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.
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.
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!