Wednesday, 25 May 2011

First Look: Linux Mint 11 RC

Welcome back Ubuntu Adventurers! I'm sorry I have been away for a while, unfortunately my day job had kept me VERY busy over the last few weeks. Anyway, back to the thing that we're all interested in....LINUX!

As you all know, I like to 'play' around with different Linux distro's and Linux Mint is no exception. So earlier this week, I downloaded the new Mint 11 RC (Release Candidate). I'm am running Mint 11 RC in a Vbox virtual machine as I type this article. So please read on to see what I think.

Initial Thoughts
Booting up Mint 11 RC (M11) I was met with a very sleek and clean looking desktop (see above), as expected it has all the standard things like the MintMenu and the MintUpdater ready to rock and roll right out of the box. The default theme, as usual if very clean and generally really good looking. The default icon theme is a green elementary theme – I personally prefer Faenza over elementary, but hey, that's just me!

The default dual panels of Ubuntu has been replaced with the standard, single panel at the bottom that will be familiar to all Windows converts. The bottom panel has the standard Ubuntu Window Switcher, I personally think it would give Mint a more up to date look and feel if they replaced this with DockbarX – this would make the bottom panel look a little more Windows 7 esque where you can have the window previews etc.

The MintMenu
The MintMenu is a very powerful tool that gives users (and in particular new users) a very simple interface to find their way around the Operating System. You can install applications straight from the MintMenu, search for applications or set regularly used applications as 'favourites' so that they appear on the main MintMenu screen.

Even in my Virtual Machine, M11 runs really smoothly. At the moment I am running LibreOffice Write & Firefox and only 315MB of RAM being used and only 20% of my single core virtual CPU. The Mint developers really do work hard to make the desktop experience as slick and pretty as it can be – so far, they have succeeded in my humble opinion.

General Thoughts
M11 is based on Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal with all of the Unity interface removed in favour of the good old GNOME 2 interface. It will be interesting to see what the guys over at Mint will do with Ubuntu 11.10 as it won't be shipped with GNOME 2 at all. I think this is a question a lot of Ubuntu derivatives will struggle to answer for the time being.

Overall, I am very please with the new release of Linux Mint, it's slick, good looking and Windows converts will be able to relate to it. Good job Mint!

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