request opinions on Mint version choice

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request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby junkman51 on Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:24 pm

I am posting this using my SONY F series laptop with a quad core i& processor, 6 gigs of RAM, and running 64 bit MAYA Cinnamon from a 16 gig flash drive (I installed it the flash drive from a live DVD as an experiment and it works great!).

I build and maintain a small church computer lab primarily for use by our youth on a weekly basis for a few hours.

The network connections for each computer are by cat5 cable to a switch which is in turn connected by cat5 cable to a Verizon residential speed DSL router.

There are currently 6 computers in use in the lab, with an absolute maximum number of 9 which could be accommodated.

The minimum specifications for the current lab computers: 512 megs of RAM; 1 gigahertz processor; hard drive 10 gigabytes; a DVD ROM drive.

The main use is internet access via Firefox.

There are currently 5 or 6 websites which are blocked using the Mint Domain Blocker.

Each one is currently running the 32 bit Gnome version of Mint 10.


The weekly youth night meetings will soon be on summer hiatus and I plan on evaluating and refurbishing/replacing each current computer and possibly adding up to 3 additional ones.

I would like to update the distribution of Mint to one which is currently supported. I want to install the same version on each computer.

The available Mint releases I would consider are:

32 bit Maya Mate;

32 bit 201204 LMDE Mate;

32 bit 201204 LMDE XFCE.

I request and welcome input on which release would be the best choice for the purpose.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby monkeyboy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:41 pm

First you are a brave man to do what you do, I know a former IBM software engineer who was totally defeated by the carnage caused by a herd of kid users. It was not pretty, so good on you.
I use LMDE with XFCE and its been very nice to me (stability, ease of use) however I am just one of many users so other folks should have their own opinions on DEs and distros. I guess it really comes down to what the next group of boxes gets along with. Good Luck
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby junkman51 on Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:42 am

Monkeyboy,

Thanks for the reply.

The computer lab is in the 3rd year of operation and started with a donated MAC and several Windows XP PCs I rebuilt mostly from "genuine junk parts".

I didn't know how well the very first Mint machine would be accepted by the kids but they quickly got used to it and preferred it to the MAC.

Eventually the MAC was retired and as bad things happened to the Windows computers, I installed Mint Gnome (8, 9, and eventually 10) on them.


I find that reinstalling Mint from a live disc is the quickest and easiest way to fix problems with individual computers. I try to keep customization to a minimum - add 5 or 6 websites to the Domain blocker, add Frostwire, and give access to a shared printer.


The internet connection is a CAT5 cable from the network switch , through a wall, and connecting to the DSL router in the locked office next door. On my "maybe, would be nice someday" list would be a computer in the office to use as a firewall for the lab, doing the website filtering there and also logging websites visited so I could adjust the blocked list as needed. In addition, I think it could also be used to block notifications of updates and attempts to install additional software. After youth time is done, I could go in the office, physically bypass the firewall, and do required maintenance.


Of the currently available LMDE and Maya DEs, I think either MATE or XFCE should be familiar enough to the kids and I hope not require a lot of system resources.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby AlbertP on Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:26 pm

Mint 13 Mate is a solid release. Mint 10 has reached end of support, 11 has some bugs, 12 has a different desktop which I'd avoid. You can also use Mint 13 Cinnamon but that may not run well on every old GPU - I don't know what hardware your "XP" computers use. If it's SiS or VIA graphics, you'd better avoid Cinnamon or Mint 12.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby junkman51 on Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:21 am

AlbertP,

Thank you for your response.

For now, it looks like Mint 13 MATE has the inside track.

The current "XP capable" computers are all old, with single core processors. As for video power, 4 of the current 6 computers use the motherboard video chip (NVIDEA 6510 is as good as it gets). The 2 other (and oldest) ones have vintage AGP video.

I have some newer, or at least more powerful potential replacement computers in view, but I'm waiting for some people to come through with 2 promised computers which will eventually be used to replace 2 current home/office grade XP computers which will trickle down to the computer lab and be good performing Mint machines. Once that's accomplished, I will look at rehabilitating some equipment sitting up in my computer junk room to add to the lab.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby AlbertP on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:02 am

I don't know what "vintage AGP video" is - if that's a Radeon 9000 or X series, it's still fine to use Cinnamon but of course Mate can also be used. (Radeon 9250 AGP cards are often available for around €10)

Mint 13 is a Long Term Support release, you can use it for 5 years. I have tried it myself on a laptop with 512 MB RAM which worked fine.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby junkman51 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:00 am

AlbertP,

Instead of using the term "vintage AGP video" I probably should have used "ANTIQUE AGP video".

Both of the computers are at least 10 years old. One of them is the poorest performer and first on the list to be replaced. It's also the one with the most trips to my repair bench.

The other one I bought new from a custom builder in 2001 and has always been a reliable performer. It was my main computer for several years and in the lab it's still running well.


I think MATE is a better choice for lab computer DE so system resources won't be as much of a problem.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby junkman51 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:18 am

I will wait until the official release of Maya XFCE and give that a try for the lab computers.

From what I'm reading (mostly on this forum), both MATE and CINNAMON are relatively new and I have a chance of compatibility issues depending on the individual computers hardware.

I think XFCE is a DE with a longer history and likely better stability so it would have the inside track.

I want to have one distro as standard, so it would be the 32 bit version of whichever DE version I choose.

On my SONY F series laptop, my Mint version of choice is the 64 bit version of MAYA which I installed to a 16 gig flash drive.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby cwwgateway on Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:51 am

I'd recommend Xfce, although there shouldn't be compatibility problems with MATE (there probably will be with Cinnamon). The main difference between the Xfce and MATE editions will be that Xfce will be lighter on resources.
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Re: request opinions on Mint version choice

Postby junkman51 on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:28 am

cwwgateway,

Thanks for your reply.

I thought that XFCE required less system resources, which is good considering the old equipment I'm working with.

I'm glad that Mint and other Linux distros offer choices and flexibility, not like the "My way or the highway" attitude and highly restrictive licensing of the "big 2" (Microsoft & Apple).
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