Linux Mint 14 was our favorite desktop operating system last year. Many said that it was better than the Ubuntu 12.10 and that has not changed with the Mint 15. We downloaded the 900MB image from LinuxMint’s website. Installation was quick and painless using the USB. In our test setup, it took us slightly more than 10 minutes to go from booting into live disc to a fully installed Linux distro.
The MDM display manger comes with user selection by default. So, no no longer have to choose a GTK greeter after the fact. In fact, the default greeter is a part of its new HTML 5 theme that allows the theme developers to make animated themes using the web standard. I tried out the futuristic space bound theme and was very impressed with it. There are myriad user themes available online.
Linux Mint 15’s impressions continues. We adore its new digital clock that resides on the desktop as one of many desklets. The desklets are similar to Android widgets. You can move / add / remove these depending on your preference.
The default application selection is excellent, better than what you get with Ubuntu. You get the usual Firefox, IM client and LibreOffice. Heck, it even has GIMP and VLC media player bundled. The VLC has been assigned to duty to take care of all media files. If you need more apps, you can always got to Mint Software Manager. I like how you are not bombarded with ‘recommended apps’ like you get in Ubuntu software center.
As you can see in the above screenshot, all the customization options for Cinnamon environment and distro have been merged in one setting application. Using Mint 15 is a joy, and that is aided by its new features. For instance, you can change your folder view quickly. You can hide the sidebar with a single button press. The whole Cinnamon desktop is slick, smooth and much faster than the GNOME shell.
Verdict – The best part is that the Linux Mint is still very light. We installed it on a Lenovo Thinkpad X120e and it ran butter smooth. Compared to Ubuntu, I got around 30 percent extra battery runtimes. Not to mention you get all sorts of amazing keyboard shortcuts for desktop exposing and application switching operations. You can download Linux Mint from here.