Another (graphical) administrative tool that I would like mention, not because it is really useful, but just to point that there is a better alternative, is mintNanny. As a domain blocker, mintNanny provides the most basic parental control function.
A better and feature-rich alternative is Nanny. It has features that make it look like a graphical interface to xinetd. Though it is not installed by default, it is available in the repository, and you can install it from the Software Manager (search for nanny), or by running sudo apt-get install nanny from a shell terminal. A few more screenshots of Nanny and setup instructions are available here.
Security: A new installation of Linux Mint 10 has three open ports – 139 (netbios-ssn), 445 (microsoft-ds), and 631 (ipp). As on Ubuntu, ufw, the user-friendly firewall script, is inactive. However, unlike Ubuntu, Mint 10 comes with Gufw, the graphical interface to ufw, installed.
The userland utilities required to control and manage AppArmor profiles and AppArmor execution mode, are not installed by default. AppArmor is a mandatory access control program, similar in functionality to SELinux, which is the access control program on Fedora and its derivatives.
Final Thoughts and Suggestions: Linux Mint has always been a good desktop distribution. It is especially well suited for those new to Linux, and those not needing some of the features that Fedora, Mandriva, and Debian offers. I think more users will be attracted to it if features, like LVM and full disk encryption, are supported by the installer. There is a small, but significant group of users who will not use a distribution if they are unable to encrypt the whole system, and I think more users will choose to encrypt if they know what it is and understand the benefits.
Since it is doubtful that those features will find their way into Ubiquity any time soon, Clement Lefebvre and his team could just adopt another, better installation program. Fedora Project’s Anaconda, and YALI, the installation program on Pardus, are two good candidates.
Here are a few more suggestions:
- I wrote earlier that most of the user-submitted reviews in the Software Manager are meaningless one-liners. The image below shows one that is not. It is an example of the type of review that will be most useful to other readers. If you have ever submitted a review, please let this example serve as a guide as to the type of review the community will appreciate.
- After an application is installed from the Software Center, I think it will be better to present a message of the sort shown in the image below to the user. This is better, I think, than going to hunt down the newly installed application in the menu. The image, by the way, is from an installation of Fedora 14.
- I used a DVD image to install my test systems, and I think there is ample room in there for a few games. I can understand the not-enough-space-on-the-CD image, but not for the DVD image.
- One of the best features of Mandriva is the MCC, the Mandriva Control Center. And that is not just because the administrative tools are feature-rich, but because it makes it possible to have access to all root-level administrative tools with one authentication. I think Linux Mint is ready for such a feature. It already has a control center. All that remains is to separate those needing root-privileges from common desktop customization tools, then password-protect the Control Center. Being forced to authenticate at every turn on a system that you are already logged into does very little to improve the security of the system. It just makes it a little bit more inconvenient to administrate the machine.