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

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


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Yes newbies - try Petra

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

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

    1. Old Handle

      Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

    2. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

      Not that old chestnut again.

      Do please try to keep up.


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

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

      Unless of course you are a shill for Microsoft.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

          I laugh at your downvotes.

          Oh how true... lol

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

          And I laugh by not downvoting you!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

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

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

        1. Bill the Sys Admin

          Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

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

        2. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

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

          To quote Jesse Smith from that article on Distrowatch:

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

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

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

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

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

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

        3. Goat Jam


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

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

          I never really though about it that much I admit.

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

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Optional

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

      3. Fibbles

        Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

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

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

        1. Miek

          Re: Yes newbies - try Petra

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

  2. gerryg

    The power of open source

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

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

    1. Jim 59


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

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

  3. codeusirae

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

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

    "Lubuntu 13.10 Distro Review"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

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

  4. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Also Mint 16 XFCE incoming.

    The RC is here:

    1. Fibbles

      Re: Also Mint 16 XFCE incoming.

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

      1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        Re: Also Mint 16 XFCE incoming.

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

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since when?

    Ubuntu gives a stable foundations on which to build

    Ubuntu, stable?


    1. itzman

      Re: Since when?

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

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

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risk factor?

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

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

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

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

    Couldn't that turn out into an Achilles heel?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Risk factor?

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

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

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Nuke
      Thumb Up

      @ShelLuser - Re: Risk factor?

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

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

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

    4. itzman

      Re: Risk factor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weirdly enough I just nuked this today

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

  8. AndrueC Silver badge

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

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

    Just sayin'

  9. frank ly

    The big wrinkle is still there

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

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

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

    1. Matt Piechota

      Re: The big wrinkle is still there

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

      Have you submitted a bug report?

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

      1. frank denton

        @Matt Re: The big wrinkle is still there

        "Have you submitted a bug report?"

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

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

        1. James Loughner

          Re: @Matt The big wrinkle is still there

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

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

  10. 1Rafayal

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

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

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

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

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

      The Tramp: anyone else downloading the RHEL 7 beta?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

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

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

      2. JonCCrawford

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

        And, the font rendering never really moved beyond 2010.

        CentOS 7? Maybe.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win8 to Linux Alert

    Maybe a little off topic.....

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

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

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

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

    2. Miek

      Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

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

      1. Miek

        Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

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

    3. paulc

      Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

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

      1. James Loughner

        Re: Win8 to Linux Alert

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

        BTW it is Linux not Linus

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I prefer the real Petra

    You know that wonderful city in Jordan.

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

    Pure Debian rules OK!

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

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Criminny Rickets

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

  14. JustNiz

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

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

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

    1. Bootman

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

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

      1. James Loughner

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

        When riding the cutting edge expect to bleed

    2. itzman


      I had the reverse problem. Nvidia drivers on the (ancient) lappie wouldn't suspend when I closed the lid - reverted to nouveau and its all works just fine ;-)

      (Mint 14)

  15. DainB Bronze badge

    Seriously, does anyone really use any Linux desktop for any productive (as in paid) work ? May I ask why ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Many developers, including myself, do.

      It simply beats the hell out of other platforms especially, but not only, when you're dealing with cross-platform or embedded software (ie. cross-compilation in both cases), since all the necessary tools are readily available. Actually the only reason why I still have Windows VMs at work is for testing.

      What I do wonder, though, is how can anyone really use Windows for any productive (as in efficient) work? Totally beats me, but maybe I'm too used to an OS that doesn't get in your way every five minutes, and that can be customised to fit your exact needs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DainB - Easy answer

      It's worth the price. There is a risk this might upset your stomach but there are people being paid to work on Linux desktops in the same way they are paying me and others to use Windows desktops.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: @DainB - Easy answer

        Easy ?

        If it cost nothing then it worth nothing, right ?

        Let me give you simple example. Take Photoshop and Gimp. Without getting into particular functions these two graphics packages are comparable, for most functions, well, they lets just agree that both can do the job of editing graphic files. It also takes considerable time to master both, however time you spent learning Photoshop can easily be converted into employment and real income at graphics oriented outfits that do use Photoshop professionally. Exactly same time spent learning Gimp will be just that - wasted time.

        See what I'm saying ? They can do the job up to some degree and on cost of significant investment of time into learning them but there's no reason to master scripts in Calc if everyone else uses Excel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @DainB - Easy answer

          "time you spent learning Photoshop can easily be converted into employment and real income at graphics oriented outfits that do use Photoshop professionally. Exactly same time spent learning Gimp will be just that - wasted time."

          Well, gimp and Photoshop have quite different UIs but by and large similar functionalities and once you've invested the time to master one the learning curve for the other isn't quite so steep. Secondly I've spent a large part of my career at startups and the lack of funding led everyone to really appreciate my ability to get work done without having to spend on insanely expensive software.

          Now I work at a vast organisation that has loads of money and would have no trouble purchasing the Visio license I needed for a few diagrams. However, being the vast organisation that it is, it took nearly three weeks to cut through the red tape to get it. By that time my deadline had long passed and I had done the diagrams in LibreOffice Draw. Benefit: Should someone else in my team need to update the diagrams they won't have to wait for a Visio license to come through.

    3. codejunky Silver badge


      @ DainB

      On 3 separate systems. One of those systems is dual boot with win7 which exists for no purpose beyond playing games. However I found that reduced when I put steam on my system too.

      I used to work from a win7 system but 2 out of 3 systems started messing up and having odd glitches so I moved to mint. The laptop did come with windows 7 but it was so painstakingly slow I couldnt use it productively. Mint 14 runs a lot faster but I am aware that the laptop is an underpowered thing and would probably run something like XP very well. But it came with win 7.

      I am not the only one in this office who uses linux for productive work.

    4. Chemist

      "Seriously, does anyone really use any Linux desktop for any productive (as in paid) work ? "

      Yes, much scientific software is only available for Linux/Unix

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Seriously, does anyone really use any Linux desktop for any productive (as in paid) work ? May I ask why "

      Well, it works much better than Windows for basically any serious task (I know Windows users don't believe this). And in particular, if you're a developer for all those web applications that run on Linux servers it's really useful to have a copy of the live stack on the machine you're writing the code on.

      The hard side is having to interact with people that still use Windows.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        That's just like say - I just invented my own language and even made my family speak it but communicate with people who still use English is a real pain.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I just invented my own language and even made my family speak it but communicate with people who still use English is a real pain.

          Ah, glad you finally understand it. Yes, Unix (out of which Linux is just an offspring) was there long before and is the de-facto lingua franca of computing. Yes, Windows is a pain because it doesn't respect any established standard and uselessly restricts the users. Welcome aboard. :)

          Or did you mean the exact opposite? Hard to tell when you don't even bother to give context to your reply...

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: @DainB

            Well, you can continue to speak your lingua franca or even switch to Latin if you prefer, noone cares in real world. I guess that clarifies context.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @DainB

              The hilarious part is: even though we're giving away our "secret weapon" to be both more cost-effective and more productive, you still don't want to acknowledge it.

              Well, by all means, please continue to use inferior tools that hold you back, that makes you so easy to compete with I almost feel sorry for you. In the meantime, we Linux-based shops will continue to sell at lower prices and still manage to draw more profit from it than you do.

              Oh sure, you might not yet have Linux-based competitors in your particular business branch (otherwise you wouldn't be so smug). And you'd better hope it stays that way, too, because seeing how you're oblivious to the most basic facts you'll never understand what hit you.

      2. itzman

        The hard side is having to interact with people that still use Windows.

        This is something even windows users have issues with.

        Case. My alma mater sends me a guest list of a function I am attending. It appears to be a Word document. I cant read it in Libre office 3.X...I send a note saying I can't. I get the reply 'you are not the only one having issues' It seems the windows users cant use it either.

        I research and find I can installed Libre office 4.0. This magically CAN read the file. I export it as a PDF. This is gratefully received at the far end and sent on to all the other Windows people who 'couldn't read the word file'.

        Case. Friend has Canon camera. 'you wont be able to read raw mode images on Linux: Canon have a special windows disk to install reader with -you need to install the program' . Research Gimp/ plugin added, Gimp now has ability to handle Canon raw images.

        In every case I solved a 'compatibility problem ' in less than an hour costing nothing and without doing more than sit at a keyboard.

        I have access to more fonts in more languages than I ever had under windows.

        no way am I going back...

        1. Chemist

          Re: The hard side is having to interact with people that still use Windows.

          "'you wont be able to read raw mode images on Linux:"

          I have a long list of things that people have told me that I can't do in Linux.

          It includes :

          RAW photo processing - even my very new (at the time) Canon 450D was supported within a few weeks.

          Software control of camera via USB

          3G dongle - no problem

          1080p/50 video editing - no problem

          Hardware accelerated 1080p/50 video playback - CPU % hardly changes from 'idle'

          Serial/USB adaptor - driver already installed

          Multiple monitors - no problem

    6. Robert E A Harvey


      I've used it when self employed to manage my business, and to do Xwindows development on.

      I also persuaded a couple of survey ships to standardise on it to avoid the continual virus infections they were getting.

      It is superb for electronic chart applications too: run VNC on the chart computer and display it anywhere withoug worrying about licence fees or updating or antivirus. Or people installing stupid games.

    7. Red Bren

      @DainB Let me fix that for you

      Seriously, does anyone really use Windows 8 for any productive (as in paid) work ? May I ask how ?

    8. itzman

      does anyone really use any Linux

      yes of course. I use nothing but LInux. Why? because its stable fast and ha nearly all the tools I need for free.

      I write on it in libre office.

      I code HTML.,, PHP and so on on it, because editing code source is just editing code source.

      I do research on the web, because firefox 23 is just firefox 23.

      I send and receive emails because sending and receiving emails is just thunderbird .

      There are a few things I can't yet do on it, for which I have an XP VM, mainly involving CAD and graphics., Its awful firing up XP. It looks and feels ancient and clunky. The apps crash it frequently. But at least with a VM it boots in a few seconds.

      Inkscape is not Corel Draw or Adobe illustator yet, buy its almost there.

      Gimp is not Photoshop or corel paint, but again, it suffices for most things.

      There is no decent 3D CAD program for Linux.

      Apart from that in terms of what I do, linux does it better. Even windows in a VM is better than windows native.

      Tried OSX, but everything is so restricted. And expensive.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: does anyone really use any Linux

        So you basically answered no, you do not use it for anything that can generate profit.

        If you want work in the office you'll need* Outlook and MS Office because everyone else will be using it.

        If you want work will graphics you'll need Photoshop and Illustrator.

        If you work with video you'll need* whatever they use for video editing on Mac.

        If you work with CAD you'll need* Autocad.

        To sum it up - you'll need* Windows or Mac. There's no single application where you will need* Linux desktop.

        * need as in de-facto industry standard and no one cares that you do not like, can't afford it or have experience with something better or just as good in your opinion.

        1. Chemist

          Re: does anyone really use any Linux

          "you do not use it for anything that can generate profit."

          All this really shows is how limited your experience of 'work' really is.

          By the way - if you are SO contemptuous of Linux WHY are you wasting your (obviously) valuable time on us retards ?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: does anyone really use any Linux

          > So you basically answered no, you do not use it for anything that can generate profit.

          No, quite the contrary, in case that was aimed at me. In any case it proves that notion wrong. I have used The GIMP at a startup that is making money, not least because we were acting cost-consciously and I've used Draw at a large organisation to get the job done on time, much to my boss's delight. I'm also maintaining about 500 Linux servers with another 500 on the way next year. The latter will replace a cluster of Windows servers that run Excel to make pricing and risk calculations (rather inefficiently) but that was what the quants were familiar with when they built it.

          But if the truth hurts so much, please feel free to continue living in denial. Doesn't affect me.

  16. DN4


    Ubuntu for oldskoolers? Can these two words be even put into the same sentence? Oldskoolers have their trusty Debian ... been here long before Ubuntu, Mint and whatever derivates and will be long after they are gone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oldskoolers?

      Actually, the oldskoolers are running Slackware.

      1. Martin

        Re: Oldskoolers?

        Actually, they're probably running UNIX, and sneering at this new-fangled graphical rubbish.

        1. Quxy

          Re: Oldskoolers?

          "Old school" for desktop environments probably means the Common Desktop Environment, not a newcomer trying to look like Windows 95. Gnome has its points, but CDE has been stable for several *decades* longer than Gnome 3...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oldskoolers?

            I have to face SCO OpenServer right now at work, does this make me "oldskool" before my third decade?

  17. JonCCrawford

    Cinnamon's Inflexible About Workspaces

    Cinnamon doesn't seem to have any way to restore a window to its original workspace. That means of you open App A on Worskpace One, move to Workspace Two, and want to return to App A, clicking on its minimized representation in the panel will open it in the current workspace, moving it from where you want it to remain. (Doable in MATE, XFCE, KDE, Gnome Shell.)

    That alone is reason enough to keep me away from Cinnamon, Otherwise, it's spiffy.

    I also like to click on URL's in mail, etc., knowing they will open in a browser in another workspace, where I can move at my leisure. Can't do that in Cinnamon.

    Meanwhile, the appearance of Mint's versions of MATE, Cinnamon, XFCE and KDE are moving ever close to each other.

  18. Tom 64

    If you really want fast on a netbook...

    Go for a distro that uses openbox.

    I installed archbang linux on mine, its twice as fast as LMDE, is bang upto date and I've never looked back.

  19. eulampios

    Mate got more features than cinnamon

    Mate is, by design, less resource intensive and lacks some of the flash found in Cinnamon.

    I think that there are more flashes in Mate than in the Cinnamon desktop.

    Say, panel applets available in Mate by default. Calendar applet can show time and weather for multiple cities . I also noticed, that Mate applets tend to be a bit less flashy, yet much more functional. You can run compiz with all of its configurable flashes instead of marco. Gnome-terminal lacks the transparency feature for some time now, unlike good ol' mate-terminal. All of it is done with more stability and less resources.

    However, Cinnamon moves fast and improves steadily.

    Both Mate and Cinnamon are great desktops. We (GNU/Linux and *BSD people) also got Xfce, KDE, LXDE, Unity, Fluxbox, e17 and more. All are great DEs. Hence the penguin icon.

  20. picturethis

    Noob: why not Cinnamon on Debian?

    Why are the creators of Cinnamon so dependent on Ubuntu? I stopped at version Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. I refuse to have anything to do with Ubuntu and Unity Period. (<- see the period?).

    I would love to see Cinnamon on Debian. Then I could actually stop using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and stop using any Ubuntu distro...

    Take note makers of Ubuntu - you're a DAN! (Days Are Numbered) because of Unity and the privacy violations of Ubuntu's search/store..

    1. Bootman

      Re: Noob: why not Cinnamon on Debian?

      Linux Mint Debian edition -

      Or alternatively - installing Cinnamon on Debian -

      You don't need anything to do with Ubuntu at all to use Cinnamon. Of course you can install it on Arch or Fedora or whatever. As for Ubuntu derived Mint, it doesn't use Unity or the search lens anyway.

  21. BigAndos

    Been experimenting for years with Linux

    I find it odd that if you compare Windows to Linux, often the hard things on one are easy on the other and vice versa. For example, I dual boot Fedora 18 and Windows 7 on my laptop. I was on a Mongo DB training course earlier this year and realised when I got there I'd forgotten to set up a Java IDE before going. In Fedora I think I managed to get all the software I needed installed with two commands (install Open JDK then Eclipse).

    On Windows this probably would have taken a lot longer and of course Windows doesn't manage dependencies for you so I may have had to download multiple installers. However, take the flipside - connecting the laptop to my TV. On windows, I plug in my HDMI cable and thats it - mirrored screens with sound feeding through. With Fedora I can (with much fiddling in display settings) get the video displaying on the TV but I can't for the life of me get sound over HDMI to work!

    I find it weird how Linux can handle very complex work or tasks quite easily but often falls down on basic home user requirements, although maybe that is a reflection of the needs of those who develop it. Interested to know if Mint would handle my HDMI out needs more gracefully? I did try an earlier version but the touchpad driver it came with didn't work properly on my laptop and I couldn't find a replacement.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Been experimenting for years with Linux

      With Fedora I can (with much fiddling in display settings) get the video displaying on the TV but I can't for the life of me get sound over HDMI to work!

      The usual problem is that you have two sound cards. One driving sound through the audio line out and headphone sockets, and a second one built into the HDMI adaptor. Linux is probaby directing sound to the "normal" audio output rather than the HDMI. If that's the case, you just need to switch ... using something like alsamixer (which may or may not be included in your distro, but should be downloadable from the standard repos).

      Then sit down and have a nice beer whlle you listen!

      1. BigAndos

        Re: Been experimenting for years with Linux

        Thanks, I'll give that a try! I do like Fedora and Mint, I could happily ditch Windows on my laptop then. All I use it for is streaming video to TV or the odd infrequent bit of development or editing a basic spreadsheet. If I can get silverlight working in Wine (for netflix) operation ditch Windows can begin! It would be even better if Netflix didn't use Silverlight but hey ho.

      2. Chemist

        Re: Been experimenting for years with Linux

        "With Fedora I can (with much fiddling in display settings) get the video displaying on the TV but I can't for the life of me get sound over HDMI to work!"

        I think you'll find some distros are now very easy to use with multiple monitors or TVs. I routinely play videos from my laptop to a HD TV. Plug in the cable (VGA in this case) and the the TV is automatically recognized as another monitor and options for mirroring or placement of the display are available- this using OpenSUSE 12.3

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been experimenting for years with Linux

        > The usual problem is that you have two sound cards. One driving sound through the audio line out and headphone sockets, and a second one built into the HDMI adaptor. Linux is probaby directing sound to the "normal" audio output rather than the HDMI. If that's the case, you just need to switch ... using something like alsamixer

        Actually, no, not alsamixer… alsamixer just adjusts volume levels. Likely, you'll be using PulseAudio or some such to manage audio devices, you'd need to tell that to use the other device…

        For a GUI tool: look at pasystray

        For a command line tool: look at pactl

        Alternatively, if you are going direct to ALSA, you can do this:

        $ cat > .asoundrc <<EOF

        pcm.!default {

        type pcm

        card <id of card from /proc/asound/cards>


        ctl.!default {

        type ctl

        card <id of card from /proc/asound/cards>



        See for details

  22. unhandled_exception
    Thumb Up

    I installed Petra Cinnamon 64-bit...

    ...on a not too powerful machine and it just works, smooth and without a glitch. Perfect is a strong word but it does feel pretty close to it...

  23. DropBear
    Thumb Down

    Sure, but...

    Linux Mint did indeed sound quite promising as a more practical Ubuntu substitute for me - right up to the point of it not having in-place upgrades: that's a hard dealbreaker for me. Yes, I know in-place upgrades are actually doable even on mint, but the thing is I really don't think an OS with a default mentality of "raze everything to the ground every 6 months, because that is a good thing" is going to be a good fit for me; much for the same reason I hate with a passion the ubiquitous "well just format and reinstall" advice on Windows.

    Ever since my first 386, I install an OS exactly once on a given hardware - with a minimum of maintenance and common sense, it runs just fine for infinity years and can be fixed perfectly well if needed any number of times in-place. Put differently - I can reinstall an arbitrary OS in a matter of mere minutes / hours, but the amount of customization in configs and settings I have in the OS and various programs couldn't be reproduced even several years after a clean reinstall.

    For those who keep all their stuff online and won't even notice a full OS reinstall as they log right back into Facebook - by all means, go right ahead. Just don't wait up for me....

    1. Ian 55

      Re: Sure, but...

      I'll be impressed if you've kept a Windows installation up and running 'with a minimum of maintenance' for infinity years without having to reinstall at least once...

      ... but Mint will happily do a standard Debian-based

      (change repositories)

      sudo apt-get update

      sudo apt-get upgrade

      sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

      in place upgrade at least as well as Debian. It's been a long time since I had an issue with it.

      Or, assuming you are sensible and have /home on its own partition, doing a reinstall is infinitely simpler than with Windows, and Mint gives you a tool to back up and restore all the non-default packages you have installed.

      The short life of most Mint releases is down to Ubuntu deciding to do likewise.

      Or use LMDE, a rolling release based directly on Debian. It's what I've set up for the son-in-law on the grounds that it minimises the support needed still further.

  24. Kubla Cant Silver badge


    Authors who care about comprehension usually qualify abbreviations the first time they use them. So what's a PPA? OK, this is a technical site where explanation may be considered otiose. But I'm enough of a technician to earn a good living at it, I'm also a regular Linux Mint user, and I haven't a clue what a PPA is. Perhaps I haven't been paying attention.

    Google is your friend, of course. But would it have cost anything to indicate which of the 2,520,000 PPA results is meant? Is it Professional Publishers Association, Prescription Pricing Division, Performance Preparation Academy, Personal Package Archive, Power purchase agreement, The Play Providers Association, PPA Awards, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, or one of the other 2,519,992?

    1. Ian 55

      Re: PPA?

      It's the 'Personal Package Archive' one. A PPA is like a mini repository, the source of software for the system. They're a Ubuntu thing, and useful for getting the latest version of particular bits of software. Rather than wait for the next release (which may not have the latest version), or it to appear in the backports repository of the current release (which may never happen), you can upload the source code for the latest version and it becomes available to download to anyone who adds your PPA to their software sources.

      So, for example, I get WINE from a PPA that specialises in having the latest version of that, GIMP from another, etc. runs a particularly useful set of them.

      Before this, you needed to run about three things on the command line to add one to your system, but this makes it even simpler.

  25. Miek

    "mmm, smells like Mint 16" -- What an apt statement, it looks YUMmy.

  26. John Lawton

    Mint sucks.

    I'll get my coat.

  27. Fenton

    There is still something wrong with the look of Linux desktop

    I can't quite put my finger on it.

    Fonts never look quite right compared to Windows/OSX fonts.

    The whole thing lacks a certain sheen and just looks a little home made.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: There is still something wrong with the look of Linux desktop

      Yeah, it's weird that, isn't it? Except for me it's the other way round, and has been for years. My Linux desktops are graphically fantastic, but there's something off in the way Windows handles fonts on lots of installations. Maybe the problem lies in the way both systems don't always get setup with optimal graphics, or maybe you're just enjoying spreading a little FUD?

      Either way, I have to say I've saved a sackload of money since I ditched the whole Windows + applications upgrade merry-go-round eight years ago.

    2. itzman

      Re: There is still something wrong with the look of Linux desktop

      er wot? my linux is streets ahead in font rendering from the last windows I used - XP. and every bit as good if not better than OSX..

      as far as 'looking a little home made' that was true of distros pre mint, but they have really got some nice icon sets now in the various themes.

      I think the first reaction to Mint 13 was 'polished'

      Must try petra sometime

      1. paulc

        Re: There is still something wrong with the look of Linux desktop

        will be doing an "in-place" upgrade to Petra LXDE this weekend once I've made sure my data is safely backed up in case of having to do a Windows stylee wipe and re-install.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is still something wrong with the look of Linux desktop

      The Ubuntu font and font rendering are absolutely gorgeous, better than I've seen anywhere else including windows and Mac. That's the only two things I've missed since I've moved to Debian where the fonts indeed look a bit shite out of the box.

  28. Graeme5

    going for record downvotes... deep breath...

    or you could just buy a 'finished' product like Windows or OSX and stop wasting time with linux desktops.

    Three uses for Linux Desktops:

    - Administering linux servers

    - Cybercafe / kiosk

    - Script kiddies

    - People too tight to buy something competent

    note: linux on embedded devices and servers is where it works best. Desktop GUI just doesn't.

    1. Nuke
      Thumb Down

      @Graeme5 - Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

      Here you go then :-

      First downvote!

    2. Bootman

      Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

      Windows 8 is dire so that rules that out. OSX is beyond the price range of many assuming you mean buy a Mac, unless you are really suggesting a hackintosh?! Guess that leaves Windows 7. Which as it is generally not supplied with most new machines pre-installed, it can be equally as much of a headache for newbies to install as Linux, if everything doesn't work first time out of the box.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

      I suppose Windows is finished like DOS is then? Finished and consigned to the rubbish bin of history.

      Otherwise, why do they keep bringing out new versions with wildly different UIs if the job is done? If they're finished it should be perfect, no need for security updates. Maybe that's why Windows XP is EOL next year and so many aren't jumping to Windows 7 and 8: Windows XP is finished perfection!


      No, desktops evolve, and no OS is any different. When they stop evolving, they die. A desktop will never be "finished" no matter who made it.

      As for me, I'm running FVWM on Gentoo. Heavily customised for my workflow. In fact since that post I've changed the keybindings again, so tapping the logo key pops up a menu that lets me manipulate the window or launch applications with single key presses.

      On Linux I can have as many as 30 windows open. I have four virtual desktops with 4 pages each that I spread windows between. MacOS X doesn't have virtual desktops, but it does have "spaces" which function like pages on a virtual desktop. Windows has nothing equivalent.

      Machine boots up: I press Logo, Q, W; Logo, Q M; Logo, Q, C: and there's Firefox, Thunderbird and a shell prompt on their way. The shell prompt (QTerminal) appears first, so as the others come up I usually tap Logo M D 2 to throw it over to desktop 2. Thunderbird pops up next (fewer extensions), and so while I wait for Firefox I tapo Logo M E 2, and throw it over to desktop 1 page 2. Firefox then opens in-place. This is engrained into my muscle memory now.

      Someone rings me, and I need a note pad in a hurry? No scrabbling for a pen and paper here: Logo Q E and up pops gvim, ready to accept any text I type in. Need to do a quick calculation? I can either switch over to the shell, fire up ipython and enter in my expression there, or if I need a spreadsheet, Logo Q S and up pops Gnumeric.

      I can also divide the screen into quarters, placing any application into any quarter or half of the screen. A manually tiling mode, you might say. Logo L brings up the split menu, I can split either half or quarters (2 or 4), then I specify which half or quarter I want with a single keystroke.

      For me it works well… I find myself "wasting time" more on Windows, whether it's hunting through the ever changing Start menu to find an application I need, or reaching for the rodent to make a window full-screen (or to minimise a window), or to launch an application. The vast majority of the applications I use began life on Unix-like systems, and so work natively in Linux, they behave like second-class citizens on Windows.

      The crucial thing though is the level of customisation I can achieve. This is a personal computer, not a workstation. Thus it doesn't have to suit anybody else but me. For most, if you walk up to my computer, you'll see a "Start" button up the top-left, and a task-bar along the top. There's the FVWM ButtonBar that hides down the right side; click the title and it appears, letting you access the system tray and virtual desktops. Tap the logo key, which some will do by instinct for Windows users, and up pops that menu with all the hotkeys listed. Sure, Alt-F4 will do nothing, Alt-Tab still works, but most people will find what they need in the other menu anyway.

      So my computer, works the way I want. It also installs the updates I want, when I want, and reboots only when I tell it to. In short, my computer, is in my control.

      Let's see you do that with Windows.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

        Now my friend try jump to other desktop and repeat you customizing. And then again and again. What did you say, you wish there were way to do it for all desktops you're logging into automatically ? Well, that's Linux my dear friend, if you want functionality like this you need start using Windows.

        And yeah, 30 windows open ? You must be best multitasker in the world and was writing this text while cooking dinner and playing violin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

          I did it a fortnight ago.

          Plugged both laptops into the same gigabit network, then:

          stuartl@rikishi$ rsync -aP vk4msl-mb.local:./ .

          Voila, all settings, for all applications, replicated, on the new machine from the old. And all my documents and files to boot.

          1. DainB Bronze badge

            Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

            Yep, why not, works for two.

            Now try do it for 100 or maintain thousand Linux desktops in corporate environment. What did you say, sorry i can't hear past your crying.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

              Man, you don't have a clue. That rsync he can do in a for loop to as many machines as he pleases. These are his personal settings though and I doubt he'll be wanting to use more than a handful. What exactly is the point you are trying to make? That there are no Linux enterprise tools is what you're trying to insinuate?

            2. Bootman

              Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

              Where as you may have a point in criticising Linux for certain major commercial applications not being available on it, and that workarounds have to be found in some cases, the idea that it is not possible to maintain thousands of Linux desktops in the real world is laughably insane. If Red Hat Enterprise is good enough for the US Army to deploy and manage, then it's good enough for your average corporate desktop.

              I made the assumption that your post asking if Linux is actually used by people to be a genuine question, but it appears you are just finding an excuse to troll about Linux. Now seeing as you consider it is so inferior in every way to the alternatives, why not go and suggest widespread deployment of Macs throughout organisations instead (and I don't mean for certain workers for whom they may be the appropriate choice - I mean everyone including office temps, payroll, industrial workshops), or Windows 8 for that matter, and see who's crying then. Meanwhile the rest of us can get on with deploying Windows 7 or Linux where it is appropriate.

            3. Anonymous Coward

              Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

              Now try do it for 100 or maintain thousand Linux desktops in corporate environment. What did you say, sorry i can't hear past your crying.

              My friend, meet some colleagues of mine: nfs and aufs.

              nfs to provide a read-only site-wide desktop configuration which is standard across all systems, aufs to augment that with writeable storage, either local, remote or temporary, with the user's files.

              Heck, we do something similar already. The Windows logon script here fires up Cygwin to rsync a copy of the standard office templates. The same logon script also works in Linux and MacOS X. Amongst other things, it will set up a Thunderbird profile if one doesn't exist already, and keeps the user's email signatures up to date.

              No crying here, there's plenty of ways to skin this cat.

    4. Andyb@B5

      Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

      Why feed the trolls when they ask, no down vote from me!

      If someone asks me what to get, I tell them whatever best fits your needs, if its Windows, go Windows, if its OSX go OSX, if its a *NIX Desktop, then go that way.

      I've been using Debian for my desktop right from the beginning and in the early days what you've said was pretty accurate, except you'd not get them in cyber cafes and the competing products were never that competent.

      Well the competitors are more competent now and polished too, but so is the Linux desktop. Its all about needs and frankly neither OSX or Windows are up to the task of meeting mine. If they could meet my needs better then I'd seriously consider them for my next upgrade. More choice is always nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

        If someone asks me what to get, I tell them whatever best fits your needs, if its Windows, go Windows, if its OSX go OSX, if its a *NIX Desktop, then go that way.

        Probably the most sensible comment in this thread. Have an up-vote.

        I've tried Windows, numerous times. I have seriously given it a shot. Its lack of flexibility, abysmal package management, poor compatibility with other platforms and general fragility, make it unusable as my primary OS. Then there's the licensing.

        A lot of things in Windows are hard-coded. Key bindings are a classic example. While I'm able to set up FVWM to respond just the way I like it… MacOS X will bend to my will, as will KDE… Windows stolidly refuses to accept any attempt to change the workflow — no I'm expected to change my workflow to suit it.

        Package management is hopeless. There are a number of software packages I use. Can I add a simple URL into some control panel and have it automatically download and install that package with its dependencies? No. I have to go to the site and download an installer, and click through a wizard. When an update is released for a package I use, I have to go back to that site, download a new installer, and go through the whole dance again to update it. Contrast this to apt-get dist-upgrade or emerge -udN world.

        Windows is one of the most antisocial platforms I've come across. Its API is completely unlike all other contemporary OSes, making porting applications a nightmare. It refuses to look at file systems which were not developed by Microsoft themselves without a third-party driver. It won't have anything to do with network protocols other than those that Microsoft invented or had a major hand in developing.

        Try to bend it to your will, and, well its like trying to bend a pane of glass, it shatters. Even something as simple as moving the taskbar to the top of the screen: minimised command windows still try to "hide" down the bottom of the screen — where they'd ordinarily be hidden by the taskbar, now they're in plain sight.

        Even if you don't try to customise it: the platform is such a soup of proprietary code I'm amased anything works. Even Microsoft's own updates have been known to break systems. I know people now who turn off Windows updates because they dislike the disruption to their work when Patch Wednesday delivers an unwanted present in the form of a problem that didn't exist the day before.

        Ohh, and did I mention licensing? Their scheme is so complex it's impossible to know where I stand. Linux, I know exactly where I stand. I'm not talking about making changes and distributing those changes. I'm talking as an end user. Linux as an end user: if it breaks, your problem. I can handle this. Microsoft: if it breaks, your problem, and we'll be checking on you on a regular basis to ensure you don't pirate our stuff!

        Servers, it's even worse. Linux: much the same as for desktops. Servers: Ohh, you have to pay for "CAL"s now. WTF is a "CAL"? Not enough to offer basically the same support for Windows Server that we get from Canonical for Ubuntu … Not enough to charge an extortionate fee for an OS license … no, we want a hand-out every time you connect a user to your server.

        Then the terms are so convoluted, not even Microsoft staff can help you.

        No, I'll stick with Linux thanks. I accept that for some, this is not an option. If you're into printed desktop publishing, then I can understand people going Photoshop over The Gimp; the latter has no support for CMYK, but if your needs are purely in the RGB colourspace, either is fine. Some of us at work use Windows because the software they use requires it.

        Three examples. One would be those looking after accounts: Australian taxation law is that complicated and changes that frequently, I cannot recommend a open-source book-keeping package that would accurately keep track.

        Another would be PLC programming, which is almost always done from a Windows environment. The likes of Rockwell might go Linux yet, but it'll take time (Microsoft's lack of direction has reportedly spooked them a little).

        Then there's CAD: the open source ones are close (heck, our workplace floor plan was designed in LibreOffice Draw — no joke), but still a long way off replacing AutoCAD.

        Thankfully for me, this is not a restriction. In fact, the stuff I do is easiest done under Linux. So I'll stay there. If Windows, MacOS X, OS/2, CP/M, Solaris or BeOS is what works for you, then great. Let's just accept that how we use computers is different, and therefore the platform we use is going to differ.

        There is no "one" OS for all applications.

    5. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: going for record downvotes... deep breath...

      @ Graeme5

      "note: linux on embedded devices and servers is where it works best. Desktop GUI just doesn't."

      You might need to tell that to my home and work machines (all 3). All of them run mint but before that I have used fedora and ubuntu. That is as well as servers and embedded devices. And that is just me, the only unstable system in here is the old windows machine but then it has been put through its paces too.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure Mint 16 is great for a newbie, but its support will end next july. And given that Cinnamon 2 is being ported to Mint 13, which has still three years of support, I think this one's a better choice

    1. itzman

      re: Mint 13, which has still three years of support...

      yes. Its a tough call. Friend is starting on 13 because he supports a lot of dumb users and he doesn't want to end up with unsupportable systems.

      Then he phones me up and ask why XYZ is not available 'it is on later kernels in 14,15,16' I say...

      Hell my headless server is still on debian lenny, that is well out of support now. IT still does all I expect of it though...gets remoo9ted once every power cut :)

      One of my reasons to move to mint was simply that lots of debian code had bugs in it that had been fixed upstream, years before, but the code hadn't found its way to debian 'stable'.

      I am afraid you pays yer money...

      I trashed my 13 desktop, due to a NFS was quicker to reinstall 14 and copy the configs back than to fix it. Took about 3 hours to get it basically 'all there' and the usual exponential tapering of a couple of weeks (elapsed: maybe an hour or to in real time) while I played with it to get it looking nice and explore all the new features.

      Maybe Ill stick in a new disk and install petra on that to have dual boot for a while..

  30. clatters

    Just loaded Mint 16

    Well, I have just loaded Mint 15 Cinnamon on both my laptops and I love it. Upgrade from scratch, reload /home and sort out my apps took about an hour and apart from my time-zone and WiFi password it was all done for me.

    As for the queries above (Fonts naff, cannot do xxxx) try loading ttf-mscorefonts and looking in the Mint forum for solutions. RTFM + Google + Forum = you won't go wrong.

    As for the Windows versus Linux (YAWN!!) and "what about the Newbies" comments, I have these controvertial thoughts... To go from Doze to Linux is difficult. To create an ISO image in Doze when you have not heard of an ISO image is not straightforward. Finding the right distro for your situation is fraught and confusing. To make the brave step from your beloved Windows version (because let's face it, that's all you've used up to now) to Linux of whatever version is not straightforward and is daunting.

    How did I do it? I had help. Someone to steer me to the right (at the time) distro, to hand me the DVD and to tell me how to run a Live session (a fully functioning Linux system that does not touch your hard disk - a true "try before you buy") and then to instruct me loading a dual boot machine.

    How would a Newbie really do this without help and leave the Windoze world behind unaided? It is like asking a 17 year-old to learn to drive by throwing him the keys and saying "off you go son. Keep the car between the kerbs and you won't go wrong" Doh!

  31. threepot

    So much negativity and trolling

    Don't like Linux bugger off back into your little naive world. Linux desktops meet the need of the vast majority of the typical computer user requirements. I shifted from the last crap regurgitated windows platform about 4 years ago, and never looked back once. I have the fastest desktop environment ever, all the tools I need for free, and more transparent control than ever before. Its not complicated to install, but you need to think - something alot of people don't want to do nowadays. No one can force you, but if your open minded enough you will realise there is sense ditching Windows. At first I used Ubunutu but when I upgraded to 12 didn't like unity, so shifted to Mint and been happy ever since. How can something that's good be free? Oh what little you know! The best things in life are free. When I use other peoples windows computers it blows my mind realising what I used to put up with, usually followed by the "oh I need a new PC" - no mate, you need to ditch windows. p.s. had the same install running for over a year and no loss in performance which puts any other non linux OS to shame.

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