Minty Freshness

“Oohh, you’re all minty”, is just the sort of thing I’d like Deb to say to me just after I’ve brushed my teeth in the morning. Most of the time though, I have to content myself with some muffled threats and demands for coffee. My beloved is definitely not a morning person.

I’m typing this in a shiny new version of Libre Office and my eyes are slowly becoming accustomed to the lack of brown and purple and the preponderance of green on the desktop.

Yes, I’ve decided to give Linux Mint a try…

Why Mint ?

Just to be clear, I haven’t abandoned Ubuntu altogether. I’m still running the latest LTS version in various places…I’ve just decided that I fancied a bit of Mint on the side.

I have nothing against Ubuntu’s new desktop direction ( Unity), nor Gnome 3 come to that. To be honest, I haven’t gotten around to trying either of them just yet.However, Mint seems to have gained quite a bit of traction as a result of these teething troubles experienced by both of these projects. Furthermore, it’s also a bit more “Windows like” – in a strictly cosmetic sense – than other main stream Linux distros and, well, there’s always a chance I can bring my son back from the Dark Side of his Windows preferences.

There’s a couple of other differences that appeal.
First off, Mint ships with Libre Office as the default office suite.
Secondly, it uses Banshee rather than Rythmbox as the default media player.
If that wasn’t enough, all the window control buttons (maximize, minimize, close) are on the correct side so there’s no messing about to switch them back.
All-in-all then, it seems that Mint is at least worth playing with for a bit.

Getting your home comforts

The version I’m playing with is Mint 11 – Katia.
As for the hardware, well, that’s my long-suffering and aged Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo 2727, rescued from Windows Vista a couple of years ago, and subjected to various experiments since.

Once you’ve gone through the installation, and Mint starts for the first time, there are a couple of things that you can do to get a full complement of Gnome/Linux goodies.

First off, you can download multimedia codecs ( this is an option on the Welcome Screen that displays on startup).

Once you’ve got that useful collection of software, the next item on the list, at least if you’ve installed the CD version, is to go to the Administration menu and click on Upgrade to DVD Version.
A few spearmint green progress bars later and you have a full set of all those lovely Gnome gadgets you’ve grown to know and love, such as Tomboy Notes.

By default, you only have one desktop available.
To change this state of affairs, you need to go to the Preferences menu and select CompizConfig Settings Manager.
Go to the Desktop Size tab and move the Number of Desktops slider to your preferred number.
Henceforth, CTRL+ALT right-arrow and CTRL+ALT left-arrow will allow you to switch desktops to your heart’s content.

First Impressions

It’s green. A nice pastel shade of green, but green nonetheless.
On the plus side, comments from those not yet wholly convinced about the wonderful world of Linux have been quite positive…albeit somewhat along the lines of “it’s green” (or in one case, “at least it’s not brown”).
As for me, I’m not sure if the novelty will wear off before long but, for now at least, I quite like it.


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