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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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An improvement on Ubuntu
but not as good as Mint
This new product from Snowlinux resembles Mint in being based on Ubuntu but with Gnome 3 and MATE instead of Unity. It comes as a live DVD and the installation is the usual Ubuntu process. You can select the desktop at log-in by clicking on the gear-wheel next to your name.
MATE has progressed since its first appearance in Mint to the extent that the configuration tools now work smoothly. However, it is still prone to suddenly take 100% of the CPU and, unlike in the case of Mint, I couldn't find a solution.
The programs were generally sound, but Banshee gave a critical warning when run from the CLI and, more seriously, the Ubuntu Software Centre was broken. The disk does not contain any codecs (why, in a German distro?) but they can be downloaded during the installation. If you do not do this, Totem will find and install them when required. The amount of software supplied is small: LibreOffice, Chromium, Thunderbird, Empathy, Banshee, Totem, Sound recorder, Image viewer, Shotwell. Obviously you can get more from the repository, but you need to use apt-get to do so. There are a lot of double entries in the menu, where you get MATE and Gnome versions.
This obviously invites comparison with Mint and it's difficult to see why one should prefer Snowlinux Winter. Mint has a working software installer, a solution to the MATE CPU problem, pre-installed codecs, lots of developers (Snowlinux is a 2-man project), and an active forum.