Linux Mint 13 Maya just got released and as expected, it has captured a lot of attention. Since Linux Mint is the biggest rival of Ubuntu to be the most popular Linux distro, I am very curious and excited to see what Linux Mint offers in this release to compete with the recent success of Ubuntu 12.04. In this release, Linux Mint comes with 2 desktop options, Cinnamon and MATE. I chose the MATE edition to download and install since Linux Mint 11 Katya was my favorite distro and the MATE edition of Maya looks really like Katya. I want to know if this release of Linux Mint can gain my love once again.
Linux Mint 13 - MATE Edition Review: First Impression
The ISO image of Linux Mint no longer fits a CD, the size is nearly 900MB so you need a USB or a DVD to boot and install it. Besides, if you are a Windows user and want to try Linux Mint inside Windows, you have to download the 64 bit ISO file because Wubi installer is not supported in the 32 bit version. There is no change in the live desktop, you have the installer icon in the desktop, just click it and follow the instruction to install Linux Mint 12. The installer is still the popular and well-explained Ubiquity so it just requires a basic understanding about Linux partitions to be able to install Linux Mint. The installation process was fast, took me around 15 minutes to finish.
|The live desktop of Linux Mint 13 - MATE edition|
|New login manager - MDM|
The MATE Desktop
The first thing to see after logging in was the welcome menu of Linux Mint. I've seen it many times before so I closed it and unchecked the "Show this dialog at startup" immediately.
|The welcome menu of Linux Mint|
The default Mate desktop of Linux Mint is nearly identical to that of Linux Mint 11. It looks clean with only 2 shortcut icons on the desktop and one gnome panel at the bottom. On left of the panel are the Mint menu and the show desktop icon, on the right are the notification indicator for volume, network, update, date and time, in the middle is the window list applet. You can add new applets into the panel by right-clicking on the panel and choose the option "Add to panel ..." and the Add to panel window will open for you to choose new applets to add. You can add as many applets as you want on the gnome panel and you can lock or drag these applets around on the panel. You can also drag applications into the panel to make a quick launcher as well.
|The applets you can add to the gnome panel|
|The old menu to customize desktop when right-clicking on the desktop|
|Maya comes with a lot of beautiful wallpapers ...|
|... but only 2 themes|
In MATE, Nautilus file manager is called Caja and its look is also different from Nautilus of Ubuntu. By default, there are no shortcuts for the common folders of Music, Download ... on the side pane but you can create them by dragging the folder icons into there. One thing I really like about Caja in Linux Mint is that it still has the ability to do preview for audio files, which means when you hover the mouse on a music file the song will be played in the background. Nautilus in Ubuntu no longer supports this feature.
|Caja file manager|
Firefox is still the web browser in Linux Mint 13 and it already has Adobe Flash pre-installed. The default search engine in the search box is Yahoo now but if you use the address box to search, it will switch back to DuckDuckGo like in Linux Mint 12.
|It is still DuckDuckGo if you use the address box to search|
|Banshee is not integrated into the sound menu|
The very first thing I did after installing Linux Mint 13 was to install the proprietary driver for my ATI graphic card. When I opened the Additional Drivers configuration window, Linux Mint offered me two choices for the proprietary driver.
|2 drivers for my card, one leads to hell, one to heaven|
|Blue Screen of Death on Linux Mint 13 :D|
|Another screenshot of BSOD on Linux Mint 13|
Another problem I faced in Linux Mint 13 was the sound. After I installed Maya, I tried to play a song with Banshee but there was no sound at all. It turned out that something was wrong with the sound output hardware. I found a solution to fix it myself but I hope the Linux Mint team will offer an official fix soon.
Except these above problems, everything has been working very well for me. All the laptop function keys work out of the box. There are absolutely no network nor temperature issues at all. All the applications run perfectly. Here is how Linux Mint 13 performs in my laptop at idle:
Although Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, I always prefer Mint over Ubuntu. I love how the developers of Linux Mint do care about the opinion of the users and offer the what the users really want. All in all, Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE edition is a great distro. It meets the need of those who want the good things of Ubuntu and still prefer the look and feel of the good old Gnome2 desktop.