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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.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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"The team is proud to announce the release of LMDE 201204. This release features three of the best Linux desktops available at the moment: The traditional and functional MATE 1.2 desktop, the innovative and beautiful Cinnamon 1.4 and the lightweight and rock-solid Xfce 4.8. Both the MATE/Cinnamon and Xfce editions use the MDM display manager. MDM will look familiar to many people, as it brings back GDM 2.20 and all its features: Remote login, configuration tools, fast-user switching, theme-ability, language selection. Yahoo joins DuckDuckGo and is featured as default in the list of search engines which financially support Linux Mint."
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8
Quality software with 2 great desktops
No encryption offered
LMDE is a rolling release, using Debian's Testing repository; the installation disk is just a snapshot. Some (including Mint) say that a rolling release is not suitable for beginners, but Debian's Testing is better than some distro's stable: the software on these disks ran from the CLI without any scary warnings.
The main programs are LibreOffice, Gimp, Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Xchat, Banshee, Gnome-mplayer, Totem, and VLC. Codecs and flash are pre-installed.
One disk provides both Gnome 3 with the Cinnamon shell and Maté. I couldn't test Gnome because my hardware won't run it. Normally Gnome defaults to its fallback mode, but that is not supplied here. Maté can now be regarded as a finished product, as good as any other desktop. It's surprisingly small: you could just about get by in 256MB. For some reason, the Gnome configuration tool is installed, but the Maté one has to be downloaded.
The other version has Xfce, and works equally well. This is actually larger than Maté, needing 512MB.
The biggest fault is the installer, which is no longer the Ubuntu one. It has no facility for encryption, which is vital for laptops; without it, if the computer is stolen, your identity may be too.
The other problem was that I could not get it to use my USB speakers. The Multimedia Systems Selector doesn't work and ~/.asoundrc is ignored. This is basically a Debian problem, which seems to occur in most derivatives.
A minor fault is that Mint doesn't put a pager on the panel. Workspaces are one of the advantages of Linux, but how can the Windows refugee learn about them if they are hidden away?
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9
Feel of Ubuntu but with Mint and Debian Ease and Stability
nothing that is Mint's fault
All in all, Mint has been very good to me.
Needing to upgrade after years of using Isadora, I chose the LMDE Cinnamon Edition because I wanted long-lasting stability.
Ubuntu packages seemed to introduce conflicts and didn't keep older software that I like in the Debian repositories. I have always liked Gnome-- and wanted a semblance of it with the Cinnamon edition. It does not seem as bright and configurable as the older Gnome with the Nautilus window manager. No problem for me as I use Fluxbox 99% of the time anyway.
It works best for me and I have it set up to run just the way I like it.
I have become very disenchanted with developments on the GIMP. It has introduced some really bothersome practices in its latest form-- one must go through hoops by renaming copies of files. It is counter-intuitive. Likewise Firefox appears to get heavier and more counter-intuitive with each new iteration (luckily users create apps to return it to more classic handling styles). I don't really like too much of the Mint packaged software-- I prefer to start with a minimum of the basics and add the software I like. I do not use Thunderbird anymore-- I prefer Squirrel Mail-- and I do not like the heavy music players. I use vlc almost exclusively, although I have mplayer because I occasionally like to run Shoutcast streams in a terminal. I am not into games so much-- I like oldies like Moon-buggy. I always like Squeak on my distros-- it reminds me of the magic of computers. I use Rox-filer as my file manager about 80% of the time, and PCManFM the rest of the time. I am happy that Mint uses Duckduckgo as its default internet search engine-- it works excellently-- snd as far as I know is more private. I often use Dillo instead of Firefox, because I like websites for reading and Dillo is FAST! Firefox has some great apps though-- I like Reader, Download Helper, and Flash Block.
Of course none of these last things really matter so much with which distro one uses. The best distro is the one which runs best on your computer, one that won't break, and one you can have fun with.
(I run Antix (with Fluxbox) on an older computer that I salvaged from someone's trash. It runs great but took a little more twiddling to get some things to work the way I like.)
I regularly try all types of distros out-- but rely on Mint because, for now, it has broad support and because it seems to always deliver a dependable product. Too many distros fail out of the box for one reason or another-- most often for lack of support for older hardware like mine. I like Mint best because I can still experiment a lot-- but feel fairly secure that I won't break anything. With Mint (and Ubuntu in the past), I often relied on Debian repositories for dependable software. I like starting with Debian this time. I think Mint could improve a bit by describing its flavors a bit better. I spent way too long trying to decide between MATE and Cinnamon. With my preference for Fluxbox, it really didn't matter much. Neo works, but is a bit listless. I don't really like the Menus in the heavy window managers. I roll my own with Fluxbox, and it pops up wherever I need it.
The hardest thing to get used to with a rolling upgrade like this is not compulsively checking for updates as I did with editions that were turned to Ubuntu repositories. I have yet to see how this will work out for me in the long-run, but I am stoked and happy for now.
I have always believed that Mint and Fluxbox are a good marriage. Mint had a Fluxbox edition for awhile. I wish more people would cut the lunky window managers and try Fluxbox which is steady and reliable-- but fast fast fast and highly configurable. (Enlightenment is a nice window manager and works very well on Bodhi Linux. I personally prefer the older E16 edition which I think was more elegant. There are many nice window managers-- use the one you like.)
I do not understand why anyone would prefer to use Windows crapola or even Mac (which has a kitschy Hello Kitty type of feel to it).