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back to article Hey Linux newbie: If you've never had a taste, try perfect Petra ... mmm, smells like Mint 16

The recently released Mint 16, nicknamed Petra, might be the perfect Linux desktop for newcomers. At its core is Ubuntu 13.10, but on top of this are desktops Mate and Cinnamon, the latter being the Mint project's homegrown user interface. Ubuntu gives a stable foundations on which to build, allowing the project to focus more …

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Yes newbies - try Petra

You didn't need those silly Ubuntu security updates anyway.

And who needs to run an updated version of flash? The old stuff works so well...

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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Windows

Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

Not that old chestnut again.

Do please try to keep up.

See:

http://segfault.linuxmint.com/2013/11/answering-controversy-stability-vs-security-is-something-you-configure/

There Clement Lefebvre explains what is REALLY happening with Linux Mint and debunks the FUD spread about their update policy.

We need comments like the above like a hole in the head, we are trying to encourage people to move to Linux.

Unless of course you are a shill for Microsoft.

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

@nematoad - you would think that such a Mint evangelist as yourself would keep up with the latest Distrowatch discussions about your favorite flavor of Debian.

Seems the forum over there is in a bit of an uproar as users are reporting that many of the Ubuntu security updates and the latest flash plugin aren't making it onto their systems due to Clement's default package upgrading choices.

I don't personally use Mint right now - I'm perfectly capable of getting Debian to do anything I want without intervention from Canonical or Clement. I'm just saying - if Debian is releasing security updates and flash plugin updates, and Ubuntu is passing them onto their users, why the hell aren't Mint users getting them all in a timely fashion. Seems pretty risky to put newbies in that position.

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

I laugh at your downvotes.

Oh how true... lol

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

Clement's explanation really isn't satisfactory. Holding back critical security updates because they might contain performance regressions is mind numbingly stupid. Sure, the option is there to enable all updates from Canonical but Mint is targeted at new and/or less informed users. These are the very people who don't want to go digging around in menus to fiddle with some arcane update option.

The default option should be to receive all security updates because for the majority of users the advantage of a fully patched home PC greatly outweighs the disadvantage of a possible slight performance regression. Some power users might be annoyed by it but they can always go fiddle with the settings in the updates menu.

I keep seeing the word 'unstable' bandied about in relation to Canonical provided security updates. Whilst the terminology is correct it acts more as FUD for the uninformed user (i.e. a lot of Mint's userbase). 'Unstable' in this context is in relation to something like Debian Stable. The patches are called unstable because they haven't been out in the wild for years, reviewed by tens of thousands of developers and tested on every hardware configuration under the sun. Canonical have made massive leaps in the quality of their patch testing over the years and AFAIK haven't released a truly system breaking update since Mint was first released back in 2006.

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

@Andy "why the hell aren't Mint users getting them all in a timely fashion. Seems pretty risky to put newbies in that position"

This pretty much sums it up. Not that it bothers me in a SUSE user :)

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

@ Andy Prough I am not a Mint evangelist as you seem to think. I can't get on with Ubuntu-like distros. Especially sudo. I use PCLinuxOS and Crunchbang.

If you read the article on Distrowatch, which is where I got the link to Clement Lefevbre's post you will see that the uproar, as you put it, is about people associated with Canonical, Oliver Grawert for one, shooting from the lip without having any knowledge of how Linux Mint goes about organising its update policy.

To quote Jesse Smith from that article on Distrowatch:

"Other Ubuntu developers apparently also misunderstood the nature of Mint's update process. Benjamin Kerensa, for example, stated, "It is unclear why Linux Mint disables all of their security updates although to some degree they have tried to justify their disabling ofkernel updates by suggesting that such updates could make a system unstable." Kerensa went on to say security updates for Firefox are sometimes delayed, adding, "This puts Linux Mint users at risk and is one of the key reasons I never suggest Linux Mint to anyone as an alternative to Ubuntu." The idea that Mint disables security updates is, of course, incorrect."

So there you have it. Clem's rebuttal to the FUD from people associated with Canonical and an independant opinion from someone with no axe to grind.

If you cannot accept the fact that devs. more or less loosely connected with Canonical were wrong and talking out of the back of their heads, then I can't help you.

Please note though that this sort of disinformation harms the cause of Linux and only gives comfort to its enemies.

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

One reason to not immediately include the latest Ubuntu updates is that they have broken several systems that have been installed for some newbs I manage. My newbs insisted on Ubuntu instead of my recommendation of Mint and they are contacting me after every one of these unstable updates. Install Ubuntu updates = bricked desktop in most cases (for newbs).

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Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

@nematoad - I was not referring to Jesse's DistroWatch.com article this week - I was referring to the comment board below that. Multiple users are reporting that they are missing updates when compared to stock Debian or Ubuntu.

And, if you read Clement's open letter and the comments below it, he makes it clear that the default package updater for Mint does NOT update what he refers to as "level 4 and 5" updates from Ubuntu. He gives info on a workaround, but it's one that most newbies aren't likely to implement.

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Optional

"If Debian is releasing security updates and flash plugin updates, and Ubuntu is passing them onto their users, why the hell aren't Mint users getting them all in a timely fashion."

Maybe I am missing something here but when I was using the Ubuntu based Mint my /etc/apt/sources.list file had all the standard ubuntu repositories as well as an extra one for Mint. I (perhaps mistakenly) assumed that the Mint one provided the Minty flavour where the bulk of the stuff came direct from Ubuntu.

I never really though about it that much I admit.

I'm on LMDE now so I can't check such things out any more but one of the reasons I got off the Ubuntu based Mint was the tendency for the updates to make a mess of things at regular intervals. I'm not saying that LMDE is going to be more reliable mind you, only time will tell if things are better or worse in that regard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Optional

This is what is wrong with Linux. Ok you have RHEL for Enterprise and we could have had Ubuntu for Consumer. Lord knows how much money Shuttleworth has put into Ubuntu. But because Ubuntu has developed into a big pile of crap we now have the Mint project to make Ubuntu better again. Add to that we then have Mint Mate edition. Sorry but I'll just stick with Mac and Windows 7.

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Devil

Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

And I laugh by not downvoting you!

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The power of open source

Personally you'd have to drag KDE on openSUSE from my cold dead hands, but this shows how ultimately, if an open source project strays too far from the collective objective "stuff happens" With KDE it was Trinity but that turned out to be a minority sport despite all the noise about "4.0"

Try rolling back or re-factoring your favourite proprietary operating system to something you prefer.

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Nemo

Is that breadcrumb navigation I see there. Yuk. Crazy name, crazy feature.

Desktop developers write a millions lines of undeniably brilliant code... that nobody wants. I mean, all those man hours just to make KDE widgets rotatable, meanwhile the dock is unreadably transparent and can't be changed no matter how long you spend on Google. A rotating file manager for Pete's sake. Sorry about the negativity its not that bad.

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Ubuntu used to be an easy-to-use Linux desktop?

"Mint 16 with Cinnamon 2.0 is what Ubuntu used to be: a solid, well-designed, easy-to-use Linux desktop"

"Lubuntu 13.10 Distro Review"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ubuntu used to be an easy-to-use Linux desktop?

Yeah. When it didn't crash, that is. I'm more dubious about the solid part, though.

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Also Mint 16 XFCE incoming.

The RC is here: http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2516

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Re: Also Mint 16 XFCE incoming.

I'm a Xubuntu user and I'm genuinely curious as to what the advantages of Mint XFCE are? It seems to require double the RAM of Xubuntu.

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Re: Also Mint 16 XFCE incoming.

Take it for a spin via the live DVD. Costs nothing. You never know, you might like it.

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Anonymous Coward

Since when?

Ubuntu gives a stable foundations on which to build

Ubuntu, stable?

*chortle*

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Re: Since when?

I'm running mint 14, and it is the most stable desktop I've ever had with ANY OS. bar none, ever.

Only thing that breaks it is loss of hard mounted NFS partitions.

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Risk factor?

So Mint is based on Ubuntu and Ubuntu is based on Debian.

Isn't that a little bit of a riskfull setup? For example; how sure can Mint users be that unpopular changes in Ubuntu won't also find their way into Mint?

I also noticed that Mint advertises with LTS versions which are being supported for 5 years, which is the same as Ubuntu provides, whereas Debian usually provides support for 1 or 2 years (IIRC).

The reason I'm wondering is because Ubuntu is basically supported by a company. And companies can change their strategy on a whim. So by placing some trust in Mint you're automatically also placing trust in Canonical.

Couldn't that turn out into an Achilles heel?

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Re: Risk factor?

Debian usually provides support for 1 or 2 years (IIRC).

A Debian release is supported for about 3 years: about 2 years (give or take) between two releases, and an additional year of support once a newer release comes out, to give sysadmins enough time to test the upgrade before deploying.

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@ShelLuser - Re: Risk factor?

Wrote :- "So Mint is based on Ubuntu and Ubuntu is based on Debian. Isn't that a little bit of a riskfull setup?"

I agree with your point. I have never understood why the several distros based on Ubuntu do not base directly on Debian instead. I imagine that Ubuntu these days has all sorts of cruft inside to provide hooks for its weird interface, for phone and tablet hardware, and for God knows what else lying in wait for its commercial future.

Debian itself is of course a PITA to use undiluted (been there) but at least it's clean. I now use Mepis, directly based on Debian but with the quirks ironed out.

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Re: Risk factor?

Think of it s a tree with branches trunk and a root system.

Down the bottom the root is a debian root. Pretty damned solid. Kernel and all that stuff.

later on its a ubuntu trunk. Stuff in the basic engine - daemons, X windows that sort of thing.

THEN on top of that is the 'apps' those are more or less Mint. chief of which is the desktop and general OS utilities.

The point is that Mint doesn't use canonical's desktop kit at all now. In fact the Ubuntu part is less and less an issue.

they could develop their own 'trunk' or use debian's if they wanted to. Its just easier to use some basic ubuntu bits because they are there.

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Weirdly enough I just nuked this today

and went back to LMDE after a week because, whilst Petra was rather to visit, I missed LMDE. Though it took me a screwing age to get a fresh install to get to UP7 again.

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Alert

Aaaand here we go. An article aimed at Linux newbies and already the infighting has started along with talk of all the different versions you can choose from. Is it any wonder the OS market is the way it is?

Choice is good (it's definitely one of Linux' strengths) but it's also what makes it noob unfriendly. Now is one of the best times to woo noobs since their preferred OS is currently getting a lot of bad press and is itself scarily different from the previous version.

Just sayin'

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The big wrinkle is still there

I read that Mint 17 will be the LTS version. I'm on MINT 13(maya) MATE but I tried Petra MATE in a VM and it still has problems when you try to use to side panels. If you have a left and a right panel, in MATE, then they get overlayed and messed about, so I settled on having just a left panel in my Maya installs.

This flaw shows up identically in all four, different PC/laptops I've tried it on. XFCE does not have this problem for some reason, but MATE has better facilities for my purposes so I use it.

Petra MATE does not show that problem but has a different problem, again associated with left/right panels and their contents. It looks like they fixed one problem and created another. What I find worrying is that I, a Linux noob and not a code-head, found these glaring problems within a short time of installing and trying to use the OS. Is there any substantial GUI testing done?

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Re: The big wrinkle is still there

"Petra MATE does not show that problem but has a different problem, again associated with left/right panels and their contents. It looks like they fixed one problem and created another. What I find worrying is that I, a Linux noob and not a code-head, found these glaring problems within a short time of installing and trying to use the OS. Is there any substantial GUI testing done?"

Have you submitted a bug report?

That being said, I've never liked the way GNOME2/MATE handled side panels. It always seemed like it was there but a lot of widgets didn't work right. For GNOME/MATE systems, I use one panel at the top and remove the bottom as to not waste as much of my veritcal screen. I run the Windows 7 bar on the left and that works pretty well, I'm hoping Cinnamon2 handles side panels better.

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@Matt Re: The big wrinkle is still there

"Have you submitted a bug report?"

To my shame, I haven't. I know I ought to but I'm waiting to see what happens and MATE may be deprecated in favour of Cinnamon so I might try that. I have considered offering my services as a volunteer GUI tester and may do that in the New Year.

I use a fixed 'system' panel at the bottom and pop-out non-expanded panels at the top, left and right (but not the right with MATE, it causes problems); different classes of icon on different panels. Apart from the strange right panel foul up, I'm very pleased with MATE's panels and all the facilities they offer.

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Re: @Matt The big wrinkle is still there

Linux is COMMUNITY supported. If you are part of the community you need to report problems a way to payback the free software you got. Even if you are not a coder or power user. reporting things helps all and is little cost to you.

If you have done several version upgrades with the same configuration files often wiping the configs will fix thing. Yes config file structures do change over time and an upgrade may miss the odd setup you have.

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To quite my oldest: dont care what it runs as long as I can use Facebook and Twitter...

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"To quite my oldest: dont care what it runs as long as I can use Facebook and Twitter..."

When (s)he leaves home, buy her/him a Chromebook. Less remote support needed.

I'm sticking with a stock CentOS on my work/writing laptop and Debian Stable on my multimedia machine. I can see myself getting a Chromebook when I retire and don't have to write a lot (except on forums) or process data.

The Tramp: anyone else downloading the RHEL 7 beta?

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"To quite my oldest: dont care what it runs as long as I can use Facebook and Twitter..."

When (s)he leaves home, buy her/him a Chromebook. Less remote support needed."

If all they care about is Twitter and Facebook, I'd just have them adopted; even less remote support needed :)

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I used CentOS for a long time as a desktop until its GTK got so old I couldn't run what I wanted to run.

And, the font rendering never really moved beyond 2010.

CentOS 7? Maybe.

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Win8 to Linux Alert

Maybe a little off topic.....

.....but I tried to boot a Linus installation DVD on a brand new Win8 machine, and it turned out that none of the UEFI/BIOS options on the machine would allow booting from DVD. I did find a way of booting the machine from a USB image....after quite a lot of research and failed attempts to create the USB image.

So, back to the point, new Linux users with brand new machines may need to learn about bootable USB media.

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Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

That's nobody's fault but the vendor of your particular hardware making their UEFI options obscure. Its your hardware's vendor that's hostile to other platforms, nobody else.

I wouldn't mind betting they probably get a kick-back payment for some of the bundled software installed on that Win8 machine.

Note: I'm not even blaming Microsoft here, although they did egg the OEMs on to doing this.

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Linux

Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

Sadly, Windows 8 uses a new master boot record type which most operating systems on the market will balk at, including Windows 7. You have to replace the GPT with an MBR, this is deliberately made difficult in order to dissuade people (non-technical) from removing the pre-installed copies of Windows 8.

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Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

ditch the UEFI options and enable "Legacy Mode"... that's how I did it with a win 8 laptop that was being a particular b*tch to get Linux onto... nuked win 8 anyway, never wanted that carp...

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Headmaster

Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

At least on openSUSE UEFI on most machines works fine even in most cases with secure boot. But unfortunately the Hardware people have not uniformly used standard UEFI specs. So It can be difficult on some hardware. But then again it can be hard to install Windows 7 on them also and Win 7 does not support secure boot.

BTW it is Linux not Linus

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Linux

Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

Simply disabling UEFI will not always work as the actual HDD that Windows 8 is installed on has a different partition management type than that recognised by older operating systems. You have to use a tool, such as , 'parted' to replace the GPT with an MBR.

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Anonymous Coward

I prefer the real Petra

You know that wonderful city in Jordan.

Back on topic, anything that has gone anywhere near Canonical is IMHO more of a liability than an asset.

Pure Debian rules OK!

(Canonical took debian and while originally making it better but since 10/10 things have gone downhill rapidly. Now they are trying to do everything and not really suceeding)

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Anonymous Coward

Without Charms, Metro and tiles, I can't ever see this Linux thing catching on.

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After seriously trying Windiows 8, that was precisely the reason I swicthed to Linux Mint with Cinnamon. Running Mint 13 LTS on the desktop and Mint 16 Petra on the laptop.

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Just tried upgrading to Petra and frustrated to see it still has the same stupid issues from as far back as Mint 14 or so, that prevent the mint installer from running on my laptop so I can't install mint.

The root of the problem is the retarded decision to use the nouveau driver by default even in the install phase. Nouveau is still too immature/buggy to drive my laptop's nvidia GPU properly, so with nouveau, my laptop always locks up solid after about 10 seconds of X firing up. It works flawlessly if Install the proprieatary nVidia driver however I can't easily get to a persistent environment to install that first. Its this sort of stupid shit that will put new users off Linux forever immediately.

When booting from the Petra Iso, the boot menu you can get to by hitting Esc during 10 second countdown to booting a live envioronment no longer even includes the command-line install option, so now you HAVE to run X (and therefore nouveau) to run the installer. What a retarded decision. Noveau might be a nice politically correct idea but in real life it still far from ready for general use. I wish Mint would finally accept that and at least not enable it as the default if you have an nVidia GPU. Even Ubuntu still uses the nVidia binary driver by default, at lest last time I checked.

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Agree 100%. Nouveau actually seems solid on newer Nvidia cards, (however I still installed the proprietary driver, as I don't still trust Nouveau enough), but when installing on a machine with an older GeForce 8800 (a common bog standard card in my opinion), it threw a tantrum. Had to mess around with blacklisting stuff, which as you say will put new users off Linux immediately. Mint installs all the restricted codecs and the like itself anyway, so I don't see why it shouldn't use the Nvidia drivers. Mint is not a purists distribution so I see no reason why they need to be idealists over this.

I'm a really big fan of Mint, it's a wonderful piece of work, and Cinnamon continues to impress, but they really need to sort out crap like this as a priority. If Clem or any of the developers are reading this, I've got a lot of respect for what you do - enough to donate to Mint no less, but take note of the criticisms and get them sorted. The reason most of us use Mint is exactly because you have been listening to what the user base wants in terms of desktop environment and features, so we trust you will listen and deal with our concerns too!

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NVIDIA as been slow getting drivers for the newer kernels out the door. Try getting the newest driver and I thing you want the 02 flavor for that card 03 is for newer cards. Install the hard way or wait a bit for the repos to catch up.

When riding the cutting edge expect to bleed

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