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LinuxMint 15 delivers smooth alternative to Ubuntu

Tom Henderson | Aug. 6, 2013
Mint offers three versions, including a rolling update option targeted at developers.

It worked on EFI boot, handily replacing or sitting as a dualboot with a Windows 8 installation. It could also squeeze Windows 7 or 8 into a smaller size, and make then use its own partition, meaning dualboot through the famous Grub2 bootloader.

We were offered five partitions in this way, primary boots for LinuxMint 15 and Windows, recovery partitions for each, and also the Lenovo supplied wipe-it-all-back-to-factory partition, as well as two boot-time memtests. If you ignore it, it simply boots the first OS, in this case, LinuxMint.

We warn here that our Lenovo notebooks did all of the partitioning and installation using BIOS, rather than UEFI, as the Lenovo notebooks were supplied this way. If Windows 7 or 8 is supplied under UEFI settings, these must be turned off, currently. Hacks are available for some machines that have Windows UEFI boots that can allow altered system boots, but these seem to be on a machine-specific, BIOS-by-BIOS alteration.

While we applaud UEFI's master boot record/MBR isolation, we decry its implementation and difficulty for non-Windows systems integration.

LinuxMint still follows Ubuntu's underpinnings, which logs users as non-root sessions, with the initial user's password as the root password. We could envision an exploit coming one day that will pop through user-space this way; root and user need different passwords.

LinuxMint Developer Edition (LMDE)

The Debian community has traditionally not been poised towards civilian support, but LinuxMint 15 LMDE puts both adequate "clothing" and shoes onto Debian in a way that bridges the easy GUI, apps, and components of LinuxMint with Debian's more teutonic underpinnings.

This edition gets new code once a week, or more frequently, but is also of the testing rather than stable branch of code. It might be more stable more quickly, or perhaps not, but a Debian strength is (traditionally) very good QA.

What won't happen currently for LMDE users is support for EFI, or some modern BIOS. This means that installing LMDE might require older hardware, disabled BIOS settings, and might cause certain SSD schemes and combinations to not work — but not be damaged in the attempt. GPT partitioned drives can be used — if wiped first.

Unlike the mainstream version of Olivia, LMDE has older versions of Cinnamon and Mint. Although LinuxMint is underpinned by Ubuntu apps, libraries, and configurations, LMDE is not, and so app sources aren't as easily obtainable. It looks like LinuxMint. It quacks like LinuxMint. It is Debian like Olivia, but it lacks the Ubuntu guts.

Why would one use such a thing? Because it's clean and bereft of the add-ons Ubuntu uses as manifested by Olivia and other prior LinuxMint editions. It's in a way, like Xfde — a distro that now wears LinuxMint apparel. Developers have a new baseline. Debian distribution fans have a distribution with unified pre-built apparel.  


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