Is Mint for me?

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Is Mint for me?

Postby Thanks for the Fish on Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:49 pm

Hello peeps :)


I've been using Ubuntu since Hardy and am now on Lucid. While thinking about upgrading to Precise (and swapping Mate for this terrible Unity, what were they thinking??!) I began to tinker with the idea to switch to Mint. I've been using Ubuntu for a couple years, my system runs stable (I think) and I'd call myself a fan of "never change a winning team". I do have a hard time (a steep learning curve) with it every once in a while: I'm tired and frustrated of having to spend hours upon hours reading through support wikis/forums/sites/manuals just to get a "simple" function installed/fixed/configured. I don't want to study my operating system, I want to use it, for gods sake! /rant

So...is it possible for me to take the plunge easily and without hassle and switch to Mint? Without losing my beloved personal settings that I got used to? Or would I be better off staying with Ubuntu?


Every input would be much appreciated. :)
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby passerby on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:05 pm

You won't have a hard time, by the sound of it. Mint 13 is supported for 5 years, and MATE is a good alternative to lucid's DE, so your "winning team" wouldn't need changing for quite a while.
You may have to tweak the default setup a little, but you can make it pretty much exactly the same as Lucid in regards to the UI.

Edit: If you want it as similar as possible, give this a try: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/ ... ent=146674
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby Orbmiser on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:08 pm

Was easy and seamless switch for me. I tried Ubunt 12.10 and couldn't accept the whole Unity thing.
So a very short search and Mint popped up.

Like the older Gnome 2 then Mate edition is for you.
Newer fresh modern Gnome 3 with Gnome added 2 features then the Cinnamon edition.

Was running Cinnamon 14 and no real issues ran everything out of the box since it uses 12.10 ubuntu repo's.
But decided to give the Mint KDE a whirl and also impressed with the distro. As use to hate KDE back in 2007.

For me liking KDE tho also Love the Cinnamon.
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby xenopeek on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:24 pm

Well, I used Linux Mint 13--the current long-term support release--with MATE and I can say that it is pretty much rock solid and I didn't need to tweak much to get it working as I wanted to. I've switched to Cinnamon now, as I liked the latest release of that better than MATE. If you do go for Linux Mint 13 with MATE, I'd recommend you enable the backports repository, as detailed here http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2225, which will give you a newer version of MATE that is much improved. Or you could use Linux Mint 14, but I guess you want the long-term support release :wink: You can download either from there: http://www.linuxmint.com/oldreleases.php

There are some things you need to consider; MATE isn't GNOME 2. It is a fork of the last GNOME 2 release, on which the MATE developers have worked to fix bugs that were still in GNOME 2, worked to include new functions and features, and most importantly for you have worked to rename all the programs and libraries so none of those conflict with GNOME 3 (as GNOME 3 largely uses the same program and library names and such as GNOME 2). That means you will have a small learning curve, and some third party programs may need a bit of fiddling on MATE to get working just like they used to on GNOME 2. But with MATE being the second most popular desktop environment with Linux Mint users, and it having been around for almost a year and a half now, the chances are good that if you have an issue there are other users here that can help you.

A lot of users of Linux Mint started out with Ubuntu. The good news is that anything that is available on Ubuntu is available on Linux Mint, so you won't be throwing away any knowledge. But you are running a three year old Ubuntu version. No matter whether you stay on Ubuntu or move to Linux Mint, if you install a newer operating system you will also get newer versions of your applications--and those may work a little different perhaps (with new or changed functionality). So there may be another small learning curve there, but that is the price you pay for running a long-term support release. Yay stability, nay latest functionality.

Lastly, if you are a Compiz addict you should know that Compiz isn't preinstalled on Linux Mint with MATE, but there are good guides available for how to install and configure it.
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby sunewbie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:36 am

Like others have said MATE will be more comfortable if you switch from gnome2, which Lucid had as default desktop. MATE is a fork of gnome2.

However, Cinnamon is also a good one. There is no learning curve. Most of the things you can find it through GUI. If you are looking for some more functionality, visit http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/ and check our extensions and applets.

On the other hand, if you just want to work, try Xubuntu or Mint XFCE. For me Xubuntu 12.04 LTS has been rock solid. For Mint XFCE, the problems were of thunar and NTFS mounting, but both are not the problems of Mint but may be with XFCE 4.10. Xubuntu 12.04 uses XFCE 4.8.

If you like it, it is a no-nonsense traditional desktop that just lets you to work.

Alternatively you can just install either cinnamon or MATE on your current Ubuntu system if you just want to try the look-n-feel of MATE and Cinnamon. MATE in Mint is tweaked to be consistent with other editions of Linux Mint
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby xenopeek on Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:00 am

sunewbie wrote:Alternatively you can just install either cinnamon or MATE on your current Ubuntu system

Cinnamon won't run on Lucid; Cinnamon needs Gnome 3. And installing MATE on Ubuntu will not give you the same experience as on Linux Mint; the Linux Mint developers have done a lot of work to make sure MATE looks as well as works good. Other distros that have not done such work on MATE, such as Ubuntu, may give a poorer impression of MATE.
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby sunewbie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:10 am

xenopeek wrote:
sunewbie wrote:Alternatively you can just install either cinnamon or MATE on your current Ubuntu system

Cinnamon won't run on Lucid; Cinnamon needs Gnome 3. And installing MATE on Ubuntu will not give you the same experience as on Linux Mint; the Linux Mint developers have done a lot of work to make sure MATE looks as well as works good. Other distros that have not done such work on MATE, such as Ubuntu, may give a poorer impression of MATE.


Opps, sorry for wrong info. I misunderstood, 'I was thinking of installing Precise' - first post

Apart from being consistent with other editions, MATE is tweaked to give better experience. Installing MATE will give something similar to vanila Gnome2, which was not much tweaked in Lucid (if I remember correctly). So MATE may look similar to gnome2 in Lucid, but I agree that MATE is very well implemented in Mint 13 and Mint 14.
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby TheDynamicHamza21 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:41 pm

I've been running Linux since the hardy days as well and Ubuntu 10.04 is best distro I ever used. I absolutely loved it and it is still bittersweet I had to let it go. compared to Mint 13 MATE I would say MATE is almost as good as Ubuntu 10.04. There a few differences but overtime you learn to just deal with them. The biggest problem are themes,not all "compatible" themes look right on MATE. Most are just fine but some themes just don't work. Moreover, for me,the biggest issue I have with Mate is media data is not displayed in the file manager (right click>properties> there's no audio/video tab).
viewtopic.php?f=206&t=116378.

Overall you should be fine with Mate,no major hurdles to deal with,no relearning how an OS works,etc.
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby Thanks for the Fish on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:58 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome and all your suggestions. :-)

I guess I wa a bit unclear at first: I've already tried Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE etc. and Mate is my choice, be it on Ubuntu or on Mint. As the LTS for Lucid is about to phase out, I was about to update to precise (with Mate instead of Unity) and thought that now that I have to make some major changes to my system anyway, I could also switch to Mint (with Mate) instead.

The three questions that I have:

- Mate aside: What would actually be the difference now between this Ubuntu that I've build up and modified over all these years and between Mint?

- Do I have to make a clean install or can I simply install Mint "over" my current system (beside backing up crucial data) without losing my personal adjustments/data/programmes etc? I noticed there are loads of posts in any of the support forums about this question but no real tutorial. :(

- Where are all the female Mint users that xenopeek told me about? :)
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby passerby on Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:27 pm

1. The default programs, codecs, kernel, driver support, etc. Probably nothing that will cause you grief; quite the opposite.

2. Well... if you move some of your directories onto other partitions (eg. have /home and /usr/bin on other partitions) and don't format them, you can wipe your OS without deleting user data and such.

3. They're a myth the mint community circulates in order to attract users. What do you think brought me here? :P
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby sunewbie on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:06 am

Thanks for the Fish wrote:Thanks for the warm welcome and all your suggestions. :-)

I guess I wa a bit unclear at first: I've already tried Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE etc. and Mate is my choice, be it on Ubuntu or on Mint. As the LTS for Lucid is about to phase out, I was about to update to precise (with Mate instead of Unity) and thought that now that I have to make some major changes to my system anyway, I could also switch to Mint (with Mate) instead.

The three questions that I have:

- Mate aside: What would actually be the difference now between this Ubuntu that I've build up and modified over all these years and between Mint?

- Do I have to make a clean install or can I simply install Mint "over" my current system (beside backing up crucial data) without losing my personal adjustments/data/programmes etc? I noticed there are loads of posts in any of the support forums about this question but no real tutorial. :(

- Where are all the female Mint users that xenopeek told me about? :)


1. since 3 years Linux has changed a lot. So you will have to tweak it again. I do not know what will happen if you copy-paste settings that you had made in ubuntu to Mint or in Ubuntu 12.04, which is based upon gnome3+unity. You can copy paste browser settings, etc but not system settings.

Better start it from scratch if you do not like to break or system and you find no fun to break and repair your system.

2. Like Ubuntu Mint cannot be and is not recommended to upgrade (i.e. one click upgrade). It is better to have a clean fresh install. If you are upgrading to a newer version of same edition like MATE or Cinnamon or Xfce, then you can keep same user id / login name and most settings will be preserved. Please note that you should have a separate /home partition.

3. ??? !!! - there are just female names of Linux Mint version ending with letter 'a' e.g. Maya, Nadia, Olivia ;) It is attractive :D
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby xenopeek on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:28 am

1- A lot of members here quote also the community being a difference.

2- I wouldn't recommend that. Your current install has GNOME 2 packages, which are not available in any current version of Ubuntu or Linux Mint (whether you use MATE or not). Sooner rather than later this will cause dependency issues, broken packages, and worse. I would do a clean install.

As upgrading Ubuntu in place has a 20% failure rate as reported by Ubuntu users, Linux Mint doesn't recommend upgrading in place until those odds are much better. The officially recommended way of upgrading Linux Mint (for your next Linux Mint version) is: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby sunewbie on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:58 am

xenopeek wrote:1- A lot of members here quote also the community being a difference.


+1 That includes me ;)
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby Thanks for the Fish on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:20 pm

Thank you. :-)


I think I'll try both - I'll stick to Ubuntu for now but will try out Mint via Virtualbox to see what the difference will be like in the long run.

Many thinks for your replies. I may be back later.
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Re: Is Mint for me?

Postby Thanks for the Fish on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:00 pm

xenopeek wrote:As upgrading Ubuntu in place has a 20% failure rate as reported by Ubuntu users,
Confirmed. :roll: My upgrade to precise didn't work out as expected. Apparently, there was not enough space left on the /root partition. I wish Ubuntu would've told me that before I began the upgrade. :roll:




xenopeek wrote: Linux Mint doesn't recommend upgrading in place until those odds are much better. The officially recommended way of upgrading Linux Mint (for your next Linux Mint version) is: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2


This is what I backed up while I was still on Lucid (Precise seems to work fine, with a few glitches here and there)
/home (hidden files included but seperately)
/etc
packages.list
package-states-auto
package-states-manual
sources.list


Is the tool that you've mentioned also available for Ubuntu? If not, how do I work the specifications/personal settings etc. from my system into mint (during/after the installation?) I do know that (at least in Ubuntu) one can tell the installer to use the existing /home. Does this work with /etc (in Mint) too? If not, what else do I have to do?

Many thanks in advance. :)
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