Sunday, December 21, 2014

Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" Cinnamon Review: As always, Impressive!

In my last review, I discussed about Linux Mint 17.1 Mate. Today, it's turn of Linux Mint's flagship operating system Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. The release notes states of the following improvements: "Linux Mint 17.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2019. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use." It discusses of the following incremental improvements:

  • Cinnamon 2.4 with about 30 memory leak fixes offering many little improvements to make user experience smoother and more enjoyable than before.
  • The Nemo toolbar was redesigned and its buttons are now configurable. A new button (hidden by default) was added to open a terminal in the current directory. Nemo supports emblems now.
  • More meaningful update manager and options to select kernel.
  • Significant improvements in artwork and functionality.
  • Improved privacy settings.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
For this review I downloaded the 1.5 GB 64-bit ISO of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. I created a live USB on a 4 GB USB drive using Linux Mint Image Writer. First, I did a live boot and then installed Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon on my laptop, Asus K55VM.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" Mate Review: Simply awesome performance!

I guess I discussed sometime back in my blog that Linux Mint won't pursue Ubuntu's schedule of releasing a new distro every 6 months and instead focus on Ubuntu's LTS releases. True to their promise, they have released an update to the Linux Mint 17 LTS, nicknamed "Rebecca". The release notes states of the following incremental improvements: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 17.1 'Rebecca' MATE. Linux Mint 17.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2019. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use. Linux Mint 17.1 MATE edition comes with two window managers installed and configured by default: Marco (MATE's very own window manager, simple, fast and very stable); Compiz (an advanced compositing window manager which can do wonders if your hardware supports it). Among the various window managers available for Linux, Compiz is certainly the most impressive when it comes to desktop effects."
I downloaded the 64-bit version of Linux Mint 17.1 Mate, 1.557 GB in size. I tried Mate first as it seemed more enticing because of the presence of compiz. Please note, I did not upgrade from Linux Mint 17 to Linux Mint 17.1 and it cannot be done via terminal using sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. This specific blog from Linux Mint talks of the upgrade process using MintInstall. Mint 17.1 ships with Linux kernel 3.13.0 and Mate DE 1.8.1. It is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release.

I created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer on a 4 GB pen drive. I booted the distro on my Asus K55VM and post live boot, installed it on a 50 GB partition.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ubuntu Mate 14.10 Review: For GNOME 2 lovers and offers awesome performance

I am not sure if Ubuntu Mate 14.10 is an official release from Canonical yet. It is still to be listed in distrowatch. But, never-the-less I came across this distro as a reference from a couple of readers from my blog. I used the distro for a week and I am writing down my experience with the distro. It has the same specifics as Ubuntu 14.10 - the desktop environment is different here: Mate 1.8.1, with it's typical GNOME 2 looks.

From Ubuntu Mate 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
For this review, I downloaded the 1 GB 64-bit ISO from the Ubuntu Mate website for this review. I used Linux Mint Image Writer to create a live USB and used it to install on my favorite Asus K55VM laptop.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ubuntu 14.10 vs Kubuntu 14.10 vs Xubuntu 14.10 vs Lubuntu 14.10 vs Ubuntu GNOME 14.10: A Comparison

Honestly, I have used better Linux distros than Ubuntu. But, I don't deny that Canonical's Ubuntu took Linux to the masses. Five years ago when I started using Linux, I started with Ubuntu as well. Those days none of my friends knew about Linux and now almost everyone of my friends knows Ubuntu, if not any other Linux. And even in my blog, articles on Ubuntu gets 30% more hits than non-Ubuntu articles. And the request for this article came from quite a few readers of my blog. Here I won't compare a lot on the aesthetics bit as each distro is unique and it is good to have diversity. My primary focus will be on comparing performance and ease of use.

I reviewed each and every one of the official Utopic Unicorn releases separately. If interested you can visit individual reviews:
Further, 64-bit versions of all the five distros were benchmarked using the exactly same machine over last 1.5 months. So, in this comparison I am comparing apples to apples.


Operating System (64 bit) Ubuntu 14.10 Kubuntu 14.10 Xubuntu 14.10 Lubuntu 14.10 Ubuntu GNOME 14.10
Release Year 2014 2014 2014 2014 2014
Size of ISO (GB) 1.109 1.017 0.979 0.702 0.998
Base Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic
Desktop Unity 7.3.1 KDE 4.14.1 XFCE 4.11 LXDE GNOME 3.12
Linux kernel 3.16.0 3.16.0 3.16.0 3.16.0 3.16.0

Hardware Used for the Review
Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz 3rd Gen. Core i7 3610QM processor with 8 cores, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 1366x768 resolution, 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Fantastic performance and upgradable to GNOME 3.14

Ubuntu GNOME is the youngest official flavor from Ubuntu stable. The first release was in 2012 with 12.10, followed  13.10, 14.04LTS and now, 14.10. Though I am not a big fan of GNOME 3 but of late, GNOME 3 has stabilized and offers some real cool customization ability. The latest release of Ubuntu GNOME, Utopic Unicorn, ships with GNOME 3.12 - the latest offering from GNOME stable 3.14 can be downloaded from launchpad ppa's. The development of this distro started before GNOME 3.14 became stable and hence, not included, as explained by the release note. I checked the distro as it is and after a couple of days of usage upgraded to GNOME 3.14. The release note states of some incremental improvements, namely: "The Ubuntu GNOME team is proud and happy to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn). Ubuntu GNOME is an official flavour of Ubuntu, featuring the GNOME desktop environment. Features: most of GNOME 3.12 is now included, the few missing bits of 3.12 are available in ppa; gnome-maps and gnome-weather are now installed by default, gnome-photos, gnome-music and polari are available to install from the Ubuntu archive; a set of 10 new high-quality wallpapers are included by default; GNOME Classic session is included - to try it, choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen; new themes (like numix) are available in the archive."

From Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
I downloaded the 998 MB 64-bit ISO for this review and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer. I installed it on 250 GB partition on my Asus K55VM laptop. But, before I jump into the review, lets check what's new in Ubuntu GNOME 14.10.

What is new in Ubuntu GNOME 14.10?
  • GNOME 3.12, but GNOME 3.14 can be downloaded from the ppa's. Even GNOME 3.12 is not complete. But, the few missing bits of 3.12 are available in ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
  • Linux kernel 3.16.0
  • Updated applications
  • gnome-maps and gnome-weather are now installed by default. gnome-photos, gnome-music and polari are available to install from the Ubuntu archive.
  • A set of 10 new high-quality wallpapers are included by default.
  • GNOME Classic session is included. To try it, choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen.
  • New themes (like numix) are available on the archive.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Much improved over the LTS version

Lubuntu's Trusty Tahr LTS release actually put me off because of the Wifi bug and using nm-applet I found a workaround. My expectation was higher from the LTS release honestly. So, I started evaluating the Lubuntu's latest release, 14.10, with almost zero expectation and I was pleasantly surprised. The release note states that this release is kind of calm before the storm.
"A new version of our operating system has been released. You won't notice many cosmetic changes, as this version is considered as a bug-fix release, preparing the way to meet LXQt. Here are some changes: general bug-fix release as we prepare for LXQt; many LXDE components have been updated with bug-fix releases; an update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities); the Ubuntu 14.10 release with 3.16-based kernel; Firefox is updated to version 33; GTK+ updated to version 3.12; X.Org 1.16 has better support for non-PCI devices." 

From Lubuntu 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
For this review, I downloaded the 64-bit Lubuntu 14.10 702 MB ISO and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer. I used my favorite test laptop, Asus K55VM, to test the brand new release from Lubuntu. Before jumping on to the review, let me start with what is new in Lubuntu 14.10.

What is new in Lubuntu 14.10?
  • General bug fix release as we prepare for LXQt.
  • Many LXDE components have been updated with bug fix releases.
  • An update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities ...).
  • Linux kernel updated to 3.16, enhanced support for the latest Intel CPUs (Cherryview, Haswell, Broadwell and Merrifield systems), initial support for Nvidia GK30A and GK110B GPUs and enhanced audio support for ATI Radeon devices
  • Updated Packages, like Ubuntu 14.10

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Xubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Looks great but slightly disappointed with performance

XFCE is my favorite desktop environment for all for being lightweight and ability to support customization. Generally Xubuntu or Linux Mint XFCE always satisfied my requirement. Hence, with that expectation I checked out the brand new Xubuntu release, nicknamed "Utopic Unicorn". The release note doesn't say any radical change except for some incremental improvements, namely:
"The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.10. To celebrate the 14.10 code name 'Utopic Unicorn' and to demonstrate the easy customisability of Xubuntu, highlight colors have been turned pink for this release. You can easily revert this change by using the theme configuration application under the Settings Manager; simply turn Custom Highlight Colors 'Off' and click 'Apply'. Of course, if you wish, you can change the highlight color to something you like better than the default blue. Starting with Xubuntu 14.10, you should use pkexec instead of gksudo for running graphical applications with root access from the terminal for improved security."
What is new in Xubuntu 14.10?
  • New Xfce Power Manager plugin is added to the panel
  • Items in the newly themed alt-tab dialog can now be clicked with the mouse
  • Starting with Xubuntu 14.10, you should use pkexec instead of gksudo for running graphical applications with root access from the terminal for improved security
  • Linux kernel updated to 3.16, enhanced support for the latest Intel CPUs (Cherryview, Haswell, Broadwell and Merrifield systems), initial support for Nvidia GK30A and GK110B GPUs and enhanced audio support for ATI Radeon devices
  • Updated Packages, like Ubuntu 14.10
I downloaded the 979 MB 64-bit ISO and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer. I did a live boot on my Asus K55VM laptop and installed it on a 250 GB partition.

Read more!