Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

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MintBean
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Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by MintBean » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:54 am

Anecdotal: Have a friend at work who has a Windows laptop that has begun to chug. Suggested I could replace her OS with Linux and got a disinterested response. Wind the clock on a few weeks and there were headaches with a work internet browsing machine running Windows- so I replaced it with Mint Cinnamon. I also did a few tweaks to snazz the UI up (Cairo dock, new wallpaper, theme and icon set). When I showed it to the group there was an instant change in perception and now she's interested in upgrading. The thing that struck me was these comments came as soon as they saw the snazzy GUI. Looks do matter and I believe first impressions could have been very different with the stock UI.

I'm of the opinion that the preset theme of Mint needs a rethink. Whenever I mention this I get 'that's your personal taste' or 'you can always change it yourself'- but that's not really the point. Certain distros (e.g Elementary) get considerable praise based on their appearance, and the stock theme is important for the perception of new users who may not have the inclination to tweak. Mint is held in extremely high regard, but in all the reviews I have read, I've never heard it called pretty.

Now I'm not saying we need wobbly windows and all that excessive eye candy, or even to change to a dock, but I think some sort of rethink is in order.

What say you?

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by BigEasy » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:44 am

As my boss told: "You came up with new great idea? Go ahead, do it first. Then we will look."
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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by xenopeek » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:47 am

MintBean wrote:I've never heard it called pretty.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps you do have a point, but the Linux Mint developers do have a certain vision for what the desktop should be. Cairo dock, Pantheon, or things others like that don't easily fit that vision. The vision of a classic desktop paradigm (panel at the bottom with a window list, status icons, and a menu with categorized applications) built on top of modern technology.

Anyway, I use Gnome Shell so I somewhat agree with you but at the same time see how many people flock to Linux Mint for it being what it is. There are a ton of beautiful wallpapers included but perhaps some folks can't look past the iconic default wallpaper? I think the default theme and icon set are well chosen.

Linux Mint's default wallpaper, theme, and icon set might not be for everybody but they are easily changed. Lots of folks don't want "flashy" stuff on their computer; they just want to get things done. You can't please everybody.
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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by altair4 » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:56 am

As someone who uses the XFCE desktop and considers it's new Whisker Menu far too radical I think Mint Cinnamon is too pretty :)
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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by KabirGandhiok » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:16 am

altair4 wrote:As someone who uses the XFCE desktop and considers it's new Whisker Menu far too radical I think Mint Cinnamon is too pretty :)
+1
Cinnamon is fantastic, I love how it looks :-)

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by Crewp » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:24 am

altair4 wrote:As someone who uses the XFCE desktop and considers it's new Whisker Menu far too radical I think Mint Cinnamon is too pretty :)

Agreed, Cinnamon is very attractive, and I for one like the traditional desktop, and the Mint Team's desire to keep it that way. The fact that everything works, is IMO more important than window dressing, which can be altered to fit one's taste. Could the stock wallpaper and theme be improved? Yes, I always think anything can be improved. But, should it? Well, I guess that will be up to the Mint Team.
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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by Shozuki » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:59 pm

For the love of humanity, YES!!! If you get nothing else to work on linux, please, PLEASE at LEAST make it look good!

I'm basically being forced by financial circumstances and Microsoft tyranny to switch to something, ANYTHING linux... and while I recognized mint as being, well, #1 on the "leaderboard" as it were, and therefore likely the best thing around in general, I cringed to think of facing a desktop that looked like it should belong to a distro called linux steel, or perhaps linux sterile. It has that effect on creativity, anyway. I comforted myself with the thought "oh well... you can just change everything, right?" Well, not really. Evidently I can change EVERYTHING (at once)... but not SOMETHING.

What I mean is, windows (at least XP era) users are used to being able to customize appearances down to the INDIVIDUAL ICON. Way back when, you could even wallpaper individual folder backgrounds. Come to find out, it doesn't appear that I can do so much as change an individual icon's appearance. Now for someone who is, shall we say, "artistically sensitive" (that is, looking at a bunch of folders and generic file type icons is akin to a mild form of visual torture) this is a major, major, MAJOR setback. (Like orange and gold shag carpeting covering the floor, walls and ceilings of your entire house.)

Now, I know the people who make mint, must surely love mint. And perhaps if you have the patience and understanding of a computer programmer, you can live in the command prompt and get everything to do miracles. But most mainstream users are not like that. I've already had to come to terms with the fact that my sound is, on mint, so messed up, that when I plug my headphones in I still get sound out of my crappy pc internal speaker instead of my ACTUAL speakers/headphones only... that is, I get sound out of both at once, and cannot shut up my internal speakers without muting everything (so much for late nights, on mint?)... and I've apparently got to forget any hopes of being productive on this thing in terms of graphics work, because you have to own an expensive brand name tablet, evidently, in order to use a tablet on mint. My poor person tablet doesn't even work with WINE, let alone mint. Half of my ability to do creative work, therefore, has been killed by linux mint, or my not having the capabilities of a programmer. And using my old Japanese word processor is a pipe dream with this OS! NOW I come to find out, I'll be stuck looking at... horror of absolute bloody horrors... the mainstream "system" icons on my desktop (or anywhere else I can put them.) And having an entire folder open from a 'task bar' is frankly insane, to say nothing of how horrifically ugly it is when it does that. Kind of like watching your task bar puke, every single time. And then there's my pitch black keyboard because there is evidently no LED backlighting support for a CM keyboard. (I always wondered if I actually NEEDED to see the letters and numbers in order to type! I guess I can, about 80% ish, do without! But those times you just don't have the whole keyboard memorized! Thanks, mint! Glad this was an economy keyboard, at least. Can just imagine some die-hard who spent hundreds to see theirs light up!)

Yeah, I get that the first answer to people like me is, "go home, noob." But this is precisely the reason why mainstream pc companies don't ship linux as a rule, rather than as the exception to the rule. If you get half the functionality and half the customization, who (aside from the hard core geek types) even has the option of considering this as an alternative? Why is it that nobody wants to fix this stuff instead of continuing to belittle the users who are genuinely wanting and trying to embrace linux as an alternative?

For now, I guess I'm stuck debating whether it's more painful to look at folder icons and text file icons sitting on what could have been a nice looking desktop, than it is to do a million clicks to find the folder and files I'm looking for, each time I need to open anything, so that I do not have to look at the terrible generic folder icons on my desktop. (Sorry, but a folder is still a freaking folder, no matter what color or graphic quality it is.) The latter, terrible option (a million clicks to open anything) somehow is starting to seem like the better option of the two... unless someone can tell me by what 99 step acrobatics at the terminal I can -gasp!- perform the epic, revolutionary feat of changing an icon's INDIVIDUAL appearance!

Even harder to believe is that there are no programs you can download (never mind without also needing to do the incomprehensible at the terminal) to be able to modify everything. Windows had stardock EONS ago... but there are no linux users who ever get sick of looking at the generic folder and file type icons? Seriously??

Well, day 3 on mint, and am still trying to get anything like a liveable workspace for ANY sort of work, and so far, no good. Sorry for the rant, and I hope no one takes it personally, but it's just absolutely incredible (and a whole new level of frustrating) that the number one linux distro in the universe cannot even do this much. (At least make it possible to have it LOOK good.) I hate windows second only to pure evil, and have been hoping as an avid fan of penguin kind, for the last decade or so, that linux would finally, at least SOME DAY arrive at a place where it actually JUST WORKS. And no more fricking command prompt ANYWHERE, for ANYTHING! (Is it even possible for someone with legitimate ADD to use linux? Can't this become an 'accessibility' issue? Because as someone that has it, it sure as heck is for me!) We mocked windows for still having DOS hiding under the hood, for years! Even when no one had to look at it any more! Just the thought that it was still in there somewhere, had people heckling. And here we are! At the command prompt, once again! Boldly staying where man has been for far, far too many years before!

If I was a zillionaire, I would undoubtedly donate whatever zillions are wanting to the achievement of the lofty feat of Actually Working Linux brand Linux... but as I have no zillions, I guess it'll be another decade more. Or maybe two... or three... or six, or...

-end of therapy, hands out e-cookies-

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by InkKnife » Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:28 pm

Mint is good looking and functional. By default it is kinda drab but there are alternate themes built right in.
Speaking as someone who switched from OSX I am here to say that the Cinnamon panel/menu is MUCH more useful than any dock could ever be.
Docks look good, they work poorly and pack way too little function into way to much space.
Cinnamon and MATE are both direct responses to what Gnome did with Gnome3 and I hope the Mint team continues to reject ideas coming over from Gnome3.
i7 3770, 12GB of ram, 256GB SSD, 64GB SSD, 750GB HDD, 1TB HDD, Cinnamon.

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by BigEasy » Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:51 am

Default Mint themes is state of the art comparing to OpenSUSE's.
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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by DeMus » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:49 am

Shozuki wrote:you can just change everything, right?" Well, not really. Evidently I can change EVERYTHING (at once)... but not SOMETHING.

What I mean is, windows (at least XP era) users are used to being able to customize appearances down to the INDIVIDUAL ICON.
Well you can, or at least I can, and when I can do that, you can do it as well.
snapshot4.png
snapshot5.png
As you can see I changed a lot of icons the way I like them to be.
Using more virtual desktops you can even have different icons and wallpaper per desktop. How far do you wanna go?

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by MintBean » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:27 am

Some good views and points made on both sides of the argument. Keep them coming, and please don't focus on my mention of the dock too much. I'm not proposing Mint moves to a dock, just mentioning an anecdotal of what I showed my colleagues.

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by exploder » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:22 pm

I think the current theme, icons and wallpaper are alright but they are really dated.

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by Fred Barclay » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:40 pm

I think that some distros (such as Ubuntu) look nicer but are a bit distracting. Mint Cinnamon and MATE are not as eye-catching, but still very nice, and definitely usable.
It's the ole debate: functionality or form? :)

And please, NO DOCK! :lol: I've installed Docky for my Macbuntu, and although it's useable, I prefer a menu much more.
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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by Shozuki » Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:13 pm

DeMus wrote:
Shozuki wrote:you can just change everything, right?" Well, not really. Evidently I can change EVERYTHING (at once)... but not SOMETHING.

What I mean is, windows (at least XP era) users are used to being able to customize appearances down to the INDIVIDUAL ICON.
Well you can, or at least I can, and when I can do that, you can do it as well.
snapshot4.png
snapshot5.png
As you can see I changed a lot of icons the way I like them to be.
Using more virtual desktops you can even have different icons and wallpaper per desktop. How far do you wanna go?
Someone else I talked to said they could do it in Cinnamon... but sadly, I chose KDE (I think it was) ... is this feature not in there? or is it just hiding so well I couldn't find it?? By all means, if it's hiding in a closet somewhere, I'd really, really love to find out!

Sorry again to everyone if I sounded like a jerk... I really, sincerely do love the whole linux thing. I just have yet to get it to work for me. I used to tinker around in Kubuntu, but it's been years. Now it's more like sink or swim!

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by pacho37 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:23 am

Shozuki, I suggest you post your questions regarding icons in the correct subforum (in this case the KDE subforum).
For me personally KDE has always been the most customizable DE and I have never had problems installing new icons sets and/or changing individual icons there.
Quick tip from me would be: peek into System Settings - Application Appearance - Icons and then Get New Themes.
Individual icons can also be changed by right-clicking them, choosing properties and then clicking the icon picture.
cheers
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Post by cinnamoncoffee » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:20 am

I like cinnamon very much. I think it's nice and works well. However, I think the default wallpaper could be changed from grey to more colourful. It would be enough to use one of the mint new wallpapers (mountains, lake or sea ) plus mint logo.
Concerning folders, they are very nice and simple. I really don't want anything fancy. But it would be great if more colours were available. I guess it would be a very simple task to add more colours in customisation.
This applies to ability to change colour of window background and edge. I don't want to download any fancy theme and I have no idea how to install it. I just want simple mint icons and windows with different colours. This shouldn't be so difficult to programme into next release.

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by MagicMint » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:53 am

Fred Barclay wrote:I think that some distros (such as Ubuntu) look nicer but are a bit distracting. Mint Cinnamon and MATE are not as eye-catching, but still very nice, and definitely usable.
It's the ole debate: functionality or form? :)

And please, NO DOCK! :lol: I've installed Docky for my Macbuntu, and although it's useable, I prefer a menu much more.
I’ve never been satisfied by the default appearance of any OS at all. But then, it’s always the question how easy you can customize it to fit your needs aesthetically. You made a good point above, as a GUI has to be shiny to some extent, but it should never get into one’s way, like Windows always do :x

As far as that “shiny” dock is concerned, I’m thinking since its introduction that the real cause for the latter was that the MacOS menu was dysfunctional… Gnome 2’s panel was an improvement over both Windows’ and Apple’s at that time. And Mint’s menus added even more functionality in :)

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by BenTrabetere » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:13 pm

MagicMint wrote:I’ve never been satisfied by the default appearance of any OS at all. But then, it’s always the question how easy you can customize it to fit your needs aesthetically.
Same here. IMO a default desktop that is unadorned, plain, drab and boring is not ugly. It may not be pretty-pretty, it may have an institutional look/feel, but it also lacks distractions. I am okay with that as long as it is functional. I am going to change it anyway.

I want a default desktop where the essential elements are available and easy to find, and can be customized with ease. It took me about 15 minutes to figure out the mechanics of MATE enough to replicate a desktop I have used since 1996 with OS/2 + ObjectDesktop.

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by z31fanatic » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:29 pm

No doubt that the default desktop in Mint is amateurish looking. Same with the logo. It looks like it was designed by someone who had never used a 3D CAD program before.
I too think that the default desktop and that logo need a major facelift to better appeal to curious and first time users.

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Re: Does Mint Need a Face-Lift?

Post by DeMus » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:47 pm

z31fanatic wrote:No doubt that the default desktop in Mint is amateurish looking. Same with the logo. It looks like it was designed by someone who had never used a 3D CAD program before.
I too think that the default desktop and that logo need a major facelift to better appeal to curious and first time users.
Sorry, but I don't agree with that. Yes, I do change about everything there is to change in the way the OS looks, but I don't agree that the way it looks at install should be changed. It is the way Mint is supposed to look, it says LinuxMint, it says the version number, it says it in nice shining letters and numbers, no reason to change. This is Mint.
When you don't like that look then change it, but let Mint stay Mint.

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