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LinuxMint 15 delivers smooth alternative to Ubuntu (networkworld.com)
55 points by tanglesome 1120 days ago | hide | past | web | 65 comments | favorite

Mint packages browsers to make money off of them, including the very questionable use of OpenDNS advertising pages as fallbacks for hostnames that are not found.

It's a little troubling for me that people crucified Canonical about the use of the Amazon search "lens" but there's not a peep about this.

Considering my ISP does the same, I'd say that's a minor inconvenience. I mean it's not like searching the desktop will send results to Amazon et al.

I'm wiling to tolerate that just to not have to put up with Unity malarkey. Besides that (though I haven't tried 15 yet), I was able to dual boot 14 on my old Dell Inspiron 8200 and use it as an OK browsing rig. This was intolerable with Ubuntu.

> it's not like searching the desktop will send results to Amazon et al.

But it is similar - if you use web applications in your every day life, then a misspelling may well send your misspelled info to Amazon, if they advertise through OpenDNS (though I'm unfamiliar with how OpenDNS works).

Here's some info on their advertising :


I haven't used this distribution, but is it not possible to just change your namservers to Google's for example, or the ones provided by your ISP?

The way you put it makes it sound like you're locked into using OpenDNS.

I have used OpenDNS before and while I didn't like their ads in place of not found hostnames, it is part of their revenue model and they have to make something back for what they provide. It seems a reasonable exchange for a free service.

I presume LinuxMint has some sort of partnership with them, but I don't see this as being evil, considering they also would probably want to make some money off their custom distro/work they put into it.

I feel the same about this as with the Ubuntu affliate-link issue:

I appreciate the work that distro maintainers put in, and I understand that many would like to earn revenue somehow from the distribution. If you give us the option to opt-in, then I'm fine with that being part of your revenue model. The fact that people have the option to disable a feature doesn't make it any less sneaky or inappropriate to put in (in my opinion).

The issue you mentioned is indeed quite sneaky, but getting a page full of ads when mistyping a domain name for example is very 'in your face' I'd say.

I don't really understand how it could be interpreted as 'sneaky'.

I think what truly might be bothering people is the fact that someone out there is just trying to profit off of them, some through less/more sleazy ways than others.

Can you not trivially turn off dns hijacking?

I imagine you would just swap out the name server IP.

Right! Isn't this "Hacker" News? I personally am offended that I didn't have to recompile to change my dns servers.

There is one thing i hate of Mint and is the fact that it doesn't support dist-upgrade. Looking in the user guide of mint they suggest to "reinstall from scratch the os when there is a new version of Mint". Seriously, wtf. The direct os upgrade is one of my favorite features of linux and they just windowsized it.

If you put /home on its own partition [1], reinstalling linux from scratch becomes really easy, better than dist-upgrade imho.

Backup your packages [2], overwrite / with the CD/DVD/USB installer, tell the installer to use the existing /home as the new installation's /home, then reinstall your backed up packages [2]. Any software you don't get from the repositories, keep on /home (git repos, JVM, etc).

This essentially makes the system files disposable, rewriteable, overwriteable, reinstallable at will, while all the custom config and personal data resides on /home. Keep /home backed up to multiple media. Makes upgrading to a new version relatively painless, and you get the benefit of a fresh install.

1. http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-partplan/i...

2. http://askubuntu.com/a/81112/20362

I know perfectly that and infact i ever put /home in a different partition, as /boot and /var, but the big part of the config files are not in the /home but in /etc and i will lose all of them each time i have to reinstall from scratch.

Dist-upgrade is one of the main advantage of a lot of distribution not rolling, and it has ever worked perfectly for me ( i remember having a ubuntu wm with 9.10 upgraded without problem since 12.04. After that i didn't need it more). Also thanks to that i have not to teach to my parents how to format and reinstall an os, they just need to press a button when the os itself warns them that there is a new version ready to download.

It just that mint developers are more focused on make money spamming their ads everywhere rather that implement that basic feature.

Honestly, they were completely based off Ubuntu at one point, and I have found upgrading OS versions on the fly to be flaky to say the least. From what I've read, I am not the only one with issues, so it is hardly surprising that a distro going for being extremely user friendly would choose to make this particular option unsupported.

I know now they have a Debian version, but I have no experience with dist-upgrade on Debian.

LinuxMint has been delivering a good alternative to Ubuntu for a while now.

But I feel a lot of LinuxMint users are using it for the simple fact that it isn't Ubuntu, because running Ubuntu isn't hip anymore.

I use Mint because I feel I have the access to the wide repositories that Ubuntu provides, including easy access to third-party software like Google Chrome, but I avoid a lot of problems I have with Ubuntu. Ubuntu tends to barf on my grub installation, Mint doesn't. Unity randomly crashes and stalls in both normal desktop usage and gaming (such as Team Fortress 2), while Mint doesn't include Unity. For some reason, Ubuntu will sometimes stall on boot when loading the Nvidia proprietary drivers for my Titan. Mint, for whatever reason, doesn't have this problem.

And, I'll be honest, as a long-time Debian and Ubuntu user, Unity saddens me. I really love Debian and Ubuntu, but I feel like Unity and some new decisions they're making is the elephant in the room for me. Progress is great, but it's hurting my desktop experience.

At risk of being trolled into oblivion, I have not found unity to be all that bad. Keyboard shortcuts seem fine to me. Dock on the left is only annoying when I pick the mouse (actually trackball), which is rare. I use OSX and have found its window system a bit better than that at least (not saying it's the best, but it is what I use often).

I actually have experienced the opposite. I have tried Ubuntu first, then all others to eventually go back to Ubuntu because it DOES NOT have the problems configuring other devices. Even mint gave me issues on some CPU's with either internet connection and/or monitor drivers.

the mint interface is a lot like ubuntu before unity...i think that's why most flock to it from ubuntu

That's the exact reason why I changed from Ubuntu to Mint. I really tried to like Unity on Ubuntu, but in the end it was a big improvement to change to Mint's non-Unity interface.

Unity is pretty terrible, and a huge step backwards.

Mint reverts the huge step backwards.

It is only huge step backward for you. Because you are a developer who wants a snappy desktop (and not that half-poisoned koala that tends to go to sleep and do some power saving all the time).

But you are a developer. So you can tweak a few things and get a nice, snappy system out of Ubuntu. Here's a start:

  * install linux-image-xxxxxx-lowlatency;
  * boot it with idle=mwait intel_idle.max_cstate=3
  * #disable ipv6:
    net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1
    net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1
    net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1
  * # less swappy than default 60
    vm.swappiness = 1
    vm.vfs_cache_pressure = 50
  * install latest graphics drivers to support that 3d desktop monstrosity;
  * disable all desktop effects;
Do that, plus a few more tweaks, and you will have it out of Ubuntu. On a fast modern box your terminal window will finally stop lagging ;)

It's unclear why the desktop effects are on by default in the first place without hardware accelerated drivers. The first boot up of an ubuntu image results in my swearing at an unresponsive terminal.

But at least I can see through the window! We all know that's a usability must.

I agree with everything except turning off IPv6. I suspect you're "fixing" the issue with things trying an IPv6 lookup before an IPv4 lookup and appearing to hang - this should be reported as a bug.

Any Desktop Environment (Gnome 3, Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, Xfce, etc.) that you can use in Mint, you can also install (directly from the package manager) on Ubuntu. So the choice of a Desktop Environment should not alone be any strong reason to switch from Ubuntu to Mint.

The fact you can "install" it is simplistic. Manually adding a desktop environment on top of Unity is not the same as one carefully groomed to work seamlessly, which is what Mint delivers.

There are many releases of Ubuntu for almost each DE. For example, I'm running Ubuntu gnome edition, but there's Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, and then more specific things like Studio Edition, Mythbuntu, Ubuntu Touch, Ubuntu TV.

I've tried Xubuntu but XFce doesn't seem to work that well with Hebrew keyboard layouts, at least without more tinkering than I was willing to put into it.

Dislike Kubuntu/KDE (I've used Ubuntu/gnome2 for long enough that I can no longer bear the look and feel of KDE).

Maybe I should try Lubuntu... I've lost faith in the Ubuntu project though, I don't think they're capable of making the right decisions.

carefully groomed to work seamlessly - I don't really know what you're talking about, but many Window Managers work pretty fine.

The alternative Ubuntu flavours also deliver this. Mint isn't anything special here, unless you care that it's not Ubuntu.

Pretty much all of the WMs and DEs I've installed just to check them out over the years (on Fedora, but I would bet on Ubuntu) have just worked out of the box.

I mean they put the package in the repo! The whole WM/DE thing is a derail, that stuff is just claptrap, window dressing, extremely easy to replace and we have a huge selection of choices.

Why else would you download Ubuntu if you didn't want to use Unity? Distributions really only differ in degrees of desktop environments and package management systems anyway.

You can just install (for example) Xubuntu directly, and you'll get Ubuntu with XFCE installed by default. There are also flavours (and corresponding images) for LXDE, KDE and GNOME. Ubuntu isn't a Unity-only shop.

You can still opt for stuff like Xubuntu (which I run on my netbook+desktop). I like that Mint provides an alternative though. The more the merrier.

I've used and loved Xubuntu for a while now, but I've recently installed Linux Mint w/ Cinnamon on a new computer, and I think it's a little bit more polished. Both are much better than plain Ubuntu.

Linux Mint + Cinnamon is probably the distro I'd recommend to most people, especially if they're coming from Windows. If their computer's a bit older, I'd go with Xubuntu, and if it's really old, probably Lubuntu.

I quite like Unity, its way of presenting files and applications is better than stock Gnome Shell, plus I never had UI freezing issues with the former as I had with the latter, although I will admit that GS does allow greater customisation.

The only better Linux global search function in my opinion would be KRunner, but there's no easy way to bind it only to the super key (Windows button) like Unity and GS.

If you don't like Unity, then there a number of official Ubuntu flavours that you can use. Xubuntu gives you XFCE. Lubuntu give you LXDE. Kubuntu: KDE. There's Ubuntu GNOME, too.

Defining Mint as "Ubuntu without Unity" makes no sense.

Running Ubuntu was never hip to begin with. Arch is where it is at.

Or, to really be a hipster, running Linux was never "hip" to begin with.

*BSD is where it's at.

Debian GNU/Hurd m8

I liked this parting jab:

> subject to the mysteries of UEFI boots and the lunacy of diffuse BIOS variations that make installation of non-Windows operating systems on modern notebooks a travesty

Hell yes, I've posted about this before.

Due to issues with bootloader, I've lost my other Linux installations. And the inability for the installer to format the right hard drive even when you tell it which one to format is really a shame for the audience Mint is suppose to be for.

I mean don't get me wrong Mint is great, but the installer sucks horribly.

I haven't had to deal with UEFI yet, but there appears to be ways around secure boot, as the Fedora Project has been working on it for some time now.


Is there a list of PC makers that make installation of non-Windows operating systems on modern notebooks easy?

Linux Mint still doesn't support expert install,[1] which is a basic requirement of mine. (I think it should be renamed to intermediate install.)

One reason why I prefer expert install is because the last time I tried the standard install, it didn't seem to allow /home to be encrypted with dm-crypt, only eCryptfs. I encrypt /home with dm-crypt because when I last searched for comparisons of eCryptfs and dm-crypt performance (2012), I read that dm-crypt is faster.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

[1] http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=133968

[2] http://www.mayrhofer.eu.org/ssd-linux-benchmark

[3] http://openbenchmarking.org/result/1110088-AR-1110066AR56

[4] http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/reviews/the-best-file-encryption-...

[5] http://askubuntu.com/questions/100752/how-does-ecryptfs-impa...

[6] http://askubuntu.com/questions/138820/why-is-ecryptfs-so-slo...

[7] http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/53191

I've gone back to Debian after I grew sick and tired of Ubuntu. Wheezy is one, very smooth distribution, super stable, highly recommend it!

I learned Linux through Ubuntu, and I'm thinking of trying Debian. I want my daily desktop work to be on a distro that has a good parallel server distro. I don't administer servers every day, so it really helps if I can use a server that is closely tied with my laptop's distro.

Ubuntu hath not a good parallel server distro? It's quite suitable imo.

Late reply, but just saw your response. I use ubuntu servers whenever I need to set up a server. I meant that if I move to a different distro on my desktop, I want to use a distro that also has a server version.

Same here, except I left Arch after getting tired of it breaking on upgrades all the time.

How easy it is to install non-free packages in Debian?

I myself have been considering to switch to Debian, the only thing holding me back is Debian's policy on not including packages that don't meet their requirement as "Free Software" in their official repository.

You edit one file, uncomment the non-free repos, and do apt-get update.

That's it.

I tried going back to Debian as well.

I'm having serious slowness issues in my windowing environment (hardware acceleration is enabled). e.g: Opening large windows takes almost a full second.

Ubuntu was snappier on the same machine, but I couldn't bear Unity :-(

"LinuxMint Developer Edition (LMDE)" -- http://www.networkworld.com/reviews/2013/080513-linux-mint-t...

// WTF!

A small oversight to be sure. [lol]

I use it cause cinnamon is amazeballs.. Even though you can get it on Ubuntu.

I used to use #! just for blackbox or what ever their GUI was.

But I must say, upgrading Linux Mint is a lot harder then upgrading Ubuntu.

This is the one complaint I have about Mint. Since most of my things are on external drives, I've resorted to the wipe/install method of "upgrading" just so I can avoid the hassle. It's not a deal breaker by any stretch, but I do hope they can change this to be more streamlined in the future.

I left Ubuntu for Fedora, because It offers a better GNOME Shell experience, I still try Ubuntu GNOME every new release, but till now Fedora feels faster and more stable.

I left Ubuntu/Debian/Mint for Arch and haven't looked back. True it's a ton of config more to deal with than Mint, but the documentation via the wiki and the community are solid. I've learned a lot thanks to diving head first into Arch.

yah I like breaking updates. that thrill whenever I do pacman -Syu

Definitely. There's no comparison. Especially for devs. Having the updated packages daily is great, too. The community is the best I've seen.

I switched to LMDE after I discovered Debian 6 used Gnome3 by default...I actually really like MATE, the "start menu" is really good, and it is easily customizable to make it look like Gnome2 otherwise.

stopped using LMDE a while ago and went back to Debian because there seemed no real developement going on in LMDE anymore and stuff breaking more often. how is it now?

my best friend is always a debian testing netinstall and I can do what I want.

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