How can Mint Com be improved

Ubuntu improved again: Linux Mint 12 in the practical test

On Saturday the Linux Mint Project Version 12 (code name: Lisa) released its Linux distribution for download. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and is enjoying increasing popularity. At Distrowatch, Ubuntu and Linux Mint regularly fight for first place.

However, Distrowatch does not measure the number of downloads or users of a distribution, but only the average "hits per day" (HPD) on the respective websites at Distrowatch. Linux Mint calls itself number four of the most widely used operating systems after Windows, Mac OS X and Ubuntu.

Linux Mint 12 must not be confused with Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). Linux Mint 12 is based on Ubuntu 11.10. New versions appear almost exactly one month after a new Ubuntu is released, i.e. every May and November. Female first names are always used as code names.

LMDE, on the other hand, is a Debian-based "rolling" distribution that is constantly updated without a new version ever being released. The Debian testing branch is used as upstream and not the current release.

Linux Mint 12 is fully repository compatible with Ubuntu 11.10. Any package can be installed. This applies to packages from the Uni- and Multiverse as well as to PPAs. All software that is available for Ubuntu can also be used under Linux Mint.


Linux Mint can traditionally be installed by burning the downloaded ISO file to a DVD. Alternatively, you can use Pendrivelinux's Universal USB Installer to create a bootable USB stick. A stick with at least 2 GB is required for this.

Regardless of whether you boot from DVD or stick, you first end up in a live installation that you can try out at will without installing Linux Mint on the hard drive. If you make a bootable USB stick, you can even create an image file that can be used for permanent data storage.

If you want to install Mint on your hard drive, simply click on the CD symbol labeled "Install Linux Mint" on the desktop. The rest of the installation is essentially identical to Ubuntu and can also be mastered by beginners without any problems.

Mint can also be installed as a virtual machine. The free software VirtualBox from Oracle also works with the 3D acceleration that is required for the Gnome3 and Unity interfaces. The picture gallery above gives detailed instructions on how to install Mint with high performance and with 3D graphics under VirtualBox.

Orientation towards multimedia

Linux Mint was originally developed with the intention of getting full multimedia support immediately after installation without having to use Ubuntu Studio. After installation, DVDs or files in DIVX format can be played immediately without the user having to install anything. In addition, the user does not have to worry about installing Flash or Java first before he can use his new system.

The use of codecs for multimedia files is not without legal problems. For example, in countries that allow software patents, it is illegal to use the Library libdvdcss that plays copy-protected purchase DVDs. For this reason there is a DVD version with multimedia codecs and a CD version that does not contain the codecs. This CD may also be distributed in countries with software patent protection. Subsequent downloading of the codecs is possible without any problems.

Clement Lefebvre's Linux Mint team has also replaced some Ubuntu programs with their own, for example for software and update management and for backup. Since Ubuntu has now released user-friendly software for the functions mentioned, some of the Linux Mint variants have become obsolete.

The "Import" repository is particularly worth mentioning. Here you can find software packages that are not contained in the Ubuntu repositories. These include the Opera browser, Google Picasa and the 64-bit version of Adobe Flash. In the past, programs like Skype also belonged to this repository. The latter, however, has now found its way into the Ubuntu multiverse. So anyone who installs Linux Mint always has more software packages available than someone who only uses the standard Ubuntu repositories.

DuckDuckGo search engine

If you start the standard Firefox 8.0 browser, you may not be particularly pleased that you will receive results from the DuckDuckGo search engine when you type something into the search field. DuckDuckGo mainly uses results from Yahoo / Bing, but also brings in its own results using its own web crawler.

The default search engine in Firefox 8 is DuckDuckGo. Many users will want to change that.

A special feature is that DuckDuckGo pays attention to the data protection of the users. No IP addresses are logged and cookies are only used when absolutely necessary.

If you install Chromium from the repository, you get a Google search, but a version "branded" on Linux-Mint, which doesn't exactly convince with its optimal display.

If you want to use Google as the standard search engine, you have to switch the search engine manually. However, this is done in a few simple steps. Clement Lefebvre explains that he is forced to use a search engine that shares its revenue with him so that the Linux Mint project can be funded.

Chromium offers a Google search, but is 'branded' on Linux Mint.