Despite Nokia ex-CEO Stephen Elop's boasts, the smartphone market has indeed become a two-horse race between Android and iOS. Of course, just because those two have pretty much cornered the mobile market doesn't mean there is no room for others, especially those that aren't aiming for world domination. At leat not yet. We're talking here about more unconventional, more "experimental" platforms like, say, Ubuntu Touch. Although already in the commercial market for more than a year, Ubuntu Touch's smartphone promise reaches its full potential in the more muscled Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition. But does this so far most powerful Ubuntu smartphone live up to the expectations it has set up for itself? It's time to buckle your seat belts and join us for another ride into the somewhat alien world of Ubuntu on Mobile.
I could say that Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon is a nice and easy distribution everyone can use... I could, if there was not the issue with multimedia codecs. That spoon of tar spoiled the whole barrel of honey. The error with the installation of multimedia codecs well may be a result of my running Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon in Live mode. But that error was not there before, in previous Live versions of Linux Mint, mainly because all necessary codecs were already pre-installed. The Linux Mint team introduced the error by changing the way codecs are distributed.
During my trial, Mint 18 provided me with a stable, friendly and problem-free experience. The distribution has a installer which is simple to use, a good collection of documentation and an excellent selection of default software. The configuration tools are straight forward to use, the software manager is easy to use and everything generally just worked the way I wanted it to. The one problem I ran into during my whole trial was the video display issue when running from the live disc, and that was quickly solved by switching to the fail-safe graphics mode from the live disc's boot menu.
I was curious to try X-Apps and I generally found these to be an improvement. I dislike the mobile-style interfaces GNOME applications tend to use and how they break consistency with other applications. X-Apps provide the same functionality as their GNOME counterparts, but improve the interface to work the same as all the other desktop applications. Most of the changes are small, but make working with the text editor or video player a much less frustrating experience.
Also: Linux Mint 18 " Sarah "
I'm even more pleased with how the Gnome edition turned out over the KDE attempt. True, KDE has a more natural workflow, but it struggled in some key areas, like external devices, media control, browser plugins and such. Gnome compensates for all these, except the somewhat inefficient way of use. But CentOS 7.2 really shines.
We did have issues, and it was a bumpy ride, but no more. Setup correctly, not a single old error has crept up back on me since, and the Wireless network has been as steady as a rock through hundreds of GB of online entertainment for people of adult age. I have all the media plugins and codecs, and with VLC in control, I don't care about anything else to be frank. All my programs work, and if I had Office, I'd never need Windows. As close as perfect as it gets in our crude, harsh reality. A server distro that was never meant to be used in the home environment. Go figure.
So perfection lies somewhere in between these versions, and it's nothing CentOS does badly on its own. Here's a bigger question. What if there is a desktop environment that potentially blends the goods of both KDE and Gnome? The layout and ergonomics of the former, the accessibility to peripherals of the latter? Do you know what my next task is? See if CentOS 7 works well with Xfce as its skin. That should be mega interesting. This also makes me wanna test Fedora 24, so stay tuned.
HandyLinux is just that. It is a handy Linux distro that is very welcoming to Linux newbies. However, its dumbed-down handling of the Xfce desktop environment will leave more experienced Linux users craving for something a bit more advanced.
The developers have to standardize their use of English in the English language version. Too many slips into French detract from the attractiveness of this distro for English-only users. Looks can be deceiving, though. HandyLinux performs admirably.
The only good reason to buy the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is if you've been dying for an Ubuntu tablet and don't want to install the operating system yourself. For $312, you're getting an underpowered tablet with an operating system that you can install on a plethora of other devices for free.
For $155, you can get the Acer Iconia One 10 running Android and install Ubuntu on it yourself (or, of course, use Android). It uses a similar, underpowered processor, but at least you're getting a deal. Those who are interested in a viable desktop mode might want to consider the Microsoft Surface 3 while it's still available. The $386 2-in-1 runs full Windows, works as a tablet and is roughly the same size, at 10.8 inches. You could even install Ubuntu if you're so inclined.
All things considered, almost anything is better than the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition. Between its weak CPU and a suite of apps that lack touch optimization, the company fell woefully short of the mark.
Linux Mint is one of the most popular (GNU/Linux) operating systems around, and according to Distrowatch.com‘s popularity ranking factor, for many years now Linux Mint has been on the top 3 most popular distributions (now it’s actually the number one!, surpassing Debian and Ubuntu. By the way, Fedora’s ranking is sinking fast, no surprise there though. Fedora is just a distribution for the coding elite of the GNU/Linux world and not for the average user, there I said it!). And there’s a good and a sensible reason for it (in my opinion anyway).
In recent times there hasn’t been much potential for new features in phones. All phones have enough RAM and screen space for all common apps. While the S5 Mini has a small screen it’s not that small, I spent many years with desktop PCs that had a similar resolution. So while the S5 Mini was released a couple of years ago that doesn’t matter much for most common use. I wouldn’t want it for my main phone but for a secondary phone it’s quite good.
The Nexus 6P is a very nice phone, but apart from USB-C, the fingerprint reader, and the lack of a stylus there’s not much noticeable difference between that and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 I was using before.
Linux Mint. Version 18. Sarah. Cinnamon Edition. This was supposed to be the sweetest LTS yet. Only it's very buggy, it's worse than the previous edition and the three before, or maybe all of them. It's even buggier than Ubuntu, and it's been released a good two months after its parent. There are so many regressions in the system. And I know I'm trying every trick in the English language and scientific method to explain and convince you that this has nothing to do with my hardware, because with the same nuts and bolts in place, you can still baseline, calibrate, evaluate, and compare over time.
With none of the other parameters changed - my box and me - Mint 18 Sarah is just not a very good release. The live session is awful. I don't have any smartphone support, at all. Quite a few other aspects of the desktop experience are missing or lacking, and they are just not as refined as they used to be. I don't know how, I don't know why, yesterday you told me about the blue blue distro. This season is bad. There's no other way of putting it. And my experience was so unrewarding, there are many other aspects of this system that I just did not evaluate in any depth, like the x applications and such. What's the point?
I wish I could tell a different story. But the simple reality is, I can't. It defies logic that the previous releases of Mint or perhaps Xubuntu 15.04 or whatever give me everything I need, but this new LTS struggles in roughly 6 out of 10 critical areas. Read it any way you will, think what you want of me, seek flaws in my methods, seek affirmation in my words, there's no escaping the awful and painful conclusion. One, I'm shattered. Two, this season is absolutely terrible. Three, Sarah Cinnamon deserves only about 3/10. Please stick with the R-releases, and do not upgrade.
Slackware was familiar. I could easily go back to using it. However, I have been spoiled by my experience with opensuse. With slackware, there are no configured repos. Any install of addition software takes additional effort, though perhaps just unpacking a tar file. And security updates require periodic checking for announcements and then manual installing.