Linux Review 5- Linux Mint 4 "Daryna"

Linux Mint 4 "Daryna"
Is a unique distribution, it is based off of the popular and powerful Ubuntu, and it uses GNOME for it's window manager. These two things, although evident are changed up a bit, like full customization of it's big sibling, and it makes GNOME look great. Or, I should say, makes GNOME look like Windows.

Installing Linux Mint is very much like installing Ubuntu, go boot the LiveCD, and then click install on the desktop. The installer is almost exactly the same as the Ubuntu installer, but with the difference of mintInstall at the top. In my opinion it was slower than the Ubuntu boot process. Once you reboot into the actual Hard Drive install, it is much faster, a fact that I have seen since I started using LiveCDs. The install was quick though, installing under 30 minutes, just like Ubuntu.

User Interface (UI)
Someone did a lot of hard work here, GNOME looks more like KDE, the overall theme is very nice, and it is just nice. Have a look for yourself, right here. To the right of the logo, it says "From Freedom Comes Elegance," an excellent saying for this distribution. There are many more wallpapers, if you don't like the default one. The blue highlights are cool, and the diagonal line pattern is nothing that I have seen in Linux distributions before. The picture I have taken has some customization in it, I simply dragged Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird from the start menu to the bottom bar.

Linux Mint updates from Ubuntu repositories, so when Ubuntu receives an update, so does Linux Mint. I had 196 updates to install, and that translated to 276MB to be downloaded, it is a good thing it uses the Ubuntu repositories, they are fast, and I got around 90 KB/s. It predicted around 45 minutes to update, and I will leave it at that.

Installing More Programs
can be done in multiple ways in Linux Mint, There is Synaptic, and the Ubuntu Package Search, and Linux Mint has it's own software portal. There is only 94 programs for Daryna. There is some interesting things, such as a Microsoft Fonts installer package, and a Wine Doors program for installing Windows programs. The way you go about installing from the software portal is almost one click, click the Install Now icon, and open in MintInstall, and once open it asks you if you are sure that you want to install the program you clicked Install Now on. It seems to work pretty well. I also found Flash and Java already installed, so you can play on line games or watch on line video. Once I installed my restricted video driver, 3D effects were automatically enabled. Why were they automatically enabled? I don't know, I didn't do anything so that they would, but they are barely noticeable anyway.

Other Noticeable Things
The menu is different than other Linux OS's, I think people call it a kick-off style menu. Some categories are cluttered, others might only have one item in them. Linux Mint has their own Web start page, it has the green theme and a Google search bar embedded in it, I think it is a nice touch.

So, lets look at the pro's-
  • GNOME looks more familiar to Windows users.
  • Very Nice UI
  • Easy to use
  • Fast
  • Uses Ubuntu Repositories
  • Comes with Flash and Java
  • and it is easy to change and customize
There are just a few cons-
  • LiveCD Boot is extremely slow, slower than Ubuntu
  • Some confusing options
So, obviously, these pros really outweigh the cons. I have heard this distribution was a good one, so I hope I wasn't biased. I give this distribution a 4.75/5, I should just give it a perfect score, but there are still some things that needs to be optimized, and sped up. Like that Live CD boot, that was just crazily slow. I really liked this one, It is something I would use every day, the UI is beautiful, and it is simple. If I were to completely switch from Windows I would probably chose this, well, so far, we never know what will be up the road. For example, we have a big one coming up, both versions of OpenSUSE 10.3, KDE and GNOME, this will be fun.


  1. Great review. I started using Linux Mint on my Thinkpad T60 over two weeks ago. Linux is so finicky when it comes to the Thinkpads. I was so impressed I decided to test it with my Vietnamese students.

    They like it :) By the end of the week, they all should be using Linux Mint inside of virtualbox :-) That is roughly 70 students now!!!

    My complaint was the same as yours. Options were confusing at first. LiveCD is a bit slow. Installing them inside of virtualbox or VMWare can be a pain do to a lower screen resolution. I tabbed my way through the install.

    Be sure to use Envy since it will install all the necessary dependencies and the video card drivers as well.

    This distro has a good future :)

  2. @ Kevin

    Wow to you, you are doing a great thing to promote open source like that, I haven't used Envy yet, but I installed my video drivers through the restricted driver manager just so I can do it quickly.

    Do you have any idea of what version of Ubuntu Linux Mint 4 is based off?

    This distro definitely has a great future :)

  3. It should be based on the latest version of Ubuntu, in this case, Gutsy.

    Envy is fast, just one click and it does the rest. I really like it.

    I am a Gentoo/FreeBSD guy but for laptops and the classroom, I think Linux Mint is great. Kids notice eye candy very well.

  4. @ Kevin

    Is Gentoo or FreeBSD good for new Linux users? I want to review some more but I am running out of ideas (Haven't added latest to the list)

    Is Gentoo the one you pay for?