LinuxMint, A well rounded and comfy OS
This may save you from the hassles of the likes of vanilla Ubuntu
Since I started writing about my experiences with Ubuntu and its variants, the linuxMint tribe kept pointing at it after every article.
So, here I am, seeking salvation in the LinuxMint cult. I installed LinuxMint on my main machine as I do for every test. I think It is not a proper test If the test’s subject is not used as it is intended.
First things first, the installation process went all good and nice, except when I tried to select a different time setting and the installer froze on me completely. I had to “pkill” the process and start again.
At the first boot, you’re welcomed with, well, a Welcome screen. You might have seen multiple iterations of Welcome screens with some nice wording and links to a forum and a few words about a special sauce. But LinuxMint’s welcome screen is what every welcome screen on an OS should be.
Right there, you can manage your theming preferences, update the OS, check the drivers, configure your firewall, access documentation, and help, etc … This is basically the swiss-army knife of welcome screens.
On the updating matter, the software resources menu gives access to a ranking of repositories by speed, which is very helpful and I was so glad to have it. One minor issue I had there was the evowise.com mirror which gives links to cixug.es that did not work even after having a good ping. I left the window open for a longer time while thinking about this issue and I saw that the ping test was still going and had other mirrors ranking much better and opted for it which solved that issue.
Before updating the OS, I checked what software is going to be updated and noticed that the biggest chunk is LibreOffice, which is not my first choice of an office suite. I got rid of it first which gave me back almost 600MB of disk space and lesser update time as there weren’t many updates being a fresh release (20.2).
Now that I took care of preferences and updates, I can have a good look at the desktop environment itself. I always skipped Cinnamon DE as at first glance it looked just like a rethemed MATE DE which I already used before. But BOY how wrong was I!
Cinnamon DE is a way sleeker and more modern looking compared to MATE, its closest rival. Yes, you can make MATE look this great too, but it takes a bit of effort, tweaking, and theme research. I didn’t need to add much to the DE, I just used what’s already provided to achieve this (to my eyes) pleasing look, except the wallpaper, which I didn’t need to download as I have it with my preferred wallpapers in my /home/Pictures directory.
Speaking of wallpapers, I also loved the fact that I can add a custom directory to the wallpaper. A little thing but makes a lot of difference. And honestly, these little touches may keep you using a DE instead of another. Never underestimate these features and the impact they can make (When they’re done right, like in this case).
Oh! also, I could have a panel with icons only and be able to make it smaller. As a plus, the desklets take less space and get you extra info, like CPU and network usage that I like to keep an eye on. I didn’t find a good one for CPU temperature or I’ve not looked good enough. Although, that search brought me to GKrellM pannel.
One crazy thing about this panel is the HUGE list of themes available on their 90s-like website. The list of themes is so long I just settled with the first theme that did click with my taste and desktop theme.
After gazing at the beautiful desktop for a bit of time (yes, I get distracted with shiny… a lot), I moved to software installation and trying to find my usual suspects. At this time I got surprised by having both Mint’s Software Manager and Synaptic Package Manager, which is a solid choice for package management except that every time I see this on a distro, I have this feeling that they don’t trust their package management enough they have to keep a plan B available.
Anyhow, I moved with adding software, which I tend to prefer using AppImages or standalone executable binaries like for Telegram Desktop. But Brave browser is not available in these formats. So I opted for adding Brave’s repo and PGP keys resources like indicated on their web page. (By the way, Brave is also available on the .onion domain on the Tor network for those interested).
I am not sure why LinuxMint refuses to add repos with “https”. this worked for me with no issues on the other Ubuntu-based distros, I had to delete the “s” to get it going.
After that, everything went flowless and the Mint experience was so pleasant It made me procrastinate for a longer time than usual.
Another recurring issue I was having during my other distro tests also came up, which is the WiFi connection loss. But as it is the same thing almost everywhere, I won’t be counting it as a distro-related issue until I investigate it more thoroughly.
But let’s finish on a positive note, which are two of the features I appreciated the most on LinuxMint.
The first one is the maintenance tab under Software Ressources; lots of options usually require terminal wizardry or downloading extra software to achieve.
The second one is lid-action AND performing led-closed action even with external monitors attached. I don’t remember seeing this option somewhere else in the Linux Universe. It stroke me how obvious and useful at the moment my eye landed on it. This should be an option in every distro.
LinuxMint is a classy-looking distro with its main DE, Cinnamon. It works very well and I also see how the LMDE version might solve some issues.
All in all, it was worth every minute of use and very enjoyable. And as a little note for LinuxMint devs, please make Pix the default image viewer.
As always, I hope this was informative and see you in the next one. Thanks for reading.