Linux Mint 7 review
by Justin Garrison • 2009/05/09 • Linux, Linux Mint, Review, Software, Thoughts, Ubuntu • 4 Comments
Linux Mint 7 “Gloria” RC came out this past week and I spent some time installing it this morning. While it is based on Ubuntu 9.04, my first impressions of Linux Mint 7 are drastically different.
Here is a mini review of why I still use Linux Mint as my main OS at home.
The install was painless, as usual, and the theme was just as elegant and smooth as ever.
After the install I went ahead and updated my video card drivers and turned on advanced desktop effects. From there I needed to install some software that I use day-to-day. Instead of turning on the package manager like I normally would I opened the mintInstall tool expecting the software to refresh it’s list for the next 30 minutes. I was very surprised to have mintInstall ready to install software right when I opened it. I was even more pleased to find the featured applications option. One click on that button and it had a list of popular software that isn’t install by default. With a few check boxes I installed VLC, amarok, f-spot, picasa, etc. The only software not on the list that I needed to install was Audacity and Conduit. Ten minutes past my fresh install I had all my software installed and I was back up and running. Thanks to storing all of my information on either a network drive or a separate partition I had a fully functional Linux Mint 7 installation at this point.
One of my biggest complaints with Linux Mint in the past was the mintMenu application. While I loved its functionality of allowing you to search for programs and documents all right when the menu is open, it never had the ability to open with a hotkey, until now. I found out by accident. I pushed the “Super” key and started typing Firefox because that is what I usually do in Vista. About half way though “fire” I realized I had opened the mintMenu with the “Super” key. After reading the changlog I found that you can also change the key which is very helpful in Linux because many other programs use the “Super” key for activation (Gnome Do, Compiz shortcuts, etc.).
One other change that I didn’t expect, but am OK with, is the fact that Gnome Do does not start up by default. Because past mintMenu’s could not open with a shortcut key I began relying on Gnome Do to launch my programs and find my documents. I very much like the program but with mintMenu being able to open with just a keypress I don’t know if Gnome Do is needed any more in Linux Mint, at least not for program launching.
The only other surprising feature to find was that Evolution was not the default mail client and instead Thunderbird still held that title. While I still do like Thunderbird I feel like Evolution is a step in the right direction and I love that it can not only manage all of my personal email addresses but it can also painlessly get my works Exchange email.
In summary, Linux Mint 7 is absolutely wonderful. I have all the features and support of Ubuntu with all the polish and software I have come to love in Linux Mint. I look forward to using Linux Mint 7 more and hopefully I will be able to keep this install for at least 6 months until Linux Mint 8 comes out. Great job Clem and team, another success in my book.
Great review, would it be possible to know how to change the ‘super’ key to something else for the mintMenu?
lol never mind (right – click , Preferences) 😛 restart the menu
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I installed Ubuntu 9.04 on my somewhat older Thinkpad T40 and stupid of stupid things…I couldn’t get it to automount a USB key “out of the box”.
Had to poke through some tech forums to try to figure out how to get it to mount.
This is just plain stupid in this day and age.
Have used Mint on some other machines…including Mint XFCE 6 on an older PIII Thinkpad and it worked great. Have a copy of Mint 7 out of a Linux magazine and that’s what I’m going back to…Mint has never ever given me any quirky hardware problems as frequently seems to happen with Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu