Linux Mint 12 (Lisa) released. It is based on the recently released Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) and is powered by Linux kernel 3.0, X.Org 7.6 and GNOME 3.2, yes Gnome 3.2. It offers a set of extensions to gnome 3.2 for making the look native to gnome 2. The extensions set MGSE includes the Mint menu, bottom panel with applications minimized and desktop indicator, native system tray etc.. This make gnome 3.2 look and feel like gnome 2. Linux Mint 12 also includes the MATE desktop interface for all GNOME 2 fans, available at the login prompt. According to DistroWatch, Linux Mint has even overtaken Ubuntu as the most popular distro.
Introducing Gnome 3 and MGSE
The most notable differences in Linux Mint 12 is the MGSE, also known as the Mint Gnome Shell Extension. As its name implies, this is a Gnome Shell extension built on top of Gnome 3. The MGSE brings back the bottom panel and the popular MintMenu. It allows you to use Linux Mint the traditional way without losing the functionality of Gnome 3.
The MGSE menu comes with a left shortcut sidebar where you can quickly access your favorite applications, such as Firefox, Banshee, Terminal, Folders etc. You can change the favourite applications by just adding the apps to gnome shell overlay mode dock. There is a search bar in the mint menu. So you can find the application by searching its name. An auto complete list will come when you just type first two three characters.
Most of the desktop features in Linux Mint 12 are just Gnome Shell extensions and you can easily turn them on or off, depending on your preferences. If you want a native Gnome Shell experience, simply turn off all the extensions with the Gnome Tweak Tool.
MATE – The answer to Unity 2D
In Ubuntu, if your computer does not support 3D acceleration, there is always the Unity 2D fallback mode. In Linux Mint, Mate is the 2D fallback mode for the MGSE. The Mate desktop is a fork of Gnome 2 that is compatible with Gnome 3. You will see a bottom panel with the usual Mint menu, icons and system tray. If you want the gnome 2 desktop then just switch to MATE.
New Themes in Linux Mint
The default theme used in Linux Mint 12 is Mint-Z and it uses the default silverish grey as the background with shade of transparency in the Gnome Shell top panel and Activities overview. you can activate the user theme extension for linux mint and you can install great gnome 3 themes like faiance, ambiance, adwaita white on Linux mint .
The Software Manager is similar to the Ubuntu Software Center except that it is more organized and the categories are well built. The Software Manager in Linux Mint loads fast and neat. You will get the exact information when you want.
Banshee is now the default music player and popular apps like Gimp, Synaptic, Pidgin, Gdebi and VLC still come pre-installed in Linux Mint 12. For commercial reason, the default search engine in Firefox has been changed to DuckDuckGo instead of Google Custom Search engine. But you can always change it to google.
Linux Mint is amazing. It is still as user-friendly as before, and the MGSE does give its users the best of both world: Gnome 3 and Linux Mint. While it is a derivative of Ubuntu, you can’t find any trace of Ubuntu in it. You can choose this as the best alternative to ubuntu.
Also it is the most popular distro in distrowatch.com
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