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

Mastodon 2.0

About 6 months have passed since April, during which the major mainstream breakthrough of our decentralized social network took place. From 20,000 users to almost a million! What better time to run through a couple examples of what’s been introduced since then? Mastodon is defined by its focus on good user experience, polished design and superior anti-abuse tools. In that vein, the web app has received numerous updates. Using the latest browser features, the web app receives real push notifications, making it almost indistinguishable from a native mobile app. It works faster and looks smoother thanks to many performance and design improvements. Read more

Red Hat: Satellite, OpenShift, Government, SoftBank

  • A Red Hat Satellite tutorial to install an update server
    Is server patch management the best part of your job? Stop reading here. Many IT organizations struggle with OS patching processes. For Red Hat administrators who are willing to invest some initial energy to simplify later tasks, Satellite provides infrastructure lifecycle management, including capabilities for provisioning, reporting and configuration management. To this end, follow this Red Hat Satellite tutorial to set up a simple server for updates. Once we review how to install the basic update server, we'll create one example client.
  • Red Hat updates Gluster storage for OpenShift container apps
    Red Hat bolstered Gluster storage for its OpenShift Container Platform, adding iSCSI block and S3 object interfaces, as well as greater persistent volume density.
  • Red Hat to Cover Open Source Collaboration at Gov’t Symposium; Paul Smith Comments
    Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is set to hold its annual symposium on federal information technology on Nov. 9 where the company will host discussions on open source collaboration and its potential benefits for government, GovCon Executive reported Oct. 11.
  • Red Hat’s Container Technologies and Knowledge Were Chosen by SoftBank to Embrace DevOps
    Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that several of Red Hat’s open source technologies, including Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, as well as the knowledge of Red Hat Consulting, were chosen by SoftBank Corp (“SoftBank”), a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., to implement DevOps methodology for its Service Platform Division, IT Service Development Division, Information Technology Unit, and Technology Unit, the company’s in-house IT organization. This large, varied organization develops, maintains and operates SoftBank’s IT systems for internal work and operations, supporting 600 diverse systems.
  • Form 4 RED HAT INC For: Oct 17 Filed by: Kelly Michael A
  • Taking a Fresh Look at Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)

Security: Google Play, WPA2, FERC, HackerOne

  • 8 'Minecraft' apps infected with Sockbot malware on Google Play found adding devices to botnet

    Security researchers have discovered that at least eight malware-laced apps on Google Play Store are ensnaring devices to a botnet to potentially carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other malicious attacks. These apps claimed to provide skins to tweak the look of characters in the popular Minecraft: Pocket Edition game and have been downloaded as many as 2.6 million times.

  • KRACK Vulnerability: What You Need To Know
    This week security researchers announced a newly discovered vulnerability dubbed KRACK, which affects several common security protocols for Wi-Fi, including WPA (Wireless Protected Access) and WPA2. This is a bad vulnerability in that it likely affects billions of devices, many of which are hard to patch and will remain vulnerable for a long time. Yet in light of the sometimes overblown media coverage, it’s important to keep the impact of KRACK in perspective: KRACK does not affect HTTPS traffic, and KRACK’s discovery does not mean all Wi-Fi networks are under attack. For most people, the sanest thing to do is simply continue using wireless Internet access.
  • FERC sets rules to protect grid from malware spread through laptops
    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday proposed new mandatory cybersecurity controls to protect the utility system from the threat posed by laptops and other mobile devices that could spread malicious software. The standards are meant to "further enhance the reliability and resilience of the nation's bulk electric system" by preventing malware from infecting utility networks and bringing down the power grid, according to the nation's grid regulator.
  • Hack These Apps And Earn $1,000 — Bug Bounty Program Launched By Google And HackerOne
  • Security Vulnerability Puts Linux Kernel at Risk

Smartphone Waste and Tizen News