Linux Mint is the way forward
I have been juggling around with quite a few linux distros the past few months. And all along, i had been ignoring Linux Mint. Not that i didn’t like it, but i came to know of it only after Ubuntu 7.10 was released. So i quickly grabbed Linux Mint 4.0 “Daryna”. But due to some problems, i could not install it as soon as i would have liked. But yesterday, after spending a lot of time cleaning out my hard disk to find some space for linux, i popped the red pill, and into wonderland i tumbled.
First thing that stuck me about Mint was its wallpaper. It is absolutely gorgeous! I am someone who prefers subtle, classy wallpapers, and i was not one bit disappointed. Being Ubuntu based, installation was a piece of cake. But the similarity with Ubuntu lies within the core, and does not show. The interface is spruced up, with the menus arranged the Windows way for linux newbies. I particularly liked the way the menu was arranged, which made much more sense than Ubuntu. Installation out of the box came with a few surprises :
1. My Samsung 940bw 19″ widescreen monitor was automatically set up to match the native resolution. This was something i had never seen in any other distro.
2. The biggest surprise came to me in the form of automatically configured windows file sharing. I have another download box setup in the same network, and all i did was enter the IP for the linux machine, and the workgroup, and file sharing was automatically enabled! I was really taken aback by this, as i had just spent around 2 hours the previous week to set up samba on my Ubuntu Gutsy box. This for me, is a winner!
3. All the so called restricted codecs came pre installed (mp3,divx,xvid,etc). For any new linux user, this will be a boon, as they do not have to search for codecs to play their music, something that took no extra time on windows. So what you effectively get is, a click and install linux distro, that plays your media out of the box.
4. Compiz/fusion works out of the box. All i had to do was install the nvidia drivers for my graphics card, and viola! I had the fancy effects up and running, without any hassle. I would definitely say Compiz is way better than the so called effects in Vista. Its fast, snappy, and does not take up much space.
Mint has its own update manager, which works in a kind of different way. All updates are given priorities, and different levels of testing. So if you want to be absolutely safe, download and install level 1 and 2 updates only. But most often than not, critical updates to core libraries, and most used software come as level 3 updates. Since they are built by the community, i don’t see the reason why anyone would shun away from it.
So people who are stuck on windows, and do not want to upgrade to the crappy Vista, look no further. Linux Mint is all you will look for in any Operating System. Its free, its fast, its easy and it just works. This to me, is the first real step towards adoptation of linux by the masses.