Review: Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" MATE

Main Screen + Linux Mint Menu
I've been out of the country for 2.5 weeks, explaining the lack of posts in that time. Before that, I was busy trying to finish a rough draft of a paper outlining the work I did at my UROP before graduation. Now that I'm back and tired from jetlag, I have a little more time to do a review like this, which I wanted to do in June itself.

I'm skipping most further introduction because none is needed for Linux Mint here. All I'll say is that there is no "LTS" label on this post because now all Ubuntu-based Linux Mint releases are based on the LTS releases, starting with this one; this is a move that I support because it should give more credence to the idea that Linux Mint is a stable system that newbies can comfortably use. I reviewed this as a live USB system made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Featured Comments: Week of 2014 June 29

This post is a day late because I was out of town and didn't return until yesterday. The previous week had one post with one comment that I will repost.

Trying out Julia

An anonymous reader had this funny trollish comment: "The matrix has you, unplug now or you will be forever lost in its grip. An mature mind cannot be freed from the matrix, it has trouble letting go."

Thanks to that reader for that comment. This coming week, I don't have anything planned, and I'll be out of town for a few weeks after that. Following that, I should have a review or two out; I've been procrastinating on reviewing the latest release of Linux Mint so that I can continue wrapping up my UROP work, so that'll have to wait until August. Anyway, if you like what I write, please keep subscribing and commenting!


Trying out Julia

This is a fairly quick post, though I previously considered making it longer and more trollish. A handful of my friends have told me about Julia, the amazing programming language made for numerical computations and other scientific computing uses. For the 14.15 — Networks final project this past semester, one of my group partners used Julia to simulate large ensembles of 10000-node random networks, and it worked far quicker than MATLAB. I vowed to get a bit more familiar with Julia (the programming language, not a woman [yet]) this summer. It was actually pretty quick to get used to, considering its syntactical similarities to MATLAB, to which I am more accustomed. I was even able to use it to port over the MATLAB code used for data analysis in 8.13/8.14 — Experimental Physics I/II to Julia. The only issue that I have consistently run into has been plotting. For some reason, the plotting packages that interface with Julia do not work in the ways that I want: Winston is too basic, Gadfly doesn't work at all (which is unfortunate because it has all the features I need and more), and Gaston being a frontend for Gnuplot while having to deal with the quirks of Julia's plot execution order means that I might as well use Gnuplot itself. Indeed, that is what I've done: I've been able to write Gnuplot scripts to plot processed data that Julia outputs into a file. Although Gnuplot's syntax is a little arcane, it is so powerful that I'm OK with using it from a script of commands and changing only a few things here and there as needed. Other than that, Julia works like a charm; its speed is fantastic, and I really like how much structure it brings compared to MATLAB (including things like types and indexing). Plus, it combines the great features of both procedural and functional programming. Given that course 18 has largely switched over to Julia, I wonder when course 8 will do the same....