Whenever a new version of Ubuntu is released, you can be sure a new version of Linux Mint will soon follow. This time around it’s Linux Mint 10. Linux Mint, as you may already know, is one of the most popular Ubuntu remasters. It’s known for its excellent tools, great selection of software and bundled multimedia codecs.
Linux Mint 10 is based on Ubuntu 10.10. If you aren’t already familiar with the changes to Ubuntu 10.10, please read the original Ubuntu 10.10 review then hop back over here to continue reading about Linux Mint. I don’t want to regurgitate all of the stuff about Ubuntu 10.10 in this review.
Linux Mint 10 uses the GNOME desktop environment. It is available in CD or DVD versions (32 or 64 bit). For this review I downloaded the 32-bit DVD release. The file weighed in at about 872 MB.
What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
Install codecs and upgrade to the DVD edition from the welcome screen
Highlights newly installed applications
Finds and installs software from the repositories
GTK bookmarks support
GTK themes support
UI, speed, ETA
Cancel / Run in background
New look and feel
Welcome Menu Improvements
I downloaded the DVD version, so there was no need to upgrade to it via the new Welcome menu. However, I must say that I was very glad that the LM developers added this in Linux Mint 10. I think there are quite a few folks who will appreciate being able to snag the DVD version and the multimedia codecs with just a couple of clicks. It’s little things like this that make Linux Mint such a great distribution. The developers are always fine-tuning what they offer and continually trying to make a better experience for the user.
Mint Menu Improvements
The Mint Menu is usually either one of the things people love or hate, there’s not usually much middle ground. I lean toward the love perspective so I was very happy to see some of the new improvements. It’s great having newly installed applications automatically highlighted, especially when you already have a zillion applications installed.
It’s also nice to be able to search for applications via the Mint Menu. Sometimes it just sucks having to bother opening the Software Manager to find or install an application.
I also enjoyed being able to search the web from the Mint Menu. I’m not sure how often I’ll use that feature though, since I’m usually already browsing in a browser window when the need to search for something occurs to me. However, it’s helpful to have the option to use Mint Menu if I’m not already in a browser window.
The Mint Menu also now supports GTK Bookmarks and GTK Themes. Both features will no doubt add some real value to for some users, but I probably won’t bother much with either of them. You can also configure icon sizes for the Mint Menu.
Software Manager & Update Manager Improvements
I’ll cover these in the software part of the review.
Upload Manager Improvements
I don’t use the upload manager, so it’s not a big priority for me. Those who do will no doubt appreciate the ability to test a connection, cancel/run an upload in the background, see a new UI, and see the speed of an upload.
Look and Feel
I’ll cover this in the desktop section of the review.
There are a few other additions to this release and these include:
Adobe Flash Square Included (32 and 64 bit)
Oracle VirtualBox (Metapackage points to non-free version of VirtualBox that includes USB support)
Signed Repositories (no warning for usage of signed repositories)
Highlight (highlight command is faster and more reliable)
Meta Packages (codecs now tracked by “mint-meta-codecs”)
Adjustment System (now LSB compliant
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
- x86 processor (Linux Mint 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. Linux Mint 32-bit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors).
- 512 MB of system memory (RAM)
- 4 GB of disk space for installation
- Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
- CD-ROM drive or USB port
As always, the Linux Mint install routine is about as easy as it gets. You can view a slide show while it finishes. If you’re new to Linux Mint, you’ll probably find the slide show very helpful.
The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Here’s what the boot and login screens look like:
As noted at the beginning of the review, there have been some changes to the look and feel of Linux Mint. There are some new backgrounds that have been included by various artists, including a new default background that you can see in the screenshot below. The welcome screen and desktop menu have a brushed metal look to them now and Mint-X is the new theme. There are also new Mint-X icons to help emphasize the new look and feel of Linux Mint 10.
Overall, I think the aesthetic changes to Linux Mint 10 are mostly attractive. It does have a darker feel to it though, I noticed it when booting into the desktop. I had expected a bright green wallpaper but the new one is far more subdued. I know that some folks may not like this, but I think it mostly works. The icons are attractive and it all seems to gel very well into one cohesive whole in terms of looks.