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.

After the boot menu, I was greeted by a full-brightness solid Linux Mint logo for the boot splash. After a reasonably quick wait, this gave way to the desktop. The desktop is virtually unchanged from past releases aside from an appropriately minimally updated wallpaper.

Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is as usual the default browser. As expected, codecs worked fine, as did my laptop's volume keyboard shortcuts. LibreOffice is the default productivity suite again. Most of the other default applications are the same; only very few have changed, such as HexChat instead of XChat as the default IRC client.

Skype, Mupen64Plus, and Redshift were installable through the repositories, while the Google Talk plugin and the M64Py GUI frontend were installable from their standalone DEB files downloaded from the respective websites. Skype, Google Talk, and Redshift all worked without issue. Unfortunately, Mupen64Plus did not work from the CLI for unknown reasons, and because of dependency problems that are issues with Ubuntu and its derivatives but not with Debian, apparently, M64Py was broken upon installation. That was a bit sad to see, though that feeling was partially mitigated by the realization that I barely use Mupen64Plus anymore anyway. Regardless, I hope that the developers of M64Py, Mupen64Plus, or Linux Mint might consider fixing this issue.

Caja + Eye Of MATE + LibreOffice Writer
Despite following the online tutorials by the letter, Compiz did not work. This outcome, however, was something for which I had prepared anyway, given my recent history with not getting Compiz to work. Thankfully there are always Devilspie and Devilspie2 to satisfy my window management extension needs, even if the eye candy is gone forever; those programs installed and ran fine (separately). Anyway, without Compiz, Linux Mint with MATE used about 240 MB of RAM at idle, which is pretty reasonable. Furthermore, there were no stability issues to speak of.

That is where my time with Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" MATE ended. I'm slightly disappointed to see the dependency issue crop up with M64Py, considering that the issue seems exclusive to Ubuntu and its derivatives; I'm just as disappointed to see Mupen64Plus not work even in its CLI form despite the absence of any indication of what the problem actually is. These issues of course may well be more the fault of those programs than of this distribution, but I can't deny that the experience was very slightly marred. Those are more personal opinions, though, and I still think that otherwise overall, Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" MATE continues to deliver a solid and reliable experience that is suitable for total newbies to Linux.
You can get it here.