Linux Mint Debian Login Screen

Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon is the latest edition of Linux Mint Debian, a desktop distribution based on Debian. It offers a choice of two GNOME-based desktop environments – MATE and Cinnamon. MATE is a fork of GNOME 2, while Cinnamon is an attempt to bring sanity to GNOME 3, to make it look like something designed for use on desktop computers.

The MATE/Cinnamon edition was released at the same time as the Xfce edition. This article is a review of the MATE/Cinnamon edition, which, like all Linux Mint editions, is made available as a Live CD/DVD installation image. The boot menu is shown below.
Linux Mint Debian Boot Menu

The installation program is very basic, lacking support for disk or file system encryption, LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, and boot loader password protection. Its automated disk partitioning feature creates just two partitions – one for Swap, the other for the root or main partition. Unlike the installers on other distributions that I have used or reviewed, it does something unusual – make the Swap partition the first partition. Other installers will typically make the Swap partition the last. You might be interested in reading manual disk partitioning guide for Linux Mint Debian if you want to create a custom partitioning scheme for installing this distribution.
Linux Mint Debian Disk Partitions

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A new installation of Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon takes up about 6.3 GB of disk space, and GRUB 2 is the boot loader used. As noted earlier, there is no support for boot loader password encryption.
Linux Mint Debian GRUB Install

On the login screen, you get to choose which desktop environment to log into. MATE is the default.
Linux Mint Debian Login Screen

This is what the MATE desktop looks like. The menu is the same mintMenu available on the Ubuntu-based edition of Linux Mint. Using Linux Mint Debian with MATE is just like using Linux Mint GNOME 2.
Linux Mint Dedian MATE Desktop

And if you opt to use Cinnamon, this is what the desktop looks like. I actually like it much better than MATE, as it offers the modern features of GNOME 3, but in a fashion that is a lot more user-friendly than the default GNOME 3 desktop. The latest version of GNOME 3 is GNOME 3.4, but Cinnamon is only powered by GNOME 3.2.
Linux Mint Debian Cinnamon Desktop

Cinnamon, in my opinion, is where the fun is. The default desktop effects are really cool. Unlike the stock GNOME 3 desktop, you are not fighting the desktop just to get stuff done. Out of the box, the desktop features a bottom panel, but it could be configured to be at the top, and to show a top and bottom panel at the same time. One of the applets on the panel provides access to Cinnamon’s administrative settings. Clicking on it is like right-clicking on the KDE panel, though it gives you a few more features than those available in KDE’s context menu. You can, for example, restart Cinnamon, which is really nice. It is like the Restart option in YALI, the installation of program of Pardus, which makes it possible to restart the installer without rebooting the computer.
Linux Mint Dedian Cinnamon Tools

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Another option available on Cinnamon’s applet menu, is Looking Glass. The name should offer a clue about its function, but it is still very buggy, at least on my test installations. Starting it is no problem, but closing it is almost impossible. Perhaps there is a hidden close feature that I failed to notice.
Linux Mint Dedian Cinnamon Looking Glass

Whether using MATE or Cinnamon, you get the same set of installed applications. The major ones are:

  • LibreOffice
  • Firefox
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Pidgin Internet Messenger
  • Transmission BitTorrent client
  • Banshee music player
  • Totem and VLC media players

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15 Responses

  1. Hi,
    Everytime that I turn on KDE Manjaro, it asks for password to be connected to my wireless network.
    Any ideas? Why? What can I do to fix it?
    Thanks for your help,
    Michael O.

  2. in the beginning of your review you said “neck-and-neck with Antergos”.

    then, you start to tell us about deficiencies of manjaro (compared to ubuntu or your ideal destribution). manjaro can improve in those valid points, i agree.
    antergos is missing all of those features as well (and much more), except for the firefwall activation in it’s GUI installer.

    antergos is missing these things as well:
    – automated wireless network card driver installation
    – automated graphics card driver (free and non-free) installation
    – GUI package manager for AUR

    you fail to mention other things as well e.g. when you sit behind a router with a built-in firewall, you do not need a software firewall!
    the security effect of software firewalls is very questionable as well.

    overall, a nice review from a guy with a lot of linux experience!

    1. … When you sit behind a router with a built-in firewall, you do not need a software firewall!

      Anybody that subscribes to that has no idea what Defense (Security) in Depth means. And what is the percentage of broadband Internet users who have actually accessed their router to modify the security features?

  3. Having access to the Arch Respositories is a big advantage. Applications available rom them tend to run run very well on derivitives of Arch, like Manjaro. Manjaro Forums are active and Manjaro users are active and friendly. It’s one of my favorite Linux Distros that I have never-the-less been unable to get to boot. (So my experience with it is limited to running it as a live media).

    This article may have helped me understand why it won’t boot on any of my computers: The other distros I use ( Debian derivatives like Sparky and Solyd and openSUSE) install Grub2 to the MBR – at least that’s what I have chosen, and other Manjaro users have it installed on computers similar to mine).

    One thing should be mentioned: Manjaro is still in beta and will be until it reaches version 1.x But it is fast, stable and a semi-rolling distro that you will never have to re-install.

    (Written using Sparky Ultra Openbox 64 bit).

  4. Thanks for the comments and suggestions about non-free wireless firmware; after a bit of hunting around on the Manjaro forum, I was indeed able to find that the project intends to provide as many conveniences as possible to allow for an easy, clean installation, whether it involves strictly free components or proprietary additions that are helpful to complete the user experience. Appreciate all of the comments; thank you very much!

  5. I’m curious: does the current release of Manjaro include any wireless firmware, whether “free” or “non-free” in the GNU sense?

    I have one laptop, a Lenovo 3000 series Model Y410 that happens to have an Intel Pro Wireless 3945 network card, and that one is usually available because I believe that Intel freely provides at least the binary driver and possibly the source code, (and if so, it is “free”). But my other unit, a Gateway 2000 Series portable, comes with a Broadcom 4311 network card, which does not include source code, but it does have some “non-free” drivers available.

    How would these two units fare with the current release of Manjaro?

      1. My experience, however, is that some distributions include “non-free” firmware and others don’t. The B43 and B43legacy firmware drivers are readily available, but they aren’t always included. Distributions that don’t include firmware, well, you CAN get the firmware, but it makes for a less flexible installation. In my case, I have to move my hardware to the location of my network drop, which is not convenient, hence my question. So yes, I’m sure I can GET the wireless firmware I need somewhere. What I am interested in finding out, that I don’t (or haven’t yet found, either on the Manjaro site or here) is whether most wireless firmware is included. If it’s mentioned, it’s well hidden; I have not found any discussions yet about exactly what’s offered in wireless firmware on the installation media.

          1. Yes, Manjaro seems to have very good support for proprietary WiFI firmware. WiFI worked out of the box on all three of my laptops. Two are Intel “Centrino” laptops, and the other one is an 8 year old Dell with some of Broadcom WiFI that never used to work out of the box on distros a few years ago.

  6. Great review. I had a problem with my hp 4300 printer which is usb connected. Manjaro 0.8.9 wouldn’t recognize it and I tried everything to get it working ( ie..powerdown printer, unplug and replug usb cable ) and none worked. Reinstalled RoboLinux and all was well again.

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