Linux Mint: 6 weeks on

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Linux Mint: 6 weeks on

Postby iain_j on Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:31 pm

It's six weeks since I pulled the plug on Windows Vista, erased my laptop's hard disk and moved to Linux. I think I'm done with the tinkering and got a system that looks and works how I want it, so I thought I'd share my thoughts and first impressions.

(1) it's bloody fast. With Vista, I'd turn it on, go away, make a cup of tea, flick through the newspaper, come back, and wait just a few more minutes until I had a desktop ready to use. Shutdowns were just as slow (could never understand how it can take so long to stop programs and switch things off), as were many things in between. In the final few months of Windows I was wondering if it was just my hardware getting old, and maybe a new laptop was the way to go. However, with Linux, I haven't timed it, but I reckon it's less than a minute including putting my password in. I'm still amazed by how fast my old laptop has become.

(2) It's lightweight. Another reason for thinking I should upgrade my hardware was that the hard disk was getting seriously full (about 50GB free of my 250GB disk) and I was pondering what could be deleted or moved off to my external HDD. With Linux I've now got about 150GB free. With some re-organising of partitions, I could get a fair bit more.

(3) It's infinitely more customisable. With Windows you get what you're given, and bar changing the theme, you're stuck with it (bar the once-per-decade interface changes... Win3.1 >> Windows 95 ~~~ Vista >> Win 8 ). Linux, I'm spolit for choice. Started with KDE, changed to Cinnamon, to MATE, back to Cinnamon, then MATE with Cairo, now settled on the Cairo desktop.

(4) It's infinitely too customisable.... six weeks later I'm only just at a stage where I'm actually *using* my laptop again :lol:

(5) All the workings are so much more logical and secure. From the file system layout, to owners and groups and permissions, to software repositories. It seems ridiculous to do it the "old" way now - mixing user files and programs in with the Windows system files, allowing any program access to any part of the file system, having file systems wholly separated just because they're on different partitions, allowing a program from anywhere on the internet to install and run. Even from the command line now, it's child's play to find and install an app as compared to finding a website where I can download it and keep my fingers crossed it's not infected with some malware.

(6) It's buggy, a work in progress, easy to break, needs more configuring and tweaking to get working at times, doesn't always work "straight out of the box". One of my first experiences with the whole thing was the infamous Cinnamon freeze-up in Libre Office. Later on it took a lot of head-scratching to get Apache/Xampp to access files in my home folder. I've broken my system a fair few times and re-installed the whole lot a few times. I've been very frustrated with it, at times thought "shall I just go back to Windows" but then I've never found a problem I can't get out of, with the help of the......

(7) ....marvellous community support. If something's turned out buggy, or I've broken something, or wanted to know how to make something work, 9 out of 10 times I've found the answer here (from a previous thread or an answer to my question). Again, no need to go trawling on google to find someone who knows, or to download some other program which claims to do what I want.
Linux Mint 14 KDE (32 bit) -- HP G70 Laptop
Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400 @ 2.16GHz -- 3Gb DDR2 RAM -- 250Gb HDD
Intel Mobile 4 Series graphics -- Intel 82801I audio
Atheros AR242x/AR542x wireless network adapter
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Re: Linux Mint: 6 weeks on

Postby HughT on Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:57 pm

hi iain_j, welcome to the forum. It looks like you've had some fun getting to know Mint. I think your experience has been similar to mine: an appreciation of the logic underlying Linux, some frustration at things I don't understand, satisfaction of being in charge of my own PC and a growing sense of bafflement at why so many people still use Windows. Next to come is the feeling of smugness when you hear of people needing to up-date their virus software or de-fragging their drive or even buying new peripherals when a new MS version has no driver support. And as for the final stage of installing a new program under Windows viz turn your computer off and then turn it on again. How weird is that?
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Re: Linux Mint: 6 weeks on

Postby iain_j on Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:22 am

Ha yeah, I still get a feeling of "hang on, it can't be installed and working yet, it's not asked me to reboot" when I've installed or updated something. And I admit to a bit of smugness when I read of the latest Java security threat :D
Linux Mint 14 KDE (32 bit) -- HP G70 Laptop
Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400 @ 2.16GHz -- 3Gb DDR2 RAM -- 250Gb HDD
Intel Mobile 4 Series graphics -- Intel 82801I audio
Atheros AR242x/AR542x wireless network adapter
iain_j
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Re: Linux Mint: 6 weeks on

Postby fraxinus_63 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:20 am

Congratulations on your move from Vista, and really glad to hear that your take on Mint is so positive. Enjoy the ride!
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Re: Linux Mint: 6 weeks on

Postby Condorman on Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:48 am

Great post OP. I love how you acknowledge that it isn't perfect, or try to pretend it is. There's no such thing as a perfect OS imho, and I've used many. So many fanboys get over excited and don't list the clear problems, and to me this helps no-one. It can be buggy, and is always a work in progress. But fixes often come quickly, and at least with Mint there's a sense of listening to the users.

That said, I completely agree with your list of positives over Vista. There's no arguing with your findings here. It is of course much quicker, lighter and leaner. And I agree with your summation of the customisation of Mint. I can't stop messing with it either! I just love Cinnamon, and coupled with Cairo-Dock it is a desktop of pure joy for me. I recommend the Cinnamint theme here > http://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/themes/view/120. Fits the OS beautifully imho.

I'm fairly new to Mint too, well at least as far as being a regular user now (I've tinkered in the past), and even though I've used Ubuntu for many years it's still a journey of discovery with Mint. I salute Mint's new approach to the desktop with Cinnamon, and I think it will get even better.
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