Linux Mint Debian Login Screen

Linux Mint Debian 201204 MATE/Cinnamon review

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

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

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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