Licking Mints…

This is my first post on this blog using a Linux-based operating system. Currently, I’m running Linux Mint, supposedly the 4th most-used operating system in the world. I used to not think anyone but geeks used Linux OSes, but this package of software is pretty nice. I’m hoping to call this distro “home”. That’s in stark contrast to my comments about it not much more than a year earlier: “Oh isn’t that a cute OS. I’ll never install that thing on my PC”. It’s also in stark contrast to my optimism in trying a “truly” free software distro, Dynebolic. Allow me to compare experiences…

A comparison with my Dynebolic experience:

Version

Mint: The latest: 12.

Dynebolic: 3.0 something beta.

Download location

Mint: Size is about 1.4 Gb, I believe, plus whatever necessities the installer downloads from online. The .iso (CD image file) is at the official website.

Dynebolic: Size is about 1.5 Gb The torrent file is at the official website. However, if you are looking for the .iso, I found only one measly link. Update (I found the link): You can obtain the .iso for 3.0 beta here.

How to boot and install

Mint: Use Universal USB installer. This requires a flash drive, but it works beautifully. I did the same thing with Ubuntu, and it too worked nicely. Once it boots from USB, double click the “Install Linux Mint” icon on your desktop. (NOTE: It may ask you to partition your hard-drive. This means how much memory is going to be devoted to Mint. If you intend to use Mint frequently, you might devote a large % of memory. Or, you might store most of your files on the other partition. Your choice.)

Dynebolic: I don’t recall if I tried Universal USB installer, if I did, it apparently did not work. I tried installing on DVD, but it refused to boot (maybe the disks were bad). I never did get the distro to install (though developers claim you can boot the thing right up from disk and then install if you want). I ended up trying it out using VMWare.

First impressions

Mint: Double menus look like Ubuntu but act like a different animal entirely. That windows key on your keyboard brings up a nice menu with a search bar (which takes the place of the search bar in the search menu in the start menu in both Windows Vista and Windows 7). The menu in the lower left part of the screen takes the place of the start menu bar and also has a search bar. Other than that, I’m sensing a general trend with how Linux distros tend to lay things out.

Dynebolic: At first glance, it’s Ubuntu. Don’t be fooled. What makes Dynebolic unique is what is under the hood. The entire OS is clean of proprietary code. Plus, it is geared specifically towards artists, specifically filmmakers and musicians. It uses JACK for audio connections, like Ubuntu.

Provided Programs

Mint: Standard programs covering basic necessities and providing the usual conveniences: Firefox web browser (with Adobe Flash), VLC media player, Libre Office. There is a mix of proprietary and free software.

Dynebolic: There are standard programs like VLC media player. Living true to the FSF standard, developers removed or excluded every trace of proprietary software. Also, they really did gear their distro towards artists. However, there is redundancy in the options. Yeah, that allows for personal preference, and perhaps playing some files more than others, but I don’t think I need 3 or 4 of every type of audio or video -creating/editing/viewing software available in the GNU repository. Maybe I’m exaggerating.

Run speed

As I joke, I will compare both of these to Puppy Linux. … Puppy, boasting a size of approximately 50 Mb, the smallest operating system with GUI, system tools, and standard features, wins this contest hands down, loading in approximately 10 seconds in VMWare and (usually) running smoothly ever after.

Mint: Be patient, it gets faster. When you are booting up, it looks like for the first minute or so that nothing is happening and that you may have to restart your computer. If a white-ish box appears on your screen, that’s perfectly normal – let it do its thing. After you get it running, it runs fine. All search features are rather slow, though – that includes the nice menu searches. It may be working just as fast as Windows search algorithms (or faster), but it doesn’t return and display the results before the search has finished (like the Windows search does).

Dynebolic: This is actually a truer comparison to Puppy, since both were loaded in VMWare. Like Puppy, it took some time to boot up the first time (however, if you simply suspend your state, you load the virtual machine up again in less than 30 seconds or so). Once you get it booted, there isn’t much. It did run sluggish at first, but I blame that on VMWare having to run a big OS (recall it is about 1.5 Gb.

Overall

I think I’m going to enjoy using Mint. My Dynebolic experience was disappointing in more ways than just the OS itself. Hopefully, the developers of Dynebolic will improve the installation experience for potential users. On the positive side, good job Linux Mint developers! And now I’m going to enjoy the large community that comes with this “cute” OS.

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About chronologicaldot

Just a Christ-centered, train-loving, computer geek.
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