Now that Linux Mint 3.0 (Cassandra) has been released, I had to try it out. For those who may not be familiar with Linux Mint, it is a Ubuntu-derived distribution based in Ireland. Linux Mint customizes and builds off the regular Ubuntu version, with the GNOME desktop environment.
It comes in two different versions: one is the full version with multimedia codecs for those who live in places where software patents are not recognized, and a light version for places that do, such as the US. So, with that in mind I downloaded the light version. Other than codecs, the light version is the same as the full, so you get all the updated applications, and all the features available.
The one feature that stands out the most to me is called mintInstall. MintInstall is basically a CNR for Linux Mint. The software repository is, at the moment, rather small. However, applications are being added to the repository daily, and there are many great applications available. So, to explaing how this all works, I decided to download and install Inkscape, a SVG graphics editor. First I went to the Linux Mint site, and navigated to http://www.linuxmint.com/software/. I then clicked on the “Graphics” catagory, and clicked on Inkscape. The software information page provides screenshots, a discription, and other information such as the size of the application and the license. At the bottom of the page there is a large “Download Now” button, which I clicked. The file that was downloaded is a .mint file. The “What would you like to do with this file” dialog box appeared, with the option of opening the file with mintInstall, or saving it to a location. I clicked open with mintInstall. This is when a small box appeared with two buttons (cancel, and install). I clicked install, and this is when the magic began. since a picture says a thousand words, I have included screenshots to help explain what is going on:
This is the download page, where you can see a description, screenshots, and other information about an application.
This is the installation box. as you can see, the top progress bar shows the progress of the download. The lower displays the overall progress of the installation. In the center, there is a terminal window which displays what is happening when it comes to installing the actual packages.
It is a very easy-to-use approach to installing applications, and in its own way, it is almost reminiscent of the Windows Installation Wizard. It is, in my opinion, a great feature, and is something that makes Linux Mint special.