Monthly Archives: June 2008

Review: Mint 5 Elyssa

Mint 5 actually works for me now…just not on the machine I wanted it to.  I had posted before about installing and using Mint 5 on my laptop test machine.  Shall we just say that failed?  This time around though, it is fantastic.

What I Liked

I’m a fan of Ubuntu to start with and being that Mint 5 is Hardy Heron underneath and minty goodness on top, its getting a slightly biased boost.  The minty goodness is definitely aesthestics.  There are several wallpapers included for standard and wide screen displays.  I went for the steampunk style.  The themes included weren’t anything special but a dark one called peppermint somewhat complimented the steampunk wallpaper.

EnvyNG is included to take care of installing ATI and Nvidia drivers.  Before running this, absolutely nothing was readable.  Installing the proper Nvidia driver did the trick and is now functional.  So I opened EnvyNG, chose Nvida (which includes automatic hardware detection), and let it work magic.  That said, EnvyNG is not unique to Mint and I could install it in Mint.  However, I wouldn’t do that.  Its a nice touch to include it and make it easier on the user (and I love easy).

Compiz works fantastic.  Given that I have an integrated Nvidia 6150, it works well.  On top of that, I was still able to play Urban Terror better than Vista handled it.  The FPS was higher and the settings were better in Mint.

Like Ubuntu, I plugged in my Canon Pixma iP4300 and it worked.  It just worked.  Plug and Play.  Eat that Microsoft.

My wifi worked.  Once again, plug and play.  (I’ll get the full wifi card specs in the machine spec page later)

Software selection in Mint is as standard as they come…Firefox, GIMP, et cetera.  I do like Transmission for quick and simply bit torrent.  A lot of proprietary codecs are included as well.  Installing software is a bit odd though.  Synaptic is available though I don’t suggest it for first time users adding applications.  MintInstaller, aka the Software Portal, allows users to add software as they please but it opens up the browser in order to actually do it.  Adding software from Mint’s site causes you to download a .mint file which starts the process.  I do like that GetDeb.net and Apt are included in the Software Portal menu.

What I Abhorred

I can’t say there’s much.  Mint just works.  I still don’t know about the application menu layout.  I’ve found several distros using this and its just odd at first.  I like that once its set, I can quickly open my regular apps from the Favorites menu.

The Software Portal needs work.  I understand the need for it.  It allows for screenshots and user reviews.  Now I would like to see some.  The selection of software is still minimalistic compared to Ubuntu.  I realize I can still install all that same software but why isn’t it listed in the Software Portal?

MintUpdate is still a bit contentious with me.  There can be newer kernels available but on a break-your-system basis.

Finale

I like Mint better straight out than Ubuntu.  The setup was easier and it just seems more polished.  I don’t understand somethings Mint does.  However, I would have no problem handing Mint 5 over to a new user and expect them to figure it relatively quick.

Update

Mint 5 is still handling nice on the desktop outside of a graphics issue with Urban Terror.  I did reinstall it on my laptop with success so yay!

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Ubuntu Cola

There really isn’t much to say about this.  Some crazy people thought that naming a soda Ubuntu would be a wise idea because of the meaning of the name Ubuntu (humanity towards others).  That’s great and all.  However, there is already a flavor of Linux known as Ubuntu.  It’d be like me developing any exceptionally blitzy bling bling sugary nasty tasting soda called Vista that occasionally explodes when you just look at it.

Ubuntu cola is fair trade which is good.  Just work on the name.  And maybe have a stronger green push.


Would Be Review: Mint 5 Elyssa

I wish I could really write a lovely post of Mint.  As a fact, I’ve been a big fan of Mint since I first discovered it whilst browsing Distrowatch.  Mint 4 installed without any issues on my laptop.  I tried out a beta and RC versions of Mint 5 without success.  Mint 5 boots to a console and my post on the Linux Mint Forums has yet to yield help.

So…  when will help arrive?

If you have suggestions on how to fix this problem, let me know, please.

P.S.  Did I mention that the LiveCD work perfectly?


My Laptop Test Machine

This is for future reference…  I’m using my laptop for most of my Linux reviews as its not my primary computer.  So just for a quick overview, here’s the specs:

  • Compaq Presario V2000z
  • 14.1″ LCD
  • AMD Sempron Mobile 2800 1.8 GHz
  • 2 GB DDR RAM
  • Integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200M Graphics
  • 160 GB Hard Disk Drive (though I only use a small portion for each install)
  • DVD-ROM
  • Broadcom 4318 wireless card

Let me know if I forgot anything important in here.


Review: Mandriva One Spring 2008 LiveCD

I’ve been sampling GNU/Linux distros for years now.  I’ve played with Red Hat and the old SuSE.  And I think Mandriva One Spring 2008 is a joke.  Its realistically performs no better than those old distros.

What I Guess I Liked

Mandriva did give me the option to use Compiz during boot up of the Live CD.  Definite advantage there as some don’t even ask.  You just get it or you don’t.  I really like options.

What I Really Abhorred

The Live CD recognized my wifi card (Broadcom 4318 POS) successfully.  Its a real shame they didn’t include a reasonable way to find, oh, a wifi hotspot.  That’s a huge ding.  I treat this from a newbie (though I am not one) angle.  If the distro can’t do that much,  how easy with it be with other things?

Secondly, money.  I don’t pay for Linux.  I don’t pay for software.  So I’m not going to pay for a version of Mandriva that supposedly offers more when other distros give me the same (or greater) capabilities for nothing.

Finale

This only being a Live CD review, I can’t knock Mandriva too much.  There’s a very good possibility that it would have recognized the card and given me the tools I need to get online.  Mint and Ubuntu don’t recognize the card until they’re both installed and connected via ethernet.  The first distro that beats even that will win me over for a few months.

I’ve never been a fan of Mandrake, Connectiva, or Mandriva.  So perhaps I am biased.  I wouldn’t recommend Mandriva to anyone.  Go with Mint if you want very easy.