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Linux Mint 20.3 'Una' now available.. #152748 01/12/22 09:36 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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I've used Linux desktop distros for some 16 years. In the last few months I've looked at a number of the top Linux distros for both beginners and experts. Then I spent the last few days experiencing the latest version of Linux Mint 20.3 'Una'. All things considered, my view remains that Linux Mint is the single best desktop distro for both newcomers and veteran users alike - bar none.

I've come to like Mint's default Gnome-3 based Cinnamon desktop with it's more Gnome-2 look and feel. But Mint gives users a choice of three fully supported user interfaces, Cinnamon, MATE (an impressive up to date Gnome-2 fork), and the ultra-lightweight Xfce. Most desktop users will be pleased with either Cinnamon or MATE, with MATE being the lighter desktop environment of the two. But those with older low-powered systems often find that Xfce is an excellent choice.

PCs built throughout the 2000s can efficiently run Mint. If your PC has a 64-bit AMD or Intel processor, it can run Mint. The full version of Linux Mint requires just 2GB of RAM, but it'll run with only 1GB if that's all you have for it.

If you're just getting your feet wet with desktop Linux, and it's still a bit of a mystery to you, begin by understanding this - unlike what we find in Windows today, where running on 4GB of RAM is pretty much asking for trouble - Linux will run quite well even on machines that Windows long ago left behind as essentially unusable.

Running Linux Mint means you'll need at least 20GB of free disk space. Mint however recommends 100GB if you want to run it quickly and efficiently. You'll also need a graphics display card and a monitor that supports at least 1024×768 resolution - as always more capable machines will run Mint more capably! Bottom line is that you can pretty much run Mint on any PC built in the last 10 years with great efficiency, and nearly any PCs built in the last 20 plus years with some corresponding loss of efficiency given your PC's age and lack of up to date hardware.

Updating to Linux Mint 20.3 from Mint 20.x is bone simple on machines already running Mint. Plus you can easily install Mint on a Windows PC right alongside Windows 10 or 11, selecting the operating system you want to use when you boot your machine.

I updated to Linux Mint 20.3 from Mint 20.2 on my three PCs, powered by both Intel i7 and AMD Zen processors. These machines include 16GB to 32GB of RAM, plus each has a 512GB SSD. These provide far more computing power than a basic Mint installation needs, but they run everything I throw at them while using Mint for high end tasks, including running Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator on my Linux desktop using the 'WINE' Windows compatibility layer, along with a minimal Windows 10 installation in a Virtualbox virtual machine for another specialty Windows program I still use.

If you're new to Linux I don't recommend installing Mint 20.3 on your main Windows PC - unless you consider yourself an expert. It's better to be sure everything works well by first installing a new OS on a test machine before upgrading your main machine to a new operating system - doesn't matter if we're talking about Linux, Windows, Hackintosh, or anything else. If you are an expert user, then you'll configure your Mint installation any way you like, and that's a goal worthy of shooting for!..

This latest Mint 20.3 'Una' is a 'Long-Term Support' (LTS) release (it'll be supported until summer 2025). It comes with the Linux kernel 5.13.0-25 and corresponding Linux firmware. Mint is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and has no plans to move to a newer version of Ubuntu until 2023. Linux Mint is not a 'cutting-edge distribution,' instead it prioritizes the highest possible degree of stability over constant experimentation and the various issues that come with such an inherently unstable approach.

Which ever desktop environment you prefer, be it Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce, if what you're looking for is a great Linux desktop to replace Windows, macOS or some other version of Linux that you've tried, I recommend you give Linux Mint 20.3 an opportunity to impress - because impress it will!..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: Linux Mint 20.3 'Una' now available.. [Re: Az4x4] #152759 01/14/22 05:43 PM
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Muniac Offline
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Mint is a good O/S which I've used for at least a decade. Much improved now. The open source community has come light years forward in that time. Styx offers his thoughts in this VIDEO on where Microsoft and Apple could be heading. And the potential data security risks users may face. I'm not endorsing this viewpoint but simply offering it as food for thought. I bailed out of Windows about a decade ago. I have two old workstations (no internet) running Windows 2K and a third laptop (no internet) running Windows XP. I have a couple of programs that I need which live in this legacy environment.

Some companies provide PCs to their employees and they make the O/S call based on company policy. Some folks aren't free to choose their O/S or hardware. On the engineering side SolidWorks and Pro-E offer modeling solutions that Linux can't touch. Professional media software has been Apple's market for decades. I use InkScape, GIMP, Audacity and KdenLive for my media needs. All of it freeware, excellent software and supported under Linux. Windows and Apple platforms are also supported. Open source developers can't ignore this HUGE user base (Windows & Apple) given the donations needed to keep them afloat.

As for Windows 10, I have one guest OEM instance of it running in Virtual Box. The host O/S is Linux Manjaro. Installing Windows 10 and getting it activated was a nightmare! There are two companies that provide development applications for the customer PLCs I work with. That software isn't available for Linux. As for Windows 10, it's bloated with tons of features I don't need or want. Like stocks, weather, news. unwanted updates, etc. popping up. Deceptive language appears with adding features Microsoft claims will help you work better. It's a bit brassy IMHO as Microsoft has no idea how I work or what I may need (or not need). Over the years I've seen Windows become less and less about personal computing and more about their business agenda. That "personal" ingredient keeps slipping away slowly. As a single "private" user, this is troubling. The internet now has become the 4th utility. We had a 6 hour outage up here about a month ago and it's a reminder how much we depend on being connected.

You can pick whatever flavor O/S you want. But access to the internet isn't possible without a browser. Choices are very limited as of late. Security, control and censorship issues remain front and center with browsers. I've use FF which is Mozilla's product. Will Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla form a trifecta? Hard to say and I don't lay awake at night worrying about this. Then you have the BIG communication companies like ComCast and Verizon that connect us all. What controls will the government place on ISPs, like the one that hosts this site? So how important will Scott's and George's data (or posts) be remains to be seen. In the BIG picture, probably not that important. That said, it never hurts to remain aware and diligent of what's going on and choose your safest options based on facts.

I can say, the internet isn't the same friendly place it once was 15 years ago. I do what I can to keep old fashioned respect, courtesies and values alive here. Fall asleep in a democracy and wake up in a dictatorship.

George - Thanks for your post on Linux.


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Re: Linux Mint 20.3 'Una' now available.. [Re: Muniac] #152762 01/14/22 10:29 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Muniac
..Mint is a good O/S which I've used for at least a decade. Much improved now. The open source community has come light years forward in that time. Styx offers his thoughts in this VIDEO on where Microsoft and Apple could be heading. And the potential data security risks users may face. I'm not endorsing this viewpoint but simply offering it as food for thought. I bailed out of Windows about a decade ago.....

Truly enjoyed the thoughts Styx offered in the video you provided the link to. The crap that people who use Windows or macOS have to deal with, and the monstrous all pervasive 'Big Brother knows best' directions those two operating systems are forcing on their users is absolutely chilling.

Little wonder that once someone wakes up and realizes the invasive all controlling nature of what they're subjecting themselves to by running one of these systems on their own PC, an ever increasing number of such users find themselves looking for a 'way out' of the Windows/macOS 'trap' they've been sucked into - and a majority turn to Linux as 'first time' users - most becoming as engaged in the open-source OS community over a period of time as those of us who've been at it for years.

You are so right. All the top-tier desktop Linux distros available today, including my obvious favorite Linux Mint 20.3, are "light years" ahead of where they were a decade or more ago in every measurable category, from ease of installation and unrestricted usability, to the total lack of the sort of invasive "Big Brother knows best" crap that Windows and macOS burdens their users with - and the corresponding toll in down time and unrelenting frustration all that takes on PC users world wide.

Everyone's experience when coming away from Windows or macOS to desktop Linux will be different, as expected. If there's anything that Linux Mint has 'going for it' as far as new users are concerned it's the incredibly fine tuned 'fit and finish' that Mint's development team has consistently, since Mint first appeared in 2006, 'built into' the distro they offer the open source community. As such it has been and still is the single best Ubuntu based Linux desktop available - bar none.

Easy to install. Simple to maintain and update. Lacking in any sort of intrusive spy-ware designed to monitor your activities and 'phone home' with everything you do or say on any platform you visit or use, including internally in your own PC, Mint is fully 'at your service', there to assist you, not to dictate what you can or can't do with your computer..

Anyway, ..this is an ever 'stranger' world we live in today, with increasingly dictatorial 'edicts' being force fed to people world wide, and having open-source Linux distros available that do not encroach on our freedom to do what we want when we want with our own PCs, but provide us with the tools we need to make 'personal computing' truly personal again, is a 'freeing' thing to experience for everyone who avails themselves of a distro such as Linux Mint 20.3..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: Linux Mint 20.3 'Una' now available.. [Re: Az4x4] #152763 01/15/22 12:46 AM
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Not everyone has the option to migrate away from Windows as I mentioned. I'd love to be a Linux only shop but it just isn't possible. Bigger forces are at work to include me working with customer needs not against them. I can also say developers that must deal with writing Windows applications aren't happy with many aspects of that platform. Who knows when, where and how much of Windows will get deprecated on the whimsical calls of Bill Gates. Develops remain in a reactive mode trying to keep their customers insulated from bugs, glitches, unstable updates and crashes. Which doesn't reflect directly on Windows but the person whose product is being used. That said, Automation Direct and Maple Systems do a good job of developing software and providing support. I get the alerts of functions crashing after a Windows patch has been installed. It's nuts!

Linux doesn't get a free pass either. I did an update of my Manjaro O/S a couple of months ago only for it to break my system with a light display manager failed message. I just don't have the time or inclination to run down this problem. So I restored the system from a BU and 2 Gb of updates now sit in my queue. Which I won't do fearing another broken system. I may go back to Mint but that's probably 10 - 15 hours to get everything loaded, debugged and running as it once did. I use this PC for work and can't have it shut down for that long right now. I also can't risk any updates or installs that fiddle with libraries without doing a BU first which is an hour shot and another hour+ to restore the system if things go bad. appimages are nice and avoid those concerns but not always available. The Linux curse is its complex entanglement of library dependencies. Both for the kernel and applications. My KiCAD program is now complaining about python version problems with some of its internals. Triggered by a routine O/S update. Luckily it's just a warning this time. If an application crashes it's usually a HUGE PITA to figure out the problem and fix it. I'll spare the details on what I went through with video drivers and getting all that working. Most people don't want this experience.

All that said, Linux runs reasonably well and I'd say Mint is ahead of the curve and probably the best place to start. I keep Windows to a minimum and use it only when no other options exist. PCs will become a thing of the past as most people use smart phones now. Workstations will remain, however, for designers and engineers. I would imagine docking stations are available for smart phones to allow a standard keyboard and large display. With cloud computing available now no telling where it's all heading.


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Re: Linux Mint 20.3 'Una' now available.. [Re: Muniac] #152765 01/15/22 02:53 AM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Muniac
..Not everyone has the option to migrate away from Windows as I mentioned. I'd love to be a Linux only shop but it just isn't possible. Bigger forces are at work...

That's a harsh reality in today's world. Even in the limited 'workspace' that I occasionally find myself in, "working with customer needs not against them" means that certain 'Windows only' programs, mainly Photoshop and Illustrator, are absolutely necessary - and being able to run these two so easily and so well in Linux Mint is a 'lifesaver' in my book..

As far as Mint "..being ahead of the curve and probably the best place to start," in particular for a new Linux user, I couldn't agree more.. Keeping Windows to a bare minimum and using it only when no other options exist is and has been for years 'the best way' to roll!!..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..

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