Are all the cool kids still using Mint or have they migrated to something more esoteric?
The Linux Mint team has released Mint 20 Cinnamon, a long-term support (LTS) release. It is based on Ubuntu 20.04, will be supported until 2025, and new Mint versions will use the same package base until 2022. Linux Mint comes in three flavours, all of which are now available in Mint 20 "Ulyana" editions. One uses the …
My tuition business is in an ethnic Chinese colony in Indonesia. 100% of my students are ethnic Chinese.
They all use Apple products.
Because Apple is expensive. And expensive means status symbol.
And status symbols = Face. And Face = business here. No Face, no contract.
Sooo... I dunno about cool but Apple has serious 'Face' here.
A fair question but I don't think there is any metrics, and so what.
What if say VW Polo was the worlds most sold car is it then also the most popular or just more affordable or something.
I have settled for one distro years ago, it works well and that's it. At times I download some other on some other laptop, more or less for fun.
If I was a new user I would try several to my hearts content as then long ago and compare.
As an European I support a European, as an American I would support an American distro.
Choose one that pleases your eyes and you get to grips with, they are, after all, all Linux.
For real numbers I suppose Google could tell us a lot, if they wanted to.
Well, I am not a Mint user (used to be until they canned KDE and so I went Neon which works very well for me) but, attempting to answer your question:
1) Cinnamon. For users who say Gnome 3 as a tablet only interface, Cinnamon was Mint's initially rushed answer, essentially Gnome 3 as it could have been. I known many users use Mint just for Cinnamon. If I was not a KDE fan (I kinda need KDE just for the keyboard support leave alone the rest) I would probably go Mint Cinnamon.
2) Mint is pretty solid and reliable. When Mint did KDE it was a storming distro for me... though I could see the Mint crew was struggling with QT and KDE and I knew I would have to switch. Neon came along just in time!
3) Some would say the standard installed packages in Mint are extremely useful, and some utilities really are Mint only and cannot be installed in another distro (I know, I've tried) and since apps are what people use day to day that counts.
4) Suspicion of Canonical which many regard as getting too close to Microsoft style lock in, hence concern over snap - concerns I share, personally.
5) The downsides of snap might be too much to bear particularly enormous installs! I mean, in Neon, if I wanted to use a snap package I could end up having to download and unpack the entire Gnome GUI to run a text editor! This is something that concerns me given I need huge amounts of HDD space for my work.
6) Clem is generally regarded as a good guy who does a good job and is highly regarded in the Linux community as a whole.
I think over time Clem is going to have to distance further from Canonocial as the two distros are not ideologically aligned and the LMDE edition will have to become dominant. I think we're seeing a slow divorce here.
An interesting question which leads to discussion about 'cool' is, along with other philosophical issues.
In the UK I hated football, beer, was not a believer in 'Dawkinism,' enjoyed anime and all things cute/kawaii.
This made me deeply uncool. And a heretic.
Out here in Indonesia where I have relocated I am regarded as cool for almost exactly the same reasons.
In the UK I used Windows XP, then switched to Linux Mint KDE in Indonesia and went Neon when KDE was no longer A Thing in Mint. Make of that what you will.
What would interest me is a description of what new things I will be able to do with Mint / Debian / Ubuntu / any other new linux distro, that I was unable to do before. What "killer" apps it now contains, that weren't there before? What functions that previously were difficult or convoluted have been made easier? What giant strides have been made in the documentation (OK, that one's a joke).
I am sure it is nice to know that the colour scheme has been diddled with - that we can now have yellow folders. But if that makes it to the list of newsworthy features, I feel there isn't anything more significant that would entice me to upgrade.
This is often the thing with reviews of new desktop Linux releases, particularly in the less-technical press (not necessarily El Reg). There's a new installer, they've changed the theme a little bit, it now ships with Evolution instead of Thunderbird.
Maybe the killer features are few and far between, maybe desktops are a mature market, maybe mostly things just work, maybe reviewers focus on the wrong stuff? I don't know. But I do see a lot of reviews along those lines.
"It just works" was the killer app for quite awhile for some fruity firm.
Now the rest of us can have it without the idiot tax.
I like Mint/Mate for that, and stability is tops.
Like a vehicle I own - reliably boring. Kind of a nice feature for a tool.
Doesn't make for exciting click-bait for reviewers, and as soon as they say it, someone will carp about incompatibility that occurred before most college students were born and deny it.
But for people who just need something that works so they can get on with productivity...it's kind of nice.
I don't quite understand you. What am I supposed to kill with my Linux desktop ? You seem to be under the subtle influence of marketing. This is not Apple or Microsoft piling up features, it's a bunch of nice people working hard to give you a pretty decent desktop OS and asking for nothing in return. How hard is their work ? Well take a look at Linux from scratch, read the book and practice yourself and see how far you can get.
So, in conclusion if you don't like it there's plenty of alternative options and we'll still be friends.
[there] "isn't anything more significant that would entice me to upgrade."
stability and reliability would be reasons, but weren't mentioned (or I missed it).
LTS on its own _might_ be a reason.
Otherwise, "upgrades/updates are highly overrated" (too much feature creep).
Not sure why they aren't building the chrome package themselves, or simply using Debian's. In fact, maybe they can just ask Ubunto nicely for a copy of the build environment, tweek out the package manager install, and go from there... ?
I personally think you got a point there. But maybe we should also consider the fact that we are perhaps not the "typical user" (if such a thing exists). For many "average users" (tech support people, please join in) a simple change of GUI is a major earth shattering event. How many of us have gotten the phone call that "there is now a thingy on my screen and it used to be on the left but now it is on the right, and I don't dare to click it, because yesterday on the Beeb there was a story that peoples computers were locked and they were extorted because they clicked on something"? (Oh yes, their cache shows they have no probs roaming and clicking dodgy websites).
So yes, for many a change of colour (or how many times do you read that there are now exciting new wallpapers available?) is a big thing. Which they never change ever later. But...
Yeah, you've got a point, for the (more) tech savvy it's not that exciting. Then again, stability is nothing to be sniffed at...
For many "average users" (tech support people, please join in) a simple change of GUI is a major earth shattering event.
Yes. Yes it is and I've been downvoted a few times for saying so.
Which doesn't change the fact and the hundreds of trouble tickets I've gotten that prove it.
"What would interest me is a description of what new things I will be able to do with Mint / Debian / Ubuntu / any other new linux distro"
For me the apex was reached when they decided to ditch KDE3.x and started on and never finished KDE4.x then went onto KDE5.x.
At the time of KDE3.x a linux/gnu based system did everything I needed.
Judge based on the availability of up to date packages; a recent kernel with security/hardening patches; a good package manager that doesn't *ever* mess anything up during upgrades; sane default configuration; everything (systemd, pulseaudio, the desktop environment, networkmanager, drivers, firmware, codecs) present and interoperating correctly; a good ethos from the maintainers with friendly enthusiastic and large userbase for support
"...Upgrading can be painful in Linux"
I have never found upgrading to be a problem but then I use PCLinuxOS which is a rolling release.
Now of course rolling release distros are probably not the answer for business use but as someone running a small private network with only a few boxes it's ideal. A cron job can handle "apt-get update" and " apt-get dist-upgrade" easily enough. PCLinuxOS seems to have got the balance between the cutting edge and solid conservative features about right and I have few complaints about upgrading breaking things though it has happened, usually in respect of video problems.
So, as I say, not for business use but for me it works and I always have the current version of the distro.
Once upon a time, long, long ago... upgrading Linux used to be a real dogs breakfast.
But 2020 is not that time. I've not had an issue with updating or upgrading for well over a decade. My only gripe is gnome 3. That is a load of smelly dog poo on a good day. I use MATE as my desktop.
Mint is a decent distro. The more it distances itself from Ubuntu/Canonical (who seem to be intent on re-inventing the wheel yet again) the better IMHO. I think it should align itself with Debian.
... or maybe Devuan. I'm still not happy about systemd. Even though it now seems to be more stable, and indeed useful, it's got (IMHO) some really questionable design choices, and could really do with being refactorised: at the moment it's tho O/S analogue of one of those "OO" programs with a single big class that does everything.
... or maybe Devuan. I'm still not happy about systemd.
Indeed. I would even dare to say that a major part of the time needed for a fresh install is needed for just one thing: reviewing (love that abundant documentation, don't you?) and
systemctl disable a large part of that haystack. But honesty does also force to admit it's not as bad as it used to be (after distilling the final bash script to automate).
And for Debian-based distros, the upgrade process has been working pretty well for 15 years or so. Only new versions of apache and postfix can be a bit tricky, but one should not blame the OS for the applications, I guess.
Dependencies are tricky if you try and skip a major release or two. This is "a bit of" a no-no, i.e. a complete and utter mess (you brought upon yourself). What can break are drivers for stupid hardware (like the f'n' *** of ***** *** of a wireless network card in my notebook), if those needed to be installed via a third party solution.
Oh and it can only tun 32 bit systems
That could be a PITA, since many decide not to do 32 bit versions any more (☹), like *buntu, on which Mint is based. Then again, since LMDE, like LenG says, is Debian based, you're still good (at least for now)...
The only problems seem to revolve around unsupported parts/apps/programs etc. I wish I'd known about snapshots and dual boots back then, as I could of just had 2 Linux instances (or a VM) with an older distro that supported some old software, and a newer one for more up to date fatures.
But now? Now most things have compatibility with current software and hardware.
When KDE Neon rebased itself on 18.04 a couple of years ago I expected HUGE grief. (Note: I use KDE Neon because I find the drivers work. Kubuntu and all manner of distros would keep flip flopping on touchpads while Neon worked every time on every machine.)
I re-installed from scratch on my own laptop but tried the risk of upgrading through 'Discover' on my work machines.
Stone me if the upgrade was painless!! A couple of apps fell over but that was to be expected and updates followed but the OS was fine! I even ran the update process on 'converts' laptops which I took possession to run the process in case I had to re-install and, again, no troubles.
So I can't speak for all distros but it seems in some cases version updating now works.
In my Windows days, it was always re-install from scratch. But then Windows Vista and activation came along and I knew I had to take a closer look at Linux. Glad I did. The kid had grown up!
Has never failed me or caused a single issue in more than a decade - because it just uses apt, and apt is pretty much the reason I use Ubuntu (yeah I know it's a Debian thing but I want more frequent updates).
Every major update of MacOS breaks something, so compared to that and Windows Update, which is a regular source of bork, I reckon Linux is the least worrisome OS I work with when it comes to upgrades.
Switched from MInt after some years, due to no support for Qt, which runs some of my new apps. Went to Kubuntu, which is F1 Ferrari compared to Mint Family Saloon for features, tuning, precision, esp. for touchpad. Frustrating to set set up due to so many choices, but fixed unfixable Mint problems. Upgraded to Kubuntu 20.04. Excellent. Sorry old Mint, even though Mint XFCE can handle Qt, doesn't do the rest..
>"Frustrating to set set up due to so many choices"
I really do not get why people complain about so many options/choices in KDE. Of all the things to complain about with KDE...????
1) Choice is generally a good thing.
2) All the settings are no more really than are available in any UI except KDE gives the options to you via point and click while other UI's require you edit text files.
3. Back in Windows XP days (I never went 7) there were masses of config options available. I didn't look at 90% of them. People like defaults. Just go into 'System settings' to find what you want to change. Internet is A Good Thing when it comes to finding out which switch to flick. (And even then often I had to jump to Regedit to change what I needed to change.)
I do not know what half of the options in KDE system settings does but I do not need to know and so I ignore. Glad to have access to the options, mind, when needed. Turning compositing off was a great speed booster on my aged n2840 laptop. Yeah, I use pretty minimal hardware!
Google 'tyrrany of choice'. Too much choice causes stress and makes you overly fussy and dissatisfied. Some choice is good, endless pages of options is awful. I switched to MacOS in part because I never have to make choices about how it works. I just learn to use it as it comes, like I do with any other tool.
Options are all very well so long as you understand what they are. But often the choices available are meaningless, so the implications of making one choice instead of another is unknown.
For example, the first choice that must be made for anyone deciding to install Mint is whether to install the xfce, Mate or Cinnamon version - but there is nothing readily apparent on the Mint website that tells you what the main differences and implications of each version is. Or how easy it would be to change your mind later. So the decision for most people becomes a coin-flip rather than a choice. Sure, there are screen shots of each version on the site - but they are so similar that they do not help.
In fact I have been using Mint for over a decade, and I still don't know whether I would be better off with something other than Cinnamon (which is what I chose at random the first time I installed Mint and have stuck with ever since).
It's a bit like choosing a meal at a restaurant when the menu is written in a language you don't understand and there is nobody around to help you choose. You might end up ordering fried cockroaches.
Again I say, how come choice is bad here. Actually, people back in 8 bit days coped with many different BASIC's and low level O/S's. Even the de facto standard CP/M came in many variants and people coped.
Plus, people cope with choices of car - manual vs automatic, two wheel or four wheel drive, electric, petrol or diesel, et al, not to mention the horror of choice for breakfast or toothpaste flavour.
In relation to system settings, as I stated, I do not know what half the settings in KDE do. So I ignore them. I worry about the ones I do know or I need to know. There were masses of config option in Windows for ages (I grant, now reduced as Microsoft have scaled back configuration options) and users coped by... ignoring control panel.
Personally, I am grateful for the fact that if I need to adjust something in KDE I can look up the required system setting online and go into, shock surprise, system settings and click something.
If I look up how to change a setting in just about another other UI in Linux instructions come up on the line you have altered in the buried text file.
I will grant that because people seem oh so overwhelmed by KDE' settings and cannot just ignore things as they used to up to and including Windows XP, (then with Vista Microsoft started hacking options out) I think KDE should have in each category basic settings and 'advanced' to partly hide the mass of options that seem oh so confusing for users... but when the choice is having settings available in the core UI and selectable by GUI as opposed to not being able to configure options save by:
sudo nano ~/.config/share/whatever/thiny ... type gibberish, save.
I am the kind of crazy that says, "I prefer point and click."
Annnndddd... there are defaults. People like defaults. Use the defaults. Point and click if you really need to change something. That just seems sense to me! How come the idea of modifying what amounts to .ini files to configure your system suddenly became forward looking?
Annnnndddd (again,) when I do show KDE off to potential converts - and I have go some here in Indonesia - it sure impresses when I show how KDE can be tailored as they see fit.
In fact, KDE's configuration has saved me a lot of training time. When I do get a convert, when they are getting to grips with the system I am always asked; "In Windows I used to be able to X this way... Can Linux...?"
"Yes." I reply and flick the switch.
So rather than having to retrain one time Windows or Mac users, I just configure KDE to work they way they are used to. Far less training and support.
With KDE the answer is always "Yes" and it can be switched via the GUI. Not so with any other UI.
This is not even an issue of choice, it's just usability and access.
Editing text file vs point and click. Seems a no brainer to me.
Plus, people cope with choices of car - manual vs automatic, two wheel or four wheel drive, electric, petrol or diesel, et al, not to mention the horror of choice for breakfast or toothpaste flavour.
But I know pretty much what each of those things are and at least a few of the various pros and cons of each. If the choice was between a CGJ car or a LUI car running on REW or VGY, or you had to choose between a breakfast of JIHHGF or ASEHGFJ, then I think you'd have a problem deciding.
I find the tyranny of choice argument a very weak one.
Only in desktop computing have we been programmed to think choice is A Bad Thing. It was Gates that imposed the "One software house to rule them all" paradigm.
By this logic we should have less choice in cars, breakfast cereal, toothpaste, TV stations...
And Linux is try before you buy!
With everything else you can research or run a test drive before you buy and consider "buyer beware."
But when it comes to desktop computing... Choice is bad!!!
Yes, I agree that MacOS is the ultimate in "it's fixed, you can't change it, just use these apps..." but it's a horror when anything goes wrong and you cannot optimise a Mac at all! Indeed, because Apple are a hardware manufacturer MacOS is never optimised. If the code runs slow, Apple ups the machine baseline specs and the price accordingly.
That might well work for you but when I have to have eight laptops running with whatever I can get hold of for students to use (you should see the rush in final exam season) down to a single core atom, the ability to switch Linux distro or optimised to save time and money counts a lot! And saved me a fortune to boot.
"Upgrading can be painful in Linux thanks to potential dependency and configuration issues so waiting for the official guidance is a good plan."
Hugely less pain than Windows, where going NT 3.5x, NT4, Win2K, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10 is best with a fresh install.
I've tested 18.3 -> 19.3 which needs 18.3 to 19 first. Much slower than a fresh install and needs command line. But works. The 18.3 LTS maybe runs out this October, so no rush, though for existing 18.3 rather than a fresh install, likely it's 18.3 -> 19 ->19.3 -> 20.0
And then there are Mac OS upgrades. They've called all the versions since 2002 or 2003 change from Mac OS 9 version 10.<something> even though some are a greater change than Win2K to Win10 (like no 32 bit).
So rather unfair.
Since Vista upgrading Windows has become more viable, I'd probably put it on par with doing a major upgrade like a service pack (or whatever they're calling these twice yearly updates we get now). ie, very much luck of the draw.
I've never had any problems with it, but I'd put that down to lucky hardware choices.
I've never found upgrading painful. I did come late to the party only starting with Mint 13 (the first with Mate as default), and have been upgrading in place ever since without problems. I'm sure as soon as the option appears to go from 19.3 to 20, that will be smooth too.
My Raspberry Pi 4 running a Raspbian Buster image that started off as Wheezy on a 256MB Pi B, and has been run on every variant since and upgraded in place for each release along the way.
I do make sure I have backups before I start though!
Upgraded today, and no issues with the upgrade itself.
Note that in Mate 20 (and Ubuntu 20) Python 2 is no longer installed by default. All my scripts were already Python 2 & 3 compatible, but the shebang's were still set to usr/bin/env python', so they either need to be changed to python3 or install python-is-python3
I've never upgraded a Linux distro in 16 years of using Linux as my main OS.
I've always created a new partition and installed the new version (which has usually taken about 20 minutes) . I keep my personal files on a separate partition.
This also gives me a chance to check out the new one and de-clutter, re-installing applications as and when they are needed.
The option of creating a home partition is still there if you need it, no distro has got rid of it. Onto the other hand, try installing Windows10 and see the difference.
It's not about people unable to deal with resizing partitions, it is about people who have no clue about partitioning at all. The only real difficulty is typing in a Google search starting with "how to" and also the ability to read and understand basic English.
Possibly unfair for the majority of computer users. To search for information on a subject, you have to know the subject exists. At least in Mint installations, you get asked whether you want to trust the computer, or if you know what you're doing, whether you want something different that you can define yourself. Which strikes me as a good thing (though in recent editions I feel there could be more information about the EUFI partition/files, or at least a pointer as to where to go and look).
I don't criticise someone whose sole use of a computer is to read email and watch cat videos for not knowing the gory details of how data is laid out on the disc (assuming it has a disc - not a given, of course) any more than I would criticize someone on a train for not knowing details of the coil windings in the motor.
But I will mot definitely agree that the separate home partition is one of the best things about Linux, and I have no idea why after forty years MS still insist on installing some things on the C: drive by default.
I've always created a new partition and installed the new version
Same here but always run multi-boot on my main laptop. By starting with a multi-boot system there's no need to 'create' any new partitions when you want to upgrade. Pick the OS partition you've decided to upgrade, delete it, install new OS, paste in (large) apt command to reinstall required packages - go for coffee. If you don't like the result boot one of your other partitions that you have maintained.
Obvious disadvantage is maintaining patch levels on multiple OS partitions.
In the unlikely event that the new OS damages your /home partition, restore from backup/snapshot/Nextcloud whatever.
The only time this has failed me was when the very rarely booted Windows OS self-updated (thanks) and stamped all over my partition table - took nearly half a day of fiddling before I gave up and swapped the disk to start again.
Seems fine, and there *is* a "classic" Mint package manager, though, TBH, I usually find myself using command line APT.
I cannot argue with their lack of support for the Ubuntu "store" or the new Ubuntu-only package scheme. It's why I left Ubuntu -- they started telling me what my desktop should look like with "unity" tiles. Mint is just basic desktop Linux and does everything I need.
On the point about low end machines, I've just been messing about with an old Intel Atom 330 board with 2GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. I tried Linux Mint 20, MX Linux 19, Windows 8 and Windows 10 2004. Of those four, Windows 8 was surprisingly good, MX Linux was pretty usable, while Mint 20 and Windows 10 were both dog slow.
I'm not suggesting Mint 20 or Windows 10 are slow on sensible hardware, but they must have evolved in a way that expects a certain level of CPU power and/or RAM to be available. Lots of parallel tasks perhaps.
My biggest surprise with Linux is how much better the more lightweight window managers now look. Years ago I'd look at screenshots of anything that wasn't Gnome or KDE and turn away in horror. Now, something like xfce looks good to my eye.
Back to Mint 20 - personally I feel that although it still doesn't look quite as polished or modern as Windows or macOS, I'd happily trade that to get away from things like the Catalina security model in the Mac world. In the Windows world there's even more I want to get away from - Windows 10 increasingly feels like a stack of workarounds on top of other workarounds. The UI looks tired and I'm sick of seeing teasers about how it might look if they get their arses into gear. And in general, they are pushing things I don't want - it's now very difficult to sign in with a local account for example. You have to kill the network at setup time, it's just ridiculous.
Windows 10 increasingly feels like a stack of workarounds on top of other workarounds.
Can't argue with you there. And the three concurrent window border styles. WTF? And each app seems to have its own UI standards. And, of course, there's Microsoft's "lets tweak the UI just for fun" which overlays everything.
Those special key combos for example, inserting a linebreak while in a text editor window (ENTER, of course, kicks you out of the window and "sends") So the secret "SHIFT-ENTER" is different on Excel, browser Excel, Teams, Outlook, Word...trying to remember if it's ALT-ENTER, or CTRL-ENTER, or whatever in this particular app usually results in the urge to throttle someone at Microsoft.
Windows 10 is a hodgepodge of programs developed by groups who aren't talking to each other. Just loads of fun to use.
"My biggest surprise with Linux is how much better the more lightweight window managers now look. Years ago I'd look at screenshots of anything that wasn't Gnome or KDE and turn away in horror. Now, something like xfce looks good to my eye."
Xfce4 is lightweight these days according to OA and parent poster?
Coat: shuffles off with aid of Zimmer to the comfort of jwm with a couple of xterms, one running lynx
I usually just backup; make a list of apps I want, then nuke the hard disk and do a fresh install. That's why I only upgrade from LTS to LTS..
I use Icecat and if not available, Firefox; so I don't care about Chrome or Chromium.
Even in the old laptop I just use for one or two things nowadays, I don't feel likw upgrading yet.
This LTS looks like it will have a few growing pains.
Good thing there is no Snap store, stuff installed by it tends to fail for me for some reason.
The inbuilt upgrade feature makes it relatively easy to upgrade. The major challenge I've found is the extended Boot time in LM19.3. Anyone else experience boot times of over a minute?? Can't find anything in the boot log that indicates why it's taking so long.
Add to that the updates seem to want to upgrade the multiple Linux Kernels every time... LM18 was much lighter-weight.
Given Cinnamon was kinda, sorta designed for Mint I would have thought that likely. Clem would have much more control over the upgrade path than a distro 'neutral' DE like Gnome or KDE on any old distro. (That's not a criticism at all BTW.)
Hmmm.... thinking about that, maybe that's why Neon upgraded from base line 16.05 to 18.04 so painlessly. Neon is controlled by the KDE team.
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