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Linux Mint 12
ntLinux Mint starts in the correct fashion by showing a nice boot menu.
ntCaptions: Chris Duckett/TechRepublic
ntScreenshots: Chris Duckett/TechRepublic
Linux Mint 12 Live CD environment
ntRather than jumping straight into the install process, Mint chooses the live environment route.
ntWe were dropped into a GNOME 3 fallback environment for the install, which was no hassle as graphical acceleration during an installation process is truly an optional extra.
Linux Mint 12: Starting installation process
ntThe installation process is conducted by one of the nicer installers we have encountered — this is a themed version of the Ubuntu installer.
Linux Mint 12: Disk selection
If it’s wrong to sit and stare contently at this screen after years of ugly text installers, then I don’t want to be right.
Linux Mint 12: User set-up
ntHaving installers actually do things, like copying files while it is asking the user for information, is a good way to trim the install time.
Linux Mint 12: Waiting while installing
ntThe Live environment means that you can browse the web and do some productive work while installation is happening.
ntThat’s all good and well, but where’s that corporate favourite: Solitare?
Linux Mint 12: LightDM
Further showing Linux Mint’s Ubuntu hertiage, the log-in screen is powered by LightDM and a Guest session is available.
In the session chooser are the GNOME 3-based desktop labelled as GNOME, two fallback environments, and MATE for all the GNOME 2.x fans.
Linux Mint 12: Welcome to GNOME 3
ntNow this is where we get to see if Mint is worth all the trouble for Ubuntu refugees.
ntAt the bottom is a taskbar and a menu that is similar to the older Mint menu, which was the distribution’s calling card.
ntThe top left corner is the equivalent of the Activities menu in GNOME 3.
ntThat’s correct, there are two ways to get at same applications and content on the desktop. I’m not convinced from a UX puritanical perspective that this is a good thing, but from a practical viewpoint it needed to happen to avoid the same criticisms being thrown at Mint that were thrown at GNOME 3.
Linux Mint 12: Duelling launchers
ntHere we have the standard GNOME 3 launch overlay sitting behind the Mint menu. On the left side of the menu is the pinned applications equivalent of the GNOME 3 laucher.
ntBecause the taskbar at the bottom has the workspaces sitting horizontally beside each other, the regular vertical workspace switcher from GNOME 3 is hidden and can be exposed by moving the pointer to the far right side.
ntThere is no way that this isn’t going to be hard to explain at all in forums, or to your relatives.
Linux Mint 12: Alt-Tab behaviour
ntIn GNOME 3, application windows are grouped together by application.
ntIn Mint, each window is placed on the switcher, as can be seen with these two Nautilus windows open.
Linux Mint 12: Themes
ntGNOME 3’s Advanced Settings tool reveals Mint’s secret sauce: custom extensions and themes.
ntMint comes with two new themes for GNOME 3, called Mint-Z and Mint-Z-Dark.
Linux Mint 12: Settings and software management
ntMint comes with more control panels than the usually spartan GNOME 3 offers.
ntMint’s software manager is as much as one expects.
Linux Mint 12: MATE
ntIf you absolutely, positively must have a GNOME 2.x-derived desktop then you should use MATE.
ntThe standard double GNOME panels have been condensed into one MATE panel that is equipped with the Mint menu.
Linux Mint 12: MATE panel
ntHere’s something to warm the hearts of GNOME 2.x fans: being able to add panel applets again.
Linux Mint 12: MATE confusion
ntMATE comes with a Nautilus port called Caja. Since Nautilus is present and updated in the GNOME 3 environment, it’s not unreasonable to expect that if you so wanted, you could run Nautilus within MATE.
ntThe issue here, though, is that Caja was launched from the Mint menu’s home directory shortcut, while Nautilus was launched by clicking on the icon on the desktop. An issue like this should have been addressed prior to release.
Linux Mint 12: No Caja
ntConversely, trying to search for Caja in the two launchers is a futile task.
Linux Mint 12: DuckDuckGo and Caja
ntOf course, it is always possible to launch Caja from the command line in the GNOME 3 environment.
ntAlso in this shot is an example of the DuckDuckGo integrations with Firefox.
Linux Mint 12: GNOME 3 fallback
ntHere we have the GNOME 3 fallback environment. As a fallback it is not particularly exciting, but can be useful in graphical emergencies.
Linux Mint 12: Shut Down
ntOne of the biggest gripes with GNOME 3’s deafult was the decision to hide the Shut Down option. To access it, users need to click on their name in the top right and then depress the alt button to have the Suspend option change to Shut Down. It’s far from intuitive, and Mint have listened to the users on this one and improved the shut-down experience.
Linux Mint 12: Shut Down Menu
ntHere’s a blast from the past, a shut down menu that looks like the one seen in GNOME 2.x.
ntIt’s another good addition from the Linux Mint crew.