Linux Mint 15 is here, and better than ever!

After a long absence (Spring is such a busy time!) I’m back with great news for Linux lovers.

Mint 15, ‘Olivia’ was released a couple of days ago, and it looks like the best version yet of the Ubuntu-offshoot distro. We’ve been using Mint 14 with the Cinnamon Desktop on the computer my kids use (an old HP Compaq with a Pentium 4 processor) for several months. I have been loving Cinnamon more and more with each update, and Mint 14 has been working beautifully on this machine. Everything works! I don’t recall having a single problem, except initially getting the Cinnamon Weather applet to work, which took a little bit of internet searching.

So when I saw that Mint 15 was out, with a new version of the Nemo file manager and Cinnamon 1.8, I had to download and check it out. And I must say, I love Linux Mint more than ever! It comes in two flavors: Mate and Cinnamon. The Mate Desktop Environment is actually pretty cool, using the old MintMenu and all the Gnome 2 panel applets and such; but after trying both Desktop Environments I find Cinnamon is the one I prefer. It looks and feels like a modern OS, and it seems Cinnamon 1.8 is a lot leaner on resource usage than before. Even on that old Pentium 4 computer, Cinnamon 1.6  runs quite smoothly, no proprietary graphics drivers needed.

Right now on the newer computer I’m writing this on we’re using Zorin OS 6.2 (which, by the way, also has a new release out this past week: Zorin 6.3, based on Ubuntu 13.04). I’m still really enjoying Zorin OS. Everything works and it looks great. And version 6.2 is based on the Long Term Support version of Ubuntu, 12.04. The new Mint 15 is based on Ubuntu 13.04 and will only be supported with software and security updates for 8 months. That may be a drawback to some users, but for me it’s not that big a deal to reinstall the next version of Mint, as long as you have a reliable backup. Also creating a separate ‘/home’ partition before installing an OS makes a clean install much easier.

So I have no compelling reason to switch to Linux Mint 15 at this time. But still… I’m tempted to install it anyway! It looks that good. For anyone out there interested in trying out Linux for the first time, I would say you can’t go wrong with Mint 15.

Also with a new version out this week: Pinguy 13.04 is another great distro that comes with everything but the kitchen sink pre-installed.

Mint, Zorin OS and Pinguy OS are all full-featured and easy to use Linux distros. The best way to choose is just to download the Live CDs/DVDs and give them a spin on your computer.

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