Linux Mint 15 Review

Linux Mint, being a Ubuntu derivative, always releases a new version a month or two after Ubuntu released theirs. Ubuntu 13.04 was released in April, so it is not surprising to see Linux Mint 15 released in late May. We have always love Linux Mint and think that it is more suitable for newbie than Ubuntu. If you are a Linux Mint user, I am sure you love its interface and ease of use as well. Let’s check out what’s in store for Linux Mint 15.

For Linux Mint 15, there are two versions that you can download. One comes with the Cinnamon desktop while another comes with the MATE desktop. MATE is more suited for older laptop with less resources, but in most cases, Cinnamon works fine too. In this review, we will be using the Cinnamon version.

You can download the ISO image from the Linux Mint site. Depending on your system architecture, you can download either the 32 or 64 bit version. The installation is pretty straightforward. Except for the graphical difference, the installation process is exactly the same as Ubuntu.

Once the installation is completed, reboot the system. The first to greet you after the bootup is the MDM login screen. The advantage of MDM over LightDM (the login manager used by Ubuntu) is that MDM is more customizable and since it is compatible with GDM themes, there are tons of beautiful themes that you can find online.

Linux Mint 15 MDM greeter

What’s new in this MDM login screen is that it comes with 3 different types of greeter. You can use the GTK greeter, or GDM greeter. There is also the HTML greeter where you can use HTML5, CSS, Javascript, WebGL to customize the layout and functionality.

The default greeter is the HTML. You can go to the “Login Screen” option in the Cinnamon Control Center to change to GTK or GDM greeter, and to apply new login theme.

Linux Mint 15 login window preferences

If none of the themes in the list catch your attention, you can go to Gnome-look and download the theme you like.

The new Linux Mint 15 comes with a new MintSources application that replaces the “Software Sources” in Ubuntu. The MintSources adds more features to the Software Sources. You can now change the mirror of your Linux Mint (and Ubuntu base) repository, and also add new PPAs, additional repositories, authentication keys, right in the application. No longer do you need to hit the terminal just to add a new PPA and install new application. You can now do everything right from the MintSources.

Linux Mint 15 Mint Sources

The coolest thing that I like about Mint Sources is that it lets you know which mirror loads the fastest so you know which one to choose from the list.

Linux Mint 15 Mint Sources mirror-speed

There is also a Maintenance option where you can “Fix MergeList problems” and “Purge residual configuration”. Both options provide a one-click solution to clean up your system.

Linux Mint 15 Mint Sources maintenance

Desklets are widgets that you can place in the desktop. There are 3 desklets installed by default (Clock, Digital Photo frame and Launcher desklets) and you can find more desklets online (as of this post, there are only 4 desklets online. Hopefully, the list will expand). I am not a fan of desktop widgets, but I guess a lot of people will love it, particular one that shows the weather condition.

Linux Mint 15 desklets

Linux Mint now comes with its own screensaver, which is simply a clock widget floating around the screen. One feature that was added was the ability to specify your own message when the screensaver is active. A simple, yet useful feature.

Linux Mint 15 screensaver-message

Linux Mint 15 screensaver

All the system settings are now accessible from the Cinnamon Control Center. The Gnome Control Center is no longer included. All the features mentioned above can also be accessible from the Cinnamon Control Center.

Linux Mint 15 cinnamon-control-center

Functionally, Linux Mint 15 is similar to its previous version. Nothing much has changed that will affect your workflow greatly. However, it is those small details that make Linux Mint 15 shines. A lot of efforts were put in to improve the user experience and make it easier to use. I always think Linux Mint is great for Linux beginners and Linux Mint 15 further strengthens my view.

What do you think? Are you impressed by Linux Mint 15 as well?

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