Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9
LMDE is a semi-rolling release based on Debian testing: changes are saved into regular update packs. I tested the 32-bit Mate version. LMDE is for traditional BIOS and partitioning, and the 32-bit version has the non-PAE kernel by default.
There’s has a new installer and the first time I ran it, it crashed. I then re-booted in failsafe mode and tried again, and that time it worked. Gparted is used to set up the disk, but only ext4 can be used by the installer. Unlike the regular Mint, /home cannot be encrypted.
The Mate desktop has a single panel with no pager and the Mint menu, although the pager and normal menu can be added with a few clicks. The main programs are Firefox (with Flash), Thunderbird, Pidgin, Xchat, Gimp, Totem (with codecs), LibreOffice (without a dictionary). Running from the CLI, I got a minor warning from Gimp and a couple of critical ones for Totem, but everything worked perfectly, without the video problems I’d had with Mint 14.
The keyboard shortcuts tool still refuses Super: altering the keyboard configuration to ‘Meta on Win keys’ solves that, and the configuration editor still accepts the name Super.
Software can be installed with Synaptic or the Mint Software Manager. Both were fast and found ‘British dictionary’ with no trouble. Just for fun, I added Icewm as well; it needs its menu revising, but seems fine.
Compared with the normal Mint, you get rolling-release and a bigger repository (Debian rather than Ubuntu) but lose encryption. Like all Mint (except the KDE version) this is Linux at its best.