Linux Mint Debian is the line of desktop distributions from the developers of Linux Mint that is based on Debian. For the record, Linux Mint Debian is different from Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu Desktop.
The very latest edition, Linux Mint Debian 201204, was released on April 24. Installation images for 32- and 64-bit platforms for the Xfce and MATE/Cinnamon desktop environments were released. The MATE/Cinnamon edition has already being reviewed (see Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon review). This article is a review of the Xfce edition, using a 32-bit installation image. This boot menu is shown below,
All editions of distributions from a particular project tend to share the same features, including the installation program. That is the case with the editions of Linux Mint Debian. So if you have read the review of the MATE/Cinnamon edition, most of the content in this review should read familiar. If you have not, here is what is in store when you attempt to install this distribution. The installer has an unattended or automated disk partitioning feature, which will create just two partitions by default. The default partitions are shown in the image below.
What should immediately stand out from the above image, is that the first partition is the Swap partition, which in Linux or any other UNIX-like operating system that I have used or reviewed, is highly unusual. That aside, the installer does not have support for disk encryption, boot loader password protection, and LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager. A default installation takes up about 4.4 GB of disk space. If you will ever need to dual-boot Linux Mint Debian Xfce or any other edition of Linux Mint Debian, it is very likely that you will have to create partitions manually. That requires a fundamental understanding of disk partitioning in Linux. If you are new to the subject, you will find guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux an excellent read.
Like virtually every active Linux distribution, GRUB version 2, the GRand Unified Bootloader, is the boot loader used by Linux Mint Debian (Xfce).
The login screen, which is run by mdm, a replacement for xdm, the GNOME Display Manager, is shown below. Like other display managers, mdm if highly configurable, with a configuration file at /etc/mdm/mdm.conf and a graphical configuration tool called mdmsetup.
Mdmsetup is shown in this screen shot. Almost every aspect of the login screen, including the theme, can be modified from it.
The desktop itself is powered by Xfce 4.8. There is really nothing incredibly exciting about this desktop environment, other than the fact that, compared to other desktop environments like KDE, its resource usage is low. The latest stable version (of Xfce), released on April 28, is Xfce 4.10. The newest version has several more modern features than you will find on the version that powers this distribution, but still nowhere near the type of features available on KDE or even Cinnamon. There is no telling how soon or how log users will have to wait before Xfce 4.10 becomes available in the repository.