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Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” RC Cinnamon 64-bit Preview/Review


Linux Mint 15 codenamed “Olivia” based on Ubuntu 13.04 is scheduled to be released soon. It will be available in Cinnamon & MATE variants and will include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The RC of Linux Mint 15 was released last week.

Linux Mint

From Linux Mint blog,

Linux Mint 15 is the most ambitious release since the start of the project. MATE 1.6 is greatly improved and Cinnamon 1.8 offers a ton of new features, including a screensaver and a unified control center. The login screen can now be themed in HTML5 and two new tools, “Software Sources” and “Driver Manager”, make their first appearance in Linux Mint.

The most notable new features in Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon include,

  • Cinnamon 1.8
  • MDM with new features
  • Software Sources
  • Driver Manager

In this preview/review we are going to see about the Cinnamon 64-bit edition which comes with Cinnamon 1.8.

Linux Mint 15

 

Features of Cinnamon 1.8

Cinnamon 1.8 features brand new features, tons of bug fixes and improvements over the previous version.

1) File Manager

Cinnamon 1.8 uses Nemo file manager which lets you organize files and folders, both on your computer and online. The version of Nemo used is 1.8.2.

The user interface in the latest version of Nemo was heavily modified to enable the user to easily hide the sidebar and also switch between places/treeview by clicking on the icons available on the ‘left bottom’ of the window.

Another new feature is the amount of used/free disk space in mounted drives is displayed as a small bar.

Linux Mint 15 File Manager

 

2) Desklets

Cinnamon 1.8 introduces “Desklets” which are similar to KDE Plasmoids. To add a desklet, just right click on the desktop and select “Add Desklets”.

The following image shows the desklets in action. 3 desklets are displayed here namely, binary clock, clock and xkcd comics.

Linux Mint 15 Desklet

 

Cinnamon 1.8 has 3 desklets installed by default and 3 more desklets (made by community members) are available online. We can expect many more desklets to be created & uploaded by the community members.

Linux Mint 15 Desklet Settings

 

3) Screensaver

Cinnamon 1.8 now has its own screensaver and when you lock the screen, it prompts you to add a text message and that text message will be displayed on the screensaver.

Linux Mint 15 Lock Screen

 

4) Control Center

The control center in Cinnamon 1.8 has all the settings and you don’t need Gnome control center anymore.

Linux Mint 15 Control Center

 

5) Spices Management

In Cinnamon 1.8 you can install (as well as update) “spices” (i.e. applets, desklets, themes, extensions) directly from your desktop without needing to browse http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com anymore.

For example, to add an applet to the taskbar, you just right click on the taskbar and select “Add applets to the panel.  It will display another window from which you can add applets already installed or download new applets online.

Linux Mint 15 Add Applet

 

Linux Mint 15 Applet Settings

 

MDM

MDM now features 3 type of greeters. They are the default GTK greeter, a themeable GDM greeter and a brand new HTML greeter which supports animated & interactive themes.

The new HTML greeter can be used to produce animated & interactive login screens using web technologies like HTML5, CSS, Javascript and WebGL.

Linux Mint 15 Login Screen

 

Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon comes with a few HTML themes pre-installed and you can change the login screen using the MDM configuration tool.

Linux Mint 15 MDM configuration

 

Software Sources

Software Sources also known as MintSources is a tool to manage software sources, PPA, 3rd party repositories and authentication keys.

You can also use software sources to gain access to unstable packages, backports and source code. The maintenance section provides solutions to common APT problems.

Linux Mint 15 Software Sources

 

When you click on the mirror link in the main window, a in-built tool performs a speed-test of all available mirrors and lists them (in a new pop-up window) according to results of the speed-test. You can choose your new mirror from this dialog box.

Linux Mint 15 Software Sources Mirror Speed Test

 

Driver Manager

Driver Manager is a tool developed for MintDrivers which relies on the same Ubuntu backend and works the same way as software-properties-gt.

Driver Manager lists the drivers based on package name and their version. It also suggests the recommended driver.

Linux Mint 15 Driver Manager1

 

But the Driver Manager didn’t list any available driver even though my PC had a dedicated AMD HD 4xxx series GPU.

Linux Mint 15 Driver Manager

 

Please check this link for the full list of new features included in Linux Mint 15.

 

Now lets get back to the actual preview/review of Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon.

Installation:

Installation of Linux Mint 15 is pretty easy. Installation was pretty fast and installation went smooth. After reboot, we are greeted with dialog box that welcomes us to Linux Mint and also displays the release and edition along with other useful stuff.

Linux Mint 15 Welcome Dialog

 

Linux Mint 15 codenamed “Olivia” uses Linux kernel 3.8 by default. I think it’ll be upgraded to version 3.9 soon.

Linux Mint 15 System Info

 

CPU & RAM Usage:

On a sock installation, CPU usage was around 4-10% and RAM consumed was around 280MB.

Linux Mint 15 resources usage

 

Applications:

Linux Mint 15 comes with lots of useful applications and it also has codecs pre-installed to play multimedia files including MP3, flash etc. Some of the applications available are,

  • Accessories: Archive Manager, Disks, Font Viewer, gedit, Tomboy Notes, USB Image Writer etc.
  • Administration: APTonCD, Backup Tool, Domain Blocker, Firewall Configuration, Upload Manager, Windows Wireless Drivers etc.
  • Graphics: GIMP, gThumb, Image Viewer, Image Magik, Simple Scan etc.
  • Internet: Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird, XChat etc.
  • Office: Document Viewer, LibreOffice 4
  • Sound & Video: Banshee, Brasero, Totem Movie Player
  • System Tools: Disk Usage Analyzer, GDebi Package Installer, Power Statistics, System Monitor etc.

Linux Mint 15 Desktop

 

Software Manager & Update Manager:

Software manager and update manager do their job properly. The update manager checks for updates automatically and displays a notification when updates are available.

Linux Mint 15 Software Manager

 

Conclusion:

Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon RC is fast, stable & responsive. There are a few minor bugs/glitches (that will be fixed before final release) but it doesn’t crash/freeze the system or make the system unstable.  I’m sure the final release will be perfect.

Cinnamon 1.8 is a huge upgrade from 1.6.7 with lots of bug fixes, improvements and brand new features. One of the notable new feature is that Cinnamon uses a wrapper to restart itself and recover from potential crashes. If Cinnamon crashes it now falls back on Metacity and asks the user if they want to restart Cinnamon.

Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon lives up to the expectation of the Mint brand and it actually surpassed my expectation.

 

Should you upgrade to Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” Cinnamon?

I strongly recommend you to upgrade to Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon since its comes with Cinnamon 1.8 and loads of other new features. Only downside is that Linux Mint 15 is based on 13.04 and since Canonical decreased the support from 18 months to 9 months. So you should be ready to upgrade every 9 months.

If you are using a Linux Mint 13 LTS – Maya then you should stick with the LTS release since LTS releases are usually more stable compared to other releases.

6 responses to “Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” RC Cinnamon 64-bit Preview/Review

  1. Marisa Gunther June 28, 2013 at 21:05

    Excellent review, waiting a little more to upgrade our desktop systems to lm 15Q

  2. Kevin July 24, 2013 at 17:41

    I recently installed Mint 15. Stable is not a word I would use for Mint 15. I have had to spend more time fixing the crashes than I have actually using it. I was very disappointed with Mint. I like the features and interface, but cannot deal with the constant crashing. It is a known bug having to do with the video drivers crashing on boot/reboot where you can’t get into the login. It’s a shame because I liked it when I could actually use it.

    • LinuxPanda July 24, 2013 at 21:17

      There will be definitely some fix for that. All you have to do is open a support thread in the Linux Mint forums and the community members will definitely help you. Please don’t give up on Linux just because of a minor issue. Thanks.

      • Eric November 16, 2013 at 17:54

        In reply to LinuxPanda, I don’t think “constant crashing” is a minor issue. I’m getting constant greeter crashes (even after I’ve applied updates recommended in the forums), and the Software Manager just hangs on the spash screen. Windows (ugh) was more stable. Goodbye to Linux Mint :(

      • LinuxPanda December 13, 2013 at 13:03

        Sorry, I have no idea on that.

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