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:
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.
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.
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: