This is the first review I’ve seen of Linux Mint 5 KDE CE so I’m delighted to get some feedback on this release. The reviewer, Steve Lake, also reviewed Linux Mint 5 by the past so I was interested to see how he compared KDE CE with the Main edition.
Link to the review: http://www.raiden.net/?cat=2&aid=466
Digg the review: http://digg.com/linux_unix/Review_Linux_Mint_5_KDE_Edition
Steve mentions the “LiveCD” here and there. As you probably noticed he actually refers to a live DVD, KDE CE being more than 700MB. By the past KDE CE came with a smaller ISO called “miniKDE” and for the first time since the start of this edition… it doesn’t. The reason for this is that we wanted to free Boo (Jamie Boo Birse, maintainer of the KDE Edition) so that he could start working on Mint 6. A lot of work has gone into this edition and it got released very late within our release cycle (The Main edition was released in June). The KDE edition failed to come with QT frontends for the Mint tools and hasn’t made the transition towards KDE 4 yet so there will be a lot of work for Linux Mint 6.
Steve says: “But once on the desktop I found that not much has changed since Mint 4 KDE appearance wise. Mint 5 KDE has as usual a beautiful selection of preinstalled software ready to use in the LiveCD, including Gimp, Inkscape, Thunderbird, Firefox, Scribus, Open Office, Krusader, Mplayer and many others. So every major important KDE and Linux app is there and ready for you to use. The menu hasn’t changed from the previous KDE version either, but there does appear to be more tools for those who enjoy using Compiz for 3d effects. Don’t expect to get Compiz working until you install the system, becuase for some reason, Compiz hates LiveCD environments.”
–> The look and feel in Mint 5 is a refinement of what was already there in Mint 4.0. Verdegal made the artwork for Daryna and what he produced was enhanced by another artist called Jernau. His work and improvements impacted all editions. Of course the KDE CE didn’t come with as many changes as the Main edition in that respect (extra themes for instance) but it improved the overall look and feel nonetheless. Screenshots of Daryna KDE CE are still visible here.
–> There are shortcuts in the menu to enable/disable Compiz. As Steve said, it works better once the system is installed, especially if you need extra drivers. I’ve had some success with Intel chipsets directly from the liveDVD though.
Steve said: “Speed and performance were very good for the entire LiveCD experience. It had a few loading lags, but nothing terribly bad, just normal stuff. Stability was good and the system did a great job with everything it needed to do. So, other than the initial scare due to a hardware glitch on my end (bad video card), the whole system ran perfect, and did just as good as its Metacity based cousin.”
–> Some benchmarks suggest that KDE uses less resources than Gnome. It used to be other way around a few years ago.
Steve said: “I’ve never seen any Linux distribution up to this point actually detect a network share on my network before and add the icon for it on the desktop. Mint 5 KDE did. So if I wanted to jump on my samba share, all I needed to do was double click and away I went. That’s a nice little added feature, especially for new users unfamiliar with how to get at such shares in a Linux or KDE environment.”
–> I’ll let Boo comment on this as I’m not sure whether we should thank him for adding this, myself for some reminiscence of the Network-Autobrowsing feature (introduced in Mint 4.0 and removed in Mint 5.. well in the Main edition at least) or upstream developers from KDE, Kubuntu or even 3rd party packages. Community Editions are tested and released the same way as other editions but the maintainer himself is responsible for the implementation and as far as the quality of the ISO is good he can make a lot of decisions without involving the team.
Steve said: “Linux Mint 5 KDE Edition uses the Linux 2.6.24-19 kernel, a newer Linux kernel known for great improvements in power management. That’s a nice thing to see.”
–> Elyssa KDE CE upgraded its package base to Ubuntu 8.04.1. That’s another difference with the Main edition. I prefered the conservative approach, Boo did a nice job with upgrading to 8.04.1 so this release comes with a 2.6.24-19 kernel.
Steve said: “One thing you may notice when you first get the system installed is that Mint needs 123 (117 initial + 5 additional) updates right away. That’s a lot of updates for something that’s just been freshly installed (and recently released). A lot of them seem to be upstream Ubuntu application and core system updates, but nothing that I wouldn’t advise against installing.”
–> This is something I insist on within the team, I’m very conservative when it comes to updates and I usually recommend to stay on par with was tested the most. In this case the package base is 8.04.1, every update after that makes the base differ from what was known as the latest stable Ubuntu release. This is a very controversial topic of course and people don’t like to think that package updates can potentially introduce new bugs but it’s something very important to us. We even developed our own package update manager (mintUpdate) to make sure users were selective in applying updates.
Steve said: “One thing that didn’t really show up properly until the installed version was the battery and power management. Mint 5 KDE has a new power management taskbar tool that is different from the old Kpower, and it seems to handle power management better, even though it couldn’t seem to detect my processor speed for some reason. Oddly enough, Kpower, the one tool that gave me good power management before is gone. And while the new tool does seem to offer better power performance, it leaves something to be desired in comparison to Kpower.”
–> We looked into that Boo and I. I’ll have to check the archives for that but I remember I was concerned with the message dialogs not being user-friendly when the battery ran out of power. On the other hand the previous tool had more features than the new one… I can’t remember whether it was kde-guidance or kpowersave in the end but the solution chosen by Boo pleased Exploder (Mint’s release manager) and this went forward. I’d love to hear more user feedback on this.
I’m always looking forward to reading reviews about Linux Mint. It doesn’t only spread the word about what we’re doing it gives us important feedback and it also gives us the opportunity to talk about various things and to explain our choices, our decisions and why such and such features were implemented the way they were. Many thanks to Raiden’s Realm for reviewing this release.
If you want to help spread the word about this review, you can do so on digg.com. For questions and comments to us please comment here on this blog, and for questions and comments to Steve please post here.
Happy reading everyone.