Linux Mint 16 Petra has been released so it’s time for a review. The newest release of Linux Mint is always a big deal in the Linux world, and I’ve been looking forward to checking out Linux Mint 16 for a while.
Please note that I’m going to cover the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint 16 in this review. I’ll do a separate review for the MATE version later.
What’s New in Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
USB stick support
Software Manager improvements
Linux kernel 3.11
Ubuntu 13.10 package base
Cinnamon 2.0 comes with sound effects for events, a better user management applet, improved edge-tiling as well as edge-snapping. Nemo has better MIME handling so it’s easier to associate applications and commands with file types. It’s also faster than in the last release of Linux Mint. The file operations window will now show as an icon in the system tray if you close it.
There’s quite a bit in Cinnamon 2.0, more than I can cover in this review. You can see a full list of Cinnamon 2.0 improvements in the announcement on Segfault. I recommend checking it out to delve into all of the improvements in this release. Cinnamon is coming along quite nicely, each release makes it more and more polished.
The login screen has been improved in this release. It is faster, bugs have been fixed, and it’s easier to switch between users. It also comes with Num-Lock support.
Apparently, the Linux Mint developers removed 24,500 lines of code from MDM. Wow. Talk about slimming down the login screen!
USB Stick Support
There’s a new USB Stick Formatter tool that makes it easier to format or make a bootable USB stick. You can format to ext4, FAT32 or NTFS. It’s also integrated with Nemo, along with the USB Image Writer application.
All of this is very convenient for users who need USB stick support, particularly the Nemo integration.
This release comes with a number of helpful performance improvements.
- The boot and login sequence no longer scan your system for btrfs partitions.
- The MDM display manager no longer listens or communicates over the network.
- The Update Manager is now started with a delay to make it faster for the session to load.
- The Software Manager features significant speed improvements.
- The Linux Mint 16 ISO images are not as compressed as before. They take more space and are bigger to download but also easier on the system and faster to decompress during the live session.
Software Manager Improvements
Software Manager has had a lot of bug fixes as well as some performance buffs. It uses less memory, starts faster and searches faster than it did in previous version of Linux Mint. It can also display multiple screenshots while you are browsing applications.
I’m very glad to see these changes in Software Manager. Multiple screenshots might not seem that important, but they do matter when you are checking out an unfamiliar application and trying to decide if you want to install it. The performance improvements are also quite welcome, and should make for a much better user experience while finding software.
See the software section for screenshots of the Software Manager.
There are a few miscellaneous improvements that need to be noted as well:
- Safer kernel updates.
- Faster boot sequence and faster login.
- Better EFI support.
- Better support for Steam and its addition in the repositories and the featured section of the Software Manager.
- Additional private/secure search engines in certain countries.
- APT “recommends” disabled by default.
- Better colors in terminal and the addition of “ll” as an alias to “ls -al”.
- Better help support.
Even the artwork in Linux Mint 16 got some buffs. There’s a collection of gradient backgrounds that should add some pizzaz to the desktop. And the Mint-X theme has better GTK3 support and a consistent look between GTK2 and GTK3 applications. There are also some new icons for Mint tools and some other third party apps as well.
Three Cinnamon themes come bundled with Linux Mint 16: Linux Mint, Mint-X and the default Cinnamon theme.
System Requirements for Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
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 RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
- 5 GB of disk space
- Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
- CD/DVD drive or USB port
Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon Download
You can download Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 1.25 GB. You can get Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon in 32-bit or 64-bit versions.
Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon Installation
Installing Linux Mint 16 is as easy as usual. The install is quick and painless, and you can flip through a slideshow while your install completes.
Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon is also a live distro, so you can just run it off the disc before actually doing an install on your computer. Please note that the performance running off a disc will not necessarily be as good as running it after a real install. But it will give you a taste of what Linux Mint 16 has to offer.
The Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon Desktop
I covered some of the changes in Cinnamon 2.0 in this release, so I won’t go into that again here. The Linux Mint 16 desktop looks very good indeed when you first load it. The desktop isn’t cluttered with icons and it’s very easy to find your way around.
To get started using Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon, just click the menu button on the panel. You’ll see a list of application categories, administration tools, preferences, as well as your home folder, the software manager and other useful items. Even those completely new to Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon should not have much of a problem moving around the desktop.
The panel at the bottom contains icons to show the desktop, launch Firefox, launch the terminal or load the home folder. The other icons on the right of the panel cover the usual stuff: notifications, the user applet, networking, sound, updates, the time and your desktop spaces.
Linux Software Included in Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.
Available in the Software Manager
Linux Software Management Tools in Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
I covered the changes to the Linux Mint 16 Software Manager in the What’s New section, so I won’t repeat that here. Suffice to say that the Linux Mint 16 Software Manager is one of the best software management tools for desktop Linux distributions.
Applications are broken down into categories, or you can opt to search for a specific application. To add an application, just click the Install button. To remove one, click the Remove button. While checking out an application, you can see star ratings and user reviews for it.
When you first load the Software Manager, be sure to browse the Featured category. There are lots of very good applications available there, and it will save you time browsing around trying to find the best applications.
Problems & Headaches Found in Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
I had no problems installing or running Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon. It ran very well for me. If you’ve noticed any problems, please share them in the comments below for the benefit of other readers. Thanks in advance.
Here’s the list of known issues with Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon:
Recommended packages and 32-bit libraries
Recommended packages are no longer automatically installed in Linux Mint. To install a package with its recommended packages, use the command “apt install packagename –install-recommends”.
If you’re experiencing issues with Skype or other 32-bit programs under Linux Mint 64-bit, install the package “ia32-libs”.
Totem will read your files and decode multimedia on the Internet but it does not properly support DVD playback in this release. To watch DVD movies, please use VLC instead.
If VLC does not find your DVD player, click on Media->Open Disc, and specify ‘/dev/sr0′ as the disc device.
If your system is using secureBoot, turn it off.
If you installed Linux Mint in Virtualbox in EFI mode and it cannot boot post-install, type “exit”, choose “Boot Maintenance Manager”, “Boot from file” and select EFI/linuxmint/grubx64.efi.
Post-installation, the EFI boot file is located in /boot/efi/EFI/linuxmint/grubx64.efi. If your system is unable to find this file, copy it to /boot/efi/boot/bootx64.efi (alternatively you can write “fs0:\EFI\linuxmint\grubx64.efi” into a /boot/efi/startup.nsh file).
PAE required for 32-bit ISOs
The 32-bit ISOs of Linux Mint 15 use a PAE kernel. If your processor is not compatible with PAE please use Linux Mint 13 Maya LTS instead. Linux Mint 13 is supported until 2017.
The mint4win Windows installer was not able to reliably handle the size of the ISO images. It was therefore removed and isn’t available in Linux Mint 16.
Linux Mint 16 is based on Ubuntu 13.10. Make sure to read the Ubuntu release notes.
Where To Get Help for Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Linux Mint 16 community site, forum, or blog.
If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on.
Final Thoughts About Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon
I’m very pleased with Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon. There’s quite a lot to like in this release, and very little to dislike. Cinnamon 2.0 adds some additional polish to an already great desktop environment. The login tweaks, USB stick support, and various performance enhancements also add value to Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon.
I highly recommend Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon if you’re looking for a new desktop distribution. It’s particularly good for folks who are totally new to Linux and who want to get some experience with it. It will work very well as a replacement desktop operating system for Windows or OS X users.
Linux Mint 16 is suitable for beginner, intermediate or advanced users.
What’s your take on Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon? Tell me in the comments below.