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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4) Control Center
The control center in Cinnamon 1.8 has all the settings and you don’t need Gnome control center anymore.
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.
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.
Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon comes with a few HTML themes pre-installed and you can change the login screen using the MDM configuration tool.
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.
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.
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.
But the Driver Manager didn’t list any available driver even though my PC had a dedicated AMD HD 4xxx series GPU.
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 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 codenamed “Olivia” uses Linux kernel 3.8 by default. I think it’ll be upgraded to version 3.9 soon.
CPU & RAM Usage:
On a sock installation, CPU usage was around 4-10% and RAM consumed was around 280MB.
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.
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 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.