Not one to stand by idly as others break trail, I downloaded the new Mint 18.3 Mate' beta release and installed it on a 2 year old Dell-XPS-13 Ultrabook that I picked up locally a few days ago.
Thought maybe I'd keep Windows 10 in place and run Mint along side it in a separate partition. But, after playing with Windows awhile, I thought again -- and completely replaced W10 with Mint.
One thing you can count on with Dell -- its computers take to desktop Linux like ducks to water. No fuss. No weird stuff or unexpected results. Just boot into BIOS. Change UEFI to Legacy boot. Make the USB drive the first boot device. Insert thumb drive with the Mint ISO burned to it, and you're good to go.
Once Mint 18.3 was installed, with minor tweaks and a few updates applied, I went through the new stuff Mint includes in this edition and found a lot to like. First of all, when I checked the System Monitor I found this supposedly 'beta' release was listed as Mint 18.3 'final,' not beta. Thought that was interesting, but very much in line with what I've come to expect of Mint over the years. The development team doesn't make a new Mint release public until it's been through an exhaustive testing phase and an equally critical review process. Invariable the 'beta' releases Mint puts out at the beginning of a release cycle are virtually identical to what they offer as 'final' releases later on.
With that in mind I went through everything new that Mint 18.3 offers and found it all works as it should. If glitches show up these aren't in the way Mint handles things, but in the program or programs in question.
One glitch I hoped had been resolved was that recent versions of Google Earth wouldn't run in Mint 18.2. The program would open up. Everything would appear to be in place. But it wouldn't do anything -- no spinning globe, no nothing.
In the 'Flatpak' section of Mint 18.3's redesigned Software Manager I found Google Earth available to install as a fully self contained 'sandboxed' app. However, once the installation was complete, the exact same issue was evident. Google Earth would open but wouldn't run. This reportedly is a problem with GE itself, not with Linux as a host OS. So back I went to the Software Manager where I removed the Flatpak installation of GE. Until Google clears this issue up I'll continue using Google Earth online, which works a charm.
Another new feature in Mint 18.3 is that Timeshift, the system snapshot and recovery app that clears up problems that may arise by restoring the system to an earlier trouble free date, is now built in. All the user has to do is specify the way they want it to operate and it does the rest. Quite a handy utility for those who need the system security it provides. If something breaks, 'Timeshift' to an earlier snapshot of your working system and you're back in business.
Lots yet to explore, but so far I'm genuinely impressed. Mint 18.3 is smooth as butter, installs on compatible PCs like birds flocking to a favorite wire, and doesn't disappoint in the least.
If, as winter closes in on many of us and ride time becomes limited, you find yourself looking for something new to experience, turn off the TV and give Linux Mint a go. You'll likely end up pleasantly surprised with how completely capable an OS today's Linux Mint is, even if you run it strictly in 'Live' mode directly from your installation media.
Of course, Mint shines best fully installed, and it works in dual-boot configuration alongside Windows without breaking a sweat. So there's no reason not to explore this cutting edge desktop OS for yourself -- if you're up for a learning experience!..
Lovin' life here in Arizona's cool Mogollon Rim Country!!