My initial observations of LMDE

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My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:22 am

Well, as the title says these are my initial observations of LMDE after using it for a couple of days. I realise and appreciate that most will not agree with me but I just think "such is life".

Installation is dead easy but not taking due care when actually going through the steps can prove to make things rather annoying later on. for example I should have taken alot more care with the keyboard settings (never had to worry about this with Ubuntu so I thought it would be fine as is) because now pressing shift 2 gives me " instead of the @ sign which is located on shift ". So now I need to remap my keyboard.

The DVD I used to install was the 2nd one I downloaded and burned, the first one threw a huge amount of errors one of which apparently shouldn't have been there. Even still I needed 512MB of RAM to use it properly, 256 MB of RAM just would not work. Luckily, or unlikely whatever way you look at it, my sisters laptop has died and I got her RAM and put it in mine to give mine a boost.

The DVD in Live mode has MintMenu down the bottom left, when I installed LMDE MintMenu wasn't on the screen at all and I had the standard Gnome Panels top and bottom.

The pre installed ndiswrapper is a royal pain and just would not work. Download the source file from the ndiswrapper site install and wallah internet access. Funny thing though Mint Update updated ndiswrapper to the .deb version again and it still works.

I didn't have to fiddle with dns like I have had to with Ubuntu for the last few releases to get internet access, this is a good thing and one that Ubuntu really is dragging the chain on (yes I have mentioned that in the appropriate places to).

I don't understand the logic to installing so many things that are basically for more advanced users. I am aware that LMDE isn't the average beginners variant but not everyone needs Samba, ndiswrapper (especially considering it doesn't work ootb) etc pre-installed.

I love the idea of LMDE, and in the time I have been typing this up I have decided to do a fresh install to clean it up again, and I'm going to use it (along with the 7 other Linux's on my laptop) in an effort to help develop it into a more polished package.

One thing I would ask, and I'm thinking about the end user with this, is if you really think doing a ghost image install is the best way to do this ask your community what packages do they find useful and maybe add others to the disk as debs for later installation if need be.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby proxima_centauri on Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:59 am

* Moved to Editions < LMDE (Linux Mint Debian) subforum
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:02 am

proxima_centauri wrote:* Moved to Editions < LMDE (Linux Mint Debian) subforum


Thanks for that, I just noticed it and made an edit to ask it be moved, when I posted the edit you had already moved it.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby water spirit on Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:45 am

It is bad luck you are having difficulties, I have had LMDE installed since September and had none of the issues you had with the DVD and installation. I am also multibooting with it, on 2 computers and simply installed as I would any distro with Grub2 , easily. Like many Mint users I am impressed by the amount of applications that are in the default installations, with Mint editions it is quite easy to install, boot and away you go, ready to use.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:00 am

I'm not sure it's bad luck I think it's the nature of the beast. I'm not a Linux noob but LMDE, and Debian to, is something I am not used to. I'm not putting it down, I like the end result as it is after I have worked on it to remove things I just don't need. It is light on resources using approximately 1/2 the RAM Maverick uses when both are fresh installs. CPU usage is about the same as Maverick.

Firefox locks up occasionally, nothing big to deal with just close (FF) down and restart it again and everything is fine. Flashplugin-nonfree isn't working

After pondering on my observations more since I posted the OP I feel LMDE is probably the ultimate learning curve in an off the shelf distribution (I do not count Debian as an off the shelf distribution). That is not a good or bad thing but it is something to take into account. I haven't re-installed it yet, will probably do that on the weekend, but I think I will start with a Debian base and not use the LMDE LiveCD.

You say you are happy with the defaults so I am assuming you need (meaning use) samba, ndiswrapper, bluez, bogofilter, cabextract, compiz, 13 different firmwares, gparted, just to name a few. To me, so this is just my opinion, many of these things just add to the size of the install DVD without adding anything to the user experience.

Like I have previously stated I do like the end result :)
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby Nick_Djinn on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:03 am

Its going to be a while before LMDE is as refined as Ubuntu, but something tells me that I might like the direction they ultimately take better.

Debian is a good base and experiment for geeks but a lousy primary desktop computer for the general public.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:00 am

I agree Nick, it is going to take some tweaking but the end result will be well worth it.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby water spirit on Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:15 pm

With LMDE I am not experiencing any problems with Firefox and Flash works for me on the sites where I need it. I have installed LMDE in a 48.1 GB partition and currently it is using 8.3 GB, 17%, so in my case size of the install is not a problem. Some of the defaults I have never used and when I have time I will try them and if I think they are a waste of space, and I need the space, I may remove them. I do not find installing LMDE to be difficult, the stickies and how to's available adequately covered any tweaking I done. I have read the blog and understand LMDE is a work in progress, I was aware of this from the beginning and for a work in progress LMDE is extremely good, these are just my observations and my opinion of course. Samba is one of the things in Linux I have not had the time to learn how to use, so I use Windows for my networking, this I want to change so yes I will need Samba. (on a multi-booting computer Gparted is very useful I find). etc etc
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby msuggs on Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:04 pm

k3lt01 wrote:I haven't re-installed it yet, will probably do that on the weekend, but I think I will start with a Debian base and not use the LMDE LiveCD.

In that case won't you be just installing Debian? I don't think a Debian install with a few packages from Mint repos can be considered as installing LMDE. That's as erroneous as saying an LMDE install is Debian. Several people have discovered that view at the Debian forums when looking for support.

I'm using LMDE at the moment because I was looking for a no-brainer Debian experience. Previously I'd been running custom installs of Debian but grew tired of the tweaking to get consistency across all the machines I run. In that context LMDE is a dream to use. I can have an install up and running and configured to my liking in a much shorter time frame than a custom Debian install consumes.

I'm also interested in what you consider an 'off the shelf' distro to be? I agree that Debian isn't one but I think there a steeper learning curves to be had out there. If I look at some of the slack and gentoo based distros that promote themselves as a complete desktop experience then I think you'd find the learning curve to be somewhat steeper that a Debian based distro.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:21 pm

I have tried 2 different disks in 2 different computers, both get different results. For me it is not uniform from one PC to another and I think that is because it is a generic (thus the multiple firmwares in the LiveCD install) pre-installed ghost image. It was one of the things I really disliked about Windows. Copying a mass of files etc that are not needed by certain hardware can make things difficult in the long run.

My definition of an "Off the shelf" distro is those that allow easy installation without installing extras that can cause unnecessary conflict with hardware. XP was an "off the shelf" OS, Vista most certainly wasn't when it first come out. Ubuntu, and I would assume the Ubuntu variations of MInt as well, are for the most part "off the shelf" distros because for the most part the installation actually only installs hardware related items that the PC needs. Notice I said for the most part, I say this because the Linux kernel itself is coming out with multiple hardware drivers (and quite rightly so to) pre-installed.

Not one of my installs even Edubuntu is on a / partition of more than 10GB and so far not one is taking up anything over 3GB of the available 10GB.

If you consider the Debian base for LMDE then I do think if I start with a Debian base and add the Mint Packages that I require then yes I will have a modified LMDE. I think this simply because from what I can tell there is no real change to the underlying Debian structure unlike Ubuntu which makes Ubuntu specific modifications to the kernel and other packages. So if the only thing that makes LMDE what it is is the fact it has an extra repo enabled by default using that repo will give me LMDE.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby msuggs on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:12 pm

k3lt01 wrote:My definition of an "Off the shelf" distro is those that allow easy installation without installing extras that can cause unnecessary conflict with hardware. XP was an "off the shelf" OS, Vista most certainly wasn't when it first come out. Ubuntu, and I would assume the Ubuntu variations of MInt as well, are for the most part "off the shelf" distros because for the most part the installation actually only installs hardware related items that the PC needs. Notice I said for the most part, I say this because the Linux kernel itself is coming out with multiple hardware drivers (and quite rightly so to) pre-installed.

I disagree. No windows OS in its pure form (especially XP) is off the shelf. Many third party drivers and software are required to make it useable and often specific to the hardware of the machine. The OS itself can't be just installed on any hardware like a Linux distro. In this scenario the hardware's distributor makes it 'off the shelf', not the OS. Compare this with a Linux distribution where distributions are put together as an OS that can pretty much be installed on any hardware and will work productively straight after installation. When criticising what you consider to be bloated distros keep in mind what is trying to be achieved in terms of usability for all. What Ubuntu packs into a single CD really is quite amazing. Other distros do this in 4-500 mb - more amazing.

My observation of your comments also indicates to me that your experience of Linux has been with Ubuntu and Debian based distros so far. I'd suggest looking further afield before declaring a release like LMDE the ultimate off the shelf learning experience. LMDE is rather simple to use, there really isn't a lot to be learnt in terms of the how Linux operates under the hood - as it were.

k3lt01 wrote:If you consider the Debian base for LMDE then I do think if I start with a Debian base and add the Mint Packages that I require then yes I will have a modified LMDE.
I'd be interested in feedback on how you find this process turns out. I believe it may be more problematic than you think to make it as functional as LMDE.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:37 pm

omns wrote:I disagree. No windows OS in its pure form (especially XP) is off the shelf. Many third party drivers and software are required to make it useable and often specific to the hardware of the machine. The OS itself can't be just installed on any hardware like a Linux distro. In this scenario the hardware's distributor makes it 'off the shelf', not the OS. Compare this with a Linux distribution where distributions are put together as an OS that can pretty much be installed on any hardware and will work productively straight after installation. When criticising what you consider to be bloated distros keep in mind what is trying to be achieved in terms of usability for all. What Ubuntu packs into a single CD really is quite amazing. Other distros do this in 4-500 mb - more amazing.
I respect your choice to disagree but you need to consider the fact that XP did come out with everything needed to install when it was released. Vista did not. I never mentioned bloat, I said I don't understand the logic behind installing so many things that are basically for advanced users. If this is an experiment in creating a release that will become something for the average user then installing things the average user isn't going to use doesn't help.

omns wrote:My observation of your comments also indicates to me that your experience of Linux has been with Ubuntu and Debian based distros so far. I'd suggest looking further afield before declaring a release like LMDE the ultimate off the shelf learning experience. LMDE is rather simple to use, there really isn't a lot to be learnt in terms of the how Linux operates under the hood - as it were.
Well you would be very wrong then wouldn't you. I have used and played with RedHat and Fedora, don't like them but have played with them. May I suggest you ask what people have used before your observations indicate you are jumping to conclusions. I haven't said LMDE isn't simple to use, I did say it is a steeper learning curve than an "off the shelf" distro. Keyboard issues, FF issues, Flash installer issues, Mint Menu not being there when the LiveCD has it there issues, ndiswrapper issues, all of these things are easy to work around and repair but they shouldn't need repairing.

I like LMDE, there you go I said it again. LMDE has the potential to make Mint into something it currently isn't, that is a 1st generation fork instead of being a fork of a fork. Because of this I think constructive and open discussion about issues that arise in it and how people feel about its overall structure can only help it to mature into the distro it deserves to be. I know people wont agree with what I am saying but this is my experience so far and I thought I would share it, I hope that is ok.

I will let you know how the Debian base install goes and post the pitfalls of such a method when I do it, It wont be for a few days, probably next week actually, as I have hit my download limit for the month and my net has slowed to dial up speeds :evil:
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby tdockery97 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:58 pm

Me, I'll just take good old off-the-shelf Mint 10 Julia. I've learned what I want to know about Linux. I think I'll just use my computer for doing stuff now. LMDE was fun but high-maintenance. I really don't want to fix borkages with each update, or have to be very careful about what I allow to be updated. All of that takes much more time than doing a fresh version installation every 12 months or so.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:58 pm

Hey tdockery97, I agree with you in that I think, so far, LMDE can be/is high maintenance. Having said that in the last 3 rounds of testing Ubuntu it hasn't really been all that much of a stretch of brain power for me. Actually I am at the stage were testing the development release for Ubuntu is getting a bit ho-hum. I'm just not getting any real breakages happening. Maybe with the rework of Unity for the desktop version, even though people I know already us the netbook available version, will bring some excitement to testing Ubuntu. That is if it will work on low resource machines like my little old Acer laptop.

Wasn't it you who posted that you had changed your sources.list to Lenny for LMDE? I think it would be worth testing LMDE in the 3 Debian variations (Stable-Testing-Unstable). For Stable the Mint repo could be the repo that updates things like Internet, Office, and Sound & Video applications to keep them up to date with what is available even if the kernel and Gnome etc is an older version.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby water spirit on Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:19 pm

tdockery97 wrote:Me, I'll just take good old off-the-shelf Mint 10 Julia. I've learned what I want to know about Linux. I think I'll just use my computer for doing stuff now. LMDE was fun but high-maintenance. I really don't want to fix borkages with each update, or have to be very careful about what I allow to be updated. All of that takes much more time than doing a fresh version installation every 12 months or so.


I still use Mint 9 (isadora) as my main operating system and will be using Mint 10 when the final is released, but I am hoping to change to LMDE in the future when I feel the development has reached that stage, a rolling release for my main operating system appeals to me. I have 2 installations of LMDE, a laptop and a desktop and fortunately for me I have not experienced any issues after updating them, yet. Perhaps your problems are hardware related.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:08 pm

water spirit wrote: Perhaps your problems are hardware related.
It is highly possible that this is the case thus my reasoning in thinking that a ghost image with potentially conflicting packages/settings is not the best way to do LMDE. My laptop is an Acer and the hardware is generic but there seems to be conflicts in the settings from the squashfs image to my laptop.

In amongst the issues I have listed please let us not forget I also listed good points like resource usage is lower than Ubuntu and after I fixed ndiswrapper (which would have to be installed in other distros anyway) I instantly had a net connection which Ubuntu's dns settings will not allow ootb.

When the next snapshot comes out I will download it and give it a whirl.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby msuggs on Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:25 pm

k3lt01 wrote:I respect your choice to disagree but you need to consider the fact that XP did come out with everything needed to install when it was released.

That's simply not true. All my XP machines came with extra third-party drivers for audio, video, network cards, motherboards etc (on separate disks) that were required to make the machine function properly. They weren't part of the OS and any re-install from a XP disk would just bring up a very basic installation. Usually at a poor 8 bit resolution, no sound, no network and limited printer, scanner, webcam drivers etc. Am I missing something here or did you mean it could get a machine to a basic level where extra third-party stuff had to be added? I'm glad I don't have to do that with the more complete Linux distros. Vista had its issues with drivers and yes its hardware support was not good but this was mainly caused by incompatibility with XP drivers after an upgrade.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby k3lt01 on Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:50 am

omns wrote:
k3lt01 wrote:I respect your choice to disagree but you need to consider the fact that XP did come out with everything needed to install when it was released.

That's simply not true. All my XP machines came with extra third-party drivers for audio, video, network cards, motherboards etc (on separate disks) that were required to make the machine function properly. They weren't part of the OS and any re-install from a XP disk would just bring up a very basic installation. Usually at a poor 8 bit resolution, no sound, no network and limited printer, scanner, webcam drivers etc. Am I missing something here or did you mean it could get a machine to a basic level where extra third-party stuff had to be added? I'm glad I don't have to do that with the more complete Linux distros. Vista had its issues with drivers and yes its hardware support was not good but this was mainly caused by incompatibility with XP drivers after an upgrade.
XP in my experience, and I will be doing about 20 machines with XP next week for a community centre I work part time at, has never needed any extra disks for a standard machine of the same era as XP (Pentium 4 and Celeron). Sure if you want to go and install gaming motherboards and/or video cards then you will need extras but tell me how many, even now, Linux distributions support the full range of Gaming video cards. Fact is they don't, ATI can be a total pain in the proverbial, nVidia has issues to.

Horses for courses, if you want a full on machine with HD quality video you will need extra drivers and this is even with Linux to get the cards to work at there best. If you want to confuse the issue of Joe Average's requirements for an OS to that of Mr Gamer so be it but I will drop out of that topic as it cannot be discussed objectively.

As for Vista the issue with that was Microsoft had a select group of hardware manufacturers which it worked closely with, all the others had to wait till Vista was released before they were given the specs to work with. It wasn't about incompatability with XP drivers at all it was about Microsoft making changes without letting the vast majority of hardware manufacturers know what they were. It is hard to keep up when the goal posts keep changing and that was what Microsoft did with Vista.

Sooooo, if you don't mind I would appreciate it IF you would now keep to the point of this thread which is "My initial observations of LMDE". Thank you.
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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby rufong on Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:57 am

go omns!

Linux supports more processors than any other operating system ever has. Yes, we passed the NetBSD people a few years ago in the number of different processor families and types that we support now. No other "major" operating system even comes remotely close in platform support for what we have in Linux. Linux now runs in everything from a cellphone, to a radio controlled helicopter, your desktop, a server on the internet, on up to a huge 73% of the TOP500 largest supercomputers in the world.

And remember, almost every different driver that we support, runs on every one of those different platforms. This is something that no one else has ever done in the history of computing. It's just amazing at how flexible and how powerful Linux is this way.

We now have the most scalable and most supported operating system that has ever been created. We have achieved something that is so unique and different and flexible that for people to keep repeating the "Linux doesn't support hardware" myth, is something that everyone needs to stop repeating. As it simply isn't true anymore.

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Re: My initial observations of LMDE

Postby msuggs on Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:01 am

k3lt01 wrote:Sooooo, if you don't mind I would appreciate it IF you would now keep to the point of this thread which is "My initial observations of LMDE". Thank you.

^ Yes of course, I don't mind at all. If vigorous discussion is not the intention of this thread then I apologise and am happy to move on as per your (the op's) request. In regard to LMDE your observations are interesting, well thought out and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing them with the community.
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