Thursday, November 22, 2012

Linux Mint 14 Nadia Review: Is it better than Maya?

Big news this week in the Linux world - the reigning king of Linux "Linux Mint" has come out with the Mate and Cinnamon desktop version of Ubuntu 12.10. The codename is Nadia. Now, before jumping onto the actual review, a bit of introspection. One question that always comes to my mind - I have reviewed so many wonderful Linux distros and quite a few are really really outstanding. Still what works for Linux Mint release after release? Why people in the Linux world uses it more than any other Linux distro, even Fedora and Ubuntu? Why I too use Linux Mint as my primary distro (except one machine, P4 old computer, where I use Puppy Precise)?
 Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon
From Linux Mint 14
From Linux Mint 14

Linux Mint 14 Mate
From Linux Mint 14
From Linux Mint 14
Is it because it is easier for a Windows user to adapt to Linux Mint? I doubt, because my Linux Mint desktops look nowhere close to Windows! Is it because everything works out of the box and even if you aren't able to run a single code in terminal or fix a single thing in Linux, Mint still works? Possibly yes! I haven't seen a distro in my life which is so trouble free and stable (this includes Windows as well which in my opinion is trouble only!).

With this background, now lets directly jump onto the review. It has three purposes - one, to assess the new release in general. Two, compare it to the previous release (Mint Maya 13, which is also an LTS with 5 years of support). And finally, compare it to the recently released Snowlinux 3 Mate / Cinnamon which deeply impressed me.

Assessment of Mint Nadia
I had already downloaded the RC2 versions of both Cinnamon and Mate. The release note came sometime in 11 Nov with the final release on 20 Nov. So, without rushing for the new release I just installed them one by one and updated post installation. For both I had to download about 200 MB of updates and my installations were the final releases. Both are 32-bit ISOs about less than 1 GB in size.

Installations were done in a Asus K54C, 2.4 Ghz Core i3 processor with 2 GB RAM. The same laptop was used for testing out the Mint Maya as well. Both have Linux kernel 3.5 and Cinnamon has 1.6 (the latest) with Mate having 1.4 (also the latest) desktop.

What is new?
Lets begin with the Mate version. The information provided here are from the release notes combined with snapshots from my testing. Mate 1.4 supports bluetooth now as well as Caja supports dropbox. MATE now includes its own character map, fast alt-tabbing with Marco compositing, a selection of notification styles (although this was included in Linux Mint 13, it wasn't part of MATE 1.2), and Caja improvements such as a toggle button to show and edit the path and a new button to compare files in the file conflict dialog.
From Linux Mint 14
From Linux Mint 14

Cinnamon 1.6, on the other hand, comes with a lot of features and attractiveness. Cinnamon, I guess, is developing at a faster rate than Mate. The major new additions for Cinnamon 1.6 include:

1. Give names to workspaces: like naming different workspaces for movies, document work, internet browsing, etc. These will remain even after you relogin. I am not sure it will be any utility to me at this point but might be handy if I am working with 10-15 workspaces to recall where I was doing what! Additionally, once you switch workspaces, the names will be visible in bold.

From Linux Mint 14
2. Windows Quick list: Alongside workspaces, there is a windows quick list applet as well on the right hand corner of the panel, for easy access and to keep track of the applications that the user has opened.

3. Similar to Mate 1.4, there is a notification applet as well in Cinnamon 1.6.

From Linux Mint 14
Cinnamon 1.6 has 800 incremental innovations including Nemo. You can check out all of them at the Linux Mint notes.

Additional improvement I saw is in the artwork. Linux Mint 14 has some really nice looking new wallpapers.
  
From Linux Mint 14

Applications
Application list is more or less the same as in previous version - only difference being the latest release has the most updated applications. A summary of the applications present is given below for the benefit of the new users who want to try out Linux Mint.
  • Internet: Firefox 16, Thunderbird 16, Pidgin Internet Messenger, Transmission bit-torrent client, XChat IRC
  • Graphics: GIMP 2.8, document viewer 1.4.0, Eye of Mate viewer, Gthumb 3.0.2 image viewer, simple scan
  • Multimedia: Banshree music player, Brasero CD/DVD writer, Gnome MPlayer, Movie Player, VLC 2.0.4
  • Office: LibreOffice 3.6.2.2 writer, calc, impress, base, draw - basically Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Paint equivalent
Apart from these, Linux Mint is feature rich with Archive manager, Pluma (gedit fork), gdebi package manager to install applications in Debian package format. Caja 1.4.0 is the file manager in Mate and Nemo 1.1.2 in Cinnamon, both are forked from Nautilus. 

The base repository is the same as Ubuntu 12.10 and it is perhaps the richest Linux repository around. The GUI is a bit different from Ubuntu - MinInstall 7.4.4. It is simple and works well to search and install applications from the respository.

Comparison with Linux Mint Maya

Parameters Mint 14 Cinnamon Mint 13 Cinnamon Mint 14 Mate Mint 13 Mate
Size of ISO 922 MB 857 MB 1 GB 942 MB
Booting time (post installation) 20 sec 15 sec 10 sec 10 sec
Desktop Cinnamon 1.6.7 Cinnamon 1.4 Mate 1.4 Mate 1.2
Linux kernel 3.5.0-17 3.2.0-23 3.5.0-17 3.2.0-23
CPU Usage (post installation) 1-5% 1-5% 2-3% 2-3%
RAM usage (post installation) 221 MB 200 MB 199 MB 207 MB
Installation time (with 1 MBPS connection) 30 Min 30 Min 30 Min 30 Min
Wifi detection Immediate Immediate Immediate Immediate
Touchpad detection Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic
Ease of use Really smooth to use Really smooth to use Really smooth to use Really smooth to use
Eye candy factor Looks the best with a very elegant file manager and with application colors matching the ash-black colored theme Looks good with application colors matching the ash colored theme Looks good with application colors matching the ash colored theme Looks good with application colors matching the ash colored theme
Repository MintInstall 7.4.4 MintInstall 7.3.9 MintInstall 7.4.4 MintInstall 7.3.9
File Manager Nemo 1.1.2 Nautilus 3.4.1 Caja 1.4.0 Caja 1.2.1

Linux Mint generally boots up a tad bit slower than Ubuntu distros. Based on performance in terms of resource usage, clearly the Nadia Mate 1.4 is marginally ahead. I noted really good performance from Mate 1.4, almost comparable to an XFCE desktop! At steady state with only system monitor running, the RAM consumption was around 200 MB and 2-3% CPU usage. If you talk of multi-tasking, with Firefox 16 playing youtube, Writer and Calc running, it consumes only 357 MB RAM with only 40% CPU usage. Mint Maya Mate 1.2, too, gives almost comparable performance on the same machine. It is difficult to choose between the two and given Mint Maya Mate has 5 years of support, I guess it would be better to stick to Linux Mint 13 and wait for another LTS to come in 2014.

From Linux Mint 14

However, for Linux Mint Cinnamon, the CPU usage shows a bit higher, it might be because of some driver problem that I need to rectify on my system. Else, Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon looks shinier and more attractive. Special mention should be made of Nemo 1.1.2, it looks very refined in Nadia, I must say. Overall, even Cinnamon is quite speedy on my system and I could multi-task easily under similar conditions as above by spending only 470 MB RAM and 70-75% CPU usage. Nautilus in the Mint Maya Cinnamon looks quite blander compared to Nemo in Mint Nadia. But, Mint Maya has 5 years of support behind it.

From Linux Mint 14

Comparison with Snowlinux 3 Cinnamon/Mate
I reviewed Snowlinux 3 release a week ago and it also came out with Cinnamon 1.6 and Mate 1.4 versions, as well as almost identical look to Linux Mint. Even there I got a bit of higher CPU usage in Cinnamon but very good performance in Mate. Performance wise, I would rate the Snowlinux 3 series at par with Linux Mint 14. Actually, it is a tough choice as both of them look, feel and behave identically. However, number of out-of-the-box applications are more in Linux Mint and it has a better online forum.

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon

Overall 
Linux Mint 14 is indeed a very good release. I found Ubuntu 12.10 to be a bit unstable and but Mint 14 is really stable. I have been using it from the RC days and it has worked smoothly for me till date. However, some of the goodies in Ubuntu 12.10 are not here like Web apps, Ubuntu music store, Amazon integration (some hate it though!), better integration with social network, etc. But, Linux Mint has rock solid stability. 

Personally, I don't get tired of installing Linux distros as it is my hobby and I install 2-3 new distros to my systems every week and uninstall the older ones. But, my main production laptop has Linux Mint Maya Cinnamon 64-bit and I don't like to tamper with my preferred settings in there. Am I going to re-install Mint Nadia to it? Possibly no - for now I'll stick to Mint Maya and add Mint Nadia ppa's and download Nemo file manager. Here's how you can backport Nadia ppa's.

25Nov2012: Actually backporting Nadia ppa's and then changing Nemo 1.1.2 to default file manager has improved performance of Linux Mint 13 significantly. Nemo is a lot lighter and faster file manager, undoubtedly. Definite recommendation from my side to backport Nadia ppa's.

To backport, open Menu ->Preferences -> Software Sources -> Click on "Backported Packages (Backports)" checkbox. Close it and then launch update manager either from menu or from the update notifier on the right hand side of the panel. Refresh and update all Level 1 and Level 2 updates. Restart and you are done!

To set Nemo as the default file manager, go to Menu -> Accessories -> Files (one would be Nautilus and another would be Nemo). Open Nemo and on right hand top corner you'll see an option to make Nemo the default file manager. Click it and you are done. 

Download
Linux Mint 14 is available in both 32 and 64-bit versionsYou can download via torrent, direct download option available as well. Please check the release note for downloading.

29 comments:

  1. love the comparison table. great to see things side by side. good article!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Am I going to re-install Mint Nadia to it? Possibly no - for now I'll stick to Mint Maya and check how to add Mint Nadia ppa's and download Nemo file manager. "

    Nice very nice article...
    you said this above...can you post when and how you figure this out?
    Currently running Linux Mint Maya MATE as a dual boot on my main comp. and would like to be able to get the Linux Mint 14 ppa's.
    Howvever, was wondering if you thought adding those ppa's would break anything?

    Thanks again for you fine work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my article. I am currently working on adding Mint 14 ppa's and will get back to you in a week or so.
      Thanks,
      Arindam

      Delete
  3. http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2225

    looks like the Linux Mint folks have the adding version 14 ppas to version 13 covered already!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eu instalei LM14-Cinnamon no meu DualCore + 2gb/ram + Intel-GM965 com bom desempenho

    I installed LM14-Cinnamon on my DualCore 2gb/ram + + Intel-GM965 with good performance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, it will work good on your machine.

      Delete
  5. Excellent review. All it was short of was a rating score for each LM DE.

    ReplyDelete
  6. the best comparison forums I really like your blog.. my question to u is that I recently installed Ubuntu 12 on my hp 1318ax laptop its with amd a4 processor and it ended up as a mess too much heating problem.. so can u suggest me a good (good looking bottom line) distro for my laptop?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please give a shot to Elementary Luna / Pear OS 6/ Luninux 12.10, if you prefer the uncluttered Mac OS X look. Else, Linux Mint Maya or Nadia should work on your laptop if you like Windows look. Linux Mint works on any and every platform and is easily customizable.

      Delete
  7. thanx I installed fedora 17 n it suits me best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually that is the beauty of Linux. There are plenty of good choices to select from and whatever works for you, stick to it!

      Delete
  8. Hi,
    really nice article. I use precise puppy on a P4 + 1GB ram, works well. Would like to try Linux Mint (cinnamon), would it work on a older machine? If so, how can i install it since i have CD but no dvd player and no option to boot from usb?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linux Mint XFCE or Mate will work better on older machines than Cinnamon. There is a windows mint installer (similar to wubi in ubuntu) if you extract the ISO to a folder using any ISO extractor, Please try it if it helps you to install Linux Mint.

      Delete
  9. In my opinion, it is better than Maya. At least, the Cinnamon edition. I really like the new Cinnamon features. Also, the Cinnamon edition of Maya had some Spanish translation issues which Nadia hasn't (but there're still some issues, like that "Open in a terminal" isn't translated). It's not difficult to understand a pair of menu entries which are in English, even for people with a lower English level, but it just looks ugly and odd.
    Besides that, it's in my opinion the best Mint release ever. Yes, ever!
    I'd give them a 10/10, but even ∞/10 due to Linux Mint Team's ability to transform the worst Ubuntu release ever -Quantal Quetzal- into the best Linux Mint release ever!
    Of course it's subjective, and for other people Mint can be -∞/10 :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed on the ability of Linux Mint developers. For me, Linux Mint always works without any hassles on any system I try it out.

      Delete
  10. not sure how the linux world works but it is so fun! i have mint 13,maya, mate, installed via usb alongside windows 7 premium. i am confused as to the download/ install procedure and to determine software versions and such. any tips? rla558@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linux kernel version can be determined by running "uname -a" command in the terminal. Other software versions can be checked from Help -> About. Also, from synaptic or Mint installer -> installed software, you can check the version of software and applications that is installed.
      Thanks.

      Delete
  11. Hi Folks.. General question out there

    Does it constantly hangs like Linux Mint 13 did?


    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I am not sure about LM 13 hanging. For me it works like a charm even on my Asus EeePC. What are the specs of the system where you tried using LM 13?

      Thanks,
      Arindam

      Delete
    2. Hi Arindam...


      Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it.!

      It seems that at least Linux Mint 13 (and at least Cimarron Version in my case) hangs or freezes constantly. You just need to google it to verified.

      In my case problem was solved just simply formatting the unit and installing instead Ubuntu 12.04 LTS in my Desktop and Linux SolusOS in my laptop.

      So i was asking if has been any improvement over this distribution in particular, regarding stability.

      Thanks.

      Delete
    3. I guess this problem is particular in LM Cinnamon. I have been using the LM 13 XFCE version since its release and it works really smooth, even on a Pentium 4 old desktop with 1 GB RAM. Honestly I am not a big user of Cinnamon/Mate and prefer XFCE, Unity and Gnome 2 for my regular use.

      I guess you can give a shot to Linux Mint Debian Edition Cinnamon version 201303. I am pretty impressed with it in my last one week of use. It didn't show the usual vices of Cinnamon.

      By the by, I will recommend you to stick to Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS - I reviewed it last month and has been using it more often than not. Pretty impressed! This is the best release Ubuntu had since it started giving Unity as the only desktop option.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  12. hello arindam i have downloaded linux mint 14 cinnamon 64 bit.it was going good, it detected my preinted and acnners immediately and looks were very good, but after working few minutes on it, it seems to be very unstable . i mean the desktop icons dissapears after changing screen resolution. it crashes frequently. the whole os behave abnormally sometimes like sometime application shortcuts can be made on desktop , but sometimes it does not allow shortcuts on desktop.. as a live usb it is also little bit slow.

    what do you think about mate edition . is it more stable than cinnamon. cinammon looks nice but stability is still lacking in it. seriously a very good os is just lacking behind cause its not stable.

    what edition of linux mint 14 do you recommend xfce,mate,cinnamon.
    i want a rock solid os, not something which crashes frequently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cinnamon had quite a few issues last year. The present release is much better than the last one but not as good as XFCE, KDE or even Gnome distros, in terms of stability. Mate is better than Cinnamon in terms of performance and stability, any day. Are you hell bent on using a gnome derivative only? If not, you can try out Linux Mint 13 or 14 XFCE. It is much better than Cinnamon or Mate in terms of performance, stability as well as customization. I have been using it for almost a year and never faced any sort of issues till date. Extremely stable and offers great performance.

      Thanks,
      Arindam

      Delete
    2. thanks for quick reply arindam.i have seen some youtube videos of mate edition of linux mint. and i am liking it little bit. a lot of people are saying xfce has simple looks. not an aye candy. it is fast but offers less options and menus than mate.

      as for cinnamon i am really surprised why it is not stable yet. i mean its been a year of its release.
      i am liking mate edition , the menu, the caja file browser , the feel of it is something good.
      hey arindam also i am having some problems in getting the my micromax 3g modem to work in lm14 cinnamon. does linux mint 14 has gcc compiler preinstalled for developement purposes. there is also no software for viewing webcams.can u give a quick guide on connecting a 3g modem in linux mint 14?

      thanks in advance
      Mukesh

      Delete
    3. Well I disagree to those who say xfce is not an eye candy. Xfce is one of the most customizable DEs available and it can be as attractive as your imagination runs. Please check my review on Linux mint 14 xfce as well as on customization of linux distros.

      On mm 3g dongle I'll get back to you. I set it up for a friend of mine but need to check what I did.

      Thanks
      Arindam

      Delete
  13. Linux Mint 14 Nadia very stable, I used it too and reminded me to Julia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linux Mint is always reliable and it just works :).

      Delete