I noticed a couple of days ago that Linux Mint 16 (Petra) release candidate is available, so I downloaded the iso and burned it to a DVD.
I’ve been a fan of Mint for a few years, up until Linux Mint 10. With Mint 11 and 12 and the transition to Gnome 3, Mint got a bit fragmented and I strayed to other distros; but the past year or two I’ve been drawn back to Linux Mint, and especially the Cinnamon desktop. So even though I am very happy with Zorin OS 6 on our main machine, I had to try out the spanking new Mint 16 with the new version of it’s Cinnamon 2.0 desktop environment!
After booting from the DVD and playing around with Mint 16 ‘Petra’ for about half an hour today, here is what I found:
Mint 16 had no trouble with my Nvidia graphics card, even only using the open source nouveau driver (unlike OpenSuse 13.1 RC that I tried a couple of weeks ago).
Mint 16 looks as lovely as ever. After changing the desktop picture from the default white one, I checked out the Cinnamon 2 System Settings. Under ‘Themes’ there are only three default themes installed. But when clicking the ‘get more themes online’ button, it refreshes and you have a choice of many dozens of new themes that you can install in seconds, which I did.
Under ‘Extensions’ you can also install a vast number of new extensions to increase the functionality of Mint 16. As shown below, there are a huge number of new and exotic-sounding applets (since I last checked out Cinnamon 1.6) that can also be added to the Cinnamon panel. The Cinnamon panel is extremely configurable compared to when it first came out! As well as adding applets, you can resize the panel, or move it to the top of your screen, or have two panels if you want. I even added the weather applet to the panel, and, unlike in the past, it worked with no mucking about!
Even when I had System Settings, System Monitor, several open File Manager windows and Firefox running a Youtube video, Mint only used a little over 500 Mbs. of RAM, with very low CPU usage. It definitely seems lighter and quicker than the previous Mint 15!
In my time playing with Mint 16, the only thing that didn’t work flawlessly was a sound effect for unmaximizing a window! In the Sound preferences for Cinnamon there is a new (at least I never noticed it before) section where you can configure groovy sound effects for different functions. And Mint 16 comes with Firefox 24 instead of version 25, which was updated in my Zorin OS a couple of weeks ago.
Among some other nice changes I discovered: Nemo (the Cinnamon File Manager) version 2.0.4, and the Software Sources application now has a built-in PPA Manager, which is very cool. For a comprehensive list of changes and improvements in Mint 16, look right HERE.
If you’re looking for a polished and easy-to-use Linux distro, the new Mint 16 Petra is just beautiful! Sleeker, faster, more features, and I am loving the Cinnamon desktop environment more than ever! And this is not the final release yet! It should be available very soon, though.
Keep watching Linuxmint.com for more news.