|Windows 8 desktop with task manager and VMware Player booting Linux Mint 15|
Right now, at home, on my Samsung Series 7 700Z7C notebook, with 8GB of DRAM, a quad-core i7-3615QM notebook processor, and 1TB of disk media, I have four individual virtual Linux machines; Fedora 18, CentOS 6.4, Ubuntu 13.4, and the latest installed today, Linux Mint 15. All of these are 64 bit, have a modest 20 to 40GB of disk space allocated to them, 2GB of VM memory, and two cores. I don't have enough horsepower to run them all, but that's not my intent. My intent is to have a reasonably executing Linux environment with any one of them as needed on the Windows 8 desktop along with any number of simultaneous Windows development tools. So far that model has worked just fine for me, and I don't see it changing before I'm ready to step up to my next notebook sometime towards the end of next year.
Linux Mint 15 was released this past week. I downloaded the ISO, created a blank VM, and booted then installed Mint on that blank VM. Because Mint is derived from Ubuntu it follows Ubuntu's minimalist installation procedures, which is determine your language, location somewhere on this planet, the type of hardware you have automagically, and then to stuff everything it thinks you need on the machines storage media. You can argue all you want about not being allowed to exercise fine-grained control over the installation, but time is money, disk space is so vast and cheap these days, and I really don't have the time to screw with it much anymore. If I need something specific I'll fix it after the system is installed and operational.
|Linux Mint 15 login after installation on the VM|
|Basic desktop showing a well designed and laid-out Cinnamon menu|
|Checking on any updates that need to be installed after the initial base install|
My only real complaint is looking for release notes, especially for class 1 fixes. This isn't the first distribution that allows you to read the release notes and then not supply them; Ubuntu is pretty notorious about this as well, and Fedora can be pretty forgetful as well.
|Installing the updates|
|Finding and installing Chromium from the Linux Mint repositories|
|Checking the version of Chromium, which is two major releases behind regular Chrome|
I've come to regret recommending Linux in the past, but if someone were to ask me today what Linux distribution I would recommend I'd have to tell them to at least try Linux Mint. This version of Ubuntu (as that's what it is) is directed at folks who really need to get work done. The desktop is more "classical" than Ubuntu or Gnome 3, and lacks all the distracting desktop glam effects that have accreted all over KDE. I need to dig in a little deeper and check out gcc and Java, but I was very happy when I installed the VMware Tools onto Linux Mint 15 and it executed without a hitch. It may be that in the not too distant future I'll pair down my VMs to just two, CentOS and Linux Mint. That'll give me a stable RPM-based distribution (RHEL) and a DEB-based (Debian) stable distribution that keeps up with the latest kernel and tool chain.