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Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon review

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For a distribution based on Debian, the versions of applications installed by default and those available in the repository, are pretty close to or are the latest releases. For example, Firefox 11 is installed (the latest is Firefox 12). Opera 11.62 is in the repository, the same as the latest available for Linux, and the version of Chromium browser available is Chromium 17.

As on all Linux Mint editions, there are no games installed. There are, of course, several dozen available for installation in the repository. Installation can be from the command line using apt-get, or via the Software Manager, the same graphical interface to apt-get available on Ubuntu-based editions of Linux Mint. The problem with Software Manager, aside from the fact that it is slow in loading, is that true batch installation of applications is not supported, so that if you want to install more than one application, you will have to authenticate for each. That is the same problem with Software Center, the graphical package manager on Ubuntu, And that is why I prefer Deepin Software Center, the graphical package manager on Linux Deepin, another (desktop) distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop.

The main interface of Software Manager.
Linux Mint Debian Software Manager

Partial view of featured applications in Software Manager.
Linux Mint Debian Software Manager Featured Apps

Aside from Software Manager, Synaptic Package Manager is also installed. It is what I use if I want to install more than one application, as it does not require that you authenticate for each one. For installing .deb packages, GDebi is also installed, though, I think installing such applications using dpkg from the command line is a lot easier.

Almost every feature on Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon works out of the box. A connected printer with a compatible entry in the printer database is automatically configured. Adobe Flash plugin and Java JRE are installed. Libdvdcss, the library required for playing encrypted video DVD’s is also installed.

The only part that does not work as configured is removable media. The default setting is shown below. The problem is when an audio CD or video DVD is inserted, the window with a message that should ask you what to do, does not popup. What you get is an applet for the inserted removable media in the system tray.
Linux Mint Debian Removable Media Setting

Modifying the removable media setting to look like the one below works as configured.
Linux Mint Debian Removable Media Settings

On the security front, ufw, the command line frontend to IPTables, the firewall configuration application in Linux, is installed but inactive. Gufw, its graphical interface, is also installed, but that, of course, is not configured. This leaves a default installation of Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon wide open for network mapping. Running Nmap against it reveals its listening port, though only port 111 (rpcbind) shows up in the scan result. The firewall aside, none of the 3 application-level firewalls available in Linux is installed, though management applications for all three are in the repository. All this gives a default installation of Linux Mint Debian 201204 is a bad network security posture.

To sum, the only real negative about this distribution that is outside the control of end-users, is the installer. The firewall can be enabled and configured and missing applications can be installed, but the installer is a major drawback. If the developers could give it an installation program with most of the features available on Anaconda, the Fedora system installer, it could be in contention as one of the very best Linux distributions.

Resources: Download links for 32- and 64-bit editions of Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon are available here. Support questions may be posted on the projects forums.

Screen Shots: More screen shots from test installations of Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon.

The login screen.
Linux Mint Debian Login Screen MDM

The MATE desktop showing installed applications in the Internet menu category.
Linux Mint Debian MATE Menu

Applications view of MATE’s mintMenu
Linux Mint Debian MATE Office Apps

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11 Comments

  1. Lynn Munoz says:

    To install cinnamon on debian
    # echo deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main import backport upstream romeo >> /etc/apt/sources.list

    # apt-get install linuxmint-keyring

    # apt-get update

    # apt-get install cinnamon

    To install mate on debian
    Add one of MATE repositories to your source.list

    # nano /etc/apt/sources.list

    # main repository

    deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/debian wheezy main

    # mirrors

    deb http://packages.mate-desktop.org/repo/debian wheezy main

    deb http://mirror1.mate-desktop.org/debian wheezy main

    Install MATE on debian

    apt-get update

    apt-get install mate-archive-keyring

    apt-get update

    # Now to install MATE choose 1 of the 3 apt-get lines below.

    # this installs the base packages

    apt-get install mate-core

    # or this to install mate-core and more extras

    apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

    #or this to install mate-core + mate-desktop-environment and even more extras.

    apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extra

    source: http://namhuy.net/1085/install-gui-on-debian-7-wheezy.html

  2. Frederick Wrigley says:

    I am running Ultimate Edition 3.4 with MATE, Cinnamon and KDE installed. I usually use MATE for most of my stuff, I do like Cinnamon and am currently using GBOME Classic. Ah, choice!

  3. I have moved to Linux Mint`s Cinnamon desktop with a custom Gnome Shell theme and I am very happy with it. I have a serious problem with my Debian Squeeze installation so I have moved over to Mint.

    Very happy with it as I said. I even installed Unity to try that out on Mint.

  4. JD says:

    Great Review as always.

    They (LinuxMint) really need to get rid of that Big Ugly Computer with a CRT from the login screen though. Otherwise great stuff.

  5. 4ensicPenguin2 says:

    I’ve tried several just released Distros, and am using LMDE.

  6. David says:

    Which do you prefer — KDE or Cinnamon?

    Also, would it be better to install Cinnamon on top of Ubuntu, rather than using Mint? That would result in a better security posture out of the box, especially if Ubuntu’s alternate installer was used with full disk encryption. Would there be any downside?

    • hvgraxida says:

      Personaly i prefer kde for its features and design… the only true problem is that i find it really buggy even if its latest release is, by far, the most stable of all. My machine crashes randomly and has overheating problems, my resources are always low… Once again this is only my situation, and because of this, even though it’s a bit sad, i had to settle with another DE, that was, precisely, cinnamon. Its for from prefect, but it runs like a charm, is satble, cool effects and i addapted preety well with its “workflow management”. For the second question, i don’t see any problems with installing on top of ubuntu, i just read so time ago that the person responsible for the ppa doesn’t work on it anymore, so the version may be outdated. Finnaly, the disk encryption, i recommend using truecrypt, a really nice application that may suite your needs. Hope i was helpful ;)

  7. mandog says:

    All in all not a bad review, Unfortunately this release is lacking a lot of basic admin features like auto login cant be altered after install, alian does not work for rpm files, some times you need a pass word to logout even though your the only user, screen can not be made to stay active, etc these minor glitches spoil a almost perfect distro

  8. Maik says:

    The Looking Glass isn’t still very buggy from your point of view just because it doesn’t close.

    Try pressing Esc and it will close like a charm. ;)

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