Few months ago Gnome hell (oops my mistake, it’s “shell” 😉 ) was released and they’ve done some radical changes to the desktop. Then Unity from the Ubuntu came along and it also had a lot of changes so a lot of people disliked it too. There could be many reasons for that but I personally don’t like the implementation of the “Application launcher” that much because switching between minimized windows and accessing installed programs is pretty much a hassle.
Linux Mint on the other hand was also a pretty interesting distribution from the beginning (based on Ubuntu actually). But sometime ago after the Unity desktop launch, Linux Mint decided to go back to the mother-ship, the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. And now they have few versions (meaning different desktops) that are based on Debian rather than Ubuntu.
Now as said, Gnome Shell had (still do!) some changes that a lot of people didn’t like and Linux Mint decided to write a Shell extension of their own which literally converts the Gnome Shell into a Gnome Classic looking desktop.
It adds a bottom panel where we could just minimize our windows and a MS Windows style start menu which makes finding and launching apps pretty much easier (another feature both Unity and Gnome Shell refuse to add). Few weeks ago they released an alpha version and the results from their prospective has been amazing.
Now according to Distrowatch Linux Mint is at the top of GNU/Linux distribution list with ever growing popularity … despite all the arguments we have now … it seems that many actually still like to have a bottom panel to minimize your windows and a decent start menu.
Few days ago they released the eagerly waited official Linux Mint 12 but then suddenly they rolled back the images like nothing had happened. I honestly don’t know that happened.
Nonetheless, few hours ago they’ve official released Linux Mint 12! (based on both Gnome Shell and Ubuntu 11.10), code named “Lisa”.
*. Linux Mint 12 features the Gnome Shell with their extension (called “MGSE) that “converts” the Gnome3 desktop to a traditional Gnome desktop.
*. If you love Gnome Shell, you can completely disable the MGSE extension and get the original Gnome Shell.
*. They also ship the Gnome “Mate” desktop (a desktop that’s based on Gnome classic) in the DVD version. But if you use the CD version then you can install it using their repositories afterward.
*. I’ve always loved the themes in both Linux Mint and Fedora … and Mint 12 has two new themes, one a dark looking one (a bit like Gnome Shell) and another Green one which resembles the original Linux Mint ‘Branding’.
*. If you’re not much of a Blue and Green color lover then you’d wanna changes those themes (any ladies out there? ;-)) and the default wallpapers also look quite beautiful.
*. Features the GNU/Linux Kernel 3.0.
*. It’s also uses some of the Ubuntu 11.10 functions but the overlay scroll-bars are removed (again, you can install them later).
*. Other than the DVD the CD won’t install those proprietary codes (not a good thing to do if you ask me) but we can easily install them at the installation process nonetheless.
You can get more details from this official release notes page.
Here are the System Requirements…
*. x86 processor (Linux Mint 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. Linux Mint 32-bit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors).
*. 512 MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
*. 5 GB of disk space.
*. Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution.
*. CD/DVD drive or USB port.
If you wanna install it then get it from this official Linux Mint 12 download mirrors page. Good luck.