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Fresh Version of Linux Mint Offers Tweaks and Updates
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When last we looked at Linux Mint we gave it high marks on the user-friendly scale for administration and productivity applications. The latest release takes the distro to new heights of the same with a few new added touches to boot. Linux Mint 8 (Helena) is based on Ubuntu 9.10 and delivers all the basic capabilities you would expect in an Ubuntu distribution.


Downloading the Main Edition actually gets you 2.5 GB of data but comes in a 705 MB ISO file. Two additional download options include the Universal Edition which is free of proprietary software, patented technologies and support for restricted formats and the x64 Edition. There is a note on the Mint download page that the 32-bit Main Edition is usually more stable and also works on 64-bit processors.

For older PCs you might want to give the Fluxbox Community Edition a try. As of this writing it's still listed as a release candidate, so you'll have to check back later for the final version. This version is targeted at older PCs with minimal CPU, graphics and memory--definitely worth a look if you have an old PC lying around. If you want to give Mint a whirl as a program from Windows, there's mint4win, although there does seem to be some chatter in the Mint forums about compatibility issues with the current release and Wubi due to the use of Grub2.


MintMenu is totally customizable to add additional items to make it work like you want. Adding applications to the "Favorites" menu can be done using a drag and drop action or when viewing "All applications" with a right click and selecting "Show in my favorites." One thing missing in the base install of this release is GNOME Do. However, you can install it using the Package Manager. If you want a list of recently opened documents (or images), you'll need to activate the "Recent" plug-in. All you have to do is open the mintMenu preferences and select "Show Recent Documents". You can also revert to the standard Gnome menu instead of mintMenu should you desire. You'll have to go through several steps to remove the mintMenu from the main panel and then add in the Gnome menu.

The Linux Mint website has all kinds of user-contributed content in both a forum question and answer format and wiki. There's even an IRC channel dedicated solely to helping you get your question answered. One quick glance at the forums shows a pretty high volume of traffic in terms of topics and numbers of posts. The wiki has a well laid out front page with links to general information, FAQs, HOWTOs and other useful information.

A few of the utilities and system administrations received updates with this release. The MintInstall software manager has a slightly different look with the application preview now in the lower right-hand corner of the dialog box. This makes it a little easier to see the screenshot of the app along with the other information about the software including links to user reviews. MintUpdate brings more user control to the system and application update process. The user interface displays available updates and their safety level. For easy PDF generation there's a default Print to PDF option to make it easy to save Web pages, e-mails or anything else you would normally send to the printer.


If you use FTP a lot, you'll like the updated system tray File Uploader. In previous releases this tool was named mintUpload. It's now been split into two applications, the Upload Manager and File Uploader. The upload manager supports FTP, SFTP and SCP. Before you can use the tool you must define the service you wish to use along with the appropriate user credentials. This File Uploader tool sits in the system tray waiting for you to drop a file on top of it. At that point it will upload the file to one of your defined services based on the configuration information previously
entered.


Bottom Line

With Ubuntu 9.10 under the covers you know you have a solid foundation with wide community support. It also pretty much guarantees you'll get patches for any security issues or kernel updates right along with the rest of the Ubuntu community. Linux Mint is targeted at the newbie that hasn't considered a Linux distro due to perceived complexity. It's definitely worth a look on many accounts and a sure-thing upgrade for current users.

Source-Linuxplanet
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