I am writing this article to dispel some myths about Ubuntu and Unity.
The reason I have chosen to do this article now is in response to an article in Linux User and Developer magazine which gives a glowing review of Linux Mint 15 whilst making some fairly derogatory and unnecessary comments about Ubuntu.
Is Ubuntu bashing a new sport? Are the issues with Ubuntu and Unity well founded or are some people living in the past of 11.04 and not giving Unity a chance.
First of all I would like to say that Linux Mint is a top operating system and I like the things they are doing with the Cinnamon desktop, however some of the remarks in the linked article are a little bit economical with the truth.
Linux Mint 14 was one of our favourite desktop distros of the last year. While there were some initial hiccups that required a 14.1 release, it was generally a much better release than the then current Ubuntu 12.10, which had been marred by the controversy over the Amazon searches in the dash.
I ran Linux Mint 14 and I am not going to lie, Cinnamon and Linux Mint 14 was a good operating system. I was also running Ubuntu 12.10 as a dual boot and I could boot into either one and feel comfortable. The term “much better release” is stretching it a little bit. Cinnamon in Linux Mint 14 looks a lot like the Windows 7 interface and is very familiar to everyone who has ever used Windows. Does that make it innovative? Like it or loathe it Unity is unique and it attempts to solve desktop computing problems in a new way.
I have tried Linux Mint 15 and the new version certainly has moved on somewhat with the HTML 5 theming and so it is going to continue to grow and get better but I think Unity has been improving year on year as well. The version of Unity today is a far cry from the Unity in version 11.04.
Heading to the Mint Software Manager to get some more applications is always a great experience, as unlike the Software Centre in Ubuntu, you never feel like you’re being babied with recommendations or “Technical Items” turned off.
Whilst I think it isn’t a well kept secret that the Software Manager is in need of a makeover the Linux Mint software center isn’t that far removed from the Ubuntu one. The term “being babied with recommendations” is a little over the top. When I buy an album on Amazon I am provided with a list of other albums that I might like. Are Amazon babying me by providing this service or are they actually making reasonable suggestions of other items that I might like to purchase?
It also seems to run with fairly low power requirements. Testing it on a laptop, we found it gave us up to 30% extra battery life than Ubuntu running Unity would doing similar tasks.
I have Linux Mint 15 and Ubuntu 13.04 running on my laptop and I can safely say that the battery drains at a similar rate no matter which operating system I am using. Is the above statement scientific fact or just a finger in the air “well that seemed to last longer this time”.
Frankly, we work faster on Linux Mint as well thanks to the variety of simple keyboard shortcuts for all kinds of desktop exposing and app switching operations, as well as the fairly smart hot corner that won’t just activate if the mouse looks like it’s moving there.
I am as comfortable using Linux Mint Cinnamon as I am running Ubuntu with Unity. My previous article provided a list of keyboard shortcuts for Unity which makes it easy to navigate around the launcher, the dash and the heads up display. The comment about hot corners is also a bit confusing. If you go into the system settings you can adjust the sensitivity of the Unity hot spot which is used to display the launcher when it is hidden.
We haven’t found a single problem with the distro, and the only thing we were disappointed at was the lack of desklets at the time of writing.
I have used Linux Mint 15 for a few weeks and I can say there has been the odd little issue. For example if I enter the wrong password in the login screen the system sometimes hangs. I have also been in the position where Mint has loaded with the screen completely zoomed in making icons huge.
Have I had problems with Ubuntu? I am not going to lie, there has been the odd thing where a message has popped up saying that there was an issue and did I want to report the problem.
As a regular reader of Linux Mint User and Developer magazine I have to say that I like their articles and tutorials immensely but I do think that it is also a good thing to review a distribution without being disingenuous and disparaging about other distributions. It feels a little too much like playing to the gallery.
Thankyou for reading