Mint 9, aka Isadora, is the latest update to the desktop-focused, Linux distribution based on Ubuntu (10.04). It is one of the more exciting desktop distributions, with a nice selection of custom-developed graphical management utilities.
Because it is based on and closely tied to Ubuntu, Linux Mint versions are always released after Ubuntu has been released, usually about one month after. With this review, I hope to highlight some of the good and not so good features of Isadora.
Let’s get rolling.
Let’s begin with some of Mint 9’s good features:
- Excellent out of the box functionality – Because it ships with both open source and proprietary applications, Linux Mint 9 provides all the application functionalities you need for a fun and productive desktop computing experience. This means that you will have no issues enjoying your favorite Youtube videos in Firefox, and that it (Firefox) will pass the Java test. Aside from Flash and Java, you will be able to view just about any multimedia content on the Web. All the free movie trailers on film.com will be yours to enjoy.
- Encrypted DVD Playback – With libdvdcss2, the multi-platform library that provides seamless CSS decryption, installed, you can play encrypted DVD videos on Mint 9. Note that there’s an edition of Mint that’s stripped of all patent-encumbered applications. That edition will likely not provide encrypted DVD playback out of the box.
- Software Center – Just like the Ubuntu Software Center, the Linux Mint Software Center provides an alternative to Synaptic as an application management interface. You can search and install applications from its friendly interface.
- Media and Hardware Detection – Mint 9 prompts with the right application anytime an audio CD or video DVD is inserted: Rhythmbox is the option presented for audio CD playback and Totem for video media.
Hardware detection and configuration works as it is supposed to. For example, my test printer, an HP Deskjet F4280 All-in-One, was automatically detected and configured. The same should hold true for most, if not all, available printers in the market. Just plug and print.
Domain Blocker – Linux Mint has a handful of custom graphical management tools that are easy enough for anyone to use. One of the simplest is the Domain Blocker. If you can’t guess what it does from its name, the image below should give you a better hint. It does not provide all the functionalities of a similar tool on Mandriva Linux, but it’s a start.