I started this blog in 2010 but only really started in earnest in 2012. One of my first reviews was Linux Mint 12.
In this short article I am looking back over the past 6 years of reviews, highlighting points I made in each review and taking you on a nostalgic road of Linux Mint and Everyday Linux User history.
Linux Mint 12
February 21st, 2012
I was inspired to start my blog for 2 reasons. The first reason was due to my awful memory. I used my blog in the initial stages to write user guides that I could follow whenever I got stuck. I could be assured that if I needed help I could start by helping myself.
The second reason was that I followed other blogs such as Linux Notes From Dark Duck and Dedoimedo. Dmitry (Dark Duck) was writing reviews based on the live versions of the distributions and I thought that I could add my own views based on the actual installs and so that is what I started doing.
In the beginning most of my reviews were pure text with no images and it was more of an opinion rather than actually displaying any of the features of the operating system which I try and do now.
I started the Linux Mint 12 review by stating why I was using it which was mainly because I had a spare laptop due to my son getting a new laptop for Christmas. I used the old laptop to do my review and this machine had Windows Vista. In my review I marvelled at my son’s 3 gigabytes of RAM as I was stuck with just 1.
In my review I noted that the installation had gone horribly wrong and that I had been left with a Grub installation error. Back in the day these were relatively common but nowadays they are almost unheard of.
The GNOME desktop on offer didn’t really pan out too well with funny characters all over the screen. I was forced to resort back to using Mate. The panel editing system didn’t work properly and I was left unable to use the system properly and so reverted back to desktop number 3 which was GNOME classic.
It is interesting to note that I mentioned that Firefox was the default browser and therefore I instantly swapped it out for Chrome. It is nice to know that some things never change.
Linux Mint 13 – Mate
August 26th, 2012
On August 26th I wrote a review about Linux Mint 13 Mate and I opened the article by stating that I hadn’t been impressed with version 12 but I was intrigued why everybody else thought it was wonderful.
In the review I found the installation a breeze and all of the problems that I experienced in the Linux Mint 12 review has been fixed.
The menu is fairly interesting as it takes up most of the screen. Operating systems don’t do that anymore do they? Unless you count Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 of course. I don’t. I don’t like to count them as anything at all.
The rest of the review makes note that the internet works, youtube works, audio works and pretty much everything worked.
Basically Linux Mint went from zero to hero in 6 months.
Linux Mint 13 – Cinnamon
August 29th, 2012
August the 29th is my sister’s birthday. She would have been 40. What did I do to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday? I wrote a review of Linux Mint 13 with the Cinnamon desktop. What more could a girl want?
By now I had started including images into my reviews and there was more information about the distribution rather than just opinion.
Do you remember when the best tool for creating Linux USB drives was Unetbootin? It used to be the go to tool but it has since been usurped by first Win32 disk imager and more recently Etcher.
There was an issue with the default theme in Linux Mint 13 – Cinnamon that prevented the bottom panel from displaying. I got around this by choosing a different theme.
What I would say after reading this review is that Cinnamon hasn’t changed all that much, there are no dramatic u-turns, just continuous progressive improvements.
For many years the default audio player was Banshee but in the latest release it appears to be Rhythmbox which I actually prefer. In a continuing theme I yet again mentioned that I preferred Chrome over Firefox, something that hasn’t changed in 6 years and apparently I am going to keep saying it, in each and every review.
During the review I highlighted the Expo feature which allows you to move around workspaces by pressing various key combinations. For instance CTRL, ALT and the up arrow shows all of your workspaces, CTRL, ALT and the left or right arrow lets you switch workspaces and holding down the shift key with CTRL, ALT and the left of right arrow moves your current application to the selected workspace. These keyboard shortcuts still work.
I also highlighted the applets that you can add to the panels within Cinnamon. I can honestly say that I have never really utilised any of the applets that aren’t there by default.
Linux Mint 15 – XFCE
July 25th, 2013
I skipped Linux Mint 14 entirely and the next review was for Linux Mint 15 XFCE edition.
I went through a phase where I really loved XFCE and I still do to a certain extent but I also like shiny things so GNOME and Cinnamon appeal to me a little bit more.
I actually stumbled across the XFCE version whilst looking to try out Linux Mint Debian Edition. Interestingly enough I still haven’t tried out the Debian Edition and we are 5 years on.
A word I like to use to describe Linux Mint is consistency and in this review I used this word to describe how all of the different versions have the same look and feel. The desktops may be different and the tools different but the look and feel and general usage is the same.
When you use the XFCE desktop environment it is better if you use multiple panels (in my opinion) but Linux Mint always sticks with the one panel approach and in my review I said that it is better to have a top panel and then a docking style panel at the bottom, the way Xubuntu has it.
This is the first review that I mentioned Firefox without mentioning my preference of Chrome.
Linux Mint 16 – Mate
May 19th, 2014
It was a long time before I realised that you didn’t pronounce Mate, mate (as in friend, m8). It is actually pronounced Ma-tay.
I was a bit late to the table for Linux Mint 16 as Linux Mint 17 was only a month away from being released when I wrote the review.
As an experiment to show how easy Linux Mint is to install on a laptop I gave my son (who was 12 at the time) a set of instructions and let him loose. 20 minutes later, the operating system was installed and he was browsing pages on the internet.
This review was targeting Windows users who wanted a similar experience to Windows 7 as opposed to upgrading to Windows 8. I noted the familiar look and feel and the consistency between each version of Linux Mint.
Bizarrely in the review I announced that Thunderbird was a great email client and one of the best not just for Linux but for all operating systems. My view on that has changed. I much prefer to use Evolution.
This was the first Linux Mint review where I made mention of the Steam client. Steam has helped Linux in the past few years make significant strides. At first I was sceptical because it felt bloated and most of the games only worked for Windows but with the introduction of Steam Play my view of Steam has done a full 360. It is great.
Linux Mint 17 – Cinnamon
July 19th, 2014
The tag line for my Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon review was “The ultimate Windows 7 replacement”.
In this review I stated that Windows 8 users would probably prefer to switch to Ubuntu but people using Windows 7 would probably prefer Linux Mint, although I plugged Zorin as an excellent replacement as well.
This is the first Linux Mint review where I show you how to install Linux Mint and it also includes links to various other tutorials for installing within a virtual machine or as a dual boot system alongside Windows 7, Windows 8 and even OSX.
In the review I highlighted how good Ubuntu’s Unity desktop now looked (whatever happened to that?) and I used the word consistency again to describe the look and feel of Linux Mint.
I noted in this review that Linux has an astoundingly good selection of audio applications, including Banshee, Rhythmbox, Amarok, GMusicBrowser, Clementine, Deadbeef, Noise and QMMS.
Gaming was also a big part of this particular review. I highlighted the use of Linux games within the repositories, games emulation and of course PlayOnLinux where I showed off Sensible Soccer. I also highlighted Steam.
The Linux Mint 17 review is much longer than any of the proceeding reviews and it includes details about customisation, new features, hot corners and issues.
Linux Mint 17.1 – Cinnamon
February 2, 2015
By this point Linux Mint was based off the Ubuntu LTS releases and therefore the numbers were only going up by minor revision numbers such as 17.1, 17.2, 17.3 etc.
As you can see, I started playing around with widgets in 17.1.
Apparently in Linux Mint 17.1 the login screen had background images that changed whilst waiting for you to login. I don’t know if that is still a feature or not because I tend to log in quite quickly.
Much of the review is similar to the Linux Mint 17 one shown above but I did note that the Flash player was out of date and so every time you loaded a page which required Flash an annoying message popped up. I am so glad that Flash isn’t a big deal anymore.
I tried to start a chant to kill Flash off:
It didn’t work…… or did it? Flash really is dead after all isn’t it?
The applications haven’t changed much over the years. Firefox, GIMP, LibreOffice, Banshee, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Hexchat etc.
Linux Mint 17.3 – Cinnamon
December 29th, 2015
I only wrote a review of Linux Mint 17.3 because Chakra bombed so badly on my laptop that I needed something dependable to get me back up and running.
Linux Mint is dependable and you know it is going to work.
I started off this review by highlighting all the new features of Linux Mint 17.3 including the sound applet which is why you can see Chas and Dave’s greatest hits highlighted in the screenshot. Other than the sound applet changes there were Update Manager amendments including the way notifications are displayed to make them stand out more.
The new features takes up half of the review and by the time I get to the meat and bones there isn’t much different to the previous review. The applications are the same, the tooling is the same, customisation is the same, it is all very consistent.
I did highlight the fact that you can crash Linux Mint 17.3….. it was a bit of a cracker joke as it was near Christmas time. Just look at these instructions for killing Linux Mint.
Linux Mint 18 – Cinnamon
July 16th, 2016
By July 2016 Linux Mint is beginning to look phenomenal. The black background and theming makes it really stand out and much of that still exists in Linux Mint 19.
The great thing about Linux Mint 18 is that it was now up to date again with Ubuntu. The issue with the way Linux Mint works is that it sticks to the Ubuntu LTS release which means software can be fairly out of date after 2 years.
Linux Mint 18 introduced Windows snapping and it also introduced x-apps which make a whole host of commonly used applications work well no matter which environment you install them in.
In my review I state how modern Linux Mint looks. To be fair, even now in 2018 it looks pretty good.
The applications in general haven’t changed with the usual Thunderbird, Firefox, Gimp, LibreOffice combination.
I also took a sideswipe at Ubuntu for the fact that the Ubuntu Software Manager was hopeless. You couldn’t find anything. In Linux Mint you could search for Steam and Steam would be there, you could search for Skype and Dropbox and they would appear. The only thing missing was Chrome.
Back in 2016 I was having issues with Wifi as the Lenovo Ideapad I was using (and I still am) needed a little bit of terminal surgery to make it work. Fortunately those days are gone.
Linux Mint 19 – Cinnamon
September 19th, 2018
Obviously 6 years of writing about Linux Mint doesn’t just stop at reviews. Ironically I was once criticised by Linux Luddites on the Mintcast podcast. The term used was:
“This guy, Gary Newell, seems to live in a parallel universe where Linux Mint doesn’t exist”
If anything this is the blog for all things Linux Mint.
If you like Linux Mint and you want more minty content, contact me via twitter @dailylinuxuser and tell me what you want to read about.
Thank you for reading