2012-04-06

Revisited: Linux Mint (KDE), Chakra, Fuduntu

I had tried out all these distributions again last week (during spring break) and this week, but I didn't think that each of them warranted their own posts (and this is also why there were no posts last week), so I have decided to combine them all into a short summary of my experiences. I'm doing this because I'm seriously trying to figure out what I should start using after Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora" GNOME. I tested the 64-bit (because my computer has 64-bit hardware) live USB sessions of all of these using MultiSystem. Follow the jump to see what each is like.

Linux Mint 12 "Lisa" KDE

I was able to get the desktop to look and feel exactly the way I wanted, with my preferred keyboard shortcuts to change desktops (and the desktop cube effect enabled), tabbed windows, et cetera. Mozilla Firefox is already installed, which is quite nice. The Google Talk plugin worked very well, which is great. I was able to use the GUI version of Mupen64Plus, which I do use fairly often on my installed system, on Linux Mint with KDE, and I was able to configure it the way I wanted using the GUI. I was also able to install and use the GUI version of F.lux, which is quite nice. KRunner was a fine substitute for GNOME-Do, which I use regularly. The only thing that didn't work initially was Skype, as I was using the 64-bit version of the distribution, but I was able to follow some instructions on the forums to get it to work, and that worked well.

Chakra 2012.02 "Archimedes"

Here, too, I was able to meld the KDE desktop exactly the way I wanted. I was able to install Mozilla Firefox and Skype through the Bundle Manager, and here Skype actually worked (although it crashed the first few times I tried to open it). The Google Talk plugin was also installable through the default repositories, which is great. The only things I missed were GUI versions of Mupen64Plus and F.lux, and configuring the text files by hand didn't work because every time I tried running the programs afterwards the configured settings would revert to the defaults. That's kind of annoying.

Fuduntu 2012.2

This seemed the most promising to me, because rather than using MATE, Fuduntu sticks with actual GNOME 2. It can do this because it is an independently-developed distribution now, so there is essentially no chance of conflict with GNOME 3 packages now. I was able to install Mozilla Firefox, and that worked fine. I was happy to see that I could install and use the Linux Mint Menu as well, as it appears that Fuduntu is maintaining and packaging its own version of that menu, which is great. Unfortunately, neither Skype nor Google Talk worked due to sound-related issues, and looking through the forums did not provide any solutions for me (as other people were experiencing the same unresolved issues). That's unfortunately basically a deal-breaker for me.

One thing that I haven't tried yet is the latest version of Debian-based Linux Mint, and I will surely try that when the latest spins come out. If I can get either Marlin or Nautilus Elementary to work on that and get a working Compiz desktop cube, along with all the other basic things I mentioned, I will be a very happy camper. And if I can get Compiz 0.8.6 to work with MATE in Ubuntu/Ubuntu-based Linux Mint, I will be quite happy. Otherwise, I think I will go with the power of KDE combined with the familiarity and stability of Ubuntu-based Linux Mint.

8 comments:

  1. Try going to Preferences > Sound, then selecting the Hardware tab and then set the Profile to "Analog Stereo Duplex". Next, select the Input tab and then Click the radio button for Internal Analog Stereo (you'll probably find that it is not selected). Now set the Mic volume to whatever you want.

    Do a test call in Skype to see if your Mic works.

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  2. I've already moved to KDE on my Linux Mint 12 desktop. I was running LM 9 with GNOME 2 + Compiz, but an update broke something, basically Compiz stopped working, I could change the settings but they had no affect.

    So I upgraded to LM 12 and installed KDE then upgraded KDE 4.7.4 to 4.8.1 with the PPA.

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  3. Here is something for you to try! If you like gnome-do, gnome 2.3, compiz, then you should try Mint 12 LXDE and change the window manager from openbox-LXDE to Compiz! It's lighter than KDE and you can customize it to feel like Gnome 2.3. Best of all you will still have gnome-do available.

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  4. @Andrew Wyatt: Unfortunately, that didn't work, and neither did any of the other audio options.

    @tracyanne: Well, it's good that you've found success with Linux Mint with KDE. I will say though that if you want to make changes in Compiz take effect, you either need to type "compiz --replace &" into a terminal or you need to install and run the Compiz Fusion Icon, right-click it, and make it reload the WM.

    @Randy: For some reason I've never had that much luck with LXDE. It seems to have more trouble than normal in configuring sound-related things, and the other [admittedly more secondary, but still important] issue is that I would really like to have my Linux Mint Menu.

    Thanks for the comments!

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  5. Mint 12 KDE is a fine choice, and let's face it - gnome 2 is going to be gone forever at some point, and I have my doubts about MATE's longterm prognosis.

    For an even lighter KDE, you might try Arch or the dreaded Gentoo (230k ram use at idle with the full KDE installed - akonadi and nepomuk disabled). Not sure how or if your apps of choice would work with those however.

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    1. @claudecat: Well, I actually tried again to make my old desktop with MATE, and this time I have fully succeeded (and I will likely write about that sometime this coming week). Frankly, I'd rather not change if I do not have to do so, and I believe that MATE's future is bright almost exclusively because of Linux Mint's continued support of it (both in terms of development and funding). Thanks for the comment!

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  6. Linux Mint is a pain to update. Even them they caution against it and suggest a complete re-installation... It is the kind of thing that I have problem with this distribution. I used their first KDE spin but I moved back to ubuntu after this.

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    1. @Anonymous: I think you may be confusing "update" with "upgrade". Linux Mint basically can't get any easier than it already is to update, and it's even better than Ubuntu in that regard because it actually provides information on the safety of the various packages being installed, whereas Ubuntu does not. Yes, it is a pain to upgrade between versions of the distribution itself, but so is Ubuntu, and the Linux Mint developers realize this and shy away from pushing an upgrade mechanism that is fundamentally broken (while the Ubuntu developers keep pushing it anyway). In any case, it's good to know that Ubuntu has worked out for you. Thanks for the comment!

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