Monday, June 2, 2014

Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" Cinnamon Review: With improved Cinnamon and Bang on Money release after release!

There is something about Linux Mint - they are specialist in making distros which just work! With the Ubuntu Trusty Tahr released in April 2014, I was eagerly waiting for the final release of Mint's version of the long term support release. Also, as I noted in my review of Mint 16, Cinnamon, as a desktop environment, has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few releases. I was more than interested to try out the latest Cinnamon LTS spin from Linux Mint stable. I must say Linux Mint did not disappoint!

Further, this release assumes significance because of the changed LTS strategy, as updated in the release note:
  • Linux Mint 17 will receive security updates until 2019.
  • Until 2016, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 17, making it trivial for people to upgrade.
  • Until 2016, the development team won't start working on a new base and will be fully focused on this one.
Clement Lefebvre's release note states of significant improvement in functionality of the distro, namely: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 17 'Qiana'. Linux Mint 17 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. The Update manager has been hugely improved. It shows more information, it looks better, it feels faster, and it gets less in your way. It no longer needs to reload itself in root mode when you click on it. It no longer checks for an Internet connection or waits for the network manager and it no longer locks the APT cache at session startup. The UI has been improved, the icons were modified a bit and the changelog retrieval is now much faster and more reliable."

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
I downloaded the 1.3 GB 64-bit ISO for this review. I used Linux Mint Image Writer to make a live USB using a 4 GB pendrive. First I did a live-boot and then installed Mint 17 Cinnamon on my Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 GB Nvidia GeForce 630M graphics. I installed Mint on a 50 GB partition in a multi-boot environment with Kubuntu 14.04 LTS and Chakra GNU/Linux. Mint 17 ships with Cinnamon 2.2.13 desktop environment and Linux kernel 3.13.0.

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Installation
Linux Mint installation is one of the easiest around and should not challenge even Linux novices. It takes about 15 minutes to install Mint in a step by step process, as shown below.

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Score for Installation: 10/10

Hardware Recognition
In my experience, Linux Mint works on any and almost every system. Mint 17 is no exception and it correctly detected my laptop's screen resolution, sound card, touch pad, Wifi and LAN. Everything worked as it should and no worries there.

Score for Hardware Recognition: 10/10

Aesthetics
Cinnamon 2.2.13 looks more or less the same and as elegant as ever with black panel, typical Linux Mint wallpaper and an aesthetically pleasing theme.

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Under the hood, there are several improvements in functionality that I could note of, namely:
For all the improvements in aesthetics, I go with a 10/10 for Mint 17.

Pre-Installed Packages
As usual, Mint 17 too is loaded with utility packages for regular use, namely:
  • Office: LibreOffice 4.2.3.3 suite (Calc, Draw, Impress, Math, Writer), Document viewer
  • Internet: Firefox 29, Hexchat, Pidgin IM, Thunderbird, Transmission bittorrent client
  • Graphics: GIMP 2.8.10, gthumb, Image viewer, Simple Scan, Screenshot
  • Multimedia: Banshee music player, Brasero CD/DVD writer, Videos, VLC 2.1.2
  • Accessories: Archive manager, Calculator, Terminal, gedit, Tomboy notes, USB Image writer, USB Stick formatter, Backup tool, Driver manager, Gdebi package installer, Printer Manager
Multimedia codecs and Adobe flash plugin are pre-installed in the distro. I could readily play my favorite movies, music and watch YouTube channels even on live boot and without requiring to install any additional package.


Hexchat is a new entrant as IRC client. Otherwise, the rest of the packages are familiar ones and Mint 17 has almost every package that you look for regular use, except may be a download manager, a VOIP client and Wine/PlayonLinux. USB writer and stick formatter are it's own-house innovations and finds place in this release as well.

Score for Pre-Installed Packages: 8/10

Repository
Mint 17 has a mix of Mint's own packages and Ubuntu Trusty repositories. By default, it doesn't ship with a whole lot of third party repos like a Pinguy OS or other Ubuntu derivatives. Software Sources, the application to show, add and change packages and repositories in Mint, has an updated interface in this release. Now it gives out warning for backports and remeo repos, noting the users that adding these repos can negatively impact the stability of the system.

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
MintInstaller is the default option to browse and install packages. It is very handy for new users as applications are clearly categorized and is easier to search.
From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
A faster Synaptic Package Manager is also there for users with intermediate experience. Synaptic, too, does the same job but has a bit geeky interface.

GDebi package installer is there to install local packages and it works brilliant as usual.

Issue with Skype
I found Skype 4.2 in the Linux Mint repos and installed it by running the command:
$ sudo apt-get install skype

Skype got installed successfully but didn't start. I installed ia32-libs as suggested in a lot of forums.
$ sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

But still it showed error ...
"skype: error while loading shared libraries: libGL.so.1: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory"

To solve it, I got help from askubuntu forums. This solution worked for me.
update-alternatives --display i386-linux-gnu_gl_conf
sudo update-alternatives --config i386-linux-gnu_gl_conf
Now select the preferred option, I selected 386-linux-gnu/mesa/ld.so.conf.
sudo ldconfig
$ Skype
After that, Skype worked for me without any error!

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Performance
This is perhaps the best thing about Linux Mint - it gives amazing and consistent performance. It may not be the number one in terms of resource usage or boot time, but you can assured of a consistent performance, release after release.

With auto-login enabled, Mint 17 takes about 44 seconds to boot, which is almost the same as average time taken by GNOME 3 and forked distros to boot, as recorded by me on the same laptop in 2013-14.

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
At steady state, Mint consumes about 345 MB of RAM and 0-5% CPU, which is about 11% lower than GNOME 3 and forked distros.

From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Linux Mint 17 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
The days of instability of Cinnamon desktop are past now and the present version works perhaps the smoothest. It responds pretty fast and I didn't note any incidence of system freeze. Purely based on performance, it works way better than Unity 7 or even stock GNOME 3.

Operating System (64 bit) Release Year Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU (%) RAM usage (MB) Size of installation (GB) Boot time (sec)
Pardus 2.0 2013 1.7 Debian Testing GNOME 3.8.4 3.10.3 0-5% 278 6.4 52
Mint Debian 201403 Mate 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Mate 1.6.1 3.11.2 0-5% 282 4.4 40
Mint Debian 201403 Cinnamon 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Cinnamon 2.0.14 3.11.2 0-5% 285 4.9 49
Mint 15 Cinnamon 2013 0.9594 Ubuntu Raring Cinnamon 1.8 3.8.0 0-5% 307 5.1 32
Mint 16 Cinnamon 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Saucy Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 312 4.1 45
Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 2013 0.9878 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.3 3.8.0 0-5% 321 3.9 24
Tanglu 1.0 GNOME 2014 0.973 Debian Testing GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.1 0-5% 321 4 44
Mint 15 Mate 2013 1.0 Ubuntu Raring Mate 1.6.0 3.8.0 0-5% 325 4.5 30
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.4 3.11.0 0-5% 335 4.1 27
Mint 17 Ciinamon 2014 1.3 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.2.13 3.13.0 0-5% 345 4.5 44
Mint 16 Mate 2013 1.4 Ubuntu Saucy Mate 1.6.0 3.11.0 0-5% 355 4.5 31
Siduction 13.2.0 GNOME 2013 1.0 Debian Unstable GNOME 3.8.4 3.12.0 0-5% 357 3.5 53
Linux Deepin 2013 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.8.1 (DDE) 3.8.0 0-5% 358 4.7 33
Zorin OS 7 2013 1.7 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.2 3.8.0 0-5% 364 5.6 28
Ubuntu 12.04.3 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise Unity 5.20.0 3.8.0 0-5% 370 3 39
Antergos 2013.11.17 2013 0.8 Arch GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.4 0-5% 376 4.1 43
Ubuntu 13.04 2013 0.8 Ubuntu Raring Unity 7.0.0 3.8.0 0-5% 377 4 26
Gajj 0.1 Cinnamon 2014 3.7 Ubuntu Precise Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 419 9.2 75
Fedora 20 GNOME 2013 1.0 Fedora GNOME 3.8.2 3.9.5 0-10% 433 4 34
Elementary OS 0.2 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise GNOME 3.6.3 3.2.0 0-5% 440 3.1 22
Zorin OS 8 Gaming 2014 4.0 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.9.90 3.11.0 0-5% 440 9.2 31
Zorin OS 8 2014 1.6 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.2 3.11.0 0-5% 445 5.6 31
Ubuntu 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy Unity 7.1.2 3.11.0 0-5% 466 4.4 30
ExTix 14 2013 1.5 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.0 0-5% 468 4.8 33
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Trusty Unity 7.2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 486 4.2 31
Pinguy OS 14.04 2014 2.3 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12.2 3.13.0 0-5% 500 7 54
OpenSUSE 13.1 GNOME 2013 4.4 OpenSUSE GNOME 3.10.1 3.11.6 0-5% 531 4.9 37

Score for Performance: 9/10

Overall
As I said, Mint 17 is perhaps a landmark release for Mint as they are moving to Ubuntu LTS as base for their successive releases. I am not sure of it's implications but I am very happy of what I see in Mint 17 LTS. The Cinnamon spin feels lighter than most of the GNOME 3 and Unity spins I have used, supported by lower resource usage recorded by me. For me, Linux Mint has done it again and I go with a score of 9.5/10 for Mint, higher than Pinguy OS or Ubuntu 14.04.

Linux Mint 17 Qiana Cinnamon is available in both 32 and 64-bit versions and can be downloaded from here.

Overall Score: 9.5/10
Breakup
Installation (20% weight): 10/10
Hardware Recognition (20% weight): 10/10
Aesthetics (20% weight): 10/10
Pre-Installed Packages (10% weight): 8/10
Performance (30% weight): 9/10

45 comments:

  1. test it with games, crapy performance and crashs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How can you say that Linux Mint 17 is the problem for your game? What type of GPu are you using? Intel Integrated? If of course you try loading a Windows game with Wine, this is something perhaps you can expect. Try gaming with Steam client, I have no issue with gaming on Linux Mint 17. I also playing Eve Online (with Wine) and this is awesome (I using Nvidia 470 GTX)

      Delete
    2. Hello.
      I installed Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon on my 3 years old laptop and it works pretty good.
      I didn't have to install any drivers at all and everything works fine.
      Also i installed two Games using Steam: Counterstrike Source and Rust
      They both run flawless without any crashes.

      Best Regards
      Ralf

      Delete
    3. Great to know! I always experienced that Linux Mint just works!

      Delete
    4. not for, not for my brother, full screen alt+tab dota 2 always crash, the problem is cinnamon, slow and buggy DE i realy can't undertand how people use it but ok

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. This is from conky-manager. Please Google for teejee coke manager.

      Delete
  3. He's probably talking about Battlefield 4

    ReplyDelete
  4. Installed on one of my laptops and it became very unstable. It was a laptop a few years old that I had been running Elementary on. I wanted to give LM 17 a shot but I couldn't get it to work and I tried all the tricks I knew. I have other computers but they are spoken for already where a distro is concerned. It was a nice review and appreciated.

    Eddie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking the review. May I know the specs of the system where you installed Mint 17 and it became unstable?

      Delete
  5. A very, very good presentation - kudos!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Time to review the Mate version, I like it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Mate version is pretty good. I'llama try to pen down a review over this weekend.

      Delete
  7. Dear Arindam thank for detailed review. I used mint from last 3 years. I love it. can you tell me which linux distro is near near similar to unix. I want to practice on unix like os.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please try out Ghost BSD or PC-BSD. Both are very good unix based OS and work pretty well, though may not be as rich as Linux.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. On your first screenshot, how did you able to add desktop widgets (clock, calendar, cpu, memory, etc)? And how did you enclose all of them on a box?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. This is a conky. You can please search for Conky-Manager by Teejee. It is a wonderful application to create stylish conkies.

      Delete
  10. I noticed your pre-installed app score of 8/10. What would make it a 10/10? I only ever install chromium and a few weird things that only I seem to use in Mint, but for most other users I install it for, it's got everything out of box.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The score is based on a checklist which includes wine, a VOIP client, and a download manager along with the packages provided by Mint. Quite a few Linux distros do provide these packages and I thought they should score a bit higher. Also, for a 64 bit system if packages like Skype are pre-installed, it helps to avoid unnecessary hassles of installing 32-bit architecture, etc. Anyway, pre-installed packages only get 10% weightage in my scoring and 30% weightage is for performance where Mint scores a lot higher than most of the other distros.

      Delete
    2. Ah, excellent response, and I can't fault your logic. Thank you sir!

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can't seem to find the conky clock you're using in the middle of your screen. Can you please tell me the name of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can please download and add Deluxe Conky Theme Pack by Jesse Avalos (http://www.mediafire.com/download/5yb5ambg6h4jack/Deluxe_Conky_Theme_Pack.cmtp.7z). Once downloaded, open Conky Manager, go to options and click on Import conky manager theme pack to add 71 extra conky themes. The clock on the RHS is from "cali 4 core" conky.

      Delete
    2. The middle one is named as "Emays" in Deluxe conky theme pack.

      Delete
  13. I had issues with it after an update I have a core i5 has well and still graphics issue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am waiting for XFCE that has always been solid for me in Mint. I have two old Pentium 4 PC's running Mint 13 XFCE for well over a year and half never any issues

      Delete
    2. Mint XFCE is definitely the best XFCE spin I have used. I agree with you. Also, I recently checked Lite 2.0 XFCE and found it really good. You can also check it out, you may like it!

      Delete
  14. Just tried Mint 17 on a Zotac ZBox. After upgrading the NVIDIA driver, all it did was put the background wallpaper and a mouse pointer on the screen. This happened even after rebooting the box. Sad to say, it was an automatic reject.

    To be fair, this machine has had issues with anything with a kernel later than 3.2, with various crashes. It worked perfectly with Mint 13 and Slackware 14.0, but later versions of both distros, as well as the latest Debian Testing, had problems. It must be a problem with the hardware, as it associates with the kernel and the NVIDIA driver. BTW, the Nouveau driver is completely useless with this box -- locks up within an hour, no matter which distro I run.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That sounds like a bios and chip set update could fix your issues. But flashing the bios in Linux is not that easy. Best if you could install Windows, even XP would do
    .Then go back to Linux

    ReplyDelete
  16. That sounds like a bios and chip set update could fix your issues. But flashing the bios in Linux is not that easy. Best if you could install Windows, even XP would do
    .Then go back to Linux

    ReplyDelete
  17. What are your system specs? Without knowing, for instance, which CPU you are using, the 'CPU usage %' isn't particularly meaningful.

    (enjoyed the rest of your review)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The system specs are given in the 4th paragraph of my article (Asus K55VM, 2.3 Ghz Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M). In my future reviews, I'll highlight it. And thanks for enjoying my review :).

      Delete
  18. Excellent detailed review. Linux Mint has been my personal favourite since version 14. I install Cinnamon on my HP dv6 laptop and the Mate version on an old Samsung N150 netbook. Linux Mint works wonderfully well and very fast on both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my review. Yes, I found Mint 17 Cinnamon a very good distro with unmatched stability and responsiveness.

      Delete
  19. Can you make comparison for final LINUX MINT
    XFCE vs CINNAMON vs MATE vs KDE

    (Memory, boot time, CPU....)
    Also comapre Manjaro XFCE and final Linux MInt XFCE

    Myself I am using Linux Mint XFCE for some years Iand I am happy.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, once the final release of Mint 17 XFCE & KDE are out, I'll write an article to compare the four.
      Thanks,
      Arindam

      Delete
  20. KDE is out NOW.
    XFCE soon.

    Thanks again for best Linux reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Mint 17 couldn't install the right driver for Epson Stylus SX235W printer. However i installed it from here:

    http://www.openprinting.org/driver/epson-201108w

    Annoying bug and first time when either Ubuntu or Mint couldn't have installed the driver for my printer (Epson, Canon etc...)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for the post. I have Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon on my very very old laptop Lenovo 3000 N200 and is really nice, however I got a problem: I can not detect my wireless card so I can't connect to Wifi. I will try to upgrade to LN17 and I will let you guys know how is that soon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be because of old drivers. Can you post here the details of the wifi card, may be downloading specific wifi drivers for it will resolve this. Linux Mint works pretty fine with modern machines.

      Delete