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I finally enter the doors of Linux Mint January 3, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in First Impressions, Linux, Linux Mint, Other Distros, Reviews, Ubuntu, Working on Linux.

I’m writing this post from Linux Mint 2.1 (Bea), using DeepestSender (a firefox add-on). I will not be posting a screenshot (just yet) of Linux Mint on my desktop because the distro did not recognise my monitor and so I see a gross 800/600 screen, with really huge icons/text and no screen space to do anything. I will have to fix it later, if I continue using Linux Mint, and then maybe I’ll have a screenshot. Right now, I’ll hide! (latest update: I finally fixed the configurations and here is the post with the screenshot)

I started my Linux Mint installation today (3 Jan, 2007) at 12:09pm (IST). I had downloaded the .iso file through the australian mirror (go Aussies!) using Orbit (which has blown me away by its speed!). Anyway, Linux Mint 2.1 differs from 2.0 only partially, mainly we see new LinuxMint branding… which isn’t that great, and looks like it was done in a hurry, but upon booting from CD I was given a “bea” greeting (Bea is the name for Linux Mint 2.1… yes, yes, I know. Linux is famous for eyebrow-raising corny names).

Linux Mint is not perfect. But it’s goal for being multimedia ready is 90% met. It plays ‘almost’ everything I’ve tested.

The boot options did not give me an option to test my CD’s integrity. That was a surprise. (I’ve been checking Fedora CDs right/left/centre, and been facing disappointed with flawed CDs… but at least it told me before I started using it). This is something that could be potential problem. I was really nervous to use a possibly flawed CD… but thankfully, as this post evidences, there was no problem in the CD.

The installation process was quite slow… (slower than Ubuntu, on which LinuxMint is based) for a long time I was wondering whether there was a flaw in the CD, but it was just taking time.

By 12:14pm (and that’s 5 minutes since I started), I had the ubuntuesque Linux Mint LiveCD ready for action.

Interestingly it opened with Tomboy notes saying “start here” but that was just Tomboy’s way of saying “start making notes”. Why I would take notes when I want to start an install, is anybody’s guess. But I can see that beginners would be confused with Tomboy’s “Start Here” page. Because it isn’t where an installer must start! :)

12:16pm I started installing.

12:18 I choose the Manually edit partition table option. (note: This was where Kubuntu 6.10 crashed for me, so I was scared about this). But LinuxMint didn’t crash.

12:19 I selected the root/swap everything…

And then the problems started! When I said next to apply all settings… It said “no root filesystem”. But trust me, I’ve done enough installations to know that I had selected the “root” ie. I had marked my hdc10 as / and I had selected my swap. I tried again, and again, and it just didn’t work. It kept saying “no root filesystem”.

I went back to the partition, deleted the hdc10 partition, which is something I didn’t want to do, but I thought I’d try it, and reformated it. Sadly the numbering, which I had so carefully planned earlier, got messed up. Now my hdc10 partition became hdc12… which was the number of my XLFD .3 linux install (which I was still using). Of course none of this affects the performance of my linux… but it was irritating.

What was more irritating was that it still didn’t work. It still said that I hadn’t assigned root. I tried everything, I removed all mounts, and just kept hdc12 as / and my hdc9 as swap. Still no result. I deleted again, reformated again, tried again, no luck.

(I even launched GParted separately and tried again. Still no luck)

At 12:30 I decided to go onto the internet. And guess what? It was not working. I had changed the settings (IP address et al) but it still didn’t work. So no way of finding help there.

I decided to try again… and this time I used reiserfs rather than ext3 for journaling system. Also, I let Mint define my root. I noticed that once Mint had “greyed out” the format option for the automatically selected / (root) partition, meaning it was unchangeable. I tried to get that “greyed out” look and somehow this time it was there… and clicked next and… low and behold, it worked! Time: 12:50pm.

At 12:51 I started copying all the files… which seemed to be taking a lot of time, but I was just happy that it was working. I still wish that I had a little more control on what was being copied or what not… like on openSUSE or Mandriva, I want to be able to simplify my installation, reduce the number of programmes and fonts etc. But here, as in Ubuntu, we just seem to have to accept the default installation.

At 1:05pm I was asked to restart… which I did…

…and at 1:08pm… I was logging onto my new Linux Mint 2.1…

…of course it was in 800/600 resolution (the LiveCD was not!)… but that was as detail I was willing to overlook.

I did the basic settings. And finally tested playing a DVD.

And yes, as it promised, Linux Mint 2.1 is a multimedia ready distribution. I didn’t need to load any software to get it to play DVD files. It plays audio .mp3 and .wma files too! The only thing it didn’t play was VCDs (Video CD’s). It would only play it if I copied the files onto the computer, and then opened the files… hmmm.

But still, congrats to Linux Mint 2.1 for delivering what they promised… an Ubuntuesque stable system that is multimedia ready.

Yes there are certain glitches… that needs a person to be patient to work around… and persevere through… but I think this system is workable enough. Meaning like my XFLD… I think I can do most of my home stuff here.

Verdict: (key) 1 Poor, 2 Average, 3 Excellent

Look and Feel = 2
Speed = 2
Installation = 1
Hardware/Internet Recognition = 2
Multimedia Ready
= 3

Overall = 2 (good-average system)… well worth trying and giving to other users (hopefully they will be able to view the monitor in better resolution).

ps. for those who are seeking an Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint kind of post, well, I’m hoping to write one soon. But very briefly Linux Mint is a fine distro, but Ubuntu looks/feels much better. In fact the fact that Mint is young is very evident, their graphics are still below par. Plus, Ubuntu with Automatix makes for one pretty cool system. Mint needs to offer more than just multimedia features to beat Ubuntu.



1. Strike three: Is Linux Mint out? « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - January 3, 2007

[…] Strike three: Is Linux Mint out? November 17, 2006 Posted by NAyK in Linux, Other Distros, Working on Linux. trackback (latest update: I tried Linux Mint 2.1 and it’s working fine. I got the iso’s without problem. Report is here) […]

2. josep - January 17, 2007

Hi, I had exactly the same problem as you did, but did not really get what you did to solve it. Did you format the partition as reiserfs with another partition manager or what? You think it was just luck, cause I’ve tried like 4 times and nothing :-(

3. NAyK - January 17, 2007

Hi Josep. It was a real struggle and separate partitioning helps. This is how I think it needs to be done. Make sure that Linux Mint, by DEFAULT, will choose the partition that you want. Once that is the case… once Linux Mint assigns it’s own root that is correct, then the / drive (root) will be greyed out… not allowing you to edit. That’s when you accept and move on. It’s really irritating, I know, and requires a lot of trial and error. But that’s how I got it to work. Hope this helps.

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