This past week Linux Mint released their release candidate of Linux Mint 15 in both MATE and Cinnamon versions. I tried both versions in the live environment. MATE gives you more of the traditional Linux Mint feel and style but I absolutely feel in love with the more modern feel and design of the Cinnamon version so I will be focusing on that in my review.
Without hyperbole I can say that this is the best version of Linux Mint yet. Granted it’s the RC but with the detail that Linux Mint gives its distros there usually isn’t that great a change between the RC and the final release. Most of the improvements in my opinion come from the Cinnamon desktop. It’s been quite some time since I last tried it. I think it was Linux Mint 13 when I last used it. Since then it has vastly improved as a desktop. I only have some minor complaints about it. The first is that the sound app did not recognize Audacious when it comes to skipping tracks and such. Supposedly this is a fix for that but it didn’t work for me. The second minor complaint is that I found it better to install the Cinnamon apps by directly downloading them from the website and placing the folders in the usr/share/cinnamon/applets folder as root then installing them directly from the panel. Lastly even though Cinnamon has a great number of awesome and eye-catching themes I can’t seem to get rid of that hideous shade of green that Mint uses as a default. Also Cinnamon does not have a wallpaper changer like XFCE does but I was able to easily remedy this by installing Wallch through the Software Center In their defense though the Cinnamon/Mint developers have even said that Cinnamon is still young and still a work in progress.
So is Mint 15 my favorite Linux distro of all time? No, but it comes very close.
My new favorite Linux distro is one not a lot of people may have heard of. It’s a French distro called Voyager. Say what you will about the French, and I have, they are very embracing of the open source community and have created a top-notch distro.
Voyager 13.04 is based on Xubuntu 13.04 except it surpasses it in every way. Voyager comes with some of the most breathtaking wallpaper I have seen in a distro and with the XFCE desktop it can change through them as often or as little as you want. Voyager also comes pre-loaded with a lot of useful software and in my opinion none of it its bloatware.
Now I feel in love with Voyager when 12.04 came out because at the time they were using the AWN dock. Since the AWN dock has been abandoned they use the native XFCE dock however I have replaced that with the Cairo dock. That’s just my own personal preference.
Speaking of the wallpapers I had a problem with the wallpaper staying the way I wanted it. Every time I would restart the computer it would revert to the default desktop but I did figure out a solution to the problem. Voyager uses Conky which is a system monitor but it can also control your desktops. So what I did was right clicked on the desktop, clicked Voyager Wall, selected Bureau 1 from the radio menu, then the XFCE desktop preferences came up. This then applied the permanent changes to desktop 1. You can do it for all 4 desktops but I only ever use one.
Other than that minor glitch Voyager is the perfect Linux distro for me with Linux Mint 15 a very close 2nd. Both get the Trench Reynolds seal of approval. *bark bark*