Jan 17 2013

Byebye, Mint!

Published by at 3:34 pm under Linux Mint,Xubuntu Linux

In my last post, I mainly wrote about my experience with Mint 13 on a PC at work. However, until last night, I also had been giving Mint 13 Cinnamon on my system at home a longer test run. In the beginning, it looked rather promising and nice – even though I never got rid off the feeling that Mint is an illegitimate bastard child of Ubuntu that doesn’t belong into its parents’ world and at the same time hasn’t yet found its own place. Somehow, for maybe irrational reasons, Mint just never felt “right”. But the Cinnamon desktop had a lot going for itself, and that kept me interested.
I even could live with the annoying, almost daily updates. What became unacceptable, though, was the fact that Mint constantly failed to retrieve certain “translations” files from the official repository servers and that it literally always required dozens of retries to receive the files.
What put the final nail in Mint’s coffin were last night’s updates: After a normal “apt-get update, apt-get dist-upgrade, apt-get autoremove, reboot” cycle – the system failed to enter GUI mode and stayed on the console.
I wasn’t in the mood to fix something that should never have happened after a regular OS update. Instead, I wiped out the Mint installation and installed a fresh copy of Xubuntu 12.04 LTS on that machine. Xubuntu updated everything properly, including the latest Xfce version. (Note: Mint Xfce does not run properly on my machine at all, it always freezes after a few minutes.)
Xubuntu might not be the “sexiest” desktop Linux out there, but it’s fast, reliable and “just works”.
Mint showed a lot of promise, but eventually failed to deliver. Your experience might be completely different than mine and maybe you will be one of the many users who just fall in love with the distribution. Mint could be great – the team behind it “only” needs to fix the repository server situation and maybe also put the distribution more on its own feet. As of now, it’s a bit too close to Ubuntu for my taste, and even the Mint update mechanisms sometimes get an identity crisis: After one round of updates, certain configuration files actually had the OS name “Ubuntu” instead of “Linux Mint” in them. That’s another thing that should not happen, but I’m afraid that goes with the territory when you base your own work too closely to a constantly moving target.

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