Testing Mint 18.2

I’m not a professional reviewer; I know exactly what I want for myself and know generally what most clueless home users will tolerate. I have some vague ideas about what business users like.

Mostly this is a matter of testing it on my Dell Precision M4400 laptop, which has been a little cranky up to now. It runs Vista okay, for which it was designed; it does Win7 less tolerably as some of the drivers are wonky. In terms of what an OS is supposed to do, Windows has been the most troublesome that I’ve tested. The suspend and hibernate work well enough, but the touchpad was an abomination no matter which of a half-dozen drivers I tried. It’s behavior is inconsistent and somewhat unpredictable. There were other issues, but that’s a sample.

Under Linux the touchpad is at least consistent. However, up to now, nothing I’ve tested works properly with suspend and hibernate. The fans are less active under Linux and the instructions for tuning are not easy to follow. Everyone expects you to know what you need in the first place, and that is highly unlikely with most users. However, I believe it tends to run cooler with Linux in the first place, so it may be working better than I know. It has never overheated on me, but it runs pretty hot compared to other laptops I’ve owned, so it requires bottom space for good ventilation, drawing fresh air through the bottom of the case.

With Mint 18.2 XFCE edition, we now have a fully functioning suspend and hibernate out-of-the-box. For the first time it has needed no tweaking to work properly. That’s a real plus for me. Little else has changed in terms of the hardware interaction. The nicest part was that Mint was very smart about default options, including good driver support without interaction; it was all installed by default. This is actually easier than installing Windows.

Side note: As part the user setup, Mint asks you if you would like to test other software repository mirrors to see if they are faster than the default. Once you click on the repository name, another window opens and tests each of the mirrors for response rate. I suggest that, if at any time, you see it offering the servers connected with Oklahoma University, you might want to bypass because that has been by far the most unreliable source I’ve used. Not only is it down too often, but it’s response can make the updater act a little nutty. I live geographically close to OU and it gives me trouble.

Mint also shines with things like WINE. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a backup copy of MS Office 2003, my favorite version. It didn’t install on Debian 9, but works just dandy with Mint 18.2. And I can now use the latest version of Notepad++ without any problems, aside from spiking the CPU just a little. Still, I use it for writing and editing posts and all my other stuff. The only problem is that you have to install Notepad++ plugins manually, but I’ve not had any real trouble finding the source for those and simply installing them by moving the file into the right folder.

It would be very easy to add a VM for more complicated needs. And for those who sense a need for network security, the firewall is very easy to setup and use. For now, I can’t see any reason a user would balk at choosing Mint if migrating to Linux seems like a good idea. Overall, I’m quite pleased with Mint and I can recommend this to Linux newbies with very little hand-holding.

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About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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7 Responses to Testing Mint 18.2

  1. forrealone says:

    Well, we finally got all of our electronics back four months after our house fire. I need a couple of gizmos in order to set my desktop back up. Once done, I will backup what I “need” to my external hard drive while running Win7. I will NOT be attached to any network. Then I am going to install the Mint OS I ordered a while ago on CD right over that windows. I can’t wait. If all goes well, I will install Mint on that Debian laptop and see how that goes. I will keep you posted! (:^)

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  2. [ Smiles ] Great choice!

    I am testing out Linux Mint 18.2 with the Cinnamon desktop environment; to me, it works better than Linux Mint 18.1.

    I believe that the official completed version is going to be released pretty soon!

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  3. forrealone says:

    I bought mint 18.1 and feceived a CD several months ago. So, once i load 18.1 on my desktop, is it simple to upgrade to .2 ? Thanks

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  4. Ed Hurst says:

    One of the few things that annoys me about the Mint developers is their near-paranoia about users breaking things. They are overly protective, but I suppose that has its advantages. At any rate, they firmly and loudly recommend that you simply get the latest ISO and install fresh over the previous version. However, they do provide two paths:

    1. CLI tool upgrade — See section D on this page. You can download a command line tool will do it all for you; I’ve never tried it.

    2. GUI tool upgrade — Starting late in the 17 series, they introduced an option in the system update tool. However, I’ve read reports that it doesn’t show up all the time for every user. I’m not sure what to make of that, except that maybe the specific desktop versions don’t release all at the same time, so the menu option won’t appear until it’s actually ready. Again, I’ve not had occasion to try this out myself.

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  5. Great article Ed Hurst.

    Linux mint is a favorite of mine. Right now, I am using Ubuntu Mate 17.04. I been using Linux since 2008 and after my April birthday making 50 this year I said I need to give back to the community cause, moved away from forums and because they were a headache on top of trying find answers on my own to issues that pop up what ever the system I am using. The forums for this systems are modern looking and I like the look hopefully as I try it, it will be better than the irc which hate the process they go through to get some help it seems to much red tape qualifications so, I won’t be going there. I think they are going backwards in terms of being user friendly which they are not.

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  6. John S says:

    I play around with Linux on a Mini PC with a Core i3 Hazwell 5005u and 4 Gb ram. Ubuntu works really well, probably the best at setup for a novice and getting everything to work. Mint is a mixed bag of elegant design but a go your own way of doing things. I don’t know if its better or not? Seem to always have more hardware issues with Mint then with Ubuntu. Maybe that’s why more IT in a survey really preferred Ubuntu? For me Windows 10 is still my primary OS and so when I run into Mint issues I mostly can set it aside until I can work it out. Chrome OS actually intrigues me more then Linux because everything is updated for that device. You know its going to work, I have worked with educational Chromebooks for two years now and never a issue with hardware, apps or connecting to schools network. The advantage like Apple is dedicated specific hardware platforms. Would really like to try a System 76 notebook out someday to see if that same result can be had with Linux. Microsoft has its Surface line, which still has glitches even though its designed by Microsoft. I have my doubts except for Chromebooks that any desktop flavor of Linux will ever really catch on. I’ve heard it for years that this is the year, and it came and went and still no movement in market share. Mint and Ubuntu are perfectly fine, and yet they seem to always be the hobbyists desktop OS.

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  7. Ed Hurst says:

    Thanks John; the whole point is that everyone gets something reasonably close to what they want. I just imagine widespread adoption of Linux requires two things: (1) people have to gain a sense of betrayal about Windows and (2) someone with a very strong public voice suggests Linux as the answer to that betrayal. The threshold for feeling betrayed varies widely. I’ve gotten just a handful of people to migrate so far because their tolerance for Windows was already low.

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