One major aspect that I love about ‘Free software’ is the freedom that it gives an user to switch to a different OS/app/tool/whatever. And this is exactly what happened this month for me. I have been extremely happy with Ubuntu 10.10. In fact, it was so good that I abandoned Windows 7 to move to Ubuntu. You can read more about the switch to Linux here. Then came two pathetic releases (11.04 and 11.10) which destroyed the very advantage that Ubuntu had (ease of use, lag-free UI). I personally felt that this was just my feeling but then I came across these stats at DistroWatch.com:
and then this statement on Linux Mint blog:
As other distributions adopted new desktops such as Unity and Gnome 3, many users felt alienated and consequently migrated to Linux Mint. We recorded a 40% increase in a single month and we’re now quickly catching up with Ubuntu for the number #1 spot within the Linux desktop market.
I tried Linux Mint 11 few years ago and felt that it was way faster than Ubuntu and thought of giving it a real try later as I was pretty happy with Ubuntu 10.10.
Ubuntu 11.10 and loss of hair
11.04 was a disaster. Unity had too many bugs and even with GNOME 2.x, it was terribly slow. As a result, I waited for the final version of 11.10 to come out, unlike for the earlier releases when I used to try Ubuntu right from beta version. Initially, it was okay. I got used to Unity a bit but still it used to irritate every now and then, thanks to Canonical for trying to make Unity look lot more like OS X. After few days, the real problems started:
- AIR Apps like tweetdeck will lose all data including account information
- Shutdown process won’t complete and have to do hard shutdown
- Frequent lag and Unity would hang atleast once in a day
- Gobble up space under / at a rapid rate
- Hate the location of Unity dock. Top bar is nearly useless while there is no way I can add an extra panel
- Context menu a.k.a Global menu bar is a big joke and a mega PITA
- File lens advanced filtering options are useless if I want to search music or movies based on anything other than filename
Install GNOME 3 didn’t help much as the OS itself is laggy. It is indeed way way better than Unity but then again, not many can jump right into completely different UI (where jump between windows is replaced by jump between applications).
Linux Mint 12
This is what Ubuntu should’ve been. All the goodness from GNOME 3 and few additions that gives it few GNOME 2.x features like bottom panel, Alt+Tab functionality etc. And more importantly, it’s way way way faster than Ubuntu, doesn’t have the issues that Ubuntu has with Adobe Air, neither does it have those weird and junk customizations.Thanks to the MGSE, I never faced the problem with multitasking. I slowly got used to GNOME 3 and then once I got the hang of GNOME 3, I removed all MGSE extensions except Alt-Tab. And this is how my Mint 12 looks like:
It looks beautiful right? Mint 12 is exactly what I wanted. Get to know and understand GNOME 3 while having most used elements from GNOME 2.x. I am totally loving the OS and the Window manager and I don’t think I will ever look back to Ubuntu. It doesn’t feel like OS X and it doesn’t feel like Windows. It feels unique and it is damn fast and here’s my middle finger to Ubuntu 😀