The Nexus 6 is the best Nexus ever and for once a Nexus device is not lacking in any specification. The price reflects the high-end nature of the Nexus 6, but the competition in the Android marketplace is also much stiffer than it was in the past. I still need to use the Nexus 6 a bit more with my T-Mobile SIM to convince myself it isn't the device for me. I enjoy large screen smartphones, but find other offerings to be more compelling.
The final rease of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon and MATE was announced this weekend. I have picked up both versions, and I have installed them on a number of computers around here, with both legacy (MBR) and UEFI boot. The results have been very good, as expected.
As anyone who has been around Linux much probably knows, Linux Mint (numbered) is derived from Ubuntu. However, starting with Mint 17 the releases no longer track the latest Ubuntu releases. Mint is now based on the Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) releases and will update their own distribution as they see fit.
That means that although Ubuntu recently released 14.10, this Mint release is still based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and the new Mint numbering system indicates that (this is 17.1, not 18), although the name change is a bit contrary to that (17.1 is called Rebecca rather than Q..., but I guess Q-names are not easy to come up with.
I was very impressed with Linux Mint 17.1. The common feature upgrades and bug fixes add real value to this distribution. The changes in Update Manager, the Login Screen, Language Settings, Kernel Menu, and artwork should please almost all Linux Mint users. And the huge range of background wallpapers, along with the slideshow feature make it a great choice for those who want frequent changes to the look of their Linux Mint systems.
Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn with the MATE desktop environment is a very cool distro. It suffers from two big problems, one of which has been inherited from its Unity parent, and that would be the inability to format old partitions, created by previous versions of Ubuntu. This is somewhat worrying. Samba printing is another disappointment. There was no screenshot problem like with some other distros, though.
Besides these issues, everything else was perfect. Familiar, friendly, extremely productive. Super fast and super stable, too. There was nothing out of ordinary, no problems. Suspend and resume worked without any issues, the system blazed at the speed of light, and with maybe ten minutes of work, you can transform it into anything you want. Docks, menus, new fonts, new themes, all there, just waiting for you. Total freedom and fun.
There can't be a perfect score, because the associated problems do not allow it. But assuming you had this distro given to you, and someone bothered to install the needed Samba package that normal people require, it would be an excellent alternative to many other mainstream releases. Highly polished, slick, and almost overwhelmingly simple and easy to use. The grade is something like 9.0/10, but it can do better. I demand it. For you, this is an excellent test bed. Go for it.
There have been a several interesting new hardware announcements from the Raspberry Pi Foundation this year. Sometimes I wonder how they do it all - with so much involvement in education, development of new hardware and software, and the many Pi user groups and events. It really is quite impressive.