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Linux Mint 7 (KDE)

August 6, 2009
By

I recently took a look at the Gnome version of Linux Mint 7. That review proved to be quite popular and brought a lot of traffic to DLR. I’ve been patiently waiting for the KDE version to be finished and now it’s finally here. So I snagged a copy and gave it a whirl.

What’s New In This Release
As with the Gnome version there’s some great new stuff in this release:

KDE 4.2.4
Amarok 2.1
Firefox Bundled with Moonlight and Silverlight Plugins
Linux Kernel 2.6.28
Ubiquity installer supports ext4 filesystem
Based on Ubuntu 9.04 (faster boot times, better wi-fi/3G connection switching, better notifications)
mintMenu (trash status, suggestions, keyboard shortcut)
mintInstall (featured apps, screenies downloads, better GUI)
mintUpdate (package sizes, no tray icon blinking, changelogs)
mintUpload (ad-free, graphical service manager, gui buffs, scp/sftp support)
mintWelcome (new popup welcome screen)

Rather than rewrite everything I wrote about the new stuff in the Gnome version, I’m going to simply paste in here so you can review it as it’s pretty much the same as in this KDE version of Linux Mint 7:

If you haven’t used Linux Mint before than mintMenu will be particularly appreciated. You can easily access all of the important places on your computer, your favorite apps (or all apps), utilities like the command line terminal, text editor, screen resolution, system monitor, etc. And you can also access your Control Center, Software Manager, Package Manager or logout/quit.

This release lets you see the status of your trash can and you can right-click it to empty it if you want. You can also use a keyboard shortcut to open the menu. Plus you’ll see suggestions when you use the Filter feature and no results are displayed. mintMenu is something that was already good and it just got even better in this release.

One of the nicer things about mintInstall in this release is Featured Applications which highlights some popular apps for users. While the list might seem basic or obvious to experienced Linux users, newbies might find some of the suggestions listed there quite helpful or at the very least interesting. I like this kind of approach for a desktop Linux distribution.

It’s important not to assume that everybody knows everything about every last Linux application ever created. Welcoming new people into the Linux fold by gently giving them an introduction to some useful apps is a very good thing.

Having said that we could debate whether or not the Featured  Applications list should have more or less apps. I am in favor of not overwhelming people with too many especially people newer to Linux so I think the amount listed by default is pretty good. Your mileage may vary, however.

As far as mintUpdate goes, I’m glad its system tray icon no longer blinks. Let me tell you that I hate any freaking update prompt that bounces, blinks or otherwise distracts me. Don’t even get me started about the idiotic bouncing blue ball in OS X. Damn annoying thing, I can’t stand it. For a company that is supposed to be so slick, Apple does some stupid things sometimes.

mintWelcome is something that I initially was dubious about as I generally detest some stupid menu popping up in my face when I boot into an operating system. However, I cautiously endorse it as it is relatively sedate and does not overwhelm a user with choices. I think making the user guide, release notes and list of new features available is a very, very good idea. Especially for newbies.

And ditto with putting a forum link in the menu as community support is so very helpful for many people. And I have no problem with the Linux Mint developer soliciting donations either as the distro has to be supported financially somehow.

mintWelcome
Requirements & Installation
Here are the system requirements for use of Linux Mint 7 (KDE):
A minimum of 4GB of free space and 256MB RAM are needed. For a comfortable experience we recommended to have at least 512MB RAM and 10GB of free space.

Like the Gnome version, the KDE version is a Live CD. So you can simply boot up and you’ll find a usable KDE desktop where you can click the Install icon to begin your installation. The install is very easy and took about 10 minutes or so. Even if you’ve never installed Linux before you shouldn’t have a problem installing the KDE version of Linux Mint 7.

I had no problems with my install and was able to boot right into my new KDE desktop.

kdeinstall0

kdeinstall

kdeinstall2

Desktop & Apps
One of the first things that you’ll notice if you are coming over from the Gnome version is that the desktop wallpaper in the KDE version is blue. It looks every bit as beautiful as the Gnome version but it’s a different color that better matches the KDE desktop environment theme.

There’s quite a bit of software included with Linux Mint 7 (KDE) and here’s a sample of what you’ll find:

Graphics
DNG Image Converter
Okular Document Viewer
OpenOffice.org Drawing
GIMP
Gwenview Image Viewer
Scribus Page Layout
Krita Painting and Image Editing
KolourPaint
digiKam Photo Management
Karbon14 Scalable Graphics
KSnapShot
XSane Image Scanning

Internet
KTorrent BitTorrent Client
Krfb Desktop Sharing
Akregator Feed Reader
Guarddog Firewall Configuration
Kopete IM
Quassel IRC
KMail
Mozilla Thunderbird Mail/News
KNode News Reader
Firefox
Konqueror

Multimedia
Amarok Audio Player
K3b CD & DVD Burning
Gnome MPlayer Media Player
Mplayer Movie Player
KMix Sound Mixer
K9copy Video DVD Backup
Dragon Video Player
VLC Media Player

Office
OpenOffice.org
Krita
KOrganizer
KAddressBook

Others
KNotes
KMouth Speech Synthesizer
SuperKaramba Desktop Widgets
Ark Archiving Tool

Adding software is quite easy, just mintInstall to find the apps you want.

mintInstall

Multimedia
As with the Gnome version, you will find that Linux Mint 7 (KDE) is fantastic for multimedia. You won’t need to run around installing codecs to play your DVDs, watch YouTube videos and do the usual multimedia stuff you do on a computer. Pretty much everything you need comes bundled into Linux Mint 7 (KDE).

What I Liked Most
Aside from the usual slickness of Linux Mint, I very much love the fact that multimedia works so well right out of the box. This makes it so much easier for folks that are new to Linux who might not even know what a codec is or how to install one. It makes desktop Linux so much more appealing and useful.

I also loved the blue version of the Linux Mint 7 wallpaper. Wallpaper is obviously a pretty small matter in the grand scheme of things but it’s a nice touch and it shows the usual great attention to detail demonstrated in many other ways in Linux Mint 7.

ledzeppelin

Problems & Headaches
One of the worst things about Linux Mint is that it usually doesn’t have much in the way of problems me to report on in this section. But here are a couple of things that I noticed that you might want to bear in mind.

The default KDE menu behavior might be a turn-off for some people. Obviously it can be changed to classic so I wouldn’t count it as too big of a headache but some people coming from Gnome or other desktop environments might not appreciate it. I’m getting used to it though, slowly but surely.

If you’re a gamer then you may be irritated that there are no games included with Linux Mint 7 (KDE). But don’t worry too much. If you start mintInstall you’ll find quite a few waiting for you and mintInstall makes it very easy to install new apps.

featuredappsWhere To Get Help
You can always post a note in the Desktop Linux Reviews Forum and we’ll do our best to offer feedback or at least point you in the right direction. You might also want to visit the Linux Mint discussion forum or drop by the Linux Mint Wiki.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It

While I generally consider myself a Gnome man, I’m slowly warming up to KDE and I found myself liking this version of KDE the best. Linux Mint is one of the best desktop distributions around and the fact that KDE users get their own version of it makes it a great choice for them. I suspect that there may even be some Gnome users out there who might consider switching over to the KDE version after using this release.

This distribution, along with the Gnome version, is highly recommended for those who are new to desktop Linux. It’s easy to install, comes with a ton of great software and is multimedia ready right out of the box. Linux Mint 7 (KDE) is a great way to get your feet wet with Linux.

kickoff

Summary Table:

Product: Linux Mint 7 (KDE)
Web Site: http://www.linuxmint.com/download_ce.php
Price: Free
Pros: Gorgeous wallpaper, excellent selection of software, multimedia ready. Provides KDE users with their own version of Linux Mint 7.
Cons: No games included by default. If you want games you’ll have to install them separately after you install Linux Mint 7 (KDE).
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users. Highly recommended for beginners.
Summary: A terrific alternative to the Gnome version of Linux Mint 7 for KDE users.
Rating: 4/5

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17 Responses to Linux Mint 7 (KDE)

  1. Billy Holland on August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I am just downloading the latest Mint 7 with KDE and look forward to trying it out. I usually use straight Debian Testing builds, but I've heard alot of good things about Mint in regards to how well they detect usb storage devices, especially the gaming device known as the Dingoo, without having to resort to using the command line, which is a plus in my book since that becomes a bit of a bother.

    Being that Ubuntu and Mint are both based on Debian, I think I'll be happy with it, and from what I've read in their forums and heard from friends, their support is both friendly and trustworthy.

    As for the person who claims their wife had trouble and received abuse in the forums when she came for help, I personally don't believe them at all. Usually when someone posts vague accusations online such as that, it's because they have some kind of personal drama going on that makes them want to cause trouble for someone else. If this isn't the case, then I also suspect that the wife, judging by blaming the forums for causing their computer to crash, was accusatory and abusive herself, much like most people who come for customer support and want to blame someone other than themselves rather than accept that it might of been something they did out of a lack of knowledge and it is fairly difficult to always protect people from themselves. I suspect that, due to the reputation of the Mint Community, that they tried to help her and were met with the same kind of venom and accusations that this poster has placed in the comments here. Luckily, most people are not like that and are able to understand that people will generally help if they can. Worst case scenario, she would of had to backup and do a reinstall. I understand that might take 20 minutes to do, and I can understand that the 50 minutes to reinstall windows and then patch for security flaws would be a better alternative. ;)

    As for the person with the 64 bit system, there is a 64 bit version of Mint if you want to use it. I personally, with a 64 bit system, am staying with 32 bit for now due to the increased stability of it on all Linux distros and because the performance enhancements are very minimal at best currently.

    Just my comments, hope they help someone and clarify some of the misinformation posted before me.

  2. Pocosdad on August 18, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I am brand spanking :smile: new to linux ( 6 months or so) and have tried several of the distros that were highly touted. I finally found Mint XFCE, which led me to Mint 64bit and it has all been painless and very smooth.

    As a long time Windows user I keep it on this system mostly for games, which are not available yet on Linux. :whistle:

    I have downloaded Mint KDE and will be installing it today on HDD #3…in fact using the Mint distros has made me not only comfortable with Linux but I even feel halfway proficient. I am able to do anything I need to do with some pretty neat apps and have not found (avoided) much use for the terminal mode…tho I was very comfortable with it in the days of DOS commands. :cheerful:

    So Thank You Very Much Mr. and Mrs. Mint..wherever you are!

  3. jnk on August 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    @ Abe:

    It only comes for DVD because it exceeds the size of a CD.

  4. Gary on August 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I have to say I finally got around to testing out Mint. I've never used it before and I've heard many great things about its looks and ease of use. I could not get wireless working. It was very disappointing. I know my way around a bit and it was not a problem in other distros, I eventually got it up and running but it was a no go out of the box. Which is not cool for a distro that claims to be newbie friendly. So sad.

  5. Brian Masinick on August 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Windmonger, I have not yet tried Mint on a 256 MB system. I do, however, have a couple of KDE 3.5.10 based systems on a Dell Dimension 4100 desktop with 256 MB RAM, and I also have an implementation of KDE 4.2.4 on that same system.

    There is little difference in performance between the 3.5.10 implementation and the 4.2.4 version, at least in terms of memory consumption. You will not want to run more than a Web browser, Email client, and terminal at once, or you will face a fair amount of swapping. However, as long as you can tolerate moderate swapping activity and you limit the number of concurrent applications that you run, KDE works OK on a system with 256 MB RAM, though using a lighter desktop, such as XFCE or LXDE will provide you with a more responsive experience.

    I predict that Linux Mint KDE will work for you; it won't be a race horse, but it will be functional.

  6. Jim Lynch on August 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I may take a peek at the xfce version. I think it's in RC1 right now. But it definitely might be a good option for those who want a more minimalist experience.

  7. Monty on August 7, 2009 at 10:17 am

    @ Mike Smith:

    From my experience the Xfce version is far from snappy (which was a surprise and a disappointment), you would do better with a more minimal version like Crunchbang or AntiX or even PCLOS.

  8. Mike Smith on August 7, 2009 at 9:52 am

    @ windmonger:Probably to slow at 256 megs of ram.

    Linux Mint does have a XFCE version that will run snappy

    for your box. Good luck.

  9. Eddie Wilson on August 7, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Linux Mint 7 KDE is a great distro. Sad to say that's a no go for me because I use a 64 bit system. I do have it on my 32 bit backup system. People need to focus more on 64 bit but that's just my opinion.

  10. proxima_centauri on August 7, 2009 at 3:38 am

    In addition to the forums and wiki, the Linux Mint IRC Support channel is a great place to get live help. xChat in Gnome and Quassel in KDE.

  11. Markus on August 7, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Hands off Mint — especially if you are an international user. As with Kubuntu, their KDE language packages are always broken. For proof, see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19616885@N00/3786255
    The Mint people also refused to offer a fix when the same bug was reported by me in a Min 6 pre-release and they even claim that's not their fault, because KDE 4 is supposed to be a (and I quote) "mess": http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=109&a
    Fixing the bug was "against their policy" during the Mint 6 development cycle and it obviously stayed the same for 7.

    So if you are looking for a new Linux distro, get one where bugs actually get fixed.

  12. windmonger on August 6, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    My desktop PC has only 256 MB RAM. Will Linux Mint 7 KDE run smoothly with minimal desktop effects enabled?

  13. Jack on August 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Gave Mint 7 KDE spin a try. First impression: more polished version of Kubuntu — maybe the Kubuntu folks could take some lessons here.

    After a short time I realized the version of KDE 4 wasn't as feature-packed as the KDE desktop available in Mandriva or Fedora 11. After changing repositories and downloading the development release of KDE 4 from Ubuntu repos, the distro really worked well — surprising given a testing version of KDE4 (is that redundant?).

    However, the big killer for me was the segmentation fault preventing running QGIS — a must-have for my computing needs. So, back to RPM-based distro hopping for now.

  14. Abe on August 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    @ Bill Julian:that wireless is going to work.

    I run Kubuntu 9.04 KDE 4.3 on my laptop and all that works flawlessly. I don't see a reason why it shouldn't work the same in LinuxMint since it is based on Ubuntu.

    I like LinuxMint, especially their TastyMenu, but I have been following KDE 4.x development and Kubuntu was the best distro that kept up with all updates. Besides, I don't have a DVD at the moment and LinuxMint, for some strange reason, wasn't offering a CD for KDE.

    I also will wait until they offer KDE 4.3. For some reason, I could never use Gnome especially when they keep insisting on including Mono by default.

  15. Petem on August 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    ill have to give mint (kde) a try… im a KDE person.. but mint has taken gnome and made it nice… i always say.. when is gnome not gomish.. when it is linux mint.. so my latest main home distro is mint… but since im partial to KDE ill give mint KDE a shot…..

  16. Bill Julian on August 6, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    For people new to Linux, Mint-Gnome or Mint-KDE probably rates a 5/5. It is going to do a no-fuss install and the things most people want are going to work with very little, if any, fiddling around. So what else is there, really?

    PCLOS 2009 and Mepis trail behind only by a small margin and they deserve a look by new people as well.

    But the Mint team is doing beautiful work with its desktops and its understanding of what many people coming over to Linux expect in a contemporary system.

    My experience with an earlier version says that wireless is going to work. Suspend/hibernate may require just a small bit of tinkering depending on a person's hardware (and the kernel) but it is probably going to work. If it does that is significant for laptop users.

    Clement LeFebvre is one impressive team leader!

  17. Brian Masinick on August 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Sounds like a winner. I'm gonna grab a copy and at least try it out in my sandbox on Virtualbox OSE. However, right now I have some NEW TOYS, with KDE 4.3 being available, so I have been playing with it in sidux and so far it is behaving really well – better than KDE 4.2.4. When Mint adds KDE 4.3 to their mix, it ought to be EVEN BETTER, because KDE 4 has now stabilized and the 4.3 release is all about bug fixes and improvements to existing code (and there will be monthly maintenance releases until the first of the year, after which 4.4, a feature release, is planned).

    Nice review, sounds like Mint is worth a look in KDE skins.



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