LMDE is really hard to love

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LMDE is really hard to love

Postby prower on Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:31 pm

I'm really considering installing a different OS soon, be it SuSE, Debian, Ubunti, or *gasp* Windows.

I appreciate that Linux and LMDE in particular cater to a more "adventurous" crowd, who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. I appreciate that Gnome3/Unity etc. is trying to do something forward-thinking with the form factors now available (netbooks etc.). That said, I am quickly losing confidence in LMDE. I've had nothing but problems since installing.

  • The boot partition options during install were difficult to decipher, and I ended up using the older more reliable deep menu to configure my partitions
  • The delete key doesn't work by default in Nautilus, and to enable it required a gconf configuration change (more of a Gnome3 thing, but still related)
  • Multiple monitor support is terrible, I've had to revert to using the most basic default setup and can't change which monitor is the primary (I've searched the threads on this): this causes unrecoverable errors that no amount of reboots, shutdowns, or log outs will resolve
  • Multiple times I've had my computer shut down on me with no warning or cause given, both while I'm in the middle of using it as well as when I'm not around
This whole Gnome3 debacle is not helping things either. Settings are convoluted, undiscoverable, and usually not even available in the GUI. Don't get me wrong, I love CLI just as much as the next guy and I'm right at home there, but even CLI has not provided me the guarantee I'm used to.

Since I was introduced to *nix years and years ago I fell in love, teaching myself admin stuff, CLI operations, differences between the various distributions and DEs etc. It was glorious. I felt so empowered by my choice of OS and I could accomplish things so fast with built-in utilities, or if it wasn't built in I could build it or quickly get it.

Then one summer I was too busy exploring and just having fun, and life happened so I didn't devote as much time as I liked to upkeep. Now I have some time again, and when I return to my comfort zone I find that it has all been ripped apart and reassembled like Frankenstein's monster: it's still made from the components of Linux, all the DEs and Debian that I knew, but put together in a horrific semblance of the originals. Nothing works quite right, but most of it works passably; some things are simply unusable.

The ability to tweak, maintain, automate, and share your OS makes it intimately personal. These are all great things (but not all of them) that I feel are being constrained in the current design.

I want to love it. I want to be able to brag to my friends "hey, look what I can do!" or "look at this awesome feature of my OS!". Unfortunately, I feel like a complete newbie fumbling around where I used to feel like a poweruser. What happened?
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby cwsnyder on Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:41 am

Might I suggest a change of DE while waiting for the experiments in GNOME 3 and Unity to subside? Xfce is supported as an official LMDE alternative desktop and has been relatively stable and gaining in configure-ability. KDE is not supported officially, but also stable now that most of the changeover from KDE 3.x to KDE 4.x has occurred, if you want more eye-candy. There are also many other alternative desktops, although I haven't had any experience with multiple monitors, so I can't comment on their suitability to your use.

For my usage, I neither want nor need eye-candy and bling, and because of that, I have never spent the resources for Compiz, and such like. For that reason, much of the Unity 3D/GNOME 3/KDE desktop 'experience' has passed me by entirely, but Linus and I both get by in Xfce :)
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby monkeyboy on Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:36 pm

I want to love it. I want to be able to brag to my friends "hey, look what I can do!" or "look at this awesome feature of my OS!". Unfortunately, I feel like a complete newbie fumbling around where I used to feel like a poweruser. What happened?

Time and reality marches on. :D
If you don't like it, make something better
If you can't make something better, adapt
If you can't do either ball your panties up and cry.

Complaining is like masticating most anyone can do it.
However doing it in public is really hardcore.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby rekuli on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:54 pm

I can't say I experienced any of the problems you stated in the original post… maybe you should re-install LMDE cleanly from the current image into a pre-formatted partition, and don't install any Ubuntu packages on the LMDE system (if you did, that is). IMHO LMDE is the desktop to show off with and brag about, asides from a few minor issues that do not get in the way of –– or come to notice at all with –– the average desktop user. Even uprading from the debian Wheezy repositories works fine (some apps have to be re-installed, though; see my „Thanks” thread).
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby coach on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:35 am

One thing I have to agree with 'power' on is the multiple monitor problems.

I can drive 2 monitors, change resolution... all that is fine.

But the control logic as to which screen is on/off is completely broken.

The only thing that works is - however I boot, I can not change anything there after.

If I close the laptop lid, the external screen goes off too.

If I 'un-dock', the laptop screen does not come back.

Other than that, I've found mint to be quite good.

I'm new to Debian - used RedHat/Fedora/CentOS for years, and just tried LMDE because the sound quality on my new laptop with CentOS 6.2 was awful with VLC and Skype.

So I thought I'd try a 'user friendly' distro and LMDE looked to tick all my boxes. LMDE has been fine, all apps worked well. Some minor niggles, but really nothing to put me off LMDE.

But the monitor problem (ie. not being able to see my screen) is a major problem.

And I've just tried the new releases of skype and VLC (on another CentOS test machine) and they seam to work fine now.

So, at time of writing I am still using Mint, but I think I'll be going back to CentOS very soon.

CentOS ticks all my boxes (stable, LTS), and has compiz, gnome2. I had not tried cairo-dock on it before, but I hope it has it (I expect so, if it has compiz). If not, I'll still settle for stability.

And I like the package manager 'yum', and I'm happy editing config files (when needed) - makes me feel like a real sys-admin ;-)
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby Sonsum on Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:43 am

On my main laptop, I wanted the newest Gnome-Shell, so I completely upgraded to testing. I may stick with Wheezy until a big library conflict forces me to upgrade to the next testing, who knows.

LMDE is beautiful for my netbook though. I had been running Squeeze, but then I ran into some aforementioned library conflicts on an app I wanted. So I knew I needed something newer. I ended up choosing LMDE over testing because I really like MATE on this netbook (I was running Gnome 2 on squeeze and this jump feels natural). While the packages are a little out of date, I enjoy the comfort of thoughtful upgrades on a machine that doesn't dual boot Windows (as my backup OS). Plus, I feel that the LMDE devs are going to be much more supportive of MATE than straight testing.

When I finish traveling, I plan on replacing Squeeze on my old desktop with MATE LMDE. Squeeze is just getting too old for some of my favorite programs.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby telenux on Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:20 am

prower wrote:I'm really considering installing a different OS soon, be it SuSE, Debian, Ubunti, or *gasp* Windows.

I appreciate that Linux and LMDE in particular cater to a more "adventurous" crowd, who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. I appreciate that Gnome3/Unity etc. is trying to do something forward-thinking with the form factors now available (netbooks etc.). That said, I am quickly losing confidence in LMDE. I've had nothing but problems since installing.

Then one summer I was too busy exploring and just having fun, and life happened so I didn't devote as much time as I liked to upkeep. Now I have some time again, and when I return to my comfort zone I find that it has all been ripped apart and reassembled like Frankenstein's monster: it's still made from the components of Linux, all the DEs and Debian that I knew, but put together in a horrific semblance of the originals. Nothing works quite right, but most of it works passably; some things are simply unusable.

The ability to tweak, maintain, automate, and share your OS makes it intimately personal. These are all great things (but not all of them) that I feel are being constrained in the current design.

I want to love it. I want to be able to brag to my friends "hey, look what I can do!" or "look at this awesome feature of my OS!". Unfortunately, I feel like a complete newbie fumbling around where I used to feel like a poweruser. What happened?

I think Mint (Clem and his team) don't really care much about the 'straight' Debian fork (which is since Ubuntu is only based on Debian). I've tried straight Debian, sidux - aptosid (and will try seduction next), Mepis and of course, Ubuntu. But, LMDE has been a problem on all my machines. There's constant bugs and Gnome3 shell on my desktop is awful. LMDE on my laptop is a mess and both installs won't be there much longer. There are different problems for each as only Gnome3 is on the desktop. But, I've never had any significant problems with any version or 'tweak' of Debian until I tried LMDE. I think they don't put much effort into keeping it smooth as they cater to their 'Ubuntu' users.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby viking777 on Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:33 pm

I have to say I agree with the OP's statement. I have been using LMDE since it first came out, but a few months ago I installed 'straight' debian instead and it has been remarkably stable since then. Clem has put a lot of effort into Cinnamon, and his choice of that alongside Mate on the Main edition show you where the future lies in MInt. I can't possibly argue with his 'vision' because it seems to have garnered multitudes of users, but neither of those desktops appeal to me personally. I can't possibly tell you what I think about Mate without starting a flame war, and whilst Cinnamon is perfectly usable, to me it is inferior to both gnome-shell and unity. Herein lies the problem with LMDE, it no longer properly supports the default desktop of Debian - gnome-shell - because it is too busy supporting Mate and Cinnamon.

I regard this as sad because I loved LMDE for ages, but no longer, and if you feel the same way, then 'straight' Debian is a much better bet.

Please understand that this is very much personal opinion, and I expect a lot of peeps will disagree, but I don't feel either a need or a desire to justify my own personal choices, so please don't expect me to do so.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby squeezy on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:24 pm

I've done several custom LMDE GNOME Shell installs and find that everything works well. I haven't used a prepackaged LMDE install for quite some time though so I can't really comment on those. My GS installs do use the Mint repos, preference file and several of the Mint tools and theme. I've ended up with a very Minty GS setup, one that might be very like a Mint GS version.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby lm4td on Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:02 pm

I've had no problems with LMDE Xfce. *shrugs*
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby prower on Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:39 pm

rekuli wrote:I can't say I experienced any of the problems you stated in the original post

User: "I have a problem with the software"
Dev: "doesn't repro on my machine" != "there is no problem"

rekuli wrote:maybe you should re-install LMDE cleanly from the current image into a pre-formatted partition, and don't install any Ubuntu packages on the LMDE system (if you did, that is)

This is all from whatever packages were installed when I did the clean install and then the massive update afterwards. I don't have any Ubuntu packages installed.

monkeyboy wrote:Time and reality marches on.

Yes, but it's not just that there were changes, these changes are severe functional regressions. What used to work now no longer works, which by definition is a regression.


I think I just don't have time to keep up with the maintenance and tedious fiddling I used to do. I'm going to stick around the community and probably just go to a lightweight distro + DE for now until I do have more time. I have XFCE installed and I've always had a soft spot for it, but that won't fix the underlying OS issues like the package problems. Ah well, I still take comfort knowing there's still a strong community out there :)
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love - Not Really :)

Postby GeneC on Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:27 am

My feelings are that most all of the complaints about LMDE can be put right on the shoulders of recent Gnome (2.3 > 3.xx) upgrades more than on Mint. When Clem first proposed the idea of LMDE no longer tracking 'testing' repo but instead using 'Update Packs' based on snapshot monthly releases was an innovative idea and promised to make LMDE more stable.
Well it has, BUT because of the frequent and radical changes in Gnome (2.3 to gnome-shell 3.xx) a monkey wrench was thrown into the mix. The proposed montly UP's had to be stretched out to several months (3-5) so that Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate update packages could catch up and be properly implemented into the upgrade packs. This made a lot of folks unhappy,I being one :) , so I reverted to tracking testing, and then to SID (not really much more effort). With the help of the forum community, maintenance was a little effort, but easy enough.

To be fair to LMDE the only real valid complaint is the long time between update packs for those choosing to use them. But, if you stand back and take a realistic look at the issue - is it a real problem? Not really. LMDE with UP tracking is very stable.
I expect Update Packs to be more quickly available in the future after all the Gnome 3.xx baloney gets sorted out. :wink:
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby Bonsaii on Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:34 pm

Hi,

I agree with GeneC. And there is a related issue: Cinnamon + Mate
or rather using Gnome2 and Gnome3 simultaneously.
When I had both installed and was using both or parts of Mate
in Cinnamon, I ended up with conflicting settings.

Whether is was sound, notifications or software (f.e. MPlayer vs.
MPlayer2), my system became buggy, less usable.
And it took hours of looking for dependencies/conflicts in
synaptics to find the "trouble makers".

At the end, I removed almost everything Mate/Gnome2
and am now happily using Cinnamon with some Gnome3
stuff.

IMHO, any developer is over-challenged to check all
and every possible setup and check all dependencies
and what works with what.

In that regard, the Software Manager is somewhat
misleading. You can fubar your system easily,
when installing packages without checking for
dependencies and conflicts.
As soon as Gnome2/Mate is phased out, I hope
and expect LMDE (w/ Cinnamon) to be a stable,
usable, fun and exciting distro again.
Thinkpad T410s, LMDE 64Bit, Cinnamon
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby Sonsum on Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:19 pm

Bonsaii wrote:Hi,

I agree with GeneC. And there is a related issue: Cinnamon + Mate
or rather using Gnome2 and Gnome3 simultaneously.
When I had both installed and was using both or parts of Mate
in Cinnamon, I ended up with conflicting settings.

Whether is was sound, notifications or software (f.e. MPlayer vs.
MPlayer2), my system became buggy, less usable.
And it took hours of looking for dependencies/conflicts in
synaptics to find the "trouble makers".

At the end, I removed almost everything Mate/Gnome2
and am now happily using Cinnamon with some Gnome3
stuff.

IMHO, any developer is over-challenged to check all
and every possible setup and check all dependencies
and what works with what.

In that regard, the Software Manager is somewhat
misleading. You can fubar your system easily,
when installing packages without checking for
dependencies and conflicts.
As soon as Gnome2/Mate is phased out, I hope
and expect LMDE (w/ Cinnamon) to be a stable,
usable, fun and exciting distro again.


As far as I know, MATE will not be "phased out". As someone who used to run Squeeze on my netbook, MATE and LMDE are lifesavers. It's a big attraction for those who preferred their gnome 2 setup.

When installing packages, it's best to use aptitude rather than apt-get (or synaptic). It has a dependency checker and resolver so you don't run into those sort of problems.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby telenux on Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:27 am

Even the moderator thinks it's garbage. I installed virtualbox and for some reason it wanted to remove unetbootin and then it *downgraded* all these other package versions required.

Also, it includes *ubuntu* in the name so they're compiling ubuntu packages which I doubt Debian (Wheezy / Testing) uses.

Mint is an UBUNTU DISTRO and the Debian edition is an afterthought. They're only looking at Debian in case they decide Ubuntu is making too many radical changes in which they can't keep up.

I am so disappointed in the Debian part. I thought it was a good move but they don't seem to put much consideration in it, after all.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby telenux on Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:29 am

Oh yeah, they don't include a menu for rebooting the system either (with their Gnome 3 shell). Are they on drugs when they tweak this stuff? Maybe they get together with the Gnome team?
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby MALsPa on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:23 pm

viking777 wrote:I have to say I agree with the OP's statement. I have been using LMDE since it first came out, but a few months ago I installed 'straight' debian instead and it has been remarkably stable since then. Clem has put a lot of effort into Cinnamon, and his choice of that alongside Mate on the Main edition show you where the future lies in MInt. I can't possibly argue with his 'vision' because it seems to have garnered multitudes of users, but neither of those desktops appeal to me personally. I can't possibly tell you what I think about Mate without starting a flame war, and whilst Cinnamon is perfectly usable, to me it is inferior to both gnome-shell and unity. Herein lies the problem with LMDE, it no longer properly supports the default desktop of Debian - gnome-shell - because it is too busy supporting Mate and Cinnamon.

I regard this as sad because I loved LMDE for ages, but no longer, and if you feel the same way, then 'straight' Debian is a much better bet.

Please understand that this is very much personal opinion, and I expect a lot of peeps will disagree, but I don't feel either a need or a desire to justify my own personal choices, so please don't expect me to do so.


Well put.

I agree with the opinion (important to put emphasis on that word) that MATE and Cinnamon are inferior to both GNOME Shell and Unity, and that straight Debian is a "better bet" than LMDE. I was very excited when I first heard about LMDE, and was looking forward to it, but things haven't turned out like I'd hoped.

I'm not saying that others shouldn't use it. Anytime you have an easy-to-install distro that uses Debian repos, I think that's a good thing, and LMDE gives people one more of that type of option. But LMDE isn't as appealing to me as Debian, or as some other Debian-based distros.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby Lippy on Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:16 pm

I've been running LMDE for the last year, so I'll weigh in on my own experiences with this.

Personally, I use LMDE because I like the idea of a rolling release (OK, semi-rolling!), but after trying out the Update Packs at first, I decided that I wanted newer packages so I pointed straight to Debian Testing. I get the odd breakage with this setup, but they get fixed pretty easily and the OS itself has been as solid as a rock and as light as a feather. Of course, this configuration isn't officially supported. The version of Cinnamon in the repositories doesn't play nice with a system based on today's Debian Testing for example, as it was built with Update Pack 4 in mind, so that needs to be compiled by hand if you want to use it. The result is an OS that is almost straight Debian Testing + DMO + Cinnamon. I'm happy with it, but again, I don't mind having to get my hands dirty every so often and it's taught me a few things too so it's all good.

About the Update Packs, they haven't worked as well as I'd hoped. This is a controversial topic so I'll go over why I think this is so. Basically, there is a trade-off between having newer packages and more stability. LMDE with the Update Packs gives you the idea that you get newer packages more often while keeping much of the stability Debian has to offer. I guess I'm not the first to comment that the Update Packs have been rather sporadic, and several months can go by without updates. This is understandable given the small development team, as having a high frequency of Update Packs will divert their attention from more important things. Debian itself tends to use older packages anyway, and sometimes it can take months before the latest version of a package even hits Testing. I think another problem is that each Update Pack is just a snapshot of Debian Testing rather than a branch with bugfixes and security updates pulled from Testing as they crop up. Again, that needs a lot of resources which Mint unfortunately doesn't have, as sometimes the packages would need to be forked themselves (in Testing, the bugfixes could be in a major update rather than just a patch). That would require the Mint team to maintain not only their own packages, but Debian's too, which is too much to ask for. Hopefully someone can give me a counter-argument to this. I believe the Mint team are doing the best they can with their available resources, but with the Update Packs being the way they are, I personally only see them being used for niche purposes. I see its advantages being that it's lighter than Ubuntu and that you don't need to do a clean install to upgrade to a newer 'version'. Otherwise I think there's better alternatives.

It's for those reasons why imo, unless you know what you are doing, it's best if you just use a main edition of Mint over LMDE. It tends to have newer packages than LMDE anyway. Sometimes I get the impression that some ex-Ubuntu users were unhappy with Unity or some other new feature and therefore decided that anything based on Ubuntu was bad, thus not giving the main Mint editions a chance. If you want to retain the advantages of LMDE but want newer packages, then pointing your sources directly to Debian Testing or Sid might be for you, if you can deal with the odd breakage. The forum community here are really helpful if you get stuck. The end result can be really nice, but it does need a bit of maintenance every so often.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby cwsnyder on Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:28 pm

I am one of those who have been avoiding Unity and/or GNOME shell and thus changed over to LMDE first, then LMDE Xfce. I could have stuck with Xubuntu, but I wanted the (semi-)rolling release promise.

My reason for avoiding Unity and GNOME for at least a while is that with my graphics setup, Compiz and/or KWin is broken, like throw the distribution out broken, and I didn't have a week to figure out why; I just moved on.
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Re: LMDE is really hard to love

Postby drcasper on Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:07 am

I use LMDE at work from the day it came out. My only problem is that it is outdated, seriously outdated! So I was looking at Arch, im interested only in rolling distros, but after 4 attempts to setup Arch I decided that Life is to short! So LMDE has to stay. I Upgrade stuff that I need from Debian Testing, like , Mysql, Apache, PHP... gtk3 lib, kde stuff, and than run back to LMDE repos :)

I may try Sabayon.... one day :)

So ATM LMDE is my choice.
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