GNOME 3.12 was released on March 26 (2014), but it didn’t start shipping on many distributions until very recently. In this post, I’ll let you in on what I think about it; the cool (good) features and those features I think the developers need to take a closer look at and try to make it better and more user-friendly.
If you’ve been keeping track of the development of GNOME 3, you’d know by now that a wide gulf separates what the GNOME 3 developers consider user-friendly and what most users think that term should mean on the desktop. This is really just about GNOME 3.12, with the default GNOME Shell, not a customized or modified version. Just the latest (GNOME 3.12) plain-vanilla GNOME Shell.
Linux Mint is among the most popular Linux desktop distributions in use today, thanks in large part to its core focus on improving the desktop experience for users. It's a focus that has been in place for Linux Mint since day one. When Clement Lefebvre developed Linux Mint in 2006, he did so with the goal of creating a user-friendly desktop version of Linux. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu Linux, adding new desktop, setting and configuration elements. The latest version of Linux Mint, version 17 (code-named Qiana), is based on the recent Ubuntu 14.04 "Trusty Tahr" release, which is what is known as a Long Term Support (LTS) release. Lefebvre has pledged that Linux Mint 17 will also be an LTS release and will continue to receive security updates for five years, until 2019. Lefebvre has also pledged that until 2016, the core package base will remain the same, which is intended to make it easier for users to upgrade to new versions of Linux Mint. As is the case with other Linux distributions, there are multiple desktop user interfaces that are available to users. With Linux Mint, however, there is a particular focus on the Cinnamon desktop, which was created by the Linux Mint distribution itself. In this slide show, eWEEK examines some of the key features of the Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon release.
The good news is that Mint 17 isn't just another update to an increasingly popular Linux distro - some would claim the most popular distro.
The really good news is that Mint 17 is a great release on which Mint can build a solid base. Of course it remains to be seen whether Mint can get the software updates and backports that users might want and need while remaining with the LTS base. In the mean time though, Mint 17 is off to a great start.
You'll get Mint 17 in two different flavours, both of which feature the project's homegrown desktop environments - MATE and Cinnamon.
Oh, one last comment about UEFI boot to close this post. As was the case with the previous Mint 16 release, the UEFI boot directory will be named 'ubuntu', so if you want to install Mint 17 and Ubuntu both on the same UEFI boot system, you will have to be careful about that.
The most obvious solution, renaming the boot directory after the first of them is installed, doesn't work (it won't boot that one any more). The solution I have found which does work is to create a second EFI Boot partition, but neither Ubuntu nor Mint will let you specify the UEFI boot partition to use on installation, so you have to copy the boot directory to the second EFI partition after installing. This is not a big deal, if you are "advanced" enough to be installing both distributions on one system, then you should also be able to handle this.
Minimalist distros are an important option for many Linux users. Not everyone wants tons of desktop glitz and zillions of bells and whistles. Lubuntu has always been a terrific option for minimalists who prefer to stay within the Ubuntu family. Now Lubuntu 14.04 LTS is available and it follows in the footsteps of previous releases by providing a high-quality desktop distro that is light-weight and fast.
Linux Mint has long been one of the most popular desktop distributions, so it’s always a big deal when a version is released. This time around it’s Linux Mint 17. This review covers the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint 17, but much of it also applies to the MATE version with the exception of changes to the MATE 1.8 desktop.
As to which desktop environment you should use, I think it just gets down to your own personal preference. MATE is a more traditional desktop while Cinnamon has a more modern feel to it. If you aren’t sure which one you might like better, my advice is to try both of them and then make your decision.
Linux Mint 17 is a long term support release. It will receive security updates until 2019. The Linux Mint developers plan to use this package base until 2016, so upgrading should be a piece of cake once you start using Linux Mint 17.
Earlier this month the Siduction team, which regularly updates snapshots based on Debian Unstable/Sid, released a development build showcasing the new LXQt desktop, the future of both the LXDE and the Razor-qt environments. Siduction have a bit of history here as they featured Razor-qt as a desktop early on and were probably the only distribution to ship a dedicated iso as part of their line-up throughout 2012 and 2013. Besides using KDE 4 for the main image Siduction have shown a great commitment to medium light and lower resource desktops.