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May
21

Five Reasons to be excited about Linux Mint 13 – LTS, MATE, and more

by Rob Zwetsloot

The next version of Linux Mint will be with us soon, find out why 13 is going to be the lucky number for the worlds most popular Linux distribution

Last week the release candidate for Linux Mint 13 was made available, code named Maya. Based on the recent release of Ubuntu 12.04, Linux Mint 13 takes the core of Precise Pangolin and adds it’s own branding and desktop environments on top of it. It’s these additions, and more, that go towards making Linux Mint so great – and here are five fantastic reasons to look out for the next version of Linux Mint.

Desktop Environments

Linux Mint 13 will be the first Linux Mint release that does not have GNOME as standard, instead offering two versions based on MATE and Cinnamon. Both these Desktop Environments are based on GNOME 2, with MATE being a direct fork, and the Mint developed Cinnamon built on top of GNOME 3.

Linux Mint 13 Maya Environment
Cinnamon was developed by the Mint devs after GNOME 2 was dropped

Linux Mint 13 will also include the Mint Gnome Shell Extensions from the previous outing of Linux Mint. These add-ons to GNOME bring some of the GNOME 2 elements back while keeping the better search functionality of modern GNOME – a hybrid of the two that appeases both detractors and supporters of GNOME 3.

MDM

The MDM Display Manager is the new way to select your Desktop Environment in Linux Mint 13. MDM is built upon GDM, and replaces LDM from standard Ubuntu and previous versions of Linux Mint. It’s notable in that it offers more customisability and options than any other display manager.

Mint Display Manager
The new MDM Display Manager is highly configurable

MDM offers extensive themeability, and gives options for remote, automatic, and even timed login. You can set up event scripting, have it throw up a welcome message, and much more. You even have some control of these options from the log in menu, and witness some of the theme changes on the fly.

Ubuntu software

One of the great parts of Linux Mint is that it is built upon the latest Ubuntu distribution, giving access to the full software repository. This is packed with the latest and greatest in free software, such as the recent major updates to VLC, GIMP, and Audacity.

Five Reasons to be excited about Linux Mint 13 – LTS, MATE, and more
The Ubuntu Software Centre is full of applications that are available for Mint

More than just a large selection of applications, the software repository also offers non-free and proprietary software, libraries, and drivers that are available for Linux but not always in a distributions default package list. You can also add Ubuntu repositories and PPAs in the same way as standard Ubuntu, as well as having access to the small suite of extra Linux Mint software.

Theme Upgrades

While a minor update to Linux Mint, the latest Linux Mint-X and Mint-Z themes have updated icons and graphics, and there is much better support for GTK3.

Linux Mint 13
Better themes are more than just aesthetic changes

The wallpapers has been updated and added to as well, with some beautiful photographs taken by masterbutler augmenting the selection.

LTS

Ubuntu 12.04 is a Long Term Service release, supported for five years with security updates and bug fixes. This applies to distributions such as Linux Mint that use Ubuntu as a base, meaning that Linux Mint 13 will enjoy the benefits of the LTS.

Five Reasons to be excited about Linux Mint 13 – LTS, MATE, and more

We’ve been over the advantages of LTS releases before – it’s great for enterprise use where stable software with a long lifespan saves time (and reduces on headaches) for sysadmins who would otherwise need to approve new software every six months to a year. It’s also good for more novice home users, where there may not be a need to have the cutting edge in software that is forever changing.

Linux Mint 13 is looking to be well worth the upgrade. Check back during the week where we’ll pit it against Ubuntu in a head-to-head challenge, and give you our definitive review of the distro.

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    • Paleoflatus

      I have to agree, it’s very pretty and the menus are nice. Unfortunately, it took me over half a day to install, which is quicker than Windows, but a little longer than the 5 minutes it takes to install Siduction or Aptosid. What’s more, it took several tries to get the DVD to boot. When running off the DVD, I found the network connection a little more fiddly than simply running ceni from a command prompt. Once connected, I used the software manager to change to a local, unmetred repository and then the software manager froze. I had to re-boot to get rid of it. The disk partitioning system during installation is quite confusing, unless you’re using the whole hard drive. After apparently almost completing the installation, it spent almost three hours down-loading useless language packs etc. Once installed, it wouldn’t start until I tried safe mode a third time and switch from there to normal start. It defaulted to a slow, flickery 800×600 screen, which needed urgent attention. Getting my nVidia driver running was fiddly, as the latest one wouldn’t work and I had to reboot for the umpteenth time (I normally use sgfxi, which is faultless). I loaded Compiz, but never managed to get it to work and I spent hours unsuccessfully trying to find a way to widen the task-bar, which was far too narrow for me to read. Loading new software continued to be tedious, as it took a reboot every time, to close the software manager.
      Yes, it’s very pretty, but it took me less than ten minutes to replace it with a fully-functioning Siduction install and return to all the convenience and flexibility of apt, KDE and smxi.
      Ten years ago, I’d have loved it.

    • http://nocturnal.org Matthew Lenz

      What he said. It’s a total pain to install and there is very little attention to detail. So you get a pretty and buggy OS. I might actually be able to deal with it if it had an alt install cd that at least had RAID support during installation. I think I might just go to Debian when I get ready to upgrade from 11.10.

    • J.A.Prufrock

      I decided to try Mint, but when I booted up with a live CD, the desktop had a funky looking top bar (it looked like the font wasn’t supported-don’t know how that could be). So I regressed to the Pangolin. Maybe next time.
      BTW since the author is talking about OS Mint with the MATE and Cinnamon DEs, why is he using a Unity pic (3rd image down from the top) to describe the Software Center? A little tacky.

    • Andy

      Have been using Mint for years. Now still using Mint 10 so far everything just fine. Looking to upgrade to Mint 13.

    • Kevin

      Well I think it needs to be worked on a little more. I have used Mint in the past ( 10, 11, 12) but this one does not like my Nvidia card at all (Geforce 550 Ti). I had to switch to my old 9800gt just to get a picture. After 3 to 4 hours of countless issues I just went back to UE 3.3 and Zorin. Is anybody testing these before they are being released? Mint 12 was great and have reinstalled it. Maybe next time.

    • splinternet123

      mint lacks the subtlety of UE, opensuse, debian, ubuntu and mandriva powerpack. The USP is the integrated DE.
      My video playback in vlc kept crashing in mint 12.
      MInt has the capability of becoming great but just not yet…………………….

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    • http://www.deekshith.in/ Deekshith

      It might be good. But Ubuntu is better. I love Unity over all other DEs. I feel Cinnamon is like dragging back to the past. It suits only those who are reluctant to try any thing new. However, I recommend it for non-geeky Windows migrants.

    • Dave

      I’ve installed the 64 bit Cinnamon 13 RC version on my laptop (an HP g4-1125dx) and the 32 bit Cinnamon 13 RC on my netbook (an ASUS Eee PC 1005HAB). In both instances the install went smoothly even though I used the wireless connection for the internet. I did not install the proprietary ATI drivers on the laptop. I am very pleased with this release so far, so I may install it on some more computers. In the “for what it’s worthless” category I have used many other flavors of Linux packages (Yggdasil, Slackware, Redhat and Fedora, CentOS, SUSE, Debian, and Ubuntu) and prior to Mint my favorite desktop was Ubuntu. Sadly, even though my wife and I went through two releases with Unity, it wasn’t our cup of tea, even on the netbook. I tried and was impressed with Mint, especially the Cinnamon front end. For servers I still prefer Redhat or similar, although I have used Ubuntu server in one install.

    • Albin

      Fairly new to Linux, I’ve been experimenting with Live USB installations of various Ubuntu based OSs and didn’t like Mint 12, based on Ubuntu 11, for being much more controlling of the user experience and making modifications harder to do than Mint 11, my current favorite. I didn’t like Ubuntu 12 mainly for making formerly easy things hard and forcing its way of doing things – no doubt a Mint based on it will be better but still controlling, and even more resource demanding. RAM and CPU demands are too much for my netbook, but even noticeable on my main computer. I think Ubuntu/Mint are going through a “Vista/W7″ phase, forcing hardware upgrades. I have to say my main beef with Ubuntu/Mint vis Windows is the failure to produce a half-way friendly home LAN/file sharing set up – Samba (the only solution I’m aware of) is an intimidating bolix to figure out – as compared with automated and easy Windows recognition and setup over the wi-fi.

    • tomt

      Over the years, Mint has been the most stable and polished distro on my hard drive. Mint 12 was an exception. The best thing about Mint 13 is that it isn’t Mint 12.

      If Mint 13 lacks the stability and functionality of Mint 11, then Mint 13 should be labeled “beta” or some such thing. Ubuntu 12.04 works exceptionally well and, as old-timers realize that “gnome-panel” in the 12.04 repository provides much of the functionality that they had in the past, we might see some of the previous user base return to Ubuntu.

    • http://questeen.wordpress.com lighans

      Well. Nice comments. Comparing a RC with other ditro’s.

      It’s on my netbook. I’m using MATE (funny I used SalixOS before LM and they are now porting MATE to Salix). The reason to switch to LinuxMint is the easier connection to network thingies like NAS and network printer.

      I think a Slackware based distro like Salix is snappier, than LM. But, Well I’m to lazy or not nerd enough.

    • mikiaandy

      I has install MINT 13 Cinnamon a 3-4 days ago, everthing run smoothly. In 19 min i have a fully desktop. Proc: x2 4800, 2gb ddr2, video on board, 500 wd sata, LG dvd-rw

    • Manic Miner

      I have MINT 12 on my main laptop. It isn’t completely bug free and I had more than a few problems with the cinnamon desktop.

      The mate desktop works ok but then again try changing the background colour of the panels. Someitmes it works and other times the panels just disappear, never to be seen again.

      I now have my desktop as I like it and so it runs fine and I haven’t had any crashes with VLC but I’m not a heavy user in terms of watching movies on my laptop.

      I use banshee as my music player and that works fine on Mint and my network card was picked up straight away.

      I don’t agree that Mint is all that pretty. I think Fedora wins on that score. I’m not sure what the fuss is about with regards to the gnome 3 shell. I quite like it although mate is much more customisable.

      One thing I really like with mint is that I can add a button to the panel that shuts down the laptop. I know this sounds silly but every other distro and even windows forces you down at least a 4 click route to shut down your pc. Using mint I can do it in 2 clicks.

    • Chris Noble

      Couple of things. First, to correct something: “Linux Mint 13 will also include the Mint Gnome Shell Extensions from the previous outing of Linux Mint. ” No, it won’t. You can, if you have the Cinnamon desktop, download Gnome 3 Shell, but it isn’t MGSE. That’s been discontinued.

      Second… you all do understand that this is a release candidate, right? You saw the “RC” there? Implying that this is not the final version? MATE installed easy as anything on my machine. Cinnamon… not so much. So, rather than judge the Cinnamon desktop “junk”, I’m going with the radical notion of waiting for the final version.

      (I’m not talking about the folks who just prefer other distros, but the folks who seem to have made a judgement on Mint’s “bugginess” based on a RC.)

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    • JELaBarre

      @Deekshith said:
      > I love Unity over all other DEs. I feel Cinnamon is like dragging back to the past. It suits only
      > those who are reluctant to try any thing new.

      Really?? You decided that all by yourself? Perhaps the reason people don’t like Unity is because ***it doesn’t meet their needs***. It has absolutely NOITHING to do with fear of something new, and everything to do with actually getting work done. Sure, if you like using an interface that Fisher-Price would reject as too childish, then go ahead and use Unity. The rest of us have jobs to do.

    • Zem

      Just installed mint 13. Quite pleasant experience so far. Feels snappier and prettier then pangolin. Installation was a breeze. 2 pseudo problems so far, software center is slower then pangolin and i haven’t figured out how to enable hibernation. Otherwise a solid build.

    • Rom

      Decided to try Mint 13RC. Installation experience was OK, although computer has crushed on the first try, after rebooting the installation completed successfully. I still need to sort out two problems. Home network does not work but internet works OK, and USB port access is dodge. I am new to Linux but my first impression is a positive one. I only hope that the developers would create more friendly way to setup home network for users like me (nobs). I am too old to type all that gibberish … sudo this, sudo that … . I was using terminal commands when I was 30 years younger, in DOS, and I am not looking going back in time.

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    • Capt. Obvious

      Relatively new to linux I mostly use Ubuntu, however when anyone ask’s me for a “copy of my OS” I give them a link to Mint. Mint just works for them and they love it, which I’m happy about.
      From these 5 reasons to be excited I don’t really see any reason to. I give other people mint because it’s already setup with a few things people normally want… yet this is where I start to go “defuh?”.
      1) DE’s – People complain about unity and what not… but then as I understand… in mint you get pre installs of popular media applications/codec’s. However if I want to use something else, then it breaks down to “Well install what you want fanboy”. So why complain about unity when you can change to what you want?
      2) MDM – Sounds great, but I’m a dull person so I leave Unity as is. Works for me.
      3) Ubuntu Software Center – You have access to Ubuntu’s software center which is a hella plus point.
      4) Themes – Dull person… remember.
      5) LTS – Long term support that as I understand is done by Ubuntu.

      So here’s why I’m not excited. It’s mainly just the bling. Sparkly nonsense in a community that can’t agree on which degree of sparkle is the best for all. Also (Judging from comments) the title of “most popular distro” being thrown around so easily didn’t start off my excitement meter that much.

    • John

      Five reasons NOT to get excited about LM13 (well 4 reasons anyway)

      Running LM13 cinnamon on a Dell laptop, dual core P6100, 4G ram (cheap, entry level, bottom of the line, 13 inch screen, on sale at Best Buy at a good price).

      But I’m having problems with LM13 that I didn’t have with LM12.

      1. if you run WMware player or workstation you’re have problems getting the kernel module to compile. needed to install a patch for vmware to get it to work.

      2. on initial install of mate the wireless failed to work at all after installing the broadcom driver. I had to find and apply a soulation for ubuntu 12.04. cinnamon was a little better as far as getting the wireless to work. after installing the broadcom driver it came and worked on the first try.

      3. if I forget to turn on the wifi router (or connect the cable) before booting it fails to automatically connect to the network once I fix the problem.

      4. the network is (sometimes) inconsistent and won’t come up at all even with the cable properly connected, especially the wireless (with the router on). I have to reboot (sometimes twice) to get it to work.

      haven’t tried to configure cinnamon yet (got my fingers crossed on that one, got a backup just in case). it’s only been a few days and I’m sure there will be other problems that I haven’t experienced yet.

      these are small problems I know but still………….

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    • Shawn

      I had major issues even getting the live cd to work. Apparently there is a major graphics issue. But after hours of research here is what I figured out

      1. During Grub loading press and hold Shift , at Grub menu type “e” delete any extra e’s
      2. in the new popup window scroll down and type “nomodeset” after “quiet splash”
      3. press Ctrl-X to boot (this edit will work for 1 boot cycle only)
      4. (For Install only)Then once installed\running from Terminal run “gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub” and edit file same way
      5.Then be sure to run “sudo update-grub” to make permanent

    • mag

      This is the third mint in a row that works as live boot but not when installed. after installation it wont see my atheos network card. if you can make a working live distribution why cant you make it work once installed? this is the case since mint 10

    • Alex

      Unity Stinks… Same interface Windows 8…

    • ted zontag

      @Deekshith said:
      > I love Unity over all other DEs. I feel Cinnamon is like dragging back to the past. It suits only
      > those who are reluctant to try any thing new.

      yeah SURE what an idiotic thing to say. I have been using computers for years pal…I like Windows 7 because of the nice areo effects…but guess what? It still had the BASIC FUNCTIONALITY that we have been using for years!
      Does that make sense?
      Go ahead…try different things and even make it pretty…but DONT make it impossible to figure out.

      oooooooooh the whole world wants to use touch pads now so lets ditch desktop computers or better yet make them impossible to use because we are grabbing for the golden ring that is touch pad heaven…
      Gimme a break…get a life and wake up.
      I’ll stick with MATE thank you very much until the FOOLS desiginging all these “cutting edge” changes come to a consensus that actually works…IE: GNOME 3 and UNITY

    • KM

      After using ubuntu 10.04 for three years, and being really-really happy with it, I installed 12.04 last April. Worked OK in general, and I did like the environment (Unity was not bad either, even though I ended up using classic-Gnome most of the time) but I got fed up with the occasional crashes especially after suspend, the internal error messages etc.

      I have just installed Mint 13 (mate) and I really like it! Ii seems to me it is here to stay!

    • Joe Average

      Just installed Mint Linux KDE 13 and I really like it. Also upgraded my hard drive to a 250GB SSD. Computer is a stock Dell Latitude E6500. With the SSD upgrade the laptop temps are lower, fan stays off more and the battery last longer. I used Mint 12 KDE for a long time and it worked very, very well. Updates fixed any of the early problems. Mint 13 KDE is more polished, not many new features that I have run across yet which is fine with me.

      Installation took 20 minutes or so. No surprises. Was able to rescue my files easily enough with a SATA to USB cable. The old hard drive is on it’s way out.

      Thanks Mint Linux and KDE teams – and all the individual projects that make up a Linux desktop.

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    • http://www.boricode.com Miguel Guasch

      I love the MATE Desktop. Have both MATE and XFCE installed on my thinkpad t420 running debian wheezy and it works like a charm. I havent tried Linux Mint, since I’d rather stick to what I know (debian), but I have to extend a big THANK YOU to the group both for MATE and for giving new users an option to Ubuntu.

      But wait, I dont want to diss Ubuntu. They’re doing a great job as well. I just dont think I feel comfortable with the concept of Canonical just yet. Im rather skeptic when it comes to the mix of linux and companies. I used to love RedHat back in the 90′s, but then it went in a totally different direction, and im afraid Ubuntu is going to do the same.

      It’s a great alternative for people switching from windows, and its optics are good indeed, but if I wanted an OS with so many commercial things integrated, a cloud option, and so on, i’d rather go with OS X, from which at least I know I wont have to (wont be able to) tinker with it, and itll still give me the unix terminal.

    • Leo Smith

      It works OK once you get it installed..BUT installation is long, messy and doesn’t succeed for all values of hardware..wouldn’twork on my acer laptop.

      Mate is Gnome2 with a pity of polish on and works well enough – except sometimes it doesn’t. I can crash it totally using Caliber – export a file in calibre, bang goes the desktop panels. And the sound settings. Lord KNOWS what is going on.

      Also Totem is no longer a piece of software that does anything useful at all. No using VLC which is over complex, but at least WORKS.

      Still over and all its marginally better than debian lenny, which it replaced.

    • http://blog.i-evaluation.com Marek Karwowski (@iEvaluation)

      Here are my own reasons after using Ubuntu for about a month.