(If you have not done so, you can read DAY 1 HERE)

Day Two. Our weapon of choice: Linux Mint 9 LXDE.

On the face of it Linux Mint LXDE is just a tweaked Lubuntu, but there is more to it than that.

It features (many) more software packages on install, codecs pre-installed, and some “heavier” packages like Thunderbird.

What did we think about it?

Quintin

Right now I have a Mint ISO living on my flash drive. It is my current “PC in my Pocket”, ready to spring to action whenever I have a need for a Linux boot on a PC that supports booting from USB.

Elzje did not have a lot of time to use it today since her laptop harddrive broke (go figure), but I hope I can fill in some blanks she has with my week or so of using it.

Like Lubuntu it is lightweight, using about 260 odd MB ram, but the real difference is in the choice of packages:

  • Firefox instead of Chromium
  • Thunderbird instead of Sylpheed
  • Gimp
  • Domain Blocker

Given the inclusion of Gimp I guess they could have gone all the way and included OpenOffice.

What I think the Linux Mint guys realized is this; A lot of the weight of an OS is caused by the desktop environment. Take care of that and you can have all the regular programs installed without too many performance problems.

I think Linux Mint LXDE is everything Lubuntu could be if Lubuntu got drunk at a frat party and lived a little.

In the “hand it over to grandma” department I think it edges Lubuntu – a lot of the head scratching is taken care of.

Elzje

I like the idea of using Firefox again. It is more user friendly for me – it may be a stupid reason byt I really like having arrows to click on when I want to scroll. I use it with all the other Linux installs Quintin lets me use from time to time and have become very familiar with it.

While discussing Linux Mint with Quintin we decided that it is a good idea to have the same utilities on your netbook as you would have on your computer at home. In my opinion Linux Mint LXDE makes a lot of sense to me as a “second” or “traveling” operating system.

One nice feature Quintin showed me is the domain blocker – having the kids using an old laptop it is nice to have a utility that can allow me to block certain sites from being accessed.

I prefer the blue of Lubuntu (blue is my favorite color) but the green is very easy on the eye.

Chrome, Codecs and domain blocker – My vote is for Linux Mint so far.

Questions and Answers

  1. Is it reasonably quick?
    Yes. If you have a few programs open you notice more of a performance dive than with Lubuntu – a result of going with heavier programs than Lubuntu does. I’d take a small performance hit in exchange for a more rounded distro any day.
  2. Can You Use the Internet With Ease?
    Yes. Besides me forgetting to install the broadcom drivers for Elzje – same as I had to with Lubuntu – there are really nothing that limits Linux Mint 9 LXDE in the intarweb surfing stakes. Everything of importance has been taken care of beforehand.
  3. Can You Edit Documents and Spreadsheets with ease?
    Yep. Same office suite as with Lubuntu – good enough for casual use.
  4. How Easy is Email use?
    Thunderbird. It is one of the best email clients out there, for any platform. A definite win for Mint 9 LXDE.
  5. Are Codecs Available for all common formats?
    Yes. Most of the common ones are pre-installed.
  6. How Hard is it to Join Networks?
    Exactly the same as with the bigger brothers in the $buntu and Mint family.
  7. Is it a Swap In for a higher ended distro?
    Again, like Lubuntu, no. While it is a lot closer to Lightweight Distro Nirvana than Lubuntu is, the same lack of ability to swop keyboard layout or set the clock post install is there. Fix this and you have a very serious Lightweight Distro.

Summary

Linux Mint 9 LXDE is a less barebones and more capable Lightweight Linux Distro. More care has been put into package selection, and this makes that if you were to choose between Lubuntu and Mint you should choose Mint LXDE.

So far our leader in the lightweight distro department.

What is next? Tomorrow we look at Xubuntu! Yep the original lightweight Ubuntu gets put through its paces.

Get the Linuxmint LXDE version we tested on THIS PAGE (Linux Mint 9 LXDE Download Page with Mirrors)

(You Can Read DAY 3 HERE)

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