First impression / short review

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First impression / short review

Postby Codefish on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:29 pm

Howdy,

Tried Mint13 (Cinnamon) yesterday for the first time and i must say i'm
pretty impressed, although i had a few gliches here & there.

Install:
grub-install: in the dialog which lets you choose where to
install grub to (sda, sda1, ...), please add a "nowhere"/"none" option.
On my Box, i maintain everything grub personally, from another Linux
on the machine. Not overly important, but a minor annoyance that comes
with so many distros: they just bulldoze my personal bootloader.

package mirror: i wasn't asked about a package mirror to choose from,
and i promptly ran into probs when trying to fetch all the package
lists with mintupdate (a bunch of them failed). After manually changing
the main mirror (to a local one), everything went smoothly.

Boot:
Long-time black screen: for many developers this is a no-no.
Please add something on the screen that shows that the machine is not
hanging but indeed still booting.

mintupdate:
After initial upgrades & reboot, mintupdate said there were no new
upgrades, but after starting Synaptic, it showed new upgrades for
Linux Kernel and Xorg.

Keyboard settings:
Missing test input widget to test the key repeat delay/speed.
Is this a part of Gnome or Cinnamon?

Tooltips:
While fiddling around with the panel, a tooltip for the Firefox launcher
appeared but never went away, not even after switching workspaces, had
to restart the desktop (relogin) to get rid of it. Quite a hack innit?

mintupdate is not using the standard tooltip. The mintupdate tooltip
looks different and it also appears partially or entirely below the
panel (z order), depending on the exact mouse position, so one can
sometimes see only parts of the tooltip or no tooltip at all.

Session:
So far i couldn't find some config utility that lets me choose to keep
session information. On my current desktop, i got 4 default apps opened
on 2 workspaces with certain window positions & sizes, all of which i want
back after every login, but Mint-Cinnamon just starts with a blank desktop
every time. Am i missing something?

Sound settings:
Wow, the first distro which is getting sound right. I got two sound
devices on this machine, and this gnome sound prefs thing brings it!
Not that sound just worked out-of-the-box, but i can choose the default
device (woohoo!) and the volume/mute media keys work, including visual
feedback (with the correct volume level displayed) plus actually doing
the mute and especially the unmute, in contrast to the massive trouble
i got on my Xubuntu box, having to mess around with amixer/pacmd commands
in custom shell scripts, still not getting things to go smooth.

Firefox:
Search engines: why make it such a fuzz to add one's favorite search
engines to the search bar? Had to install the "Add to Search Bar" extension
to get back in the driver's seat..

Calculator:
Please consider making galculator the default. Much better than
gcalctool IMHO. Also the default in many other distros.

Terminal:
As mc user, i can't use gnome-terminal because of the F10 problem.
Although one can disable F10 in the terminal prefs window, as soon as
i do so, hitting F10 now opens a popup menu..
Couldn't find any F10 shortcut in the system prefs either.
Is that a Gnome thing or is Mint definig the F10 key somewhere?

Trying to undefine another hotkey i called the gnome-terminal help,
but instead of the quick terminal help i was hoping for, Firefox was
launched with a Mint webpage offering the Mint user manual for download
in PDF format..

Meanwhile i researched that one must try to define Backspace as hotkey to
actually undefine a hotkey in gnome-terminal, but anyway, the F10 problem
was still there and i eventually replaced gnome-terminal with xfce4-terminal
which works great on Mint-Cinnamon and which also doesn't pull tons of deps.
Phew, lucky me.

Default choice of software:
Good overall selection. 3 video players might be a little over the top, but
at least the installed players are amongst the best ones out there.

One thing i'm not a big fan of is the idea to bundle large stuff like vlc,
libre office, gimp and other big packages into mint-meta packages as
"required" deps. While i'm not exactly a minimalist, i usually prefer to
uninstall unneeded stuff to have a little more clean system.
Thats one minus point, at least in my rulebook. If these packages were
just recommends, things were different..

Cinnamon:
Considering it's young age, a good looking desktop with a nice bunch of
effects & goodies.

Menu:
for my taste, the vertical space between menu items is a little bit
too big, leaving less room for items (longer ways to scroll bigger lists).
Also, installing new software doesn't always add the menu entry right away,
requiring to restart the desktop (or some sub sys i currently don't know)
to have the menu updated, esp. when i install a software from a source
tarball ala `make install`.

Otherwise, thumbs up. You guys have built a fine alternative to the horrible
Gnome3 shell. I'm tempted to switch over to Mint64-Cinnamon, but right now
i'm just in love with the high level of customization of the Xfce panel which
is currently simply above everything else (since version 4.8, that is).
In comparison, the Cinnamon panel appears more like an early draft. When this
thing improves (and i'm pretty sure it will), i'll probably switch over..

Cheers.
Codefish
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Re: First impression / short review

Postby xenopeek on Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:20 pm

Wow! Extensive first post! So hi, and welcome to Linux Mint :wink: A few replies below.

Install: for power users, check the command line options to ubiquity. If you you run the install instead with "ubiquity --no-bootloader" or "ubiquity -b" for short, it won't install a bootloader.

Boot: the black screen is done intentionaly, as Plymouth is still having display problems on some machines. As shared in the release notes, if you want you can enable an animated boot with "sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth" (or you could edit /etc/default/grub, remove the "quiet splash" from GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT setting, run "sudo update-grub2" and next boot just have the boot logging show up).

Firefox: click the down arrow icon in the search box, choose "Manage Search Engines", click "Get more search engines". You arrive here: http://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php. Then it is a single click to add one of the common search engines. Alternatively, search Firefox add-ons as most search engines have a search plug-in you can add--that is the normal way of adding search engines BTW, so Linux Mint makes it easier by collecting a lot of common search engines on one page for you :wink:

Calculator: you can suggest software alternatives on the Community website (create an account, then My Places > My Ideas to post a new idea).Please include some arguments about why it is better.

Default choice of software: the mint-meta-packages are just that, meta packages for the developers to easily include a defined set of applications on the release. Uninstalling any of those applications uninstalls the related mint-meta-package, but as that is just an empty package this is fine.

Menu: you can install another menu if you want. For example the Classic Menu: http://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/applets/view/46.

Have fun with Linux Mint.
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Re: First impression / short review

Postby Codefish on Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:02 am

No i dont dislike the menu, just a liiitle bit too much space between entries.. just an observation.
I otherwise like the menu, it's looking good and usage is good, in contrast to other menus
like the one from KDE4, without the classic mode i would get mad having to use such a
menu every day.. :O

Black screen: aah, display problems not yet sorted out, i understand. Just saying that
inexperienced users might take issue on this. Of course i can tweak kernel parameters
to see text output..

Firefox: well, the "Add to Search Bar" plugin circumvents the entire problem.

Meta packages: i'm alwas a bit shy about uninstalling distro metas because i don't wanna
miss nice new additions to the desktop which were decided to become standard on the
desktop, especially if it's not huge stuff. If i uninstall the meta, i never know how much
better my desktop could be because i'm missing innovations which then stay unknown to me..

Thanks for the welcome..

Cheers.
Codefish
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Re: First impression / short review

Postby santa17 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:26 am

Hi,
RE terminal:
I had a similar problem in LXDE with ROX Term opening menu on F10 (very annoying), it is GTK related issue. I found a fix here:
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1017546#p1017546

I hope it helps (to anyone with same problem).

Cheers.
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Re: First impression / short review

Postby StanTheMan on Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:58 pm

If you intend to use a grub-install already working on another OS partotopm, and don't want to install grub on this new insallation , the normal procedure is to select install the MBR to this new installation partition ( e.g. " sda7" ) . The result is equivalent to insaling to "/".
Then your first re-boot will bring up the original boot list. Then in the old OS you run " sudo update-grub " Then re-boot and the old boot list will now have the new installatio OS listed.
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