This is my first blog and also my first review of any Linux distro. I choose Linux Mint 7 KDE edition for this review, since it is based on UBUNTU which is considered to be one of the most usable desktop linux. I have tried this distro since version the days of Linux Mint Version 4.
The installer is a very standard one from Ubuntu. I haven't seen any feature additions to it other, but it does its job fairly well. The installation is a fairly straight forward one. For a person who has installed linux distros and who knows the details of partitioning it is really an intuitive one. The whole installation process was completed within 20 min and I had a completely working distro.
I have a fairly old destop with no fancy hardware in it. The network card was detected automatically and I didn't have to do any tweaking or finetuning. My network was up and running right as soon as I logged into the desktop.
The area where Linux Mint score over the other linux distros is the handling of the multimedia codecs out of the box. I tried to play a DVD and VCD with the standard player available and it handled all these very well. I never felt the need to install any codecs.
The major area of review would be the performance of KDE. The default installation of Linux Mint 7 KDE comes with KDE 4.2.4. This is good enough for normal users. But for this review I had installed KDE 4.3 from the PPA repositories. I must admit that the upgrade to KDE 4.3 was not a easy one since there were some broken dependencies. Once I upgraded it to KDE 4.3 I must admit that I was floored by its looks. I have been a fan of KDE for a long time and this version of KDE has convinced me that I should stay with KDE even in the future. See the video below.
Mint has added the tools like mintupdate, mintupload, mintbackup and mintinstall and mintnanny. One of the tool which I really use daily is mintupdate. I use this to keep my system up-to-date. Further it guides me which are are packages I really need to update. Further in mintinstall there is "Featured Application" which gives some of the application which I regularly use.
Areas for improvement:
There are some areas of improvement as well.
1) The download size for the ISO is 1.1 GB, but there are no applications for development which are included by default.
2) The path to upgrade from previous version or the RC's are not always published. Hence there is need for trial and error.
3) The applications available in the software repository is not always the latest and sometimes they are not updated at all.
Overall I would say that linux mint is KUBUTU done right. I would recommend it to anyone who want to move away from MSW to linux. It would definitely ease their transition. Everything advertised works out of the box. Linux mint KDE with KDE 4.3 is much more snappier and with lots of feature additions. I hope that Mint team would try make the upgrade path to KDE 4.3 much easier in due course of time.