Earlier last week I got that strong urge to upgrade my laptop, after having run the XFCE version of mint (9) for months (and loving it the whole time for the most part) I decided it was time for a fresh install at the new version. I was hoping for possibly a bit cleaner interface and for further more stable flash support.
Its at this point that it all went wrong for me.
For the most part things went smoothly there were only 2 things that bugged me
1) Whats with the fairly un-intuitive manual partition manager now during installation? With this being a laptop distribution I had no urge to do fancy partitioning I wanted a single installation on top of one partition using the whole hard drive. Its nothing that takes TOO long to figured out but this seems like a step backwards when it was much simpler in earlier versions
2) Why are you not making new ISO’s that are even close to current in patches? after installation I had over 1000 patches to apply! it took 2x as much time to PATCH my fresh install as it did to actually perform the install and this is on 20Mb internet service
The first thing I noticed is the re-design of the default layout with them having moved the application menu and bar to the top with a launcher box on the bottom. Again I am confused by a seemingly random style change from previous versions that took up more screen real estate that the previous design but in the end it looks a lot like how XFCE used to function so I can get over that it only took 10 min or so to move the bar around and get things back to the way they were before.
This was the point where I tried to walk away from my computer for a bit and went to the application launcher and clicked on lock screen … oh wait they apparently for some reason completely got rid of the lock screen function. No problem Ill just create a launcher icon on the task bar that calles an xscreensaver -lock function no problem.
At this point I needed to change location and wanted to go to shutdown and hibernate to hibernate my laptop, with an older laptop I often do this to save battery life over suspend…. wait they got rid of HIBERNATE (or at least the interface to it).
One of the reasons I always liked mint is that I have had fantastic hardware support for this very same laptop, things just worked everything from the built in hardware (video/sound) to periphrials like USB hard drives and USB attached mobile broadband cards (which is amazing because they don’t even work right in windows)
This is why I became extremely frustrated when this version apparently had issues with my sound card, while music would play (local through a player or via flash from sites like youtube and google music) they would have audio glitches and change in pitch for no apparent reason making the sound unusable from that machine
The Final Failure
After applying a few patches one morning I rebooted (dont remember the reason) when MINT came up and I logged in none of my windows had any of the top bar or action buttons, I tried several reboots to no avail ONE of those updates appears to have completely broken the windows manager unable to move windows or close or minimize them (outside of the menu’s which were still there) I finally gave up on the distro.
I am a problem solver and like to work around these problems but this is my primary laptop, the one I have to get work done on. I picked XFCE Mint in the past as it always was a slick, fast, easy to understand and low amount of configuration needed to get working exactly what I needed for a primary use machine. Having failed at the primary reasons I love THIS distro I decided to move on
I hope they fix the bugs and make this into a worthy sub type, I will continue to evaluate new versions
What did I move on to?
The regular version of MINT of course (Gnome based) 11
I will write a separate review of of this version coming up but so far absolutely loving it everything I missed out of the old versions of XFCE Mint