back to article We have a winner! Fresh Linux Mint 17.1 – hands down the best

Linux Mint 17.1 is the first example of what the Mint project team can do when they're focused on their own system rather than on making the latest Ubuntu work with Mint. That’s because Mint 17.1 sticks with the Ubuntu released earlier this year – the first time this desktop Linux has not gone with the more recent Ubuntu. It’ …

  1. phil dude
    Linux

    mousepads...

    I'm an opensuser, but might take a look.

    I have 2 apple wireless trackpads and they are very good for those of us with a bit of carpal tunnel...

    they support gestures which does work, but needs a bit more "polish" to make it truely Linux friendly...

    Minty Fresh, anyone?

    P.

    1. Chika

      Re: mousepads...

      I'm also an opensuser but I don't mind having a peek. My biggest problem is the intense dislike of KDE4 and more recent GNOME, so Cinnamon is certainly a possible contender for a replacement.

      My only concern is for what lies underneath - the reviewer admits a Debian bias, so I'll be a little cautious for now but I would be sad to see the back of Zypp in favour of something inferior so I need to be sure of what lies within (given that this means Ubuntu, well, that's why I have my doubts).

      It's one of the bigger strengths of SuSE; the adaptability and configurability (albeit this is something which the pushers of systemd seem determined to undermine) so whatever Mint has in it needs to at least match up with that. If it can, then I could be sold on Mint.

      1. asdf Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: mousepads...

        Shouty time. I love Mint (ran LMDE which morphed into debian testing forever) but finally I couldn't take the systemd debacle any longer (which will eventually overwhelm all of Linux, FU Red Hat you asshats) and made the switch to PC-BSD 10.1 (seems to be the most desktopy BSD imho). I must say it was a bit of work and BSD on the desktop definitely has some worts ( still relatively minor issues but expect to have to troubleshoot some issues so definitely not an option for grandma) but is much more viable now than in the past. Also a little bit of a performance hit and trust me for your own sanity forget trying to run anything WM/DE gnome 3 based (cinnamon, etc) as its just not worth the trouble glitch wise (gnome is the co conspirator in the great Linux rape after all). As an aside XFCE (yes I know gtk2 based but back then gnome was still sane) rocks when it comes to a portable UNIX DE (there are many others too) and KDE also comes by default (won't comment). Needless to say so far so good on meeting my desktop needs and its so nice to have a more pure Unix experience largely guaranteed free of being poettering up if you so choose (still comes with yucky pulseaudio by default but can be removed).

        The other thing I will say right now is if you use ZFS for even a single weekend you will soon find it is the only filesystem you will ever use again. Its so much more than a filesystem. It makes the whole concept of partitions and the pain they bring largely disappear. It also requires only learning two commands which are some of the most intuitive I have ever seen for a filesystem. ZFS support in Linux and even Mac OS looks sketchy but is actually rock solid from what I have seen. Easy to say ZFS has too much overhead for my needs but if you use it you will kick yourself for not using it sooner.

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        3. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: mousepads...

          The main reason for me not to use ZFS is that it is perfect until something goes wrong. The complexity seems above my understanding.

          NTFS (and others) are less complex, and more prone to problems. But I can recover from most of them trivially. For example, when I "quick formatted" the wrong drive, the next day I had it all recovered (backup MFT and/or file recovery software). A similar operation in ZFS could leave me with no possible way of recovery, as pressing the "wrong button" is irrecoverable unless I know exactly how/when/where to set and move everything. :/

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: mousepads...

            >The main reason for me not to use ZFS is that it is perfect until something goes wrong. The complexity seems above my understanding.

            Complex? Its rather easy for home use for non windows users. If you are responsible for production storage in enterprise and are complaining of complexity of ZFS then I am glad I am not on call for your company.

            Ok perhaps if you are in a pure windows environment then ZFS doesn't make sense. In any Unix environment backing up ZFS is like backing up any other filesystem (ie dump, tar, dd etc) which saves your bacon from fugups like the one you mention. Addtionally ZFS has snapshots which are NOT a replacement for backups but are great from recovering from fugups (think restore points in windows but for the whole FS). Additionally ZFS supports any kind of raid scenario you can think of and protects your data from minor hardware failures far better than any other FS. Not to mention having transparent compression that is actually transparent (not a protection but a really nice to have feature). FYI bringing up NTFS in a Linux article as the preferred option is going to get you skewered.

            1. asdf Silver badge

              Re: mousepads...

              Yes NTFS has compression too but its impact on performance is much more noticeable. In addition ZFS will compress things behind the scenes not put up a progress bar for some operation that will take 27 hours and slow the crap out of your machine until done.

        4. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: asdf Re: mousepads...

          "....if you use ZFS for even a single weekend you will soon find it is the only filesystem you will ever use again...." HAHAHAHA! What, you're serious? Have the ZFS bods fixed their incompatibility problem with the hardware RAID built-into most good PC motherboards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS#ZFS_and_hardware_RAID) or do you suggest only buying those mobos that can handle ECC RAM (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269606-32-hardware-raid)? Are you lot still recommending eight disks for a ZFS pool when most mobos top out at four SATA ports? Thanks for the Sunshine, but I suggest you go look at how BTRFS has been beating ZFS since at least 2009 (http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7308/).

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: asdf mousepads...

            Yes yes fine BTRFS is great (sure took long enough to be production ready though). I was more comparing to standard ext4 with the pain in the ass that is LVM. Also really wasn't talking enterprise and wasn't talking Linux only as well. Not quite geek enough to run raid at home.

            1. asdf Silver badge

              Re: asdf mousepads...

              ZFS was really useful for me because its one of the better portable file systems between Mac OS, Linux, BSD, and other UNIX (plus it came with PC-BSD by default which is why I got into it in the first place). Granted many platforms don't support it out of the box but its still viable from what I see on all of them once installed.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: asdf mousepads...

            Elmer called, he'd like his surname back...

            Sorry to drag this back, but since no-one pulled you on it, I will.

            Never mind what's in wiki, never mind what's on elsewhere, how's about a real live system running ZFS on Linux? There was a little bit more FUD from the BSD switcher, perhaps unintentional, but the functionality is there in Linux. Trust me. Licensing schmisensing, which is the only issue why distros don't include it out of the box.

            Four disks in my pool, RAID-Z, not a bit of ECC RAM to be seen and definitely no hardware RAID. I don't give a flying one about best practice since this is my home NAS built from scratch. On a mini ITX board, 6 Gig SATA and one day... those pesky Chinese Seagates all decided to give up in unison (my fault for not checking I was buying from different batches). How much data do you think I lost?

            ONE Queen MP3, and it was only Flash Gordon, so I wasn't bothered, especially when it could be ripped again. Admittedly I had to be smart with the disk silvering, get lucky with the SMART status of each disk and replace two at a time with my heart in my mouth.

            Oh, is BTRFS STILL not production ready by the way? (Your starter for two: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22286618/massive-btrfs-performance-degradation, https://btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Gotchas, no RAID5/6, wossat?).

            I've had more problems trying to run BTRFS than ZFS, sorry to say, but am only pooh-poohing it since someone started on ZFS (can't all us file systems pundits just get along?).

            Which by the way, brings us full circle. The Linux it runs on is... Mint!

            1. asdf Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: asdf mousepads...

              >The Linux it runs on

              will someday have systemd forced upon it. FIFY. Sadly meanwhile it will just become impossible to port a lot of the Linux stuff to more sane operating systems. RedHat's plan all along.

            2. asdf Silver badge

              Re: asdf mousepads...

              >little bit more FUD from the BSD switcher, perhaps unintentional, but the functionality is there in Linux.

              No if you read I said that there was warnings about it but it ran rock solid on both Linux and Mac OS for me. FUD about systemd and the freedesktop.borg perhaps but if you want a tightly coupled hairball OS then use Windows. Enjoy the homogeneity coming to your favorite Linux distro.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Devil

                Re: asdf mousepads...

                In which case I'm sorry for misinterpreting your post. Long night... but I'll agree that systemd is the Devil's own work. For the record, I have the grand sum of bugger all against BSDs either considering I'm writing from a bastardised version of one in OS X (touchpaper lit, runs away :-P).

              2. MacroRodent Silver badge
                Thumb Down

                Herd of cats.

                > Enjoy the homogeneity coming to your favorite Linux distro.

                Not likely to happen, unless systemd clearly beats all other init systems by its merits (in which case, where is the problem?). Also I have a hard time picturing Slackware switching away from the BSD-style init it has been using since the Big Bang...

                I am pretty tired of this flame war (especially arguments that systemd somehow makes Linux like Windows. Ridiculous!) There is no way the herd of cats that is the "Linux community" is going to be forced into any single solution by some company or evil overlord. Just consider the number of different package managers in different distros, all practically identical when viewed from distance.

                1. Adam Inistrator

                  Re: Herd of cats.

                  " There is no way the herd of cats that is the "Linux community" is going to be forced into any single solution by some company or evil overlord."

                  The point is that systemd is trying to do this .. hence all the yowling cats.

                2. asdf Silver badge

                  Re: Herd of cats.

                  >Not likely to happen, unless systemd clearly beats all other init systems by its merits

                  Hardly. It just needed to get enough other software dependent on it especially in gtk land so that most major distros switch to it (mission accomplished already). Amazing how easily a billion dollar company can get their cancer infecting other packages. I will say unfortunately a lot of people who didn't know better (you mean there are *nix besides Linux?) or just were lazy and didn't care about portability took the easy way out so this is not all RH's fault.

                  >There is no way the herd of cats that is the "Linux community" is going to be forced into any single solution

                  Yes there will be some holdouts (fewer though than I expected at this stage of the game) but eventually they will find themselves in the same boat as the BSD (and other UNIX) folks where a lot of software won't be portable without systemd. It will happen slower but it will happen.

            3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Peter Campbell Re: asdf mousepads...

              ".....and one day... those pesky Chinese Seagates all decided to give up in unison....." Yup, I've seen that problem before (in a proper test environment using servers, thanks), and it is ZFS marking the disks bad when there is nothing wrong with them. The issue was ZFS signaling/timing incompatibility with the disk firmware, the subsequent fun was that - because ZFS can't work with hardware RAID - we had to install SLES on a partition so we could use a supported RAID card driver to upgrade the disk firmware before we could go back to testing with ZFS. Just one of the many reasons (including corruption, data loss, continual downtime, hogging masses of RAM that was needed by the apps, and week-long disk resilvering) we rejected ZFS in favour of BTRFS for production.

              ".....is BTRFS STILL not production ready by the way?....." That very rare SSD issue you linked to is not a problem for us, and neither is the possible software RAID5/6 issue since we have hardware RAID5 and use the BTRFS for RAID10 between nodes, in production, with full hardware and software vendor support, thanks - https://www.suse.com/releasenotes/x86_64/SUSE-SLES/11-SP2/#fate-306585

              1. zootle

                Re: Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                "because ZFS can't work with hardware RAID" is a myth. ZFS doesn't need it and works best with JBOD, but it works perfectly well with hardware RAID. If ZFS was reporting corruption, you had a hardware problem. Don't shoot the messenger!

                All hardware RAID gives you is another potential source of firmware bugs in the drive path...

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: zootle Re: Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                  "..... ZFS doesn't need it and works best with JBOD...." So you're basically admitting it still can't, because ZFS demands direct control of the disk down to the lowest level. And as for 'not needing it', hardware RAID takes a load of the CPUs and memory, freeing them up for the really important stuff like actual user applications. That is why ZFS does need hardware RAID, or rather why it needs to get to work with hardware RAID. The additional RAM bill for ZFS alone is reason enough to avoid it (and just wait for the usual Sunshine about 'RAM and CPU are cheap' - <yawn>).

                  "....but it works perfectly well with hardware RAID...." So why would you suggest a JBOD then? Because it doesn't work with hardware RAID. Seriously, you need to go check with those actually using it, they are all running their HBAs in JBOD mode for a reason - ZFS does not work with hardware RAID.

                  "....All hardware RAID gives you is another potential source of firmware bugs in the drive path..." Nothing exposes your lack of experience more than that statement. Hardware RAID is tried, tested and trusted in such challenging arenas as five-nines enterprise computing, whereas ZFS simply is not. One of the reasons to use hardware RAID with a proper HBA is the option of a battery-backed cache, which will save you and your data in situations ZFS will simply barf and die. I suggest you read here (http://www.zfsbuild.com/2012/12/17/zfsbuild2012-write-back-cache-performance/) to see how important write cache is to improving ZFS's performance, just don't skip the comment about what happens if you lose power on your ZFS system - you lose the write cache contents.

                  1. zootle

                    Re: zootle Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                    I'm not saying ZFS can't work with hardware RAID, it is quite happy to work with it. I've built a number of systems with RAID controllers that can't do JBOD (the Dell PERC 710 in particular). The virtual devices just appear to the OS as drives. What I am saying is it an inconvenience for the system builder (extra $, time wasted stetting up virtual volumes) and administrator (one more tool to use to manage disks). It can be more of an inconvenience when the RAID hides errors from ZFS which prevents the OS from recognising a failing drive. This has happened to me twice with Dell systems. The resource load on the system CPU is negligible. As for RAM, I'm sure you pay a lot less for system memory than your RAID vendor charges for cache memory.

                    I suggest JBOD because it is a cleaner, lower cost solution. It lets ZFS (and the host OS) directly manage the drives without an unnecessary intermediate layer getting in the way.

                    ZFS is tried and tested. It has been used for all of Sun, now Oracle's storage products for many years. The battery backed cache saves nothing. All my production systems have power protected log devices, so I can pull the system power until I get RSI before loosing data. I have tried and I got very bored.... The drive write cache is only a problem when the drive lies about honouring sync writes.

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                      Re: zootle Re: zootle Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                      "I'm not saying ZFS can't work with hardware RAID...." ZFS can only work with hardware RAID if you turn off all the features that the ZFS hypers claim make ZFS so gosh-darn-amazing, at which point you are better off (and much more supported) with vanilla ext4. Dedupe and so-called 'silent data corruption', the whalesong of the ZFS hypers, will not work unless ZFS has full control of the disks, which it cannot have with hardware RAID.

                      "....is it an inconvenience for the system builder (extra $, time wasted stetting up virtual volumes) and administrator (one more tool to use to manage disks)...." That male bovine manure is beyond making a mountain out of a molehill! What, you want to claim ZFS has no management overhead? So, have the ZFS boys managed to get disk scrubbing to be anything other than a manual exercise? The time spent on setting up and managing hardware RAID is a lot, lot less than you will lose with ZFS in just the ridiculous delays of disk resilvering! Just take a look at this example (https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/zfs-disk-replace-resilvering-taking-way-too-long.8977/) - seven days to get a solution to a trivial problem hardware RAID or something like software mirroring under ext4 would have alerted you to and fixed by itself or with minimal management (and probably proper support). And hardware RAID would handle such a simple disk mirror replacement and resynch without you having to worry how much RAM you have available, whereas with ZFS if you don't make enough memory available a resilver can stall and fail.

                      "....The resource load on the system CPU is negligible....." LMAO!!! Just go Google 'ZFS hogging CPU' and you'll plenty of hits, especially for systems with ZFS dedupe turned on. My own experience is that old PCs which worked fine with pre-v0.7 FreeNAS are useless and have to be replaced with full-blown servers with ZFS-laden FreeNAS v0.7. Testing ZFS with Ubuntu 13.x and 14.x on commercial servers simply reinforced the experience.

                      "......ZFS is tried and tested....." 'Tried'? Yeah, painfully. 'Tested'? Yeah, and failed! This is just the current and major buglist for ZFSonlinux - (https://github.com/zfsonlinux/zfs/labels/Bug%20-%20Major).

                      ".....It has been used for all of Sun, now Oracle's storage products for many years....." Really? So, could you please explain why Oracle see the need to offer an HBA for hardware RAID for their servers (a badged LSI card) if ZFS 'is the answer' (http://www.oracle.com/us/products/servers-storage/storage/storage-networking/6gb-sas-pcie-raid-hba-internal-ds-186805.pdf)?

                      ".....The battery backed cache saves nothing. All my production systems have power protected log devices...." 'Nothng'? Except for all the your vital write data, rather important to recovery in real World situations such as financial transactions. I'd probably not even be too chuffed with losing write data on my home rig, let alone a production system. Your head-in-the-sand attempts to deny away ZFS's failings is not at all convincing. Oh, and you mentioned the 'added expense' of hardware RAID - did you get your power protection for free? Last time I checked, APC made a lot of money by not giving away UPSs for free. So now, as well as the added expense of the CPU and RAM overheads of ZFS (plus the production time and money lost due to no real support from PC, server or Linux vendors) you need to add the cost of an UPS? LOL!

                      1. zootle

                        Re: zootle zootle Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                        You appear to have little or no experience with ZFS storage and more than a little difficulty with reading comprehension. What part of "I've built a number of systems with RAID controllers that can't do JBOD (the Dell PERC 710 in particular). The virtual devices just appear to the OS as drives." didn't you see? All ZFS features work on RAID volumes.

                        At no point did I claim ZFS has no management overhead, only that ZFS+hardware RAID adds an extra unnecessary layer. I see you cite old problems with a core duo 2 system that probably cost less than a RAID capable HBA and way less than one with a decent cache. How much memory do your hardware RAID systems use for deduplication?

                        If you want ZFS in production, use Solaris, Illumos or BSD. All of the commercial storage vendors use one of these.

                        Oracle fits hardware RAID cards so they can sell to users of operating systems that need them (Windows!).

                        All of my vital write data is safe and sound in the power protected log devices.... and yes, the power protection cam free with the Intel SSDs.

                        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                          WTF?

                          Re: zootle zootle Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                          "You appear to have little or no experience with ZFS storage...." I've had more than enough with both hobbyist ZFS like FreeNAS and commercial offerings like Nexanta, thanks. And my experiences directly mirror those of the average user, going by the total lack of market take-up of a technology that the Sunshiners and now Oracle are pushing as hard as they can for almost a decade.

                          "...All ZFS features work on RAID volumes....." Male bovine manure! Even Oracle with Slowaris recommend using RAID HBAs in JBOD mode (https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E23824_01/html/821-1448/zfspools-4.html). Websites like Wikipedia make it clear why - "....If there is a hardware RAID card used, ZFS always detects all data corruption but cannot always repair data corruption because the hardware RAID card will interfere....." So, that is a feature not working, unlike what you claimed.

                          "....How much memory do your hardware RAID systems use for deduplication?...." The point is if I calculate the RAM I need for dedupe it gets used for dedupe, not stolen by an half-arsed fsck replacement that kills my system.

                          ".....If you want ZFS in production, use Solaris, Illumos or BSD. All of the commercial storage vendors use one of these...." What, you want to claim EMC is using ZFS? Seriously?!? How about HDS or NetApp? Oh, did you mean tiny niche storage vendors that don't make it into the Gartner top-right quadrant? LOL!

                          "....Oracle fits hardware RAID cards so they can sell to users of operating systems that need them (Windows!)...." More male bovine manure - the card I linked to is for Fujitsu and Oracle SPARC servers running Slowaris! You sure you know anything about Oracle kit like you claimed?

                          ".....the power protection cam free with the Intel SSDs." Oh, so I suppose you're familiar with the ZFS by where SSD vdevs just die when ZFS marks them as 'bad'? Don't worry, Oracle hid the bug report behind an OSN login to stop the remaining Slowaris customers getting too alarmed, but I I hear it's still not fixed.

                  2. John Sanders

                    Re: zootle Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                    @Matt

                    """One of the reasons to use hardware RAID with a proper HBA is the option of a battery-backed cache, which will save you and your data in situations ZFS will simply barf and die"""

                    It is the other way around, ZFS transactional-atomic nature guarantees that in case of crash or hardware failure the FS will be 100% consistent with no data loss, and that is why it requires RAW access to the disk.

                    If you have a pysical raid and one disk fails the raid card will mark the drive as failed and deny ZFS access to it. ZFS can not then recover the information in the sane bits of the drive leading to losing the entire array.

                    ZFS uses lots of RAM, there is never been misinformation about it, it is also clear why, it uses lots and lots of RAM for internal redundancy, and advanced features like de-dup and realtime compression.

                    Another point in mind is that I would use ZFS on storage nodes, where I would not be running any applications, because storage is the purpose of the system.

                    None of this means that you can not use a physical RAID controller, I'm not saying ZFS is the solution for every and all situations, just trying to explain where ZFS is practical.

                  3. HmmmYes Silver badge

                    Re: zootle Peter Campbell asdf mousepads...

                    No. There is no such thing as Hardware RAID.

                    There are a number of different vendors, implementing hardware RAID on their - BIOS, disk controllers etc etc.

                    When hardware RAID works its great. When it does't its hell! Over the years I've had enough problems with RAID controllers to avoid RAID like the plague. its a 'too simple solution' for a 'too complex problem'.

                    RAID started off as cheap + dirty and got more complex and expensive over the years.

                    ZFS + JBOD is very very very good. Its the right solution for the problem.

                    Look, hard disks are no longer spinning platters of directly addressable blocks. The controller of the average HDD is very complex; there are no directly addressable physical blocks any more.

          3. John Sanders
            Linux

            Re: asdf mousepads...

            Just a note, you're not supposed to use raided disks with ZFS, its the first thing you read in the docs.

            ZFS has its own RAID mechanics and doesn't need an underneath RAID layer, the disks are supposed to be presented to the OS as RAW disks.

            This is hard to understand for Windows people, but modern file-systems software RAID implementations are sometimes better than the hardware ones, and have very little overhead.

            Hardware RAID still have their place, but for basic Raid 5/6 deployments you do not need them any more. ZFS when working as RAID for example is completely crash proof.

            In my case I'm quite fond of mdadm in Linux mirroring Ext4 LVM volumes, the overhead is not noticeable, and read speed is greatly improved as it uses both drives for reading.

            It has advantages inherent to being a software solution like being able to mirror from any volume to any other volume, on any controller (IE: motherboard sata to usb attached drive)

        5. Adam Inistrator

          Re: shouty time

          I found zfs isnt perfect ... you cant reduce volumes in size afaik so I went with btrfs - which is natively in linux kernel for those who cant bsd

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: mousepads...

        @Chika - "I'm also an opensuser but I don't mind having a peek. My biggest problem is the intense dislike of KDE4 and more recent GNOME, so Cinnamon is certainly a possible contender for a replacement."

        Agreed, and I'm also an opensuser, but I won't be bothering with Mint 17.1. Stick me with a nearly year-old kernel? NO THANKS. I prefer my systems to have access to current drivers, graphics system updates and kernel optimizations.

        Guess I'll remain an opensuser, struggling along with KDE.

    2. PhilDin
      Thumb Up

      Re: mousepads...

      @phi dude, FWIW I was a happy Opensuser for years but Mint with KDE is just a bit nicer so it gets my vote. I can't comment on the gestures thing though, I don't use them.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    What about?

    the MATE spin for Fedora?

    https://spins.fedoraproject.org/mate-compiz/

    and for SUSE

    https://en.opensuse.org/Portal:MATE

    If MATE is so wonderful and you don't want Ubuntu underneath

  3. Bloakey1

    I must say that Mint is a lovely piece of software. I took a 'naive' user plonked them down in front of a fresh setup and before I new it they were on wireless looking at Facebook and researching what popular beat combos were in the top decem this week.

    I am sure by now they will have discovered the Inertnet <sic> and the joys of Usenet, Ascii art, base 64 encoding / decoding, the joys of uk.misc and demon.local and finally that wonderful new search engine called Gopher.

    Said the man whose first laptop was a PP 640 DD.

    1. frank ly Silver badge
      Happy

      "... a 'naive' user ..."

      Did you offer to sell them an installation DVD for £20?

      1. Bloakey1

        "Did you offer to sell them an installation DVD for £20?"

        No, she was a well educated statistician. I did however show her how I could back her up on to my floppy and she said I was 95% certain that you would do that. She was very impressed by the lack of space that my kernel took up but annoyed that a stack overflow could happen so quickly.

        Naive user was a popular term when I was at uni back in the 90s.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I did however show her how I could back her up on to my floppy (Oh Err misses!) and she said I was 95% certain that you would do that (Yip Yip). She was very impressed by the lack of space that my kernel took up (fnarr fnarr) but annoyed that a stack overflow could happen so quickly. (Yakk Yakk)

          Sorry, just came over all Finbarr...

          1. Graham 24
            Joke

            It's an oldie but...

            ... if you're going to do the computer innuendo thing (btw, I don't claim credit for writing this):

            Micro was a real-time operator and dedicated multi-user. His broadband protocol made it easy for him to interface with numerous input/output devices, even if it meant time-sharing.

            One evening he arrived home just as the Sun was crashing, and had parked his Motorola 68000 in the main drive (he had missed the S100 bus that morning), when he noticed an elegant piece of liveware admiring the daisy wheels in his garden. He thought to himself, "She looks user-friendly. I'll see if she'd like an update tonight."

            Mini was her name. She was delightfully engineered with eyes like COBOL and a Prime mainframe architecture that set Micro's peripherals networking all over the place.

            He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin, 32-bit floating point processors and enquired, "How are you, Honeywell?" "Yes, I am well," she responded, batting her optical fibres engagingly and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.

            Micro settled for a straight line approximation. "I'm stand-alone tonight," he said. "How about computing a vector to my base address? I'll output a byte to eat, and maybe we could get offset later on." Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then transmitted 8K. "I've been dumped myself recently, and a new page is just what I need to refresh my disks. I'll park my machine cycle in your background and meet you inside." She walked off, leaving Micro admiring her solenoids and thinking, "Wow, what a global variable. I wonder if she'd like my firmware?"

            They sat down at the process table to a top of form feed of fiche and chips and a bucket of Baudot. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguments while Micro gave occasional acknowledgments, although in reality he was analysing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He finally settled on the old, 'Would you like to see my benchmark routine?' but Mini was again one step ahead.

            Suddenly she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating system software. "Let's get BASIC, you RAM," she said. Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware policing module had a processor of its own and was in danger of overflowing its output buffer, a hangup that Micro had consulted his analyst about. "Core," was all he could say, as she prepared to log him off.

            Micro soon recovered, however, when Mini went down on the DEC and opened her divide files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root device and was just about to start pushing into her CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence.

            "No, no!" she cried. "You're not shielded!"

            "Reset, baby," he replied, "I've been debugged."

            "But I haven't got my current loop enabled, and I can't support child processes," she protested.

            "Don't run away," he said, "I'll generate an interrupt."

            "No, that's too error prone, and I can't abort because of my design philosophy."

            Micro was locked in by this stage, though, and could not be turned off. But Mini soon stopped his thrashing by introducing a voltage spike into his main supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep. "Computers!" she thought as she compiled herself. "All they ever think about is hex."

            1. Bloakey1

              Re: It's an oldie but...

              It is still a good one. My favourite one came from late fifties and is called:

              Impure Mathematics.

              Once upon a time (1/t), pretty little Polly Nomial was strolling across a field of vectors when she came to the edge of a singularly large matrix.

              Now Polly was convergent and her mother had made it an absolute condition that she must never enter such an array without her brackets on. Polly, however, who had changed her variables that morning and was feeling particularly badly behaved, ignored this condition on the grounds that it was insufficient and made her way in amongst the complex elements.

              Rows and columns enveloped her on all sides. Tangents approached her surface. She became tensor and tensor. Quite suddenly, three branches of a hyperbola touched her at a single point. She oscillated violently, lost all sense of directrix and went completely divergent. As she reached a turning point she tripped over a square root which was protruding from the erf and plunged headlong down a steep gradient. When she was differentiated once more she found herself, apparently alone, in a non-euclidean space.

              She was being watched, however. That smooth operator, Curly Pi, was lurking inner product. As his eyes devoured her curvilinear coordinates, a singular expression crossed his face. Was she still convergent, he wondered. He decided to integrate improperly at once.

              Hearing a vulgar function behind her, Polly turned round and saw Curly Pi approaching with his power series extrapolated. She could see at once, by his degenerate conic and his dissipative terms, that he was bent on no good.

              "Eureka" she gasped.

              "Ho, ho," he said. "What a symmetric little Polynomial you are. I can see you're bubbling over with secs".

              "O Sir," she protested, "keep away from me. I haven't got my brackets on."

              "Calm yourself, my dear," said our suave operator, "your fears are purely imaginary "

              "i, i," she thought, "perhaps he's homogenous then?".

              "What order are you," the brute demanded.

              "Seventeen," replied Polly.

              Curly leered. "I suppose you've never been operated on yet?" he asked.

              "Of course not", Polly cried indignantly. "I'm absolutely convergent."

              "Come, come," said Curly. "Let's off to a decimal place I know and I'll take you to the limit."

              "Never," gasped Polly.

              "Exchlf," he swore, using the vilest oath he knew. His patience was gone. Coshing her over the coefficient with a log until she was powerless, Curly removed her discontinuities. He stared at her significant places and began to smooth her points of inflexion. Poor Polly. All was up. She felt his hand tending to her asymptotic limit. Her convergence would soon be gone forever.

              There was no mercy, for Curly was a heavyside operator. He integrated by parts. He integrated by partial fractions. The complex beast even went all the way around and did a contour integration. What an indignity. To be multiply connected on her first integration. Curly went on operating until he was absolutely and completely orthogonal.

              When Polly got home that evening, her mother noticed that she had been truncated in several places. But it was too late to differentiate now. As the months went by, Polly increased monotonically. Finally she generated a small but pathological function which left surds all over the place until she was driven to distraction.

              The moral of this sad story is this: If you want to keep your expressions convergent, never allow them a single degree of freedom.

    2. Anonymous Bullard

      I took a 'naive' user plonked them down in front of a fresh setup and before I new it they were on wireless

      A few months ago, Virgin Media guy came to install their stuff in our new house, while I was at work. When I came home, my Wife's laptop (Linux Mint) was already set up for wifi - I praised her on her technical skills but it turned out the VM guy actually did it, and said "oh, you've got the new Windows, huh?".

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    XFCE

    I relinquished on both Mate and Cinnamon and preferred the more basic XFCE which works flawlessly for my needs.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: XFCE

      The even more basic LXDE is great on my ten year old Acer Travelmate and my EEE netbook. All I want to do is run applications; eye candy holds no interest for me.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: XFCE

        I'm another XFCE user, I don't want menu bars all over the place, I slightly begrudge the panel it's real estate, but can't quite bring myself to run ion3 again (if I was back doing full time development then I would, but not my current operational role).

        I did find xnest to be a good option in ion3 for while - run a full tech tiling workspace, and have one of the tiles (normally a large proportion of one screen) contain a "normal" windowing system.

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: XFCE

      XFCE with whisker menu does rock. It is also one of the most portable of the modern full DE experiences between different distos and even other UNIX (ie what you see here is what you can have there).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mint 17 here

    I switched from Fedora to Mint 17 a couple of weeks ago, mostly out of curiosity, and I kept it. Gnome 3 is so dumbed-down that it almost defeated the purpose of running Linux on a desktop. Cinnamon is much more configurable, and strangely even more stable from my experience.

    All of my hardware worked out of the box, including rather very uncommon devices like the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 USB "soundcard". Installing drivers for NVidia's GTX 780 Ti wasn't a problem either, even their latest ones (Mint's bundled versions are slightly outdated, though not too old).

    The only gripe I had with Mint is the poor installer. It's good enough for the normal user, no doubt, but for a bit more advanced setups (like encryption on top of a RAID, to name one), it's insufficient.

    That said, the live CD has all the tools on board to tweak the installation manually, which is acceptable for a task which I don't plan to repeat any time soon. :)

    I did have the odd freeze on Fedora, and Mint seemed to suffer the same problem initially, but an update to the latest Kernel from the Ubuntu PPA's fixed that, and it's been rock-solid since. (I still haven't quite grasped the reasoning behind Mint's policy of being way behind with Kernel updates)

    All in all, great system for the desktop. Still wouldn't have anything Ubuntu-related on a server, but that's a different story.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Mint 17 here

      >Cinnamon is much more configurable, and strangely even more stable from my experience.

      What's strange about it? Clem (and team) is a better dev than most of the gnome yahoos (takes their best stuff) and he actually listens to his users.

    2. breakfast

      Re: Mint 17 here

      I have been surprised to find that on my dual-boot laptop, I use Mint to troubleshoot the hardware when Windows 8.1 won't play nicely with it. As yet the only thing that worked better under Windows is the SD card reader- everything else that has been problematic under Windows ( including external microphones and the wireless card ) work perfectly on Mint. Consequently it sees the vast majority of my usage on a daily basis, although when the alternative is Windows 8 being dragged face down through mud behind a donkey is a preferable option.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge
    Linux

    I can't agree with this

    Having used Linux Mint 17 for about 3 weeks in anger at work, the only thing I can agree with is that it beats elementaryOS - because thats in BETA.

    Linux Mint isn't a bad OS, it's certainty better than what I've just mentioned, as well as Fedora. But it is in no way better or beats openSuSE 13.2. And my comparison is based on what I've done with it. I used both Mint and SuSE in an office environment from 9am to 5/6pm. The work consists mostly of website development work and server administration, as well as some Word/Excel document editing.

    openSuSE just works out of the box. No faffing about, and on my machine was far quicker than Linux Mint. I managed (and still do) to have complete access to the Windows server shared drives without complaint or issue. Linux Mint would struggle some times to open a folder on the server. It'd take an age and then say the folder didn't exist when it clearly did after refreshing the screen.

    Network printer support on openSuSE is way better than any of the Linux Distro's I've used. Better than Debian 7, Fedora, Elementary, Linux Mint and Ubuntu. We have a networked Olivetti printer and none of the distro's bar openSuSE which picked it up straight away with no issue.

    Document editing on openSuSE is much more straight forward too. LibreOffice worked far better and more reliably than it did on Linux Mint. There was a habbit when editing documents on LM that other machines on the network couldn't read them properly. This still happens with openSuSE but to a far far less extreme. One in every 20 documents so far (roughly) suffer this issue, whereas LM was one in 4.

    The article, to me, focused more on the touchy feely stuff, not actually how it behaved in a real world work environment. I think if the reviewer did the tests again for longer periods like I've managed to do over 3 months then the review and opinion would be far far different.

    1. gerryg

      Re: I can't agree with this

      Have an up vote. While my prejudices are based on having been there since S.u.S.E 6.1 this sums it all up

      "The article, to me, focused more on the touchy feely stuff, not actually how it behaved in a real world work environment."

      openSUSE is now either the longest running distro (1993?) or second, Fedora has similar longevity and unless you are going to go all Gentoo on me, (or Linux from Scratch) these are relevant considerations.

      I was also pleased to see in another comment that the good KDE 4.0 bashing is alive and well, personally I'm thinking of losing all GUIs cuz I'm 1337 and all over TTY

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: I can't agree with this

        +1 Mint may look prettier out of the box (what where the Suse 13.2 chaps thinking?) but on a day-to-day basis I found suse to be more robust (than Ubuntu), not least for "not-borking-the-install" when adding new software.

        I'm not sure what the hate for KDE4 is all about. It was woefully undersupported by apps when introduced, but unless you have an s3 virge...

        If you're looking for an *office* desktop system, all the widgets are generally a good thing. Yes, a calendar on the toolbar is a good plan. For server or low power systems, stick XFCE or LXDE on there.

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: I can't agree with this

        >openSUSE is now either the longest running distro (1993?) or second,

        SUSE was introduced in 1994. Of the still existing distributions, Slackware and Debian are slightly older, 1993.

  7. Anonymous IV

    Upgrades

    Does Mint still have the 'feature' (common to other Linux distributions?) where if you want to upgrade to a new version (every six months) then it's a complete reinstall from scratch, and thus a complete recustomisation of everything?

    1. McToo

      Re: Upgrades

      Don't know about Mint or any other distro to be honest, but I've got a box at home that started on OpenSuSE 10.3 and it's been upgraded (over the network) to 13.1 via all the releases in between. No re-install required, and it's been rock solid.

      Keeping your /home on a separate partition helps.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: Upgrades

        I have two Kubuntu systems on my desk. One three years old and the other four. Upgraded each every six months with no issue. Indeed my main worry is about all the cr*p that has accumulated over that time and forgotten.

        One of these days I must reformat the disks and start again. We always did that with MS-DOS & Win9x every year. Speeded things up no end. It was XP activation process that discouraged me from continuing ;-)

        1. Bloakey1

          Re: Upgrades

          <snip>

          "One of these days I must reformat the disks and start again. We always did that with MS-DOS & Win9x every year. Speeded things up no end. It was XP activation process that discouraged me from continuing ;-)"

          Sadly it is still the case that a re-install invigorates the machine and gets rid of unsightly blemishes and wrinkles.

          Having said that NT4 on a DEC Alpha was one of the sweetest Windows systems I ever used, 2000 OK, Win 7 OK, Win 8 ? nuff said geezer.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Upgrades

        Keeping your /home on a separate partition helps.

        Yes, especially if that partition is encrypted.

        Plus, a little git-managed directory with all those nasty configfiles (generally somewhere in /etc) and little compare-and-plonk scripts on the side.

        1. Stevie Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Upgrades

          >>Keeping your /home on a separate partition helps.<<

          Yes, especially if that partition is encrypted.

          Plus, a little git-managed directory with all those nasty configfiles (generally somewhere in /etc) and little compare-and-plonk scripts on the side.

          All sound advice.

          Remind me again what prevents the average windows user from taking up Linux in its stead. 8o)

          1. Adam Inistrator

            Re: Upgrades

            "Remind me again what prevents the average windows user from taking up Linux in its stead. 8o)"

            if user has a problem on windows they blame themselves. If user has a problem on linux .. they blame linux because of psychological FUD like the stuff you thoughtlessly babble. Which leaves Linux for the canny average users .. not just the techno-skilled. Ubuntu desktop works transparently on the Dell computers we use. The tricks that can be used by techno-skilled users on linux simply are not available to average users anywhere and certainly not on windows even by techno-skilled users.

        2. Vic

          Re: Upgrades

          Plus, a little git-managed directory with all those nasty configfiles (generally somewhere in /etc)

          Have you seen etckeeper?

          Vic.

      3. Chika

        Re: Upgrades

        Lucky you. To be fair, though, upgrades on openSUSE depend heavily on the hardware you are using. The machine I had 10.2 on upgraded fairly easily to 10.3 but 11.0 didn't happen without a shove due to hardware support issues and I eventually installed 11.1 clean on it to sort all that out. That system was decommissioned after that and the successor went to 11.4, the last version of openSUSE that I have been completely happy with. Personally I always prefer a clean install to an update.

        There are lots of reasons why keeping your /home partition separate is a bloody good idea. That is one. :)

      4. Vic

        Re: Upgrades

        I've got a box at home that started on OpenSuSE 10.3 and it's been upgraded (over the network) to 13.1 via all the releases in between. No re-install required

        My two primary machines both started life as RHL7.0. I've done several in-place upgrades on those over the years, without the need to re-install...

        Keeping your /home on a separate partition helps.

        Yes. This is always good advice.

        Vic.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Upgrades - 2 questions

      1 : Is there a major reason for wanting to upgrading so often ? By desiring to remain on the bleeding edge then the small amount of time required to "customize" is a small price to pay. If you used windows it would be the same process of re-customisation when moving between major versions.. ( Can't speak for macOS).

      2 : Having to recustomize what exactly ?

    3. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: Upgrades

      Have you ever bothered to keep your /home directory on a separate partition?

      That makes reinstalling the OS a snap, as as soon as you reinstall whatever application you were using before its ready configured as it was before and just works.

      Besides this Mint 17.x is meant to be a LTS (Long term support) version and will be around until 2019

      The mint team will keep releasing up-to-date versions of the main applications for it.

      And as someone pointed out earlier, you can get software from ppa's (Small repositories with up-to-date versions of applications)

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Upgrades

        >Have you ever bothered to keep your /home directory on a separate partition?

        I generally keep a couple of OS partitions as well so I can do a clean install without scratching the previous system.

    4. SolidSquid

      Re: Upgrades

      I believe so, although you should be able to back up your /home, /opt and /usr/local directories to transfer everything over to the new install (software should be installed to /opt and /usr/local, comfiguration and personal files in /home)

    5. DropBear Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Upgrades

      ...if you want to upgrade to a new version (every six months) then it's a complete reinstall from scratch...

      Yeah, that's what kept me away from it too - I do not "reinstall" OSes, I have way to much customization put into anything and everything I use to ever consider redoing it, so if smooth upgrade is not an option, it's a no-go.

    6. thames

      Re: Upgrades

      For most Linux desktop distros you would upgrade to a new version the same way as you would install normal updates. I use Ubuntu (with Unity), and I can continue working while it's doing an upgrade to a new version until I need to reboot once at the end. The only thing you really notice while the upgrade is in progress is that networking is slow because of all the files being hauled in. The reboot after a full upgrade is also takes a bit longer than normal, as I think it's doing some sort of final clean-up then.

      There are a few distros that won't upgrade reliably. Fedora is notorious for this, but that however is because they always pack the most bleeding edge stuff available in, so something almost always goes wrong. Fedora is only for people who insist on living dangerously though, it's definitely not for the average computer user. It's intended for people who are working on software that will go into the next version of Red Hat. It also has a very short support life (roughly one year).

      Red Hat servers require a complete re-install, but that has to do with the working patterns of their customer base. Enterprise users with large server farms prefer to go through a test, image, roll-out cycle rather than upgrading individual servers. The they want to run a common master image so that they can buy a new server and just stick that image on it and know that they have exactly the same thing as all their other servers (as opposed to whatever has accumulated from multiple upgrades over the life of an older server).

      Mint is *supposed* to be able to be upgradable, but due to bugs and limited testing they have had a long history of upgrade failures. If you just want a desktop that works without headaches, stick with the major desktop distros with large support teams - Ubuntu, Debian, and Suse. In the case of Ubuntu, stick with Unity, rather than the less common (on Ubuntu) desktops like KDE, XFCE, Gnome, etc. There's nothing inherently wrong with KDE, XFCE, or Gnome, but on Ubuntu they are not put out by official paid Ubuntu development team and they don't get the same degree of integration work and testing that Unity does. They also have a much, much smaller user base (on Ubuntu) than Unity does, so they don't get the same amount of usage from which to find problems.

      If you go on a forum like this one, you will get a lot of posts from people who try to one-up each other by recommending the very latest and most obscure distro/desktop combination they can think of to show how avant garde they are. If you are new to Linux, you would be hard put to do better than Ubuntu with Unity even if the "in" crowd claim it makes you look stodgy. Personally, I just want to use my computer, and Ubuntu is very polished and complete.

    7. Matt Piechota

      Re: Upgrades

      I'm not sure which distributions you've been using, but most have an upgrade path that doesn't involve wiping the machine. That being said, I don't think the Mint installer DVD supports upgrades, but there certainly is a way to upgrade with apt; I've done it a couple times. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever tried up update Linux from a DVD (at least in modern times), it's always been an over-the-network affair.

  8. codejunky Silver badge

    I am waiting

    I love the mint OS, it works quickly and easily and is great to hand to beginners too. For the desktop I do recommend mint.

  9. tin 2
    Thumb Down

    Jaw is on the floor

    "Of particular interest is the new option to change folder colours and add what Mint calls "emblems" to folders. Emblems are best thought of as "sub icons" that sit atop the folder icon – for example the little filmstrip icon that sits atop the Videos folder by default"

    Welcome to 1985 everyone.

    The rest might be ace, but I got slow blown away by that, that I stopped.

    1. John Sanders
      Thumb Up

      Re: Jaw is on the floor

      The one I smiled at was this one:

      ""Cinnamon 2.4 is chock full of small, but welcome, new features and updates. These include a configurable desktop font""

      It made me laugh, but there is a very good explanation for it, on Gnome3 (From which Cinnamon first originated) you're not permitted to change any of the visual settings at all including the fonts.

      1. cmannett85

        Re: Jaw is on the floor

        "on Gnome3 (From which Cinnamon first originated) you're not permitted to change any of the visual settings at all including the fonts."

        That's a deeply misleading statement. The 'normal' UI settings windows don't have an option for it because it's rarely changed by most people, but the official Gnome Tweak Tool (which is embedded in the settings window in openSUSE) allows it and is packaged with every distro that supports Gnome 3.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Jaw is on the floor

          > The 'normal' UI settings windows don't have an option for it because it's rarely changed by most people

          Here is a good example of where Apple does stuff right. They hide the advanced configuration from immediate view but it's easy enough to make them visible if you want them. You don't have to go hunting for some secret handshake or Windows style "power tools".

    2. faibistes

      Re: Jaw is on the floor

      They've been there in nautilus as long as I can remember. The enthusiasm of the reviewer with this fresh feature sets the level of the article.

      Not to mention that I can't find any good reasons to install linux on a macbook.

  10. Palpy
    Linux

    Even with tentacles

    After the ritualized hatred engendered by Unity and Gnome 3 -- not to mention Windows 8 -- it's nice to use something besides Mac that just works.

    In an alternate universe, Microsoft used the Cinnamon GUI in the successor to Win 7. Everyone was pleased, even the alien overlords who took over Earth in 2003 -- they can use it even with tentacles.

  11. jb99

    The article does say

    Is it a useful distribution or does it use systemd?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The article does say

      It doesn't use systemd, and there's no sign of later Mint versions doing so.

      If they push for it later, it wont be in the current LTS so you have at least 5 years to avoid it (by then it should be stable, but don't quote me on that)

      1. Chika

        Re: The article does say

        Well, that's one point in Mint's favour in my book. systemd is one of the biggest piles of manure to ever infect Linux.

        You'll have to excuse me - I don't have quite the way with expletives that LT has!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security

    Is it true there's a back door in Mint which allows the Irish Government to monitor your network traffic?

    1. Khaptain Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Security

      There is a backdoor in every OS, it is called the "User". If you can master the "User" you can master the security.

      1. Chika
        Trollface

        Re: Security

        Ah yes. The world of the service desk has a word for this: "PEBCAK".

        Problem exists between chair and keyboard.

        1. AlbertH
          Linux

          Re: Security

          Or.....

          PICNIC = Problem In Chair, Not In Computer

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: Security

      Yes, it was authored by a well known irish man called Ronald Regin .

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Security

      No, that's Linux Shamrock. It does a green leaf logo though so that might have caused you some confusion.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Security

      No, that's Linux Shamrock. It does use a green leaf logo though so that might have caused you some confusion.

  13. Jim 59

    Mint, mate

    I switched from Fedora to Mint 17 LTS 6 months ago for stability reasons, and I can recommend it to anyone. Being a business user, and over the age of 12, I went for MATE, and I have to say it is a great working environment. Reliable, logical, configurable. It does a great job and then gets out of the way. There isn't really much to say about it and that is one of the features of a good windowing environment IMO.

    NB My hardware is not old. Quad core i7, if you please. The combination of a fast CPU and fast, minimal desktop is doubly wonderful. The desktop never pauses for anything, ever, not even for a second, even with the encrypted /home. (except for scanning wireless APs).

    Anyway I heartily recommend Linux Mint 17. Tip: Replace LibreOffice with OpenOffice for better stability.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Mint, mate

      >NB My hardware is not old. Quad core i7

      Lol, I have XFCE running on a pair of Dell OptiPlex 755 Pentium Dual-Core E2200 2.2GHzs...and it runs great considering the specs... Ok the machines are used for dev testing and admin which are not very labour intensive...

      On a Quad Core I7 we are talking whole other levels of vroom.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mint, mate

        Actually, MATE is lighter than XFCE (right in-between LXDE and XFCE)

        1. Jim 59

          Re: Mint, mate

          XFCE lighter than MATE ? Surprising. I used XFCE with Fedora long time, but sometimes found XFCE just a little too limited and occasionally unstable. Perhaps that was down to Fedora.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Replace LibreOffice with OpenOffice for better stability.

      But not the latest edition, which has introduced a number of issues with hanging and crashing on The O/S That Must Not Say Its Name, especially when home-baking pdfs.

  14. dz-015

    It's a real blessing to us all that Windows 95 existed, otherwise developers of open source window managers would have had no inspiration at all for any of their many near-identical clones!

    1. Grifter

      You say it with such disdain, but the truth is the developers of window managers are just regular human beings, everyone of them with their own personal preferences; for those who wanted a similarity with win95, window managers such as fvwm95 exactly hit the spot, either to use or to develop.

      Likewise there are window managers with similarities to amiga, os/2, cde, or any other oldschool interface that might have left nostalgic marks in people.

      The most radical departure from any 'traditional' interface are the tiling/tabbed window managers which were started with the birth of ion, these are my personal choice (infact I still use ion2 on all my machines). But hey, let's ignore everything except the win95 look-alikes? Or something? What was your point again?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Win95 Explorer

      I would like a filemanager with the (default) list view of Win95, or its predecessor XTree Gold, or XTree before that (no icons, just filenames).

      I long for instant TSRs like SideKick, none of this loading a program for quick text edit, calculator or ascii table, just press the key comb.

      Baby/bathwater springs to mind.

      (I do like the Saluki interface of puppy though, contrary **** that I am)

      1. banalyzer

        Re: Win95 Explorer

        apologies for the late reply st7, but have you tried Midnight Commander (mc)?

        It behaves much like XTree and has an option for launching programs from the command line.

        It looks initially like Norton Commander used to look like but can be configured to look more like XTree.

  15. Alan Bourke

    Are major version upgrades still a pain in the face?

    In other words are you still forced to back up/clean install/restore?

    Because screw that. After a couple of those I went back to Ubuntu.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: Are major version upgrades still a pain in the face?

      I am having no problems with it at the moment, it is updating easily enough and has had no reason to moan. In the event that you hear a scream that will be me.

  16. Andy Non
    Happy

    Linux Mint 17.1 is fantastic at first glance

    I'm a relative newcomer to Linux and originally tried Kubuntu 14.04 and made the mistake of "upgrading" to 14.10 a few days ago which introduced some nasty bugs e.g. after resuming from Standby mode the wifi was disabled and the only apparent solution was to reboot the computer. Also found some of my software no longer worked. So rather than reinstalling 14.04 again I decided to try Mint 17.1 first and installed it yesterday. It really is a breath of fresh air. Slick and easy to use. The desktop is less clumsy. The file manager is also less clumsy. All in all it is smoother to use. Very pleased with it and won't be going back to Kubuntu.

    Mint also seems to be faster and have less impact on this old (ex-Vista) laptop than Kubuntu did; the noisy fan seems to be running less too.

  17. Bladeforce

    Mate is a step in the right direction...

    But KDE is much better

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Mate is a step in the right direction...

      Much better at what ?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Mate is a step in the right direction...

        In the direction of a gui with a zero letter acronym

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems most Linux desktop reviews focus on appearance and little usability tweaks.

    How about actually focus on how they perform for a variety of tasks?

    Simple things like getting a printer running, scanner or file sharing?

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Time to get a less outdated FUD playbook.

      > Simple things like getting a printer running, scanner or file sharing?

      ...things that have been sorted for a very long time.

      On the other hand, scrambling the basic desktop experience is something that's a little bit more current and relevant and this goes for ALL of the major operating systems and not just Linux. The question of "Have they unf*cked my desktop yet?" will be front an center in any new Windows review.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      You make a good point actually. My first experience of Linux (Mint 13) was basically a good one but had at least a month of swearing, mostly because I was in a 'Windows' mindset after many years of using Windows. I've found that a quick Google search will point you to a variety of forums on which absolutely every aspect of Linux operation is discussed with forums specialising in particular distributions.

      After a short time and a bit of refining searches, I found drivers and setup instructions for my old Dell network printer, my old Epson scanner and lots of well written advice on how to do many things. I've even set up a RAID-0 array, using mdadm, on my desktop PC after following the instructions and advice on the more technical forums.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well to be Frank..

        the Linux forums are helpful in a particularly unhelpful way, read everyone of them and you might get a bit of a clue, post a seemingly innocent question (making explicit you are a newbie) and you will either get a totally uncomprehensible answer (install this, compile that, use this, you don't want to use that (linux), use this (linux) or worse you get RTFM, very nice. Well I've read the F'in manual, I've read every man page going. It is incomprehensible garbage, have you ever actually read TFM.)

        Have you ever read a windows forum, mostly it is do, this, do that, bish bash bosh done, if (in the unlikely event) that doesn't work then come back and we will have a proper look at it.

        Linux Mint is wonderful (mostly), it installs seamlessly on most machines, it works like windows should have done.

        But if you have an odd bit of hardware, trying to find a driver can be a nightmare, once you have found it, downloaded it, installed it and it still doesn't work (have you started it ?, I don't know, doesn't installing it start it automatically, what is it called, where does it reside because there isn't a menu option anywhere)

        The software manager/repository is brilliant but why when I install a bit of software doesn't it put a standard entry into my start menu (some do, some don't)

        Mint levers Debian, this is the equivalent of GEM on DOS.

        The problem with Linux is the snobishness of the users, they see windows as working class and only the annointed (and approved) should be allowed to use their OS.

  19. The last doughnut

    xubuntu

    I went from xubuntu which features XFCE to Mint after replacing the old laptop. There are significant losses in going from the 14.10 base ubuntu back to 14.04 including the loss of suspend. Light locker is also sadly missed. MATE is my preferred desktop on Mint - and its easy to switch - mainly because Cinnamon would not let you have the menu bar down one side, which is essential on a letterbox laptop screen. Will try the upgrade to 17.1 but really want the 14.10 base to arrive.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Mint being the best Linux OS. With Linux controlling a whopping 1.45% of the market share [according to NetMarketShare], how much does Mint control?

    1. Chika

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CFnM4SYQC8

      Warning: It's loud!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With Linux controlling a whopping 1.45% of the market share [according to NetMarketShare], how much does Mint control?

      None! With Linux, it's the users doing the controlling.

      I think you have a Windows mind-set. Just go with the flow, with everyone else... 90% of users can't be wrong.

    3. AlbertH
      Linux

      NetMarketShare hasn't got a clue - Android phones (vastly outselling Windoze and iPhone together), set-top boxes, routers, every webserver on the planet (apart from a few in Redmond and Cupertino), every web-enabled device...... The list is endless. If you added up all the installations of Linux globally, it'll be more than all the rest together!

      Linux desktop uptake is admittedly small at present, but as long as MS continue with trying to push their silly telephone interface as a desktop (Windoze 8) and as long as Apple continue to charge insane prices for poor quality commodity hardware (albeit with a shiny label on it), Linux uptake will continue to grow.

      Quality offerings like openSuse and Mint will do a lot to persuade the great unwashed that life after XP really is open-sourced and free!

    4. windowssucks

      Net Application (markets share) is based on pay-per-click sites (76%) with only 10% of data from social media sites. That's why 1.45% for Linux means in reality something like 4-5% in real life. You should remember that ChromeBook took some 3-4% of portables last year which is double the claims of Net Application.

      I haven't used Windows since 2008. And just like most of Linux users we don't care about Windows.

  21. Gannettt

    I use Mint with Xfce - being visually impaired, I prefer light text on a dark background, and less visual clutter. Unfortunately, both Cinnamon and MATE are a bit too graphics-rich for my poor eyesight.

    Mint itself is great, though, especially in a virtual machine.

  22. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Feels like going into the wrong direction

    It feels far to much like a "typical desktop system" than an actual useful system. It starts by not showing the boot logs, a misfeature I've never found a reason for. It uses Pulseaudio, probably the least usable sound system ever devised on Linux and probably the only one where setting the volume on an application changes the master volume in a rather unpredictable way.

    It seems like so much effort is wasted on features nobody ever cares about and which later turn out to be colossal security bugs.

  23. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Mint makes Linux On The Desktop a no-brainer...

    We, here at work, switched to Mint at the end of XP with LESS ISSUES than those who have moved to Win8/8.1. Windows advocates will say "Oh it's (Mint) more work, you'll be typing thing on the command line all the time. You won't save any money because of the time it (Mint) will consume.". Tosh - Mint uses less support than XP, you actually SAVE time using it.

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: Mint makes Linux On The Desktop a no-brainer...

      Minor clarification - XFCE DE not Cinnamon or Mate. Ideal on oldish, XP vintage, hardware.

  24. Yugguy

    NO revolutionary features

    The best aspect of ANY IT upgrade.

  25. SteveK

    Mint does look and behave nicely. The concern to me though is that it and future versions of Mint for at least the next couple of years are based on Ubuntu 14.04. Which means that, unless Mint developers are going to backport apps, things will be stuck on the version that Ubuntu 14.04 offers with only minor point release updates. No bad thing necessarily - unless the package has a bug that requires going to a later version to fix.

    The kernel for instance (which will presumably be forever 3.13 - it is in Mint 17 and 17.1 certainly). It has a timing bug introduced in 3.10 and not fixed until 3.15 which causes pretty, but unusable, display distortion in [certain?] machines with the Intel Core i-series CPUs and onboard graphics (Dell Optiplex 9010 series for instance) in both GUI and console.

    Yes, I can grab the kernel source, or download .deb files from a 3rd party site and install them, but then it's up to me to do that outside the package management system and keep watch for security bugs etc requiring an update. And who knows whether any compatibility issues will arise if the kernel API hooks change between the version of kernel on the machine and the version that the distribution expects me to have.

    1. The last doughnut

      xubuntu again

      Agree with you. Was using xubuntu until recently on the 14.10 ubuntu base and its better for sure. Thinking of ditching Mint 17 Mate now.

  26. Jim 59

    One more thing

    Mint 17 LTS is the first distro I have come across that properly controls fan speeds on my MSI cx61 laptop. Lovely and quiet.

  27. biro_trousers

    Does Mint use Zeitgeist?

    I fled Ubuntu ages ago for Debian (Unity being one reason, and Zeitgeist tightly locked, Microsoft-style, into the system another). I'm pleased to read in this thread that Mint doesn't use systemd. Can anyone tell me whether Zeitgeist is part of Mint?

  28. Salts

    Fence Sitter...

    I can see the value in systemd, but also as a Linux old school user, don't like the 'we control the system' attitude of it.

    It is a bit of a a 'rock and a hard place' I really would like Linux to become more 'end user' but at the same time, don't wish to see it's values diluted, yet for 'user friendly desktop' systemd is a good way forward, but it does go against the grain.

    Just as an aside, I have just spent the last month with only my MBP, I like it and it is great kit, but hmmm, there are times my Linux system was missed.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Salts Re: Fence Sitter...

      "I can see the value in systemd, but also as a Linux old school user, don't like the 'we control the system' attitude of it....." Yeah, I like the old SysV init setup, it's just the people running around screaming "FEAR THE SYSTEMD, IT WILL EAT OUR CHILDREN!!" are really beginning to annoy. So far, AFAIKS, none of the GREAT AND HORRIBLE eventualities they insisted systemd would produce have come to pass.

  29. Teiwaz Silver badge

    ''Best' Desktop, (derisive laughter)

    "Mint's flagship Cinnamon desktop, fast becoming the best desktop in Linux, has been updated to Cinnamon 2.4."

    Popular, quite possibly, the desktop of choice for trolls who can think of nothing more cogent to post but 'Unity is shit, cinnamon is the best' or somesuch... (you don't see such posts as coomonly from XFCE, LXDE or even Mate users, and often, Mint is also mentioned, you wouldn't see a Cruchbang or an Arch or Debian user post such useless drivel. *

    However, the best desktop in linux''??? Sir, I disagree most venimently.

    Apologies to all Mint and Cinnamon users who do not (and have never) trolled linux sites with such useless trolling, but it's just what I've observed the past year or so.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: ''Best' Desktop, (derisive laughter)

      Shit!!! I am well used to OS religious wars but are we now seeing religious factional fighting amongst various OS'?

      Sooooo, are you saying that Cinnamon users are a bunch of splitters and that Mint users are filthy apostate scum?

  30. algol60forever

    XP users start here...

    I'm reasonably sure that any XP users will not be able to upgrade to a later win OS simply because their equipment will not pass the hardware check. I tried it on my AMD64 HP desktop about 18 months ago - it failed miserably. Now, I have Mint 17 on this, Debian+XFCE on my server and Xubuntu on my even older Acer laptop. Now, if I could just decide on a replacement toolkit for a Access-based app my wife uses....

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: algol60forever Re: XP users start here...

      "I'm reasonably sure that any XP users will not be able to upgrade to a later win OS simply because their equipment will not pass the hardware check....." Er, no. I have installed Win7 on kit as old and slow as Pentium4s. Whilst you may have to turn off (usually unwanted) bits like Aero, the OS will work just fine and often allows you to re-use old XP applications as well. Unlike Linux, Microsoft even has a downloadable tool that can be used to check your system for possible issues before you upgrade to Win7 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20), whereas with even Ubuntu you only have hardware compatibility lists (http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/10/check-ubuntu-compatibility-netbook-laptop), and you usually don't find out you have a problem with compatibility until after you've started the upgrade.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: algol60forever XP users start here...

        ... but Win8 and on is out, because of the stupid NX bit requirement / which is a shame, because Win8 under the hood is a faster OS (if you can live with TIFKAM)

  31. JJMacey

    All things considered, the Linux Mint Team has produced the most useable, "out of the box" distro that there is. IMHO.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: JJMacey

      "All things considered, the Linux Mint Team has produced the most useable, "out of the box" distro that there is....." <Cough>Lubuntu<cough>.

  32. windowssucks

    I upgraded from Mint 17 Qiana (Cinnamon) to Rebecca and was suprised how great this new release have been and visually beautiful. It has been more stable than Qiana.

  33. windowssucks

    64% of new devices during Q3 2014 were using Android Linux.

  34. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    Just installed it.

    Shit... Linux Shit. *Insert Distribution* Shit.

    Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit.

    Absolute fucking load of cock-end with rotten spunk.

    Torvalds.. go fuck yourself... and before you bitch about some other wanker fucking things over sort out your own shit. Twat!

    What the fuck is all this shit under the hood?

    Lah Lah Lah. I am in my Golden Chariot of The Gods.

    You ARE fucking responsible.

    Fuck off and sort it out you fucking Twat!

    As to the author of this article. Fuck off and try not to reproduce.

    Linux is shit and every distribution of it is shit and the rest of it is a load of cobbled together broken piece of shit.

    and shove your fucking mobile phones and the rest up your arses.

    HTH

  35. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    Just installed it.

    Shit... Linux Shit. *Insert Distribution* Shit.

    Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit.

    Absolute fucking load of cock-end with rotten spunk.

    Torvalds.. go fuck yourself... and before you bitch about some other wanker fucking things over sort out your own shit. Twat!

    What the fuck is all this shit under the hood?

    Lah Lah Lah. I am in my Golden Chariot of The Gods.

    You ARE fucking responsible.

    Fuck off and sort it out you fucking Twat!

    As to the author of this article. Fuck off and try not to reproduce.

    Linux is shit and every distribution of it is shit and the rest of it is a load of cobbled together broken piece of shit.

    and shove your fucking Linux shit based mobile phones and the rest up your arses.

    HTH

    1. codejunky Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Just installed it.

      You forgot to put the footer containing a link to the anger management course you are promoting on your comment.

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