Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

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Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Odysseus on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:39 pm

Finally decided to upgrade from Ubuntu 10.04 (best OS & interface I have ever found) to 11.10 and ran smack into the insanity that is Unity. Spent one day trying to figure it out/make it productive and finally chucked it. Back to 10.04 for now.

One of the best ideas ever introduced into user productivity is the multiple desktops (workspaces?) that Ubunutu (hopefully among others) had. Does Mint offer this?

If so, but only if so (as I will stay with 10.04 until I find another distro that has it), does anyone know of an extended comparison between Ubunutu and Mint-feature vs feature, pluses/minuses, etc that I can explore before installing mint?

FWIW, I have 6 desktops (House Concerts, Music, Misc, Analysis, POA, Email), each of which normally has 2-6 browser windows open, each with 4 to 20 tabs, powered by 8GB RAM (moving to 16), so this multi-desktop feature is critical for me to keep it all ordered.

Thanks.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Lumikki on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:12 pm

I'm just newbie, started using Linux at beging of this year 2012. I did try Ubuntu 11.10 and it was way too insane to me. Not the look, but how it functions. I have tryed allmost all Mint 12 versions. I think they are all very practical as functions well. I can't really help a lot as I haven't ever used Ubuntu 10.04 or older Mint's.

Mint 12 Gnome Desktop is something little new to me, but it did still function well and was easy to use. it has some new feel, but some old too, like mix of them.
Mint 12 KDE looks and function like any "older" desktop, but it seem more modern look.
I installed Mint's Cinnamon desktop to my Mint 12 (gnome), what is more old fashion and little bit old look. But this works great for me.

If you mean multible desktops as working areas. Yes, Mint has them.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby craig10x on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:18 pm

Would definitely recommend that you try linux mint 12 and add Cinnamon desktop...it will give you the advantages of Ubuntu 11.10 without the unity interface....
each new version of Cinnamon (which you would receive in the updates) will have even more features and flexibility....it is a very "sane" answer to ubuntu's unity :wink:
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Odysseus on Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:37 pm

Lumikki, Thanks for the workspaces information. I will describe the Ubunutu workspace feature for you. It has XY number of small icons in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, where XY is user selected up to 24 different spaces in up to two rows. I have 6 workspaces, so there are 6 little boxes down there. It could be friendlier, i.e., it would be great if you could name them so that the name would show if you hover your mouse over each. It is extremely convenient because it is always visible and you just need to click on any one of them to change to that workspace.

All the desktop icons stay in place. It is just the folders and windows that are open in that workspace that change.

Is it convenient to change workspaces in Mint also, and does the desktop stay constant as you change workspaces? What is the maximum number of workspaces available in Mint?

Craig, I'm not familiar with the Cinnamon desktop. What do you like most about it?

For both, instead of that gross huge Unity banner-thingy down the left side of the page (if I wanted something that looks like a kindergarten creation, I would get an Apple.), there is a minimal narrow band across the top where you can put icons for the programs that you use most, e.g., terminal, word processor, spreadsheet, browsers, calculator, etc that are very small and don't hog the screen, yet are easy to identify.

I assume that almost all GUI's allow you to put icons on the desktop which take you straight to something that you want to get to (e.g., files, folders, drives, etc). Is Mint the same?

Thanks.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby craig10x on Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:28 pm

Surprised you hadn't heard about Cinnamon...it's kind of all over the internet....well, it has the one panel on the bottom and slab menu similar to the older gnome 2 versions of Linux Mint...it's not like unity at all...it is a conventional desktop similar to what you were use to in the old ubuntu :wink:

It doesn't have all the features yet (new features and flexibility get added in each new version) but is quite nice to use right now...it gives you a more conventional desktop environment on top of ubuntu 11.10 and gnome 3....

See video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XdDOjKdL5A

Read about it at the Cinnamon website"
http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/

easy to add to mint 12...will be the default on mint 13 :)
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Odysseus on Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:34 pm

Craig, Thanks for yours. I checked out the FaceBook video: "Cinnamon 1.2 updates! Linux Mint 12", but it did not answer the several questions I raised in the previous post. I gather that you know Ubunutu and if you would kindly comment on my questions, I would be much obliged.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Lumikki on Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:57 pm

I'm not sure that there is any limit? I opened 40 workspace but there doesn't seem to be end. Not sure what happen when taskbar will become full?
If I add program icon to desktop or taskbar, it will be seen in all the workplaces.
How ever, the opened (running) progams, I see them in taskbar only for that workspace, where I opened them.
If the work space is empty as all programs is closed, the workspace also is "gone" from taskbar.
There is allways one empty workspace in end of all used workspace in taskbar. If you run program there, new empty workspace is added to taskbar.

As can you make so that some of workspaces are allways there as constant, even if they are empty? I don't know.
I'm just newbie testing stuff. This is done in Mint 12 (gnome) Cinnamon desktop.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby claudecat on Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:52 pm

To the OP:
I think your best bet would be either Mint 12 KDE, or an older version of Mint with gnome (11 or earlier). Any of these will do everything you hope for in terms of multiple desktops and you won't be subjected to any of the Unity/gnome-shell insanity. The older Mint gnome versions will act exactly like your Ubuntu 10.04, while the KDE version will be somewhat different, but still do what you want. KDE also has an interesting feature called "activities" that allows you even more control over individual desktops/workspaces. I haven't played with it much, but it sounds like it may be right up your alley.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Odysseus on Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:30 am

Lumikki, thanks for the point by point answers. Very helpful.

Claude, thanks for the recommendations on versions. Does Mint offer LTS in some versions the same way that Ubuntu does? If so which is the latest LTS?

As I understand it, the next version of Mint comes out on a flexible schedule after the release of the Ubunutu version that it is tied to, and the numbering system does not tell you the date as Ubuntu's do. Is there a chart which ties the various versions of Mint to the version of Ubuntu that they are based on?

And do you use Cinnamon (which if I understand it, is a Desktop/GUI environment)? In very general terms what does it add to (or remove from) the stock version of Mint?

For any/everyone familiar with Ubuntu 10.04 what combination of Mint (and which version) and optional desktop (e.g., Cinnamon, gnome, kde) would best approximate the lean, productive look and utility of 10.04? It would be good to have the advances made in Ubunutu 11.10, but without the dumb downed look of Unity.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Lumikki on Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:13 am

Yes, Mint offers also LTS versions.

Newest Mint LTS is Mint 9 (based on Ubuntu 10.04). Next LTS is Mint 13 what is comming about this years end of may and has cinnamon desktop as default.

From Wiki:
"Releases are timed to be approximately one month after Ubuntu releases (which in turn are about one month after GNOME releases and two months after X.org releases). Consequently, every Linux Mint release comes with an updated version of both GNOME and X and features some of the improvements brought in the latest Ubuntu release. Selected releases (such as Linux Mint 5 and Linux Mint 9) are labeled as Long Term Support (LTS) versions, indicating that they are supported (with updates) for three years, as compared to the 18-month support period for other releases."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Mint
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Li ... t_releases

I'm not sure does Cinnamon actually add anything new, what you did not see on the video allready, it looks me more like returning back to basic of Desktop use.

As far I have seen and understand, stock version Mint 12 has some Gnome 3 desktop like features. Like in left top corner is second menu for favored program icons and overview of you desktop programs. Also there is icons of your all programs, not text list. I think pictures shows it better. Not sure what is removed, I did not find how to add progam icons on you desktop. Mint 12 also has normal menu in lower left corner, what I think Gnome 3 would not have? But as newbie, been using linux now for five weeks, I have very limited knowledge.
http://www.muktware.com/sites/default/f ... 2-apps.jpg
http://toastytech.com/guis/mint12expose.png

Can't really answer the last question.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby craig10x on Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:53 am

Mint 12's default session is called MGSE which is gnome 3 shell with extensions....has a mint style slab menu but 2 panels (bottom and top) like the older versions of mint use to have (though there is an extension that auto hides the top panel that one can add)...

Cinnamon was released after Mint 12 came out, which is why it has to be added on to Mint 12 (will be the default of MInt 13 as mentioned)...Cinnamon is actually a major improvement over MGSE (which is why MGSE will be dropped next time around)...because instead of using extensions (which can bog a system down somewhat) it is actual modifications of gnome shell (quite similar to the way ubuntu designed unity actually)...

Also Cinnamon comes with the mint community's favorite configuration...which is one panel on bottom and slab style menu... :)

Mint main edition uses ubuntu for it's base so therefore follows ubuntu's schedule...except that mint's version generally arrives about a month after ubuntu's does (because Clem has to make his modifications and customizations to it)...first as a RC (release candidate) and then the final release which come about 2 weeks later usually...The updates you get come from both ubuntu and mint itself...
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Lumikki on Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:02 pm

Example asking desktop workspace related changes in Cinnamon, like this example: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=86414
Point been Cinnamon is in it's early development, so getting Mint users feedback as what to add in Cinnamon settings, is important.
Cinnamon settings is all about customizing our desktop experience as how we want.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby Odysseus on Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:23 pm

Craig and Lumikki,

Thanks for your helpful input yet again.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby MikeF90000 on Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:14 pm

Odysseus wrote:For any/everyone familiar with Ubuntu 10.04 what combination of Mint (and which version) and optional desktop (e.g., Cinnamon, gnome, kde) would best approximate the lean, productive look and utility of 10.04? It would be good to have the advances made in Ubunutu 11.10, but without the dumb downed look of Unity.

Let me put in a vote for XFCE. Its look is very GNOME 2 like, easily customizable and the devs seem to be striving for a 'lighter' impact on system CPU and memory.

You can install the XUbuntu look into Mint 12 (selectable at login), and a slightly Minty version with LMDE-XFCE (no Cinnamon option yet). Look for Mint specific packages beginning with 'mint-meta' in Synaptic.

Check out this post for some example desktop layouts including mine. One nice feature is being able to define how many panels you want and where they go (horizontal or vertical). Also, directory menus were added in v4.8 which let you be more 'document' (as opposed to application) centric.

Six workspaces, no problem! I don't think the number of workspaces is a limit of Mint, rather than the underlying DE and your system memory.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby LRC on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:30 am

MikeF90000 wrote:
Odysseus wrote:For any/everyone familiar with Ubuntu 10.04 what combination of Mint (and which version) and optional desktop (e.g., Cinnamon, gnome, kde) would best approximate the lean, productive look and utility of 10.04?

Let me put in a vote for XFCE. Its look is very GNOME 2 like, easily customizable and the devs seem to be striving for a 'lighter' impact on system CPU and memory.
Check out this post

I see someone finding your six-workspace set-up preposterous, Mike. But, that's exactly what I'm working on with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS whilst I assess various of the Mint flavours in a VM configuration. I've five in-use at the moment, and once you're used to being able to leave one job on a workspace it's a hard habit to give up.
Having a 'spare' you can switch to and do a small job is the reverse of 'hot desking' — I can haz six desks?

XFCE is on my list of desktop options to take a much closer look at. I believe that's where the Ubuntu Studio developers are heading, and I do need some of the tools they keep going. At the moment, with Mint 12 in a VM on a laptop with NVidia graphics hardware, I'm not able to confirm I'll get all the slick eye-candy Compiz gives me. I assume so, and will free up some disk space to pop an install in once I'm happier with where everything has gone.

As-per your screenshot, I use panels top and bottom. But, the green has to go! I've a very nice Steampunk wallpaper I recently adopted and the Mint colour-scheme clashes horribly :mrgreen:

But, I am very relieved that there's a decent alternative to Unity. I'm calling that Ubuntu's "Windows Vista moment"; they seem to have messed up so badly that there's little more than a year left on the 'current' LTS version. I hope they sort that soon; LTS versions are what helps get people off Windows, and I'm not happy to see less than 18 months 'life' in a distro.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby MikeF90000 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:03 pm

MikeF90000 wrote:Check out this post

LRC wrote:I see someone finding your six-workspace set-up preposterous, Mike. <.... snip....>
As-per your screenshot, I use panels top and bottom. But, the green has to go! I've a very nice Steampunk wallpaper I recently adopted and the Mint colour-scheme clashes horribly :mrgreen:

- The OP, not me, wants to use six desktops. I use three. To each his own (quantity). Go crazy! :D
- The green wallpaper is on my VM installs of Mint for quick branding. :mrgreen: My usual choices are in a more sedate blue or grayscale.
- Just for comparison, the above post has an alternative layout on the next page - one vertical and one horizontal panel. Looks strange at first, but I'm liking it. Easy to try and easy to change.
- Until Cinnamon has been 'fleshed out' a lot more, I'm sticking with xfce. BTW just recently other Gnome 3 extensions and gnome-shell forks to improve the DE have been mentioned (LM podcast and Distrowatch?) - we need to check them out as well. Obviously there are quite a few folks who don't like the current state of Unity and gnome-shell. :!:
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby LRC on Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:11 pm

MikeF90000 wrote:Check out this post

- The OP, not me, wants to use six desktops. I use three. To each his own (quantity). Go crazy! :D


The side panel looks like a good idea. On workspaces, I'm left wondering how anyone can mange without them. That plus tabbed browsing are probably two of the most useful developments in user interfaces I've seen in the past ten years.

Any recommendations on the fastest way to switch a vanilla install to XFCE? I.e. if doing so in a VM for burning as a bootable media, what are the minimum packages to add and remove?
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby MikeF90000 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:37 pm

LRC wrote:Any recommendations on the fastest way to switch a vanilla install to XFCE? I.e. if doing so in a VM for burning as a bootable media, what are the minimum packages to add and remove?

- If you start with LMDE-XFCE, you're done! I just remove some unused larger packages to minimize later updates.
- IIRC you can add xfce4 and xubuntu-default-settings to Mint 12 without bringing in the whole desktop package set, then add/remove packages as desired.
HTH!
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby LRC on Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:50 am

MikeF90000 wrote:
LRC wrote:Any recommendations on the fastest way to switch a vanilla install to XFCE? I.e. if doing so in a VM for burning as a bootable media, what are the minimum packages to add and remove?

- If you start with LMDE-XFCE, you're done! I just remove some unused larger packages to minimize later updates.
- IIRC you can add xfce4 and xubuntu-default-settings to Mint 12 without bringing in the whole desktop package set, then add/remove packages as desired.
HTH!


It helps a good deal Mike, I'm currently doing exactly that on one of my VMs. But, pardon my French, what Gnome 'crap' can I pull out of there?
I'd prefer some advice on that front to a whole lot of trial-and-error.
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Re: Another Unity refugee seeking sanity

Postby MikeF90000 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:02 pm

LRC wrote:It helps a good deal Mike, I'm currently doing exactly that on one of my VMs. But, pardon my French, what Gnome 'crap' can I pull out of there? I'd prefer some advice on that front to a whole lot of trial-and-error.

Unfortunately I don't have any 'short list' of piggy GNOME packages.
Besides looking for disk space wasters in synaptic, I look for processes running connected with a seldom used or unused service, then remove that package. It's much harder for me right now on LM12 since I've been testing most of the alternate DEs on it.
Because of GNOME's intrusiveness, the best solution for a 'minimalist' Mint-XFCE would be to start with the 'Ubuntu mini' installer and add the LM repos or just go Debian.
On LMDE I'm pointing to 'wheezy' so when it goes stable, I should have a solid XFCE 4.8 system. I don't have a ton of critical apps, but at least in 'wheezy' the ones I use are stable. Likewise XFCE won't be changing much so the risk is low IMO.
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