Mint 6 Review: Meldroc

Meldroc published a nice review of Linux Mint 6 Felicia Main Edition. Happy reading everyone and here are my comments about it. 

Link to the review:


Meldroc writes: “Linux Mint is a bit of a dark horse when compared with the big distros like Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat or Gentoo.

–> I had to wikipedia that expression before I could comment it 🙂 I guess Linux Mint is much younger so it hasn’t made as much noise on the Web as the others yet. Ubuntu is young as well but it was backed by a company, with funding, with manpower, and with initiatives like shipit who were definitely going to efficiently promote it. The other thing as well is that Linux Mint isn’t made from scratch, it’s based on and tightly linked to another distribution, so no matter how popular it gets it won’t get as much attention in the media as independent distributions.

Meldroc writes: “A Windows installer, mint4win, is available, and automatically runs if you put the Linux Mint CD in your Windows system, and it gives you the option of installing Mint to a file inside one of your Linux partitions, for easier coexistence with Windows.  Unfortunately, only 32-bit x86 ISOs are available, though an x86-64 release of Linux Mint 6 is expected soon.

–> The 64bit edition of Linux Mint 6 should come soon. Credits go to Merlwiz and the Wubi project for mint4win. It’s a nice addition for people running Windows and not willing to modify their partitions. I wonder how popular it is. 

Meldroc writes: “You get a slick graphical GRUB boot menu, and a cool splash screen before X starts up and presents you with the login prompt.

–> Just a quick note about the boot splash screen (the one with the progress bar): It looks cool alright, but if it doesn’t fit your screen/resolution and you see black empty areas around it, you can either try to modify /etc/usplash.conf or replace it with a similar splash screen with a black background by installing the usplash-theme-mint-black. By the way, we could blame the upstream developers for not making usplash smart enough (I’d blame them for making it so hard to customize) but I really think monitors manufacturers are to blame here. If you buy a 1280×1024 monitor it should be able to show 1024×768, 800×600 and 640×480 resolutions without any problems and it should be able to switch to these resolutions. I first thought this was a bug in usplash but since it works on some monitors and not others it looks like some screens just can’t switch efficiently to adapt to lower resolutions. 

Meldroc writes: “[…] there’s actually two versions of the Flash player installable from the repos, and an older, buggy version is installed by default.  Uninstalling that version and installing the newer Flash version solved some Flash glitches I ran into […]

–> Felicia comes with Flash 10.0.12. The latest version, Flash 10.0.15, is available as a level 2 update in mintUpdate. The reason it doesn’t come with 10.0.15 is simply because that version wasn’t available at the time of the code-freeze for Linux Mint 6. I don’t see any other version so I’m probably missing something… don’t hesitate to post a comment if I am.  

Meldroc writes: “[…] this will cause consternation for Free Software purists who don’t want their systems contaminated with proprietary software.  Just install the Universal edition instead of the standard edition, and you’ll be free of the codecs, but left with a menu item so you can install them if you choose

–> True, although people who really want a libre desktop will probably prefer some other distributions. The Universal Edition isn’t more “free” than Ubuntu for instance, and Ubuntu isn’t featured by the FSF as a 100% “free” distribution. Our basic assumption is that our users want the codecs, that these codecs are part of what makes a “good desktop”, and that in some countries it is risky for magazines, companies and associations to distribute them. So this edition is similar to other Linux distributions, in the way that it doesn’t come with codecs (to make distributors happy) but it makes it easy to install them (to make users happy). 

Meldroc writes: “The open, though less-than-fully-featured drivers are installed by default, but you’ll get a polite notification in your system tray of this situation, and the option to switch to the proprietary drivers with a click of a mouse.  It gives you the options you need, and is pretty painless.

–> We’ve got the same policy as Ubuntu when it comes to nVidia and ATI drivers. The situation is a bit different here since these drivers more or less violate the GPL itself. Of course it’s also a grey area and some distributions use tricks to circumvent the violation (by binding the drivers to the kernel at runtime for instance). There is no question as to whether these drivers are needed, they are… and they should be included by default in a “good desktop”, but we’re still undecided about this and because a choice needed to be made I preferred to stay in the white and not include these drivers by default. I’m confident these cards manufacturers will eventually open their drivers in the near future, so hopefully this won’t be a problem anymore. 

Meldroc writes: “mintNanny is intended for families, and enables parents to do things like blocking their kids from viewing certain domains.

–> Yes, no more Facebook until all the homework is done! It’s very popular.. although we’re probably making an entire generation of growing kids hate us forever 🙂

Meldroc writes: “when I clicked Refresh in mintInstall to redownload package lists and screenshots and such from the Linux Mint servers, it took close to an hour.  Regular Synaptic refreshes its package lists in a matter of seconds (on a reasonably fast Internet connection.)  Some optimization is in order here.

–> Very good point. A fix was released in Romeo and will soon make its way to the stable branches of the reposity. It will speed up the refresh process. We might also make the screenshots download seemlessly in the background in the near future. 

Meldroc writes: “I would love to have an x86-64 version of Linux Mint.

–> That’s coming up as well. RC1 is already available.


  1. Pingback: Ubuntu Look » Mint 6 Review: Meldroc
  2. Very nice positive review. Sure you didn’t write it yourself?

    It shows Mint is making all the right moves. Keep it up !!


  3. about the flash plugins he’s probably talking about the packages flashplugin-nonfree which is installed by default, and adope-flashplugin which is supposed to replace the flashplugin-nonfree. the version of the adobe-flashplugin appears to be the same as the flashplugin-nonfree in synaptic, but changing to adope-flashplugin actually solves a lot of flashproblems if you experience them within firefox (like flash crashing whenever you open a new tab for example..)

    i think it’s been discussed in the forums too, but i cant find the post now..

  4. Lots of folks are expecting Mint 6 x86_64… This is gonna be quite a buzz… (Clem, make sure to use the native 64 bit flash, despite its beta state…)

  5. Well I am a newbie to Linux. I have had a play with other distro’s before but was never brave enough to attempt the install alongside Windows. Mint made it look so simple and it was, it has given my old machine a new lease of life and all my hardware just works! Keep up the good work.

  6. Linux Mint, in my travels, is easily the best distro out there. I have been using a dual boot Vista/Linux machine since February. Vista has crashed twice and is currently down. I upgraded Mint 5 on the release date, and have had ZERO issues. I am so glad I found this. Cheers to you Clem, and all the others who have worked to make this such a fine distro.

  7. Newbie to linux also. been playing with various OS for years and never had the courage to install linux in the previous years as it was hard to install and simply too difficult to get things to work…linuxmint does that…it works straight out the box. very nice GUI and zippy. although would love to see more wireless adapter support/drivers. other then that, great work and really enjoying using the OS…btw im currently using the Mint64 RC1 – lovely

  8. The best distro i’ve ever seen: very fast (using JFS), light, exmtremly stable on my NC10 Netbook (best battery performance compared to suse, fedora, mandriva and the original KUXubuntu) – and – it’s so cute…

  9. I probably have 200 distros in my collection. I only use Mint for anything other than testing. The reason is balance. Mint has good art,good ease of use, excellent stability, excellent hardware compatability and of course those super repositories filled with software. I say Mint Felicia wins hands down as the best OS for almost all PC users. Although I refuse to run any Win OS there are still a few people who must use software that only works on Windows machines. Perhaps one day all Windows programs will somehow run on Linux Oss.

  10. I m using linux for two years (mandriva, Suse, Ubuntu and anothers), a few month a go i begin to use Linux Mint and is great because have propietary codecs to watch my movies, morre easy instlalation of software, secure, everybody can use. In my case i use also Fluxbox Edition in the work is very fast and my house The Main Edition is awesome, thanks to all members Linux Mint Team have make a excellent job go ahead!

  11. Like many others here, I too am new to Linux but have test driven numerous distros. I have installed Mint on a 5 year old system that I have rebuilt numerous times and have actually found it much easier to work with than anything I’ve played with (and often been frustrated by) in Windows. I appreciate the ease of use and installation. Thanks for creating a stable and easy OS to use. You’ve got a convert from Windows to Mint! I look forward to test driving Gloria soon!

  12. Good review. I’m a longtime Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian, Caldera, Peanut, Sorcerer, FreeBSD, NetBSD, GoboLinux user.

    I’ve been using Xubuntu for the past 2 years and it’s been good.

    So this is my first time with Mint.

    My only concern would be driver issues as usual, gui bugs, and software updates and dependencies, but what’s new.

    It would be perfect if Mint relied on Xubuntu like policy of using XFCE or another full featured, but lightweight manager.

    And also adopted the Mac OS X file system like Gobolinux and PC-BSD have. It would really allow for much greater and faster adoption.

  13. Fair review and it’s nice to see Mint becoming more popular, it’s an excellent distribution. I’ve kept my eye on it for a couple of years now and have recommended it to a number of people. With the Elyssa and now Felicia it pulled me away from my beloved Gentoo, didn’t think that could happen. Mint is an excellent clean-up and refinement of Ubuntu. Ubuntu has never impressed me, but Clem has really started a real winner here with Mint.

    I’m currently running the 32 Bit version on my Workstation at Work and two of my Laptops. My main rig at home is 64 Bit version of Felicia, very nice, stable and overall a beautiful OS.

  14. And also adopted the Mac OS X file system like Gobolinux and PC-BSD have. It would really allow for much greater and faster adoption.

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