We’ve known for months now that Ubuntu is planning on making a number of sustantial changes, and not all of those changes are things we’re all excited about. The good news is that Linux Mint, based off of the Ubuntu releases, is responding to the grumblings and hopefully gearing up for some heavy downloads from people looking for an option to Ubuntu 11.04.
The developers are switching from Gnome Shell to Unity, which has been the major bone of contention. The Unity Shell assumes that we’re all heavy online users and need more screen space, which is what makes Unity great for small netbooks. That doesn’t mean that I want it on my desktop. Users have already been switching from Unity back to Gnome for the Netbook Edition of Ubuntu. No matter what reasons the developers have for making this switch, and they are some good reasons, people aren’t happy about it. Linux Mint ‘Katya’ release will be keeping Gnome 3, and that alone may be the reason most people will make a jump to Linux Mint. Of course, as always, there will be an option when you are logging in to choose whether you want Gnome, KDE, Unity, etc. Another point of difference between Ubuntu 11.04 and Linux Mint ‘Katya’ is what version of Gnome will be available; Ubuntu 11.04 will be using Gnome 2.32.x and Linux Mint ‘Katya’ will be using Gnome 3.
There are a couple of other things that users of Ubuntu have been grumbling about quietly amongst themselves. Most of these things aren’t big, in fact most of them are easy to fix. People are mainly annoyed because they have gotten so comfortable with the status quo of rarely not having every program in the default package be exactly what they are used to and want. Unity will be keeping Rythymbox rather than switching to Banshee, which may very well make even more people happy to try a switch to Linux Mint.
It’s great to see Linux Mint stepping up and taking the initiative to keep Linux community users happy. Mint is a fantastic distro, and my personal favorite. I only hope that they are prepared for heavy downloads over the next few months. Started in 2006, it is in the top 4 distributions of Linux worldwide. According to Distrowatch for the past year Mint is the second highest ranked page visited.
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