Linux Mint 5 Review: Pariah

Link to the review: http://pariah73.wordpress.com/2008/06/09/linux-mint-5/

Pariah wrote a review of Linux Mint 5 Elyssa and focused on some of the new features. A very nice article which brings some good feedback and rises some interesting points.

Comments on the review:

– Pariah said “There is a talented Linux Mint fan out there who just started making his own artwork and it just had that perfect Minty look–polished and elegant..and minty!

–> That must be Jernau. I’m not entirely sure what happened in our community and what created that snow-ball effect but the mintArt group initially created by Carlos Porto and Nicksavel eventually lead to a community-wide effort where a lot of people ended up making wallpapers for Linux Mint and posting them on the forums. McLovin stepped up as the new “artwork coordinator” of some sorts (we’re not very good at making titles :)) and we now have a portal dedicated to Linux Mint related artwork here: http://linuxmint-art.org/. We’re also lucky that a lot of talented artists decided to join our community, in particular Jernau signed 90% of the artwork that comes with Elyssa. So the credit goes to the community here. McLovin will soon take part to this blog and post the results of what is already famous in the forums as the “Wallpaper of the Week”. In my opinion, the reference on the desktop market, when it comes to artwork, is Apple and Fedora. I still think we’re behind compared to these two desktops but we’ve been progressing fast and Linux Mint is not only looking mature and professional, it now has an active community which contributes a lot of artwork. Congratulations to all the people who are involved in this!

– Pariah said “There are all new wallpapers which is a nice change (sorry but I just didn’t like most of the default set on Daryna) and a new gtk engine-Aurora.   Every wallpaper is available in wide-screen.  Gion icon set comes installed by default now.  A couple of new themes are Carbon and PepperMint…also there is a WildMint but the Windoze blue border horrified me on sight.

–> We improved a few things such as the Daryna theme (which is now called Elyssa) and we included new themes and new engines, but again credit goes to the community who showed a lot of interest in that area and gave us a lot of feedback. We didn’t have Windows in mind while making the WildMint borders blue… but if it brings unpleasant memories we’ll change it in the future. What do people think about this?

– Pariah said “This uninstall from the MintMenu feature is so wonderful because it spares me much of the hassle of removing programs I don’t want.  Additionally, some great news on the Mint Menu is that it is using far far less resources memory-wise than in Daryna.   I actually had MintMenu on Daryna removed because of the load it placed on my memory.  No longer!   Mine went from 100MB to about 29MB!!  Good enough to make me happy because I had always liked the MintMenu (some do, some don’t; I know!)

–>  Lars Peter Clausen made some radical improvements to mintMenu which IMHO was already the best desktop menu at the time. The uninstall feature is quite nice and was added after Lars implemented the “Launch when I log in” feature 🙂

– Pariah said “Of course, as usual the MintInstall is a great application for installing packages quickly and painlessly.  In addition to it just being a good package to begin with, Clem and gang improved on this as well by making options for installing deb and apt packages through the MintInstall as well!  Dependencies aren’t always resolved but it is still a way to get the latest and greatest in the bleeding edge world.

–> That’s the problem with .deb packages, they don’t solve dependencies problems. This problem only concerns GetDeb though and not the Mint portal or APT. Adding support for APT and GetDeb was a small step forward to improve mintInstall. We’re planning radical improvements for Mint 6 and a lot of development on the client side, I’ll talk about this more in the future.

– Pariah said “To help folks remember they might be working in root now, a different browser comes up..Xfe…It looks a fright but it is supposed to be nothing like Nautilus so one can remember they are in root.  Good plan for now…hopefully in a release or two that quietly disappears.

–> I completely agree.. XFE looks horrible, yet different.. so mission accomplished for Mint 5 but we’ll definitely try and improve the looks (or find a better way to provide the same functionality) for future releases.

– Pariah said “Changing Applications:  Serpentine and Sound Juicer were both replaced.  Now Brasero is installed (which I love) and so is Rhythmbox (which I despise).  Kudos for installing Brasero but Rhythmbox just had to go..and fast.  I have never had anything but problems with it all four times I have tried it, on four different distros…and if I remember right, it was a different issue each time too! lol…It’s just buggy as all get out and it crashes so much, SafeAuto wouldn’t insure it.  Guess what I tested out the “uninstall” feature on first! lol

–> It’s not the first time I hear people say that and at the same time I truly believe Rhythmbox is the best option for the Main Edition’s desktop at this time. I’d love to get people’s opinions about this (please describe bugs if any and how to reproduce them as my first approach to solve this problem would be to fix things in rhythmbox or follow their resolution upstream).

– Pariah said “Firefox 3 is the default webbrowser (of course, accompanied by Thunderbird)  I am an Opera fan myself but I could sure appreciate the lower memory consumption and better speed on this fox.

–> Opera 9.5 is in the repositories. It’s a fantastic browser but it’s not open-source so it couldn’t have made it in the default selection. Especially considering the quality and popularity of Firefox.

Conclusion:

Many thanks to Pariah for this review and I’m interested in hearing from the community on the points she made. Especially about Rhythmbox and to a lesser extent about the blue WildMint window borders.

22 comments

  1. Hi Clem;
    I didn’t notice the window border color similarities between WildMint and WinXP, now that it is mentioned I do see the similarities. I don’t see the big deal, but it is a subjective thing.

    Rhythmbox is stable for me, I’ve never had a problem in a half dozen different installs. I don’t like that the artists that start with “the” are all listed in the Ts and end up the same way on the iPod, that is a bit annoying (but it works really well with the iPod)
    .
    Other than that, the only thing I don’t like is that it defaults to no viewable playlist, and after you add it from the view menu you have to cover up your library pane and turn off the cover art plugin to make it (the playlist) viewable.

    Since Mint dropped Amarok I’ve gotten rid of my other KDE apps (the big one for me was replacing Digikam with gthumb).

    Congrats on Elyssa–a great release.

  2. oh yeah, the link at the top of the post that is to Pariah’s site actually takes you to the Mint Art site.

    Edit by Clem: fixed, thanks 🙂

  3. It’s a good review. Constructive criticism helps us to improve. I think Rhythmbox is a good choice at this time because it works with pulse audio and is under constant development. Banshee has never retained it’s settings for me but might be something to look at in the future.

    I did not care for the window border in WildMint but I did appreciate the new themes and artwork being added. I honestly think all of the artwork in Elyssa is more refined and polished than any previous release.

    I especially like that reviewers are taking a look at the Mint tools! Mint is a good thing getting better!

  4. Since Rhythmbox seems to be hated by most (atleast from what I read and have experienced) I think a better replacement for it that isn’t Amarok would be Banshee http://banshee-project.org/.

    I recently replaced Amarok with Banshee so I didn’t have anymore KDE apps/libs cluttering up my nice GNOME system. It’s been running smoothly, it is fully featured and I recommend it to anyone who wants an alternative to Rhythmbox and Amarok.

  5. Clem:

    I think she’s referring to previous experiences with Rhythmbox, it wasn’t as good today as before.

    but many great alternatives exists, everyone has a favorite. They all are good.

  6. Holy cow! You made me famous Clem! Thanks again for reading my blog but if I knew this was going to happen I would have gone into more depth on it like I usually do with my reviews; admittedly I rushed this one a bit :(..I feel like I got caught with a sinkful of dirty dishes and an unexpected visit from Mom! lol

    Indeed, Jernau was the artwork designer I had in mind; I wanted to give kudos but I couldn’t quite remember the name, so excellent job Jernau!

    As far as Xfe being the file browser for root applications, I have since changed my position..I’m glad it looks terrible; not for a single second did I forget I was working as root 😉

    As far as Rhythmbox goes, I maintain that it is extremely buggy and I really don’t like it. I enjoyed (briefly) Amarok but I thought it just didn’t work ‘as well’ in Gnome and it was a memory-vampire to be sure. I can definitely see why Rhythmbox would be your choice to include as it is relatively small for all the features it has. I don’t require much out of an audio player at any rate, so I use Decibel Audio Player and am quite content with it but I am sure it wouldn’t be enough for most.

    And as far as the WildMint..the Windoze blue thing is just my personal hangup..it looks fine (just not to me :D)

    So thanks for the ‘review of my review’ and keep up the awesome work! I have tried at least 15 distros now and nothing comes between me and my Mint!

  7. This is an excellent blog entry, and kudos to Pariah for following up and replying here.

    Add me to the list of those who aren’t a fan of Rhythmbox. It’s not a bad program, but I need something that is far more configurable. I use Quod Libet for this reason, and because it has by far the best tag editor.

  8. I used to hate Rhythmbox but not now i like this
    software. It works good and stable for me.
    Brasero on Linux Mint runs good and very well configured.

    Thanks to Pariah for the lovely Mint’s 5 Elyssa review
    Pros and cons are alyways welcome since they are sincere.

  9. Never thought of the blue window borders being windows-like 🙂 but I do miss a green-bordered theme. I was skeptical of Rhythmbox at first, being a long-time amarok fan, but I’ve got used to it and it saves having all the other KDE stuff installed.

    Nice review pariah.

  10. Hey Clem.

    I read good reviews of Elyssa, but I stick with Daryna, it works better.

    Regarding Rhytmbox, I like it, but I prefer Banshee or Listen.

    Wildmint it’s fine, even with the blue border.

    elbeto

  11. I enjoyed reading the review, i tend to agree on a few points

    1. the “open as root” there must be a better option, forgetting is not a problem for me, i often run “sudo nautilus” and as soon as i have finished the task i close the window, but maybe some people may forget it is root fair enough but i avoid using it cuz its just so ugly haha.

    2. Rhythmbox works alright for me (i dont require an ipod to work and i dislike the itunes style layout) but it is missing some features i like so is not my favorite and as for banshee well it works fine but also missing a few features, i’ve just been trying out banshee 1.0 and i’ve been having major hassles with it importing my rather large music collection it keeps stopping and freezing up.. I prefer Exaile, being similar in navigation and features to Amarok but in gtk and python and has a fair amount of plugin functionality, just be sure to install all the dependencies mentioned on the website for full functionality.

  12. I am also a fan of the mint-green window border/page scroll bar.It is a lovely green, not too strong but strong enough, and seems perfect as a distinctive feature of Linux Mint.

    I might add I converted to Linux a few months back after a Windows crash – having tried Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu I have now happily settled into the Linux Mint neighbourhood. Cheers!

  13. I like the blue borders, you have chosen a very nice colour, we have not hate a colour because some Redmond people also choose blue, is stupid.

    Is clear and beatiful, what else is needed?. I won change this matter.

    But there is a lot of people who prefer green ones, maybe we can include another theme but changing this subject, can be an easy option to make everybody happy.

    As Pariash say, I don’t agree with change XFE with another “more beautiful program”, its remember you that you are working in “special mode” and to get out ASAP, so is better.

  14. Banshee is my favourite for the media player, especialy as version 1.0 has just been released, although someone commented on my blog complaining because its mono or something.

  15. Hi Clem,

    My congratulations for you. Besides the development of Linux Mint, I’m impressed about your attitude of read every review in a positive perspective, as an opportunity to improve.

    I like Rhythmbox. Is very stable and do what I need: play music in an orderly way. In fact, in previous releases I installed it to use rather than Amarok.
    About “open as root”, I agree about the awful xfe. May be yo can use Nautilus with a “red-dangerous-be_very_careful!!” wallpaper, “a la” slackware root login.
    I’d also like if I could open a single file as root, not only folders.
    I have nothing to say about artwork, simply fantastic (specially Carbon theme :)). I don’t know Apple artwork, but I differ from you about Fedora artwork. In linux world, I think the distribution to beat is openSuse, if not about the design itself, but in the “gestalt”

    Congrats to the whole team!

  16. I never liked Rhythmbox-like players, but Exaile seems to be a pretty good choice. Just feels more “natural” than Rhythmbox. But I’d still prefer to see a well-configured Audacious.

  17. Rhythmbox, like most audio applications (Amarok being a popular alternative), will hang occasionally and requires some kind of restart. 99% of the time though, it works great. How many options does one truly need just to listen to music? It syncs with my iPod just fine. Thumbs up for including Rhythmbox.

    Regarding the open as root option, why not just configure the titlebar to be a different color, like red or yellow, to give a quick visual cue that one is in root? Is there a way to simply keep nautilus and change the titlebar for the term of use while in root? Something that simple would work far better and please more people than using xfe, imo.

    The blue boarders don’t bother me one iota. The color alone isn’t sufficient enough to awaken images of XP in my mind. Mint looks far different from any implementation of Windows. It’s trivial at the most. Besides, there are plenty of color choices available if one chooses to change it. Easy fix.

    I’m really digging the new artwork and have been stuck on the glowing white tree and butterfly for a while now. I think it’s the best wallpaper in the bunch, followed by the much more toned down circles wallpaper. That’s my second choice.

    Thanks Clem and Co. for making LM5 what it is today. I know you appreciate the support and I appreciate the use. Carry on. 🙂

  18. I’m really looking forward to being able to use a normal root user instead of sudo in Mint 6. This is great news, I applaud the initiative wholeheartedly.
    As far as full featured audio players go in a gtk environment – exaile every time without question.

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