22 Dec 2010

What is the difference between the twins, or How many twists are there in spiral?

Linux has an image of not-user-friendly operation system. Most people think they are not technically educated enough to work in Linux. That's not right. Linux made leaps towards user friendliness in recent years. Whole my blog is just one big anthem for it.
One of my friends (hey, do you read this post, Mr.S?) wrote me once:
Niece comes over to stay, she is on the computer all the time, and never notices that she is using a Linux system!
Isn't it a good proof?
Of course, not all the distributives have done equal steps on this road. Some of them remain oriented on technical people.
Linux Mint is a distributive created by team of Linux fans. They want to make Linux experience as easy as possible.
Last time I wrote about Linux Mint 10 Julia. This is what Mint team made from Ubuntu 10.10.
Ubuntu-based system is not the only project run by Mint team. Their recent initiative is Mint based on Debian. This is Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE).
I must try it! Why wait!

Image is downloaded. It is too big to be burnt to CD-RW, so I use DVD-RW disk this time. Unfortunately, DVD-ROM on my Compaq laptop is too wore. It cannot cope with DVD disks any more. Neither writing, nor reading of DVD-RW disk proved to be possible. That's why the only experiment I had with LMDE took place on my newer Toshiba laptop.
LMDE was started on Toshiba without any issues. If I was not aware that LMDE and Linux Mint Julia are based on different "fulcrums", I would never be able to tell the difference. These two systems are like two identical cars on the conveyor. They have difference, but this difference is very well hidden and not visible to external observer. They have different engines.
What do different engines do with operation system though? That is very interesting question.

  • Ubuntu-based Julia was very kind to my Toshiba laptop and kindly took all the problems with network connection to her soft and easy-touch hands. WiFi card was automatically recognised, available networks scanned and listed to my service.
  • Debian-based LMDE decided to leave me alone. Without any clue to network connection. Neither WiFi nor LAN card was found. I felt myself abandoned on the uninhabited island. Generally speaking, Debian again showed me its unfriendliness. Previous time I was not able to run it at all. This time I was allowed to see a little bit of the spiral, covered by Mint environment. Did it make me happier? No, I am afraid.
I know that kernel version is responsible for hardware recognition and usage. But, dear Mint team, won't it be better to stick to most recent available kernels in all your releases?
Software packed on the LMDE is about the same as in Julia. Another point of frustration. Looks like DVD-based system can potentially have more "on board". Not that LMDE is packed badly, not at all! All the necessary tools are there, at your command. But additional bits would be useful, if distributive is purposely built for DVD media.
What is the outcome of the experiment? Probably the fact that negative result is still a result. It's not likely I will ever come back to LMDE. But, as all you know, "Never say never again"!


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