Review: Linux Mint 16 "Petra" Cinnamon + MATE

Cinnamon: Main Menu
This is the second review that I'm doing at the moment. Linux Mint 16 "Petra" came out in MATE and Cinnamon guises recently, so as a fan of Linux Mint, I'll be reviewing those now. I tried each edition separately on a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what each is like.


After the UnetBootin boot menu, I was greeted by the Linux Mint logo fading in from black. This gave way to the desktop.

Cinnamon: Mozilla Firefox
Cinnamon 2.0 features a lot of improvements. It is now possible to tile and snap windows to edges. This feature is a little finicky right now, because at least initially, it takes a few tries to get a window to properly take up the desired quarter or half of the screen. There are a lot of other minor improvements here and there. That said, while Cinnamon certainly felt more stable than before, I felt like it was still a bit unstable and laggy. It has improved, but it still isn't quite there.

Mozilla Firefox is the default browser, and it comes with proprietary plugins and codecs out-of-the-box, as are par for Linux Mint. LibreOffice is the default productivity suite, and most of the other applications are pretty standard for Linux Mint.
Nemo has received a lot of improvements. I now believe it is the true successor to Nautilus with the Elementary patches, especially now that it has a previewing applet forked from GNOME Sushi, without removing features stupidly as has been the case in GNOME Files.

I installed Skype from the repositories and Google Talk from Gmail. Skype took a lot more work to get the sound working properly, especially because at times there were odd loud buzzing sounds. After all that was resolved, though, both worked fine.
I tried installing wxMupen64Plus as before, but it didn't work. There appeared to be weird conflicts between repositories, so I had to settle for installing the version without a GUI.

Cinnamon: LibreOffice Writer + Nemo + Nemo-Preview
I noticed that my screenshots seemed to show an extra monitor (which doesn't actually exist). I tried to fiddle around with the display settings a little bit. Even changing some settings and then resetting them (and even restarting Cinnamon) produced irreversible changes. For example, the desktop icons vanished. The system got more laggy and unstable. The CPU started making noticeable noises. (That said, Cinnamon did only use 230 MB of RAM at idle, which is quite impressive.) I had to end my review of the Cinnamon edition there because I didn't want my laptop to overheat. Overall, I had high hopes for Cinnamon, yet said hopes continue to be let down by instabilities.

(Before anyone complains about this being a review of the live session: Linux Mint has been a distribution that I have been able to depend on for the last 4.5 years for being able to replicate the full stability, features, and usability of an installed session in a live medium. Why can't the Cinnamon edition do that now?)


There isn't much that I need to say about the MATE edition, because it's almost exactly the same as the last version. Compiz still doesn't work; does anyone remember the name of that GNOME 2 program that could extend its window/workspace management capabilities, and do people know whether it works for MATE? Other than that, MATE still works great, and I can most certainly recommend it to newbies as always.
You can get both versions here.