Review of Linux Mint Debian Edition

With the latest update pack for LMDE I decided to install from the latest iso using the mate desktop. As with the other reviews I have done I will be giving myself 5 tasks to complete to see how easy or difficuilt they are to complete

1. Configure Sources and update

The easiest way is to use the ‘Software Sources’ tool found in Menu -> Administration -> Software Sources. Click on the mirror to either choose the mirror you know is best or wait for the program to ping each mirror and let you know which is the fastest. Once you have select the mirror click on the ‘Update the cache’ button as seen below.

Screenshot

You can then use the update manager which is found in the same menu location or it is also in the notification area in the bottom right hand corner.

Screenshot-1

At this time there are no updates available.

2. Install third part Nvidia drivers

Unlike the main editions (those based on Ubuntu) there is no gui application to install the drivers. There is synaptic or apt-get to install the drivers from the repositories and now lmde includes the sgfxi script. I chose to use apt-get as that is how I install the drivers in Debian Testing. If you choose to use Synaptic Package Manager you will need to open a terminal and run sudo nvidia-xconfig .

Screenshot-2

However for some reason the driver would not load (and yes i didnt forget to complete the nvidia-xconfig above).I blacklisted the nouveau module and that did not help so in the end I removed everything I had installed and used the sgfxi script. Which to do so you need to close X , which usually is done by ctrl – alt – f1 , login as root (use the password chosen during the install process) , then run service mdm stop && sgfxi .

3. Automount partitions using the fstab file

The first step is open a terminal and type sudo blkid to list partitions and there UUID numbers. From there you can do alt-f2 , gksudo pluma /etc/fstab . Create the menu entries in fstab to match the corresponding partitions. Once you’re sure that you have everything correct , and that you have left an empty line at the end of the file , save and exit. Use sudo mount -a in terminal , if the command has no errors everything should have mounted fine. You can also use df -Th to see more information.

Screenshot-3

4. Configure the login screen

There is a tool for this which can be found in Menu -> Administration -> Login Window.

Screenshot-4

Selecting an HTML theme

Screenshot-5

To select a GDM theme.

Screenshot-6

To either specify a background image or single colour and to choose a welcome message.

Screenshot-7

To select auto-login options.

Screenshot-8

To select miscellaneous options

5. Add a new user

There is a gui tool for this found in Menu -> Administration -> Users and Groups.

Screenshot-9

Click on the ‘Add’ button.

Screenshot-10

Enter the new users name and username.

Screenshot-11

Set the password.

Conclusion

The issues I had  include:

1. Graphics glitches with nouveau. The screen went garbled and i had to restart.

2. After the initial install I had to manually add items to the panel as they were not set.

3. Major issues (talked about above) installing the nvidia driver using apt-get.

4. Graphics Glitch when using the nvidia driver (as shown below).

Screenshot-12

I am not sure of the goal of lmde to be honest , It is harder then Debian Testing to use and maintain. I have used both side by side for about a year and found that Debian Testing might break more often however the breakages are usually smaller and easier to fix/workaround. I attribute most of this to the sheer size of the update packs (usually around 1gb) and the iso’s are only spun every year which makes life difficuilt when you have to download, install and upgrade to the latest update pack especially if you have limited bandwidth. There was a short period of time when user would have had to install update pack 6 then upgrade to update pack 8, until the lmde devs pulled the iso and told users to wait for the next iso. If they are going to continue maintaining lmde this way in my opinion the lmde iso’s should be netinstalls , that way users who have downloaded the iso after odd numbered update packs have been release would not have to download , install , update packages as the lastest packages would be used. I also feel that using sgfxi , as good as it might be, is a step backward and a gui should be used instead. It also uses the driver from nvidia so the driver will not update unless you close X and run sudo nvidia-installer –update .

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Posted in 01Ben, ideas and opinions, Linux, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), Linux Operating System Reviews

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