back to article Linux Mint 18.3: A breath of fresh air? Well, it's a step into the unGNOME

The Linux Mint project turned out to be an early Christmas present, as it usually does, but this release is perhaps more important than usual given that Mint is much more alone in the Linux distro world than it was just one year ago. 2017 saw Ubuntu abandon the Unity desktop and come back to the GNOME fold, which means that …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Been playing around with it since yesterday, looks great, feels great.

  2. jake Silver badge

    Eh?

    "it and openSUSE are now the only major distros not shipping GNOME by default."

    Slackware's not considered to be a major distro anymore?

    (For those who don't know, Slack dropped Gnome back in 2005 after it had been hanging on as a vestigial appendage for a few years. The same folks might be rather surprised where S.u.S.E. started life.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      Going by this, no.

      https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=popularity

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        The Distrowatch PHR is just a light-hearted way of looking at popularity of distribution. It is by no means a scientific view into anything other than how many self-selected people click on that page at Distrowatch. (I had quite forgotten about DW. I'm kind of surprised that it's still there, and seemingly hasn't changed since I last looked at it around five years ago.)

    2. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      Have you been to the slackware website? It's 1991 in there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        "Have you been to the slackware website? It's 1991 in there."

        Holy crap! I visited that and was left waiting for a midi tune to kick in.

        Look on the good side, the site should be next updated in 2019.

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        "Have you been to the slackware website? It's 1991 in there."

        Perhaps they spend their time doing important stuff like maybe, oh I dunno, updating the distro, rather than wasting time fucking about with style sheets and other bloated BS web stack eye candy which makes no difference whatsoever to the actual product.

        1. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          Well, if that's what they are doing, then how about using the web site to, you know, actually PUBLICISE that fact.

          Instead of gems like this, on http://www.slackware.com/config/ppp.php

          "PPP

          Most people connect to the Internet through some kind of dialup connection. The common one is PPP, though SLIP is still occasionally used. Setting up your system to speak PPP to a remote server is pretty easy. We've included a few tools to help you in setting it up."

          Most people connect to the internet through a dial up connection, do they? I dunno about you, but I retired my 33k Trust Pilot modem in 1999. Does your machine even have a serial port?

          Get the fuck outta here!

          It may be a good distro - everyone says it is so I've no reason to think otherwise, but their website is *seriously* shit, and it's letting them down. Visitors to the site will be left thinking it's some dusty old abandoned, un-loved distro, and that's a shame.

          1. Ogi
            Linux

            Re: Eh?

            Actually, most people still do connect to the internet via a dial up connection. Broadband connections are still "dial up" (*1), using PPP primarily (never seen SLIP on a modern broadband connection). If you use a broadband router provided by the ISP, it does the low level PPPoA or PPPoE stuff, and you just hook up to it via TCP.

            If you are one of those people that uses a router to take care of that for you, then you don't need to read up on Slacks PPP page (you just do networking, probably with DHCP, which is a different page).

            However, if you are using a broadband modem (or a router in "dumb bridge" mode) directly (or you want to run slack as your router), you will be configuring PPP settings to access the internet, in which case the page is relevant.

            (*1) You still "dial-up" a broadband connection, some of the settings you get from your ISP are a dial up number,the country code number, login username and password, just like back in the days of 33k modems, just without the dialup noise (you can even get that if you don't use an ADSL filter and connect a phone to your landline, but your connection quality will drop). You can even do "on demand" dial up with timeouts, like the old days, but seeing as you pay a fixed monthly cost for the connection, there is little point to that (some security benefits to doing that though).

            1. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Eh?

              Yes, I was eluding to the fact that these days nearly all of us have an always on connection, the complexities of connection being handled transparently for us by our routers.

              However, your point about running slack *as* the router is an excellent point that I hadn't considered.

              My bad.

              Beer, and up-vote on me!

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Eh?

              Just to expand on Ogi's comment I must bring up the old adage: "Give a man Ubuntu, and he'll learn Ubuntu. Give a man SUSE, and he'll learn SUSE. But give a man Slackware, and he'll learn Linux."

              With that said, I usually use my version of BSD for my routers ...

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            " their website is *seriously* shit, and it's letting them down"

            Personally, I think their website is fine -- as I said before, it's better than most that I see these days.

            However, the sorts of people who would be put off by the appearance of the site are most likely the sorts of people who wouldn't be keen on using Slackware to begin with.

          3. jake Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            "Does your machine even have a serial port?"

            Why yes. Yes it does. Several, in fact. How else would I connect my so-called "dumb" terminal? Serious question ... Nothing better than having an actual terminal with a shell when you want to get Stuff[tm] done. No distracting glitter. Kinda handy on development boxen when the GUI goes titsup, too. Or for easily sending error logs to a fan-fold printer. Try it, you might like it.

            As a side note, you know that a USB port is a serial port, right?

            I'm sure the marketing geniuses of the world are happy to know that you prefer an all singing, all dancing website to a stable, secure, no unnecessary bells & whistles operating system. Me, I'll stick to slackware and get my job done without even thinking about my OS, or it's web site.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. PNGuinn Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Eh? @asdf

          Well, elReg looks great in it. Loads faster too.

        2. WereWoof

          Re: Eh?

          Kove it, But BBC.CO.UK is unreadable! Register looks good even B. Gates as the devil with horns was amusing :)

        3. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          >Bah its not even 1990s really. Besides in 1991 the only internet most of us had was text based like gopher and just general email. Really most of us were still using Y Modem G or zmodem on BBBs with no internet. Think I sent my first email in fall of 1992 at college. Anything that doesn't look like a geocities page isn't 1990s.

          Damn that web site I posted contains bitcoin miner javascript code that my AV just caught. Deleting original message and including minus link from above. Figures the internet in general is like public bathroom sex.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Eh?

        what's wrong with 1991-style web sites? "modern" (and the scripting/tracking/bloatware associated with it) is HIGHLY overrated... especially that 2D flatso light-blue-on-white crap (like Australis uses).

        maybe slackware just doesn't want to break their 'working' web site. [or they're too busy slacking off, heh]

      5. jake Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        It's actually 2018 in there. Didn't your DearOldMum teach you the dangers of judging a book by its cover?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          Didn't your DearOldMum teach you the dangers of judging a book by its cover?
          No, she did the exact opposite! "Jonathan", she said, "you can almost always judge a book by its cover. If it says 'dictionary' on the cover, it's almost a certainty that the contents will be be a dictionary. If it says 'Jane Austin' it's most likely a novel by Jane Austin". I know this doesn't comport well with Post-Modern Philosophy where bullshit reigns supreme. YMMV...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            Presumably, Git, your early years were filled with beautifully bound books with unimportant content. Sad, that.

            Hyt is not al golde that glareth

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Eh?

              Presumably, Git, your early years were filled with beautifully bound books with unimportant content.
              Why would you presume that? You're the fool who stated that you can't judge a book by its cover.

              My mother was an avid collector of books and being poor, they were second-hand. Most were published in the 19th C and therefore had sewn bindings unlike modern trade paperbacks. So, yes, they were beautifully bound for many decades of reading pleasure. Sad? Why would that be sad?

              If, as you presume, their content was unimportant, do you approvingly refer to a quote from one of them? To wit, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot?

              Every single one of the 2,000 or so books I now possess has its contents described on the cover; Title and Author always, but often descriptions by reviewers also. Only someone who is completely illiterate would presume that a book's contents and cover are unrelated.

              NB By the sheerest of coincidences, George Eliot, my mother and myself were all born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Eh?

                I'm the fool because your sainted mother didn't teach you that the meaning of the phrase is (roughly) "Not everything has a true appearance"? I'm OK with you thinking that.

                “If you deliver an opinion at all, it is mere stupidity not to do it with an air of conviction and well-founded knowledge. You make it your own in uttering it, and naturally get fond of it.” Eliot, TMotF

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Eh?

                  I'm the fool because your sainted mother didn't teach you that the meaning of the phrase is (roughly) "Not everything has a true appearance"? I'm OK with you thinking that.
                  No. My mother taught me to think for myself rather than passively accepting the opinion of authority. And I too can quote:
                  Sometimes I read the same books over and over and over. What's great about books is that the stuff inside doesn't change. People say you can't judge a book by its cover but that's not true because it says right on the cover what's inside. And no matter how many times you read that book the words and pictures don't change. You can open and close books a million times and they stay the same. They look the same. They say the same words. The charts and pictures are the same colors. Books are not like people. Books are safe. [Emphasis mine]

                  -- Kathryn Erskine

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Eh?

                    I'm sorry that the nuances of communicating with the English language upset your world view. The fact of the matter is that the phrase in question is an idiom, and like most of it's 25,000 or so brethren, is not to be taken at face value. Sorry to spill the beans.

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: Eh?

                      I'm sorry that the nuances of communicating with the English language upset your world view.
                      I sincerely doubt that you are in the least bit sorry. FWIW I see the purpose of language to be communication (English or otherwise). To use the word "book" when what you mean is "person" seems to be directly contra communication. If book != book then I need to guess which of the many thousand possibilities you mean. What, precisely, is wrong with saying "don't judge a person by their appearance" when that is what you mean? If the meaning of words be entirely arbitrary, why the fuck do we have dictionaries?

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: Eh?

                        You're welcome to your soapbox, Jonathan, but sophistry is unbecoming.

                        Do you ever listen to good old fashioned hot cool jazz?

                        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                          Re: Eh?

                          Is it really sophistry to point out that words have accepted, defined meanings? Maybe you're the dude who wrote the manual for my first computer (a Tandy 200). I couldn't get it to respond to commands as described. When I took it back to the Tandy store, I was told that was because I was typing a semi-colon (;) where I was instructed to, rather than a colon (:) that "everyone knows" was what was intended.

                          Never been too sure about what "hot cool jazz" might mean, but Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is one of my favouritest albums ever. Almost as good as In a Silent Way.

                          1. jake Silver badge

                            Re: Eh?

                            Focus, Jonathan. The hot potato here is the idiom "Can't judge a book by its cover", which I used in regards to the Slackware website. In this case, to the proverbial thinking man it should be quite obvious that my meaning was something along the lines of "Don't let the lack of bells and whistles fool you, there are plenty of GoodThings enclosed within slackware.com ... if only you have the wit to see them". Or words to that effect. Nowhere did I call a book a man; that was your invention.

                            You know very well that English allows words to have multiple meanings, and that idioms are a part of the language. To suggest that such figurative use of words is somehow wrong is daft. To argue the point with intentionally deceptive reasoning is the very definition of sophistry.

                            Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect we'll never see eye to eye over this. It takes two to tango, and I'm not going to burn the midnight oil, so I'm going to let sleeping dogs lie. I need to hit the hay. Elvis has left the building, g'night.

                            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                              Re: Eh?

                              "Focus, Jonathan. The hot potato here is the idiom "Can't judge a book by its cover", which I used in regards to the Slackware website. In this case, to the proverbial thinking man it should be quite obvious that my meaning was something along the lines of "Don't let the lack of bells and whistles fool you, there are plenty of GoodThings enclosed within slackware.com ... if only you have the wit to see them". Or words to that effect. Nowhere did I call a book a man; that was your invention."
                              So why didn't you say directly what you mean instead of being "clever" by using a very dubious aphorism? Nowhere did I call a book a man; you are the one making things up!

                              I do note that the opposing aphorism (and they always seem to come paired) is Shakespeare's "Clothes make the man." This latter we know to be true, so by the Law of Contradiction "Can't judge a book by its cover" must be false.

                              "You know very well that English allows words to have multiple meanings, and that idioms are a part of the language. To suggest that such figurative use of words is somehow wrong is daft. To argue the point with intentionally deceptive reasoning is the very definition of sophistry."

                              I do indeed understand that words have multiple meanings. That is why great care is needed in their use. I have nowhere suggested that "such figurative use of words is somehow wrong"; I have merely pointed out that one such use is clearly wrong both in its literal sense and by inference must also be wrong in its figurative sense.

                              Or do you believe Shakespeare wrong and that it matters not whether you wear clothes to go to work, or you do so in the naughty, naked nude?

                              1. jake Silver badge

                                Re: Eh?

                                "Can't judge a book by its cover" is not an aphorism, it's an idiom.

                                What you said was "To use the word "book" when what you mean is "person"". This is incorrect. I meant no such thing. I was referring to the slackware.com web pages (which can be considered a type of book, if you squint). True, I extrapolated the "man" part from yours. My bad.

                                If the idiom is wrong, clearly your would have no problem purchasing a book based on the cover alone. Can I interest you in a near perfect, signed by the author in 1926, first edition, first printing Winnie The Pooh? I'll mail you pictures of the front & back cover, and the spine. That'll be all you need to verify my US$5,000 asking price is a good value, right?

                                Clothes do NOT make the man. Shakespeare was a bawdy Elizabethan playwright, not a great sage or oracle. Clothes are just a tool, no more or less than a screwdriver or a typewriter. For more on my view on the subject, see this post.

                                But whatever. Clearly you have a pet peeve that isn't shared by the vast majority of the English speaking world. Hopefully you'll understand that I choose to bow out of helping to enable your quest. Enjoy the private crusade.

                                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                                  Re: Eh?

                                  "'Can't judge a book by its cover' is not an aphorism, it's an idiom."

                                  Jake, you really should get yourself a dictionary. From the OED:

                                  Aphorism: Any principle or precept expressed in few words; a short pithy sentence containing a truth of general import; a maxim.

                                  Idiom: The form of speech peculiar or proper to a people or country; own language or tongue. In narrower sense: That variety of a language which is peculiar to a limited district or class of people; dialect.

                                  What you said was "To use the word 'book' when what you mean is 'person'". This is incorrect. I meant no such thing. I was referring to the slackware.com web pages (which can be considered a type of book, if you squint).

                                  Well I completely misunderstood you there! I took the website to be the metaphorical book cover and Slack to be the metaphorical book content. BTW, most explanations for the meaning of 'You can't judge a book by its cover' refer to clothes and people.

                                  "If the idiom is wrong, clearly your would have no problem purchasing a book based on the cover alone. Can I interest you in a near perfect, signed by the author in 1926, first edition, first printing Winnie The Pooh? I'll mail you pictures of the front & back cover, and the spine. That'll be all you need to verify my US$5,000 asking price is a good value, right?
                                  Well, that's just gratuitously rude. Fuck you, too!

                                  Clothes do NOT make the man. Shakespeare was a bawdy Elizabethan playwright, not a great sage or oracle. Clothes are just a tool, no more or less than a screwdriver or a typewriter. For more on my view on the subject, see this post.
                                  Back in the 1970s, we tested this. We sent a recent university graduate for a job interview wearing jeans, T-shirt, sneakers and long hair. We had him use a false name. He didn't get the job. Then we gave him a haircut, a suit and tie and black leather shoes and sent him along for interview for the same job. He was offered the job. You might not like this, but no matter your feelings, appearances in our society matter a great deal.

                                  But whatever. Clearly you have a pet peeve that isn't shared by the vast majority of the English speaking world. Hopefully you'll understand that I choose to bow out of helping to enable your quest. Enjoy the private crusade.
                                  Presumably you believe the "vast majority of the English speaking world" defer to your private definitions of words rather than the Oxford English Dictionary/Merriam-Webster. You are delusional.

      6. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        It might be 1991 in there, but that's a good thing compared to the majority of websites around in 2018.

      7. Sceptic Tank
        Devil

        Re: Eh?

        1991's look maybe. But the pages load like the devil is after them.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          "like the devil is after them"

          Nah. Slack & BSD have always had a good working relationship ;-)

      8. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: Eh?

        "Have you been to the slackware website? It's 1991 in there."

        But you can run -current with a mainline kernel quite easily. And compile development versions of applications should you wish to.

        Coat: Well, this page is actually about Mint so I'm off.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          slackware-current is the Slack take on a rolling or development release, with all the potential headaches that that brings. However, I've discovered over the years that if you are running hardware that is six or eight months old or older, -current is almost as trouble free as slackware-stable. I still wouldn't recommend it as a primary OS, though.

    3. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Eh?

      @Jake:

      Some folks feel that Patrick's baby takes too damned long to do things. Some of us crusty types prefer that approach, its just all the agile devops hipster dudes that believe they have to crush out new features every other week at the monday morning standup that don't know about Slack. Or if they do they don't realize its a rock solid, slim and simple distro.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        " Or if they do they don't realize its a rock solid, slim and simple distro."

        And no goddamn systemd either. Which in my book would be reason enough on its own to use it. And I do.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could this year be the year of the...

    Dog?

    Sure, it's the 16th February.

  4. Andy Non

    Great OS

    I've been using Linux Mint for several years now since abandoning Windows. I've got no complaints. It is a rock solid, easy to use OS that simply does the job and doesn't get in the way. Everything I want from a desktop OS.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Great OS

        I had massive system instability, crashes and constant WiFi disconnects (Every 10 minutes) with Linux Mint, but nothing at all like that on Ubuntu 16.04. Ubuntu 16.04 hasn't given me any issues and it's been over a year.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: Great OS

        I have mint at work. Like Linux generally, it runs fine.

        I used chrome at first as a browser because it heading to be set that way by the person that left me the system.

        But, after the machine essentially ceased to work and it took me fifteen minutes to persuade the mouse to be above the X so I could nuke it, it so wouldn't die.

        It would have appeared to be a memory issue so I switched to Firefox.

        I had the problem again a couple of weeks later but, of course had installed openssh and gotten the IP address so I could kill Firefox from my phone.

        Even though I tested it worked, it failed when I needed it. I could ping the machine but not log in.

        Eventually Linux crashed although sometimes it does trash Firefox on it's own saying a tab crashed.

        Even though rebooting takes minimal time, it is the cost of setting up all those windows etc that irks me.

        I am particularly bothered that Linux itself stops working when Firefox decides to melt down. I should be able to pop up a terminal and kill the process, like I do in windows.

        There is no three fingered salute that brings up a menu for a task manager or console terminal.

        Being unable to ssh in is particularly annoying, possibly because it is using Wi-Fi rather than Ethernet, we have no cable network. I couldn't source a cable to check at the time.

        I can honestly say I can't recall the last time my mouse stopped moving on Windows 10 and was unable to recover without a reboot.

        So, no, not overly impressed with it did and not have the issue with Ubuntu over the years.

        Added to the fact that there is a nasty ripple in the graphics when I have the temerity to scroll the mouse wheel in either browser, on a new laptop with 8GB of RAM, it seems like it is not a finished system.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Alistair Silver badge

            Re: Great OS

            @shadmeister:

            deadline scheduler generally provides better performance for heavy IO than cfq. cfq is the default in many cases.

            adding "elevator=deadline" to kernel cmdline in grub/grub2 or

            echo 'deadline' >> /sys/class/block/(drivelabel)/scheduler as root works.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Great OS

          That seems to be some pretty bad luck you've had. :(

          I've been running Linux Mint at home since 17.0 (3 years?), and it's fallen over to the point of needing the reset button exactly 0 times. Firefox went wobbly a couple of times, but terminal (ctrl+alt+t), "xkill" and *click*, and done, and that's about the sum total of the issues I've had with it (really, I've been impressed at how everything's "just worked") ...

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. cambsukguy

            Re: Great OS

            Bringing up a terminal might have been useful, if any key combo had worked at all.

            Since no response could be gotten from any key, anywhere, I fail to see how this could be accomplished.

            Next time it happens I will try all the key combos mentioned here to see if any do work though, always willing to be educated.

        3. lybad

          Re: Great OS

          The other thing you can do is ALT-CTRL-F1, F2, F3 etc to give you a new login shell - from there you can sudo kill windows etc.

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: Great OS

            Not sure if it's a same thing, but I'm regularly having a similar issue on Debian Stretch - total freeze, no keys or mouse does anything whatsoever except the power button itself. And no, alt-ctrl-whatever doesn't work either. No logs of any problem that I can find. While it might sound like some sort of hardware issue, I don't recall ever having the same problem under either Windows XP / 7 or Jessie, and the hardware itself is rather mature and unchanged / undisturbed for a long time now. It's just weird and incredibly annoying...

          2. cambsukguy

            Re: Great OS

            It happened again, even after updates brought me completely up to date.

            Ctrl-alt-f1 et al do nothing, at least after ten minutes of waiting.

            Ping gives intermittent responses and ssh responded after five minutes but failed to proceed after the prompt.

            I have installed an Ethernet cable now so I may be able to get in via that next time. I don't think it...

            Ah, a console appears. Only a few minutes to execute the kill and the system is back.

            Obviously quicker to reboot but the time invested in five display setups makes it worth the wait.

            Sucks that it happens at all though. Will still leave the Ethernet as a possible way out next time.

        4. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Great OS

          "There is no three fingered salute that brings up a menu for a task manager or console terminal."

          Yes there is: CTRL - ALT - F1

          You can also get control of the system using SysReq

          1. mrfill

            Re: Great OS

            ... and how about a mention for Ctrl-Alt-Esc to get the skull and crossbones cursor to instantly kill an app without having to sod about with task managers or consoles.

            Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to shut down X is also quite a blessing for those 'stuck' apps...

        5. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Great OS

          "Added to the fact that there is a nasty ripple in the graphics when I have the temerity to scroll the mouse wheel in either browser, on a new laptop with 8GB of RAM, it seems like it is not a finished system."

          It's called tearing, and it happens because both Firefox and Chrome completely disable hardware acceleration by default in Linux, across the board. They're afraid of issues that may pop up, and they don't want to have to field the calls for help, so they just turn it off. I've never had any issues simply putting it back on in any of the systems I've set up in Linux for my own use (and thus able to know how it went), though I must note also that four is too small of a sample size to really say whether it's a problem or just paranoia on the part of the browser vendors.

          I've never had any such problems as you describe in Mint on any of the various PCs I've put it on. I've had some issues with Kubuntu, the Ubuntu distro with KDE instead of Unity, which failed to work right out of the box (I had a heck of a time getting the installer to even complete; it never got any better after it was installed and updated fully) in my fairly mainstream desktop. Hangs, kernel panics, all kinds of issues happened with regularity. This was in whatever version was current at around the time of Windows 10's release. I switched to Mint KDE after that, then Mint with Cinnamon, and both have been rock solid.

          I've also never had an application hang bring down Linux. App hangs in general have been quite rare in Linux, far more so than in Windows for me, but all I've had to do was click the close button on the application window, and Mint will recognize the hang and ask if I want to force close it, which solves the problem. I've got Gnome System Monitor in the main (start) menu so I can access it easily enough to force close something, but it hasn't been necessary as yet for an app hang.

          I've often wondered if the lack of a three-fingered salute type of thing (which is sometimes the only thing that works when Windows hangs) would cause the sorts of issues you describe, but app hangs are so rare in Linux that there's not much to look at, and I've never had the entire OS hang as Windows seems to love doing.

          I've only been using Linux as primary on some of my machines for a few months now, though I have been using it as a secondary OS ever since I realized how horrible Windows 10 was. I may not have enough hours on it to know what a really nasty application hang can do, but I can tell you that I've had a few in Windows during that same time frame. I don't know that it's any fault of Windows, though... not enough information to go on.

          As far as crashes, I haven't had any in Windows or Linux in a long time. Long enough that I can't remember the last time, other than the panics I had in Kubuntu back then.

        6. ricegf

          Re: Great OS

          Cntl-Alt-t is the 3-finger salute to bring up a terminal in Cinnamon as well as all other desktops I've tried. Type 'xkill', then simply click the hung application to close it.

          If the windowing system is unresponsive due to the hung app, don't reboot as in Windows. Instead, use ctrl-alt-1 and login to the console. Type 'ps -ef', find the process id of the hung application from the list, and type 'kill [process id]' or (if it's so hung that it won't respond to the kill signal) 'kill -9 [process id]'. Then type 'exit' to logout, and use ctrl-alt-7 to return to the gui.

          The Ubuntu forums are a great resource for learning Linux, btw.

      3. John Sanders
        Linux

        Re: Great OS

        >> I do not understand any negative comments about Linux when Linux Mint is available and so easy to use.

        1) The misguided expectation that somehow Linux is another Windows.

        2) Reluctance to spend the required time learning.

        3) Unrealistic scoping of the task, mostly around having to learn how things work.

      4. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Great OS

        I do not understand any negative comments about Linux when Linux Mint is available and so easy to use.
        Can no longer Alt-Tab between Civ 6 and any other running application. Video acceleration with my RX550 video adapter is non-existent. OTOH the persistent erroneous error message about the waster toner bottle in my Lexmark C543DN being full has gone away.

      5. MrBanana

        Re: Great OS

        I've tried Mint a couple of times but didn't like the inability to make a major version change without backing up all your user data and doing a destructive install. An in-place version update is possible with Ubuntu, why not Mint - or have they fixed that with this release?

        And if they've ditched support for KDE then that is another "no from me".

        1. Andy Non

          Re: Great OS

          You can just do an upgrade without doing a destructive install. I'm pretty sure that option has been around for a few years as the computer I'm typing on now has gone through several updates over the last two or three years without a fresh destructive install. The option to do a major version upgrade tends to be tucked away in a menu on the Update Manager, rather than it offering it as a normal upgrade.

  5. Ben1892

    but why the red off button - did it really need to change colour ?

  6. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    Flatpaks sounds like every other container system out there - Docker, Kubernetes etc.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Dude that is so wrong I don't even know where to begin on setting you right. Possibly we could start on the difference between hardware and software and go from there?

  7. frank ly Silver badge

    Timeshift

    If you want to have 'real timeshift', you boot from a Gparted Live CD/USB and save/restore entire partitions. It doesn't take long and it's a proper time machine. (I'm old fashioned.)

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Timeshift

      'Real timeshift' would be be something like ZFS snapshots, which we still don't have in Linux because of dogma.

      1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

        Re: Timeshift

        Does the Linux implementation of OpenZFS not have snapshots? I'm seriously asking, I don't use Linux because of shit like that so I'm actually kind of curious. If it does, I'd say just use it and don't worry about distro specific crap that the developer will just abandon when their feelings get hurt or their attention gets distracted.

        1. Allonymous Coward

          Re: Timeshift

          Does the Linux implementation of OpenZFS not have snapshots?

          Yes it does. We use it in production on Ubuntu 16.04 systems.

        2. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Timeshift

          Does the Linux implementation of OpenZFS not have snapshots?

          It does (and OpenZFS works great on Linux). However, because of the dogma, no distro will include it by default, or make it an installer option, or make it the default FS, or develop deep desktop integration. We could have cool stuff, but RMS says that CDDL isn't free enough to be bundled together with GPL code.

          1. John Sanders
            Linux

            Re: Timeshift

            "However, because of the dogma, no distro will include it by default"

            Son you need to be this tall for this ride.

            Stop talking about IT issues you do not know the details of. ;-)

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Timeshift

          Does the Linux implementation of OpenZFS not have snapshots?

          $ uname -a

          Linux machine 3.16.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.16.43-2+deb8u5 (2017-09-19) x86_64 GNU/Linux

          root@machine:~

          $ zfs

          missing command

          usage: zfs command args ...

          where 'command' is one of the following:

          create [-p] [-o property=value] ... <filesystem>

          create [-ps] [-b blocksize] [-o property=value] ... -V <size> <volume>

          destroy [-fnpRrv] <filesystem|volume>

          destroy [-dnpRrv] <filesystem|volume>@<snap>[%<snap>][,...]

          destroy <filesystem|volume>#<bookmark>

          snapshot|snap [-r] [-o property=value] ... <filesystem|volume>@<snap> ...

          rollback [-rRf] <snapshot>

          clone [-p] [-o property=value] ... <snapshot> <filesystem|volume>

          promote <clone-filesystem>

          [ ... ]

      2. I Am Spartacus
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Timeshift - RTFM

        https://www.howtoforge.com/tutorial/how-to-use-snapshots-clones-and-replication-in-zfs-on-linux/

        Simples

      3. John Sanders
        Linux

        Re: Timeshift

        >>> 'Real timeshift' would be be something like ZFS snapshots, which we still don't have in Linux because of dogma.

        Nothing stops you from installing ZFS, it is fully supported since 16.04 was released.

        May be dogma, who knows.

        What the dogma prevents is from distributing kernels with ZFS built in, this is by default you can't boot of a ZFS partition, but this is hardly a problem when you can modify your initram to have the ZFS loaded on boot from the classic /boot formatted as EXT4.

        ZFS in Linux is very well supported these days.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Timeshift

          What the dogma prevents is from distributing kernels with ZFS built in, this is by default you can't boot of a ZFS partition, but this is hardly a problem when you can modify your initram to have the ZFS loaded on boot from the classic /boot formatted as EXT4.

          "Hardly a problem", but now you need to roll your own kernel packages and distribute them to servers

          "Hardly a problem", but instead of full disk ZFS and all ZFS fs, we're using an ext /boot like its the 90s again.

          "Hardly a problem", just run these 30 simple commands in a console during installation

          All of this is because GPL/CDDL license incompatibilities. CDDL code has a per-file copyleft, and. for other operating systems (eg: OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, illumos etc), the CDDL is perfectly compatible, but GPL considers this too weak to be allowed to be combined in to a GPL work.

          Dogma.

          1. Norman Nescio Bronze badge

            Re: ZFS

            ZFS is very impressive, and does a very good job of preserving data integrity.

            I have a very simple question, though:

            If you have a pool spread across two physical disks, and ZFS detects one of the disks is having problems, what is the recommended way of replacing that disk?

            Many people would like the option of adding another disk to the pool, telling ZFS to move the data off the failing disk, then remove the now empty failing disk from the pool. This seems a reasonable request, especially as it looks like it should be do-able with no downtime. Unfortunately, as far as I know, this isn't possible, and there are no plans in mainstream ZFS development for it to be possible.

            Some work has been done by Delphix on an internal fork of Illumos to achieve this, but it is rather obscure. The original URL was

            http://blog.delphix.com/alex/2015/01/15/openzfs-device-removal/

            now archived at archive.is - http://archive.is/fczkV

            A common newbie mistake with ZFS is to just to have a single (root) pool, which leads to cursing later when you find out pools are not easily shrinkable, and not without downtime.

            I hope this will change soon, if it hasn't already changed.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: ZFS

              "If you have a pool spread across two physical disks, and ZFS detects one of the disks is having problems, what is the recommended way of replacing that disk?"

              here's what I'd do:

              a) do a scrub to try and clean-up and recover as much as you can.

              b) Install the new drive, with the old one still in place, and do a 'zpool replace' command (to replace old drive with new). I think this will work in your case.

              NOTE: if you remove the old drive, I don't know what affect this will have on device naming, so you'd probably have to watch out for that. I think ZFS is smart enough to deal with device name changes from swapping SATA ports/cables and primary/secondary arrangements.

              ZFS does something called 'resilver' to copy from old drives to new drives (as part of a RAID or replication or spanning multiple drives). 'man zpool' for more, maybe read up on some of the Solaris resources which go into a bit more depth than the FreeBSD (and probably Linux) docs [but the commands should be all the same for everyone, from what I can tell].

              if this doesn't work, you can build a new pool with a new hard drive, and just copy the files. that works, too. Then after copying, remove old drive(s), rename pool/mount-points as necessary, and you're done.

            2. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: ZFS

              Many people would like the option of adding another disk to the pool, telling ZFS to move the data off the failing disk, then remove the now empty failing disk from the pool. This seems a reasonable request, especially as it looks like it should be do-able with no downtime. Unfortunately, as far as I know, this isn't possible, and there are no plans in mainstream ZFS development for it to be possible.

              You want to start with a 5 disk zpool, notice one of the disks is bad, and have ZFS resize the pool to a 4 disk zpool? This is not possible with ZFS, because ZFS has been written for enterprise solutions, where a) you know what capacity you have specified and don't want smaller, and b) you would simply replace the disk. (The feature is called Block Pointer Rewrite, and there was an excellent Sun blog post on how and why to do it, and why they cba, but it looks like Oracle have taken it down..)

              The process for replacing a disk is trivial, plug new disk in, zfs replace <old dev> <new dev>, unplug old disk once done.

              1. Norman Nescio Bronze badge

                Re: ZFS

                Many people would like the option of adding another disk to the pool, telling ZFS to move the data off the failing disk, then remove the now empty failing disk from the pool. This seems a reasonable request, especially as it looks like it should be do-able with no downtime. Unfortunately, as far as I know, this isn't possible, and there are no plans in mainstream ZFS development for it to be possible.

                +++

                You want to start with a 5 disk zpool, notice one of the disks is bad, and have ZFS resize the pool to a 4 disk zpool? This is not possible with ZFS, because ZFS has been written for enterprise solutions, where a) you know what capacity you have specified and don't want smaller, and b) you would simply replace the disk. (The feature is called Block Pointer Rewrite, and there was an excellent Sun blog post on how and why to do it, and why they cba, but it looks like Oracle have taken it down..)

                The process for replacing a disk is trivial, plug new disk in, zfs replace <old dev> <new dev>, unplug old disk once done.

                +++

                What I'd like, using your example, is to start with a 5 disk pool, add a disk that has the same or larger capacity as a failing disk, zfs to move the data on the fly from the failing disk to the new disk, then remove the now 'empty' failing disk, leaving me with a 5 disk pool. If you have enough physical disks in the pool so they provide sufficient redundancy, you can, as you say, use 'zfs replace' - however, if you have a one disk pool, you cannot do this without downtime. So while zfs is great for large enterprise use, it is of less use on (say) a single disk laptop or desktop.

                I have not had the time to experiment doing things with setting up file-backed zfs pools on a single disk, as documented here:

                https://superuser.com/questions/1046706/can-zfs-zpool-be-setup-in-an-lvm-formatted-disk

                while definitely not recommended for high-end enterprise use, it could well make zfs more useful for me on small low-end systems. ZFS is great for big-data use-cases, but sometimes just isn't a good fit for smaller systems.

                1. Tom 38 Silver badge

                  Re: ZFS

                  I disagree, it is great for smaller machines. You can periodically attach your external storage and send incremental snapshots there; or to a server if you've got one. Local snapshots give you the time machine like features that sparked this discussion, along with rollback (+forward if you like) on your updates.

                  For the failing drive in a laptop/single drive pool scenario, I use a dock adapter* to plug in the new hard drive, turn the pool into a mirror (zpool attach pool vdev ; (+do whatever your OS needs to boot off it)), wait for it to resilver, power off, switch the drives and then detach the now missing faulty device. Exactly the same process to expand to a larger drive (+one more reboot).

                  * Get USB 3 or eSATA or you will be there for days

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Timeshift

            @Tom 38

            regardless of the GPL licensing "dogma" you refer to, ZFS is supported well enough that you're able to use it. That much should be obvious, at least.

            /me has been using FreeBSD with ZFS for a while now, both on a workstation [boot from ZFS] and on a server [UFS+J for OS, ZFS for data and archives]. ZFS warned me about my hard drive going bad, so I was able to pretty much recover everything [built latest OS onto hard drive in a VM while server remained running, copied data files via network, swapped in hard drive, a few tweeks later, up and running!]

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: Timeshift

              regardless of the GPL licensing "dogma" you refer to, ZFS is supported well enough that you're able to use it. That much should be obvious, at least.

              This is valid, and I have said as much above! However, this is not about whether ZFS is available and is good on Linux, this is about why smart people have been spending time writing a snapshot system using hardlinks, instead of just using ZFS!

              Because of the (I hope well discussed now) license issue, ZFS is not available to these developers as a solution, and that is a shame.

          3. Allonymous Coward

            Re: Timeshift

            "Hardly a problem", just run these 30 simple commands in a console during installation

            On Ubuntu >=16.04 at least, the command you need is just:

            sudo apt install zfsutils-linux

            We have lots of boxes with ZFS data pools, and it works really well. We have some boxes with a root ZFS pool and that sometimes requires a manual import step at boot. IMO ZFS boot is a little too bleeding-edge; ext4 on mdadm still works more reliably.

            Perhaps without the licensing dogma these sorts of things would get fixed faster, or best practice would be clearer. That'd be nice. As it is though, I've already found ZFS on Linux to be useful, stable, and generally easier to work with than expected.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Timeshift

      "If you want to have 'real timeshift', you boot from a Gparted Live CD/USB and save/restore entire partitions. It doesn't take long and it's a proper time machine. (I'm old fashioned.)"

      Year of the Linux desktop will never happen unless those sort of advisories are abolished. I have nothing against imaging, but most people in the world would have trouble doing it. And some would still manage to image the USB backup media to the internal disk because they have no understanding what 'sda' or 'sdb' means.

      Take a look at Windows Shadow Copies or OSX Time Machine. They really are not backups unless stored at dedicated media but many times I, and end users have recovered deleted or uncorrupted files from those without resorting to proper backups. Snapshots take relatively little resources to create (except for disk space), and can (and even should) be scheduled to happen several times a day for multiple revert points. It's rather cumbersome to image you computer even weekly unless you can do it automatically with e.g. PXE boot.

      If this TimeShift works and the end user experience is even half as well done as in Windows/OSX then it should be a very welcome thingy.

  8. simonb_london

    I _used_ to like Mint KDE...but now they've dropped it :(

    1. Jonathan 27

      Kubuntu is pretty similar.

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Shipping with only Flatpacks by default?

    And they're still proud of no Gnome?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Converted from KDE

    I was running kubuntu 16.04 and Mint KDE 18.2/ 18.3 all of them had major problems, long freezes and wait time plasma crashes all the time ( I think related to a 60GB SSD for root and a 3TB disk for home and 24GB of memory) . In the end I could not put up with it anymore and changed over to Mint Cinnamon 18.3 and it is faster and a hell lot more stable. I have enabled snaps and had a play, though the whole idea of mounting a files system for every snap app seems a bit of a slow approach to me and not very scalable.

  11. The Central Scrutinizer

    Upgraded to 18.3 and it worked like a charm. Took about 15 minutes I think. A great OS. It just gets the fuck out of the way and lets you get on with whatever you want to do.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Same here. Updated fast and no issues. It took a few weeks for the FireFox update to catch up.

      Running on an old CoreDuo. You would think I have a quad core.

  12. Steve Button

    What's all the fuss about?

    I spend most of my day inside a terminal, and occasionally dip out into mail client, chat, or Sublime. I can do this quite happily on Linux, Mac or Windows. There's very little to chose between them. As a contractor, I often don't get a choice anyway, but they all have their little foibles and niceties. I've used all three at home as well over the years, until the Mac blew up. And then my kids needed to use Windows only conferencing software, so had to scrap Mint and switch to Win 10. But really that switch was pretty painless, and it generally just works.

    Is it a religious thing? I don't get it.

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: What's all the fuss about?

      I use the Xfce version, and it's working fine.

      I run some Windows-only software using the PlayOnLinux version of the Wine system. This lets you use multiple Wine versions, and find the best one for the program you want to use. It's an annoyance that so many people will say Wine works, and not mention version numbers. I am using the current Windows version of Scrivener with Wine 2.10, without problems.

      I do use the command line for some things. What I find most comfortable is that I am in control. I hear too often of people getting hassled by the Windows update system. And Linux just keeps working.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: What's all the fuss about?

      "Is it a religious thing?"

      Well, it seems like a matter of life and death to true believers, and basically impenetrable to outsiders, so yes, it is very similar to religion.

      Mint does seem to have less of the bullshit that some of the more militant OS's (or rather their users) have though.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: What's all the fuss about?

        Mint does seem to have less of the bullshit that some of the more militant OS's (or rather their users) have though.

        Used to see a lot of trolling of Ubuntu forums by Mint Mate* afficionados, unhappy with the then decision by Ubuntu to drop Gnome 2 and move to Unity instead.

        * Not necessarily Mint users, but that was the flag they flew under...

        The religion thing?

        I'd prefer not to worship at the MS or Apple temples, the hymns are weird, the tipple at the socials tastes funny, the services start and stop more often than American football and they expect waaay too much on the offertory plate, and it attracts all the lowlifes trying everything from a quick buck scams to outright thievery....

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: What's all the fuss about?

      " had to scrap Mint and switch to Win 10"

      you COULD have set up dual-boot or run Win-10-nic in a VM...

      windows-only conferencing software. *ugh*. What idiot decided THAT was a 'requirement'?

      It's not just a religious argument, either. It has everything to do with privacy, licensing, and what you're now kept from doing by the Win-10-nic OS [like customizing your computer so it's not "all 2D FLATSO" like Micro-shaft seems to be shoving up our collective rectums]. This is the kind of FREEDOM you get with Mint.

      So if you actually LIKE the 2D FLATSO, you can have it. But I happen to *HATE* it. So I pick a theme with Mate that doesn't do that [on Mint, Ubu, FreeBSD, Debian, or whatever].

      But I _AM_ disappointed at the use of Firefox 57. I refuse to use it because I can't put the "non-FLATSO eye candy UI" extensions on it.

    4. terrythetech
      WTF?

      Re: What's all the fuss about?

      Updates. If nothing else, updates. I have a WIn8 machine that will quite happily reboot to update while I am using it to listen to online radio - WTF!

      On Mint, I get to choose when to do updates and they don't require a reboot (or very rarely). Microsoft seem to think remotely rebooting a PC is a good idea - I don't. In fact a lot of things that Microsoft think are a good idea don't fit well with me, but forced updates/upgrades - MS can f'off as far as I'm concerned.

    5. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What's all the fuss about?

      Th fuss is that Linux is by far the faster and more efficient of the three OSes and Mint has become the favorite because it is the least cluttered and needy.

  13. Mage Silver badge

    Fine with me

    No problems at all with upgrade here from 18.2 and very customised theme on Mate (Sidhe-N).

  14. adam payne Silver badge
    Linux

    Minty freshness with a hint of cinnamon for me.

    Great OS and really fast on my ageing laptop.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      It is crazy fast. I'm running it on an old CoreDuo and it acts like a quad core.

  15. Tim99 Silver badge
    Linux

    systemd install?

    That is all.

  16. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Mint here, too.

    64 bit on Lenovo laptop, and two aging 32-bit netbooks (remember those?) from around 2009. All running Mint. All "just work".

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Mint here, too.

      two aging 32-bit netbooks (remember those?) from around 2009. All running Mint. All "just work"

      Yep got two ex-XP running Mint XFCE and upgraded to 120GB SSD. Go better than ever at age 8 or more.

  17. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Been a Mint user since version 11, and its fairly stable. Running 18.1 Matte currently on a 10 year old Dell laptop and rarely suffer from any freezes and crashes and its my day to day machine.

    Apart from putting in a bigger HDD and upping the RAM to 4GB it has cost me nothing to continue to use a laptop that originally shipped with Vista, well after MS stopped supporting their OS.

    1. druck
      Happy

      Damn, beat me to it, I was a late starter at Mint 12, and I'm running 18.3 on everything from an ancient Atom netbook to a noisy i7.

  18. Not That Andrew
    Joke

    Are you suggesting that Slackware ISN'T a major Distro? /joke

  19. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Linux

    Freezing ...

    Happy Mint user here, but every so often it will freeze. And I mean freeze. If I have a terminal window with top showing, I see Cinnamon jostling with Chrome for >50% of the CPU.

    While that's going on, even the systray clock is frozen. I've seen it lag by 5 minutes at times.

    So no worse than Windows, certainly.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Freezing ...

      Honestly, it sounds like a hardware issue.

    2. MrMerrymaker

      Re: Freezing ...

      Chromium > chrome, more so if you believe in such outdated concepts as 'privacy'

  20. DelM

    LMDE user here. What more can be said?

  21. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Thumb Down

    I Always Find It Irritating...

    ...when European Linux distros use American spelling throughout their interface and websites.

    Bit bum-licky, if you ask me

    [Yes. I'm looking at you Mint and Ubuntu]

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: I Always Find It Irritating...

      "European Linux distros"

      Assuming that a distro could meaningfully be described as belonging to a geographical region, I imagine that it would be constrained by the localisations of the individual software packages that it contains.

      I'm as irritated as the next non-American by this tendency to use the spellings of a relatively minor (in numerical terms) dialect of English, but I don't think this a fair example.

      1. To Mars in Man Bras!
        Unhappy

        Re: I Always Find It Irritating...

        >>Assuming that a distro could meaningfully be described as belonging to a geographical region, I imagine that it would be constrained by the localisations of the individual software packages that it contains...

        I'm not so much talking about the individual packages which make up the distro. I agree with you there. Those will be dependent on the original developers. I'm talking more about the stuff they do have control of, such as their websites & documentation, etc.

        Linux Mint and lead developer is based in Ireland, while Ubuntu's Canonical is based in UK. Yet both use American spelling on their websites. Linux Mint has an American flag icon next to the "English" selection on their website's language choices and Ubuntu has a "Software Center" as part of their distro.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: I Always Find It Irritating...

      Just as Arabic drove early science, Latin (Koin Greek, Aramaic, et al) drove early Christianity, Deutsch drove later science (etc., I won't continue. You are quite welcome), American English, love it or hate it, is the lingua franca of the FOSS world, and indeed TehIntraWebTubes itself.

      Don't blame me, it wasn't a choice, it just evolved that way.

  22. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    I wuv MSFT

    Never tried Linux Mint but I know I wouldn't like it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I wuv MSFT

      "Never tried Linux Mint but I know I wouldn't like it."

      Those of us who use Linux normally also get dragged in to fix friends' and relatives' Windows problems. So, when it comes to Windows we know we don't like it. In my case I even spent the last few years of my working life developing for it. Glad to be shut of it.

      1. nautica
        Happy

        Re: I wuv MSFT

        I really don't understand--

        ...do the recipients of your hoped-for largesse not understand the phrase, "I do not work on, nor provide advice on, any Windows computer"?

        Works for me. ALL the time.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genuine question here.

    I have a 2010 iMac which is starting to get temperamental. I'm now retired and very short of funds so when the iMac goes pop I won't be able to afford another.

    My last experience with Windows was XP which was troublesome at times, so I'd like to take a look at Linux Mint or similar as an alternative for when the iMac finally dies, and to familiarise myself with it.

    Is it possible to dual boot into Mint on an iMac and there a flavour of Linux that might be better suited?

    1. israel_hands

      RE: Dual-Booting Mint on Mac

      It's certainly possible. I run Mint on an old laptop which can boot into the original Win7 install (haven't used that option for about 3 years now). The installer will even walk you through setting up the partitions and selecting which one you want it to boot into by default.

      I'd highly recommend downloading the Mint image and writing it to a CD or USB so you can boot directly into it to have a play around with it and decide if you like it before installing it fully. It's also a good way of working out if there are glitches with hardware compatibility in a non-destructive manner.

      The most common problems for new installs seem to be wi-fi and video card drivers. I had a brief problem with the touchpad not working properly but some helpful chap on the forums had already posted a fix that involved amending a single line in a text file and it was resolved.

    2. Richard Parkin

      VirtualBox

      Linux Mint runs well in VirtualBox on my oldish Mac Mini, it’s a good way to try out and more convenient than dual booting.

    3. Tim99 Silver badge
      Linux

      Dual boot iMAc

      I'm retired and have a 2011 iMac, it can run Linux distros.

      If you want to try some out without making any changes to your iMac, burn a live ISO CD of the distributions that you want to try (Download the Linux ISO file that you want to try and use the Mac Disk Utility app to create a bootable CD). Restart the iMac and hold down the [C] key with the CD in the drive, the iMac will boot to the CD.

      An very inexpensive Linux computer is the Raspberry Pi. The latest Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is ~£30, you will need a keyboard and mouse (your iMac ones will do) and a screen with an HDMI port (a cheap TV?). The performance is not as good as your iMac, but is reasonable. If you want to try it out as a bootable CD the download link is here.

      It is possible to set up a dual boot system. I have used a number of Ubuntu based distributions which seem to be OK.

  24. Funny-Bunny

    Decent

    I don't know about "a breath of fresh air", but there's still "bad breath" from ages ago. And I'm referring to the execrable graphics drivers support. My laptop which has both an integrated intel gpu and a dedicated nvidia chip, can't benefit from "nvidia optimus". You either use the laptop with one of the gpu at a time. And here, the integrated graphics card offers a smooth UX, overall, doing normal things, but the dedicated gpu gives more performance (obviously) at the cost of very poor UX, which translates into bad screen tearing in pretty much all types of scenarios. Very disappointing. I wonder HOW the heck they think they can compete with Windows or MacOS. Yes, Apple has a handful of devices to optimize their software for, which is basically piece of cake considering that they have to optimize the software for laptops with very small differences in the hardware department from a year to another. But Windows has pretty much the same task as Linux, which is making the OS work on a large variety of computers with countless hardware differences. Yes, there are a lit if factors to take in consideration here like the direct support from the vendors, but the ordinary user doesn't care about HOW they should get a better experience or the limitations, etc. They just want it to happen somehow.

    Anyway, I bet things will be as shitty as they are right in 20 years from now. It's not like they changed drastically in the past few years. It just seems like they don't even give a shit about better graphics card support. There are unofficial solutions out there, which have a very small rate of success. For me, no supposed "fix" made it possible to have a great experience on Linux or any other distro. Nvidia optimus is just not a thing in the Linux world or decent driver support.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Decent

      You've built your PC wrong.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question

    I have Linux Mint (version 17 Cinnamon 64 bit) installed already from around a year ago - will it auto-update to this new version, or do I have to 'do something'?

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Question

      It doesn't tend to automatically install major version updates without you asking. If you click on the update manager, one of the drop down menu options (can't remember which one) it will offer to install the major update for you.

    2. nautica

      Re: Question [Friendly Advice]

      If it's not already 17.3, upgrade it to 17.3.

      If it is 17.3, leave it alone; just use the 'update' icon on the panel to stay current.

      17.3 is acknowledged to be THE BEST of all the latest MINT distros, hands down; the most rock-solid; the most trouble-free. Newer does NOT mean 'better'.

      I have two Lenovos (T430, T420), one running 17.3; the other had 17.3 RE-INSTALLED after trying out the "new, improved" version. The MINT Linux organization set the bar really high with 17.3.

  26. Greg 38

    Even grandma is using linux now

    I set up my mom with Ubuntu and she's been running it for the last 10 years. When she had to recently use Windows 7 for a couple classes, she couldn't wait to get back to linux. Even she commented how much more stable it is. That really speaks volumes for how easy linux can be to use. I plan to set her up with Mint next.

  27. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

    I've worked withing pretty much EVERY major and obscure operating system out there from

    DEC PDP-11's OS to VAX VMS to OS-400 to Z-os to MS-DOS 1.0 to 7.0 to Minux, Xenix,

    BEOS, Theos, QNX, MAC-OS from 1984 and the Apple Lisa to Windows from earliest days

    to Linux (10 different distros!) tor our Internal Midgrid-OS!

    Of all of them, the best commercial end user-friendly OS is Windows 10 -- Mac OS annoys me when I can't right click on an icon to get it's properties or perform a pre-defined action!

    The best Server OS I think is actually Windows 2000 Server because you could STILL install it in

    ANY directory you wanted and it STILL had the most admin control while still having all the best features of Active Directory which is the BEST client management system ever! Windows Server 2016 has too many admin restrictions on it!

    For embedded devices, QNX is the Numero Uno OS software as it TRULY is a fail-safe OS!

    They use it in Nuclear Power Plants and other Critical Systems so I'm all in for using it on my

    custom video and audio playback/recording box. Never failed in almost 8 years running 24/7/365!

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      I don't know how Windows 10 would be considered end user friendly. It's the most end-user hostile OS I've ever used or even heard of!

      The insane update schedule with updates that break drivers written for Windows 10 and other bits of software every six months... updates you aren't allowed to just say NO to (those who know how to do things like disabling services can, but it's not supported by MS by any means) because Microsoft is in charge, not you. You can set your active hours and set your internet connection to metered and defer updates according to Microsoft's rules, but all of that just reinforces the idea that Microsoft is in charge; it makes the rules and you play by them.

      If you were the boss, you wouldn't need to explain yourself to MS if you decide to not get updates when you're told to do so, and that's exactly what you're doing when you set active hours or metered connections. If you were the boss, you could just turn updates off, no explanation necessary, and that would be that. Telling the user "I'm the boss, you'll do as I say" as Windows 10 does in that and far too many other ways isn't user-friendly. The user friendliness of Windows 10 is a sham, like someone pretending to be your friend while they undermine you and backstab you behind the scenes every chance they get.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Mac OS annoys me when I can't right click on an icon to get it's properties or perform a pre-defined action!
      Why can't you? I could when I still had my Mac Mini. I suspect you never even tried...

      1. dave67

        Right clicking is possible

        You can change the mouse settings tp right click in Macs its not active on macs by default

        https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207700

        I find I can do more with linux than a mac these day, more sofware to from.☺

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glad they stuck with XCFE

    I like Cinamon (a lot) but runs it runs bloody slowly in a VM on the corporate Dell from He’ll.

  29. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Another change is that the Synaptics touchpad driver has been replaced by libinput. Practically speaking, this should have no effect for most users"

    One change: SWMBO's new laptop has the mouse buttons built into the touchpad. That leads to a tendency to leave a finger of one hand resting on a button whilst trying to steer the pointer with the other hand. Chaos. Once I sussed that the distros that didn't have that problem used libinput instead of synaptics I could just install it on the preferred distro.

    So, yes, a practical change but a good one.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot, no GNOME?

    Isn't MATE just GNOME 2?

    And isn't Cinnamon a forked GNOME 3?

    Sounds pretty Gnomey to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wot, no GNOME?

      Linux mint remains the OS that windows 10 should have been and isn't. Every major windows 10 update has caused problems. So much so I've actually added a windows 7 partition for gaming as its less prone to ms screwing it up. Linux mint remains my choice for everything else.

    2. dave67

      Re: Wot, no GNOME?

      Yes correct but only the backend on a since. I really like cinnamon due to the ease of bluetooth device selection.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use macOS on my iMac

    It is very nice. I've not tried Mint yet and probably never will because I own a iMac. Mint is a nice name for a fruit, although my favourite is Apple (!!!!!!) then Strawberry.

  32. Alistair Silver badge

    for those wondering -

    /proc/sys/kernel/ctrl-alt-delete

    The default is 0 -> off - set it to 1 and ctrl-alt-delete will reboot the box for you.

    browsers "locking up" your desktop? -- go get noscript and use it aggressively - the single biggest issue I've ever had with a browser was a period of time while doubleclick were firing an audit (IP address, cpu type, mem, window size, screen size, site cookie list) that basically returned void data for cpu type on linux, which forked and looped. Hit a site calling that JS and it could eat almost a gig of ram in less than a minute. I had a long, loud, vigorous discussion with the DC rep the company had at the time. His comment was "Well, make the file readable, our script requires that information to function correctly".

    The biggest "slowdown/laggy/bad response/bizzarre behaviour" issues I've seen with most linux installs come from a hard drive, slowly dying, and running out of spare blocks. Usually windows will chug along fine in this case, but you will find that it too eventually hits the same behaviour -- just later after more of your data is gone.

    1. jake Silver badge

      That's "/proc/sys/kernel/ctrl-alt-del" ...

      Note that mucking about with making changes to things in /proc without understanding what you are doing can destabilize your system.

  33. dave67

    Linux mint 18.x

    I have two systems my IBM T500 mate desktop and a desktop (cinnamon desktop) I built. I have always like mint over other distros. I find thinkpads work the best not all will but I like the ease of upgrades if needed on these laptops.

    The T500 runs fine once cinnamon is loaded but its slow to boot this is why I use mate.

    My i3 desktop is great for cinnamon GUI. Its my work horse for many things. I upgraded to 18.3 without issue. Had a minor issue with the places app when I upgraded from 18 to 18.2 but fixed by updating places app.

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