Reviewed: Linux Mint 16

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Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions currently out there. Distrowatch website ranks them as #1 and Mint’s own webpage gives itself a rank of 4. There are hardware vendors providing specialized boxes running it like our previously reviewed Mintbox. So what makes it so wonderful and popular? We decided to review the latest available edition 16.

Linux Mint is yet another derivative of Ubuntu Linux, which means, all Ubuntu (and Debian) software technically should work without modifications on Mint, including system updates. Which is great.

Installation:
For one, the installation is really simple and intuitive. Since, it is built on top of Ubuntu, for a novice user there are no new quirks or special handling requirements. One should follow the standard easy to follow steps (similar to Ubuntu) and get the OS up and running within no time. It even supports logical volumes (LVM) at the installation time, which is ideal if we plan create resizable partitions spanning over multiple hard disks but looking like one huge drive.

During installation, it does require a free space of at least 7.5GB on your hard disk. This is nearly twice as much of what Ubuntu requires (4GB). However, it consumes only 200MB of memory or less after installation as compared to nearly 300MB for Ubuntu. Since Hard Drives and RAM are now cheap and available in large quantities, this should not be a concern for the vast majority. But if you plan to run it on older P4 systems or even within a virtual environment, these minor differences can mean a lot.

Desktop:
There are a few different versions of desktop that one can avail. We chose Cinnamon, which is GNOME based. Unlike the current Ubuntu which uses Unity as the default User Interface, Linux Mint community has decided to keep developing on GNOME and keep the look and feel as if it’s 1995. The fonts are sharper, the colors are vibrant and the look and feel is just superb but dated.

The User Interface is the boring and mundane classical Windows look alike, which has been around for nearly 20 years. Thus, for a new migrant to Linux there are no confusing menus or issues to deal with. One can get going right away. No learning curve required.

But seriously, even Windows has decided to do away with that interface, Mint community needs to get a bit more creative than the vibrant green color.

Pre-Installed Applications:
Linux Mint packs all that one needs right into the OS a the time of installation. Firefox web browser, Libreoffice for office document management (Word, Spreadsheet and Presentation), GIMP for Photoshop enthusiast, PDF Viewer and Thunderbird email client. And if we need more, like Skype, Chrome, VLC Player or even Outlook clone, Evolution, we can always download it from the popular Software Manager. This is Linux Mint’s AppStore (based on Ubuntu Software Manager) for all their software applications. And vast majority of these are open source and totally free.

Drawback:
The latest edition of Linux Mint 16 is based on Ubuntu 13.10. Since 13.10 is not a long term release, its support by Canonical will run out mid year 2014. Hence, this edition may not be able to provide system updates and software libraries support for a very long time, unless a user upgrades to the next edition.

Description Rating (10)
Installation – Ease of Use 8.2
Desktop – Ease of Use 7.8
Deskop – User Interface 7.5
Pre-Installed Applications 8.0
Installing Applications 7.9
XenStreet Overall Rating (10) 7.88

As rated by our experts at XenStreet, Linux Mint scored 7.9 points over all.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.
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