Friday, December 9, 2011

Adiós Ubuntu, Hola Linux Mint 12

Today I got rid of my penultimate Ubuntu installation--Ubuntu completely abandoned usability and customization in favor of perceived glitz. I do, however, still have an old Dell laptop (bought at the end of 2005) running Ubuntu 10.4. Support for that drops in April, so some time around then I will likely do a fresh Mint install (and maybe insert a larger hard drive). For now I'm leaving well enough alone. I've thought about replacing this machine, but don't really need to, and so now I'm going to nurse as many years out of it as my primary portable as I can.

I have a Samsung netbook with 1MB RAM; it was running XP, but now it's Mint 12/Mate dual boot with XP. I plan to use it to play around with OpenBox. Also, it's getting a little old, was never expensive to begin with, and has  no files to speak of, so I feel comfortable travelling internationally with it and occasionally leaving it momentarily unattended in a classroom.

My main desktop at home is running Mint 11. This was because the machine would not automatically hibernate with Ubuntu 11.04, so I "upgraded" to Ubuntu 11.10, had a terrible experience--Ubuntu offers a number of user interfaces with 11.10, all of them bad. So, in time I performed what turned out to be an actual an upgrade, to Mint 11. This was amazingly trouble-free and very easy to configure--Mint made a great first impression on me. I'll probably upgrade this to Mint 12 sometime after finals.

My desktop at work would not wake up from hibernate with Ubuntu 11.04 (sense a familiar theme?), so I "upgraded" that to Ubuntu 11.10, hated Unity, hated Gnome 3, and lived with XFCE for a few weeks. XFCE is really clunky and, with Ubuntu 11.10, even with XFCE and as much junk as possible disabled and uninstalled, was very, very slow. This may have been an Ubuntu issue, or an XFCE issue. No matter; as of this afternoon the machine is running Mint 12 with Mate, and seems to be performing fine. The university gave me this machine in '06, and it has just 2GB RAM and is dual core, which seemed sweet then, but pedestrian now. Still, it should be plenty for software development and document typesetting. Anyhow, with Mate and Mint 12, things seem okay.

I'm in the process of removing a bunch of garbage as both Mint and Ubuntu seem to have this philosophy that bloat is good. I'll detail that later. Of course I have to install a lot of stuff as well, which I have started with tcsh, emacs, LaTeX, and GHC being first. Then Google Chrome, which wasn't as easy as I'd hoped. Details soon.

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