What version of Mint is easiest?

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What version of Mint is easiest?

Postby cybeet » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:18 am

I'll buy a new laptop tomorrow (Yay!) and I'll also sell my old laptop to a person who doesn't know almost anything about computers. First I thought that it would be a good idea to install Windows, since almost everyone has been using it, and knows how to use it. But then I remembered that I don't have Windows, and I'm not going to buy it. So, I need to know what version of Linux is easiest for "Linux-noob". :D

I hope you understood my poor english. :)

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Re: What version of Mint is easiest?

Postby nomko » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:55 am

Linux Mint is easy to use. In fact all Ubuntu derivatives. One version works more inventive than the other version but in fact they are easy to use and easy to learn. Ubuntu has a large community where you can get any help you want and ask any question u want. Linux Mint is really easy to use and learn. The standard desktop has a menu which feels like Windows. There are only differences in programs and layout, but it has a similar look-and-feel.

You could try Mint 12 which is the latest version. Mostlikely all your hardware will be fully supported by Mint 12.

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Re: What version of Mint is easiest?

Postby sunewbie » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:38 am

I do not know weather you are using or have used any linux distro.

You can try Linux Mint 12. But then install Cinnamon. It is found in 'Software Manager'. It is better than MATE and Gnome3 with Gnome-shell.

If you are hearing these words for the first time, then please google for it and then then reply the post.

Regarding Linux and windows, Linux has a learning curve and takes time to understand. I do not say it is difficult, I say, it is different.

You can try.

1) Ubuntu 11.10 - Very good beginner friendly Linux Distro
2) Xubuntu 11.10 - if the Laptop is 5 year old. another lighter variant which is more energy efficient and more traditional user interface.
3) Pinguy OS 11.04 - Another derivative of Ubuntu, which has a LOt of apps installed. Try it. it's good and stable.
4) Linux Mint 12 with cinnamon.

If you are new to Linux, I will give you a brief about DE and cinnamon.

DE means Desktop Environment.

Refer Robin's reply in this post
What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ...

Gnome2 is (err was) a very stable and popular DE, but the new version Gnome3 is hated by many users.

Gnome3 consists of gnome3 + gnome-shell.

gnome3 uses GTK+3 tool kit to produce GUI. gnome-shell is the configuration setting, system setting, etc. In crude words, when no app is running, and you are tweaking with system setting, like changing wallpapers, changing fonts, etc you are interacting with gnome-shell.

Clem, Founder of Linux Mint, forked gnome-shell, which currently does not offer customization and some basic options like having icons on desktop (ya, you read it right), making it less-user friendly and more touch screen optimized. He created cinnamon. Cinnamon, though relatively new is very stable and offers more customization.

After installing Mint, if you find only one update - mint update, then so not be surprised. Just install it and then again run update manager. You will get 150 MB or more updates.

Basically, after installing any distro, you run update manager (in case of Ubuntu and it's derivatives).

I know i have given you a lot of options. Linux has a feature called as LIVE CD. It allows you to test and run any distro without installing it. Just burn ISO as Image and not as data or download any free tool that supports burning ISO images.

To Cut short, if you have a new distro, try (not in chronological order)

1) Linux Mint 12 (1 GB) or - Love it - User Friendly
2) Pinguy OS 11.04 (1.7 GB) - Recommend it - User Friendly.

For older PC / Laptop, with less RAM 512, install Xubuntu 11.10. It has Ubuntu as it's core, but uses lighter (on resources) apps and XFCE as DE instead of UNITY used by Ubuntu. UNITY is just like cinnamon. It runs on top of Gnome3 i.e. in combination with gnome3.

If you have 256 MB RAM, try Lubuntu, still Lighter derivative and see if it works. Else Try Antix, which is based on Mepis, which in turn is based on Big mother Debian Stable Branch). Antix requires only 64 MB to run, so It should be comfortable with 128 MB RAM.

Please note that Linux has
1) A Learning curve
2) Takes time to settle down
3) Needs newbies to search internet and find solution, like you did my posting in forums). So your friend should be capable to search ad implement the suggestions
4) Broadband connection is recommended.
5) Always check hardware compatibility, incase the laptop has nvidia or any other extra stuff. nvidia needs proprietary drivers, which are not installed by default, but system prompts you upon installation or even in LIVE CD. Just insert LIVE CD and see if everything is working fine. Feel comfortable. You can edit documents, view photos, listen mp3, etc even in LIVE CD / DVD. Then go for installing any distro.
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Re: What version of Mint is easiest?

Postby frodopogo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:48 am

A lot of that depends on WHERE you are coming from as far as computer background, and what kind of computer you have.
A couple of questions...

Are you familiar with Windows?

Do you have a DVD drive, or just a CD-ROM drive in the computer?

Linux Mint 9 is an LTS, and is still supported. It will fit on a CD.
The standard version is a little different from Windows in it's menus, but easy to get used to.
I recently downloaded the Xfce version of Mint 9 Isadora. It also fits on a CD.
It has low memory requirements AND it's menu setup reminds me a LOT of Windows, even more than the standard version.
And I think that was the last Xfce version of Mint, so it would be the way to go if you want to stick with Mint in preference to Xubuntu.

The only thing I would advise though is that if your computer has an NVidia graphics card, install the Nvidia Linux driver. If you don't, you might have problems with disappearing mouse pointers...

Anyway, if your computer is old and slow, Linux Mint 9 isn't too large, and boots quickly, and that will make things easier with your old hardware.

I am waiting for the next LTS version- to me, changing operating systems more often than every 3 years seems like a waste of time.

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Re: What version of Mint is easiest?

Postby sunewbie » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:13 am

As you have said, there will be no more an official XFCE version. That is the reason why I did not suggest Mint 9 XFCE. Again, Mint 9 does not use Latest XFCE version (4.8).

My exp is that once you are comfortable with XFCE, you will fall in love with it and would want to have XFCE as default desktop.

I too prefer LTS to LTS fresh installation, and would definitely refer it to newbie, but the time is as such that it makes sense to download latest version Ubuntu 11.10 or any of it's derivatives.

User have to do a lot of download and spend a lot of time to have latest softwares in Mint 9. This is another reason why I did not suggested Mint 9.

If you have a problem of limited hardware, like no DVD drive, then you cna go for Lubuntu. It is designed for the same. All you have to do is to add restricted-extras and non-free-codecs. It is just a matter of click clicks.

You can also use LIVE USB, if one has a USB port. Even 10 year old PC has USB port.

Again, adding PPAs to download latest softwares, defeats the purpose of LTS. LTS focuses on stability. So you wont get any major updates of any software from the repos. Only minor bug fixes are pushed into repos, as they make existing version of software more stable, without changing anything. So you can get an update from 2.1.1 to 2.1.2 but not 2.1 to 3.0

Software versions are extensively checked for compatibility and stability before they can be added to repos. I have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, with updated softwares (using PPA's), but my LTS did not remained LTS. So it is better to download a newer version, which has updated versions of default apps and the then latest version in repos, during the time of distro release. Technically, it is more stable then having and LTS with updated softwares via PPAs.

So if you want to use LTS and retain it's LTS advantage, the way it should be used (just a personal opinion), stick to default apps, which soon become older and do not download anything else outside repos, except browsers and flash. LTS is preferred by tose who do not want newest version of apps. Till everything is working fine, no need to update any version of app or even a distro.

I asked the same question in post titled:

Regarding Mint 9 LTS Isadora

EDIT: Added more info

some more links and info from the above post explaining LTS meaning and adding newer version of softwares through backports


I found a link describing Ubuntu LTS and non- LTS versions


It says, Non-LTS versions are based on Debian's Unstable branch, while LTS versions are based on Testing Branch.

Just my 2 cents

EDIT: Added more info
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Re: What version of Mint is easiest?

Postby Lanzaman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:25 am

I am adding this post because of all the time I have spent over the last year or so trying different distros including several Mint versions. One of the 'problems' with Linux is there are too many versions available to choose from and it's really easy to get sucked into trying new ones, always searching for the elusive 'perfect' version.

I have found that on my Acer One 2009 (16 Gb SSD, 1.5 Gb Memory & 1.6 MHz processor) not all distros load, not all disrtos work but far and away the most successful to date is Mint 11 LXDE. In fact it is the only one that almost worked 100% 'out of the box'. I say almost 100% because as with all other distros the wifi switch does not work and more irritatingly Chrome flash. I have sorted the latter and have got used to the switch not working.

I have tried Mint 12 LXDE but gone back to Mint 11 LXDE because it is much less resource hungry, using only about 10% CPU and 250Mb of RAM in idle mode compared to 30% and 350Mb for Mint 12. Lubuntu was close but I had problems with some of my Apps not working properly. Speed wise Mint 11 LXDE is excellent but I should point out the SSD is not the original terribly slow SSD that came with the computer when purchased with Windows XP which was diabolical and ran out of HDD storage.

My Acer One really is a cracking little computer now, the more so as I have also upgraded the battery and now get well over five hours from it when fully charged, and of course I still have the original battery for emergency use.

Good luck, BFN Carlos (Lanzaman)

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