Linux Mint 9 LXDE: A Quick Glance

Breaking with past tradition, the Linux Mint folks have done away with “Community Editions”, instead bringing the non-Gnome flavors of Mint fully under the Mint umbrella. Linux Mint 9 LXDE is now in general release. Here are my thoughts.

My setup

Unlike past reviews and tests which have relied on older and underpowered hardware, I’m now testing with a modern machine (Intel i5 with adequate RAM), but under VirtualBox. If you’ve read my previous reviews and comments, please keep that in mind, as “fast” is relative.

The installation process

As usual, the installation process is via LiveCD. One minor nit I have to pick is that the only available LiveCD is 32-bit. People wanting a 64-bit Linux Mint 9 LXDE will need to roll their own or upgrade from the Gnome version. Fortunately, Kendall, who maintains the LXDE and Fluxbox versions of Linux Mint, is also more than happy to help answer questions (although you’ll have to do the actual work yourself!)

Linux Mint 9 LXDE uses the same Ubiquity installer as the main version of Mint. If you don’t have a lot of RAM, this can lead to a fairly slow installation process, but it absolutely flew on my test machine. Actually, I was quite surprised how fast it went, but I don’t know whether that’s due to optimizations to the installer or because my hardware is more modern. Regardless, installation was very fast and quite painless. I won’t rehash the step-by-step process because it’s essentially identical to the main edition.

Poking around

The SLiM Login Manager
Right off the bat, we see that SLiM is the login manager. I’m a big fan of SLiM: it gives me the functionality I need, but is very fast and lightweight.

Coming over from the Linux Mint 8 LXDE CE, several things were expected, but there were a few surprises along the way. The inclusion of PCManFM 0.9.5 as the file manager was not a surprise to anyone. Other “non-surprises” include Exaile as the music player, VLC for general multimedia purposes, Firefox, Thunderbird and the GIMP image editor. After a brief dalliance with Empathy, Pidgin returns as the default IM client. The big surprise is the absence of OpenOffice.org In its place, they’ve inserted AbiWord as a word processor and as the spreadsheet program. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I like OpenOffice.org, and it’s become pretty much the standard-bearer for free office suites. On the other hand, there are other quality offerings out there which many distros tend to give short shrift, and Kendall is trying to give them their due. At the end of the day, though, I prefer having OpenOffice as my office suite, but it’s also the sort of thing that is easily rectified with Mint’s Software Manager, Synaptic Package Manager or good old-fashioned apt-get.

Overall, I generally feel this is a worthy LXDE distro. I do wish OpenOffice.org were included, and I can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s a fair amount of software mish-mash that is inconsistent with the rest of the Mint family. Part of that is unavoidable: some of Mint’s standard software depends on Gnome (such as Gedit), so an alternate had to be found (such as Leafpad.) Any software-related shortcomings are easily rectified with Software Manager or apt-get, and the Mint management tools I like so much are all present and accounted for (other than Mint4Win, which has known issues.) Is there a compelling reason to move from Mint 8 LXDE CE to Mint 9 LXDE? Probably not. But this is a solid long-term stable release which should hold the Mint LXDE community in good stead for a long time.

I’ll be back later with a more in-depth review. Meanwhile, I recommend giving this one a spin!

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11 thoughts on “Linux Mint 9 LXDE: A Quick Glance

  1. Mm, decent points, but I dio confess to having no issues with Abiword and Gnumeric in place of Openoffice. Both of these do the job quite well, are much lighter, and you CAN add OOo if you so desire, but in the meantime, your primary needs are still being met. I’ll have to take it for a spin, but the defaults seem like an acceptable compromise to me. Cheers. :)

  2. In reading your review of Mint 8 LXDE you list as a con that it should have Abiword instead of OpenOffice, now with your review of Mint 9 LXDE you complain that it comes with Abiword instead of OpenOffice. What gives, kind of hypocritical don’t you think?

    • Aaron, I think you must be thinking of someone else’s review of Mint 8 LXDE… neither Joe nor I made any mention of Abiword in our review of that release, positive or negative.

  3. Mint cant authenticate downloaded packages by default. I installed Mint 9 KDE and noticed authentication failure on every package during first update. Went googling and found this thread on Mint forum which confirms that third most popular Linux distro is not capable of authenticating its own binaries, or any other binaries.

    http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26343

    This is not mentioned in the Mint release notes as it should be,
    and it certainly should be mentioned in this or any other review
    of this distribution. BTW: Nice site.

  4. > Right off the bat, we see that SLiM is the login manager. I’m a big fan of SLiM: it gives me the functionality I need, but is very fast and lightweight.
    It’s not SLiM. It’s LXDM.*

    *http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_isadora_lxde_whatsnew.php#lxdm

  5. Great article, but a frustrating read, due to the lack of proper punctuation in a lot of spots. Please close your quotations! If this article is following some sort of nouveau grammatical style, of which I’m not aware, I remain frustrated; however, I apologize.

  6. What an fantastic piece of content. Never looked at it it that way. You always come up withamazing articles. Your blog literally keeps me entertained for hours lol. Love your stuff, don’t ever stop.

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