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"The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 14 'Nadia'. For the first time since Linux Mint 11, the development team was able to capitalize on upstream technology which works and fits its goals. After 6 months of incremental development, Linux Mint 14 features an impressive list of improvements, increased stability and a refined desktop experience. We're very proud of MATE, Cinnamon, MDM and all the components used in this release, and we're very excited to show you how they all fit together in Linux Mint 14."
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8
but a bit of extra effort was needed this time
The latest Mint now has separate disks for Mate and Cinnamon. I tested the 32-bit Mate version. It boots into a live session unless you press enter: then you can choose to check the disk or to boot in failsafe video mode. The installer, Ubuntuís Ubiquity, is run from the live session and supports encryption of /home. Partitioning should be done first, with Gparted.
For some hardware, there are two bugs inherited from Ubuntu. If the disk just takes you to a flashing screen, use the failsafe mode. If Ubiquity crashes, do Ďsudo apt-get remove ubiquity-slideshow-mintí before running it again; that was discovered by a bright member of the Mint forum.
The Mate is not quite standard: the panel lacks a pager (why?) and has Mintís own menu, but that is easily remedied. Mate still has a few problems with keyboard shortcuts. If you have a www button, pressing it will lead to an attempt to launch Epiphany! You need to disable it with the shortcuts tool and set it by editing the global keybindings in Marco using the configuration editor. That also enables you to set shortcuts with Super, which the shortcuts tool refuses.
The main programs are Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Xchat, LibreOffice, Gimp, VLC, Totem, Gnome-mplayer, and Banshee. Running from the CLI, there were only minor warnings for LibreOffice and Banshee. Codecs and the Flash plugin are also installed. Playing videos was a different matter. VLC and Gnome-mplayer didnít work, while Totem took 100% of my CPU and was still jerky. Strangely, these problems are shared by Fedora and SUSE, yet not by other Ubuntu derivatives. Banshee worked, although it wouldnít play my Ďmp4 from hellí. I installed Gxine, and that worked perfectly. Flash is the version that doesnít work with 32-bit AMD CPUs; if you need to replace it, itís cunningly hidden in /opt. In LibreOffice, there was only an American dictionary for the spellchecker. Come on, Clem; youíre French and live in Dublin: since when have Europeans spoken American? And what was Ubiquity doing when it spent a couple of minutes downloading language packs?
Extra software can be added with either Synaptic or the Software manager. The beginner would have to seek help to find that English dictionary, though. There are more configuration tools than in other Ubuntu derivatives: I could select USB speakers, and if the services configuration tool is not as good as Red Hatís, itís better than Ubuntuís.
This is not as good as the last version: everything worked eventually, but not Ďout of the boxí.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9
Intuitive, sleek, efficient, fast. Also stable and pretty
Wireless support not too great
As of 14 April 2013, I've been using Linux Mint MATE for all my computing needs, and I'm quite satisfied with Mint 14. The interface is simple, robust, powerful, easy to understand. You don't need to be a linux guru to use Mint. If you prefer a more advanced interface, however, Mint also has a very adequate terminal emulator running bash that ships with MATE, and it is of course highly customizable, as Linux often strives to be.
Sadly, however, wireless card support doesn't always ship out of the box, meaning that you need to download the firmware installer from the repositories. This needs a bit of command-line work, but nothing huge. I had to install the b43-firmware-installer package from the repository to activate my wireless card...I'm not sure how common this is among users.
Overall, Linux Mint 14 Nadia is a quality distribution. Granted, there might be a bit of ironing out to do following installation, but it's not very difficult. Once the distro has been prepared to your liking, it is far superior to Ubuntu. "Ubuntu done right," as some say. And indeed, MATE is not as RAM-devouring as Unity(though I must confess that Unity is quite pretty). Linux Mint is perhaps one of the best- if not the best- Linux distributions in existence. I wholly recommend it to new and advanced users alike.