Monday, September 17, 2007

Mint Linux: The way Linux was meant to be

I've had a couple of folks tell me to try out Mint Linux. Last night, I downloaded Celena BETA 017. Tonight, I burned the CD and booted it up on europa.

Europa is my increasingly ancient Athlon XP 32-bit DIY system with the equally ancient ATI 9700 Pro video card (R300). It currently hosts Windows XP SP2 and openSuse 10.2, with the system's primary boot openSuse. Tonight I got a chance to sample a new Linux distribution that puts both all the other distributions I've sampled to shame.

Not only did Mint boot up the old warhorse, but it was able to do the following without any trouble what-so-ever:
  • It enabled hardware acceleration with the ATI 9700 Pro card.
  • I was able to enable Compiz effects; transparency, the cube, everything. What was very nice about the effects is that there was none of the damn wobbling and wiggling. It was smooth as glass as it rotated the faces of the cube.
  • I was able to go to YouTube and play videos without having to download and install anything.
  • I was able to go to Apple's trailer page and play QuickTime movies, including the latest Iron Man trailer without having to download and install anything. *sigh* I WANT THE SUIT...I WANT THE SUIT...
  • Because I built europa, it has two DVD players. With the Mint CD in one drive, I was able to play a sample of my DVD collection in the other, again without having to download and install anything. Totem, for the first time ever, came up and played the DVD automatically without any issues. On openSuse I had to replace it with a version that would play DVDs, and on Ubuntu I had to go through gyrations downloading and installing 'forbidden' codecs.
  • No problems. No issues. It booted quickly. It ran without any crashes in any applications. It Just Worked, and It Just Worked Flawlessly.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the distribution that Dell should be shipping in place of Ubuntu. This is the way a Linux distribution should behave out of the chute. I don't have enough time right now to run it through its paces and give it a detailed evaluation (especially its development support capabilities), but I know one thing for certain. It's replacing Ubuntu on rhea at the first opportunity.

The only complaint I have is the look and feel, and that is minor and easily fixable. The best Gnome look and feel I've seen to date is currently Fedora 8's Nodoka. The icons are the same on Mint Celena as they are on Fedora 8, which was quite nice. Nodoka on Mint, combined with Mint's It Just Works capabilities, would make a really sweet distribution indeed.

Mint shows how Linux can truly soar when it's not hamstrung by the ideological B.S. of the R.M.S. gang.


  1. Great article! I've been an Ubuntu user for a few years, now, and have decided to give Mint Linux a try. I've been a Linux user since '93 and it's really nice to see how far its come over the years.

    -Chad McCullough

  2. I like Mint too, but remember: it's actually illegal in the United States to install the DVD codec. It's not RMS BS, it's US BS.

  3. Nice! Mint has been my distro of choice for six months mow.

  4. Glad you liked Mint.
    I was not too impressed by the colour scheme but gnome wallpapers and theme exist in abundance.
    and YES, I admire RMS and his movement, no-one can possibly calculate his importance to computing, In time I believe it will be up there with babbage and Turing. However the almost evangelical fanaticism of ONLY using open-source is ignoring the point of it all. Users want to JUST use computers and have them work properly OOTB.

  5. You should give PCLinuxOS a spin. It comes as a Live-CD you can test drive to check hardware compatability. It's definitely worth a try.

  6. Actually I did here.

    While I said some good things about it, I never felt "inspired" enough to install it on anything. What I need to do next is do a head-to-head on my notebook and see how they compare.

  7. As nice as mint is, Dell could never ship it as it is now. Someone already touched on that fact with the reference to the DVD CSS decryption. Ubuntu doesn't leave them out for only moral reasons, there are considerable legal implications now. Flash may be free, but distributing it is illegal. That's why the ubuntu deb to install it is a script to download it off of adobe's site and (if I recall) get you to agree with the license.

    Now, if mint made an automatix-like installer run from within ubuntu, and had it make you agree to every license and download all the software on the first boot of what would otherwise be a standard ubuntu install, that would be legal and almost as convenient. But that would leave out the added driver support and 3d desktop goodness, at least for the first boot. And if there's no legal to distribute network driver then that could be a real problem.

  8. For an excellent Ubuntu look and killer multimedia stacks take a peek at Ubuntu Studio.


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