Edit: I’ve done a separate review of Cinnamon, for those who prefer that desktop.
Woohoo! It’s Linux Mint time again! Linux Mint 13 (wow, not exactly a lucky number!) has just been released, so I hopped right on it. Linux Mint has long been one of my favorite distros. We’ll find out in this review if the latest version measures up to its previous incarnations.
Linux Mint 13 comes with two different desktop options: MATE or Cinnamon. For this review, I picked the MATE version. You can download either of them. See the install section of the review for download details.
Which one should you pick? Well, the Linux Mint developers have come up with a helpful list of the pros and cons of each. If you still aren’t sure after reading them, try running them as Live DVDs to get a taste of each. Just burn each to its own DVD, then boot into that DVD to run Linux Mint without doing an install.
- MATE is stable and it works on all computers
- MATE is among the most productive and easy to use desktops available.
- MATE continues where Gnome 2 left off and introduces its own incremental improvements.
- MATE comes with support for mintMenu, mintDesktop, Compiz and everything that made Gnome 2 the most popular Linux desktop.
- MATE is built with GTK2, it features more themes and integrates with more applications than any other desktop.
- Some parts of Gnome 2 were not migrated to MATE yet and a few aspects such as Bluetooth support might not work as well as they did with Gnome 2.
- Cinnamon is among the sleekest and most modern looking environments
- Cinnamon features innovative features and emphasis on productivity with traditional desktop metaphors
- Cinnamon is built on rapid technologies and its development pace is really fast
- The Cinnamon community is very active, and produces a lot of new themes and applets
- Cinnamon requires 3D acceleration and might not work well for you, depending on your graphics card and/or drivers.
- Cinnamon is brand new and unfortunately not yet as stable as more mature and established desktops such as MATE, KDE or Xfce.
- Cinnamon relies on Gnome 3 and Clutter, which are also both brand new and going through rapid transformations.
What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
Linux Mint 13 is based on Ubuntu 12.04. If you aren’t familiar with it, please see my earlier review here on DLR.
You can check out a list of Linux 3.2 changes over on Kernel Newbies.
Yahoo is now the default search engine in Linux Mint. There is apparently a revenue sharing arrangement between Yahoo and the Linux Mint developers. Here’s some info about that from the Linux Mint site:
Linux Mint switches to Yahoo as the default search engine for the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Yahoo is the 2nd biggest search engine in the World, and the first major search engine to share revenue with Linux Mint. The results page is full of features, it comes with a nice layout, images, videos and blogs search, points of interest, time filters and cached results. Underneath the interface, Yahoo comes with a strong network of advertisers and its addition represents a huge opportunity and an additional source of income for Linux Mint.