[OT] The unexpected merits of Linux Mint, Mate Edition

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Aug 18 04:42:44 EDT 2016

I needed to have a laptop work in dual boot mode with Windows 10 pretty much
identically in respect of networking, that is, LAN if connected, WIFI if
not, and then 3G if not, automatically.  I just couldn't get WIFI with this
chip set to work on Debian despite installing the non-free drivers.  Very

Anyway, I thought why not try Mint with the MATE interface.  And its a

Ubuntu based of course, but we must not hold that against it.  After all the
idiotic nonsense of the new Gnome and KDE and the various fumblings through
tiling window managers that we've seen from Windows, here you have an up to
date re-implementation of Gnome 2.  It just gets out of the way and gives
you access to the apps.  It comes in a reasonably small footprint, it
installs in EFI mode with no issues.  It has a sensible collection of apps. 
For instance, it comes with external drive encryption already installed.  It
doesn't have the bloated Evolution or Kontact, and Claws-Mail is in the

Out of the box the default settings are all reasonable and the look and feel
is understated and sober, but quite attractive.  Mate is quite configurable
of course.

There appears to be another package manager in addition to Synaptic.  Maybe
it comes from Ubuntu?  Anyway, in an apparent concession to the modern Gnome
insanity it seems to have been designed with the aim of preventing anyone
finding the app they are looking to install, but never mind, as long as
Synaptic is available it doesn't hurt.

The only niggle that came up is that you need to manually install pmount to
have user write access to usb drives.  But apart from that, everything just
worked immediately, including an invitation to install the non-free drivers,
which then went in and worked.

I don't greatly care for the reliance on sudo, which means in effect that
you only have one password for both root and user access, and would prefer a
proper root account and password, but for the average end user its not a big
deal, and one can manually reset it to the traditional way.  Or what used to
be the traditional way.

MATE, if you have not tried it, is brilliant, and this is a nice
implementation of it in a distribution.


Anyway, well recommended.  This is an excellent package from a first class
team. Not quite enough to make one say, move to this and renounce Debian,
but a really worthy alternative.

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