back to article After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

Linux Mint 17.3, recently released, will be the last release of the Mint 17 line. It is the culmination of work that began two years ago, and the final edition of Mint based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS . With the stability of an Ubuntu LTS release as the base system, Linux Mint has had eighteen months of development time to focus on …

  1. Scott 53

    Improvements in the bowls?

    I'm getting the impression you're boweled over by this new release.

    1. John Mangan

      Re: Improvements in the bowls?

      I knew there was a joke in there but I couldn't quite find it. Upvote for you.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Improvements in the bowls?

        Improvement in the bowels is probably fibre connected.

        1. Adam 1

          Re: Improvements in the bowls?

          FTTN anyway.

  2. Andy Non Silver badge

    Exactly what an operating system should be (IMO)

    Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon works perfectly for me. It is quick and easy to use. No horrendous tiles, no pre-installed spyware, no unwanted bloatware, the menu system well organised and accessible. In short it just doesn't get in the way and everything is easy to find. Having used Linux Mint for a couple of years now there is no way I will ever go back to the dodgy mangled mess of spyware that Windows has become.

    1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

      Re: Exactly what an operating system should be (IMO)

      "Dodgy mangled mess of spyware"? That's disingenuous to say the least. It's a fucking huge crock of steaming horseshit software that's not so much designed as congealed.

      1. John 104

        Re: Exactly what an operating system should be (IMO)

        @Anthyony H.

        "Dodgy mangled mess of spyware"? That's disingenuous to say the least. It's a fucking huge cock of steaming horseshit software that's not so much designed as congealed.

        Fixed that for you.

    2. Chris Parsons

      Re: Exactly what an operating system should be (IMO)

      Amen to that. Now that I am retired and have to pay for stuff, rather than get it from Technet, I have moved completely to Mint and can honestly say there is nothing about Windows that I miss.

      1. Boo Radley

        Re: Exactly what an operating system should be (IMO)

        After my new Win 7 install had issues with my video driver I said WTF, let's try Mint. I was very happy with windows up thru XP, but Microsoft's habit of changing shit just for fun with each new version, combined with all their new spyware and lieing, made me determined to dump them.

        Two weeks later, I'm very happy with Mint and the tiny learning curve. I just does everything I need, right from the get go. I will never go back to Windows and will encourage friends to switch too.


    Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

    ... such a refreshing change from the fiasco Windows has become.

    And before the Microsoft Online Reputation Managers come in I want to point out that:

    1. Mint has worked with ALL my hardware with NO recourse to file editing or the CLI.

    2. I have been able to find open source software to replace ALL the Windows programs I used.

    3. The user interface is so similar to 2000/XP that there has been no 'retraining' required in my business.

    tl;dr? Here's an executive summary: 'Easier, better, cheaper'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: before the Microsoft Online Reputation Managers

      Can you make it Windows Online Reputation Managers? Makes a better acronym.

    2. Roo

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

      Looks like a "Microsoft Online Reputation Manager" feels qualified to downvote your post on the basis they have no --ing idea what you are doing with your machine because Win 10 isn't running on it...

      I know MS has earnt a shedload of money ignoring customers, spreading FUD, denigrating complaints and down-voting posts, but in the light of declining PC revenues perhaps they should consider listening to why customers are unhappy and address those complaints.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

        just downvoted for using phrase "Microsoft Online Reputation Managers " rather than the usual accusatory "shill"

    3. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

      Agreed (re Caps Lock's original post)

    4. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

      I installed Mint on an old computer and it's really rather good. All I had to do was put in a better video card so I could watch bbc iplayer, and an SSD so it would work fast enough. All my work is done in Google Drive/docs and it works perfectly fine on my linux box. Leads me to wonder what the point of differentiating between windows/mac/linux is any more. Having said that, there are a few things. We have data recovery software that'll only work on Windows, we have disk cloning software that works better in windows. Umm. Errm. That's about it. For email and document editing, Linux works every time. Perfectly.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

      What do you recommend for syncing music to an iPhone?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...


        "What do you recommend for syncing music to an iPhone?"

        A new phone

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...


      2. Steven Raith

        Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

        Dunno about an iPhone, but Rythmbox works fine for iPods, and has done for years, as do plenty of other music applications on Linux.

        Do keep up, chum.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

          Tried it and Banshee. Neither worked. Turns out it's a 'known issue' syncing to an iPhone is not possible on Linux. Don't even suggest Wine. That doesn't work either

          1. Vic

            Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

            syncing to an iPhone is not possible on Linux

            This page disagrees with you. Not having an iPhone myself, I cannot say for sure which one of you is correct.


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

        > What do you recommend for syncing music to an iPhone?

        Erm, plug phone in, wait for it to mount, drag and drop files, eject, enjoy.

        Not that hard really.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

          Doesn't work.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

      Same here and I was (sadly) hugely impressed when it took 2 clicks and about 10 seconds to find my wireless printer, configure it and print a test page, which is a sad reflection on how bad my expectations have become over recent years using windows.

    7. jzl

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

      Can you find an open source alternative to Excel that really - really - runs VBA macros? And an open source alternative to Bloomberg would be nice too.

      1. Roo

        Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here...

        "Can you find an open source alternative to Excel that really - really - runs VBA macros? And an open source alternative to Bloomberg would be nice too."

        I really don't understand why people keep bringing this argument up in response to people saying they're happy with something that isn't Excel. You were happy with Excel, so stick with your legacy spreadsheet running legacy macros on a legacy platform. Meanwhile there are billions of people who can live quite happily without Excel + VBA macros in their daily life who really don't give a toss if there's an Open Source clone of "Bloomberg" or not.

        I think most Penguinistas will be quite happy for you to carry on running Excel + VBA Macros until MS pulls the plug, good luck with your Windows & Office 365 subscriptions...

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. present_arms

      Agreed, But I'll stick with my pclinuxos which to me seems snappier than Mint when I tried it :)


      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I'm with you on that.

        Mint is a fine distro, shame about systemd.

        So I'll stick with PCLOS. The rolling release suits me and I find the Mandrake tools easy and convenient.

  5. wx666z


    just did the upgrade to 17.3 from 17.1. Only took about 15 minutes, including reboot. All my programs still where they were and still work. Very nice! No problems...

  6. MT Field
    Thumb Up

    Sounds like its worth creating the bootable USB stick and giving it a go.

  7. captain veg Silver badge

    Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

    I've never had much trouble using any distro on any hardware until I bought a cheap HP Envy 15 (model ah000na) laptop some months ago. I wanted to put Mint on it, but it just doesn't want to play in all sorts of random ways that are too tedious to list here. I've also tried SuSE and Debian and a few others. Nothing works correctly.

    Anyone like to suggest something else? Am I likely to have more luck with one of the BSDs?


    1. RIBrsiq

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      "Anyone like to suggest something else? Am I likely to have more luck with one of the BSDs?"

      This is so basic that I hesitate to ask, but have you made sure that the HW is OK? If the RAM is flaky, it would lead to random failures that are rather frustrating to track down, for example.

      I believe some flavour of MemTest86+ is included on the Mint installation disc, if you haven't ruled that out.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

        > This is so basic that I hesitate to ask, but have you made sure that the HW is OK?

        I tested the RAM and disk, no apparent problems. As you would expect with a brand new machine.

        And, it pains me to say, the pre-installed Windows 8 appeared to have no problems at all before I zapped it.

        Thanks to everyone for the replies. I'll give OpenBSD a go.


        1. John 104

          Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

          I have the ENVY 13T. It installed Mint 17.3 no problem at all. Recognizes all my hardware as well. It dual boots nicely with my Win10 partition.

          For any *nix distro make sure you turn off UEFI. Other than that it should be plug an play.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

            No need to turn of UEFI mint works with it fine, you simply need to tell it to update the UEFI partition when you install.

    2. CAPS LOCK

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      "Am I likely to have more luck with one of the BSDs?" Generally FreeBSD drives are slower to appear than Linux drivers, so probably not, BUT at least you can give them (The BSD's) a try!

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

      Viva la revolución penguinista

      Mint is a work of Linux-art. I took a slightly dated, hand-me-down IBM X40 Thinkpad laptop, beefed it up to a whopping 1.5 GB of Ram and then inserted an 80 GB Transcend SSD drive. Mint made it magical.

      I now have a nice little laptop that is more than good enough for portable tasks at customer sites. I also highly recommend tweaking firefox performance for extra browsing pleasure and speed.

      Video, sound, everything works flawlessly.

      So give those under powered, abandoned Windows boxen a new lease on life with low end SSDs, a pinch of memory and a sprig of Mint. You know you want to..... And if you don't, send them to me.

      1. tad atin

        Re: Viva la revolución penguinista

        My main computer is x61 (4 GB RAM, SSD) + LinuxMint. Perfect 10 years old machine!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      Windows 10....

    6. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      > ...all sorts of random ways that are too tedious to list here.

      That sounds very much like borken hardware! But from a USB stick and also let memtest86 run over night!

    7. itzman

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      Buy a cheap Toshiba laptop. Mint 'just installed'

    8. fredds

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      Google came up with this.

      If that doesn't work for you, maybe a better answer somewhere else in the forum.

      good luck


    9. Whistlerspa

      Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

      17.2 didn't like my HP Pavilion - particularly the NVidea graphics card. GPU froze repeatedly. So know what you mean..

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Mint has worked with ALL my hardware

        @ Whistlerspa

        "17.2 didn't like my HP Pavilion - particularly the NVidea graphics card. GPU froze repeatedly. So know what you mean.."

        This is where there is good news. Instead of the classic issue of then digging around online to find an exe file that may have worked in the past before the new driver stuffed it, mint has a very useful feature. Open the menu, administration and then driver manager. If you have an NVidia it will likely list 2+ alternatives from Nouveau to NVidia versions. It is as easy as selecting one and clicking apply so just try them until your happy. I do recommend a reboot to be thorough when you make the change.

        Of course you can still go and download the actual stand alone drivers from NVidia which will hopefully work but I have yet to find need to do so.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fails to mention the blistering fast install time, to get a fully working updated Mint 17.3 system.

    Take a DV7 (popular in its day) as a test machine - HP DV7 Intel/Nvidia 9400M based 17" Laptop, circa 2010, but now fitted with Samsung SSD...

    In the time it takes to install Linux Mint 17.3 from scratch using a USB installer including downloading all updates and the time taken for the proper configuration of Broadcom and NVidia proprietary drivers - 12 minutes total start to finish....

    It takes an already installed working, but fresh install of Windows 7 SP1 on the same machine, that amount of time just to check for and install the first important update. The clunky updated version of Windows Update installer, which has to then restart and relaunch, thats even before a single one of the forthcoming 200+ updates are checked for and installed.

    Then, you have to deal with a broken updater that fails to download updates at all, until you finally see sense, apply an updated Windows Update fix manually. (then finally, you have 5-10 hours of hell to look forward to, updating the thing to current, in avoiding both telemetry/Windows 10 NAG system patches) to get something similar, but with beloved free notepad, rather than free LibreOffice as your main writing tool.

    And the point being, if you work out of a browser - Opening Firefox 44 full screen on Linux Mint, within 10 minutes you'll forget what operating system you're actually working from, because its pretty much identical to using Firefox 44 on Windows 7.

    Yet were all still using Windows, WTF? and spending hours either trying to avoid Windows 10, or hours trying to get obsolete signed drivers from HP for things like Authentec Fingerprint readers, Hard disk protection systems that are so niche no one cares or getting so frustrated by simple things in Windows 10 such as Synaptics two finger scrolling no longer working and wonder how this Win10 OS ever got through 'quality control'.

    We all need to break the Windows Cycle of dispair.

    And Note: Windows (7) was designed for this laptop.

    1. RIBrsiq

      @Adam Jarvis

      If you install Windows -- especially 7 -- on a regular basis, it pays to integrate all updates using DISM, I think. That way, you avoid having to go through several cycles of updates and download gigabytes of data; which can get old pretty fast even over a GigE link from WSUS. Cuts down the total number of needed updates from 200+ to about 5, in my experience.

      Not to mention that Windows Update will do spectacularly stupid things, if you let it. Such as update IE9, replace it with IE11 and *then* update that!

      On the other hand, if you do an install every few months or something, then it's probably not worth the hours needed to get this done right. And I would urge everyone not to download updated images from the Internet, naturally! You don't, after all, know where it's been... ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fails to mention blistering fast install time of Linux Mint 17.3


        While it could be seen to be a bit unfair comparing a circa 2011 Window 7 SP1+patched system to 2016, to a modern 2015 USB image release such as Linux Mint 17.3, many of Microsoft's current problems are related to how Windows has been packaged/updated over its lifetime.

        The fundamental operation of Windows Update has changed little since 1995. Its the 'can of worms' that no one at Microsoft has been willing to tackle, its the equivalent of rewriting the VBA engine for Office RT for the Surface (which was never done), MS don't seem to have people with the technical skills, historical documentation to do it, or financially its just not worth it. But in the end they are 'fundamentals' as to why the platform fails in the long term.

        You can always say there are better ways of doing things; WSUS etc, but when confronted with the example I've posted, thats what 9/10 normal users are contronted with, a poor, clunky slow system of applying Windows updates, that just can't compete with the roll-out methods of a modern Linux OS release, like Mint 17.3.

        1. RIBrsiq

          Re: Fails to mention blistering fast install time of Linux Mint 17.3

          Let's first get the useful stuff out of the way:

          The best way to do the odd Windows install is to install Windows 10.

          But if you simply must install 7, then your best bet is to just smile and let Windows Update do its thing. It's a multi-hour process, but it will get there eventually. And you don't have to babysit it, so you can do useful stuff and check back on it every few hours.

          Now other things:

          "The fundamental operation of Windows Update has changed little since 1995".

          Oh, I don't know about that. It seems to me that there are substantial differences in the process between even the Windows XP days and today; you should even be able to notice the visual differences in the installation process, without getting under the hood. I should know, as I have been cooking updated Windows images since then.

          On the other hand, updating a circa-2009CE Linux image would be a vastly different experience because, I think, it would basically be impossible: the oldest Ubuntu release still supported dates back to 2012CE, according to the information I can find.

          I am not criticizing, here. Just pointing out the differences. Linux and Windows are different OSes doing different things, with different levels of support and different legal obligations. Microsoft have to do many of the things the way they do them because of the way they have to do things. I know that's a bit of a circular sentence; that's intentional.

          And what happens when Microsoft try to get a bit pro-active about getting people to update to the latest release...? "We hate GWX!" pitch-fork parties, of course!!


          1. jzl

            Re: Fails to mention blistering fast install time of Linux Mint 17.3

            @RIBrsiq That's a strange tic you've got there, adding "CE" to the end of years.

          2. Vic

            Re: Fails to mention blistering fast install time of Linux Mint 17.3

            On the other hand, updating a circa-2009CE Linux image would be a vastly different experience because, I think, it would basically be impossible

            And you'd be wrong.

            RHEL4 (and derivatives, of course) was released in February 2005. Support is available until March 2017. And, of course, RHEL5, 6, and 7 are all available and will be supported long beyond that. EL5 was released in 2007, so trivially meets your 2009 date (el6 wasn't released until 2010).


  9. Lunatik

    Maybe next time

    If I may be permitted to park my contrarian bus on the Mint love-in car park for a second...

    I'm exactly the kind of person that Linux on the desktop needs to win over if it is ever to be more than a niche past-time for the already-converted.

    I've a solid 20+ years of Windows experience, from WFW and NT 3.5 to Windows 10 and Server 2012, have a fair understanding of what goes on under the hood in terms of hardware, software and networking, and am _very_ aware of the shortcomings of Microsoft products.

    I've dabbled with live CDs and test installs of Fedora, Ubuntu and others over the years but always retreated to the safety of Windows for any machines I use on a permanent basis. There was always too much to learn and too little time, and the benefits in investing the time would not be realised as most of the software I use often have no realistic equivalent in GNU-land.

    When I was donated an old but perfectly serviceable Dell desktop for my son to use a couple of years ago I thought that instead of jumping through the hoops to get whatever version of Vista was originally on it reinstated I'd just go for Linux. I reasoned that most of what my son would use it for (web, Minecraft and office applications) would work just fine without Windows.

    So after digging about for a suitably newbie distro I installed Mint and although I don't think I had to jump through any fewer hoops than I would have done with resurrecting Vista on it (which was a surprise), it in the main it has performed well enough under the circumstances.

    But it definitely hasn't been plain sailing and has required more than one arcane GRUB intervention on my part, various bits of the UI have stopped working at random and things have never been 100% in terms of getting security/elevation and package installation/update to work properly.

    I'm prepared to accept that it was my inexperience that may have caused some of the long-standing package/elevation issues (although that's a problem right there) and that I may make a better job of understanding things a second time around, but the fact is that if a seasoned user like me, albeit coming from a different OS background, struggles with the most user-friendly version of Linux out there (and it was a struggle at points), what chance my wife managing this in my absence? Or my 72yo mum?

    As it is I'm just about to flatten it and install Windows again and it will join the other four Win machines on my home network. The eventual push to do this? The lack of a viable FRAPS alternative, which is pretty much all a game- and YouTube-obsessed boy cares about.

    I seem to have been saying this for 20-odd years, but maybe one day there will be a Linux OS that I can recommend to a wider audience, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1. CAPS LOCK

      Re: Maybe next time

      Hmmm, on the face of it I would say that the 'old Dell' wasn't quite as perfectly serviceable as you were lead to believe. My experience with a considerable number of systems, of various vintages, has been that older systems work BETTER under Mint than under Windows.

      Give it another chance. I'd be more than a little surprised if the system, barring any hardware issues, doesn't get a new lease of life.

      1. Lunatik

        Re: Maybe next time

        Oh, I don't doubt that Mint was working properly, it's just the cack-handed manner in which I set it up that probably caused the bulk of the problems, the kind of stuff you're not asked to consider with a Win install. None of the issues were related to hardware problems, only security, elevation and stuff associated with making things work, so I've no reason to suspect the underlying hardware.

        But the fact that a seasoned and tech-savvy person like me can make a pig's ear of just installing the OS from a relative standing start speaks volumes.

        I also don't doubt that much or all of what is wrong could be fixed by a Linux expert in 30 minutes, and if I had similar issues on a Windows box then I'd probably be able to snap it into shape pretty quickly too, but that learning curve and the returns thing kicks in again.

    2. Lamont Cranston

      Re: maybe one day there will be a Linux OS that I can recommend to a wider audience

      If there is, it'll probably be Mint. I've found the hardware support to have improved since I started using it (either that, or I've just become a more confident Linux user?). Where Windows does win, is that you'll almost certainly know someone who can help you out with your PC, in real life, but Linux will probably require searching online for the answer. I think that will change, however (and I've generally had no problem in finding answers to any issues by searching online).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe next time

      @Lunatik - that's unusual, in my experience, and I know of a couple in tehir 60's that installed Mint from a Linux Format DVD I gave them by themselves and have reported no problems whatsoever.. One of teh problems, of course, is that no matter if the majority of people don;t have any problems at all, for those few that do have problems, well, they have problems, and there's no getting around that.

      That said, in my experience the threemain things that cause problems tend to be either down to flaky hardware, bang up to teh minute hardware for which there are not open source drivers yet or - and I am NOT being snarky about this - experienced Windows users trying to do things the Windows way instead of just doing things the Linux way, where a complete newbie would just follow the instructions on the screen and have no problems.

      Even so, the fact remains that inevitably, hardware being as diverse as it is, some small percentage will have problems where most have none. That's just down to statistics, rather than any problem with Linux. I can only say that I have never for one moment regretted switching to Linux years ago because I want stuff that just works, gives me little or no grief, and doesn;t demand that I have to use the CLI. Windows never gave me that. Linux does, and has for some years now. YMMV.

      1. Vic

        Re: Maybe next time

        I know of a couple in tehir 60's that installed Mint from a Linux Format DVD I gave them by themselves and have reported no problems whatsoever

        This is entirely normal.

        IME, the people who struggle with Linux are not newbies - they're experienced Windows users, who insist either on doing everything "the Windows way", or else trusting the first dodgy piece of "advice" they find on some un-named forum somewhere.

        A distribution generally works best when it's used as intended - with the packages delivered from upstream. You *can* change all that, if you so desire - but that means you're breaking new ground. It will probably work just fine. Sometimes, it doesn't - particularly if you try to change something important[1]. It can even be fun sorting out the mess[2], if that's your thing.


        [1] At a place I worked a while ago, they decided to change the default version of Python used by the box - then wondered why half the tools no longer worked...

        [2] This is much simplified by scrupulous packaging. If you know which package owns every file on your system, and you know how that package came to be there, it's much easier to find the broken bits.

    4. ckm5

      Re: Maybe next time

      My mother (now in her 70's) used a Linux desktop for many, many years. Once it's setup, there really is nothing to go wrong and most people only use web browsers anyway.

      Linux Mint is very good (I have it running on 3 machines, including my primary laptop), but Apple's offerings are still better, they need little care & feeding (unlike either Windows or Linux) although Apple has gotten worse since Jobs died. Plus there is the upside bonus that the hardware retains it's value.

      In your case, a Chromebook might be the answer - Linux without having to install it, mostly does everything a typical user wants.

      1. Lunatik

        Re: Maybe next time

        Getting Minecraft & FRAPS running on a Chromebook might be a challenge ;)

    5. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Maybe next time

      @ Lunatik

      For a beginner linux (and seems perfectly adequate for any desktop use) I recommend mint. Especially for people who dont like the direction windows is taking or has older hardware which windows is too slow on. And as for one that your wife can use I will mention that I installed Ubuntu with unity for my gran (80+) and she more than coped (she liked it, her choice and she had only owned a winXP computer for a couple of years by then) so mint with cinnamon should be a walk in the park.

      I am not sure why you would need to do any arcane GRUB interventions unless you reinstalled windows after installing mint and scrubbed the boot loader. However without knowing the details I cannot answer.

      Also what security/elevation issue are you having for package installation/update? Unless you fiddle with things in some strange way, user accounts are either admin (can install stuff) or standard (not got permission generally). If you have more information I would be interested to know what happened.

      As for FRAPS I did a quick google search and found- Feel free to have a look at the options and I am sure you could probably find more (that was the top of the list).

      I doubt you are the person linux needs to win over, it is nothing more than a personal choice and you seem to enjoy windows (nothing wrong with that). I have the same reaction as you if I am ever confronted with an apple device as I prefer linux and winXP/7 so I find all kinds of flaws an apple lover wouldnt think of. But so far I have exclusive windows users of all ages moving to mint as all of my systems have it installed (some dual boot with windows) and it is free and simple. it is the person who just wants their PC to work and not who want it to work in a specific way they are used to who need to be won.

      1. Lunatik

        Re: Maybe next time

        Don't get me wrong, from the *user's* point of view Mint worked pretty much perfectly, it was just the poor s̶y̶s̶a̶d̶m̶i̶n̶ dad that struggled. From his perspective things worked pretty much the same as the PC at school, or the other PCs in the house, I tried to make sure of that. He could browse, game (within reason), create, save and print files as he needed to, and most of the network resources were accessible too.

        The problems I had stemmed from being unable to sudo properly, I kept running into credential problems where the UI actions or commands should have worked, but never seemed to have the correct permissions. I tried to use root to fix those and seemed to make things worse, at one point I had no usable admin account and I seemed to be locked out of the UI tools to fix things. That led me down a rabbit hole to messing about with GRUB, of which I know very little. I did manage to get it back up and running to some degree, but installing packages always seems to trip things up. I've given up trying to make it work as I think it should now.

        p.s. I tried all the common Linux screencap apps (when I could!) and unfortunately none are even close to FRAPS in terms of ease of use or performance.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Maybe next time

          @ Lunatik

          That sounds amazingly impressive you have my admiration. I am not sure why you were using sudo, if it was for installing stuff then I really do recommend you stick with the GUI tools which handle all that for you. There is very little reason for a beginner/novice to use the command line but more experienced people find it easier. Chances are you became root and various new files were set to the roots permissions only (even admins cant beat that without a sudo) but this would be into the non-beginner territory.

          Of course that does explain why you then started doing things in GRUB. It sounds like you went down an advanced path, made a mess of something and so went down further advanced and messy stuff. personally I would recommend just reinstalling mint, create admin accounts for those who should be able to install and standard for anyone else and then just stick to the GUI tools. If you use it as you would windows (i.e. no command line) you will find it works as intended and you should have no reason to become root.

          I know nothing about FRAPS to be honest, my gaming is generally in windows and it is the only reason I have such a partition on my PC. Everything else I do in linux but while not an absolute beginner I am not advanced at all.

        2. GrumpenKraut

          Re: Maybe next time

          I fail to understand why anyone would downvote your post. Have an upvote plus a beer ------>

          [edit: best if you could find someone to do initial install and adaption of system]

    6. Gordon 11

      Re: Maybe next time

      But it definitely hasn't been plain sailing and has required more than one arcane GRUB intervention on my part, various bits of the UI have stopped working at random and things have never been 100% in terms of getting security/elevation and package installation/update to work properly.

      Which sounds very similar to my experience of MS Windows.

      When the Windows10 part2 update came along in the autumn my desktop system upgraded on day one. My laptop, on the other hand, stopped getting any updates at all! I knew it was a "staggered" upgrade, so waited. After 6 weeks (still no updates of any sort) I gave up, downloaded the manual Win10 update again and re-installed that.

      The UI has many annoying features, which MS do not let me change.

      • I can't configure a click-to-focus window policy as MS doesn't give me the option (although the Window manage does have the ability).
      • I can't configure window border thickness, nor colour (properly)
      • If I don't set a password on an account (on a home desktop system, why bother) then Windows10 will auto-login the last user - and MS gives you no way to prevent this.
      • If I plug-in my phone to use it as an on-the-go network connexion MS Windows will see it as an Ethernet connexion. And MS doesn't let you mark Ethernet connexions as chargeable: so it feels free to download any updates (e.g. the 3GB Win10 upgrade) over it without asking me.

      Linux, however, lets me do what I want, how I want.

  10. RIBrsiq
    Thumb Up

    Glad to read this. I am planning a Linux-based GNS3 lab for CCIE, and I was pondering which distro I should go with. This article helped make up my mind.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't bother with GNS3

      Do yourself a favor and research IOS for Linux. Far better option if you can find it.

      Anon, obviously

      1. RIBrsiq

        Re: Don't bother with GNS3

        "Do yourself a favor and research IOS for Linux. Far better option if you can find it".

        I am still sharpening the axe, so thanks for the hint!

        Obviously, if it turns out to be a horribly illegal thing, then I will have nothing to do with it!!

  11. theOtherJT Silver badge

    My only problem was the installer

    Which when I tried to install Mint over Christmas was inexplicably missing the ability to do MD raid or LVM. I imagine most won't notice, but it was a bit of a pain having to drop to a shell and do it all by hand. Clearly the tools are there, seeing as... well... I was able to drop to a shell and do it by hand :/

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: My only problem was the installer

      Which when I tried to install Mint over Christmas

      Christmas? What bizarre unheard of OS is this? And why were you replacing it?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: My only problem was the installer

        Oh, that was good!

    2. 38292757

      Re: My only problem was the installer

      Did a clean install of Mint over Christmas a few hours ago. It's rubbish . . . back to Win10 for me thanks!

  12. se99paj

    Linux & Games

    I currently have an Ubuntu box setup as my media centre PC and as I've had this running for a fair few years I'd like to think that I have a bit of experience using Linux.

    I dabbled with Mint for about 6 months a few years back, I couldn't reinstall my copy of Windows 7 and didn't want to fork out for Windows 8 at the time so thought I'd try and make the move to Linux.

    Seem to recall the install being fairly trouble free and found it easy to find Linux alternatives for most of the productivity apps that I use, the only issue I had was regarding my USB wireless which dropped connection periodically.

    But in the end I moved back to Windows because a vast majority of the games I wanted to play would only work on Windows. I recall trying to use WINE and some other software to get them to work but never had any luck. If you can get AAA games to be compatible with Linux out of the box then that would be the nail in the coffin for Windows.

    1. John Mangan

      Re: Linux & Games

      I haven't tried it yet but isn't that what Steam are doing?

      1. se99paj

        Re: Linux & Games

        As far as I can tell the SteamOS is just another Linux distro, you'll only be able to play Linux games not Windows games.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm supporter of SteamOS and think it would be great if they can pull it off, but they can't do it on their own and need the support from other vendors.

    2. Avatar of They

      Re: Linux & Games

      There is a native steam client, not even counting the Steam OS linux distro.

      Sadly my linux machine has a rubbish on board graphics card but it played Left 4 dead 2 perfectly (lots turned down. Nice and smooth just more like minecraft.) So the client works and the game worked. And that was a previous version of Linux as well, so give it another whirl.

      I am looking to buy a proper rig for Linux as my current little dual core AMD office machine is now five years old (Still happily working with Mint however) So I can start to see what Steam can do.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Linux & Games

        When I upgraded my 'odds and sods' laptop to Mint 17.2 I was looking at the gaming side and found the 'Play on Linux' app which acts as a front end to WINE. Used this for a couple of Windows games I own and they now play seamlessly on Mint.

        Since I do most of my gaming on a Console this covered my needs perfectly.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: Linux & Games

          There's been a steady trickle of AAA games getting native ports - anything by Croteam, we've recently had good ports of Bioshock Infinite, and here's a general list that I found on Reddit:

          Metro 2033 Redux

          Metro: Last Light (altough you can't buy this anymore)

          Metro: Last Light Redux

          Serious Sam 3

          The Talos Principle

          Civilization Beyond Earth

          Cities: Skylines

          Half-Life (all of them)

          Counter Strike (all of them)

          Natural Selection 2

          Brütal Legend

          Spec Ops: The line

          Borderlands: The pre-Sequel

          Portal 1 and 2

          Tropico 5

          Empire: Total war

          Shadow Warrior


          Team Fortress 2

          XCOM: Enemy Unkown and Enemy WIthin

          Dead Island

          Dying light

          That's an oldish list, so add to that Arkham Knight (should arrive in Spring), Project Cars 2 (they promised Linux for PCars1 but that never happened, the cheeky little shits - linux (and Wii) users funded them on a promise, suppose that's what pre-order/crowdfunding culture gets you - but PCars2 will apparently be more platform agnostic to avoid this in future), and almost all the major, wide spectrum (IE not just inhouse, like Frostbite mainly is) engines are either capable of producing linux-native output (Cryengine (Yes, the latest one), Unreal Engine 4, Unity, Source 2 is a given and will likely be one of the first engines to be linux optimised, not just compatible) or are getting lots of attention from the likes of Feral studios, who are porting the games over on behalf of the primary publisher. As more engines get an option to compile directly to linux, it should be less of the 'port' and more of the 'version', if you catch my drift.

          As ever, chicken and egg, though. If they don't make the games, we can't buy 'em, but if we don't buy 'em, they won't make 'em....

          Steven R

          1. se99paj

            Re: Linux & Games

            Completely agree - there are some games available on Linux and its great to see some the developers go this way, but I'm probably interested in 2/3 of those games the ones I'm interested in purchasing like CoD or fallout are all Windows.

            In an ironic way, the exact reason why I won't move from a Windows PC to Linux is the same reason I wouldn't move from Android to a Windows phone, there are some equivalent apps on the other platforms but they aren't the apps that I want to use.

        2. se99paj

          Re: Linux & Games

          I dabbled with Play on Linux but didn't have any success, it was definitely trial and error to try and get the games to work. Even with the website providing configurations/hint/tips how to get games to work I still rarely had any luck.

    3. montyburns56

      Re: Linux & Games

      While I have become a Linux Mint fanatic for everyday use, I must admit that Windows is still the king when it comes to PC gaming, especially if you want to play the AAA titles. And to be honest I don't think that the Steam OS will change that situation much either.

    4. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Re: Linux & Games

      Part of the problem is fear on the part of AAA game title publishers that encouraging native Linux ports will lead to rampant piracy. A lot of them seem uncomfortable with the idea that you, as the customer, might actually have access to the filesystem in your PC and as one of those weird "Linux people" might know enough about computers to circumvent their copy protection mechanism. These are people who are much happier with the idea of a PC as an appliance (hence the direction of Windows As A Service and as little access to the hardware as possible) and would much rather everyone only released for consoles.

      Fortunately, Valve have seen straight through this nonsense and have enough standing as a publisher in their own right these days to carry a lot of high quality games with them. We can but hope that they will continue to do so.

  13. Clockworkseer

    Depends on the hardware

    I have an old compaq laptop that I make attempts every so often to throw linux at, alas, it seems that the new shiney open source nvidia drivers don't really handle some of the mobile nvidia graphics chipsets very well, so I have to faff arund with grub just to get the livedisk to boot, and then faff with blacklisting modules when I get the thing installed (and even then, it mostly just seems to break on loading X)

  14. Mage Silver badge


    Once you change the default settings the Mate desktop is the best I've used on Linux since 1999 if you want functionality rather than eye candy and you are moving from XP customised to be like Win98/NT4.0 classic GUI.

    Good for older PCs too. The default Animated slide show log in screen makes login in very painful, but easily turned off.

  15. frank ly

    A quick point

    I've just settled down with Mint 17.3 MATE which is LTS to 2019, after 3 years on Mint 13 which was LTS to 2017. To my surprise, based on the official Linux Mint site, it seems that Mint 18 will be released in May/June of 2016 and will be LTS to 2021. They are 'looking into' ways of making an upgrade path from Mint 17.3 to Mint 18 so that a fresh install isn't needed.

    For some people, it might be better to wait until May/June this year and start with Mint 18. However, it's free and easy to 'play' with 17.3 and make a total mess of things while having a 'learning experience' to get you used to Linux if you've never tried it before.

    Go on, do it, break it in many different ways, swear at it and learn how to restore it; it's not difficult.

  16. Norman Nescio

    Not quite there yet...

    Just to interrupt the love-in for a moment: I just installed Mint 17.3 on an old laptop, and yes, it is very good for rejuvenating a very old piece of kit, but...

    It will be used by multiple users, who have different native languages. I could find no easy way of having the native language set up for one user different to another. It's a very minor point, but given the slick approach of renaming the directories in the primary users home directory in the language of their choice, being able to have different names for other users would have been nice. Yes, it's a very minor quibble.

    But a major quibble was trying to install a printer. Its an Epson. Epson are not Linux hostile: they even offer drivers themselves. The trouble is, the automatic driver download that Mint offered did not install the lsb software first, and borked everything until I removed the Epson driver with extreme predjudice in Synaptic, all the lsb software (ditto), rebooted and retried from start.

    It's a multifunction inkjet. The scanner software was separate. I had to manually edit a config file to put in the IP address of the scanner. As a hardened IT user who has dabbled with Linux and BSD since starting with 68K Debian Linux on a low-end Mac, I could do it all, but no way was it a 'easy for your generic grandmother' process. In order to get the printer/scanner to reliably work, I also had to configure my home router to give it a static (DHCP) IP address.

    Now this isn't entirely Mint's fault, but illustrates that the Linux ecosystem is not a slick as the (dysfunctional) Windows ecosystem. Automatic update of drivers actually works surprisingly well on Windows machines, as does automatic discovery of devices.

    And...even before all this, getting the installation software onto a USB stick was harder than it should have been. I did (eventually) dd from a downloaded ISO, and again, it is not Mint's fault, but installing from USB is harder than it should be. I do know of utilities to create installation media from Windows - but I don't have a windows PC. There was also UNetbootin, but my ideal would have been to put the ISO on my existing bootable USB stick with the other useful distros - Puppy, DSL, and SystemRescueCD - but the version of GRUB on that is a pre 2.0 version, and anyway, UNetbootin would have blown all that away...I didn't have the time or patience to play around, so just resorted to dding from the ISO onto a spare stick.

    The good news is that it all works. It was just harder than it should have been, but I think Mint will be going onto my parents' Windows 7 machine* (which may be a Windows 10 machine by now, although I've had no panicked phone call about the upgrade) . I'll probably still buy them an iPad.

    * so long as I can find an acceptable Solitaire lookalike.

    1. Zimmer

      Re: Not quite there yet...

      Funnily enough.. when I bought a new Laptop some many years ago the copy of Vista on it would not talk to my HP printer, not no way...... I solved that only by dual booting the then current version of... Linux Mint.

      It's the same story whichever OS you choose. Something will no longer be the particular beef with MS was when XP came out and they wanted me to pay to upgrade my copies of Office 95, which would no longer work on XP.. went OpenOffice then..

      For me, the thing about Linux distributions is that I have media to install/re-install from and it usually takes less than an hour to be up and running should a disaster strike, particularly if one uses separate partitions to store one's working data and makes back-ups of those files to external media.

      That was not the case with the consumer laptop as far as Win was concerned (only a Win recovery partition, which could have been corrupt and past its sell-by date by the time of failure) . This raises the other issue of 'who can install an OS ?' The man in the street goes to PC World, Tesco etc. buys laptop pre-installed with Windows. If he wants a laptop pre-installed with a flavour of Linux (free) he will have to find a specialist supplier on the internet ... AND pay more for the privilege. ONE big reason Linux will gain little popularity with the masses , it's not 'in your face' in the High Street (lack of AAA games is another...)

    2. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Not quite there yet...

      I've given up trying to get my Mint install to print to our wireless HP printer - always prints with the colours misaligned, for some strange reason. Based on that, I've never attempted to get the scanner going!

      Everything else is great, though, such that I rarely feel the need to boot it into Windows Vista, anymore (if someone could recommend an easy way of ripping and tagging CDs, I'd been happy as a pig in muck).

    3. Kurt Meyer

      Re: Not quite there yet...

      Norman, try Aisleriot Solitaire. It is in the first "Games and Amusements" section in the Synaptic Package Manager used by Mint and several other distros.

      There are about 80 varieties of solitaire included in the package.

  17. aidanstevens


    And they still can't implement WPS push-button connect. As that's the first thing I want to do when I boot a fresh OS I can't help but feel disappointed.

  18. Mark 110


    Anyone have a clue how to make my Lenovo Yoga auto screen rotate when in tablet mode? Tried switching to Mint a while back and ran into that problem. So went back to Windows.

    I might take another look but I take very little pleasure in digging through Linux forums for fixes that don't work or send me into CLI hell.

    1. Mark 110

      Re: Question

      And thought II would give it another look on the strength of this article. One of my other gripes last time was there didn't seem to be a quick way of getting Onedrive sync in place. Had a quick Google and tried this:

      An hour in command line hell and it doesn't work. Just throws me errors halfway through the setup process even though I am following instructions precisely. No clear instruction as to what I have done wrong.

      To be honest Linux is utter bollocks. If it can't get something as simple working in a couple of clicks its an utter waste of my time. Can it be that difficult to get a piece of software to install and run?

      1. Mark 110

        Re: Question

        OK - got Onedriive sync working. Only 2 hours pain and one thumb down. Should I start on the Auto rotate issue tonight as well . . . maybe not. I have to be up at 6am.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Question

          @ Mark 110

          After your comment about following the instructions precisely (and they did look easy but I have never used onedrive) what was the issue? How did you resolve it?

          As for auto rotate it is a fairly new technology for the PC so looks to need a little script work. The good news is I found this which looks easy enough and will hopefully work for you-

      2. CAPS LOCK

        @Mark 110

        Poor quality trolling. 0/10. Must try harder.

        1. Kurt Meyer

          Re: @Mark 110

          @CAPS LOCK

          Your troll detector seems to be misfiring. Have you never had a moment of frustration in which you've declared something to be utter shit/shite/bollocks/crap? Never? Not even once?

          You generously offered encouragement to Lunatik when he wrote of his difficulties. Why not do the same for Mark 110? By his own account he's surmounted one obstacle, and is slogging away at another.

          Let us encourage these folks, rather than denigrate them.

  19. Jim-234

    When you need a Free, reliable and quick OS, I have found Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon to be wonderfully quick and simple to setup with built in drivers for most of the systems I come across & a lot of brand new stuff as well.

    What I don't miss from setting up Windows 7 is the day long update cycle the first time.

    There are some things such as gaming or custom applications that it won't do right & some printers / devices may not work without lots of extra settings (I have had great luck getting it to work right out of the gate on network printers).

    For a lot of your average friends / relatives who just want to be able to get on the internet to check their e-mail / facebook, browse the web, type some letters & look at pictures etc, it's a great distro that is pretty much self explanatory to most windows users.

    I think however if people actually had to pay for Windows separately it would be all Mint all the time.

    I guess I'll try that for fun next time a friend/relative wants a cheap $200 decent laptop, ask them $200 laptop with Linux Mint or add $136 for a proper full Windows licence... see what they choose! My guess is they stick with Mint.

    Much the same as when the same people really want MS Office instead of LibreOffice, I just tell them, sure... go buy it... most decide it is not worth it if they have to pay.

  20. YARR

    Video review suggestion

    If a picture says a thousand words, then a video shows... more than that.

    I think a narrated video running through the new features would complement these reviews. A highly edited video that cuts everything into a few minutes. That way we can get to see for ourselves how new features work and can make a better judgement about whether to upgrade / switch / whatever.

  21. Novex

    Sad to say...

    ...that I haven't found Linux Mint to be as power user friendly as I'd like.

    There's still too much reliance on the CLI to do background things. Really I'd hoped that GUIs for all the command line tasks would be available, fully featured and fully capable. I feel for a mainstream Linux, it should be a choice for the user to use either a GUI or CLI, not be to be forced to use the CLI because there's no other way to do something. I also remember things visually, and don't use such background tasks often, so remembering text commands is a real problem.

    Then there's the hardware. Most things work, but I've a bluetooth dongle that won't stay connected to anything, even though it's fully recognized by Mint and initializes connections without issue (it just drops the connections as soon as I try to use them). I also have a step counter that has no Linux driver, so it's just not recognized at all by Mint.

    Then there's the lack of professional software support. I have a few very specific programs like Sibelius, Sonar, and associated music stuff, that simply have no Linux versions and because they also talk to some older hardware that doesn't have Linux drivers, I can never get them to run properly either in Wine or a VM so I have to keep a dedicated boot drive for Windows 7.

    All that said, I am sticking with Mint for general use. It's just a shame the more specialist side of professional work simply isn't sufficiently supported on Linux.

    1. Roo

      Re: Sad to say...

      "Then there's the lack of professional software support."

      That hasn't been true for a very long time in the general case at least, Oracle, IBM, RedHat et al all provide "professional software support".

      "I have a few very specific programs like Sibelius, Sonar, and associated music stuff, that simply have no Linux versions and because they also talk to some older hardware that doesn't have Linux drivers"

      Not wishing to be funny, but the problem there is that your vendors are failing to provide professional support so you need to tell them that you want it and you'll pay for it. You'll find some vendors won't even entertain the idea, and in those cases I've found that the problem turned out to be that the vendors lost the source code or simply not employing developers who can understand the code any more (this is a very common problem - developers tend to move on after 2-3 years simply because they rarely get promotions or pay rises by doing the same thing well day in day out)...

      I hope you ask for support and wish you good luck with getting it !

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another mint please

    Have to say I continue to be impressed with mint since installing it. Today's challenge was to get a microsoft works database file off a floppy disk from 2003, locating a floppy drive was an issue but having found a pc-card version and plugged it into an old laptop I managed to get the file off.

    Next problem nothing Microsoft supplies will open an Microsoft works database file.... hmmm.... googles... Ah just open it with LibreOffice (default install on mint) and save it as excel.

    It could be love.

  23. Hans 1

    No, Linux Mint isn’t switching to systemd immediately. The Linux Mint 17.x series and Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 will continue to use Upstart and SysV init, with systemd available as an option you can choose yourself. Linux Mint is giving systemd some time to mature before switching, but—with upstream projects and the Linux ecosystem as a whole moving towards systemd—Mint realizes it doesn’t have an option in the long term.


  24. Colin Bull 1

    its not compatible

    I had a phone call today because my computer has got some viruses. The Windows Technical Support company told me to do {win key} R. It does not do anything on my Mint 17.1 machine.

    How can I get these people to clean my machine if it is not compatible with proper windows ?

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like