Just as I’d stated in the last post about Fedora 36, I’ve started to look at alternative distributions. I looked at both Alma Linux and Linux Mint, and decided to not go near Alma Linux. That leaves Linux Mint.
Linux Mint 30.2 is derived from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Focal Fossa. That’s not a bad thing per se, but the kernel and tool versions are from two years ago. That may or may not cause issues. As an example pre-installed Python is at version 3.8.10. A check on python.org shows version 3.8 is at 3.8.13. Minor point releases are usually bug fixes, which might include security fixes as well. I’ve yet to dig in and find out. In any event if I were to go with Linux Mint I’d build my own latest version and install it in parallel with the default version, as I have done countless times before. Followed by creating a virtual Python work environment.
It has been many years since I worked with Linux Mint, so I slowed down and took some time to explore and become reacquainted with this distribution. It’s a pleasant experience with interesting little touches. For example I was able to quickly find a theme I liked and installed it. And that’s when I noticed a problem with every Gnome-based distribution; wasted space on the window chrome. The top window bar in particular is huge, giving every window the digital equivalent of a high forehead. And that’s without a menu. Windows and macOS have much thinner upper window borders, and the controls and text that are a part of those borders are better designed and integrated. It’s all about efficient use of screen real estate; Gnome is not efficient.
In a way, because it’s based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS it’s a bit like stepping back in time. And a reminder of what I left behind, both good and bad. And a reminder that perhaps the bad wasn’t all that bad after all. I even like how I was able to find another decent wallpaper, at least to me:
It’s called Red Waves and is part of the Una image collection in Backgrounds. And one more nice little touch:
Right mouse click on the Mint desktop, go down to the very bottom of the pop-up menu where it displays Customize and click to bring up this dialog. See the slider on the far right and the one at the very bottom? Those are used to tweak the horizontal and vertical distances between the desktop icons, independently of each other (i.e. you can just change the vertical distancing if you’re fine with the horizontal distancing.) As I wrote earlier, a number of nice little touches.
As for my pain points:
- There is no brltty.
- Parallels Tools installed just fine, which allows me to share a folder on my Mac with all my other VMs and the native Mac environment.
- The Mint desktop is Xorg and works just fine in a Parallels virtual machine on a macOS desktop.
I don’t know yet if I’ll replace Pop!_OS with Mint, but it’s a serious contender. A very serious contender.
And what about Alma Linux, you ask? Alma Linux advertises it’s a clone of CentOS, which is a clone of Red Hat, and brother, are they right about that. RedHat is Corporate Linux all the way, as are the derivatives CentOS and AlmaLinux. And I’m here to tell the world I have no use for Corporate Linux. I’m glad that RedHat is here for the corporate types as it keeps them away from me. I am concerned that Ubuntu is evolving into another Corporate Linux, which I find disturbing.
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