a few questions before i give it a whirl

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a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby paradive on Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:50 pm

1. i understand it's based on Ubuntu...
i've had some "issues" with Ubuntu (mostly with the software manager)...

is it just the foundation of the code base?
is it being independently developed from there on, or just constantly being upgraded as new releases of Ubuntu are released?

2. soooooo many desktops...
from what i can gather, the advantage of MATE is it's more configurable. i like that.
but if i don't like it, is it fairly easy to install/switch to Cinnamon/whatever and try it?

speaking of which, one thing i'm fond of with Win7 is its feature of switching backgrounds every X minutes.
do any desktop environments do this here?

3. upgrading....

i HATE the idea of doing a fresh install once or twice a year!
are there any plans of enabling rolling updates?

i forgot the other questions.... for now.
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby robw on Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:44 am

Hi Paradive,

Mint is based on Ubuntu and its code base is Ubuntu but tweaked to give it 'Mintiness'! As such, its releases follow Ubuntus but without the strict deadlines. Generally new releases come out a few weeks after Ubuntus. If you use Mint, you'll recognise many of the dialogues as Ubuntu ones. My experience of Mint, these last 5 years, have been really good. I've tried other distros but always kept Mint as my 'mission critical' system as it's always been reliable (as long as I didn't go beyond my skill level with tweaking!!). An advantage of being based on Ubuntu is that if you encounter a problem, in addition to having these forums to turn to, you can also look up solutions in Ubuntu Forums. Where Mint has differed from Ubuntu is the Cinnamon desktop which is under constant and rapid development. It's already very usable at 1.4 and 1.6 is now in the pipeline. MATE is very good for compatibility and will run happily on my older laptops whereas Cinnamon, which needs graphics acceleration at the moment (but hopefully not in future), will not. Cinnamon is becoming more configurable by the day. And if you want to try it, just apt-get install Cinnamon and restart, choosing Cinnamon from the session manager at boot. MATE and Cinnamon will live together, just chose which session you want.

As far as I know, there are no plans for the main edition of Mint to change from following Ubuntu. That said, if you don't want to change, the current edition (13) is a LTS release and will be supported for 5 years. If upgrading is a no-no, there are 2 easy solutions. At install, format your disk to put your Home folder on a separate partition. You can then just upgrade the operating system (you'll want to back up your data anyway!). Alternatively, you could try Mint Debian Edition. It is based on Debian, not Ubuntu and it is only compatible with Debian - not Ubuntu. I run it as my secondary system and after a few snags in the early days I have had no snags with it. However, updates and upgradeas are more likely to break your system than the Main Edition, so you need to know your way around the command line and its important to read around LMDE before taking the plunge - don't use it unless you feel happy that you can fix any problems that arise. My LMDE system has had no problems now for many moons, though, so it certainly works for me.

I'd certainly recommend Mint for its straightforward install, reliability and generally good feel. Everything just works (for me, at least) and I have not been able to say that about any other distro I've tried.

Don't know about your question on changing wallpapers, I'm afraid. As far as I know Cinnamon and Mint don't but there are wiser heads than mine around here...

Best of luck, and hopefully welcome to Mint!
Check out my watercolour paintings at www.robwighamwatercolours.com.
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby odo5435 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:37 am

paradive wrote:2. soooooo many desktops...
from what i can gather, the advantage of MATE is it's more configurable. i like that.
but if i don't like it, is it fairly easy to install/switch to Cinnamon/whatever and try it?

Yes, it's very easy to switch between Desktop Environments (D/E's). You can easily install several D/E's alongside each other. Installation is just a matter of searching and clicking on the 'Install' button in the Software Manager. You can then log out of and into the various D/Es as you want in a matter of a few seconds without going through a 'restart'.

I currently run both Cinnamon and Xfce having recently upgraded to LM13 Cinnamon then discovering it has major problems coping with my dual monitor set up. I switch between the two D/Es regularly - using Xfce to get what has to be done, done and fiddling with Cinnamon when I get the chance.
paradive wrote:speaking of which, one thing i'm fond of with Win7 is its feature of switching backgrounds every X minutes.
do any desktop environments do this here?

Can't help you there, but I'm sure someone else can
paradive wrote:3. i HATE the idea of doing a fresh install once or twice a year!
are there any plans of enabling rolling updates?.

I have Linux Mint Debian on a netbook for the same reason. But the last Update Pack was problematic for me and I probably would have found it just as easy to do a complete re-install anyway. And you don't have to upgrade every six months. I'm not fond of them and didn't bother with any upgrades from Mint 10 to Mint 13. Now with the 5 year support plan you (technically) should be able to run the same OS for 5 years without a re-install.

Welcome to Linux. I made the change about three years ago and have rarely regretted it and have never wanted to return to Windows. I keep the dual boot option 'just in case' and to rarely play a couple of games that I find difficult to configure through Wine.
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby abnvolk on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:44 pm

You can install some applications, such as Wallch to change backgrounds automatically.
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby paradive on Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:21 pm

robw wrote:Hi Paradive,

Mint is based on Ubuntu and its code base is Ubuntu but tweaked to give it 'Mintiness'! As such, its releases follow Ubuntus but without the strict deadlines. Generally new releases come out a few weeks after Ubuntus. If you use Mint, you'll recognise many of the dialogues as Ubuntu ones. My experience of Mint, these last 5 years, have been really good. I've tried other distros but always kept Mint as my 'mission critical' system as it's always been reliable (as long as I didn't go beyond my skill level with tweaking!!). An advantage of being based on Ubuntu is that if you encounter a problem, in addition to having these forums to turn to, you can also look up solutions in Ubuntu Forums. Where Mint has differed from Ubuntu is the Cinnamon desktop which is under constant and rapid development. It's already very usable at 1.4 and 1.6 is now in the pipeline. MATE is very good for compatibility and will run happily on my older laptops whereas Cinnamon, which needs graphics acceleration at the moment (but hopefully not in future), will not. Cinnamon is becoming more configurable by the day. And if you want to try it, just apt-get install Cinnamon and restart, choosing Cinnamon from the session manager at boot. MATE and Cinnamon will live together, just chose which session you want.

As far as I know, there are no plans for the main edition of Mint to change from following Ubuntu. That said, if you don't want to change, the current edition (13) is a LTS release and will be supported for 5 years. If upgrading is a no-no, there are 2 easy solutions. At install, format your disk to put your Home folder on a separate partition. You can then just upgrade the operating system (you'll want to back up your data anyway!). Alternatively, you could try Mint Debian Edition. It is based on Debian, not Ubuntu and it is only compatible with Debian - not Ubuntu. I run it as my secondary system and after a few snags in the early days I have had no snags with it. However, updates and upgradeas are more likely to break your system than the Main Edition, so you need to know your way around the command line and its important to read around LMDE before taking the plunge - don't use it unless you feel happy that you can fix any problems that arise. My LMDE system has had no problems now for many moons, though, so it certainly works for me.

I'd certainly recommend Mint for its straightforward install, reliability and generally good feel. Everything just works (for me, at least) and I have not been able to say that about any other distro I've tried.

Don't know about your question on changing wallpapers, I'm afraid. As far as I know Cinnamon and Mint don't but there are wiser heads than mine around here...

Best of luck, and hopefully welcome to Mint!


speaking of partitioning, does the default install do it automatically (including putting /home on a separate one)?
i hate figuring out a partitioning scheme (it's been a good decade since my glory/geek/linux days, which is why i'm looking for a simple desktop option)?

googling splits the Cinnamon vs. MATE decision pretty 50/50.
you'd go with Cinnamon?
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby abnvolk on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:57 am

The installer don't make a seperate partition for /home, so you must do it yourself using GParted in the LiveCD.
I'd like MATE better, because Cinnamon doesn't work well with some graphic cards. In my laptop it runs very fine, but some people in this forum have complained about Cinnamon breaking up after installing drivers...
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby robw on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:26 am

My preference for Cinnamon is purely one of taste, really. To me it looks modern and accords with my visual preferences. The MATE version supplied with Mint is much more aesthetically pleasing than raw MATE but for me it just doesn't look as nice. If you've got a fairly modern PC with graphics accel it should work fine - it works on 3 of the 4 PCs I look after for the family. On the fourth I run MATE. Both desktops will 'do' pretty much the same so there should be no difference functionally. I also like the fact that Cinnamon is being developed so aggresively; not sure about MATE's long-term future (which is not to cast doubt; I just don't know).

Personally, I'd try Cinnamon. If you get problems, revert to MATE. Just a personal whim! Either way, welcome to Mint!
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby paradive on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:15 pm

abnvolk wrote:The installer don't make a seperate partition for /home, so you must do it yourself using GParted in the LiveCD.


ugh.
getting a bad feeling about this already. :|
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby homerscousin on Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:13 pm

It really does help if you tell us what you have for a computer system. There are desktops, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, pocketbooks, Ipads, Maxipads, etc. There's Nvidia, AMD, Intel and others for graphics. Dozens of CPU choices. Lots of variability and implications with Linux, or any other OS. Tell us your hardware and we may give a more refined answer. Me, I like KDE. It probably has more versatility than any other DE and runs superb on an Ivy Bridge system with Intel HD 4000 on CPU graphics.
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby paradive on Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:28 pm

homerscousin wrote:It really does help if you tell us what you have for a computer system. There are desktops, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, pocketbooks, Ipads, Maxipads, etc. There's Nvidia, AMD, Intel and others for graphics. Dozens of CPU choices. Lots of variability and implications with Linux, or any other OS. Tell us your hardware and we may give a more refined answer. Me, I like KDE. It probably has more versatility than any other DE and runs superb on an Ivy Bridge system with Intel HD 4000 on CPU graphics.


sorry, http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/a660/a665-s6086/.

right now, i'm leaning to Cinnamon as far as D/Es but would like to know if it could handle the graphics acceleration easily...
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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby Reorx on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:05 pm

paradive wrote:
abnvolk wrote:The installer don't make a seperate partition for /home, so you must do it yourself using GParted in the LiveCD.


ugh.
getting a bad feeling about this already. :|
I read this entire thread and didn't find exactly what you are trying to accomplish. What I mean is that I don't know what you want to end up with on your HD. Is there a Win installation on the laptop and do you need or want it around after you install any flavor of linux?

My favorit approach to install involves a few steps...

1) I boot the live medium and see how the specific distro performs on my hardware... I then figure out if everything (sound, wifi, video, touchpad, etc.) works.

2) If it everytihing works and I want to install the distro in question, I start Gparted and create unallocated space for the installation. I do this by some combination of removing and/or resizing one or more of the existing partitions.

3) Click the install button and choose "something else" to create my own partition scheme. Linux requires at least 2 partitions to install - 1 is / and the other is swap. You can use more partitions if you like... it is popular to create a separate /home partition. My current favorite partition scheme these days is that I take a laptop and wipe the entire HD and create 3 partitions >>> the first is /. I make it a primary partition about 25GB in size and format it ext4. The next partition I create is "swap" and i make the swap partition a primary partition and about 1.25 x the largest RAM I can imagine ever putting in the machine in terms of its initial size. After I am finished creating all the partitions, I go back and resize the swap partition to be 1.25 x the current RAM installed in the machine. The last partition I create is the /home partition. I make it a primary partition, format it as ext4, and in terms of size - I sometimes will use the rest of the disc space... other times I will use most of the rest of the disc but I leave 25 to 50 GB as unallocated space. I do this in case I want to use the unallocated space to do a test installation on the computer in question. If I later decide that I don't need the "test" space, I can resize (enlarge) the /home partition to use the previously unallocated space. (most modern HDs are much larger than I actually need)

I realize that the partitioning process sounds difficult but it really isn't - it's really pretty easy. Gparted can feel a little quirky to new users but you will rapidly become accustomed to it. Remember that whatever changes you make in Gparted, nothing is written to the disk until you click "Apply".

If you are wiping the entire HD, don't worry about partitioning - if you screw it up the first time (not likely), you can always wipe it and start over. If you are trying to retain an existing Win installation, I would defrag and compact C: under Windohs (several times) before resizing the Win C: partition. I would also back up all data on any partition that you plan to resize. After resizing and before installing Linux, I would boot the Win partition to make sure it is still "healthy" before going on to do the Linux installation.

...hope this was at least a little helpful...

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Re: a few questions before i give it a whirl

Postby homerscousin on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:49 pm

Hi there paradive. I looked at that link you provided, quickly. I am not up to date on notebook cpu's or their capabilities. That page does not specify the graphics used. I believe it is a dual core notebook running at 2.4 ghz, 4 gb ram with whatever Intel graphics. Maybe it is HD 2000. I don't know. This is a fairly new notebook. You can run any Linux distro you want. You can run any desktop you want. Computing horsepower is not an issue. What may be an issue is the unknown graphics. I don't know enough about notebooks to go beyond that. I will say this. My old computer, a pentium d with 1 gb ram and a gt 220 graphics card, ran every distro I thru at it. You have probably at least 4 times the computing power of that. Choose what you like best.
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i've asked before, but....

Postby paradive on Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:42 pm

does Mint have any intentions of implementing rolling updates?

cuz i want to transition to using it full time,
but refuse to spend about a year installing/configuring/tweaking/scripting stuff just in order to have to do it all over again a year (estimating) later when a new version is released.
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Re: i've asked before, but....

Postby rmockler on Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:54 pm

You will probably get a bunch of recommendations regarding this question, but I have a couple of simple suggestions which may help. Number 1: You could switch from the regular release of Linux Mint to the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) which should meet your requirements of being a rolling release. Or, number 2: you could install a long term support release (LTS) like Linux Mint 13 (Maya), and then not have to worry about reinstalling again for a five year period. That is considerably longer than the 18 month period between regular releases. I have had great luck with the LTS versions, and would sincerely recommend them if you don't want to be reinstalling every 18 months.
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Re: i've asked before, but....

Postby paradive on Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:02 pm

rmockler wrote:You will probably get a bunch of recommendations regarding this question, but I have a couple of simple suggestions which may help. Number 1: You could switch from the regular release of Linux Mint to the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) which should meet your requirements of being a rolling release. Or, number 2: you could install a long term support release (LTS) like Linux Mint 13 (Maya), and then not have to worry about reinstalling again for a five year period. That is considerably longer than the 18 month period between regular releases. I have had great luck with the LTS versions, and would sincerely recommend them if you don't want to be reinstalling every 18 months.


1. with LTS, it'd get out of date tho, no?

2. i'm curious as to what the actual differences are between the release candidates and LMDE are actually...
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Re: i've asked before, but....

Postby paradive on Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:10 pm

rmockler wrote:You will probably get a bunch of recommendations regarding this question, but I have a couple of simple suggestions which may help. Number 1: You could switch from the regular release of Linux Mint to the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) which should meet your requirements of being a rolling release. Or, number 2: you could install a long term support release (LTS) like Linux Mint 13 (Maya), and then not have to worry about reinstalling again for a five year period. That is considerably longer than the 18 month period between regular releases. I have had great luck with the LTS versions, and would sincerely recommend them if you don't want to be reinstalling every 18 months.


just read the FAQ on LMDE.

it's been awhile since i used dpkg and apt, but i might be willing to acquaint myself with them.
does it have all the other bells and whistles of Mint?
how stable/frequent/up-to-date are the updates?
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