s size with the amount of room above it on the screen and it was definitely taking up more than half of the screen vertically and about half of the screen horizontally. Never bothered me though, so I don’t see a problem. When I’m using the menu it’s only when I’m looking for something so I’m not too concerned with what else is going on on the screen. (Not advocating a fullscreen menu though :P )


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