I downloaded the ISO file of Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE via torrent at the same time as Cinnamon. The ISO image file size is 898 Mb.
I used Unetbootin to create a Live USB from the ISO file. At the same time, I activated the persistence option to check whether it actually works for Linux Mint distributions.
When the USB stick was ready, I plugged it into the USB port of my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Prepare yourself some mate. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let’s go!
BootingThe Unetbootin's boot menu for Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE was the same as for the Cinnamon version. However, the total boot time was longer than the "sister’s". As in the Cinnamon’s case, the screen was absolutely black for some time. Then, the mouse cursor appeared, and finally the bottom panel and the rest of the desktop came in.
There were no additional questions during the system boot.
|Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE uses 220 Mb of memory|
Mint WelcomeThe desktop in Linux Mint MATE has the classical layout with a panel at the bottom. The left part of the panel contains the Menu button with the cogwheel icon and the "Show Desktop" button. The right part of the panel, the notification area, contains clock with date, volume control, network manager and the power button. You may notice that there are fewer icons in MATE than there are in the Cinnamon edition, for example: USB devices' monitor is not here, nor is a separate element for the panel configuration.
The panel itself is in light-grey colour, which makes contrast with black and dark-grey icons in the notification area. Again, the out-of-this-theme green battery indicator is here.
The desktop wallpaper is the same as in the Cinnamon edition. The same is valid for the set of alternative wallpapers.
The desktop contains shortcuts to the Mint Installer, Computer, Home and the USB media.
The default windows decoration theme in Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE is quite confusing: the window header has exactly the same colour as the menu bar. If you want to click the title to maximize/minimize or drag the window, you can easily click the wrong area.
|Window title and menu bar have the same colour|
There is no virtual desktop switcher in the default Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE, but you can easily add the Workspace Switcher applet to the panel from the right-click menu on an empty panel space.
NetworkAs you could guess, there were no issues with wireless connection for my network card Intel 3945 ABG. It was automatically recognised and configured by Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE. However, it took system some time to connect to the network after the passkey was entered.
Keyboard layoutThe default keyboard layout in Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE is English US. You can configure the layouts in the Keyboard section of the System Settings panel.
It was not a difficult task for me to replace the default layout with English UK + Russian with Ctrl-Shift as a switch hotkey.
Once I had done this, the language indicator appeared on the panel. This indicator can only be a text, not a flag.
MenuLinux Mint 13 Maya MATE features the famous Linux Mint menu.
|Linux Mint menu|
If you remember, I could call up the menu in the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint with the Super (Windows) key. The default key combination in Linux Mint MATE is Ctrl+Left Super key. You can configure this hotkey, although. I changed it to a simple Super key, but nothing changed straight away... read on, I will explain later.
In general, the menu in Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE is the same as in the Cinnamon version. However, there are some differences. Let me talk them through.
- The Internet section in Linux Mint MATE lacks the Desktop Sharing application.
- LibreOffice Calc start-up time was less in the MATE edition, although it still made the coolers of the laptop work harder than usual.
- MATE edition of Linux Mint 13 does not include Image viewer or Document viewer. Instead, you get Eye of MATE Image Viewer there, which is obviously a fork of the famous Eye of GNOME.
- Pluma is the simple text editor in the MATE edition, where gEdit presents in the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint 13 Maya.
- The default file manager in Linux Mint 13 MATE is Caja 1.2.1. Have you ever heard of it? Probably, not. But, no doubt, you know what Nautilus is: the default file manager in the majority of GNOME-based Linux distributions. Caja is MATE's name for Nautilus. Even the icon is the same! On the negative side, the issue with MB and Million-of-bytes is still here.
You see, there are not that many differences. The issues with “too-many-applications-for-a-task” and with “misplaced-applications-in-the-menu” are still in place.
If you want to add more applications or remove some of the existing packages from Linux Mint 13, the MATE version gives you options to use either Mint's Software Manager or Synaptic, which is named simply "Package Manager" in the menu.
I tried the same operations, which I previously attempted in the Cinnamon edition, and got exactly the same results: Remmina Desktop refused to install in Software Manager without any explanations to why, while smbfs package was successfully installed.
I also installed Gigolo from the Synaptic Package Manager. Unfortunately, Gigolo did not appear in the Mint Menu after the installation in the Live USB run of Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE.
Network partitionUnfortunately, Caja file manager refused to see the fileserver in my home network.
Moreover, Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE appeared to have the same "infection" as its Cinnamon sister and Zorin OS cousin: it did no see any devices in the local network. That's why I could not mount a network partition from my fileserver.
MultimediaMovie Player is the default player for MP3 files in MATE, as well as it was in the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint 13. Although, MATE has an additional bonus: you can "preview", or "pre-listen" (whichever name you prefer) to multimedia files right in the Caja file manager, when you hover the mouse over the little "play" icon on the file. Be prepared for your speakers to play music while you browse the disk!
As you can tell from that, Linux Mint 13 Maya did not have any issues with playing back the multimedia files. Of course, the Mint team includes all the necessary codecs in their distributions.
|Linux Mint 13 includes codecs and Flash|
PersistenceIf you remember from the beginning of this review, I created my Live USB stick with Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE using Unetbootin and its ability to add persistence.
To check the persistence option, I restarted the laptop from the same USB drive.
The result? Persistence worked perfectly. I got the same windows decoration elements, panel configuration, keyboard layouts and their indicator, and even Firefox history as in my previous session.
Moreover, a couple of improvements came to the system after the restart.
- Gigolo application now appeared in the Mint menu.
- Mint menu hotkey changed from Ctrl-Super to simple Super.
It is very likely that these both issues might not exist in the installed version of Linux Mint MATE, I can’t tell for sure. I still faced them in my Live USB run.
ConclusionLinux Mint 13 Maya MATE is a twin sister of another distribution of Linux Mint team: Linux Mint Cinnamon. It is not identical twin, although they are very close to each other. And, as it always happens with twins, they have their distinctive features, which usually allow one of them to achieve better results.
This way, I can say that the MATE distribution is more ready for users than Cinnamon is. Even though MATE is based on a relatively old base of GNOME2, nobody can say that time-proven base is worse than the shiny brand new one. Old friends are often best.
Although I cannot say that Linux Mint 13 Maya MATE left a very good impression on me, it is definitely better than the impression I had after my Cinnamon run.
In addition to all the previously mentioned issues with Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon, the MATE edition has another one: it is the presence of... Mint Menu! Personally, if there would be an option to swap menus between MATE and Cinnamon, I would definitely use one to improve the MATE edition even further.
Do you want to try the latest version of Linux Mint yourself? To help you, here is a Buy Linux CDs site.
Video used in the screenshot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMdH1aEI3-c