Linux Mint, The Ubuntu That Should Have Been? Part 2

Y’know, I’m just simply not used to a Linux distro that actually.. um.. works. In a very short period of time, Mint has completely changed my opinion of what Linux as a desktop OS can actually do.

You read in part 1 that I was having that all-too-familiar dual-screen b.s. where the Desktop Effects didn’t work. Well I decided to reconfigure X for one monitor to turn all the goodies on.

Smart choice. I got to see some true-blue awesome stuff in Mint after that.

Here’s what I have to report.

WINE has come a long, long way

In Mint there’s a specific Windows app installer called Wine-Doors. I can’t even begin to tell you how cool this software is.

I was able to get the Windows versions of Internet Explorer 6, Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, Macromedia Flash 8, and Picasa installed so easily. It just bowled me over that it only took a few clicks and whammo, installed and ready to rock.

I was able to get all kinds of Windows-specific support such as fonts like Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Arial and so on that are 100% correct-looking.

In addition to all that there’s built-in support for MSI specific installers, DCOM stuff some apps need and lots more.

I was totally impressed by this.

It all worked.

DirectX support? No way…


Can you say GAMES, anyone?

In Wine-Doors there is a DirectX download/support option.

Half-Life 2 (a kick-ass game) is actually listed in Wine-Doors as well as Rollercoaster Tycoon and a few others. And by listed I mean you click, download and play. Yeah, you still have to put in your reg info to keep it all legal, but the options are there.. and I bought HL2 a long time ago so I could actually try it out.

Haven’t gotten brave enough to try those yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do. 🙂

Torrent downloads? No problem.

Like any computer geek I download things via torrent often. The software offered for Mint is just as good – if not better – than any Windows variant.

Frostwire is the software you use in Mint. I like it so much I may go ahead and grab the Windows version. This is very well-programmed open source stuff.

Compiz still rules the school

Compiz provides the type of user environment Windows and Apple developers only dream about. Yes, it’s that good. Many Linux distros come with built-in support for it, including Ubuntu.

The implementation of Compiz in Mint is well done and moreover easy. I appreciate the fact they left out all the frilly stuff and concentrated more on beautifying rather than "wow’ing". It’s a solid performer.

Virtualization covered with VirtualBox

Running XP inside Mint is a breeze with VirtualBox installed. There is a native Mint installer that makes it even easier to use via the portal.

If you’ve ever used VMWare, you already know how to use VirtualBox.

Screencasting worked with recordmydesktop

For the first time – ever – I was able to get a true screencast with recorded microphone audio via recordmydesktop with the gtk front-end for GUI’fied ease.

The only reason I don’t have it posted to the YouTube channel is because of the OGG format. I tried uploading it; YouTube didn’t like it so much.

I attempted to convert it to MPEG via Pitivi (a simple video editor for Linux) but that didn’t work so well.

As soon as I’m able to convert the OGG to something YouTube "likes" I will post a vid. You can bank on that one.


  1. Nice little review. I find VirtualBox very polished and whatnot. I am interested in trying HL2 in mint. If that works, my life will be complete 🙂

  2. Justin Hitchborn (hitchface) says:

    How is it with the Add/Remove manager? I run Ubuntu Studio right now because of all of the media creation apps that come with it. If I can get my hands on the same stuff through Mint, that’d be stellar.

  3. There is a separate Add/Remove just for Windows apps with Wine-Doors in Mint. When you launch it, it brings up an app where add/remove of Win apps is super-easy.

    For Linux-specific stuff there’s the Synaptic Package Manager which I find to be more than adequate – especially considering all the “universe” and “multiverse” repositories are already pre-programmed in there. Good stuff.

  4. Hello!

    I tried Linux Mint 4 LiveCD on my laptop but I can’t get past the login screen

    I have read somewhere to use username=mint password=mint, I tried but no luck

    Do you happen to know why and how I can fix this?


  5. I don’t remember a login screen(I just popped in the CD… turned on my laptop… and went in the kitchen… when I came back everything was up and running.

    Anyway, just checking back in. Writing this on My Minty fresh installation. Everything works perfectly on my laptop(including my built in card reader… limited though, sony’s memory stick duo doesn’t work but SD cards do) except for sound which I just went into the mixer and increased volume on everything that didn’t include ‘mic’ and sound worked.

    One thing is kinda bugging me… no desktop effects… I will try to get them to work later but it isn’t as important to as wifi and sound are.

  6. you can use ogg –> avi for youtube with “iriverter”

  7. For screencasting ogg files, when you save them just rename them to whatever like .avi I do this and then upload my vids to photobucket to get html codes…

  8. Oh, argh. No Mint x64 edition…

  9. …Wine-Doors? DirectX? Half-Life 2? Oh, wow. Rich, if I could, I would make you /rich/ just for writing this article. I had been thinking of trying out Mint (I use Ubuntu 7.10/WinXP dual-boot, but I don’t mind the command line so much). You have convinced me to try it out.

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