Linux Mint 18 Review

Hello readers,

Chances are you already know that unless something horrible is wrong with this OS I’m going to give it a stellar review because I’m 100% a fan of Linux Mint.

So why read this review right? — Wrong.

Truth be told I’ve been reviewing every kind of operating system for years now and am getting much pickier about what passes and what constitutes a mistake. So you might want to stick around for the details.

What’s new in Linux Mint 18?

X-Apps

A new project called “X-Apps” was started and its goal is to produce generic applications for traditional GTK desktop environments.

The idea behind this project is to replace applications which no longer integrate properly outside of a particular environment (this is the case for a growing number of GNOME applications) and to give our desktop environments the same set of core applications, so that each change, each new feature being developed, each little improvement made in one of them will benefit not just one environment, but all of them.

The core ideas for X-Apps are:

  • To use modern toolkits and technologies (GTK3 for HiDPI support, gsettings etc..)
  • To use traditional user interfaces (titlebars, menubars)
  • To work everywhere (to be generic, desktop-agnostic and distro-agnostic)
  • To provide the functionality users already enjoy (or enjoyed in the past for distributions which already lost some functionality)
  • To be backward-compatible (in order to work on as many distributions as possible)
*This was lifted directly from their page

Update Manager <— This was also lifted from their page

The update manager received many improvements, both visual and under the hood.

The main screen and the preferences screen now use stack widgets and subtle animations, and better support was given for alternative themes (toolbar icons are now compatible with dark themes, application and status icons are now themeable and dimmed text is now rendered with dynamic colors).

Two new settings were added to let you see and select kernel updates. Even though these aren’t really updates, but the availability of packages for newer kernels, the manager is now able to detect them and to present them for installation to you as a traditional update. These are level 5 updates but the new settings let you configure them independently.

Additionally artwork, themes etc… All of which you can just as easily see by clicking this link.

So really though, what has changed?

It turns out that post installation some of the folks using Cinnamon (at least) are having similar issues with drivers to the ones in 17.2 – 17.3. There is a driver installer that requires an internet connection to replace the mesa drivers depending on your configuration that generally fixes that issue…

However there are a few key instability issues that creep up during and after that process that should be noted:

  • Software Manager Crashes Unexpectedly
  • Ubuntu Security repo hangs or even denies connections (much like the accursed Debian security repos)
  • Cinnamon crashing on some systems requiring a “no modset” boot up

None of these aren’t fixable or even avoidable but they can certainly stress a new user and should be addressed. Presumably they will be and of course there are always the forums.

Screenshot from 2016-08-14 19-59-24
The screenshot of the post installation deskto

Short term solution for updates that wont complete due to either security repos or similar repo freezes (i.e. google chrome):

I installed nano so I’ll use it for this example but of course geany or any other text editor will work, in terminal type or copy-paste:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list

On the page that opens add a # in front of the repo that won’t update until you find one that does to replace it with.

For example if it’s a google chrome repo: (I use Google Chrome mostly anymore because it has a much better flashplayer – works with silverlight – netflix – etc.)

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list and then put a # in front of it’s line reading: deb [arch=amd64] http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main

Then run update from the terminal to get the updates you can, and optimally go hunt for working security repos sometime soon.

*Speaking of – you heard about that TCP security flaw right? <— Fix included!

So where were we? Oh right the review…

Graphics – Marked improvement for HDPI so we have to say 5.0

Speed – Once configured optimally again 5.0

Stability – Minor nuisances – 4.0

Ease of use – 5.0

Overall 4.75

*Generally a 5.0 for Linux Mint and once properly configured it certainly goes right back to best in show.

X apps… I’m not even 100% sure I’m using them, that’s probably the point right?

My impression – It’s still out of the box the best Linux, as indicated by how I spend so much time turning other distros into it gradually. (2010)

Mostly my experience with any linux is installing what I actually use I find myself realizing after a few weeks I’ve mostly redone Mint. (2012)

I love this distro, I’m seeing the trend towards even more of what I like. (2014)

It’s still my favorite. (2016)

2016-09-23-00-11-45_scrot

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424 thoughts on “Linux Mint 18 Review

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