Thoughts on Linux Mint 13 and Unity.

The Linux Mint 13 distribution will have a nicer desktop interface than the Ubuntu distribution that goes without saying; I have just loaded up Linux Mint 12 for a quick look at the Cinnamon desktop and it is very nice to use indeed, the hotspot at the top left of the screen that is very similar to the Gnome 3 hotspot is one very annoying feature. It is useful sometimes, but the bottom panel is useful for switching amongst your running applications just like the Gnome 2 desktop. The idea of a task bar with buttons to switch between running applications goes right back to Windows ’95. I have used Windows since 3.0, Windows ’95 and ’98 were quite different when you were used to Windows 3.1 and its interface. Windows 3.0 and 3.1 were just a shell running on top of MS DOS, Windows ’95 and Windows ’98 had proper compatibility with older DOS games, but Windows XP did not include the same compatibility and therefore games like Doom2 would not run properly at all.

The Interface of Windows ’95 was different to the aforementioned Windows 3.1 look, there were applications such as Win32s that provided the ability to run Windows ’95 apps in Windows 3.1 as well as a Windows ’95 task bar for Windows 3.11. That was pretty cool to be honest. Now we have Windows 8 with the tiles Metro start menu. That can be customized and modified to suit the user, but I hope that the KDE or Gnome team do not implement this on Linux. Gnome 3 is just fine, even the vanilla Gnome 3 layout. Linux Mint has the MATE desktop which is a good analogue of the Gnome 2.32 desktop if you wish to use that instead of the hardware accelerated desktops like Cinnamon and Gnome 3. The main strength of Linux is the choice to use whatever desktop you wish. Even AwesomeWM or Fluxbox. You can install Unity on Linux Mint and use that, I have just done that with Synaptic and it is not too bad either. The three window buttons are still present and it does not have the retarded features of the Ubuntu Unity desktop.

Ubuntu in the future will ship on 5% of PC`s sold annually. This is quite a lot of computers when you factor in how many computers are sold worldwide and then you realize that 5% is actually a lot of potential Ubuntu Linux users. Pity they will be using the default Ubuntu Unity desktop and might not know how to switch to something better like KDE or Gnome Shell. The KDE 4.8.0 desktop is awesomely fast and the next version should be just as fast or faster. Ubuntu being a Linux distribution, is more secure and stable than Windows. I have heard that the 12.04 release has some bugs but it seems to have been fixed for the release that has taken place not long ago. There are a list of downloads here to get the Ubuntu 12.04 distribution.

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