| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 669, 11 July 2016
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The Linux Mint distribution has been sitting at the top of our page hit ranking charts for a while now. Mint is probably one of the more popular Linux distributions, or at least one of the more attractive ones to Linux newcomers. This week we take the project's latest release, Linux Mint 18, for a spin to find out how the new version performs. In our News section we discuss efforts to replace OpenSSL with LibreSSL in FreeBSD, link to talks regarding how long 32-bit computers will be supported by Ubuntu and look at the current status of the pfSense project. We then explore the topic of whether it is possible to prove a computer system is uncompromised and share the torrents we are seeding. We then cover the distributions released last week and, in our Opinion Poll, ask how our readers get technical support. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the DuZeru distribution to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (25MB) and MP3 (37MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 18
The Linux Mint project has been sitting at the top of our page hit ranking statistics for quite some time now. The project attracts a lot of attention, particularly from Linux newcomers who are looking for a familiar and friendly computing experience. The main edition of Linux Mint is based on the Ubuntu distribution with the latest release, Linux Mint 18, using Ubuntu 16.04 as a package base.
Linux Mint 18 is a long term support release and will receive security updates through to the year 2021. The project's release notes (Cinnamon, MATE) mention several new features. Some of the key items mentioned in the distribution's documentation include the introduction of the Cinnamon 3 desktop environment, updated themes and support for the Btr file system. The documentation mentions Mint supports booting on UEFI-enabled computers, but does not work with Secure Boot. Personal Package Archive (PPA) repositories can be added and removed from the command line as well as through the project's graphical repository manager.
The release notes mention Mint's update manager now makes update policies more clear. Mint users have historically been able to instruct the update manager to balance package stability against constant security updates. Mint marks some packages as safe to upgrade, others as risky and some neutral. The user has always been able to choose whether to install all security updates, most or just the ones which have been tested and shown to not adversely affect stability. With Mint 18, the update manager makes the available policies more clear to assist the user in selecting the update policy which best suits their needs.
Perhaps the most significant change though is the introduction of X-Apps. The Mint developers have noted that some GNOME applications have unusual interface designs and will not properly integrate with non-GNOME desktop environments. X-Apps are forks of GNOME applications which have had their interfaces tweaked to work consistently across multiple desktop environments.
Mint 18 is available in Cinnamon and MATE editions, with 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds offered. I decided to try the 64-bit build of the Cinnamon edition. The download for this edition was 1.6GB in size. Booting from the live media brings us to the Cinnamon desktop. The wallpaper is dark and features the Mint logo. The application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. Icons on the desktop can be activated to launch a file manager or the distribution's system installer.
Linux Mint 18 -- The welcome screen
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Mint uses a graphical system installer which is nearly identical to its parent's installer. On the first screen we select our preferred language from a list and we are given the option of viewing the on-line release notes in the Firefox web browser. The second screen asks if we would like to install third-party software, such as Flash and multimedia support. The next screen gives us the chance to select automated or manual disk partitioning. I went with the manual option and found Mint's installer has a very friendly and streamlined partition manager. The partitioning page supports working with Btrfs, JFS, XFS and the ext2/3/4 file systems. We are then asked to select our time zone from a map of the world, confirm our keyboard's layout and create a user account. While entering our user account's name and password we have the chance to encrypt our home directory's contents. When the installer has finished copying its files to our hard drive it offers to restart the computer. Alternatively, we can return to the live desktop environment and continue to explore the live distribution.
Our fresh copy of Mint boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the user account we created during the installation process. From the login screen we can change our locale information and desktop session. It is also possible to launch an on-screen keyboard and type our password using the mouse and the virtual keyboard. This means a user can still login even without a working keyboard, or if we want to avoid keylogger attacks.
Once we get signed into the Cinnamon session, a welcome screen appears. This screen provides links to many Mint-related resources, including the project's release notes, the distribution's on-line chat room and documentation. Other buttons launch the device driver manager and software manager, both of which I will talk about later.
Shortly after signing into Cinnamon, an icon in the system tray indicated there were software updates available to download. Clicking the notification icon launches Mint's update manager. The first time we launch the update manager we are given an explanation on how the update manager balances system stability with software security. We are given three options: only install software updates which will not affect system stability; default to installing stable updates while displaying all available updates; and install all security updates, even those which may negatively affect system stability. Once we make our choice, we are shown a list of available software updates. There were several updates available the day Mint 18 was launched. I did not get an exact count, but the new packages all downloaded and installed without any problems.
Linux Mint 18 -- Selecting an update policy
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Mint's application menu is divided into three vertical columns. On the left we find quick-launch buttons for common tasks. Down the middle we find application categories and the right column features specific applications in the selected category. There is a search box available to help us locate applications using either the program's name or a description. For example, searching for the term "Word" brings up the LibreOffice Writer application, a suitable alternative to Microsoft Word.
Speaking of applications, Mint ships with a relatively small, yet useful collection of software. Digging through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the HexChat IRC software, the Pidgin instant messenger and the Transmission bittorrent client. The LibreOffice productivity software is featured along with the Xreader document viewer. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is included along with the Pix image viewer/image browser. The Banshee audio player, Brasero disc burning software, VLC media player and Xplayer video player are included. Mint optionally provides us with multimedia codecs and the Adobe Flash player, providing us with the ability to play just about any media file. Mint ships with a calculator, archive manager, text editor and USB image writer. In the background we find systemd 229 and version 4.4 of the Linux kernel.
I explored using Mint in two test environments: a desktop computer and VirtualBox. When running in VirtualBox everything worked well. Mint automatically integrates with VirtualBox and can make use of the host computer's full screen resolution. The Cinnamon desktop can be a bit sluggish when running in a virtual environment (a problem Mint's MATE edition does not share), but the sluggishness can be mostly negated by enabling 3-D effects and providing the VirtualBox instance with more video memory. When running on the physical desktop computer, Linux Mint performed very well. Networking and sound worked out of the box, my display's full resolution was used and Cinnamon performed well. In either test environment, Mint required from 360MB to 370MB of memory when logged into Cinnamon.
The only issue I ran into came about when I was trying to boot the live media on my desktop computer. While Mint would boot on the desktop computer, the display was left blank. I could hear the login sound play and the computer responded to keyboard input, but I was unable to see anything. Rebooting the computer and selecting Safe Graphics mode from the live disc's boot menu solved the issue and allowed me to use the live media without further problems.
One of the nicer features of Mint 18 is the System Settings panel. This control centre provides the user with easy access to most desktop and operating system settings. From the System Settings panel we can access modules which help us alter power management settings, set up printers, add or remove user accounts, configure the firewall and access the device driver manager. We can change the look and feel of the desktop, install Cinnamon extensions and Desklets (desktop applets). I found the System Settings modules worked well for me and I encountered no problems.
Linux Mint 18 -- Adjusting system settings
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Earlier I mentioned the device driver manager, which we can access from either the welcome screen or from the System Settings control panel. The driver manager will search our computer for devices which could benefit from downloading additional or third-party drivers. These extra drivers are described along with the hardware they support and can be enabled or disabled with a click. I quite like the device driver manager which ships with Mint 18, it is pleasantly easy to understand and navigate.
Mint 18 provides us with two graphical package managers, both which act as front-ends to APT. The first graphical front-end is called Software Manager. It begins by displaying a screen of software categories, each one represented by a large icon. Selecting a category presents us with a list of available applications. Each entry includes the name of a program, an icon, a brief description and a user-supplied rating. Clicking on an entry brings up a full page description of the selected software along with screen shots and an Install/Remove button. Clicking the Install button causes the software to be downloaded in the background while we continue to browse the available items.
Linux Mint 18 -- Browsing available software
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The second graphical package manager is Synaptic. The Synaptic application displays all available software items in a long, plain-text list. We can apply filters to the list or search for items with a specific name. Clicking on a package's name will display a summary of the package at the bottom of the Synaptic window. We can queue up multiple packages to install or remove and process them all at once. While Synaptic is installing or deleting packages, the interface is locked. Though Synaptic may seem less user friendly in some aspects, it is useful for quickly finding specific packages, especially low-level dependencies.
During my trial, Mint 18 provided me with a stable, friendly and problem-free experience. The distribution has a installer which is simple to use, a good collection of documentation and an excellent selection of default software. The configuration tools are straight forward to use, the software manager is easy to use and everything generally just worked the way I wanted it to. The one problem I ran into during my whole trial was the video display issue when running from the live disc, and that was quickly solved by switching to the fail-safe graphics mode from the live disc's boot menu.
I was curious to try X-Apps and I generally found these to be an improvement. I dislike the mobile-style interfaces GNOME applications tend to use and how they break consistency with other applications. X-Apps provide the same functionality as their GNOME counterparts, but improve the interface to work the same as all the other desktop applications. Most of the changes are small, but make working with the text editor or video player a much less frustrating experience.
Linux Mint 18 -- Comparing GNOME's Totem to Mint's Xplayer
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The one complaint I think people may have with Mint's Cinnamon edition is the desktop tends to be sluggish if suitable video drivers are not available. This may be a problem for people running Mint in a virtual environment or on hardware without solid driver support. This issue can be side-stepped by using Mint's MATE edition which is more forgiving where video cards are concerned and which offers a very similar desktop experience.
On its own, Mint 18 impressed me with its ease of use, array of software, media support and friendly utilities. However, where I think Mint really shines is when we compare Mint to its parent. Mint and Ubuntu mostly use the same packages and both strive to provide friendly desktop environments. When Ubuntu 16.04 launched a few months ago I tried it and found the desktop regularly crashed, the software manager would lock-up, Ubuntu failed to integrate with VirtualBox and the desktop was incredibly slow to respond. While Mint shares a lot of software with its parent, the Mint developers have managed to avoid all of the problems I encountered with Ubuntu and I was very pleased with this.
I was quite happy with Mint 18 and I would recommend it for most people, particularly Linux newcomers. The distribution manages to deliver a feature-rich, friendly experience with a minimal amount of problems.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Merging LibreSSL into FreeBSD, Ubuntu discusses phasing out 32-bit support and pfSense publishes status report
Attila Gyorffy embarked on an interesting experiment recently, exploring how difficult it would be to replace FreeBSD's OpenSSL security library with the LibreSSL library. LibreSSL is a fork of OpenSSL that was created by the OpenBSD developers. The LibreSSL fork removes older code and strives to be more secure. Gyorffy experimented with swapping out FreeBSD's copy of OpenSSL to see how the base system and FreeBSD's ports would work with LibreSSL. "Thanks to Bernard Spil and the HardenedBSD team's ongoing efforts to increase security in the FreeBSD operating system we are now at a point where incorporating LibreSSL into the FreeBSD base system is a relatively straight forward option." While a few packages failed to work with LibreSSL, the experiment was mostly a success. Details of Gyorffy's trial with LibreSSL can be found in his blog post.
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Lately we have been seeing more Linux distributions dropping support for 32-bit x86 architectures. While many people still run 32-bit operating systems, the practice is slowly eroding. Dimtri John Ledkov recently opened the topic on the Ubuntu developer mailing list, making a case for phasing our 32-bit support slowly over the next two and a half years. "Building i386 images is not 'for free', it comes at the cost of utilizing our build farm, QA and validation time. Whilst we have scalable build-farms, i386 still requires all packages, autopackage tests, and ISOs to be revalidated across our infrastructure. As well as take up mirror space & bandwidth. Thus the question is what can we and what should we do to limit i386 installations before they become unsupportable?" Ledkov's proposal and the resulting discussion can be found here.
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Jim Thompson posted a status update for the pfSense firewall project last week. In his post, Thompson talked about some of the great achievements the pfSense project has made in the past six months. Some of the project's impressive new features include fine-grained updates, a new and more responsive web interface, and performance improvements. Thompson also reports the project will be losing one of their key developers, Chris Buechler. "As we enter this new era, Chris Buechler has informed us that he will be leaving the project to pursue a career outside of pfSense and Netgate. On behalf of the company and community, I thank Chris for his passion and dedication to the pfSense project. He worked hard to help build pfSense into an open source project that is recognized and respected worldwide as the best-in-class open source firewall and router based on FreeBSD."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Proving the system is secure
Checking-all-the-locks asks: Linux's claim to fame, or one of them at least, is that is it secure. Is it possible to prove, really prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my system has not been compromised?
DistroWatch answers: It may be possible, but unless you built your own computer from scratch and wrote all of its software yourself, it will be very difficult to completely prove the system was never compromised. The problem is it is quite a challenge to prove a negative (ie I have not been hacked), while it is relatively easy to prove something has happened.
As an example, if I want to know whether my software is spying on me, I can set up a program like Wireshark to monitor the network and listen for outgoing data that should not be there. Assuming I see data leaving the system that should not be there, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the system is spying on me. My security has been compromised. But if I do not see any unnecessary network packets, is it because my system is clean or is the malware waiting long periods of time before reporting, or is the spyware sneaky enough that it manages to disguise its traffic as something legitimate?
The same problem arises when scanning a hard drive for malware. If my anti-virus scanner recognizes a malicious file on my drive, then I know my system was compromised. But if the anti-virus scan turns up nothing, is it because my system is clean or is the malware hiding in memory? Is there a new and unknown virus the scanner doesn't know about, or could it be my operating system was hacked and is blocking the anti-virus from working properly?
I am sure you can see how a paranoid mind could drive a person mad trying to prove that their applications, their compiler, their kernel, their hardware and the developers of their software are all trustworthy and secure. Which is why most reasonable people will satisfy themselves with being mostly sure their computer is secure.
For the most part Linux users run software that has been vetted and placed in a distribution's repositories. We run operating systems built with open source tools where it is unlikely a backdoor will be covertly introduced. We might run anti-virus software and occasionally check our network traffic to see if anything looks out of place. And, when these security checks come up negative, we take it at face value that we are probably secure. It is not definite, it is not a 100% certainty that the computer is uncompromised, but it is as close as we are likely to get while spending a reasonable amount of time on the subject.
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Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 213
- Total data uploaded: 39.6TB
|Released Last Week
Network Security Toolkit 24-7977
Ron Henderson has announced the release of Network Security Toolkit (NST) 24-7977, the latest version of the project's Fedora-based distribution featuring a large collection of network security applications: "We are pleased to announce the latest NST release - 'NST 24 SVN:7977'. This release is based on Fedora 24 using Linux Kernel 4.6.3. This release brings the NST distribution on par with Fedora 24. Here are some of the highlights for this release: NST will now be delivered as a 64-bit image only, 32 bit images have been retired; a new multi-traceroute (MTR) networking tool has been developed for NST 24, this tool provides an interactive traceroute visual using Scapy; a new interactive 3D pie chart depicting the results from a ntop Deep Packet Inspection (nDPI) is now an integral part of the NST WUI Network Packet Capture protocol decode; added the SSLyze project for analyzing a server's SSL configuration to the NST Networking Tools Widget; a darkness/lightness Google Map control has been added the NST Map Tools...." Read the full release announcement for more details.
KDE neon 5.7
Following the release of KDE's Plasma Desktop 5.7 earlier today, a new version of KDE neon is now also available. KDE neon is distribution based on the latest stable Kubuntu, but it is developed at a more rapid pace and it features a cutting-edge desktop stack, including the latest Plasma. From the release announcement: "KDE neon 5.7. When version numbers merge to a singularity we reach the perfection that is KDE neon 5.7. Featuring the newly released Qt 5.7 and the freshly built KDE Plasma 5.7. If you're using KDE neon 'User' edition you can just update as normal. Those who have yet to allow it to take over their computer can download the images to fix that pronto." KDE Plasma 5.7 delivers a large number of improvements, including better support for kiosk, much improved integration with the Wayland windowing system and a new system tray and task manager; see the Plasma 5.7 announcement for further details and screenshots. KDE neon 5.7 is available for x86_64 systems only.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Finding technical support
Every operating system has its flaws or its unintuitive corners that are difficult to navigate. We all need help at some point to sort out technical problems or learn how to perform tasks.
This week we would like to know where our readers turn when they need technical support. Do you use your distribution's forum, visit mailing lists, type the question into a search engine, ask a friend? Please let us know how you approach trouble-shooting issues in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on preferred command line shells here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
I primarily get my technical support
|On distribution forums: ||367 (23%)|
| On mailing lists: ||19 (1%)|
| From web searches: ||957 (59%)|
| Distribution documentation/wiki: ||204 (13%)|
| By asking a friend: ||6 (0%)|
| From books: ||16 (1%)|
| Support chat rooms: ||26 (2%)|
| Other: ||36 (2%)|
Distributions added to the database
DuZeru is a Brazilian Linux distribution that is based on Debian's Stable branch. DuZeru ships with the Xfce desktop environment and is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds.
DuZeru 2.3 -- Running the Xfce desktop environment
(full image size: 371kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 July 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Poll (by brad on 2016-07-11 00:14:15 GMT from North America) |
I get tech support from a number of different sources mentioned in the poll: web searches, distro fora and wiki, and occasionally from IRC. I usually do my support searches in the order listed above, until I find what I need. IRC has been useful to me only with Linux Mint. Manjaro tends to show more help in the fora and wiki.
I haven't had to use a mailing list, books, or friends since my days of working in VAX/Alpha VMS, long ago...
2 • linuxmint rocks (by erinis on 2016-07-11 00:32:16 GMT from North America)
Linux mint rocks and so does Solus. Pick one and make a decision already. No need for a reply as I have made my decision. Thanks
3 • support forums (by Jordan on 2016-07-11 00:37:14 GMT from North America)
Well yeah the forums tell you a lot about that distro's community. Helpful? Snarky? Newbie? ..etc.
One interesting thing is the Manjaro forums. You'd think it would be huge, given its popularity. But apparently the distro users don't need as much support as others.
I suppose anyway.
4 • Poll and Mint (by DaveW on 2016-07-11 01:00:28 GMT from North America)
When I have a problem, I will check the forum first if it appears to be OS related. For application or hardware problems, I usually check the web first.
I have been using Linux Mint since LM11 and have rarely had a problem with it; never anything serious. I'm just waiting for the upgrade path to open up to move to LM18.
5 • Support (by Rev_Don on 2016-07-11 01:15:18 GMT from North America)
It really depends on the distro or operating system. Some distros have excellent forums that provide good support. Others have essentially no support at all, and others provide incorrect answers more times than not, and others are nothing more than a bunch of infantile egomaniacs that would rather rag on users than help them. Oftens times it's better to go to third party forums or IRC or Mumble channels to get good support. And some times nothing beats a good ol' one on one session with a knowledgeable user.
So essentially there is no one single best way to get support as there are way too many variables/
6 • Pool and mint (by erinis on 2016-07-11 01:23:09 GMT from North America)
Keep your cool daveW There has not been this much outrage since the bacon manufactures change the size from 475 hundred grams to 375. That really pissed me of.
7 • Mint 18 Cinnamon (by gekxxx on 2016-07-11 01:33:48 GMT from Europe)
I used Ubuntu 16.01. Trouble free experience, very fast but lacking the possibility to install google-earth. With mint no problem at all. Google Earth latest version installed great, but it does not work the way I want it. The search-box does show me always Africa. I wonder is PCLinuxOS can beat Mint 18 Cinnamon however. I think I will try Mint 18 KDE.
8 • Ian Murdock (by The Trolling Drones on 2016-07-11 01:50:06 GMT from Europe)
off topic: The autopsy report on Ian Murdock is out. It just concludes that he committed suicide - nothing more to it, other than he also had alcohol and mental health issues. But there is more to deaths like this than is currently recognized. His body was covered in bruises - and Ian complained of being beaten by the police. And one could say that his mind was also covered in bruises - because he complained of an online troll who was urging him to kill himself.
Technology has been a great advance, and it is even being used now to show cases of over-aggressive policing. But there's a dark side to it in that it has become a new avenue for anonymous undesirables to gain entry into other ppl's lives, and mess with their heads or commit crimes. Unfortunately for Ian Murdock, he saw both sides of the tech revolution: the highs of making a significant contribution to Linux and Open Source Software, and the lows of being a target of an online troll when he was at his lowest point.
9 • Support (by Zork on 2016-07-11 02:16:39 GMT from Oceania)
Usually do a web search...
With the nature of Linux it is extremely rare to be the only person to have come across a particular issue... Someone, somewhere has probably asked the question before in a forum or it is a long term known issue... Sometimes I have to extrapolate from another distro to the one I'm using but generally manage to find a fix or workaround...
A lot of the issues I seem to encounter are after updates to applications like Firefox or Flash ( Time for Flash to die a natural death )... Those generally have to wait a week or two for the next update...
10 • Support (by Binskipy2u on 2016-07-11 02:39:43 GMT from North America)
I generally go to ubuntu's support forums for many things even though I don't use ubuntu. I use Arch linux, previously years ago used mint/pclinuxos. I must say the Mint/Pclinuxos forums are the best but not as "large" as a community as the # that participate in the Ubuntu forums. I was banned 2x from arch forums as an arch user for not reading peoples minds, figuring out from the vague directions they gave on how to fix various issues, and not committing the arch linux user guide to memory. But I digress.. arch is an awesome distro if you don't mind finding answers on other distro forums... that's my .02 now I'm broke!
11 • Trial and Error on Support (by Roy on 2016-07-11 03:00:13 GMT from North America)
With hardware issues I usually do web searches. But from trial and error I have learned to have an extra network interface card even though there is network interface on the motherboard. One reason it has protected the motherboard from power surges like lightning. Another reason is because in hardware class the professor showed us how to make a physical firewall with just two NICs and Linux. It was funny since it was a Microsoft College. All the new Windows computers were protected by this old Linux box he called it that were in line before the rest of the network computers. We learned that even with Windows if you had three NICs programmed together it made a strong firewall. I have not read much anything about physical firewalls these days. Maybe it might be an article shown here someday.
12 • 32/64 (by Debian-32-user on 2016-07-11 03:06:58 GMT from Europe)
It's understandable that developers want to maximize their resources, and making two 32- and 64-bit versions doesn't help that. On the other hand, there are still a lot, more than a lot, of 32-bit computers out there. Linux is probably the only sensible replacement for XP (or ME or 98...) on most of these. Using XP is asking for trouble, while a simple, light, plain-old Debian 32 install works like a charm, and, just as importantly, is update-able still in 2016. Not lightning-fast, but a fully functioning, er...modern, machine. I hope Debian and others who discard 32-bit versions will produce one "last" solid, super-stable edition and make it available, even if they no longer continue to update it. It seems like a good compromise, and it may be the last update that millions of these older, but still usable machines ever see. And please, make sure, some sort of alert appears on our routine apt-get's, that such-and-such update will be the last one.
13 • tech support (by argent on 2016-07-11 03:26:56 GMT from North America)
@8: Many thanks for an update pertaining to Ian Murdock. Went from the agony of windows to Debian first and haven't left since other than using Devuan, which Ian is father of both. Personally found Ian's death bizarre and troubling, believe there must have been some truth in his torment and police brutality. Thank you.
For the tech support, been with Linux for 5 years and use every avenue possible to achieve my goals and tweaks.
Think there should be an "all above" noted in the choice area.
Hey, DW can you toss that around a little? Thanks
14 • Random Comments (by Reddy Kilowatt on 2016-07-11 03:28:26 GMT from North America)
I start out with web searches, which usually point me to the forums for various Linux distros.
One thing I have to say for Arch - they have probably the best online docs of all the distros. I have used it several times to fix issues on the distros I use, none of which are Arch.
I can understand why many distros want to deep-six 32 bit, since it drains resources from other important things. But for the near future, there will still be a lot of 32-only systems out there. Sometimes, these are corporate machines that can't easily be replaced.
So I see an opportunity here for some enterprising analysts to put together YET ANOTHER Linux distro to serve that audience until the machines finally expire. Maybe a community edition related to a major. Sounds like a good senior project.
15 • 32 bit (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-11 04:33:08 GMT from North America)
FWIW, there are still some people who see value in 32 bit systems. An excellent operating system for older hardware like this is Slitaz. Plus, if you really like Slitaz, then you can run the 64 bit version on newer systems. For others, the use of the CoreOS may work equally well. Core also supports 64 bit hardware.
Based on comments from last week, it seems that some users of GNU/Linux forget or don't realize that the OS is a multi-user system that was adapted to the desktop.
16 • Finding technical support (by Moldo on 2016-07-11 05:44:55 GMT from Europe)
No distribution is really “giving technical support.” There are forums in distributions, but the guys, who give (or trying to give) support are the other users, not the developers, who were supposed to have created the distro. There are few distros, where you can find technical help, and those are made by one person, for example Sparky, Solus or Funtoo. In Debian (or related) you’d find a guy(s), who’d tell you “don’t break Debian.” In Arch, you’d find guys, who tell you read the wiki, only that wiki is also written by users, but not by the devs. There too, they say “you might break Arch.”And that Arch is not for normal users, meaning normal people.
Mostly, you don’t get technical support, especially from those “big distros,” but ideas from those users, who had come across some problem, and found a solution for that. What you get from forums are not technical support, but user support and that has nothing to do with that distro's engagement in finding solutions.
17 • Self-contained apps and a live iso (by OstroL on 2016-07-11 06:19:46 GMT from Europe)
Last week’s DWW brought out a very interesting subject, which matches the time we live in. Last week, I had been searching for self-contained apps, reading people’s thoughts on that and learning how to create such apps and use them. I created some apps, using some very knowledgeable people’s thoughts.
In last week’s DWW discussion, people were speaking about security, so the thought came on live iso. The live iso is also a self-contained application—one squashed file, which would open for the time being and close after, without changing anything inside. This means a live iso cannot be hacked by crackers while its being used. And, if you have apps that are self-contained, they cannot be changed much, other than by you. Whatever you do using these apps can be kept in another folder/partition in your computer.
If the available live isos doesn’t match your liking, you can recreate a live iso for you. You can put it in the hard disk (or in a portable disk) and boot it. Once the live iso is on, you call your self-contained app from it. If you have some work to be saved, you save it in another folder/partition. All of a sudden, you don’t have any “installed” distro or applications, but portable un-crackable operating system.
18 • Primary support (by zykoda on 2016-07-11 06:33:52 GMT from Europe)
A web search in conjunction with log messages is usually helpful. On the other hand there are issues that go unsolved, longterm, after using all resources. These are Network, wireless or booting problems which span over many distributions using different hardware and software versions over the generations.
19 • @12 On 32 bit Linux distributions (by Alexandru on 2016-07-11 07:29:49 GMT from Europe)
Your comment is typical for non-developers. I'll comment just for Debian (its support for x86 architecture will unlikely end up soon), other distributions handle the issue similarly.
1. There is no notion of "super stable version" of any software in this universe. All super verified pieces of software regularly get updates because all them sometimes could be improved regarding security issues.
2. Debian clearly states which update is THE LAST one for each its release. You can use any of them, it is rather stable, because the last 3 years of support was concerned exclusively security fixes and not introducing new functionality.
3. As Linux is open source, when some distribution drops its 32 bit variant, you are welcome to produce it! Well, in many cases it is not necessary to build it yourself. There is large probability that 32 bit fork from the distribution that dropped it will appear. However, its stability may be well under its parent distribution. You decide what values for you more: availability or stability.
4. Supporting a version of software only few people use inevitable leads to less attention for mainstream version. Even if you use exclusively legacy hardware, each bit of effort to stabilize / optimize your distribution version means a missing bit of effort to stabilize / optimize the distribution version on server side for online services you access every day. Not only for you, but for all their users. Do you REALLY REALLY want that?
20 • security sensors (by skippied off loot on 2016-07-11 08:32:55 GMT from Europe)
"I can set up a program like Wireshark to monitor the network and listen for outgoing data that should not be there."
Aircraft have lots of sensors to monitor performance and issue alerts when things go wrong. It would be good if computers had a similar set of security sensors, and issue alerts when odd activities are detected - rather than just monitor networks. Afterall, you don't want some alien jak or jon to intrude into your computer and skip off with your hard-earned work.
21 • security sensors (by skippied off loot on 2016-07-11 08:34:06 GMT from Europe)
"I can set up a program like Wireshark to monitor the network and listen for outgoing data that should not be there."
Aircraft have lots of sensors to monitor performance and issue alerts when things go wrong. It would be good if computers had a similar set of security sensors, and issue alerts when odd activities are detected - rather than just monitor networks. Afterall, you don't want some alien jak or jon - or their malware - to intrude into your computer and skip off with your hard-earned work.
22 • 32 bit distros, time to go... (by Alex on 2016-07-11 08:46:23 GMT from Europe)
No one is producing 32 bit computers anymore, so wasting time in creating 32 distros would be a useless effort. If anyone wants to use a 32 bit computer in 2021, there would still be some 32 bit distros available from 2016, which could be used. It'd be just like using retro cars, which are usually kept for show and brought out once, twice a year. Anyone using 16 bit computers still?
23 • 32-bits, and stuff... (by omelette on 2016-07-11 08:54:26 GMT from North America)
Regarding Mint 18, I was hoping for some comment about why Samba in the review, which was excluded from 18 due to 'slow boot time'. Samba, to me, is an essential part of any Linux setup, so for the developers to just exclude it, well, it caught my attention.
With regard to 32-bit, but also Mint, i wonder just how much testing the 32-bit offerings get nowadays. Mint is a (notorious) case in point. The last 3 releases of Mint-Mate had in-your-face bugs involving thumbnail generation, where they were continually being regenerated. Any Beta tester would immediately have picked up on this - had any (serious) testing been carried out! Despite I, and at least one other guy filing bug reports on this, the problem went unheeded for at least 3 releases.
24 • technical support (by ken on 2016-07-11 09:04:39 GMT from Africa)
While using Debian I have found a solution for anything that I needed in their documentation. While using slackware I have relied a lot on arch linux documentation.
25 • @ 23 Mint problems.. (by jacky on 2016-07-11 09:18:12 GMT from North America)
Mint is just a one-man show, even though Mint's only dev tries to hide it.
26 • Mint 18 -- not everyone sings its praises (by rufovillosum on 2016-07-11 09:24:46 GMT from North America)
As a Mint 17.3 user contemplating upgrade, I'm disturbed by the contrast between this glowing review and the pan at dedoimedo.com. Lujubuncic found it to be buggy and full of regressions.
27 • dedoimedo pan (by brad on 2016-07-11 09:47:53 GMT from North America)
@26 - While I'm always entertained by his posts, I take his advice with a large grain of salt - he has (admittedly) unusual hardware, upon which many distros fail OOTB. I imagine he, like many of us, is under tight fiscal constraints, but that means that his reviews tend to be very HW-specific, and perhaps not relevant to a large(!) segment of the Linux community.
He *is* helpful in showing how to execute work-arounds for his situation, however, which have been of use from time to time, even though I don't share his HW platform.
28 • @27 Mint is becoming buggier.. (by Alex on 2016-07-11 10:02:38 GMT from Europe)
I remember telling about Mint becoming buggier few weeks ago, and some of the fanbois got somewhat angry. This bugginess maybe, because Mint is now just a one man show.
29 • Mint18 (by wepice on 2016-07-11 10:16:53 GMT from Europe)
I am generally reading Jesse's reviews with interest and have often profited from them. Likewise, I have at times been a happy user of Linuxmint, but this does not extend to Version 18. The reasons why I have some disagreement with Jesse's very favourable assessment are as follows:
I am using several alias based on rsync for synchronising files on laptops with a server. Synchronizing either a laptop with the server, or the server with a laptop, is performed by executing an appropriate alias in a terminal on a laptop, with the alias stored on the laptop in /etc/bash.bashrc (for system-wide availability).
This has worked well in the past with different Linux-distributions, but with Mint18 64 bit Cinnamon a potentially disastrous occurrence happens.
After copying the original alias as root with xed into /etc/bash.bashrc of Mint18 installed on a Toshiba Z30 and then restarting the Z30, trying to open a terminal does not yield a virgin terminal, but rather a terminal asking for the password of the server indicated for synchronization purposes in the alias. With other words, by simply opening a terminal as a user, some alias have started to execute without ever being asked to do so, and if it were not for the password request by the server (which can be suppressed in rsync!), existing data on the network would have uncontrollably been messed up.
Further tests have shown that the problem does, in fact, go back to Ubuntu16.04, released well over two months ago (!), rather than to modifications implemented by the Mint18 developers. The tests have further shown that the problem is likewise present in other derivatives of Ubuntu16.04, e.g. Ubuntu-Mate, and it persists even after available updates have been installed. (And, yes, forum requests I made in the matter have simply been removed.)
30 • Linux Mint... (by Marc Visscher on 2016-07-11 10:21:36 GMT from Europe)
Linux Mint is, in my opinion, the best Linux distro around. The Linux Mint team thinks from the users perspective, and that makes it só very easy to use for newcomers. For experienced users like me Linux Mint still got a lot to offer. On the graphical interface side everything just works, is easy to understand and looks polished all the way. But when using the terminal nothing stands in your way either. It's just the best of both worlds, no matter if you do things the graphical way or through the command line.
I was always on Ubuntu, but since Ubuntu dropped Gnome 2 and implemented Unity as their default desktop, I got rid of it and switched to Mint (both Cinnamon and Mate).
31 • Ubuntu plans on to drop 32-bits... (by Marc Visscher on 2016-07-11 10:31:43 GMT from Europe)
Dropping 32-bits systems in the near future is a bad choice. Not only lots of Linux users still using their old hardware (like me), because Linux doesn't demand much from your system as Windows. Dropping 32-bits will force Linux users to buy new(er) hardware, and that's a real "no-go'er" for me. Why should I throw my old computer away while it still works like a charm?
And besides of my personal objections, think about the third world? Do you really think that people from poorer parts of the world are able to buy new(er) hardware because Ubuntu says so? Come on, get real! If Ubuntu wants a big(ger) userbase, they shouldn't drop 32-bits systems at this moment. Maybe in a couple of years it's a good idea, but at this moment there are still too many computers around that's only run 32-bits OS'es.
So Ubuntu, please reconsider this stupid idea of getting rid of 32-bits support. It does more harm than good.
32 • @ 30 And 32 (by Minty on 2016-07-11 10:39:53 GMT from Europe)
>> I was always on Ubuntu, but since Ubuntu dropped Gnome 2 and implemented Unity as their default desktop, I got rid of it and switched to Mint (both Cinnamon and Mate).<<
Cinnamon is based on Gnome 2 stack, eh?
>> So Ubuntu, please reconsider this stupid idea of getting rid of 32-bits support.<<
What's your problem? You are supposed to use Mint. Worried there won't be a Mint 32 bit, without the mother Ubuntu making it?
33 • Regarding Mint and Ubuntu I'm sorry ... (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2016-07-11 11:10:30 GMT from Europe)
... for being unable to say anything else than: Tempt yourself wait for new ages!
At those distros' places it's between midnight and - hopefully - dawn ...
34 • Difference of opinion (by Jesse on 2016-07-11 11:35:47 GMT from North America)
>> "I'm disturbed by the contrast between this glowing review and the pan at dedoimedo.com"
With all due respect to the author at Dedoimedo, if you read the review you will note almost all the tests he performs that fail are run from a live disc. He complains about lack of codecs, drivers, missing phone support, etc. Almost all of those issues come from running Mint from a live disc rather than installing the distribution on the hard drive. If the author had install Mint first and then run the hardware/phone/driver/codec tests they probably would have passed. The codecs issue certainly would as would some services.
The difference here is not so much technical and a matter of how that author and I run our experiments. I usually install first and then test things. He tests things, then installs. It gives completely different results. In fact, if you go back and compare our reviews, we almost always have opposite opinions on any distro we explore, largely due to difference in testing methods.
35 • Poll (by a on 2016-07-11 11:38:04 GMT from Europe)
Yet another poll that can’t be answered due to the lack of multiple answers selection.
Man pages, official doc, distro wiki and bugtracker, web search, IRC, friends… Not necessarily in that order.
36 • Technical Support (by Joe on 2016-07-11 11:54:14 GMT from North America)
Distro forums: are good, except when they are not. Some good distros have forums with no activity. If there are only a hand full of posts in the last year, go elsewhere. If the forum is full of haters who tell you to RTFM (Even when your original post states that you have already searched and tried this and that and read the manual) go elsewhere.
Wikis: Same as forums Even the famous Arch wiki has caused me to crash a system. Double check if you don't fully understand the directions. Blindly pasting commands into terminal, bad idea. Ask for clarification and do supplemental searching.
Web Searches: Yes "Google is My Friend" Copying and pasting error messages or guessing what key words to search for is effective. Search Reddit and newsgroups as well.
Linux User Groups: -I wish there were more. If your friends don't use linux, then you can find new ones.
37 • Mint 18 (by gabbman on 2016-07-11 11:54:41 GMT from North America)
I am not sure technically why but on my laptop Mint 18 has more zip than did 17.3. Toshiba Satellite C650
38 • @ 34 Difference of opinion (by Jesse (by Moldo on 2016-07-11 12:46:19 GMT from Europe)
>> With all due respect to the author at Dedoimedo, if you read the review you will note almost all the tests he performs that fail are run from a live disc. He complains about lack of codecs, drivers, missing phone support, etc. Almost all of those issues come from running Mint from a live disc rather than installing the distribution on the hard drive. <<
Are you 100% sure that the system in a live iso should not act the same as the installed system, except that it has your name as user name? What does, for example, Mint live iso has less than in the installed mint system? While in live mode, you can install any codecs you need, right?
39 • Mint review (by Jesse on 2016-07-11 12:52:14 GMT from North America)
>> "Are you 100% sure that the system in a live iso should not act the same as the installed system, except that it has your name as user name? "
Yes, of course I am sure. The live disc will not have codecs (the installed version will), the live disc will not have the benefit of proper drivers for many things (the installed version can install them with the device driver manager), the live disc will not allow you to install much software due to everything being placed in RAM while the installed version will allow you to install as much as your hard drive will hold. Performance will be better on the locally installed version due to faster disc access and (often) better video drivers. The list goes on.
My point is, while the live disc will give you a good idea if a distro (with its default settings) will work with your hardware, it's pretty pointless to try to evaluate a distro based on live disc operation as it will give a different experience.
40 • Linux Mint (by Rick on 2016-07-11 12:58:59 GMT from North America)
I have used Linux Mint since 2011 and Linux in general since 2006. I currently am running LM 17.3 on three of my Lenovo Thinkpads and WIN 7 on the fourth. LM 17.3 runs very well and I have no need at upgrade to LM 18 at this time. I have encouraged Clem Lefebre in the past to get away from using Ubuntu as the base for LM but he has apparently not shown any interest in doing so. As such, the LM community will have to continue dealing with Ubuntu's bugs and shortcomings unless they decide at some point to become an independent distribution based on their own merits. I really hope that becomes a reality some day.
41 • Mint 18 (by kc1di on 2016-07-11 13:03:33 GMT from North America)
All I can say is that I installed Mint on a friends machine.
Cinnamon- She is a great Grandma and never used Linux before and is thrilled with the performance over windows. Took her no time to adjust. Just worked.
Thanks Jesse for the review.
42 • Support (by Scrumtime on 2016-07-11 13:16:49 GMT from North America)
I have pretty much stopped asking in Fora due to the hostile, rude, ignorant , insulting responses that you get from many, and even if you have followed expert help and RTFM your problem was / is not adressed or the issue is very different you still get the insinuations that it is your fault, you're stupid, and RTFM...yet many of these people like to sit in their little seat of power as a Moderator or Forum Guru... There are some very informative Fora,, Arch ; Gentoo, hate to say it Ubuntu, Antix, Sparky, Even some of the Linux.org distro specific ones give good help.
Generally Now i use the web which leads to a forum or some distro then it's just converting any issues to your specific problem / remedy
@3 Manjaro support used to be ver good on IRCand the Forum with Core Devs and Community Devs regularly available sadly that seems to have gone, and just a few community devs are regular some very active with thier own flavour..but some community disros ahve pretty much died off and get no support at all even Openbox which was a main fully supported distro which was one of the best openbox distros going has no support at all..... the IRC has really fallen apart as 1 guy pretty much ran that. and hes not been seen for months, At the moment Manjaro seems to have big problems with the Forum after changing server and software now t is a disgusting social media type of thing which is more suited to use on a Phone or tablet than desktop...people have to earn badges to be able to post or vist other sections..get awards for posting a reply, editing a post, etc....you are expected to use emoji things and the Moderators shift combine and suspend posts on whims or if it doesnt agree with their Ideals. ........Even 1 of the very few Older manjaro regulars has started his own forum to mirror the old one too save Wiki links and Tutorials and experiences from almost 4 yrs which were going to be lost as there was no way to incorperate them into new forum.....
I Often wonder why so many Distros install an IRC client and yet when you go to the channel there is no one there and you can ask a question and wait days and never get a reply...
Slackwares IRC is always active and fun though they are very good at helping people when needed.. as to is Gentoo's though they are quite serious no fun to be had there ..
43 • Mint "one man show" (by Jordan on 2016-07-11 13:27:07 GMT from North America)
I don't understand the "one man show" remarks about Mint. Do the people on the "team" page at the Mint site not have dev input on the distro at all?
There are "maintainers," etc.
44 • @ 39 • Mint review by Jesse (by Awas on 2016-07-11 13:28:10 GMT from North America)
>> "Are you 100% sure that the system in a live iso should not act the same as the installed system, except that it has your name as user name? "
>>>> Yes, of course I am sure. The live disc will not have codecs (the installed version will), the live disc will not have the benefit of proper drivers for many things... The list goes on.
My point is, while the live disc will give you a good idea if a distro (with its default settings) will work with your hardware, it's pretty pointless to try to evaluate a distro based on live disc operation as it will give a different experience.<<<<
So why does the Ubuntu live iso work better than the same Mint live iso, that based that Ubuntu? Have you tried to do the same things you did with the Ubuntu system, that you did with Mint? Did you ever review them side by side? A review of a distro is a personal thing, and one can make personal mistakes.
Last week Christine made mistake, and you backed her. Later she agreed that there was a mistake.
45 • Ubuntu and Mint (by Jesse on 2016-07-11 13:40:33 GMT from North America)
>> "So why does the Ubuntu live iso work better than the same Mint live iso, that based that Ubuntu? "
I'm not sure where you are getting that information. Why do you think Ubuntu's live disc works better than Mint's and for whom?
>> "Have you tried to do the same things you did with the Ubuntu system, that you did with Mint?"
Of course I have. I used both distributions on a fairly regular basis for the same tasks. I've reviewed both multiple times over the years. I was running Ubuntu 16.04 the week before I reviewed Mint 18.
>> "Last week Christine made mistake, and you backed her. Later she agreed that there was a mistake."
I'm not sure what you mean by that. I never claimed there was no error in her review. I said I edited her review and I had a worse experience with the same distro she was reviewing. I made no claims about her issue with su/sudo access.
46 • 32 bits (by Florin on 2016-07-11 13:44:41 GMT from Europe)
Well, it;s hard to say which solution is better in this case. However there are many 32-bit ARM systems too (like Rapsberry Pi). I know it's not the same architecture as i386, but some of the 32 bits requests are common to both architectures, so some 32 bits developements (at least for ARM) wil still be outgowing.
47 • re this wk's q&a... (by jay c on 2016-07-11 14:24:16 GMT from North America)
am hopeless when it comes to securing prsnl puters... have been - so far - undeservedly lucky re viruses & malwares... (altho much prone to spoofs on emails)
would like to suggest next wk's opinion poll might ask which is best (or most often used) softwares for the protection of linux os computers? -jc
48 • @34, 45 Mint review (by Awas on 2016-07-11 14:31:27 GMT from North America)
I tend to agree more with Dedoimedo, rather than Jessie's. I signaled about this buggy behaviour few weeks ago. I also understand that Distrowatch has a soft spot for Mint, for example putting all Mint eggs in one basket in the "hit list" to prove that us users are looking at Mint more than Ubuntu.
49 • Mint vs Ubuntu (by Jesse on 2016-07-11 14:38:09 GMT from North America)
>> "Distrowatch has a soft spot for Mint, for example putting all Mint eggs in one basket in the "hit list" to prove that us users are looking at Mint more than Ubuntu."
The reason Mint is one entry and Ubuntu's community editions are broken up into separate entities is because Mint is one project with one website. Each Ubuntu flavour has its own developers, its own website and its own governing body. Plus most Ubuntu editions start as completely separate entities and need to apply to become community flavours. It's not a matter of favouritism, it's a reflection on how the project's are strcutured/governed.
We have no stake in which distro tops the PHR or which one is most popular.
50 • Linux Mint 18 install failed (by James on 2016-07-11 15:11:56 GMT from North America)
On my laptop (Dell Latitude E4200) Linux Mint 18 crash on the partition step. :( Not a good sign for an LTS release.
51 • @ 49 Mint review and... (by Alex on 2016-07-11 15:23:53 GMT from Europe)
>> The reason Mint is one entry and Ubuntu's community editions are broken up into separate entities is because Mint is one project with one website.<<
Maybe you are right, for Mint is still a one-man show. One maintainer for all "editions" (except the kde). https://www.linuxmint.com/teams.php
There were some other devs before, but all had left. Because of this one-man "maintenance" these editions are becoming buggier.
52 • Mint 18 (by cykodrone on 2016-07-11 15:50:37 GMT from North America)
My computer hates systemd (Mint 18), a thorough live test proved that, I found it a bit buggy, so I installed Rosa MATE 17.3 (upstart with a bit of systemd creep). I also find my computer (FX-8350/16GB/SSDs/R7 250, etc) LOVES the older 3.19.x (Ubuntu Trusty) kernel in Rosa (no 'racing' system or video card fans like with the 4.4.x kernel branch), the newer kernels seem more bloated and taxing. Each to their own, whatever puts a smile on your face. :)
53 • Missing the point (32 bits) (by David on 2016-07-11 15:53:52 GMT from North America)
All these comments about 32-bit-only-capable-hardware are missing the point. 32-bit OS builds have significant advantages in disk space and memory usage, which can be important for things like resource-constrained systems, VMs, containers, etc, which seem to only be increasing in popularity. 64-bit builds have few advantages for most use cases.
54 • Mint review (by Moldo on 2016-07-11 18:18:08 GMT from Europe)
>>Perhaps the most significant change though is the introduction of X-Apps. The Mint developers have noted that some GNOME applications have unusual interface designs and will not properly integrate with non-GNOME desktop environments.<<
>>I was curious to try X-Apps and I generally found these to be an improvement. I dislike the mobile-style interfaces GNOME applications tend to use and how they break consistency with other applications. <<
>>The one complaint I think people may have with Mint's Cinnamon edition is the desktop tends to be sluggish if suitable video drivers are not available. This may be a problem for people running Mint in a virtual environment or on hardware without solid driver support. This issue can be side-stepped by using Mint's MATE edition which is more forgiving where video cards are concerned and which offers a very similar desktop experience. <<
>>I was quite happy with Mint 18 and I would recommend it for most people, particularly Linux newcomers. The distribution manages to deliver a feature-rich, friendly experience with a minimal amount of problems. <<
Any comment needed? I think all above is self-explanatory.
55 • distro support (by Jordan on 2016-07-11 18:23:26 GMT from North America)
Well yeah I do an internet search, usually. Sometimes it'll land me in a distro support forum. That can be regrettable at times, depending on the distro. And that brings me to why I end up sticking with certain distros and dumping others.
It depends on the issue, the type of support needed. Some "distro support" is really linux support, such as cli commands or repository tweaks, etc. That's where duckduckgo or whatever comes in handy.
I hate having to go to a forum where I know the first response will be "google is your friend," or "use the search feature at the top of the page." Hell, sometimes google will take you right to the place you get yelled at for asking the question.
56 • Finding technical support (by Christophe on 2016-07-11 18:37:53 GMT from Europe)
As I am a Linux beginner I search the web first.
I look for answers on different places to get a better idea and to compare answers and solutions.
Then I try to find/read/understand the documentation of the software (Xfce, Gtk, GNU Linux, GRUB, SAMBA, ...)
As a Mint user I find most often valuable answers on ubuntu web site, rarely on Mint web site.
So far the top web site to me is the gnome documentation for Gtk (I am learning Gtk).
Generaly speaking I find it harder to find clear explainations on Linux than on Windows.
Most often solutions found on forums are given by experts who do not explain to newbies (I am one). That helps sorting out a problem but not understanding why.
57 • Mint and stability (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2016-07-11 19:06:24 GMT from Europe)
1.- I you want a reasonably stable Ubuntu LTS you need to wait at least until the first "service pack". Sometimes the 2nd or the 3rd. The Ubuntu derivatives which do not follow this simple rule typically suffer from the same instability issues as their parent. Mint is no exception, even if sometimes they manage to fix some of the bugs.
2.- Cinnamon started as a fork of Gnome Shell and is based upon Gtk+ 3. Sluggish by definition. Mate and Xfce are the way to go if you are a Gtk guy. LXDE is still pretty decent, but they seem to be migrating to Qt, which can be good.
3.- Video card issues are not new in Linux. Nouveau has not solved the problem for Nvidia (even not considering performance and GPU acceleration) and Radeon works with some cards but not with others. The AMD Catalyst driver (previously fglrx) does not (and apparently will not) support Ubuntu 16.04. I guess that that is one of the main reasons why so many people are so unhappy with the latest Ubuntu and Mint.
58 • @40 LinuxMint (by Hosein on 2016-07-11 19:17:36 GMT from Asia)
Although Mint 18 works flawlessly here, system performance and responsiveness isn't comparable with Slackware with same desktop. I wonder why Mint devs don't focus more on LMDE. IMO older packages and PPAs aren't valid reasons to sacrifice system performance.
Ubuntu is getting buggier and more blooty day by day and Deepin has made a wise decision to change their base from Ubuntu to Debian.
59 • @ 31 - 32bit ubuntu (by 32bit user on 2016-07-11 19:58:01 GMT from North America)
I am not sure if they read this site or not. Please post that on their forum too...
60 • @ Linux Apocalypsis (by Fronton on 2016-07-11 21:00:06 GMT from Europe)
> "Cinnamon started as a fork of Gnome Shell and is based upon Gtk+ 3. Sluggish by definition. Mate and Xfce are the way to go if you are a Gtk guy."
Sluggish by definition? Hmm...
About MATE, like Cinnamon it goes to Gtk+ 3, no? So, also "Sluggish by definition" after that for you?
By the way, no desktop environment is fully good.
61 • @56 (by Justin on 2016-07-11 21:06:36 GMT from North America)
Hi Christophe, and welcome to the journey that is Linux. I made the switch to Linux Mint from XP at XP EOL two years ago. At that time, I would agree with your difficulty: "I find it harder to find clear explainations on Linux than on Windows."
Right now, I feel completely different. When I have to do some kind of search for a Windows problem (for work), I often find the same rambling posts or useless information I didn't realize I had learned to filter. As you become more comfortable with Linux, you will find explanations will start making more sense, and at some point, you will realize you have some useful skills that will translate to any distribution (not something I can say about Windows anymore).
Also, because the Linux ecosystem is more open, you'll eventually start learning more internals as your brain adjusts to the new perspective. I actually get frustrated at Windows for stuff that is simple to do in Linux, that I fully understand and could do, but Windows itself has its limitations, or there isn't clear documentation on the subject, or Microsoft just doesn't share because it's proprietary and I have to live with it. Nowadays, I never want to run anything but some flavor of Linux because I love the flexibility and the freedom I have on it.
Please give it time, and please feel encouraged by my similar experience. You're doing the right things, so you will be successful.
62 • Getting help (by Microlinux on 2016-07-11 21:23:41 GMT from Europe)
As a long-time Slackware, it was a few years of USENET with news:alt.os.linux.slackware, and then the Slackware forum at LinuxQuestions.org, which is a great resource. Each distribution has its own privileged communication channel. I'm also a subscriber to the CentOS mailing list, where you can find an extremely competent crowd.
I've been 100 % GNU/Linux since 2001, and I still spend a significant amout of my time reading Linux-related books and online documentation.
63 • Linux Mint 18 (by aguador on 2016-07-11 21:47:47 GMT from Europe)
Mint Mate was my first Linux experience and a good one. I recently took a look at the beta of Mate 18 which had problems with the dark theme available. This may have been fixed by the final release. While I was at it I took a look at the XFCE 17.3 release and confess I found the menu and aesthetics better than Mate. The latter has made some great advances, but even though XFCE is not a Mint project, I think it is the DE I would recommend for most users who want to take Mint for a spin -- which means waiting just a wee bit longer if you want 18.
X-Apps is a great idea. I run E and the loss of the frame in the couple of Gnome apps that I have installed means that I lose the left-click options there. I know Linux is about what works for you, but Gnome's developers do have me scratching my head, wondering at times.
64 • Mint (by M.Z. on 2016-07-11 23:17:52 GMT from North America)
On the subject of Cinnamon, I'd say there is certainly a need for proper video hardware acceleration to get things working properly. After that is done the current version is extremely snappy for me on my intel HD 4000 equipped laptop. The need for the acceleration is inherited from Gnome 3 & could be an issue with other modern desktops as well, though from what I can tell KDE handles such issues far better than any other full featured modern Linux desktop.
That 'one man show' comment is not even close to true. The may have one central figure over at Mint & they probably need more bug testers, but they have 5 maintainers and over 30 testers on their testing team:
No, Cinnmon is Gnome 3 based, as others have indicated. There are a number of desktops in Linux that came about as a result of the transition form Gnome 2 to the extremely controversial Gnome 3. The most prominent are Cinnamon & Unity, which are based at least in part on Gnome 3, and Mate, which is based heavily on Gnome 2.
65 • one man show (by brad on 2016-07-12 00:05:55 GMT from North America)
>That 'one man show' comment is not even close to true. The may have one central figure >over at Mint & they probably need more bug testers, but they have 5 maintainers and over >30 testers on their testing team:
If you look closely, this is the "ISO Testing Team", not the maintainers of the various flavors.
When you click on Clem's link, and the link for "fredg", you will see that they are the only team members to have logged in this year.
It's Clem for Cinnamon/Mate, and "fredg" for KDE. No mention of anyone current who maintains Xfce, and what about LMDE?
66 • LM maintainters (by brad on 2016-07-12 00:14:41 GMT from North America)
...and if there is still any doubt, from the LM teams page:
Frederic Gaudet (France): KDE edition
Clement Lefebvre (France): All other editions
67 • @ 65 and 66 (by Fronton on 2016-07-12 02:25:27 GMT from Europe)
For XFCE, maybe there is "merlwiz79" > "Last login: 2016-03-01 05:16:04"?
68 • Supplement to Mint and kernels (by cykodrone on 2016-07-12 03:50:51 GMT from North America)
Ironically, I installed kernel 4.6.4 in my PCLinuxOS install, my computer loves it, go figure, hates the 4.4.x series. *scratches head*
69 • poll results (by dave on 2016-07-12 06:12:54 GMT from North America)
Well, the poll at least reveals one thing; an indication that linux users are either the end link in their social group's chain of tech support, or they have no friends.
70 • @69 poll (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-12 06:57:21 GMT from North America)
Maybe they have no friends with similar or better PC skills. It seems to be a trend that one knowledgeable Linux user has multiple friends that need help, but few that are able to provide them with any useful help.
Of course, the poll could also be showing that many Linux users prefer to learn by research and perseverance. It is certainly the best way to retain the information.
71 • one man show (by aary on 2016-07-12 07:59:55 GMT from Asia)
Mint has a large user base because it simply f*ckin' works. Its easy, no matter if you are a newbie or an experienced user. It's not about manpower, it's the concept behind the software. Being user friendly is not about technology, you feel it as a user, and that is important, I think. I'm sure there are larg teams out there, but so what?
A small team building up some great stuff, and we support it. Isn't that great.
72 • mint 18 32 bit (by John on 2016-07-12 08:21:44 GMT from Europe)
I have just helped my girlfriend install Mint 18 on her 32 bit lapotop. She says it works much better (faster) than Mint 17 she had on it. She's not very 'tech-minded' and Mint is a great choice for her.
I still use Mint 10 (Gnome 2.2) on an ancient HP laptop at works like a charm, complete with all the compiz effects that I miss in the newer distros - which is why I still use Point 2 on my desktop workstation. The best distro ever for Mate + compiz, with a stable Debian base.
I support continued availabilty of 32 bit systems for the millions oif us who like to keep old hardware running and not fall into mindless consumerism to 'keep up to the jonses'.
73 • one man show (by brad on 2016-07-12 09:15:04 GMT from North America)
I did a little research, using the wayback machine, and found that the two-maintainer paradigm has been in existence since March, 2014.
In general, it hasn't seemed to affect the quality of the distro.
I hear "complaints" about many distros being "one-man shows". Perhaps Linux quality is good enough so that distros and spins can be fairly easily maintained. Any, thoughts, Jesse and others? Is this fodder for a future DistroWatch feature?
74 • @ 73 • one man show (by Alex on 2016-07-12 10:09:10 GMT from Europe)
One man show means one man makes mistakes and other suffer.
Mint for example is some scripts added to mother Ubuntu. Ubuntu changes faster than the one-man scripts. Also, Ubuntu is a large group of people, not only coders. When yu cannot match the base package(s), you are in for trouble. Except, of course, the fanbois.
75 • *gasp* (by Jordan on 2016-07-12 12:18:44 GMT from North America)
I wonder if my beloved antiX MX-15 is the dreaded.. (cue Jaws theme) One Man Show.
76 • Poll (by lorb on 2016-07-12 12:53:27 GMT from Europe)
Anyone else feels like stackoverflow and associated sites should have been an option on the poll?
77 • @75 (by Alex on 2016-07-12 13:30:45 GMT from Europe)
>>I wonder if my beloved antiX MX-15 is the dreaded.. (cue Jaws theme) One Man Show.<<
Is your "beloved" antiX MX-15 as buggy as Mint 18?
Or Anticapitalista is not trying to eat Debian (spit on Debian) as Mint dev does?
78 • @77 Alex's Mint bugs (by Jordan on 2016-07-12 13:48:53 GMT from North America)
I don't use Mint and haven't for quite some time now (happily).
My antiX M-15 is "beloved" to me because it is not buggy at all and its reliability, speed and (XFCE) functionality and looks and configurabiity have been exemplary.
Manjaro and antiX M-15 are running neck and neck as to my fave distros.
79 • antiX and systemd (by Justin on 2016-07-12 14:10:40 GMT from North America)
I noticed the latest antiX release announcement a few weeks ago mentions nothing about using systemd. The distribution is Debian-based, yet they have a number of packages (if you look at DW's full package list) like "transmission^2.84-0.2.1nosystemd1" that seem to indicate that they have taken it out.
Does anyone know what they did? I follow Devuan, yet I have this feeling I need to wait a while longer before it's ready for my needs (I use a Debian-based distro, but I need newer software) or other distros will base on it for user-friendly experiences like Mint, etc. If antiX is just one guy, how did the one guy do it?
Also, while we feel safety in numbers, sometimes one guy with the right vision is more powerful than a hundred other guys going in all directions.
80 • @79 antiX and systemd (by rayburn on 2016-07-12 15:15:47 GMT from Europe)
I can confirm that antiX 16 is completely systemd free, it's one of the reasons I use it, a great light distro for old and new computers and very stable with a helpful forum.
81 • Not always a bug (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2016-07-12 15:40:11 GMT from North America)
Sometimes it's not a bug, it's your confused misunderstanding.
Preventing or coping gracefully with common errors is helpful.
So is verifying, then reporting, actual bugs - to the right person.
By derogating others (or their works), you most decrease your own stature
82 • @ 81 (by Moldo on 2016-07-12 16:32:35 GMT from Europe)
"By derogating others (or their works), you most decrease your own stature."
By stating that Ubuntu's Unity DE is not at all good, but still using Ubuntu base and other applications, stating that Ubuntu's security is not good, but still using Ubuntu's security in a round about way must be non-derogating, I suppose.
Claiming Gnome 3 is not good, but using Gnome3 stack to "create" another DE, because it couldn't be done otherwise, must be good?
83 • @42 Agree // love the arch-wiki (by btree on 2016-07-12 16:43:40 GMT from Europe)
I agree with @42 - manjaro is a fine distro, but the new forum is a abomination. I was regged and rly liked the old forum - but the new one is not useable for me.
Sounds strange, but so i looked into Arch - and i will not look back, :).
I always loved the https://wiki.archlinux.org/ - simply the place to go for me, if have to look something up.
84 • Linux (by www.zarszerviz24.eu on 2016-07-12 17:03:42 GMT from Europe)
I have been using Linux Mint since LM11 and have rarely had a problem with it; never anything serious. I'm just waiting for the upgrade path to open up to move to LM18?
85 • Mint (by M.Z. on 2016-07-12 21:30:11 GMT from North America)
None of us really know how things work over at Mint, but what is perfectly clear is that there are people helping Clem doing lots of things. There is a bug team and there are several other teams that go by different names. What the exact positions are and what all gets done by the various members is hard to know with out being inside the project.
The basic fact of the matter is that Clem leads the project & has the assistance of others. This assistance means the project isn't a 'one man show' no matter how much others want to turn that idea into some sort of criticism of the project. Only Clem & the others working on Mint have any real idea about what's being done by who & those claiming to know otherwise are clueless. Regardless of how much or little the rest of the Mint team do relative to Clem, there is a team at work & they all deserve respect & appreciation for their efforts, end of story.
"Mint for example is some scripts added to mother Ubuntu"
That assertion is so incorrect on the face of it it's laughable. Have you not heard of the Cinnamon Desktop that was discussed in this weeks DW weekly? Cinnamon may be made mostly of parts of Gnome 3, but it is a full desktop featuring a forked & heavily modified file manager, a forked & modified Window Manager, etc. & Cinnamon is primarily developed by the Mint team. Getting something so basic so very wrong does nothing good for the credibility of the rest of your arguments.
Isn't Mint 10 long past the end of it's service life? I'd ditch Mint 10 for anything newer that was even a fraction as good. Also aren't you kind of describing LMDE 2 Mate? I think if you goto 'Control Center>Desktop Settings>Windows' in most recent versions of Mint with Mate you can enable Compiz. I think I tried it on a copy of LMDE 2 Mate that I have on an old PC, but Compiz liked my hardware so little that I uninstalled that WM permanently IIRC. I'd give doing that a try with either LMDE 2 or Mint 18 if I were you, because Mint 10 is well past it's sell by date.
86 • @85 (by Alex on 2016-07-12 22:30:24 GMT from Europe)
Would you care to read this too? http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/linux-mint-sarah.html
By the way, the guy, who wrote the LMDE's installer had left a long ago. He is creating Solus. The guys, who did XFCE had left a long ago. SolydX for example. Another went away to make Peppermint. No dev really stays with Mint...
87 • AntiX/Mepis devs etc (by Jordan on 2016-07-12 22:35:07 GMT from North America)
From their page:
The following Development Team members played a particularly significant role in the creation of MX-14.
Lead Developer: anticapitalista
Primary Coders/Packagers: Adrian, BitJam, kmathern, Stevo, timkb4cq
Project Manager: jerry3904
Significant contributors: chrispop99, dolphin_oracle, Eadwine Rose, fu-sen, Gaer Boy, Ko, m_pav, megatotoro, namida12, pcallahan80, Peregrine, richb, Utopia, zeeone
Special thanks for strong support of this project go to the Mepis Community Packagers.
MX & MEPIS Community
Obviously not a one man show. Darn it.
88 • @85 (by Fronton on 2016-07-12 23:01:34 GMT from Europe)
> "The basic fact of the matter is that Clem leads the project & has the assistance of others. This assistance means the project isn't a 'one man show' no matter how much others want to turn that idea into some sort of criticism of the project. Only Clem & the others working on Mint have any real idea about what's being done by who & those claiming to know otherwise are clueless."
Absolutely not! Even if there are other guys for testing ISOs, it's again and always only Clem who decides everything is in it.
Mint IS a 'one man show', whether you like it or not. Period.
89 • Using Linux Mint 18 - Java & Flash (by Greycoat on 2016-07-12 23:24:06 GMT from North America)
I'm using Linux Mint 18 and love it. Using it now as a guest in Virtualbox on a Windows 7 Pro machine. Like being sandboxed when I browse. Also enjoy Manjaro Cinnamon, both Fedora 24 (added Cinnamon desktop because I hate Gnome) & Korora Cinnamon 23, & finally enjoy Debian Cinnamon 8 too.
My complaint, if I had one regarding Linux Mint (or any distro for that matter) is that Java and flash are either automatically installed or are a part of a codec meta package. On both Windows & Linux, I don't want or uninstall if installed, java & flash. I like HTML5 and if a site only uses flash I 'might' be tempted to turn on 'pepper" flash temporarily in Google Chrome.
PLEASE Linux Mint could you separate out flash from your codec meta package? Could you not install java too & just give us that option if we wish to install? Both are security issues from what I have read and they need to be "killed" off. As to LibreOffice, I note there is a java package related to that as well. If such is not necessary for LibreOffice to run, I'd like to have it installed java free with option to install.
But overall, Clem & crew make a great OS albeit I've always had to reinstall or install UTF-8 locale in Mint for US everytime I do a new install. Don't know why that issue has still lingered all these years.
90 • Ubuntu drops 32-bits support and Linux Mint.... (by Marc Visscher on 2016-07-12 23:36:56 GMT from Europe)
I talked about Ubuntu switching to Unity and dropped Gnome 2. Linux Mint adopted Maté as a replacement for Gnome 2, since Maté continued on the Gnome 2 codebase. What's the point?
Cinnamon, my friend, is based on Gnome 3.
And yes, I'm worried about Ubuntu dropping 32-bits support. Linux Mint's parent is.... Ubuntu. You see the picture here now?
You ain't well informed, are you?
91 • BDFL (by Kragle on 2016-07-13 00:32:25 GMT from North America)
"…it's again and always only who decides everything…"
This may imply a BDFL*, but cannot imply a one-man show: a one-man show wouldn't need anyone to decide anything.
(Why all the rancor? Popularity envy?)
*Benevolent Dictator For Life
92 • one man show 2 (by aary on 2016-07-13 03:29:27 GMT from Asia)
If the bigger the better for a development team......you know the answer :D
93 • arch-wiki (by cykodrone on 2016-07-13 03:53:00 GMT from North America)
@83 & 42, I also agree, I've stumbled on answers in the arch-wiki in many a web searches, even though I've never used a distro that even comes close to resembling Arch. It's an extremely valuable information source. Kudos to Arch for supplying documentation up the ying-yang.
94 • tech support (by argent on 2016-07-13 05:44:56 GMT from North America)
@36 Joe: Have to agree with your post about forums, not all but many are full of arrogant know it all's who actually troll to find an individual who are seeking help and assistance to harass. Fact is the troll is lost themselves and probably have minuscule knowledge with learning issues compounded with laziness.
Point I would like to make is there are many mature minded forums who don't tolerate trolling, or offensive behavior. Questions are encouraged and a lot of script and code being offered to those who can make use of it. Learning Linux takes time, and be patient and share your knowledge with others. Before joining any forum, look for the trolling and negative environment.
To me there is no dumb question, someone needs an answer and someone should be willing to point the way, above all try and solve a problem first on your own and never become dependent on others.
Linux can change quickly and easily, leaving the more knowledgeable user or developer stumped looking for answers.
No matter how long you have played with Linux, you are and always will be a noobie!
95 • @90 (by minty on 2016-07-13 07:26:29 GMT from Europe)
"eh?" has a meaning, if of course, someone can fathom it.
Cinnamon is based on Gnome 3 stack, and clutter. (Clutter means clutter, btw.) Mate would slowly move to Gnome 3 stack, if it is not doing it already.
Without Ubuntu, Mint is nothing, so when Ubuntu drops 32 bit support, Mint 32 would die too. Mint could stick with Debian, but those guys, who did Debian with Mint had gone away. Also, there are excellent Debian based distros around--Sparky, SolydXK--so Mint Debian won't be that popular.
96 • Watching Apps (by OstroL on 2016-07-13 09:52:20 GMT from Europe)
I suppose we can keep on arguing which DE is good for us users, and while we are doing that, few people (probono) and distros (Ubuntu and Fedora) had gone about creating self-containing apps. Ubuntu came up with Unity DE, but is ready to drop it for further development of a user friendly desktop platform, where their Snap packages would work. Most probably Fedora is looking that way with their Flatpaks.
“The days of chasing multiple Linux distributions are over. Standalone apps for Linux are here!
Distributing applications on Linux is a pain: different distributions in multiple versions, each with their own versions of libraries and packaging formats. ...Apps are isolated from each other and from the host system!
These self-containing apps also allow multiple versions of the same application to be installed at the same time, which is great for testing development or testing versions. ”
There is a bit of a probelm with Flatpaks and Snaps, which tells us to install either flatpak or snap in our system. The developers/companies still want to control us this way.
But, if you take probono’s AppImages, you don’t need to do that. You can get the necessary ‘app creating” software from his github and create your own apps with it, and also rename your created apps any way you like.
I’d say, instead of fighting which distro is good or less buggy, try too create a few self-containing apps yourself.
I’m quite sure, the time of watching distros are slowly going away and the watching of self-containing apps is coming in very sure steps.
97 • Linux Mint is a one man show? (by Kirk M on 2016-07-13 17:13:33 GMT from North America)
@28 Where did you get the idea that "Mint is now a one man show?" No, it's not. It's had a fairly large team of developers, maintainers and testers for a long time now. I actually expected 18 to be a bit more buggy considering the bugs found in Ubuntu 16.04 plus the fact that the Mint devs had to work with a whole new, somewhat very different LTS package base that included switching over from the old SysVinit "init" system to systemd.
Mint 18 Cinnamon does have a few minor bugs in it but so did Mint 17 when it was first released. Bugs which were ironed out reasonably quickly. I'm sure it will be same for 18. For me though, Mint 18 Cinnamon runs fast and stable on both my laptop and desktop PCs.
The only problem I have with the Mint 18 release is not so much the removal of Samba but the lack of information/GUI ability to install it if the user wishes to do so the same way Mint provided 3 different simple ways to install codecs (including info on how to use them) that they also removed from the 18 images.
98 • 97 • Linux Mint is a one man show? (by Minty on 2016-07-13 17:55:52 GMT from Europe)
>>It's had a fairly large team of developers,<<
"had" is the keyword!
>>the fact that the Mint devs had to work with a whole new, somewhat very different LTS package base..<<
"a whole new, somewhat very different" are the other keywords.
Maybe, the Mint "devs" go away from the "bad, bad" Ubuntu and create a Mint from Fedora, OpenSuse or Alpine, or Crux or Arch or Gentoo?
It is the Cinnamon DE that's so buggy, not the base.
99 • Maté!! (by linuxista on 2016-07-13 20:24:04 GMT from North America)
"Maté" Grammar police arrest. There's no accent please, and if there were it would be over the "a" not the "e."
100 • Self-contained apps (by OstroL on 2016-07-13 20:34:52 GMT from Europe)
Here’s the report. I created self-contained apps from probono’s ideas; Firefox-47, Libreoffice-5.2.01, Blender2.77a, Calibre, Gimp 2.9 (from a ppa), Leafpad and few other apps. Everyone of them is a single file with execution rights. I created them on an Ubuntu based distro. (I had made the distro from Ubuntu 16.10 base, and it doesn’t have any DE, only Openbox.) I’ve been using these apps for few days now.
Tested these apps in non deb environment. Fedora, Mageia, Manjaro and Solus, systems completely different from each other. They were live isos. The apps were in a data partition in my laptop. I also had them in a USB stick. All these portable apps worked in all these different systems without a problem.
Try this out yourself. You'd be free from DEs and distros.
101 • Mint, Silly Semantics on 'One man Show', etc. (by M.Z. on 2016-07-13 21:03:18 GMT from North America)
All this talk of a big issue with Mint being a 'one man show' boil down to a bunch of silly semantics. The most reasonable interpretation of the term 'one man show' is that one person is truly doing everything. That isn't even the situation at PCLinuxOS, let alone at Mint. Every page that Mint has about the people working on their project has multiple people on it. You can talk in all the circles you want to about who does what in the Mint team, but there are multiple people working on the project & there is no well reasoned way to applying the term 'one man show' to Mint. Perhaps you can do a good job of rationalizing your preconceived notions about Mint to yourself & a few others, but that is ultimately a dull, mindless, & misleading discussion that completely side steps the reality of the situation.
It looks like the piece Jesse discussed in the comments above so no, I don't care to read reviews by people that don't really even bother to do a proper install before beginning testing. I can put a disc or plug a USB in & try it myself for that. What I want to know is how the things works after being fully installed & reading a fuller review is a genuine time saver in that regard. I am however looking forward to seeing what Ars Technica has to say, good or bad.
@95/98, people complaining about the Ubuntu base, & other LMDE comments
LMDE still exists & I know because I run LMDE 2 on my laptop. It's a solid system with a Debian stable base & the latest DEs from the main editions of Mint (Cinnamon or Mate). I know some people have issues with video drivers in Cinnamon, but aside from some tearing of full screen video LMDE 2 Cinnamon is rock solid for me & proves that versions of Mint can & in fact do exist without Ubuntu.
102 • Jessie's (inconsistent) reviews (by Moldo on 2016-07-13 21:18:44 GMT from Europe)
This is what Jessie says in this DWW (issue 669)
>>On its own, Mint 18 impressed me with its ease of use, array of software, media support and friendly utilities. However, where I think Mint really shines is when we compare Mint to its parent. Mint and Ubuntu mostly use the same packages and both strive to provide friendly desktop environments. When Ubuntu 16.04 launched a few months ago I tried it and found the desktop regularly crashed, the software manager would lock-up, Ubuntu failed to integrate with VirtualBox and the desktop was incredibly slow to respond. While Mint shares a lot of software with its parent, the Mint developers have managed to avoid all of the problems I encountered with Ubuntu and I was very pleased with this. <<
This is what the guy said in DWW issue 659, just 10 weeks ago.
>>After downloading the 1.4 GB ISO and copying it to a USB flash drive, I rebooted my computer and started Ubuntu 16.04 from the flash drive. I have to admit, I was extremely impressed by how quickly it started up. Even though I was using a fairly slow USB 2.0 drive, I had a fully working desktop ready to use in slightly less time than it takes for Fedora 23 to boot off the laptop's hard drive. The system was very responsive and used approximately 460MB of RAM with no applications running.
Convinced that the distribution did not have any issues with my hardware, I installed Ubuntu 16.04 on my hard drive. The experience was exactly what I have come to expect from any distribution that uses the Ubiquity installer. The installation process is straight forward and easy to understand.
Ubuntu 16.04 is a very nice release. It will be supported until 2021, so it is an excellent choice for users looking for a desktop focused distribution with long term support. The constant update cycle on non-LTS Ubuntu releases and other distributions with short support windows can become tedious. Ubuntu 16.04 provides a nice remedy to constant distribution upgrades while still offering a pleasant and fully functional desktop experience. <<
I am not sure, whether to cry or laugh!
103 • What's in a name (MATE) (by cykodrone on 2016-07-13 22:04:58 GMT from North America)
@99, it's actually all caps and you're right, no accent mark, I researched it (because I have no frikkin life, lol).
104 • Inconsistent reviews? (by Jesse on 2016-07-13 22:05:16 GMT from North America)
@Moldo I think it is amazing you managed to quote so much of the Ubuntu 16.04 review without noticing I am not the person who wrote it. Joshua Allen Holm wrote the fine Ubuntu review you quoted (his name is printed at the top of the reivew) in Issue 659.
Unsurprisngly different people running different hardware running different experiments ended up with different opinions on the same distro.
105 • @97 (by Fronton on 2016-07-13 23:04:15 GMT from Europe)
Yes, it is! Absolutely. There no question about that and it has been showed in at least one post above.
Clem is the ONLY dev on ALL Mint editions. Just the KDE edition has Frederic Gaudet also.
> "It's had a fairly large team of developers, maintainers and testers for a long time now."
No, it has not. Look at https://linuxmint.com/teams.php. Where is "the large team"? :
Frederic Gaudet (France): KDE edition
Clement Lefebvre (France): All other edition
This is "the large team"?
The others are just " Local Communities Leaders" and "Forums Administrator".
Ok, there are testers for the ISOs but they makes nothing in development neither in building the ISO. They just test the work makes only by Clem.
Clem makes everything and nobody else.
But, hey, I didn't say Mint is bad! ;)
106 • @Moldo in post #102 (by Jordan on 2016-07-14 00:25:55 GMT from North America)
Moldo said, "I am not sure, whether to cry or laugh!"
Laugh. We are.
107 • @105, @102 (by Befuddled on 2016-07-14 01:30:53 GMT from Oceania)
@105 and others "bashing" Mint.. What exactly is the issue with "one man" leading the distro? You have heard of Slackware haven't you? Not many people involved in that distro where Patrick V is the BDFL and he pretty much controls things..
@102.. Good pickup on the inconsistencies.. NOT!
108 • Mint 18 Update (by Avinash on 2016-07-14 02:38:36 GMT from Europe)
I have noticed that Level 3 updates in Mint 18, cause breaking of system. Avoid Level 3 updates if you are updating system.
109 • Antix 16 and systemd (by Gary W on 2016-07-14 06:11:49 GMT from Oceania)
@80 re Antix: I did a trial install of Antix 16 and specified the "testing" repos, which worked OK (and an impressive distro it is), but when I tried to install "task-xfce-desktop", I found that had a dependency on "light-sabre" (not really, I forget exactly), which in turn depended on the dreaded "libsystemd0".
The Antix people have done a marvellous job dodging systemd, and including many other niceties, in their "stable" branch, but I suggest "testing" needs a bit of work. I will make a report in the forum some time soon.
110 • @109 Antix 16, MX15, systemd (by Hoos on 2016-07-14 07:57:08 GMT from Asia)
If you prefer the XFCE desktop, why not install MX-15 directly instead of installing antiX and then adding XFCE desktop manually?
MX is antiX's "sister" distro, developed by antiX's developers and people from Mepis' forum community. It is essentially XFCE built on top of the antiX Debian Jessie base, plus it includes some very useful GUI tools/utilities, unique to MX, which make various tasks a whole lot easier.
MX also does not use systemd as init.
111 • @ 34 • Difference of opinion - Jesse (by rexit on 2016-07-14 11:18:32 GMT from Europe)
I haven't seen any comments or criticism by Dedoimedo about your reviews in his web site, have you?
112 • Dedoimedo (by Jesse on 2016-07-14 11:35:07 GMT from North America)
>> "I haven't seen any comments or criticism by Dedoimedo about your reviews in his web site, have you?"
No, I have not. and you will not find me criticing their reviews here. That would be pointless. Please note, above when I pointed out we have different review processes and get different results, I was not making a criticism, I was making an observation. People were wondering why our conclusions are so different (much as someone was wondering why Joshua Holm and I have such different conclusions). The answer in both cases is different people with different equipment using different approaches will almost always make different observations.
When I point out Dedoimedo and I almost always come to different conclusions on the same distro, it's not to suggest one is more valid than the other. We simply have different opinions and different ways of forming them.
113 • respect - or lack thereof? (by watchingyou on 2016-07-14 11:42:31 GMT from Europe)
Perhaps the comments were deleted because they don't showcase different opinions (plenty of those around) but a lack of respect towards either the reviewers or the distro being reviewed.
A lot of the Mint-bashing above reminds me of the attitude that used to be shown versus Ubuntu, before Mint became so popular. Small minds apparently can't accept that the product of their "gods" (e.g. Debian) could be improved for everyday users.
How dare they (the Mint or Ubuntu devs) produce something that allows non-technical users a hassle-free experience?
I have noticed similar "opinions" about Manjaro (which does somthing similar for Arch), but much less often. Perhaps Arch users feel more secure, personality-wise.
114 • @112 (by Moldo on 2016-07-14 11:54:33 GMT from Europe)
>>People were wondering why our conclusions are so different (much as someone was wondering why Joshua Holm and I have such different conclusions).<<
The name of the reviewer is in brackets, meaning the review is Distrowatch's. No one is going to read the "review" as someone's private review, but Distrowatch's. That's all.
115 • Reviews (by Jesse on 2016-07-14 12:07:00 GMT from North America)
>> "The name of the reviewer is in brackets, meaning the review is Distrowatch's."
That is not how articles work, here or in almost any other publication. The reviews we publish are the work and opinion of the writer, not a single entity. Just like opinion articles in newspapers or op-eds do not represent the views of the publisher in traditional print media. It would be pretty boring if I only edited and published articles that I agreed with 100%. The opinions expressed by writers are their own, not DistroWatch's. The options of other writers are not mine.
116 • Neon and self-contained apps (by OstroL on 2016-07-14 12:41:00 GMT from Europe)
Here is something interesting.
In a way, bit of a review. I had downloaded Neon-devunstable. Its based on Xenial and it is quite stable. I wanted to find out two things; what would be the memory consumption in idle state and how well it'd work with self-contained gtk apps. Idle memory use was 340MB. being KDE, it is not at all heavy on memory. All my self-contained apps worked very well in it. They opened up even faster than in my Openbox-Xenial (and Yakkety) systems.
Every app installed in Neon also worked very well and were snappy. Other than that, Neon is really pretty!
117 • @115 A question to Jessie on Distrowatch reviews (by Alex on 2016-07-14 15:12:27 GMT from Europe)
>>That is not how articles work, here or in almost any other publication. The reviews we publish are the work and opinion of the writer, not a single entity.
The opinions expressed by writers are their own, not DistroWatch's.<<
A question to you Jessie. If the review is signed by you, or your name is there, do we have to consider that the review of a distro is yours and yours only?
118 • Reviews (by Jesse on 2016-07-14 17:03:58 GMT from North America)
>> "A question to you Jessie. If the review is signed by you, or your name is there, do we have to consider that the review of a distro is yours and yours only?"
The opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and mine only. The observations and opinions I write are not necessarily shared by anyone else, including other contributors of DistroWatch. I feel this should go without saying as it is true of articles in almost every publication.
119 • self contained apps & Linux users (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-14 19:14:17 GMT from North America)
Self contained apps may be a great thing for some people. It may also be an excellent way to handle applications at the user level, but it makes little sense, to me at least, to run self contained applications on a full distro. First, the apps aren't vetted by the distribution. Second, the self contained app is duplicating libraries and wasting drive space. This could really add up with multiple users on the same system.
Perhaps OstroL would like to test his programs on a very minimal system such as CoreOS. I don't mean simply running them, but actually using the system as the primary OS for a while. Of course, problems may develop if the user doesn't have access to the tools to extend the environment including the addition of hardware or ability to repair a failing file system.
I think a number of people are forgetting that Linux is first and foremost a multi-user operating system that must function on a variety of hardware and for many purposes. This places restrictions on the environment such as security concerns, the ability to keep other people from accessing files and so forth.
120 • @199 and @ Jessie (by OstroL on 2016-07-14 21:25:06 GMT from Europe)
These are not my apps, but apps created from Probono’s ideas. You’d be surprised to find out how little such “libraries” come inside the self-contained app. I don’t run them on a full distro, but a minimal distro(s) created off the Ubuntu (and Debian) base. Xorg, Openbox, Tint2, Thunar and few helper apps. I can make a spartan Arch, or Gentoo system the same way. My system is practically a core os. The apps made the Probono way works in any Linux system. The CoreOS you mentioned doesn't fit the bill.
Actually KDE Neon feels very very nice. It is is fast and resource-friendly for a KDE centric distribution. It is spartan, so if you don’t need any “extra” services, you don’t have to install them. No other KDE based distro would be able to match Neon as they would always have older Plasma and non-matching Qt. Interestingly, all other KDE based distros would have to run after it, as it would always have the newest system.
Maybe, Jessie would like to make review of it. If I remember correctly, Jessie uses KDE distros.
121 • @120 (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-14 22:50:22 GMT from North America)
" My system is practically a core os. The apps made the Probono way works in any Linux system. The CoreOS you mentioned doesn't fit the bill."
Then the idea you keep on about doesn't live up to the expectations that you claim.
122 • @120 (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-14 22:53:10 GMT from North America)
Perhaps I should have been a bit more careful about the name. I actually meant Tiny Core which is a very minimal Linux distro.
123 • 32-Bit Should Be Arbitrary-Bit (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2016-07-15 01:35:23 GMT from North America)
While 32-bit processors are still sold, and millions remain in use, not to mention multicores with the innards, this weird Linux "debate" about "moving forward" and/or "the support burden" is completely misguided.
A "support burden" means you're doing something wrong. The correct software engineering design is to abstract the processor with LLVM.org and YEPPP.info as FreeBSD and Apple have done. Leverage third-party back-ends and stop Doing It Yourself.
124 • Antix 16 (by GaryW on 2016-07-15 03:12:10 GMT from Oceania)
@110: yes, that is a good idea, and I have MX on a test machine on my desk (32-bit if that matters). Of course there is not (yet) MX-16, so Antix 16 must be better, right?
However, on my MX system I see this:
# dpkg --get-selections |grep -i systemd
...doesn't look like no-systemd to me.
But wait! I also see this:
# systemctl list-units
Failed to get D-Bus connection: Unknown error -1
It looks like the installed parts of systemd are incomplete or buggy. Which is a major reason why people want to avoid systemd in the first place.
I have no bone to pick with the Antix team; I use and like Antix 15 and I'm carefully evaluating Antix 16. I like MX as well; I'm posting from it now. But to say "doesn't use systemd" is a bit of a stretch.
125 • @124 - MX-15 (by Hoos on 2016-07-15 04:15:28 GMT from Asia)
If you read my statement in the previous post carefully, I said that MX did not USE systemd for the init system, not that it does not HAVE any systemd-related packages.
If you check the grub boot menu page, the default option is to boot with sysvinit, but there is also an option under "Advanced" to boot with systemd if you choose.
IIRC however, you cannot boot with systemd without first installing or setting up some other packages.
The default init system is still sysvinit.
126 • @121 and 122 (by OstroL on 2016-07-15 07:33:35 GMT from Europe)
These thoughts were born in Probono's mind. I just found them few days ago and using them with success. Please go here http://appimage.org/ and listen to his narration. The video is in the middle of the website.
127 • @124 systemd (by linuxista on 2016-07-15 07:38:28 GMT from North America)
"It looks like the installed parts of systemd are incomplete or buggy. Which is a major reason why people want to avoid systemd in the first place."
Systemd works great. Most of the problems people have with it are ideological.
128 • @126 @127 (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-15 16:20:08 GMT from North America)
@126 I recall when app images were first announced. Lack of knowledge is not the issue. Fully packaged programs are a security issue even when placed in the user directory. The system administrator can have no way of knowing exactly what the app will do. A malicious user or other person can overwrite files. If the program gets root access, then the destruction can ruin the whole file system. This may not be as big of an issue on a single user system, but it is still a major consideration for those concerned about security. Keep in mind that anyone with Internet access should be concerned with security.
@127 systemd has at least 1 flaw on the systems I use it on. If the power fails for any reason, one or more drives will have errors when starting up. This may not be the init system's fault, but systemd can take up to five extra minutes for startup, assuming it doesn't fail. Whenever a drive problem occurred with the older init, the problem required a fix instead of trying to launch other things and then failing.
129 • @ 128 (by OstroL on 2016-07-15 19:40:40 GMT from Europe)
Tell us how my self-created self-contained app could be a "security" issue to me. Tell us how anyone can get into my self-created, self-contained app, even if it is a web browser. I have gone through all types of self contained apps available at the moment, Flatpak, Snaps, Orbital and so on. You have to fathom the idea and then create it yourself, not only for education, but also for fun.
Ideas behind AppImages and Orbital apps are very interesting. In time to come, Linux distros would move to self-contained apps. Most of know about Krita or Scribus and use them. You can find ready made self-contained apps of them in their websites.
Regarding self-contained Firefox 47, I can use it for few days in one distro, change a lot in themes etc, and then copy it to another distro, and when I start it there, that app is just the way I created it at first, nothing from the other distro comes with it. It is always in the pristine state.
Btw, my laptop would always be a single user laptop. I am my own administrator.
130 • antiX MX-15 non systemd (by Jordan on 2016-07-15 21:07:50 GMT from North America)
It's just nice to see another distro going the non systsemd route for linux users. Whether systemd provokes "ideological" issues or not, or has some inferiority in function, I just don't know or care very much.
I just like choices. That is what brought me to linux in the first place.
131 • @128, @130 systemd (by linuxista on 2016-07-15 21:51:53 GMT from North America)
@128 I've never had any sort of issues with drives with errors after power outage, and I've been using systemd on arch since 2012. Maybe you use Debian or Ubuntu's recent implementation of systemd or maybe it's something else
@130 Diversity and choices are fine. But spreading misinfo like systemd is incomplete and buggy doesn't advance that end. Just as I would be remiss if I made baseless statements to that effect about openrc/sysVinit.
132 • Self-contained apps on Puppy too (by OstroL on 2016-07-15 22:06:37 GMT from Europe)
A positive info to end the day. Just tried my self-contained apps in Slacko 64, a Puppy linux distro. Worked very well, and very snappy too. (Only one app needed an extra library for Puppy.)
The Apps that were created on a lean Ubuntu based Openbox distro worked in Debian, Manjaro (meaning Arch), Mageia, Fedora and Puppy (on Slackware). I am very happy. For the first time, I don't have to install the same app in different type of distros, but use one that was made once.
133 • 132 • Self-contained apps (by OstroL) (by Somewhat Reticent on 2016-07-16 14:54:04 GMT from North America)
Appreciate your report. Perhaps you could write up your experience, and post it somewhere?
One concern mentioned recently is isolation for security. Was this also addressed? For example, using FireJail?
134 • @133 (by OstroL on 2016-07-16 16:50:42 GMT from Europe)
Like I wrote earlier, when I start the self-contained app living in my home folder in Ubuntu minimal from another distro (Debian, Manjaro, Mageia, Solus, Fedora, Puppy Slacko, KDE Neon etc) its starts in its pristine state. It doesn’t have anything I have in that Ubuntu partition, or anything from my home folder there.
I boot a live distro from a usb stick, mount my Ubuntu partition, go to my home folder there and click on the self-contained app, it starts as a new application without anything I had configured there. I boot back into that Ubuntu system, click on the app, I have all I had configured etc. If it is Libreoffice, I have all my docs shown there, but from the live iso, nothing comes in, Libreoffice starts in its pristine state.
I created them from Probono’s ideas at AppImage. I used his scripts. Thought a little bit and changed a bit in some. Best is to listen to what he says and read what he had done. Also, sometime ago Joanna Rutkowska started Qubes, stating more or less the same thing.
I was interested in snaps, when it arrived, but later lost interest. I didn’t want to install something to install something else. AppImages are more freer method. Maybe, you should check Orbital Apps too.
135 • 22 • 32 bit distros, time to go... (by 32bit user on 2016-07-16 19:36:07 GMT from North America)
"Anyone using 16 bit computers still?"
Yes, take for example http://www.megaprocessor.com/ and then clicking on "Vital Statistics"
136 • @ 133 and others (by OstroL on 2016-07-16 21:11:13 GMT from Europe)
Here’s some more info on using Firefox self-contained app. Its about the security question asked by some of you. I have four different Linux systems installed. None of them have Firefox installed. If there were, I uninstalled it. I called Firefox self-contained app living in my Ubuntu minimum’s home folder from each of these systems and opened different webpages. In preferences I let Firefox remember webpages.
In each system, Firefox remembered only those webpages I opened in that system, not the ones I opened in my base system and in any other systems. All the time using the same app from the same place. In all systems, it remembered whatever configs I made in that given system. For example, if I asked Firefox to remember webpages I opened, it remembered, and if I cleaned up the history etc, then came back to that system, it opened that self-contained Firefox app as newly started one.
If you guys would try this out by yourself, you’d understand what I say. That’s the only way to see this for yourself.
137 • clarity (by brent on 2016-07-17 02:10:26 GMT from North America)
> ...doesn't look like no-systemd to me.
in MX, systemd is available, but is not used by default. Don't take my word for it (or anyone else's); use the "htop" command and check the running processes.
> It looks like the installed parts of systemd are incomplete or buggy.
> But to say "doesn't use systemd" is a bit of a stretch.
Howabout "shimmed" and, miraculously (I see no other distro offering this) it works fine -- I've successfully used the MX systemd grub entry as well as the sysvinit grub entry.
> of course there is not (yet) MX-16, so Antix 16 must be better, right?
I multiboot and have both MX15 and antiX16 installed. I would not proclaim that one is "better" than the other. They are DIFFERENT. Antix has less eyecandy, boots in 8-10seconds, low memory overhead (under 90Mb at start of a fluxbox session), a pinning policy which blocks installation of systemd -related packages, and its preinstalled GUI programs are primarily GTK2. That's out of the box specs; you're free to unpin *systemd* and to add compiz, KDE, xfce. By the way, xfce is easily added (as is mate-desktop, I've added both for testing) it's like a 90second operation, logout and the new WM is immediately detected by SLiM login manager and you can immediately login to a session in the newly-installed WM.
If someone asks "Why choose MX instead of antiX?", I can't answer/recommend. I suggest evaluating both & see whether one knocks yer socks off moreso than the other. They share the same liveboot + persistence utilities, best I've encountered in ANY distro (and I test boot a LOT of distros).
138 • extra details (by brent on 2016-07-17 03:27:48 GMT from North America)
Because mate-session-manager in debian jessie repo depends on systemd, to install "mate-desktop-environment" into antiX 16, you must remove (can be temporary) the apt preferences pin so that the 88kb "libsystemd0" shim can be installed.
sudo apt install libsystemd0 && apt install mate-desktop-environment
Immediately after the mate installation, you can restore the apt pin. Logout, then use the "F1" key at the SLiM login screen to chose "Mate"... and Bob's your uncle.
139 • @107 (by Fronton on 2016-07-17 14:32:54 GMT from Europe)
"Bashing Mint"??? Never! I, and others, just showed a fact. Period.
This has nothing to do with the quality of the distro. Oh and I have never said Mint is bad.;)
140 • late to the party (by Tim Dowd on 2016-07-17 16:38:43 GMT from North America)
I don't have much to contribute to the conversation because I don't know who develops Mint, but I hope LMDE stays afloat as a project. I typically run Debian Testing but in the middle of a cross country move I bought a laptop with one of the more pain in the butt wireless cards (Realtek 8188EE) and I didn't have time to tweak Debian and Ubuntu 16.04 and its derivatives didn't play nice with it. It was nice having the "just works" Mint experience on top of Debian stable and then having access to the jessie-backports repo.
As for the 32 bit issue, I'm torn. My last 32 bit computer is now running FreeBSD and is a server. It was in desktop use until the middle of 2015. It is a perfectly good computer, but the web changed for the worse. Modern websites are memory and processor hogs, and sometime in early 2015 it started to really overwhelm the poor thing. For regular desktop use but no web it would still be great, but if it's just doing desktop work with no web I'd just say unplug it from the network and keep what you're using if all distros drop support for it. I just can't see Debian doing that though, which is why I love Debian.
For day to day desktop tasks I do think it's important to have LibreOffice5. It was a gamechanger for me in terms of Linux on the desktop- I haven't needed a Windows computer since.
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