Long-Term Review: Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce

If you've read my very recent review of Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce, you'll know how pleased I was with it. Given that my latest long-term review of Kubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" just ended, I needed something new, so this was going to be it. Follow the jump to see what this is like over the course of 7-10 days.


Review: Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" KDE

Main Screen + Kickoff
About a week ago, I reviewed the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya". While I was quite pleased with how that turned out, I held off on going ahead and installing it because I wanted to try the KDE edition as well. Now that is here, so I'm reviewing it.

I tried the 64-bit edition as a live USB system made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see if it could be worthy of installation on the hard drive of my laptop.


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 July 15

There were two posts this past week that got several comments each, so I'll repost a few from each.

Long-Term Review: Kubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin"

An anonymous reader suggested, "Please can you try Mageia 2, the KDE edition. Use the livecd version and have a great time with it. Only problem is mupen64plus is not in the repos, but you can make package request or try out mupen64plus from Mandriva Cooker. Should work without any issue. I have used many KDE edition pass this year and Mageia 2 is the best of them all."
Commenter avelinus also suggested, "Please, can you try Sabayon 9, the KDE edition. I am very pleased with it. I installed the 64 bit version on my HP dv6 2180 with an i5 520M I tried all versions since 4 and 9 is the best ever. Appears to be the safest and friendliest of user friendly OS.. I haven't any problems so far with any of the programs that I added. Only the update that i decided to do, I canceled twice due to the delay. the older versions, did not like the installer."
In addition, reader Stefan Ivić suggested, "Did you tried openSUSE KDE? Best KDE experiance by far..."
Another anonymous commenter had this tip with regard to my comment about Mageia not playing nicely with live USB creation even with the "dd" command: "I had the exact same issue with one of my usb-stick. It failed with both Mageia and Chakra. But then I tried my other usb and with that usb it worked like dream with dd. So if you have more then 1 usb it could work for you also."

Review: Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce

An anonymous reader said, "I agree with you regarding MATE and Cinnamon. I wonder why it is necessary to create them when LXDE and XFCE already exist in a stable state. I am using Lubuntu + Ubuntu Studio (xfce). I add Gnome-fallback and Enlightenment to have some alternatives to boot into and try out, and they don't seem to fight too much or use too many resources. I like Nautilus for its double-pane but since that is on the way out, I may be done with all gnome bits. Good riddance, gnome. Lxde and Xfce are my favorites, and I rarely notice that I am no longer using gnome. In gnome or unity, I cannot really function anymore. I am also not accustomed to using KDE. Enlightenment E17 would be my third choice after xfce and lxde (tied). I have tried Mint a few times but see no advantages and some disadvantages to the *buntus. I wonder also if you don't think a *buntu has a better upgrade (and sidegrade?) path than Mint. In fact, even on Distrowatch, Mint has not yet reached the level of Ubuntu+Lubuntu+Xubuntu+Kubuntu+Ubuntu-Studio. Mint just seems like Ubuntu done right, and I do hate almost all of the decisions made at the head Ubuntu office, but the spinoffs that are still in the Ubuntu family seem to get it right, too."
Commenter Chris had this to say: "yes i really really think also that xfce mint is one of the best distro oute there for guys of old school...  I cannot understand this unity thing (although it seems it is getting somewhere), gnome 3 is out of question while kde is stable now but i use too many gnome apps...What is going with linux DE??"
Reader crabbos had the following suggestions: "I'm surprised that there's been little to no mention of PCLinuxOS Phoenix XFCE on this and other popular sites. I've been testing it myself over the last few days and it's brilliant. I'm also quite fond of VoyagerOS and Porteus, both XFCE and both I feel deserve more attention. Voyager is a bit more resource heavy but works nicely and Porteus is amazingly quick and responsive."
Another anonymous commenter clarified, "PCLinuxOS XFCE has no maintainer right now and it is not considered an 'official edition' any longer. There is some political back story there from what I gather from reading their support forums. I briefly installed it a couple of weeks ago and ran into a few small bugs, like issues with numlock causing me to be locked out with my password after I updated it."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" KDE is now unofficially released on the mirrors, though no official announcement has been made yet, so I will review that this week. Aside from that, there may be other random posts too, but the next long-term review won't come out until the following week because it started this past Friday. Anyway, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Review: Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce

Main Screen + Xfce Menu
The final release of Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce hasn't even been officially announced yet, but despite that, I'm reviewing it now (and it is indeed the final release and not an RC). How is that possible? To be honest, I was quite anxious to get my hands on it, and earlier today I found that some mirror sites of Linux Mint had uploaded (though not others, which was weird, although as I write this, more mirrors have uploaded it). Well, in any case, now I'm trying it out.

The main editions of Linux Mint now feature the MATE and GNOME 3/Cinnamon desktop. I've checked out Cinnamon from time to time and have found it to be too unstable for my use, at least in a live USB session; plus, some extensions like the Auto-Move-Windows extension don't work as they should. That leaves MATE, which I tried over a month ago. I wasn't especially happy with it because of the issues with Compiz trying to work with MATE, and this surprised me considering that MATE should have replicated the GNOME 2 experience. That left me waiting for the KDE edition. Then I found out that Xfce would make an official return to Ubuntu-based Linux Mint, which was surprising given past statements by the developers that the Xfce edition would be exclusively offered with the Debian base. Now that this has happened, I want to see if Ubuntu-based Linux Mint with Xfce can effectively replicate and replace my current and ideal GNOME 2 setup on Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora".

I tested the 64-bit version of the live session through a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it's like. Also, please note that because this is Linux Mint, I may be more biased in favor of it, but then again, I just couldn't overlook the deficiencies of the MATE edition no matter what, so this may or may not be an issue.


Long-Term Review: Kubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin"

This is the second of a handful of long-term reviews I will be doing this summer. The initial subject of this was the 64-bit edition of #! 11 "Waldorf", so follow the jump to see how that turned out.


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 July 8

There was one post that got a handful of comments, so I will repost most of them.

Long-Term Review: Chakra 2012.05 "Archimedes"

Reader manmath sahu suggested, "prasanth, liked the review very much and the way it's done over a period of 8 days is very useful. please take Stella (a CEntOS remaster) linux for a spin. i found it good, but would like to know about your experience."
Commenter abveritas, who I think is a leading developer of Chakra itself, had this to say, among other things: "Chakra being a rolling release, it is an absolute must to always update the system, before installing any package. Seems quite a few packages were installed during this review, which were build on newer deps, but only the new app was installed, not the system properly updated. One other thing that is an absolute must on a rolling distro, is for all our users to read the news, when seeing a fairly large update, there is no other way to give sometimes needed instructions to update correctly. In this case, using the rm command was very wrong, and in most cases would have killed pacman, the correct way to update was in the news, forums, and all social sites, to make sure all users would be reached.
http://chakra-linux.org/news/index.php?/archives/68-Manual-intervention-needed-with-next-pacman-Syu.html For the rest, really pleased to see you taking the time to put Chakra thtough a serious test, and hopefully we can get some logs, to see why the crashes, since it would be great to try and reproduce, so a fix can be found. Any and all logs you are willing to provide from /var/log would be greatly appreciated."
Reader Jagdeesh Deshpande said, "Good that you got another PC. It has certainly helped to give depth to your reviews. I always try real installations on one of 6 ext4 partitions among sdb6 to sdb11. Hence presently I can compare mint 9, LMDE-64-mate-cinnamon, openSUSE 12.1, and kububtu 12.04 Before a week, I installed kubuntu 12.04 LTS after a long wait for Mint 13 KDE and feel that at last I have found successor of mint9. In openSUSE 12.1 the configuration module for Wacom Bamboo CTH-460 is broken and so I can't make the touch 'off' and this is interfering very badly moving the courser due to my finger's touch while using the pen. In Kubuntu 12.04 the configuration tool is working as in Pardus 2011.2. The trouble with kubuntu is- by default hibernation is disabled. If 'sudo pm-hibernate' (in konsole) hibernates the system, enable it by referring the forum post https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/ubuntu-help/power-hibernate.html Then I added plasma widgets plasma-widget-quickaccess plasma-widget-lancelot and @ 25 applications Now i am very satisfied with it and may not install mint13kde. If Kubuntu 12.04 is not in your list and this creates interest in you to try Kubuntu 12.04, your review will be very much useful for the Linux community. Thanking for the indepth review."
Commenter Kartik had this suggestion: "Hi Prashant, good review. I myself have used chakra for almost 3 months and found it to be a really fast KDE distro. If you are looking for something long term on your PC I suggest you give Mageia 2 KDE a spin. I found it to be very stable, fast and polished."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, there will be another long-term review published, and the review I was going to do of Fuduntu 2012.3 has been briefly incorporated into that. Depending on how things work out, I may be able to do another regular review as well. Anyway, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Long-Term Review: Chakra 2012.05 "Archimedes"

For those of you who don't know what this is about, this post should clear things up. Essentially, I now have another computer upon which I can do tests of installed distribution sessions for several days at a time. There will be three more posts like this one this summer; I may or may not be able to continue it through the semester. For reference, I used the 64-bit minimal CD for live testing and installation. Follow the jump to read my experiences with Chakra over more than a week of use.


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 July 1

There were three posts, each of which got a handful of comments, this past week, so I'll try to repost most of those comments.

Review: Pinguy OS 12.04 LTS

An anonymous reader had this bit of support: "Very Good Review!!"
In a similar vein, commenterبرق  said, "Nice review as usual. Good job, Prashanth!"
Reader Ant said, "I installed it on my wife's Dell laptop that previously had Win7 and she loves it. It's now her OS of choice :)"
Commenter linxbot shared this comparison: "I tried pinguy in my old compaq presario V3000 which has only 512 RAM and simply freezes in the splash screen stage.. but Zorin OS 6 which is based on same Ubuntu 12.04, its blued Desktop come within seconds and installation taken in few minutes. I have already installed Zorin OS some twenty of my friends on whose computers that 'windoze' infected except games and office for all other social activities they are doing fine in Zorin..If pinguy drop its many bloatware I may consider to try it in my old lappy..with zorin I am very happy!"


An anonymous reader could only say, "Oh, really?"

Preview: CrunchBang ("#!") Linux 11 "Waldorf"

Commenter Fred said, "Openbox's failure to update menus as apps are installed or removed is a deal-breaker for me. For most of last year, I had the Xfce version of #! Statler installed on my computer but left when it was announced the Xfce version was being dropped. Unfortunately, for the first half of this year, I had been unable to find a distro that I had enjoyed as much as #! Xfce, so I finally gave in and installed #! Waldorf. But to me, Openbox's refusal to automatically update its menus as new apps are installed or removed is inexcusable, so I replaced Openbox with Xfce (my favorite desktop, BTW). And BTW, I too get similar memory usage readings with Xfce as you did with Openbox. In any event, it's good to be back with #!, even if it involved taking the extra time to ditch Openbox and everything associated with it in favor of Xfce."
Reader Istok responded, "openbox is a minimal window manager. it aims to manage windows and do that well, and it really does. it doesn't even have a native panel, that is how it's designed. there are plenty of WMs and DEs with self-updating menus, and so on and so forth. no WM can be everything to everyone. openbox is what it is, it's actually very consistent in its "philosophy". i believe that your criticism is not valid from an objective pov, although of course you're perfectly entitled to be unhappy and ditch it. [...]"
Commenter Neil Houghton suggested, "Auto updating Openbox menu is easy with; http://mimasgpc.free.fr/openbox-menu_en.html Or try Archbang with auto updating openbox menu included; http://archbang.org/"
Reader Tom had this response to that suggestion: "Build Arch from the ground up, don't go with Archbang. And if you need a self-updating menu, check for Debian menu and add it to the Openbox menu.xml by hand."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I will have at least one new review out along with the first long-term review. Anyway, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Preview: CrunchBang ("#!") Linux 11 "Waldorf"

I've been a fan of #! ever since I tried version 9.04.01. It's quite lightweight, yet the UI doesn't feel antiquated, and it's quite well-stocked with features that normal users would find useful. Two months ago, the first testing images of version 11 "Waldorf" went online, so I am previewing that now.

#! is a Debian-based Openbox distribution. It used to be based on Ubuntu, and at one point, it gained [and then later lost] an Xfce edition. It aims to be quite lightweight yet have the niceties of other distributions with more mainstream DEs.

I tried the 64-bit edition on a live USB made with MultiSystem. I should also say that until I finally get a new OS for my laptop, I will probably be trying the 64-bit editions of various distributions (after which point I will go back to trying the 32-bit editions), so I will not mention that bit after this. Follow the jump to see what this is like.



Today is Independence Day for the United States of America. But more importantly, today was the day that the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery(ish, because more experiments have to be done to verify its other properties) of the Higgs boson!
This is HUGE! It's an amazing vindication of the Standard Model of particle physics as it stands today, and it should be the last nail in the coffin of the old trope I have heard frequently that there is no new interesting research to be done in physics. So with that in mind, happy Independence Day, but more importantly, HAPPY HIGGS DAY!!!


Review: Pinguy OS 12.04 LTS

Main Screen + Cardapio Menu
A couple weeks ago, the latest version of Pinguy OS came out, and I wanted to try it. I haven't had the time until today, though, so that's why the review is happening today.

I previously reviewed Pinguy OS 11.10 and found that while there are certain things to which I may not be able to become fully accustomed, the "beta" label on Pinguy OS 11.10 seemed overly cautious considering its stability and high quality overall. The latest version has not changed much from that beta version besides having newer packages in general, but because version 11.10 was never truly official, the changes in version 12.04 LTS are of course huge compared to version 11.04. Also, accompanying the new release is a revamped website, which looks a lot cleaner and less bloated than before.

I probably would not normally seriously consider a distribution with GNOME 3/Shell for installation on my hard drive, but one of the things that caught my eye about this release was the option of using the Axe menu instead of the default Cardapio menu in the top panel. I did some searching and found out that the Axe menu looks and could potentially act almost identically to the Linux Mint Menu, which is amazing. That is why I am trying the 64-bit edition (as a live USB made with MultiSystem); sure, GNOME 3/Shell doesn't have my nice desktop cube, but it could potentially have everything else I could want, and given that, I'm OK with giving up the desktop cube if I am left with no other good alternatives. Follow the jump to see what this is like.


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 June 24

There were two posts that got a couple comments this past week, so I will repost all of those.

Review: Sabayon 9 KDE

Reader Jesse said, "I tried to load it twice. Didn't finish after abt 45 min. Tried again, same problem. Decided not worth it."

Revisited: SolusOS 1.1 "Eveline"

Commenter manmath sahu had this suggestion: "prashant, it's strange, just now I installed the latest skype right inside solus. it was just an apt-get away. here's my skype package list.: dpkg --list | grep skype ii skype Skype"
In a similar vein, reader Kirk M said, "Funny thing, Skype installed and worked fine for me on Solus 1.1 on both my desktop PC and my laptop (from the repos). It also installs and works fine on SolusOS 2 alpha builds."

Thanks to all those who commented on those posts. This coming week, I plan to have at least one review out (though there may be more too). In any case, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!