A First Look At Linux Mint

Sunday, 2007-April-15 at 15:57 5 comments

I had been hearing over and over about how friendly Linux Mint is for new users.  Not wanting to stick someone with it without trying it out, I have refrained from recommending it.  I am now trying it out, but only inside of a virtual machine (VMWare & Qemu), since I am tapped out on hardware to play around with.

System requirements:

It used to be that GNU/Linux installation was a way you could add new life to older hardware.  In the last few years, the desktop environments have greatly expanded their requirements, so that it is no longer that simple.  If you are looking to use your 200 MHz K6 with 32MB of RAM, you probably will not be using any modern distribution on it. If you have a 2GHz P4 with 256MB of RAM, then you are probably at the bottom of the barrel as far as hardware goes.

In this case, I initially allocated 160MB of RAM (each) to the virtual machines.  The result was that the LiveCD started and gave me a visible desktop that was unresponsive.  This was even more pronounced with Qemu, which is normally quite a bit slower than VMWare already.  I have not installed the Qemu accelerator, which may even things up some.

  • At least 256 MB of RAM, with 512+ being recommended.  This is similar to other modern distributions, such as Ubuntu and Fedora.  The more you have available, the more likely you will experience the quick, responsive desktop that Linux offers.
  • A reasonably modern x86-compatible processor

Mint contains a number of proprietary plug-ins already installed, such as Flash.  This makes it easier for a user to view YouTube videos (like the first theme to the "Power Rangers" television program).  Yes, I admit it.  I watched that video a few times.

Mint also has a quick setup for wireless cards.  Since I am running it in a virtual machine, I did not have an occasion to test the wireless support.  It is important to recognize that the Linux kernel comes with the largest number of hardware drivers pre-built, although a lot of newer hardware tends to be more difficult to utilize, because the information needed to create drivers is secret.

Mint auto-mounts FAT32 and NTFS partitions and Windows "Network Neighborhood"s.

I noticed that even using Mint as a LiveCD in the virtual machine, it has quite acceptable performance.  GAIM is fairly up-to-date, without the connection errors and crashes that MSN brings to slightly older versions.  Firefox is version 2.0, which is newer than many other distributions are using (FC6 is still on FF 1.5).

I intend to do actual installations in virtual machines soon and test them out.  Thus far, I would definitely recommend Mint over Freespire and Mepis for newer users.  I would recommend that more experienced users that just want a usable desktop consider Mint along with Ubuntu and Fedora.  Remember that Mint is based on Ubuntu, so any annoyances you have with Ubuntu are probably present in Mint as well.

Entry filed under: Linux.

Snap Gone Second Look At Linux Mint


  • 1. Second Look At Linux Mint « Opportunity Knocks  |  Monday, 2007-April-16 at 14:55

    […] Policies ← A First Look At Linux Mint […]

  • 2. Lenny  |  Tuesday, 2007-May-08 at 02:58

    have you ever tried Open/SuSE?

    I´m standing between SuSE and mint to use at my laptop for 100% usage..

    please, any suggestions? KDE it is!


  • 3. lnxwalt  |  Tuesday, 2007-May-08 at 17:05

    I have not tried Open Suse. I first bought SuSE 6.1 (multiple CDs with a nice color book in a pretty boxed set) back in the 1990s. I bounced between Red Hat and SuSE (and Mandrake/Mandriva) until Red Hat 9 and SuSE 9.1, at which point, I went to Fedora Core. I also had one system that ran Caldera OpenLinux 2.2.

    My older laptop still runs FC6. The new one is the one going over to Mint. The rest of the house is using Kubuntu (KDE) or Windows, but we are slowly converting fully to a Linux-based world.

    One older desktop is running Gentoo, which runs well in that low-RAM environment. When it was new, it took 10 to 15 minutes to boot XP. Removing craplets helped speed it up, but it was still not really usable for the first ten minutes or more after being turned on.

  • 4. Living In The Mint Field « Opportunity Knocks  |  Sunday, 2007-June-24 at 10:28

    […] · No Comments Previously, I mentioned moving this computer from WinXP to Linux Mint: »A First Look At Linux Mint »Second Look At Linux Mint I also mentioned some of the issues I faced helping a co-worker […]

  • 5. Mint Redux « Opportunity Knocks  |  Friday, 2008-February-01 at 22:19

    […] first wrote about installing Linux Mint here and here and […]

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