Last week I looked at the Debian version of Linux Mint. This time around I’m going to cover the Xfce version; this review was actually partly written before the release of the Debian version. I cast it aside and jumped into the Debian version, but I wanted to get this one done this week and out of the way.
We all know that there are passionate partisans of the GNOME and KDE versions of Linux Mint; yet, oddly, you rarely hear about people raving about the Xfce version. That’s a shame, because sometimes less is truly more. Linux Mint 9 Xfce has a lot to offer to those who have limited hardware, or who simply prefer not to deal with the eye-candy bloat of GNOME or KDE.
What’s New In This Release
There’s quite a bit of new stuff in this release, here’s a sample of what you’ll find:
New Software Manager
New Backup Tool
Improved Look & Feel
Thunar Move to Trash and Delete Options
32 & 64 Bit Editions
I’ll cover the Software Manager in the software section of the review, and I’ll talk about the look and feel in the desktop section.
New Backup Tool
The new backup tool preserves your data and preferences. It also tracks the software you installed. When you go to upgrade to a fresh install of Linux Mint, the backup tool will restore your data as well as the software you had installed on your Linux Mint system.
You can also opt to restore your software selection on a different computer. The backup tool can perform incremental restorations and backups, and it can compress and archive “on the fly.” It also performs an integrity check on each file (but you can turn this off if you want to speed up your backup).
Thunar is the Xfce file manager, and in this release the edit menu has “Move to Trash” and “Delete” options. Note that the “Delete” option now removes the item(s) permanently from your system.
The Windows installer is back in this release. While I don’t really use Windows these days, I’m very glad to see this. It might help some of the folks that are considering giving desktop Linux a try.
Included in this release is the Ubuntu “Startup Disk Creator” that lets you easily put Linux Mint onto a USB stick. Hey, who doesn’t keep an extra copy of their favorite desktop Linux distro on a USB device? You never know when you might need it.
This version of Linux Mint 9 is based on Xfce. Please note that Xfce 4.6 has had two bug fix updates since the release of version 4.6, bringing it up to version 4.6.2. Here’s a list of new features and changes to Xfce 4.6 itself.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run it:
- x86 processor (for both 32 & 64-bit versions)
- x86_64 compatible processor (for the 64-bit version)
- 256 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
The install is typical Ubuntu, it’s very fast and easy. The screenshots below walk you through it from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Bootsplash & Login Screen
The bootsplash and login screens are standard Linux Mint/Ubuntu fare. The login screen will let you change your language or keyboard settings.
You won’t find a bunch of junk cluttering up the Linux Mint Xfce desktop, it’s mostly clear of icons. If you click the Menu button you will notice that the large Linux Mint menu that you find in GNOME or KDE isn’t present in the Xfce release. Instead you’ll find the usual list of application categories, settings, help, etc. Those used to the menu in GNOME, for example, might miss it in the Xfce version, but that should last for all of about 2 minutes. It’s very easy to get used using Linux Mint Xfce.
You can customize your Linux Mint Xfce desktop settings by right clicking your desktop and choosing Desktop Settings. This lets you choose your wallpaper (there’s a number of Linux Mint themed wallpaper to choose from) and change your menu and icon settings. You can also adjust the brightness and saturation controls.
Note that there is no default Trash icon on your desktop, you’ll need to click the Icons tab in Desktop Settings to add it. I’m not sure why it’s not there by default, it does seem rather conspicuous to not have it there.
If you want to adjust your settings, click the Menu button then choose Settings then Xfce 4 Settings Manager. The Settings Manager lets you adjust all of the usual stuff:
Removable Drives and Media
Session and Startup
Window Manager & Window Manager Tweaks
There are also other settings that can be changed from the main Settings menu.