sylpheed

Linux Mint Debian Edition review

There are many more applications in the repository that can be installed from a shell terminal or via the Software Center or Synaptic. Moovida and XBMC, two popular open source media center applications, are in the repository. The version of Moovida (1.0.9) in the repository is the latest stable release for Linux. The latest stable version available for that other operating system is 2.0.2. XBMC 9.11 is the version in the repository, while the latest stable release available for download is 10.0. Skype 2.1 beta 2 is the repository, and that is the latest version available from Skype.com. A package for installing Dropbox is in the repository. Dropbox is a storage service which enables file synchronization across computers and mobile devices.

Though Mozilla Thunderbird is the installed email client, Sylpheed, another email client with a better set of features, is also available for installation. The version in the repository is 3.0.2, but the latest stable version is 3.0.3.

There are no games installed out of the box, but there are about a thousand in the repository. Battle of Wesnoth, a favorite FPS game, is in the repository (see screenshots from Battle of Wesnoth here). PlayonLinux, an application that you can use to install and play Windows games and other Windows applications, is also in the repository. Some Windows applications installable using PlayonLinux are shown in the image below.

Note: The latest stable version of PlayonLinux is 3.8.8, but the version in the repository is 3.7.6.
playonlinux

Administrative Tools: The graphical administrative applications on LMDE are the same ones you are used to on the Ubuntu-based edition. All are accessible from the Control Center and also from Menu > Administration, and Menu > Preferences. There is the Disk Utility, Users and Groups, Backup, and Domain Blocker (mintNanny) management tool. The Domain Blocker is a light-weight parental control tool. Nanny, which you can read about here, is a better and more feature-rich parental control application. It is in the repository of the main Linux Mint edition, but not in the repository of LMDE.
mintbackup

mintBackup is most useful when you need to backup your home folder to an external device.
mintbackup4

Security: Just like with the main Linux Mint edition, LMDE ships with Gufw installed. Gufw is the graphical interface to ufw, Ubuntu’s user-friendly, command line interface to IPTables, the Linux firewall tool. You may use this guide as an aid to setting up Gufw. It was written for Ubuntu 10.10, but all the configurations steps also apply on LMDE.

Aside from the firewall, there is SELinux, a mandatory access control program. The suite of applications for managing SELinux are not installed, but they are in the repository. SELinux is the only mandatory access control program available on LMDE. On the main Linux Mint edition, you have a choice of SELinux or AppArmor.

Media and Hardware Detection: A DVD video inserted into the optical drive will be opened automatically in Totem, and with libdvdcss installed out of the box, it will play both encrypted and non-encrypted videos. Due to a configuration error, VLC, the other video player installed by default, is unable to play DVD videos. This forum post shows you how to fix it. Audio CDs open automatically in Rhythmbox, the default music player.

As on the main Linux Mint edition, an HP printer connected to the computer was configured automatically.

Final Thoughts and Suggestions: On a running system , there is nothing that tells LMDE apart from the main Linux Mint edition. The administrative tools are the same, and the wallpaper, too. Other than the promise of rolling updates, you could not tell that you are running a different Linux Mint edition. The developer(s), by my assessment, have done a good job. But there is always something that is not done right, that needs fixing or retooling. The installation program is one of those and here what I think needs to be done to fix it:

  • Replace it. I think the installer is being coded from scratch. A good idea if it will be better than other installation programs, but as it stands now, and the direction it is going, it will never be better than Ubiquity, a very light-weight installation program used on Ubuntu and Ubuntu-derived distributions. My suggestion is to either replace it with the graphical installation component of the Debian installer or YALI, the installation program on Pardus. YALI does not currently support disk encryption, but I think that it will in another release or two.

Resources: Download a 32-bit or 64-bit DVD installation image of Linux Mint Debian Edition here. A few short tutorials are available in the forum.

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