Linux Mint

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Linux Mint

Linux Mint 6.0 ("Felicia")
OS family Debian GNU/Linux (Ubuntu)
Working state Current
Source model Free software / Open source
Latest stable release Linux Mint 6.0 ("Felicia") / 2008-12-15; 111 days ago
Available language(s) Multilingual
Update method APT
Package manager dpkg
Supported platforms x86, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface GNOME
License Mainly the GNU GPL / Various others

Linux Mint is an operating system for personal computers. While Mint is mostly based on (and compatible with) Ubuntu, the design of the user interface is considerably different. Design differences include:

  • A distinct user interface, including a simplified bootloader, desktop layout, theme, and the custom Mint menu.
  • A strong focus on full functionality out of the box (E.g.: Wireless drivers included, plugins required to play common media formats installed by default, screen resolution automatically set, etc.).[1] Linux Mint 6 also includes or features a free Flash player so users can view sites such as YouTube without having to install anything else.
  • The Mint Tools, a collection of system tools designed to make system management and administration easier for end users.

Linux Mint is available for download in the form of ISO images, which can be used to create Live CDs or Live USBs. The latter can be created either manually or using UNetbootin.[2]


[edit] Branches

Like many other Linux distributions, Linux Mint is available in different test versions or "branches". The branch with the newest features, or "unstable branch" of Linux Mint, is called "Romeo". It is not activated by default in Linux Mint releases. Users who wish to get cutting-edge features and help the distribution test new packages can add Romeo to their Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) sources.

New packages are first released in "Romeo", where they are tested by developers and community members who use it. After a package is found to be stable enough, it is backported to the latest stable release.

[edit] Editions

Linux Mint comes in many editions, the most common being the main GNOME edition. As well as this, there is a 64-bit, called 'x64 Edition', which is designed to be as similar as possible to the main edition. There is also a universal edition, for users in countries where the codecs distributed in the main edition are not freely available, due to legislature. The universal edition is distributed with no proprietary software included.

As well as GNOME, Mint is also distibuted with the KDE architecture, and a XFCE version, designed to be less taxing on systems. There is a mini community edition, which uses GNOME and Openbox to provide a lighter, faster mint, for smaller environments, such as netbooks. As well as this, there is a Fluxbox Community Edition, which is an even lighter alternative to GNOME, and can be used on a Live USB.

[edit] Repositories

Linux Mint has its own repositories for Mint specific or Mint customized tools but also uses Ubuntu's repositories for other software.

[edit] mint4win

As of Linux Mint 6 'Felicia', a Windows installer is included as one of the installation methods, based on Wubi for Ubuntu.[3] It works just like Wubi, being activated when the CD is inserted into a computer under Windows providing autorun is enabled.

[edit] Releases

Originally, Linux Mint didn't follow a predictable release cycle. The project first defined the goals for the next release,[citation needed] and when all the goals are achieved a beta is released and a date is announced for the stable release. Recently however, it has been decided that Linux Mint will correlate with the 6 month Ubuntu release cycle and Linux Mint releases now reach end of life when their corresponding Ubuntu releases do.

Color Meaning
Red Old release; not supported
Yellow Old release; still supported
Green Current release
Purple Test release
Blue Future release

[edit] Fluxbox

Version Codename Edition Code Base APT Base Release Date
4.0 Daryna BETA 028 Fluxbox CE Daryna 4.0 Gutsy 3 January 2008
5 Elyssa Fluxbox CE Ubuntu Hardy Hardy 21 October 2008
6 Felicia Fluxbox CE Xubuntu Intrepid Intrepid TBA (RC1 Released 3 March 2009)

[edit] GNOME

Version Codename Edition Code Base APT Base Release Date
2.0 Barbara Main Ubuntu Edgy Edgy 13 November 2006
2.1 Bea Main Ubuntu Edgy Edgy 20 December 2006
2.2 Bianca Main Ubuntu Edgy Edgy 20 February 2007
2.2 Bianca Light Ubuntu Edgy Edgy 29 March 2007
3.0 Cassandra Main Bianca 2.2 Feisty 30 May 2007
3.0 Cassandra Light Bianca 2.2 Feisty 15 June 2007
3.1 Celena Main Bianca 2.2 Feisty 24 September 2007
3.1 Celena Light Bianca 2.2 Feisty 01 October 2007
4.0 Daryna Main Celena 3.1 Gutsy 15 October 2007
4.0 Daryna Light Celena 3.1 Gutsy 15 October 2007
Test Debian ALPHA 023 Debian Debian Testing 3 January 2008
5 Elyssa Main Daryna 4.0 Hardy 8 June 2008
5 Elyssa Light Daryna 4.0 Hardy 8 June 2008
5 Elyssa x64 Ubuntu Hardy Hardy 18 October 2008
6 Felicia Main Ubuntu Intrepid Intrepid 15 December 2008
6 Felicia Universal (Light) Ubuntu Intrepid Intrepid 15 December 2008
6 Felicia x64 Ubuntu Intrepid Intrepid 6 February 2009
7 Gloria Main Ubuntu Jaunty Jaunty May, 2009
7 Gloria Universal (Light) Ubuntu Jaunty Jaunty May, 2009
7 Gloria x64 Ubuntu Jaunty Jaunty May, 2009

[edit] KDE

Version Codename Edition Code Base APT Base Release Date
1.0 Ada Main Kubuntu Dapper Dapper 27 August 2006
2.2 Bianca KDE CE Kubuntu Edgy Edgy 20 April 2007
3.0 Cassandra KDE CE Bianca 2.2 Feisty 14 August 2007
3.0 Cassandra MiniKDE CE Bianca 2.2 Feisty 14 August 2007
4.0 Daryna KDE CE Cassandra 3.0 Gutsy 03 March 2008
5 Elyssa KDE CE Daryna 4.0 Hardy 15 September 2008
6 Felicia KDE CE Elyssa 5 Intrepid TBA (RC1 Released 4 March 2009)

[edit] XFCE

Version Codename Edition Code Base APT Base Release Date
3.0 Cassandra Xfce CE Cassandra 3.0 Feisty 07 August 2007
4.0 Daryna BETA 008 Xfce CE Cassandra 3.0 Gutsy 2 November 2007
5 Elyssa XFCE CE Daryna 4.0 Hardy 8 September 2008
6 Felicia XFCE CE Xubuntu Intrepid Intrepid 24 February 2009
  • As of "Elyssa," the minor version number has been dropped (i.e. "Linux Mint 5.0" is now "Linux Mint 5"). This is due to a decision to follow Ubuntu's 6 month release cycle; there should no longer be more than one release per Ubuntu base.[4]
  • The Debian base release is released as an alpha because "it is not intended to be used as your main operating system but to give you a technological preview of how Linux Mint would behave if it was based on Debian."[5] Also note that the ISO acts as a "non-installable" live CD.

[edit] MintTools

Mintupdate, Linux mint's update manager.
MintInstall, a tool that allows you to view and download files from the Software Portal directly from your desktop.

Linux Mint comes with its own set of tools aimed at making the experience easier for the user.

  • MintInstall: Lets you run .mint files, which are files containing instructions to install packages. As of Linux Mint 6, this tool has been revamped, and now lets you view all the applications on the Mint Software Portal offline, providing you have an Internet connection to download the information first. Also allows you to install any of the programs listed directly from the desktop, instead of going to the site.[6] The option to use the old MintInstall program is available, where you can go to the Ubuntu Repositories or the website from a search.
  • MintUpdate: Update-software designed specifically for Linux Mint. MintUpdate assigns updates a safety-level (from 1 to 5), based on the stability and necessity of the update. Updates can be set to notify users (as is normal), be listed but not notify, or be hidden by default. In addition to including updates specifically for the Mint distribution, the development team tests all package-wide updates. This system is designed to prevent inexperienced users from installing updates that are unnecessary or require a certain level of knowledge to configure properly. MintUpdate is currently in beta 1.5 and will be included in the next Mint release. If mintInstall is used to install a program from the default repositories, that program is able to receive updates via mintUpdate.[7]
  • MintDesktop: A desktop configuration tool for easy configuration of the Gnome desktop. Also acts as a background process to do various tasks upon login. Also network browsing is made easier (through fusesmb). MintDesktop has received a major overhaul in Mint 4.0.[8]
  • MintConfig: (Obsolete from Daryna.) A customizable control center. It gathers all the tools from "Preferences" and "Administration" and organizes them into categories. The purpose of mintConfig was to give users a control center since Gnome didn’t have one. In Daryna only the Gnome Control Center is present.
  • MintAssistant: A customization wizard that appears during first log-in for users, asking a few questions to customize Mint based on the user's level of knowledge and comfort with various Linux components. It currently asks if the user wants to enable or disable fortune-cookies in the terminal, and if the root account should be enabled or disabled.
  • MintUpload: An FTP client that uploads files to a server by right-clicking on the icons and selecting upload. The user will then be given a link he or she can give to other people for quick and easy sharing.
  • MintSpace: The larger sibling of MintUpload. Provides an additional 1 GB of storage space and files stay on the server for seven days (rather than 2 days).[9]
  • MintMenu: A python-coded menu that allows for fully customizable text, icons, and colors. It shares the same hotlinks to software as the Gnome main menu.
  • MintWifi: Drivers for quite a few wlan gadgets and Located in /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintWifi
  • MintNanny: A basic domain blocking parental control tool. Lets you manually add domains to be blocked system wide. This tool was introduced with the release of Linux Mint 6.[10]
  • MintMake: A command line tool that allows you to make .mint files for programs.

Software from the Mint repositories can be installed in Debian and Ubuntu as well through APT.

[edit] Comparison with Ubuntu

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and the two distributions have much in common. Both distributions use the same software repositories. For instance, release 6 (“Felicia”) uses the package pools of Ubuntu “Intrepid Ibex” (8.10). Most packages are the same on both distributions, and as of Linux Mint 6 'Felicia', each Linux Mint release is based on Ubuntu, whereas before they were based on the previous Linux Mint release.[11]

Most differences are on the desktop. Linux Mint has a stated focus on elegance, and it includes a number of applications that are not available in Ubuntu (see aforementioned Mint Tools). Support for popular sound and video formats are installed by default in Linux Mint's standard edition, but there is a "patent-friendly" version intended for the U.S & Japanese markets. Visually, the distro has some GTK+ themes not found in Ubuntu, and cowsay is enabled as of Mint 5 for terminal sessions.

[edit] Critical Reception

One of the main things that Mint is praised for is its user friendliness and out of the box functionality.[12] It is often praised for providing multimedia codecs and flash by default; saving the user from having to install them. It has also been praised for the large variety of mintTools available for it, adding extra functionality via a GUI.[13] Linux Mint consistently ranks highly on DistroWatch, which tracks the popularity of various Linux and BSD distributions based on the number of daily page hits which each distribution generates. As of March 2009, Linux Mint was ranked 3rd.[14]

Criticisms of Linux Mint are that it does not support enough media formats commonly found on the web, and that it still has some features of Ubuntu that are undesirable, such as the screensavers that come with Ubuntu, which are claimed to be resource hogs.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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