Mint 7 Review: tech-no-media

Written by Clem on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 @ 2:13 pm | Main Topics

Gloria was reviewed by Erlik from tech-no-media:

http://www.tech-no-media.com/2009/06/taking-gloria-out-for-spin-review-of.html

Happy reading everyone.

Comments:

Erlik wrote: “after about a minute I am in front of a very nicely designed login prompt with a 10 second countdown to login. Maybe they should have made the CD autologin faster, as the wait could worry newbies.

–> This autologin usually happens fast and in the background so most people don’t see it. On slower machines the login process isn’t fast enough and GDM has enough time for you to see the prompt. It’s a minor annoyance that we should get fixed upstream.

Erlik wrote: “No network connection however. I have a look in the start menu for help: the menu is very Windows like and the control center easily accessible. The hardware driver applet tells me that I will need to download a legacy driver for my Broadcom wireless adapter.I am not too surprised as I know from my old Mint 3.0 installation that this adapter is badly supported on Linux.

–> Broadcom wireless chipsets have always been troublesome. The Hardware Drivers application is designed to pop up 60 seconds after you’ve logged in. It’s an upstream application so I’d have to check in the code to make sure it’s designed to start automatically on the live session as well.

Erlik wrote: “There is a welcome screen waiting for me: I am offered the option to see the new features of Linux Mint 7.0, download a pdf manual or visit the Linux Mint forums. These are very good starting points for users new to Linux.

–> We got some feedback from a review made on Linux Mint 6. The review was extremely positive but the reviewer was confused by mintAssistant and found it disturbing to be asked about a root password and the activation of fortunes in the terminal. He had a point and we decided to throw mintAssistant in the bin and to start with a new application. MintWelcome doesn’t try to mix everything, it just welcomes new users. A lot of people were unaware of the User Guide, the Release Notes or even the new features so such an application was needed. As for the root password and the fortunes in the terminal, they had to be implemented in a different way. Fortunes are activated by default and we’re planning to patch the Ubiquity installer in the future to ask the user whether to disable them or not (probably in the “advanced” section, or in a new “options” section). The root password is activated by default and set to be the same as your own password. For this as well we’re thinking of patching the Ubiquity installer.

Erlik wrote: “There is also a message appearing on the screen to tell me that a new restricted driver is available.The driver applet is also present in the system tray, just where a Windows user would expect to find it. I click on this driver applet and the missing wireless driver is flagged for my attention. I click activate, enter my password and the missing driver is installed automatically. I enter my wireless access point name, disable and enable networking and then I am connected through Wifi: all my hardware works! I tried to suspend and wake up the machine and this worked flawlessly too.

–> Credits go to Ubuntu on this one. They designed the hardware drivers application and made it extremely easy for people with exotic hardware to get the proper drivers installed on their machine.

Erlik wrote: “The first thing that strikes you when starting Linux Mint 7.0 is how the design is polished. Not only is the theme and wallpaper superb, but everything seems to be just where someone straight out of the Windows world would expect it to be. Although this is no Windows copycat, it is much easier to get used to immediately than Ubuntu.

–> The look and feel was built around a popular theme called “Shiki” and the “Mint Dew” wallpaper made by Zwopper one of the artists from the Linux Mint community. There is no intent to make Linux Mint look like Windows but we also use ideas and copy them from other operating systems when they seem good to us, no matter where they come from. Ease of use is important to us and I think it’s important to Ubuntu as well. In my opinion, both distributions make an easier desktop to use and maintain than Microsoft Windows.

Erlik wrote: “One thing that is very different from Ubuntu is the start menu: it looks like an improved version of Windows start menu. On the left pane you have shortcuts to important places like your home folder, the software installation applet, control center, command line (terminal) and quit button. On the right pane you have either your favorite applications or a start menu. This is a good design decision, as it allows users that just want to surf, email and play music to do that without having to search for the proper application, but at the same time all the other applications are only a button away.

–> The concept behind the Linux Mint menu is for the user to be able to perform as many tasks as possible (both simple and advanced) in the most confortable and trivial ways. It’s not only geared towards novice users but also towards experienced ones. From the menu you can launch applications of course but you can also remove them, search for or install new ones, set them to run automatically when you log in… etc. Initially mintMenu was a fork of a project called USP which itself was inspired by SUSE’s Slab menu. Windows also has an advanced menu, particularly since the release of Vista, and although it shares similar features with mintMenu (filtering for instance) it’s extremely different in both its layout, what it lets the user achieve and how one can interact with it.

Erlik wrote: “Given how good Linux Mint is why would you install anything else? Well, there are a few caveat. First Linux Mint does not have a big support corporation behind it like Ubuntu. This means that it is more difficult to purchase paid support and that there is no software shop where you can purchase commercial applications like PowerDVD for Linux.

–> This is very true. In brief, Linux Mint is still a very small project and it lacks the resources and structure necessary to offer adequate paid support. In comparison to Ubuntu, Linux Mint cannot support big corporations. We also recently stopped to offer paid support to small companies and individuals as our current structure wasn’t fitted for this activity and we could not guarantee satisfying response times.

Erlik wrote: “The second point is that there is no “one click upgrade” option right now, although I think that the Mint developers are working on a solution for that.

–> Well, I both agree and disagree on this. First, let me agree on the fact that upgrading Ubuntu isn’t only easy it’s actually trivial. Upgrading Linux Mint is easy as well, we’ve got a graphical upgrader for that, and although it goes through a few more steps than its Ubuntu equivalent, it does the job. What’s important though, is that upgrading a system like Ubuntu or Linux Mint is risky and that users who aren’t experienced with APT, Xorg, kernel modules and so on can end up with a broken system that they’re unable to fix. In that regard both Ubuntu and Linux Mint need to work on the issue as it’s not enough to make the upgrade path easy, the risk has to be communicated to the user and proper workarounds, restoration paths, “plan B”s, or whatever will make this operation 100% safe will have to be implemented.

Erlik wrote: “The Final point is that the inclusion of multimedia codecs in the main edition could bring some users into legal a gray area in some countries, however a version of Mint without the codecs, the universal edition, is also available for those users.

–> The choice is made by the user at download time instead of post-installation as it is the case in Ubuntu.

Erlik wrote: “If Linux Mint continues to provide such high quality releases I may well switch back from Ubuntu by the time of the next Long Term Support release.

–> We’ll sure try :)

28 Responses to “Mint 7 Review: tech-no-media”

  1. BuffaloBill Says:

    Linux Mint 10 will finally pwn Windows!

  2. Leandro Says:

    Awesome! Mint is the best Linux ever for me!

  3. Lantesh Says:

    Nice review. I think the author is a little to focused on comparing Mint to Windows, but then again a lot of readers will appreciate that. It’s nice to see Mint receiving such a positive review.

  4. Kei Says:

    I agree with Lantesh.
    The author keeps comparing Linux Mint with Windows. But I agree with most of the review.

    I just think that Linux and Windows are two VERY different OS.

  5. Bruce R Says:

    Mint simply keeps getting better, as confirmed by the review. In My Opinion it’s the most newbie-friendly distro for former Windows users, so the review stance seems fair, whilst the responses are illuminating.

  6. Snardley Says:

    I’ve been a UNIX programmer since the early seventies for the US Government, so I know linux fairly well. I tried over fifty different linux installs, going between rpm and deb based os’s before settling on Linux Mint.

    Linux Mint is Ubuntu on Steroids! It’s easy enough for my mother and grandmother to use yet powerful enough to satisfy all my technical needs and wants.

    In my humble opinion Linux Mint/Ubuntu/Debian is the only way to go and Linux Mint is my preferred distro of choice.

    If you’re going to switch over from Windows save yourself the time and effort of trying all the other linux OS distro’s and start with Linux Mint, you won’t regret it! I certainly have fallen in love with Linux Mint, the more I use it, the more I learn it the more I learn how great it is.

    Switch to Linux Mint today and you’ll never look back to windows or any other linux distro again!

  7. Radimir Says:

    There is nothing wrong in comparing LinuxMint with Windows, because – as we all know that, whether we like it or not – 90% of computers that are on the planet have a Microsoft operating system.

    Most of the newbies come from that environment and one of the greatest difficulties we have to know the GNU / Linux distros is, indeed, have no reference points that guide us in an intuitive way, and – Sorry, it is true! – have to face a community that sometimes behaves like a secret society nothing communicative and little amiable with newcomers.

    Windows has set a vision of things that we can not avoid ( ask ourselves: Why LinuxMint desktop menu to the left, why not right side? ;) ), and in some items, it is more advantageous to the user that nothing knows.

    LinuxMint, as posed, is the kindest bridge between the worlds of Microsoft and Free Software, because – undoubtedly – is a distro that shows the best of both territories. This advantage should not be missed because that gives it the popularity it already has and maintains.

  8. Ronald Says:

    I always have problems with my Broadcom drivers with others distros, even one of my favorites Mandriva, but Ubuntu, and of course Mint, always seem to get it right :D . I personally love Gloria. I used Mint 5, can’t remember the name, and I loved it but since I wanted to learn more about Linux I switched to Arch. Now I want to spent more time working than configuring my system so I turned to Mint. And I was amazed.

    And comparisons always happen wheter it is OS X agains Windows or Linux agains Windows, etc. I think that Mint is suitable for a Windows user, my brother got used to it pretty quickly with little problems. I like the direction Mint is taking and right now I think it provides a more user friendly out of the box experience for new users

  9. Dmitri Says:

    I didn’t quite like the review. It’s positive but the author forgets to mention all the juicy stuff. And comparing it to Windows and Ubuntu is just lame. It of course gives us an opportunity to understand and appreciate that Mint is a great OS and very easy to use. But one very good point made by Kei is that Windows and Linux are VERY different. I think Linux has more to offer. Microsoft are doing all it can to get more people useing its OS. I think Linux community should not follow this example. It is alredy as easy to use as possible and I have a few people barely introduced to personal computers (like senior age people) and they find Mint easier than Windows (XP or Vista). I think now is a good time to take another path in Linux development and particurarly in growing Mint and that path is making it better than it is and not than others are. Linux like features should be highlighted whilst ease of use maintained. Clem mentioned that the MintMenu is different and more robust than the Vista menu. I personally do not use the menu at all. I bind all keys and use Do and I think novice users should be made more aware of different ways that would allow them to do that. Most computer literate people are so limited in by the Windows world it’s hard for them to grasp the possibility of changing everything and anything in your system to suit your needs. They don’t think they can do it therefore they don’t even search for ways of doing it. And that may make the development of such mechanisms slower. I suppose we should encourage people to find new ways of interaction with the system, which in turn would produce more interesting ideas and solutions.

    Dmitri

  10. JK Says:

    I think the more reviews we get that wean the fearful masses of Windows users towards adopting a modern OS like Linux, the better. And of course IMHO, LinuxMint is an excellent release for those not wanting to recompile half their OS to get it working. The average user is not a CS graduate. Outside of work most people I meet have a computer for email and are scared of the thing. And even though I am in (database and *nix) programming, I DO NOT go fiddling in my OS. I might customize the look and feel, through supplied utilities, but will not go rewrite or recompile. I expect that work to have been completed before it shipped. LinuxMint does that.

    I have another concern – moving from Felicia to Gloria (Unbuntu 8.x to 9.x) only “buys” another 6 months supported status. This is driven from outside by Ubuntu and isn’t something LinuxMint can control. Updating the whole OS every 6 months to gain another 6 months on the support window?

    I have to wait for the XFCE edition anyway as I’m running on a couple of old machines. Besides, it runs very smoothly on my newer machine, leaving more resources for things that matter, like application data.

  11. Neff Says:

    This is my first time using Linux Mint. I switched from ubuntu, which I was using since 6.06 release. As you can imagine I’m not a newbie anymore but after having used many other distros, I decided that I finally wanted a distro to actually WORK and produce content rather than spending most of my time fixing things, trying new ones, installing codecs etc. Mint is just ready to go. You install it and in less than half an hour you can fully work and produce.
    The interface itself doesn’t require a lot of work to make it comfortable. I’ve been using Gloria for a month (I think) right now and i never changed the default theme. It’s just perfect to work and produce things. Gloria features other great mini apps like mintupload (which is IMHO one app that really do the difference in everyday life) and the MintMenu. The only thing I’m missing from ubuntu is the “resources” menu with all my bookmarks ready to go, but still it’s not a big issue. Fortunes in terminal where annoying at the beginning but now I’m really loving them :) .

    I think Mint is just the best distro out there for someone who’s looking for an operating system ready to go. If you are newbie you like Mint because it’s easy to use. If you’re an experienced user you like it because it’s ready to go and you can be on and working in no time, with some extra features ubuntu doesn’t have.

    Congratulations Clem, Mint is really the best distro I ever used. (It will be perfect with a little addition in the mint menu for the resources…)

  12. griffeth Says:

    The author does compare Mint to Windows a lot, but I personally see nothing wrong with that, as a Windows user considering Linux would want to see something like that.

    As many people have said, Windows and Linux are very different pieces of software with different goals. I agree with this. But to the end user, it’s worthwhile to compare them, I think, simply because they are different.

    You’re putting a lot of effort, it seems, into making it easy for people to upgrade their Linux Mint, among other things. But what about the many users of the Community Editions? Will these cool features also be available to them?

  13. Nooblar Says:

    I’ve found myself suggesting LinuxMint to more and more people these days.. You guys have created a brilliant, user-friendly and intuitive desktop that is extremely powerful yet beautifully simplistic. Awesome!

    Regarding Dmitri’s post: I agree that certain linux & oss capabilities should be introduced to new users so that they at least know it’s an option (ie. GnomeDo) – but that’s about it. It is counter-productive to expect users to learn radically new things – letting a familiarity with Windows benefit Mint users and vice-versa is a great thing. It’s better to cater to a consistent, cross-platform set of skills, techniques and hotkeys than to push a “proprietary” workflow. It’s already annoying enough to switch between Windows and Mac. Of course, since GnomeDo is taking up system resources users should definitely be alerted to what it is and how to use it. Mint IS making itself better with every update, yet it isn’t so caught up in itself that it ignores the conventions and innovations of the rest of the world.

    Clem, thanks for posting responses to Reviews – it is really informative. So happy to hear that the Broadcom wireless driver installation has improved! That was the main reason I chickened out last night when I was about to upgrade my friend’s Mint 5 install.

  14. griffeth Says:

    Regarding Nooblar’s post: Yes, I believe that mintWelcome should tell users about Gnome Do. But the KDE edition’s mintWelcome should tell users about the KDE equivalent, KRunner.

  15. nebcanuck Says:

    Regarding the fortunes and Root password:

    Although it wouldn’t hurt to include in Ubiquity, what about simply adding the options to Mint Desktop? It would seem a logical place to find it, and surely it would be an easy enough patch? Simple enough that I would gladly give the time, if I had an ounce of knowledge about programming!

  16. Clem Says:

    Nebcanuck: That’s another possibility. The reason I prefer Ubiquity is because mintDesktop has only been running in user mode so far and that these settings are usually set once and then forgotten.. having said that, it would be easy to add a root mode section to mintDesktop and place these kinds of settings.

  17. Khalid Says:

    Hello there,
    Well I have to say that I started to use mint since the previous edition and I was impressed already.
    Got a lot of experinece with Ubuntu, Mepis and Sabayon.
    Which I normally use.
    Though Sabayon was always my favorite coz most things just work in 64bit as in 32bit I have to admit that mint totally put all the operatin systems in the shadow coz it’s just simply works and you don’t have to doctor a lot around.Important really for newbies.
    Also the user interface and menu is very user friendly and easy to navigate.
    Ubuntu, I’m sorry to say to many ubuntu fans is not very user friendly and many things are just totally complicated.
    Easy things like installing skype or lol just to get kopete to work with a cam is a nighmare. Not for me but for somebody who just starts to use it.
    And flash application run sooo slow on ubuntu lol until you get the idea to switch to uax.Lol which newbee would come on that idea?
    Also setting up things to watch videos and many other little things, all the time have to look around.
    Now Simplymepis lol it’s not bad but a lot of things just aren’t as simple as the operating system says.
    Like setting up some wireless drivers or my god help me just to get virtualbox to work.
    Sabayon whohoo really cool but such a lot of things in it what you really don’t need to include. Really impressed with many things on sabayon but it’s not for low end systems at all.
    In between I tried pclinuxos which looked very promising at the beginning but lol with every edition it seems to get worse and not good to install on laptops.
    And than Mint came out of nowhere!
    From the first day i was surprised and stayed happy tuned.
    Switched all my computers to mint now!!!
    Absolutely perfect and easy to use.
    Running windows on virtualbox seemless and hey everything works.
    Like the mintinstall. Really cool!!
    Juyst a little tuning like come oon it’s not important to have all this graphical stuff.
    Switched it all off. but all in all I can’t complain.

    GOOD JOB!!!

  18. nebcanuck Says:

    Makes sense about the root mode. Surely you wouldn’t need to have mintdesktop run in root to turn off and on the fortunes, though. And really, there’s already a graphical way to turn on and off the root password if you ever want to change it. It’s just a pain to tell new users that they have to edit configuration files to turn on and off the fortunes if they want to change it!

  19. rijnsma Says:

    An Operating System is there to help and support you. You don’t have to help the OS. It has to run all application smoothly, easy en fast enough. This has to be not a concern to you. That’s not your job. With a fine OS you don’t notice the system at all. It has to be as if it is not there.
    Searching new applications must not be like hell. It must be fun to search and install (and delete) as many times an as much you like. Easy and comfortable.
    And when you like it or when it is your hobby you must also be able to do things in the machineroom the old way (by console).

    This is what Mint is all about. It’s the finest Operating System around I noticed after several others. When you prefer: it costs you nothing (although it is possible to donate), virtually free of virusses and you can opdate Mint frequently.
    There a huge (the largest) amount of Ubuntu and Debian software and there’s a very nice, friendly forum for help. Mint is the best OS around these days!

  20. Darcy Dunbar Says:

    Finally, after having so many problems with Vista, I decided to go Linux. Mint 7 Gloria is the most polished and friendly Linux and I continue to be impressed. My PC flies compared with Vista and feels like a sports car compared with a truck! No more running half a dozen applications to try to keep my computer clean and safe.

    I have been playing with Linux for over 10 years and this is the first time I have used it on my main PC for critical work. I was very impressed with the ease of installing the couple of Windows apps I still need, using Wine and Wine Doors.

    Congratulations to all concerned!

  21. Afraca Says:

    Sorry I’m not able to put it in so much words, but I liked the review. It’s positive, and I’m (extremely) positive (and quite new to Linux), so we’re on the same satisfaction level. Linux Mint is both a technical masterpiece (stable, not too heavy) (ok, maybe not that much tech-customizable (?) as other tech-based-distros) and a user-friendly masterpiece.

  22. brad972 Says:

    I hadn’t tried Mint in awhile but must say that this new release, Gloria is much better than Ubuntu in so many way. More attractive, simpler to use…

    More importantly, being able to sign as root makes it more usable for more advanced users ie; setting up and managing an Apache server.

    Thanks for the nice work to the Linux Mint team!

    On my old Dell test machine, everything worked out of the box, sound, video, ethernet etc…

  23. Mar Says:

    Windows is crap! Linux is the best.

  24. thomas57 Says:

    Well I have moved to mint from vista… no dual booting
    any more Yeh
    I use my” must have win progs”, chief architect and dream-weaver
    to the” easy to install” virtuallbox environment running vista and everything is brilliant
    I highly recommend this distro click and go

    well done people
    and thanks

  25. Lou Tengzelius Says:

    Used $59 Ebay IBM NetVista 512RAM 100 GB HD 2.4MHZ p4 Linksys WIFI adapt. Loaded 98 SE + Winrar + Partition Magic. Partitions: 3G 98 SE fat32, & then 7G Win 2k Pro ntfs, XP Pro 10G ntfs, 20G ext3, 2G swap, balance “STORE” fat32 for storage. D-loaded Mint 7 DVD. Burned iso. Very smooth & fast install. Did not know which Linux format so chose last one on list. Bug? “E-Sub-process/use/bin/dpkg” Wow, works great. Plays avi, mp3 & etc. on STORE, CD, flash… First time linux user. 80 years old. Only problem, all 3 Windows operating systems easily connect to internet wirelessly. Mint 7 does not. Help! Where is proper blog for a comment like this? Apologies if wrong place.

  26. Ramesh Says:

    Please can someone enlighten me of their experiences of getting wireless drivers downloaded and working in mint? also what happens if I make a mess of dual installing Vista and Mint? as we know Vista has made working with other OS’s difficult.

  27. Negri Says:

    hello everyone,

    I just started using lunix, I installed Mint on my thinkpad T40. it’s a wonderful OS, I really like it and want to stick with it. The only problem I have is the wireless connection and the bluetooth.They not working. it looks like I dont have the drivers.


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