The MATE desktop used with the Linux Mint 12 distribution works a million times better than when the packages are installed on the Ubuntu distribution. The fork of the Gnome 2 code is a perfect alternative to any other desktop. The Gnome Shell desktop that is the main interface of Linux Mint 12 works perfectly well with the extensions available on extensions.gnome.org but I prefer MATE for ease of customization, you do not need to install third-party applications such as the Gnome Tweak Tool or MyUnity to customize settings that should be available under the System Settings window. That is a major failure of modern Linux “desktops” They just want to create something to emulate a touch tablet interface, but the Linux Mint 12 interface is just strange looking. But with a little tweaking it will be just fine. I had problems with the HDMI sound on my Linux Mint 12 system, I installed all of the updates with sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade and then installed a vanilla kernel from kernel.org, version 3.2.9 and now the system is working just fine. I set up the kernel as a PREEMPT kernel with low latency settings and I am using MATE of course, the Gnome 2 desktop should never die. http://www.securitronlinux.com/bejiitaswrath/mate-gnome-2-desktop-on-ubuntu-12-04/ This posting shows the good points of the MATE desktop and the classic look it has, you may use any of the countless themes off gnome-look.org, and there are some awesome themes there too. The Debian distribution has the Gnome Shell desktop, but I am not the biggest fan of that anymore.
Building a vanilla kernel on Linux Mint was easy, I did not need to build a *.deb package, so I unpacked the source tarball with the tar -jxvf linux-3.2.9.tar.bz2 command, then I entered the folder created, and then the rest of the sequence is easy.
~$ make mrproper ~$ make -j4 && make modules ~$ sudo make modules_install ~$ sudo make install
The make install command on Linux Mint 12 will install the kernel image, and the related files as well as building the Initial Ramdisk image that is needed to boot the kernel. This worked very well and I re-booted and this kernel image was the default on boot. I build all of my file-system drivers into the kernel instead of building them as modules, this seems to work very well whenever I build a Linux kernel. After all of this, type: make clean prepare in the source folder, exempli gratia ~/Linux-3.2.9 and then copy or move the whole source folder over to /usr/src. I have installed the 3.2.9 kernel, so my /usr/src/ folder looks like the example below. This way, you will be able to compile kernel drivers, such as virtualbox modules against the running kernel.
[email protected] /usr/src $ ls -hula total 24K drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 4.0K 2012-03-07 21:31 . drwxr-xr-x 11 root root 4.0K 2012-03-07 19:44 .. drwxrwxr-x 24 gordon gordon 4.0K 2012-03-07 19:44 linux-3.2.9 drwxr-xr-x 24 root root 4.0K 2011-10-13 01:29 linux-headers-3.0.0-12 drwxr-xr-x 7 root root 4.0K 2011-10-13 01:29 linux-headers-3.0.0-12-generic lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 2012-03-07 19:48 linux-headers-3.2.9 -> /usr/src/linux-3.2.9 drwxr-xr-x 7 root root 4.0K 2012-03-07 17:48 virtualbox-guest-4.1.2 [email protected] /usr/src $