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Okay everyone, it’s finally here. My review for Linux Mint 7. I know I’ve been slacking off here for a while but I’ve just had a lot of trouble here lately. Rest assured though that I will do everything in my power to keep the blog updated. Okay, enough of my problems. On to the review.

First thing I want to say. The Live CD is a bit sluggish but is capable of doing things like browsing the web and of course installing. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing both at the same time as you may run into a bit of a problem. Soon after loading the desktop I did what I always do. Install and try an application on the Live CD. The Installer was a mirror of Ubuntu’s famous 7 step installer. You start off selecting your language of course. Your second step is selecting your time zone(based on a city within a time zone).

If you know your time zone well you can just pick any city within your time zone. Next up is your keyboard setup, the default is USA but there is also a number of other keyboard setups to pick. Immediately after picking the keyboard layout you set up your partitions for the install. This is the only part I don’t like about the install because in some cases the partitioner has to set things up prior to stepping ahead which can mess up your other installation should you want to turn back. So on to the next step which is setting up your account.(username, password, name of computer). The last step is simply agreeing to continue with the install. You’re presented with a general overview of what will be configured/installed. Then, like most users at this point, I continue to install without even reading the general overview.

The install takes roughly ten minutes to finish. This is not bad in my opinion. So instead of growing a beard with installs like, say, Fedora 10 with all packages selected, or Sabayon 4.0 I just grew a little stubble.

Now that it’s install let’s get down to business. The time it takes from pressing the power button to loading the desktop is relatively a minute. That number may be higher for those with slower PCs. First off, Linux Mint 7 does use GNOME which, as it has been said before, is my top choice in the way of desktop environments. Linux Mint 7 does include a fair amount of pre-installed apps. For the web browser it includes Firefox whereas another league of distros include Opera. For the email client Mint 7 uses Mozilla Thunderbird instead of Ubuntu’s default evolution. This is a better choice in my opinion as Thunderbird is easier to configure. For those users needing and office type setup OpenOffice is included by default. For general use that’s all I would need as my server has everything else. The Mint devs also customized the GNOME menu to combine all of the normal GNOME apps, places, and admin sections. They also went with a one panel setup. Which has more of a Window$ look which is useful for Window$ migrators. Multimedia apps are also included such as GNOME media player and Rhythmbox.

My next order of business was to install some apps on my own. This is easily accomplished by mintInstall. mintInstall is similar to Ubuntu’s Add/Remove app. It shows all of the software organized by category tabs. Another thing I like about mintInstall is that user reviews of each software package is also shown as you browse through the available packages. I chose to install the Vuze bit torrent client. mintInstall soon rounded up all dependancies and presented me with a confirmation of the install. Vuze installed and worked like a charm.

Now, on to the update manager. The update manager shows available updates for your installed apps and chooses the ones to install based on results from a safe list. Optionally you could choose to just install the packages that are deemed dangerous at your own risk as they may tank your system.

Next up I want to talk about the aesthetics of Linux Mint 7. The artwork is simple but has this great professional look to it. The default background presents what looks like rain on a window but remixed to have a bright/mint green hue. The GNOME panel has been customized with a charcoal grey color which goes well with the bright green default theme.

The developers have tried their best to make the landing from Windows into Linux as soft and as comfortable as possible. However, they do not include support for Windows apps with WINE. However, one can almost completely replace Windows apps anyway so I don’t believe it matters.  The devs, sadly, seem to have made the distro unfavorable for Linux gurus. I don’t think their goal was to please Linux gurus though. So those who do consider themselves Linux gurus need not touch this distro as you probably will not like it.

Linux Mint may be the future transition for Windows users however with no guru support the Distro may fade out. What Mint devs have done though is base the distro off of a commercially backed distro which will give them more security.

So this is the conclusion of my review for Linux Mint 7(Gloria). I hope you liked it. My ratings follow:

stability: 4/5 – Given that this modified version of Ubuntu does add some features there is more room for bugs. However, Mint devs try their best to make certain users won’t run into them.

simplicity: 5/5 – This is about as simple as it gets guys. New users definitely need to get their hands on a copy of Linux Mint

speed: 4/5 – Linux Mint offers a lot of features at a decent speed

You can check Linux Mint 7 out yourself here: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

You can also learn how to (almost) completely replace your Windows desktop here: http://www.howtoforge.com/the-perfect-desktop-linux-mint-7-gloria

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