Linux Mint 10 (Julia) Release Candidate

The Linux Mint Blog just announced the release of Linux Mint 10 main edition, codenamed Julia, RC1.  Based upon, and compatible with Ubuntu 10:10, Linux Mint continues to lead the desktop linux experience.

Keep in mind that this is pre-release software and may contain bugs.  Still, my previous experience with Mint gave me the confidence to install it on my laptop.  I opted to do a clean install due to past problems with upgrade installs.

Download: 32 Bit or 64 Bit
What’s New
Release Notes, including Known Issues

This RC seems pretty stable and I would imagine that a final release will be ready within a week or two.

As Linux continues to improve the reasons to put up with the lock-in, lock-down, lock-up mentality of Windows or OS X continue to whither.

New Distros Released, Linux Keeps Getting Better

Just a couple of brief things relating to Linux Mint 6 KDE CE and a new (to me) distro called moonOS.

Let’s start with Mint.  On Wednesday, Linux Mint 6 KDE CE was released.  Based on Ubuntu Intrepid and using KDE 4.2, I think that this is the first usable KDE 4.x distro to be released.   Mint KDE ships with the default Oxygen theme, which is actually very distinctive, but not what I would call beautiful.  Thankfully KDE remains the desktop tweakers choice in Linux desktops, easily customizable.  With this release, KDE 4 finally comes to the masses and it is apparent that a firm foundation has been laid for future development.  The development team at Mint deserves credit for being the first out the door with a usable KDE 4.x.

Also worth noting is that this past Tuesday Linux Mint 6 Fluxbox CE was also released, I am not a fan of Fluxbox so I have no comment to make.  But if you are, then check it out.

The other distro that I wish to mention is a new one (to me) called moonOS.  moonOS comes out of Cambodia and is based on Ubuntu, like Mint it uses the same repositories as Ubuntu.  moonOS uses the E17 desktop which is fairly lightweight and fun to work with.  What sets moonOS apart is the themeing that has been done, it is unique, beautiful, and very funcional.  Check out the screenshots, as you can see it has a very Asian feel to it, at least in this Westerner’s mind.  It seems that moonOS has managed to break out of the sterile machine feel of most distros.  It is clear that a lot of time and energy (and talent) went into this release.  I had no problems getting it up to speed on my Toshiba laptop.  While their are a few niggles in version 2 which was released about 7 or 8 weeks ago, development is underway for version 3.

With Mint’s graduation into the top tier of distros, moonOS has become my favorite up and coming distro…go check them both out…

Linux Mint 6 KDE CE RC1 To Be Released

Keep an eye on this page, it should be released at any time.  KDE is back and it is better than ever.

I checked out the newly released Debian 5, it comes with KDE 3.5x and it is screaming fast and well put together.  If you are afraid of change and want a stable and fast system, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

But for those who want to move into the new era of QT 4, Mint 6 KDE CE is the way to go.  I expect it on Monday.  I got my hands on an advance copy and put it on my laptop.  After playing with it for a few hours…making sure that wireless, power management, and easy customization were available…I went ahead and overwrote my Windows partition and gave over the laptop to it.

So far, no regrets.   In my mind, the thing that sets KDE above all others it the applications…Amarok, Digikam, and K3B are all better than anything available on any other desktop (yes, I am aware that this is subjective).

Even though this is an RC, in two days of heavy testing I have not really found any bugs with the Mint release.  And this is from one who thought that the Mint devs had made a serious mistake in going with KDE 4 with this release, I did not think it was ready and I had underestimated the prowess of the lead Mint KDE dev, Boo.  I really thought that Mint should skip this CE release, after all the prevous release was great, and focus on getting the Mint tools ported to QT and getting ready for the next release…I was wrong.  And never has it felt so good to be so wrong.

The KDE devs deserve props for doing what they knew to be right in the face of opposition from the community.  I know they took a lot of undeserved heat from folks, some of it downright nasty, but they stayed above it and persevered despite the naysayers…all I can say is; “Great Job!”

To Boo for his thankless devotion, to Clem for demanding what he knew was possible, I say kudos and props, you’ve earned it.

Now go follow the above link, see if the release has happened yet.  It is a live CD so you can check it out without making a commitment.

Edit: Hmmm….  Maybe it won’t get an official release, you can download it here.

Linux Mint 5 released

Release Notes

Download

Another fine release of Linux Mint.  Unlike the current versions of Ubuntu/Kubuntu suspend works on both my laptop and desktop.  A first that makes me very happy.

However, while I find both KDE and GNOME to be equally usable…KDE apps are far and away superiour for my uses.  Amarok, Digikam, and K3B are all first class and have no equals on GNOME (nor anywhere else for that matter).

Since Mint is GNOME only (they have a “community edition” of KDE that runs a couple of months behind the main edition), I decided to install Kubuntu desktop on top of Mint.  While it did not go problem free, the problems were easily surmountable–there was a fair amount of time involved in uninstalling the GNOME apps (deleting the menu references for the ones that I was afraid to uninstall).  I am left with a lovely KDE desktop.

If you like GNOME–you will love Mint.  (To me it appears that GNOME is focused on the business desktop and KDE is going for the general market). Of course KDE 3 is a dead end, with development going into KDE 4.  And 4 is nowhere near ready for prime time.  It seems that the base is there, now they need to work on the apps and some finesse.

But my Mint 5/Kubuntu Hardy hybrid is the best of all possible worlds–kudos (and thanks) to all involved.

Edit: Before making my hybrid system I first tried standard Kubuntu.  It does not come with Firefox–installing it and getting the plugins and codecs to work together was a PITA.  Then I could not get Firefox integrated into KDE–PDFs would download and not open, GIFs would launch in an external viewer…one problem after another until I reformated.  I thought Kubuntu was reaching for parity with Ubuntu on this release?  If they tried at all, they failed (but I don’t think they tried).  The slavish adherance to one CD seems to be the main problem.

Linux Mint, still my top distro…

As a long time distro hopper, I am surprised to still be using Linux Mint after over a year.  It satisfies and it doesn’t break with updates….I like it.

I just set up my main desktop dual boot KDE/GNOME with a shared home directory…it is wondrous.  Shared firefox, amarok, digikam, kompozer settings folder…reboot into a totally different OS  and Firefox opens with the last thing I was viewing on the other OS…

I guess my hoppin’ days are done….I am no longer a distro hopper, I am a committed Mint user.

I am looking forward to the release of MInt 5 Elyssa, from what I hear of Ubuntu’s bugs it will be interesting to see if the Mint Team can solve them…

KDE Gets Some Mint Loving

Great to read over at the Linux Mint Blog that the KDE community edition will be getting more respect.

For those who are unaware, the Linux Mint KDE CE is maintained by community member Boo from Australia.  Unlike Kubuntu, this KDE edition is put together with the same love as goes into the main edition–it is not an after thought.  Without attempting to copy the main edition, the Mint KDE CE has beautiful artwork and a great default theme.  If there were no Gnome edition, this edition would be getting a lot more attention…and in my estimation, it would predominantly be positive.  The crew at Linux Mint deserve huge kudos for elevating this edition to more of what it deserves.

I run the main (Gnome) edition on my desktop and the KDE edition on my laptop, they are both beautiful and functional–the value added that Mint brings to this distro should not be under estimated…here’s looking to more stellar releases…

In praise of Linux Mint

Linux Mint
Finally a Linux distro that does not feel like a sacrifice. I’ve been trying to ease myself from the Microsoft tit for some time. I’ve been downloading and installing every distro that comes along, seeking out one that meets my needs. The first distro I tried was Redhat 5…but I tried them all. The first one I ever got to work was Corel linux or Redhat 6, I can’t quite remember. I even bought some, Suse (before it was Novell), Xandros, I bought books attempting to learn enough to make Linux workable. For years this went on.
I was one of those freaks who thought Lindows (now Linspire) was a great idea when it was released.
I was never that dissatisfied with Windows. I thought it was a fine OS. I was dissatisfied with Microsoft and vendor lock in. As Windows moves ever more into locking me into their formats, as I lose more and more control of my hardware…I look forward and the trend in disturbing. Where will MS leave me in 5 years? Fearing this trend, I searched out alternatives.
I tried the Mac at the urging of friends. I guess they thought I didn’t like Windows because it was too hard to use. But that was not the case. I found Apple to be ahead of MS in vendor lock in and proprietary crap. No the Mac was not the answer–I tried it twice to be sure. The Mac would have been a fine answer if I was attempting to leave Windows because it was too hard–but that was not my reason. Plus I hate being treated like a child, and that is how Apple treats its users. Jobs trots out on stage at his dog and pony shows and reveals features as if he is God talking to Moses. I despise the pompous ass and do not want to be associated with anything that he is involved with. Oh yes, Macs are easy as long as you do stuff the simplistic way that Apple want you to. But attempt to do stuff your way (as opposed to the Apple way) and everything gets much harder…if not impossible.
I almost made the jump with Opensuse 10.2/SLED 10. I had it on my boxes–no Windows partitions, then an update would break it. Ugh.
Ubuntu never supported my hardware. I kept reading how nice it was, but I could never get it installed–there was always a missing critical piece of hardware. And that brown theme? Ugly.
I became a Vista beta tester. I held off on criticism of the OS until after final release. I bought a dual core desktop, I bought a dual core laptop…I had a tech net plus subscription…I was always having to make excuses for Vista, I was (gasp!) a Microsoft apologist. Now, 8 months after release, I am tired of making excuses for Vista. It is buggy, my hardware was supposedly designed with it in mind, but it still had/has major problems.
Then I tried a previous version of Linux Mint (Bianca)–Wow! It is beautiful…and Ubuntu’s hardware support was much improved. (Mint after all is just Ubuntu with some proprietary codecs and a nicer theme). With the release of Ubuntu 7.04, I knew the era of desktop Linux had arrived (latter confirmed by none other than Dell.) But I like to do things like play 3D games, watch DVDs, have access to ALL of the content on the internet.
Then Linux Mint Cassandra was released. I put it on my laptop–everything worked! Wireless, graphics acceleration, everything! It did not break when I installed updates! I was not forced to edit xorg.conf, I was not forced to execute byzantine commands from the terminal. Wow! Linux that does not feel like a sacrifice. Linux that competes with OS X and Windows–hurray. 10 years after first trying Linux…its day has arrived.

I have Mint on both my laptop and desktop–no Windows partitions! Mint comes as a live CD–meaning that you can check it out without messing with your Windows partitions…so give it a try. After all, you have nothing to lose but your chains.