Linux Mint is the most searched Linux distribution now. Linux Mint was originally a derived distribution from Ubuntu and recently a Debian derivative (from which Ubuntu itself is derived) was also released. Ubuntu’s adoption of unity desktop and user frustration with it seems to have worked in favor of Linux Mint. Linux Mint 11 retained Gnome 2 as the desktop environment and in Linux Mint 12 both Gnome 2 and 3 is supported.
Linux Mint 12 codenamed Lisa is now available for download and is based on Ubuntu. However it comes with the Gnome 3 desktop. Like it or not, Gnome 3 seems to be the future for Linux desktops. In my experience Gnome 3 seems to be more stable and responsive than Unity.
Installing Linux Mint 12
I downloaded 32 bit Linux Mint 12 DVD which contains Gnome + MATE desktop. MATE is a fork of Gnome2 which will work along with Gnome 3. So if you don’t have 3D acceleration turned on, Lisa will use MATE desktop instead of Gnome 3!
When you boot with Linux Mint 12 DVD, you are quickly taken to the desktop with an option to install Lisa. Click on "Install Linux Mint" shortcut.
Select your language and click on continue. Linux Mint 12 tells you that for best results, you need the following,
- At least 5.6GB of hard drive space (more if you have large swap space)
- An active connection to internet If you are installing on a brand new machine, Linux Mint 12 will give you the following options. You can either allow Lisa to create partitions or create them manually. I selected automatic installation. During installation, Lisa created a swap partition with the same size as the RAM I had on my machine and used the rest of the space for the primary root partition.
Lisa tells me that she will use the entire disk for installing Mint,
Click on "Install Now" to begin installation. During installation, you are prompted to select your location, keyboard layout and your login data. You can choose between automatic login or manual login. If you are paranoiac about your data, you can encrypt your home folder as well.
Click on continue. If internet connection is active, Lisa will download language packs. Sit back and enjoy the slide show of various features in Linux Mint 12 while installation is in progress. In my Intel i5 system, it took less than 5 minutes for Linux Mint 12 installation.
I removed Linux Mint 12 DVD from the drive and restarted the system. And voila! I have the sexy Gnome 3 up and running after the boot. It is possible to switch between various Gnome versions during login,
After the first login, Lisa shows you an overview of various resources available for Mint 12. Click on the shield icon on the top bar right to install all updates available for Linux Mint 12. This will keep your system up to date and free of security vulnerabilities. It took me about 20 minutes to apply all the updates.
The DVD 32 bit installer comes with all the common applications and utilities for a desktop Linux system. Some of the applications installed by default are,
- Graphics – Gimp, LibreOffice Draw, Image Viewer and Document Viewer
- Internet – Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird Emails, XChat IRC
- Office – LibreOffice Suite
- Media Players – Brasero, Banshee, GNOME MPlayer, VLC media player
- Others – Sun Java 6, Standard Linux Tools
Click on the Software manager icon (star icon) to add more applications (Menu => Software Manager). The software manager tells me that there are 36075 packages available for installation! When you select a category, the packages inside it are listed based on its user rating.