So I finally installed the ever popular Linux Mint 12 aka Lisa. The last time I tried Linux Mint was version 3.0 (Cassandra), which was back in 2007 (eons ago in Internet time). Back then, Linux Mint was a little shaky and one horribly broken upgrade had me reverting back to Ubuntu.
Well, alot has changed since then and Linux Mint 12 appears very solid and more user friendly than ever. However, some Linux classes never hurt anyone.
Instead of wiping my recent installation of Ubuntu 11.10 (even though I kind of want to), I installed Linux Mint as a virtual machine in VirtualBox. There’s not much to say about it except that the installation was hassle free. Typical installation, where you hit next a bunch of times. You can choose the advanced options of course, but we’re really trying out Mint for its simplicity.
Linux Mint is a Debian based distro, so like Ubuntu, apt-get is your package manager, and best friend. After using Arch Linux on my other machine for awhile, I have to say that apt-get is still the best. Pacman is fine, just a little too manual.
New features in Linux Mint 12 include Gnome 3 and MGSE aka Mint Shell Gnome Extensions which gives the desktop a super slick look. We used to make fun of Mint and call it Lounge Linux because of it’s pseudo-stylish look, but it really does look good. And the whole feel is just fast and snappy. There’s also MATE, which is a fork of Gnome 2. However, the dudes at Linux Mint central say that it’s not 100% stable yet so I’m not going to get into that now.
Overall the whole thing feels fast, and I’m running it on a mere 512M of RAM. I should say that I initially tried to install Mint using a bare minimum of 256M and that caused the installation to crash. I know. What was I thinking?
There are also tons of visual improvements, slick wallpapers, and MGSE doesn’t have the convoluted look of Unity. Unity feels like it’s there to confuse you. MGSE and Mint just feel better. Like you can just start using the OS without having to play scavenger hunt for all your apps. And it’s all running on the new 3.0 kernel.
Last new thing: I was surprised to see that Linux Mint is using Duck Duck Go as its default search engine. Yep. Where every other OS just assumes that you’re going to want to use Google, in Mint it’s Duck Duck Go. But don’t worry: you can use Google too if you want.
Aside from the weird name, Duck Duck Go is a really great search engine. I think many of us have gotten to a point where we use Google out of habit. Back in the old prospector days of the internet, we used to use multiple search engine all the time because no single search engine had all the results we wanted. Then Google changed all that by becoming so great. However, Duck Duck Go is very good and much cleaner than Google at this point. One of its best features is that its results act like a dynamic feed, so all you have to do is keep scrolling down the page for more results, kind of like Twitter does. With Google, you still have to click next page, next page, next page, etc. Which is so 3 years ago.
All that to say, give Duck Duck Go a try. I’m challenging myself to use it for a week even if I’m having trouble getting used to looking at that bow tie wearing duck. And the name. Again: What is with people using animals in names for software and websites? Yeah, I’m looking at you, IPchicken.
One last thing! If you want a clue about how amazing Linux Mint 12 is, do a Google search for something like Linux Mint 12 Issues or Problems with Linux Mint 12. The results of my searches were mainly Linux Mint reviews, and for the most part, positive ones. The issues that people have been having have been minor so far, which is a good sign.
Ok, I need to go so let’s end this thing: Linux Mint 12 looks and feels great. Try it and adopt it.