Get a fresh desktop distro: Linux Mint 4

By   |  October 29, 2007

Linux Mint 4.0, codenamed Daryana, was released on Friday. Based on the [1]Ubuntu[/1] [2]Gutsy[/2] packages, this distro appears to fulfil the the development team’s stated goal to “produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution”.

It was described by DistroWatch as one of the surprise packages of the year and one of the most user-friendly distributions on the market. DistroWatch made particular note of the constant interaction between users and developers within the Linux Mint community.

Linux Mint can be run and installed off of a live CD. According to ReviewLinux, installation of the distro is “pretty straight forward” and it features easily navigable menus, although they may take a while to get used to.

Originally a variant of Ubuntu (the first release in August 2006 was based on Dapper), the distro is Debian-based and is compatible with the Ubuntu repositories.

The team punts the improvements on the desktop, which make common tasks easier. There is also a focus on “making things work out of the box”.

One of the features that sets it aside from Ubuntu is MintUpdate, its own update-software, which improves on the security of Ubuntu Update Manager.

MintUpdate gives certain updates different safety-levels from 1 to 5 depending on how safe the update is to install on the system. This will supposedly prevent new users from accidentally wrecking their system by updating critical parts that may not work with their hardware. Updates on level 4 and 5 are hidden by default, limiting their use only to very experienced users.

Currently 4.0 is only available in a beta of the main edition. Previous, and one would assume future, releases include a light edition stripped of codecs which may be restricted in certain parts of the world.

There is also a KDE edition, which replaces the Gnome desktop and usually comes with more software. A fourth version is the Xfce community edition, which uses the less resource-hungry Xfce desktop.

Go here for the release notes.

To download Linux Mint, go here.

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