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A Minty Fresh Jackalope

It seems like many moons ago I was writing about my latest foray into the world of Linux thanks to my new netbook toy.  Before that I attempted to chronicle my journey into learning about the free OS.  I guess then that it is time for an update on my progress.

After enjoying Mandriva for well over a year, I decided it was time for a change.  Still fighting off that which is popular, I chose to go with Linux Mint.  Built on top of Ubuntu but with a flare for elegance, it seemed like a great choice.  It’s been about a month since the move to Mint and I’d say my reaction has been mixed thus far.

Linux Mint does offer certain areas of improvement over Mandriva, mainly the user base for help.  I can use either the Ubuntu crowd or Mint specific users.  I’ve also noticed better performance in my VirtualBox from when it was run on Mandriva.  However, I’ve also run into the normal “this didn’t work out of the box” items that plague many new installations, such as issues with the video driver that prevent me from utilizing the accelerated graphics card functions.  I certainly don’t need the cool visual affects, but they were always nice to have within Mandriva.  I’m certain I can get them working if I take the time to update with the correct driver, but so far I haven’t really taken the time.  It also seems that I’m learning to like Gnome or not even notice a true difference with KDE. Gasp!  Don’t tell the geeks or I’ll be thrown out, if I haven’t been already.

I’ve also noticed an annoying item related to my use of Pidgin.  It seems that when my computer is left alone for a period of time, Pidgin always seems to hog my resources when I try to use it again.  I’ve googled it but didn’t find many results.  I even tried to post to a forum, but you know you have to reply to those.  Oops.

With the OS change, requires a few application changes.  Not many mind you.  The biggest and most important change for me is the media manager application.  Previously with Mandriva I was using Amarok.  Amarok is still to this day the best music software I have used but I’m not liking the new path it is heading with the major changes made for version 2.  It was my all inclusive software (music, tagging, media transfer to Creative Zen).  Linux Mint came with RhythmBox oob, but it fell short.  I then tried Songbird (still not understanding the need to combine the media manager with a browser).  So No luck there either.  Now it seems I’m using a mixture of Banshee and Listen.  These are great for listening to my tunes but not so much for transferring files to my Creative Zen.  I’ve tried using Gnomad 2 for transferring files, but my artwork is lost and that’s a kill switch for me.

Now that’s the desktop.  On to the netbook.

Since my netbook post, I’ve been using eebuntu netbook remix, which was based on Ubuntu 8.10.  It was slick and really tried to utiize the smaller netbook screen and give you ease of navigation.  I loved it and thought I’d keep it forever, but updates put an end to that.  When I tried to upgrade to the 9.04, I saw an exterme performance drop in the graphical department.  At this point, I realized that I was not really using the netbook remix as it was intended and decided to change by installing Ubuntu 9.04 without the netbook remix addon.

Well, I must say that I’m impressed.  Everything I need has worked OOB with Ubuntu (wifi works, yay).  I’ve spent the past day or two customizing it to my somewhat liking.  As you can see, I still need to remove the wonderful gnome footprint start button icon.  Maybe I can get Will to make me a simple Black Adam lightining icon in reference to my netbook’s name (blackatom).

With the Hydoxygen iconse, a customized Dust theme, and the AWN dock bar (I found this one to be less process intensive than the Gnome-Do Docky theme), I think I’m ready to go enjoy my netbook again. I might even come to like Ubuntu enough to put in on my desktop.  Apple lovers, please don’t begin to tell me my desktop is very similar to Apple’s setup.  Similarities just mean that something is working for a larger population.

I also tried a live boot of Moblin, which was impressive but confusing.  Here’s hoping they can continue to improve it.

Posted under Linux

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