Linux Mint 7 XFCE Review
Linux Mint 7 Gloria XFCE was just released featuring the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, Xorg 7.4 and XFCE 4.6 desktop. Linux Mint 7 has introduced us to some exciting improvements to mintInstall, mintUpdate, mintWelcome, and mintUpload along with several artwork enhancements. With XFCE 4.6 looking better than ever, the combination of the two together prompted me to do a quick installation of Linux Mint 7 XFCE to see what all the commotion was about.
I had no problems installing Linux Mint 7 XFCE. The installer was unchanged from Ubuntu, quick and the easiest I’ve found for newbies to use. Screenshots of the install are included in the gallery below this article.
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Linux Mint 7 XFCE looks similar to the original version Linux Mint and is based off the same Shiki-Mint theme. The green tinged dew drop look flows nicely from boot to desktop. Although many distros are popping up with some great looks, Linux Mint was the first distro that really surprised me and had the stability to keep surprising me. The continual improvement of the Linux Mint appearance is one mechanism that is propelling it to such popularity. I feel like the appearance got me in the door, the Ubuntu base kept me around, and the Mint specific tools like mintInstall, mintupdate, etc hooked me into using it long term on one of my machines.
I was counting on Linux Mint 7 XFCE to pick up my network connection automatically, which it did. My wireless card worked almost immediately as well. I knew this was a possibility because i was using a Cisco 350 series wireless card that I’ve found works with most Ubuntu based distros. Some take more coaxing than others. Here’s a list of Linux Mint compatible wireless cards. Wireless failure is a common problem for newbies and can be avoided by buying Linux compatible hardware. If you’re using a wireless card successfully with Linux mint please leave your specs in the comment box so we can pass this information on.
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Linux Mint 7 XFCE worked well on my laptop. I was able to navigate quickly, access my favorite applications, and impressive Mint specific tools like mintInstall, mintUpdate, and others. This desktop could easily be one I work from daily as it includes many of the advantages of Ubuntu and some functionality of its own.
Lets take a look at some of the Linux Mint 7 changes that really make Linux mint 7 XFCE shine.
mintWelcome serves as a resource panel for users that have just installed Linux Mint. You’ll notice big time changes to mintWelcome in the Linux Mint 7 release as it includes these new welcome options. Take a look at the new mintWelcome screen.
mintInstall now has a new button you can press up at the top of the window that allows users to access the Featured Applications. These are the most popular applications made available for easy access. I found this to be a time saver and worked just fine. The mintInstall font-end also started “pre-filled” which means they fixed the annoyance where you open mintInstall, then had to refresh to do anything. Refresh can still be used for its intended purpose though. A few other smaller improvements are noticeable in mintInstall including new More Info button and shorter descriptions. Over-all mintInstall is looking and behaving fantastically.
Something I didn’t like in previous releases was the changelog tab would only support Ubuntu packages, now it support Linux Mint packages. Also mintUpdate includes download size associated with each package upgrade which makes it nice to know what you’re getting into.
Now mintUpload has no advertisements which is good news for Linux Mint users. The mintUpload GUI has been cleaned up to display relevant information and now services can be created, edited, or deleted from the GUI on the new service manager. SCP and SFTP protocols are now supported by mintUpload.
Linux Mint 7 XFCE really does mix together the stability of the Ubuntu 9.04 base, Linux Mint 7 features and beauty, along with quickness of XFCE to create a powerful, full featured, desktop that’s fast and light enough to run on older hardware.
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Here’s a few shots taken during this Linux Mint review.