Linux Mint 13 Software Manager

Linux Mint 13 MATE and Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon are the latest releases of the main line distribution of Linux Mint, the desktop-centric distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop. MATE is a desktop environment forked from GNOME 2, while Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME (3) Shell.

Both desktop environments aim to satisfy users who refuse to let go of old technology and those who demand new technology, but packaged in a familiar format. And Linux Mint is the first project to make both available to users in separate ISO installation images for 32- and 64-bit architectures.

This article is a review of both editions. If you are familiar with the way distributions are packaged, you should know that aside from the desktop environments, Linux Mint 13 MATE and Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon share almost every other thing in common – same kernel, of course, and the same installer.

While the graphical desktop of Linux Mint gets all the developer-attention with each release, the installer gets nothing. So we are stuck with an installer and an installation process that while simple and easy to use, offers very little in terms of what some consider advanced features.

Those so-called advanced features are RAID, LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, and disk encryption. Though full disk or partition-level disk encryption is not supported, there is an option to enable encryption of the home directory during the user account configuration step. The question that we should be asking about this installer is, when is it going to see any significant feature upgrade? Or will it ever?

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This screen shot shows the Advanced Partitioning Tool window. This is the tool you will be using if you ever intend to install Linux Mint 13 on a custom partitioning scheme, like the one used in this tutorial.
Linux Mint 13 Advanced Partitioning Tool

And this, is the user account configuration step. Encryption of the home folder is disabled by default.
Linux Mint 13 Installer User Account

Aside from the kernel and other core aspects of the distribution, one other aspect that the MATE and Cinnamon editions of Linux Mint 13 have in common, is the display manager. The old one – GDM, the GNOME Display Manager, has been replaced with MDM Display Manager (MDM). So, the new login screen looks like the one in the image below. The default theme looks good, but not as pretty as that of ROSA Marathon/Desktop.
Linux Mint 13 Display Manager

According to the Release Notes, MDM is said to offer “more features than any other Display Manager currently available.” That is one statement that I do not necessarily think is true, because I can see all the features configurable from MDM’s graphical management interface in KDM, the KDE display Manager. Plus, KDM has more and better themes than MDM.
Linux Mint 13 MDM Manager

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MATE Desktop – The MATE desktop is GNOME 2 reborn, so what you get is a familiar look and feel of a GNOME 2 desktop. If you have used previous editions of Linux Mint or any other distribution that used the GNOME 2 desktop environment, there is very little that is new on the MATE edition of Linux Mint 13, other than insignificant changes in the names of a few applications. Out of the box, the desktop still features a bottom panel and mintMenu. Shown below is an image of the desktop with the menu showing the Favorites column.
Linux Mint 13 MATE Menu

All the graphical management applications that we are used to in GNOME 2 are still represented in the Control Center. Same names, same functionalities.
Linux Mint 13 MATE Control Center

MATE is one desktop environment that I do not see a for. What is the point anyway? I know that it was started before Cinnamon, but given that Cinnamon is better is almost all respects, I think the time has come to let go the way of GNOME 2. But that is not likely to happen, as some users will still insist on using it, even as a friend of mine still refuses to let go of her Mac computer running Mac OS 8. Choice!


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20 Responses

  1. “BURG whatever that means”…. BURG is GRUB spelled backwards. I would also recommend using the package manager unless you have a few seasons of *nix under your belt.

  2. Why go through all this hastle when you can use Synaptic and install BURG from there. I found out a little late and followed the above instructions and the whole thing fell over at the “Grub PC package is being upgraded” and stuffed up synaptic and everything else because this process NEVER finished. So be vaery wary of te above process

    1. The solution is simple. Launch the Software Center and from the menu, select Edit > Software Sources.

      You’ll be prompted to authenticate. After successful authentication, the Software Sources window should open. click on the Other Software tab.

      You need to edit the last two entries, which should be for BURG. One after the other, select them, then click on Edit.

      You want to change the field for “Distribution” to “natty.” That is the only thing you need to change.

      Close the window, then run sudo apt-get update

      That should do it. Continue with the rest of the procedure.

      Note: I just tried this on Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2, aka Oneiric Ocelot, and it worked.

  3. Tried Burg installation in Ubuntu 11.04

    Shows message(after sudo apt-get install burg burg-common burg-themes burg-themes-common burg-emu burg-pc) :
    Reading package lists…one
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information…Done
    “E: Couldn’t find package burg”

  4. Gerry-
    I had the same problem with the third screen hanging, or so I thought. Turns out it was just that “OK” doesn’t come up selected by default, and I had to press TAB several times until OK was highlighted — then I was able to press enter and continue.

    1. I wonder why you guys are having this issue. All the installations I’ve done, both on real hardware and virtual environment, pressing Enter did it for me.

  5. Hiya,

    is it me or can Burg2 not be installed on an btrfs disk? I tried to install it on two different machines (Laptop with Intel x64 CPU, Desktop with AMD x64 CPU, existing installs (all the way upgraded from jaunty) and on brand new installs (Lucid) but the installer kept complaining it couldn’t find ‘\’ (Is /dev properly mounted?).
    After wiping all on both machines and formatting as Ext4 I could install Burg2. Wiping any of the two machines, formatting as BTRFS, no go!

    I cannot find anywhere any info whether BTRFS is supported…..
    Or do I have some other freak circumstance preventing an install on BTRFS?

  6. Another tidbit about BURG:
    I updated to BURG, and then went and installed Mint 11 (fresh install) on one of my partitions, but BURG did not recognize it as having changed. Did some Googling and found that you need to run “update-burg” after such fiddling for it to find the new OS installation.

    Also, check out the Help screen for some other options. For example, you can turn off the display of the Safe Mode of the different OS installations to simplify the displayed options. (You can change it back if you need one of them.)

    Next hack will be to figure out how to make Mint the default OS. (Ubuntu Unity lost it for me.)

    1. Check the man pages for burg commands. All the answers you need to understand burg or grub are there.

      To change the default entry, use burg-set-default. It does the same thing as grub-set-default.

  7. Thanks Gerry mine hung there too with Mint 11/Windows install until I too pressed ESC and all was well after that

    Thanks also to the article writer (don’t see a name) as you made it easy to install.

  8. Could someone let me know what advantages or disadvantages burg has in relation to grub? The only thing I see mentioned here is the appearance, which in this case wouldn’t be enough to have me make the change.


    1. That is the only advantage – It just give a Themed boot loader screen. There are several to chose from and I love them all and am extremely thankful for everyone’s work on this.

  9. Trying to install on a laptop with Natty and Mint10, but it hangs up at the third “OK” screen about the grub-pc package being updated. Rebooting and trying over hangs at the same spot.

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