Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Linux Mint "Bianca" KDE Edition Beta 020: A Small Review

Filed under
Reviews

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro whose goal in life, per its website, "is to produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution." The developers have released both GNOME-based and KDE-based versions in the past, and their latest version, v2.2 "Bianca," is already final in its GNOME incarnation. They just released a beta version of "Bianca KDE Edition" using KDE v3.5.6. The final version is to be released later this month.

Mint also comes with proprietary multimedia components such as libdvdcss2 and w32codecs preinstalled, so that it'll play DVDs and most video formats out of the box. It has the Flash plugin and Java preinstalled as well, for all your web-viewing needs. This version of Linux Mint uses kernel 2.6.17-10 (by contrast, Debian Etch will use 2.6.18).

The 803 MB DVD is live, like the other Ubuntus, so there's no need to install it to test it out. Like many other live CDs, it uses unionfs to give the feel of a writeable filesystem, so that, given enough memory, you can install quite a few things on it.


1. Default look 'n' feel

This is what it looks like when first started: Very green and very zen. At the bottom, there are two panels on top of one another; the bottom one has a news ticker going, monitoring the Mint forum's RSS feed (there are a bunch of other feeds to choose from in its configuration). The top one contains a KMenu replacement called the "Tasty Menu" which feels like a "lite" version of the Suse menu some of you may be familiar with.


2. Tasty Menu in action

The distro also includes a new, simplified file manager application for KDE, named Dolphin. Word is that this will be the default file manager in KDE 4. (Konqueror is still available; you will have to run it from the command line or from the panel button, however.)


3. Dolphin file manager

Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment, it's time to get back to blue, and something a bit more familiar. So stand by while I repaint the walls and switch around the furniture...


4. Linux Mint reloaded

Ahhhh. Same distro, different look. Much better, IMHO. Nice that KDE is so configurable.


5. Suse menu in action

You can, of course, switch to the new Suse menu if you like it better. In other words, you can choose from between 3 different menu styles.

Beyond the usual suspects -- digiKam; the GIMP; K3b; KOffice, and MPlayer -- Mint comes with a DVD ripper named "k9copy" and a CD ripper named "KAudioCreator."


6. CD and DVD rippers

If you'll pardon a bit of editorializing, one thing Ubuntu does that causes pain to hardened Linux users is to (over-)simplify things. Since Mint uses the default Ubuntu repositories, it contains such Ubuntu "gems" as System Settings, which aims at replacing the KDE Control Center. Each of the icons in System Settings, when clicked, brings up a KDE Control Center module, so I'm not clear on why this needed to be done. Perhaps it's to bring KDE and GNOME closer together. In any case, here are both:


7. "kcontrol" vs. "systemsettings"

The default package manager is named Adept. You can run it in two modes, one of which appears much simpler to use than the other. (Note the "Kubuntu Hardware Database Collection" applet in the background. Evidently the Kubuntu folks are trying to keep up on what hardware does and doesn't work. The applet collects information on your hardware and sends it to Kubuntu.)


8. Adept

Finally, you can install and run Beryl from the Mint live CD, given enough memory. (If you have an nvidia card, as I do, the easiest way to get this working is just to run the proprietary nvidia installer and do some editing of xorg.conf by hand. They include a script named "envy" that will install and uninstall nvidia/ATI drivers, but it didn't work well for me. The DVD includes the kernel headers, so using the nvidia installer is relatively painless.)


9. Beryl

Finally, one cute thing: every time you log on, "fortune" pops up a witty joke or phrase. (It has blonde jokes, fer cryin' out loud.)

I found Linux Mint to be an easy-to-use distribution with a growing forum and wiki. Release notes are here. Download links are here.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Linux Mint "Bianca" KDE

I took it for a teny tiny test drive on my HP laptop. I love the default menu. It's better than the suse menu in that you don't have all this 'clicking back and forth to see anything' going on. I think the third panel that reveals the contents of subcategory with just a mouse hover is nice. I really liked it. So much so that I was thinking of installing the system until I couldn't get my wireless to work. That's where my test ended.

I hated the default wallpaper. Ugly color and I don't like people on my desktop, even in silhouette - especially female (being female it has no allure for me). This one isn't offensive by trying to allude sexuality, it appears she is meditating. So perhaps it's suppose to have a calming effect or reveal some philosophy of the Linux Mint project. Still, I didn't care for it. Of course wallpapers can be changed.

I liked the log out menu as it has suspend and hibernate as options. Very few linux distributions include those options there. It's a nice touch. I'm still new to this modern laptop business, but I'm assuming suspend means suspend to ram and hibernate means suspend to disk. Also still being new to this whole thing, I'm not sure if these options should work from a livecd or not. In this case, they don't. But since wireless doesn't work, I see no point in installing to harddrive to test.

It must be said that my wireless chip requires ndiswrapper to load the windows driver. A natively supported chip would probably work just fine.

Also, I liked your review eco2geek. It was a nice refreshingly different approach. I really appreciate the contribution.

Thanks

I like its default menu too. Much nicer than Suse's for the reasons you state. Unfortunately Tasty menu isn't available in Debian (yet?). The closest thing is kbfx.

(The adept package manager and the dolphin file manager, the other two things really new to me, are both currently available in Debian.)

Glad you liked it! Honestly I don't know much about Mint, but it certainly seemed like something you could get comfortable with on a workstation, after a few UI changes. (It was way too green for me, the news ticker was distracting, and my dirty mind kept trying to "fill in the blanks" on that female silhouette Smile . Sorry...)

First review

I thought Phoronix was going to beat you to it, but I believe this is the first review -- however small -- of this interesting Kubuntu alternative (with codecs).

Nice screenies. Ta for that!

More in Tux Machines

Release of HardenedBSD 1200058.4 and BSD Now 290

Announcing CrossOver 18.5.0 and Games for GNU/Linux

  • Announcing CrossOver 18.5.0
    CrossOver 18.5 includes the FAudio library to provide superior audio support for games. FAudio is a reimplementation of XAudio2, a low-level audio library for Windows. This improvement broadens CrossOver’s game compatibility and resolves a wide variety of audio bugs on both macOS and Linux. CrossOver 18.5 resolves several Office 2010 bugs related to activation and licensing. The first involves a change which disrupted the activation status of Office 2010 bottles upgraded from CrossOver 17.x and earlier to CrossOver 18.x. Users who experienced persistent activation requests on earlier releases of CrossOver 18 should be able to successfully activate Office 2010 on CrossOver 18.5. We have also resolved a bug which caused Office 2010 to attempt and fail configuration on every launch for some users. On Linux, CrossOver 18.5 supports the very latest release of Office 365 and resolves a sign-in bug impacting Office 365 Home users. Finally, CrossOver 18.5 includes preliminary support for OneNote 2016 on Linux.
  • CrossOver 18.5 Released - Based On Wine 4.0 While Pulling In FAudio
    CodeWeavers, the main sponsor/contributor to the Wine project, announced the release today of their commercial CrossOver 18.5 software for more easily running Windows games and applications on Linux and macOS.
  • The GOG Spring Sale is now live, tons of titles discounted with flash deals each day
    Someone please lock away my wallet, as the GOG Spring Sale is live and it's full of discounted Linux games. For this huge sale, GOG are also doing Flash Deals so every 24 hours a couple of games will get a higher than usual discount so you will need to keep going back for the best.
  • Valve show off their new Steam Library design and a new Events page
    At GDC today, Valve did their presentation and they finally showed off the new design coming for the Library page and more. For those with a growing backlog of games, the Steam Library as it is right now is so basic it's just incredibly unhelpful. Going by what they've shown off, it's actually looking a serious amount better. Firstly, it has a home page for your Steam Library, to go over some recent games and recently updated titles, as well as show a slice of your friends list. That's a pretty handy feature, especially if you have a game you play regularly enough it will probably be quicker and easier to get going the next time.
  • You can now try XCOM 2 free until March 25th, also on a big sale
    Firaxis Games have put their strategy game XCOM 2 up to play for free between now and March 25th, so if you've been on the fence this is a great opportunity. It's quite easily my absolute favourite strategy game on Linux, much more interesting than the first of the newer XCOM games (although that's still damn fun too). It does have a few niggles and some performance issues here and there but that's not down to Feral Interactive's port as it's not much different on Windows.
  • Humble Store are giving away Tacoma during their Indie Mega Week sale
    Humble Store has another free game from you to grab with Tacoma, along with their Indie Mega Week sale now live. I enjoyed my Tacoma play-through, done in a single sitting and I think it's worth grabbing and actually playing. You can see my previous thoughts here. You can grab your free copy here, which requires subbing to their newsletter.

PHP and Python Programming Leftovers

Availability of GNOME 3.32 on GNU/Linux Distros

Following my Plasma 5.15 distros list, this is a list of GNOME 3.32 distros which are available as installation LiveCD. GNOME 3.32 has been released recently at 13 March 2019 and rapidly being made available into several GNU/Linux distros for desktop, either within the ISO or in the repository. At this moment, you can download any of Ubuntu 19.04 and Fedora Rawhide (for installable LiveCD), followed by openSUSE Tumbleweed, Debian Experimental, Manjaro GNOME, and Mageia 7 (by manually upgrading from respective repositories) in order to quickly test GNOME 3.32. However, please note that this is based on today's data and can be changed rapidly over time. I wish this list helps you. Go ahead, happy downloading, happy testing! Read more