Linux Mint 3.0: A Date with Cassandra

Posted by jun auza On 9/11/2007
Linux Mint 3.0: A Date with Cassandra - Before my wife gets mad at me, she should read this first: Cassandra is the name of the latest edition of Linux Mint. --It is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. Just a little fact, the past versions of Mint have been named Ada, Bianca, Bea, and Barbara. The next release name after Cassandra is Celena, which is currently in beta. If you want to know more and why the girls name, read this interview of the creator of Mint.

Cassandra and I got acquainted when a computer from our own disco house business was having some problems. The computer’s OS is Windows XP as it is operated by my brother. My assessment was that the problem is in the hardware so I brought it back to where we bought it and had some parts replaced after copying all the files from the hard drive using a free and open source backup software. Then, it was time to install the OS and test if the hardware is stable enough. The trouble is, I forgot to bring my XP installer. Luckily, I saved an ISO copy of Linux Mint on my iPod. And so I had the chance to test the hardware and at the same time meet Cassandra which then led me to this review of Linux Mint.

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories. Currently, it is ranked number 6 in

Test Machine Specs:
Board: Asrock P4VM890
Processor: 2.80 GHz Intel Celeron D
Hard Drive: Sony 80GB ATA
Memory: 512 MB 400MHz DDR RAM
Graphics Card: On-board

You can download Linux Mint Light Edition live CD here. Note: If you want features like MP3, Flash and encrypted DVD to work out-of-the-box, download the Regular or Community Edition (thanks to David for pointing that out). The installation on my system was smooth as silk. It is by far my easiest installation ever of a Linux OS. I think anyone can install it because a simple point and click will do the job. The Ubuntu-like-but-easier installation was finished quickly within 25 minutes and without a single hardware compatibility error. After setting up, everything worked well, from Ethernet to Audio and Video.

Look and Feel:
Only one word comes to my mind when I booted Mint, “elegant”. The artwork is outstanding, like the gorgeously minty boot splash image, login screen, default theme and wallpaper. Its Gnome panel’s SLAB menu has a Cassandra logo. I prefer the classic Gnome menu for its simplicity. To those who are looking for some eye-candy, Mint is pre-installed with Beryl. It doesn’t work on my test machine as I only have an on-board video card. Cassandra is not only beautiful but it has sense of humor. Each time you open a terminal, a new quote or as they call it a “fortune” message will appear on top.

Package Management:
Linux Mint 3.0 is loaded with essential applications that worked off the shelf. To name a few, there’s Firefox, Amarok , Thunderbird, Gimp, OpenOffice and more. There’s also an application called Envy that will let you install proprietary ATI driver without difficulty. You can always install additional .mint packages from their software portal using a new feature called MintInstall. Plus, there are plenty of .deb packages available from the Ubuntu repositories.

I can say that this distribution is stable enough for daily desktop computing tasks. I have not experienced any trouble while testing several key applications that comes with Mint 3.0 including its multimedia features. I have tested several python scripts I made and they run well. The only problem I encountered was when I tried to activate Beryl which my test machine does not support anyway.

All in all, Cassandra (Linux Mint 3.0) has left a mark on me that I’m thinking of someday replacing my wife’s Xubuntu laptop with Mint. It is undoubtedly worthy to be ranked among the top 10 Linux Distro and I will highly recommend it to those who want to try Linux.

Linux Mint, “from freedom came elegance”. I love their slogan.

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